Meaning of Karaite in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkɛːrə(r)ʌɪt/


  • A member of a Jewish sect founded in the 8th century and located chiefly in the Crimea and nearby areas, and in Israel, which rejects rabbinical interpretation in favour of a literal interpretation of the scriptures.

    ‘In Jerusalem, Benneson visited numerous synagogues, and even attended religious services of two Jewish sects: Karaites and Samaritans.’
    • ‘So well established did this view become among Muslims that it seems to have rubbed off onto the Karaites - a Jewish sect which arose against an Islamic background in eighth-century Iraq.’
    • ‘It was so popular at one point that in the 10th century the majority of Jews in the Land of Israel were Karaites.’
    • ‘The various sects that developed - such as the Sadducees and the Karaites - questioned the oral tradition or rabbinic law, but never the Divine origin of the Torah.’


Early 18th century from Hebrew Qārā'īm (from qārā' ‘read’) + -ite.