a member of an ancient Jewish
sect of ascetics and mystics
, which existed to the middle
of the 1st century a.d.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Word origin of 'Essene'L Esseni < Gr Essēnoi, said (by Philo) to be < hosios, holy, pious, but < Syr ḥsēn, pl. < ḥsī, pious, holy