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Meaning of NAZARENE

Webster's 1913 Dictionary
\Naz`a*rene"\, n. [L. Nazarenus, Gr. ?, fr. ?
1. A native or inhabitant of Nazareth; -- a term of contempt
   applied to Christ and the early Christians.

2. (Eccl. Hist.) One of a sect of Judaizing Christians in the
   first and second centuries, who observed the laws of
   Moses, and held to certain heresies.

Easton Bible Dictionary

This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once (Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew _netser_, which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the _Netse_, the "Branch."

The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (See NAZARETH.)