Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (ĭsh′mē-ə-līt′, -mā-)
1. A descendant of Ishmael.
2. An outcast.

Ish′ma·el·it′ism n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Bible) a supposed descendant of Ishmael; a member of a desert people of Old Testament times
2. rare an outcast
ˈIshmaelˌitism n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɪʃ mi əˌlaɪt, -meɪ ə-, -mə-)

1. a member of a Biblical people descended from Ishmael, who is regarded in Muslim tradition as the progenitor of the Arabs.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in classic literature ?
This feeling had been accentuated by the Ishmaelite life he had led from his puppyhood.
there is but one road to the favour of a Christian, and how can the poor Jew find it, whom extortions have already reduced to the misery of Lazarus?'' Then, as if suspicion had overpowered his other feelings, he suddenly exclaimed, ``For the love of God, young man, betray me not for the sake of the Great Father who made us all, Jew as well as Gentile, Israelite and Ishmaelite do me no treason!
Of course, poor Martin, in consequence of his pursuits, had become an Ishmaelite in the house.
As the most hardened Arab that ever careered across the desert over the hump of a dromedary likes to repose sometimes under the date-trees by the water, or to come into the cities, walk into the bazaars, refresh himself in the baths, and say his prayers in the mosques, before he goes out again marauding, so Jos's tents and pilau were pleasant to this little Ishmaelite. She picketed her steed, hung up her weapons, and warmed herself comfortably by his fire.
The Midianite merchants hail from Northwest Arabia, as presumably do their Ishmaelite hired hands, so they were in a position, by dint of location, time and economic condition, to get their hands on some rare domesticated dromedary camels.
Time and space combine into a unique oneness, and in answer to some rhetorical questions about the length of time lapsed and the multitudes of events witnessed by the landscape, a series of visual images unravel: Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite Trampled and passed it o'er, When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight His favorite son they bore.
Arvin (1962: 546) places also Henry James in this category: "Hawthorne's theme of estrangement, the Ishmaelite theme that obsessed Melville, were driven by Henry James to a formulation still more extreme; and expatriation, the frankest form of desertion, became both his literary munition and his personal fate".
In 1908 Miller described the "American negro," with a lower-case "n," as "a promiscuous assortment of individuals with diverse physical and spiritual dispositions and actuated by the antagonistic instinct of the Ishmaelite."
Thus, her discussions of the Ishmaelite legacy in contemporary Holy Land literature is only peripherally related to the self-proclaimed biblical identity of Melville's narrator; indeed the discussion would seem more germane to Melville's later book-length narrative poem Clarel (1876).
He was sold by his brothers to Ishmaelite traders for twenty pieces of silver (Gen 37:25-28).
In the third part, The Arrival at Sais, the holy family is welcomed by an Ishmaelite. This Ishmaelite father sings, "Come in, come in.
Job, an Ishmaelite leader of the patriarchal period, discoursing with his visitors, shows his monotheism and theirs.