American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Bible A member of the tribe of Levi but not descended from Aaron and, if male, chosen to assist the Temple priests.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Jewish hist., a descendant of Levi, one of the sons of Jacob; one of the tribe of Levi.
- n. Specifically, one of a body of assistants to the priests in the tabernacle and temple service of the Jews. This body was composed of all males of the tribe of Levi between 30 (or 25) and 50 years of age, exclusive of the family of Aaron, which constituted the priesthood. Originally they guarded the tabernacle, and assisted in carrying it and its vessels, and in preparing the corn, wine, oil, etc., for sacrifice; they furnished the music at the services, and had charge of the sacred treasures and revenues. After the settlement in Palestine they were relieved of some of these duties, but assumed those of religious guides and teachers. Later they were also the learned class, and became scribes, judges, etc. They were allowed no territorial possessions, except thirty-five cities in which they lived, supported by tithes on the produce of the lands of the tribes. The Levites were divided into three families, which bore the names of the sons of Levi—the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites.
- n. Hence In the early Christian church, a deacon as distinguished from a priest.
- n. A priest; a clergyman: often in slight contempt.
- n. A fashionable dress for women, introduced about 1780. It was satirized by Horace Walpole as resembling “a man's night-gown bound round with a belt.”
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bib. Hist.) One of the tribe or family of Levi; a descendant of Levi; esp., one subordinate to the priests (who were of the same tribe) and employed in various duties connected with the tabernacle first, and afterward the temple, such as the care of the building, bringing of wood and other necessaries for the sacrifices, the music of the services, etc.
- n. A priest; -- so called in contempt or ridicule.
- n. a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi (especially the branch that provided male assistants to the temple priests)
- From Levi + -ite. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Late Latin Lēvītēs, Lēvīta, from Greek Leuītēs, from Leui, Levi, from Hebrew Lēwî. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It is perhaps correct to say that Moses actually was descended from Levi, and that the later significance of the name Levite is to be explained by reference to him.”
“Hiereus than with the word Levite, it is time that some order should be taken both with the book and the Clergy.”
“a certain Levite ... took to him a concubine -- The priests under the”
“Higros the Levite was the last of Israelitish tone-artists.”
“Here was an assembly of the people of God, not a convocation of the Levites and priests, though a Levite was the person principally concerned in the cause, but an assembly of the people, to whom the Levite referred himself with an Appello populum -- I appeal to the people.”
“As a devotee to the Muses, he published seve - ral poems, particularly one, called The Levite's Revenge, being me - ditations, in verse, on the 19th and 20tk chapters of Judges; and one play, which, whether it was ever performed or not cannot be ascertained.”
“Levite," once the title of honour bestowed on all priests, became more and more confined to members of the second order of the clergy.”
“One of the few prayers prescribed in the Bible includes “I have also given it [a tithe] to the Levite, the proselyte, to the orphan, and to the widow, according to the commandments You commanded me; I have not transgressed any of your commandments and I have not forgotten … I have hearkened to the voice of Hashem, my G-d, I have acted according to everything You commanded me.””
“Right now the church is like the priest and the Levite in this story, walking by the oppressed LGBT youth.”
“A priest and a Levite pass this man, but in the end, it is the Samaritan who takes pity on the man, bandages him, and pays for his food and shelter (Luke 10: 25-37).”
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