Member of the Semitic people who lived in Palestine at the time of the Old Testament and who traced their ancestry to Abraham of Ur, a city of Sumer.
Also the language of the Old Testament and Judaic literature, as well as the official language (since 1948) of the state of Israel, one of the Semitic languages of the Hamito-Semitic (Afro-Asiatic) family.
The Hebrew people were widely dispersed during the Roman Empire and learned the languages and cultures of those they lived among in Europe, the Near East, Asia, and (after 1492) the Americas, but continued using liturgical Hebrew in prayer, as well as the ancient Hebrew alphabet to write both sacred works in Hebrew and secular works in Yiddish, a 13th-century High German dialect. In the late 19th century, Hebrew was revived as a modern language, by the European Haskala movement, in both spoken and written forms.
The ancient Canaanitic language of the Hebrews that has been revived as the official language of Israel.