Definitions

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

  • n. A new convert to a doctrine or religion.
  • transitive v. To proselytize (a person).
  • intransitive v. To engage in proselytization.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who has recently converted to a religion or doctrine, especially a gentile converted to Judaism.
  • v. To proselytize.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A new convert especially a convert to some religion or religious sect, or to some particular opinion, system, or party; thus, a Gentile converted to Judaism, or a pagan converted to Christianity, is a proselyte.
  • transitive v. To convert to some religion, opinion, or system; to bring over.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who changes from one opinion, creed, sect, or party to another, with or without a real change in purpose and principle: chiefly used in a religious sense.
  • n. Specifically, in Jewish hist., one who became detached from the heathen and joined a Jewish community.
  • n. Synonyms Neophyte, Convert, Proselyte, etc. (see convert), catechumen.
  • To induce to become the adherent of some given doctrine, creed, sect, or party; proselytize: as, “a proselyted Jew,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a new convert; especially a gentile converted to Judaism

Etymologies

Middle English proselite, from Old French, from Late Latin prosēlytus, from Greek prosēlutos, stranger, proselyte : pros-, pros- + , ēluth- aorist tense stem of erkhesthai, to go.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English proselite, from Late Latin proselutus (proselytus, "proselyte, alien resident"), from Ancient Greek προσηλυτος (proselytos, "newcomer, convert") (from πρό (pro, "to, towards") and lytós), translation of Hebrew גר (ger) in the Septuagint translation of the Torah (e.g., Exodus 12:49); also used in Matthew 23:15, Acts 2:10, Acts 6:5. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word translated ye are come (here and at verse 18) in its noun form gives the English word "proselyte," suggestive perhaps of the move of the Hebrews from Judaism to Christ.

    Our Man In Heaven: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews

  • Dr. Lightfoot quotes a saying of one of the rabbin, "That one proselyte is more acceptable to God than all the thousands of Israel that stood before mount Sinai; for they saw and received the law, but a proselyte sees not, and yet receives it."

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Carnal hearts seldom shrink from the pains necessary to carry on their carnal purposes; when a proselyte is to be made to serve a turn for themselves, they will compass sea and land to make him, rather than be disappointed.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • The painful and even dangerous rite of circumcision was alone capable of repelling a willing proselyte from the door of the synagogue.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • They baptize a proselyte in such a confluence of waters as was fit for the washing of a menstruous woman.

    From the Talmud and Hebraica

  • The Briton forgetting his Defoe, [Footnote: The True-born Englishman.] the Jew forgetting the very word proselyte, the German forgetting his anthropometric variations, and the Italian forgetting everything, are obsessed by the singular purity of their blood, and the danger of contamination the mere continuance of other races involves.

    A Modern Utopia

  • It was with a lingering eye to his countrymen that he took up his abode in the house of 'one that feared God,' that is, a proselyte; and that he settled down next door to the synagogue.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture: the Acts

  • Eunomian heresy; the African voyage was consecrated by the baptism and auspicious name of the first soldier who embarked; and the proselyte was adopted into the family of his spiritual parents,

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • a neighbour, an Israelite in religion and worship, that is, a proselyte.

    From the Talmud and Hebraica

  • In Leviticus (a later text) ger has come to mean a "proselyte," i.e. one who has become a fellow Israelite and must therefore be given full benefit of the Law.

    Love Which Neighbor?

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