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King vs. Pharaoh: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 26, 2023
A king is a male monarch of a nation or territory, while a pharaoh is specifically the ancient Egyptian ruler, considered a god-king.
King vs. Pharaoh

Key Differences

The title "king" is used globally for male sovereigns of kingdoms, having diverse origins and histories. The term "pharaoh," however, specifically refers to the rulers of ancient Egypt and is unique to that civilization.
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Kings generally hold a political and often religious significance, but not all are considered divine. Pharaohs were unique in that they were believed to be living gods, embodying the divine authority over their people.
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Kings are found in various cultures and eras, each with distinct traditions and governance styles. Pharaohs, on the other hand, are exclusively associated with ancient Egypt, with their rule deeply intertwined with Egyptian mythology and culture.
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While the powers of kings vary, they often have executive, legislative, and sometimes religious roles. Pharaohs were absolute rulers with complete control over Egypt’s resources and were also seen as religious leaders responsible for maintaining order and harmony.
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Succession in kingdoms can vary, often hereditary or elective. Pharaohs followed a mostly hereditary line, often considered divine, and their legacy is closely tied to Egypt’s monumental architecture and hieroglyphs.
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Comparison Chart

Title Origin

Global, various cultures
Ancient Egypt
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Divine Status

Not always considered divine
Regarded as living gods
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Cultural Context

Varied across civilizations
Specific to Egyptian civilization
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Role

Political and often religious leader
Absolute ruler and religious figure
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Succession

Hereditary or elective
Primarily hereditary, considered divine lineage
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King and Pharaoh Definitions

King

A king symbolizes the authority and continuity of a monarchy.
The king’s speech unified the people.
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Pharaoh

A pharaoh embodies ancient Egyptian culture and religion.
The pharaoh led the religious ceremonies of the Nile.
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King

A king often represents the cultural and historical heritage of a nation.
The king wore traditional royal garments during the ceremony.
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Pharaoh

A pharaoh is the ancient Egyptian monarch.
The pharaoh commissioned a new pyramid.
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King

A male sovereign.
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Pharaoh

Pharaohs were considered gods in human form.
The pharaoh was worshipped as a deity by his subjects.
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King

One that is supreme or preeminent in a particular group, category, or sphere
"In many countries, soccer is the king of sports" (Cameron W. Barr).
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Pharaoh

Pharaohs are known for monumental constructions.
The pharaoh dedicated the temple to the gods.
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King

A man chosen as the winner of a contest or the honorary head of an event
A homecoming king.
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Pharaoh

Pharaohs are key figures in ancient Egyptian history.
The pharaoh’s reign marked a prosperous era.
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King

Abbr. K A playing card bearing the figure of a king, ranking above a queen.
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Pharaoh

A king of ancient Egypt.
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King

Abbr. K The principal chess piece, which can move one square in any direction and must be protected against checkmate.
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Pharaoh

A tyrant.
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King

A piece in checkers that has been moved to the last row on the opponent's side of the board and been crowned, thus becoming free to move both forward and backward.
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Pharaoh

(historical) The supreme ruler of Ancient Egypt; a formal address for the sovereign seat of power as personified by the "king" in an institutional role of Horus son of Osiris; often used by metonymy for Ancient Egyptian sovereignty
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King

Kings(used with a sing. verb) See Table at Bible.
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Pharaoh

The card game faro.
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King

A king-size bed.
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Pharaoh

A title by which the sovereigns of ancient Egypt were designated.
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King

Principal or chief, as in size or importance.
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Pharaoh

See Faro.
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King

Of or relating to a king-size bed
King sheets.
A king bed skirt.
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Pharaoh

The title of the ancient Egyptian kings
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King

To make (a piece in checkers) into a king; crown.
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King

A male monarch; a man who heads a monarchy. If it is an absolute monarchy, then he is the supreme ruler of his nation.
Henry VIII was the king of England from 1509 to 1547.
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King

A powerful or majorly influential person.
Howard Stern styled himself as the "king of all media".
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King

Something that has a preeminent position.
In times of financial panic, cash is king.
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King

A component of certain games.
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King

(chess) The principal chess piece, that players seek to threaten with unavoidable capture to result in a victory by checkmate. It is often the tallest piece, with a symbolic crown with a cross at the top.
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King

(card games) A playing card with the letter "K" and the image of a king on it, the thirteenth card in a given suit.
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King

A checker (a piece of checkers/draughts) that reached the farthest row forward, thus becoming crowned (either by turning it upside-down, or by stacking another checker on it) and gaining more freedom of movement.
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King

The central pin or skittle in bowling games.
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King

A king skin.
Oi mate, have you got kings?
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King

A male dragonfly; a drake.
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King

A king-sized bed.
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King

The monarch with the most power and authority in a monarchy, regardless of sex.
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King

(graph theory) A vertex in a directed graph which can reach every other vertex via a path with a length of at most 2.
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King

To crown king, to make (a person) king.
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King

To rule over as king.
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King

To perform the duties of a king.
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King

To assume or pretend preeminence (over); to lord it over.
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King

To promote a piece of draughts/checkers that has traversed the board to the opposite side, that piece subsequently being permitted to move backwards as well as forwards.
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King

To dress and perform as a drag king.
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King

A Chinese musical instrument, consisting of resonant stones or metal plates, arranged according to their tones in a frame of wood, and struck with a hammer.
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King

A chief ruler; a sovereign; one invested with supreme authority over a nation, country, or tribe, usually by hereditary succession; a monarch; a prince.
Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
There was a State without king or nobles.
But yonder comes the powerful King of Day,Rejoicing in the east
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King

One who, or that which, holds a supreme position or rank; a chief among competitors; as, a railroad king; a money king; the king of the lobby; the king of beasts.
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King

A playing card having the picture of a king{1}; as, the king of diamonds.
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King

The chief piece in the game of chess.
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King

A crowned man in the game of draughts.
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King

The title of two historical books in the Old Testament.
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King

To supply with a king; to make a king of; to raise to royalty.
Those traitorous captains of Israel who kinged themselves by slaying their masters and reigning in their stead.
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King

A male sovereign; ruler of a kingdom
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King

A competitor who holds a preeminent position
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King

A very wealthy or powerful businessman;
An oil baron
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King

Preeminence in a particular category or group or field;
The lion is the king of beasts
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King

United States woman tennis player (born in 1943)
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King

United States guitar player and singer of the blues (born in 1925)
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King

United States charismatic civil rights leader and Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of Blacks (1929-1968)
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King

A checker that has been moved to the opponent's first row where it is promoted to a piece that is free to move either forward or backward
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King

One of the four playing cards in a deck bearing the picture of a king
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King

(chess) the weakest but the most important piece
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King

A king is the male monarch of a kingdom.
The king decreed a new law for the land.
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King

A king often inherits his position through royal lineage.
The prince was next in line to become king.
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King

A king can be a ceremonial figurehead in a constitutional monarchy.
The king presided over the national celebrations.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can a king also be a religious leader?

In some cultures, kings also have religious roles, but this is not universal.
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Were pharaohs worshipped?

Yes, pharaohs were worshipped as living gods in ancient Egypt.
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What is a king?

A king is a male ruler of a sovereign state or territory.
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Did pharaohs have absolute power?

Yes, pharaohs wielded absolute power over ancient Egypt.
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Did pharaohs lead military campaigns?

Yes, pharaohs often led military campaigns to expand or protect their territory.
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How did pharaohs contribute to Egyptian culture?

Pharaohs contributed immensely to Egyptian art, architecture, and religion.
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What is a pharaoh?

A pharaoh is the title for the ancient Egyptian ruler, considered both a political and divine figure.
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What symbolizes a pharaoh's power?

Monuments, temples, and hieroglyphics symbolize a pharaoh's power.
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Are all kings considered divine?

Not necessarily; kingship varies in religious significance.
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How do kings inherit their position?

Kingship is often hereditary, but some systems allow elective succession.
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What are the responsibilities of a pharaoh?

Pharaohs were responsible for the governance, religious leadership, and welfare of ancient Egypt.
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Are there still pharaohs today?

No, the pharaonic era ended with the Roman conquest of Egypt.
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Are modern kings active in government?

This varies; in constitutional monarchies, they are often ceremonial.
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Is a king always a man?

Traditionally, yes, but some cultures have had female rulers with equivalent status.
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How are new kings selected?

New kings are typically chosen through hereditary succession, although some cultures have elective systems.
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Can a king be overthrown?

Historically, kings have been overthrown through revolts or coups.
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Were pharaohs involved in law-making?

Yes, pharaohs were central in law-making and administration in ancient Egypt.
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What legacy did pharaohs leave behind?

Pharaohs left a rich legacy of art, architecture, and historical records.
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Do kings still hold power today?

In some countries, kings have significant power, while in others, their role is symbolic.
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Do kings play a diplomatic role?

In modern monarchies, kings often play a significant diplomatic role.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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