from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of a body of five elected magistrates exercising a supervisory power over the kings of Sparta.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of the five annually-elected senior magistrates in various Doric states, especially ancient Sparta, who oversaw the actions of Spartan kings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A magistrate; one of a body of five magistrates chosen by the people of ancient Sparta. They exercised control even over the king.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of a body of magistrates common to many ancient Dorian constitutions, the most celebrated being that of the Spartans, among whom the board of ephors consisted of five members, and was elected yearly by the people unrestrictedly from among themselves.
  • n. In modern Greece, an overseer or superintendent of public works.


Latin ephorus, from Greek ephoros, from ephorān, to oversee : ep-, epi-, epi- + horān, to see; see wer-3 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἔφορος (ephoros, "overseer") (< Homeric ἐπίουρος), from ἐπί (epi, "over") + ὁράω (oraō, "look"). (Wiktionary)


  • He was present as ephor, in accordance with the custom which obliges two members of that board to serve on all military expeditions with the king, and with his colleague shared the political views represented by


  • Stadium; when Endius was ephor at Sparta, and Pythodorus archon at


  • Foteini Zafeiropoulou is ephor emerita of antiquities in the Greek Archaeological Service.

    Warriors of Paros

  • Lacedaemonians, however, refused to give up the Boeotian alliance — the party of Xenares the ephor, and such as shared their view, carrying the day upon this point — but renewed the oaths at the request of Nicias, who feared to return without having accomplished anything and to be disgraced; as was indeed his fate, he being held the author of the treaty with Lacedaemon.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • In the thirteenth year of the reign of Darius, while Alexippidas was ephor at Lacedaemon, a convention was concluded in the plain of the Maeander by the Lacedaemonians and their allies with

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • With these words he, as ephor, himself put the question to the assembly of the Lacedaemonians.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • He gave it out also, that he was to continue ephor the ensuing year.

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  • Epitadeus happening to be ephor, a man of great influence, and of a willful, violent spirit, on some occasion of a quarrel with his son, proposed a decree, that all men should have liberty to dispose of their land by gift in their lifetime, or by their last will and testament.

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  • Lysander, who was still ephor, resolving to be revenged on

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  • The same ephor asked him, whether now at least he did not repent his rashness.

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans


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