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phar·i·see (fărĭ-sē)
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n.
1. Pharisee A member of an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both its oral and written form.
2. A hypocritically self-righteous person.

[Middle English pharise, from Old English fariseus and from Old French pharise, both from Late Latin pharīsaeus, from Greek pharīsaios, from Aramaic pərišayyā, pl. of pəriš, separate, from pəraš, to separate; see prš in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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