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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Copts \Copts\ (k[o^]pts"), n. pl.; sing. Copt (k[o^]pt). [See Coptic.] (Etnol.)

  1. An Egyptian race thought to be descendants of the ancient Egyptians.

  2. The principal sect of Christians in Egypt and the valley of the Nile.

    Note: they belong to the Jacobite sect of Monophysite Christians, and for eleven centuries have had possession of the patriarchal chair of Alexandria.


The Copts are an ethno-religious group situated in North Africa and the Middle East, mainly in the area of modern Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination. They are also the largest Christian denomination in Sudan and Libya. Historically they spoke the Coptic language, a direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century. They now speak Arabic.

Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest ethno-religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of the Egyptian population. Copts in Sudan constitute the largest Christian community in Sudan, accounting for an estimated 1% of the Sudanese population. Copts in Libya constitute the largest Christian community in Libya, accounting for an estimated 1% of the Libyan population. Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Coptic Catholic Church, which is an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Catholic Church, claims 163,000 members.

Usage examples of "copts".

Because the direction of the seventh-century Moslem armies was east to west, across the top of Egypt toward Libya and the Maghreb, the Copts fled southward, into Upper Egypt, which is why the Coptic presence in places like Assiut is proportionally higher than in Cairo, Alexandria, and the intervening delta—20 percent of the population in Upper Egypt as opposed to 10 percent in Lower Egypt is Coptic.

The quick-step enlargement of the pilgrim center at the Convent of the Virgin Mary, outside Assiut, built with donations from Copts throughout Egypt and the world, is a not-too-subtle reminder to Moslems of Christian wealth—with a giant cross and curved arches of yellow and lime-washed cement dominating the nearby villages.

Moslem militants claimed credit for the attack, in which seven Copts were killed.

The Copts of Cairo,' she added proudly, 'have been living with the Saracens a very long time.

But he explained that he was from Egypt, and the Copts were a Christian religion, even if we hadn't heard of 'em.

We told the congregation we were going to do some missionary work with the Copts, which was true in a way.

  This opinion, introduced into Egypt and Europe by the artifice of the Copts, the pride of the Abyssinians, the fear and ignorance of the Turks and Arabs, has not even the semblance of truth.

  In the recent tumult of conquest and deliverance, the tongue of the Copts and the sword of the Arabs were most adverse to the tranquillity of the province.

We may read, in the gravest authors, that Egypt was crowded with twenty thousand cities or villages: ^131 that, exclusive of the Greeks and Arabs, the Copts alone were found, on the assessment, six millions of tributary subjects, ^132 or twenty millions of either sex, and of every age: that three hundred millions of gold or silver were annually paid to the treasury of the caliphs.

That's all the Copts ever wrote, curse themcopies of Scripture and boring lies about the saints.

The Copts destroyed the heathen temples and persecuted the worshipers of the old gods, they also slaughtered co-religionists who disagreed over subtle differences of dogma.

After the Muslim conquest, the Copts were treated leniently at first, but their own intolerance finally tried the patience of the conquerors and they endured the same persecution they had inflicted on others.

They were very old Copts, and I hoped this consideration would prevent the priest from protesting.

I raised my parasol to point, and both the Copts (or pseudo-Copts) jumped.

The Copts are not as eager to question the faith of everyone around them as these damned Orthodox Christians are.