masc. proper name, biblical son of Abraham and Hagar, driven into the wilderness with his mother, from Hebrew Yishma'el, literally "God hears," from yishma, imperfective of shama "he heard." The Arabs claim descent from him. Figurative sense of "an outcast," "whose hand is against every man, and every man's hand against him" is from Genesis xvi.12. Related: Ishmaelite.