1historical A member or follower of the family of the Jewish leader Judas Maccabaeus.‘The second miracle, mentioned in our Chanukah prayers, was the miraculous defeat of the Greek army by the much smaller Jewish forces under the Maccabees.’
- ‘But it was also a civil war among Jews, because - as in the time of the Maccabees - the Jewish upper class, largely Hellenized, was identified with the sins of the Greeks.’
- ‘That's the promise the Maccabees made to the Jews of their time.’
- ‘Armed with these stories, the Maccabees and their followers used guerrilla tactics to win the first national liberation struggle in recorded history.’
- ‘A small band of Jews, known as the Maccabees, refused to succumb.’
- 1.1Four books of Jewish history and theology, of which the first and second are in the Apocrypha and feature Judas Maccabaeus.
Late Middle English from Latin Maccabaeus, an epithet applied to Judas, perhaps from Hebrew maqqeḇeṯ ‘hammer’ (by association with the religious revolt led by Judas).