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December 7, 2021

Philistine /ˈfiləˌstēn/ noun, adj. 

Definition: A philistine (noun) is someone who is smugly indifferent or hostile to culture and the arts or who has no understanding of them. It refers to someone who does not appreciate the finer things in life.

Philistine (with a capital P) can also refer to a member of a race of people that lived in ancient southern Palestine and who were often at war with the Israelites.

As an adjective, philistine is used to describe a person or thing that is hostile or indifferent to cultural values and the arts, for example, “a philistine government.”

Etymology: The Philistines were depicted very negatively in the Bible, and because of this, the word was initially applied figuratively to anyone who was considered to be the enemy. But in the modern sense of the word where it means “uncultured person,” it had its origin among 17th-century German university students. These students used the word “Philister” (the German equivalent of Philistine) to refer to outsiders, people who were not part of the academic community.

In a Sentence

Call me a philistine if you like, but I just don’t understand why you love poetry so much.

You try to act so cultured, but you’re as much of a philistine as the rest of them!

Sport seems to be the only thing that matters to people in this philistine town.


Uncultured, Lowbrow, Anti-intellectual, Uncivilized, Unsophisticated


Cultured, Refined, Aesthete


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