Meaning of fedayeen in English:


Pronunciation /ˌfɛdʌɪˈiːn/

plural noun

(also fidayeen)
  • Arab guerrillas operating especially against Israel.

    ‘unexpected attacks by the fedayeen’
    • ‘He had a firefight with the fedayeen and some of them got killed.’
    • ‘After the defeat of the dictator, she was reluctant to return as the fedayeen were still operating in the town.’
    • ‘The delegitimization of resisting combatants is continued in accompanying descriptions of the activities of the fedayeen and other militias.’
    • ‘It routed the army and adapted well to the unexpected attacks by the fedayeen.’
    • ‘The fidayeen vowed to fight to the last man.’
    • ‘Since 1967, it has been the usual practice for the fedayeen to wear explosive belts during operations.’


1950s from colloquial Arabic fidā'iyīn, plural of classical Arabic fidā'ī ‘one who gives his life for another or for a cause’, from fadā ‘to ransom someone’. The singular fedai (from Arabic and Persian fidā'ī) had previously been used (late 19th century) to denote an Ismaili Muslim assassin.