more properly Naz’irite (one separated), one of either sex who was bound by a vow of a peculiar kind to be set apart from others for the service of God. The obligation was either for life or for a defined time. There is no notice in the Pentateuch of Nazarites for life, but the regulations for the vow of a Nazarite of days are given (Numbers 6:1-21). The Nazarite, during the term of his consecration, was bound to abstain from wine grapes, with every production of the vine and from every kind of intoxicating drink. He was forbidden to cut the hair of his head, or to approach any dead body, even that of his nearest relation. When the period of his vow was fulfilled he was brought to the door of the tabernacle and was required to offer a he lamb for a burnt offering, a ewe lamb for a sin offering, and a ram for a peace offering, with the usual accompaniments of peace offerings (Leviticus 7:12-13), and of the offering made at the consecration of priests. (Exodus 29:2; Numbers 6:15) He brought also a meat offering and a drink offering, which appear to have been presented by themselves as a distinct act of service (Numbers 6:17). He was to cut off the hair of “the head of his separation “(that is, the hair which had grown during the period of his consecration) at the door of the tabernacle, and to put it into the fire under the sacrifice on the altar. Of the Nazarites for life three are mentioned in the scriptures: Samson, Samuel, and St. John the Baptist. The only one of these actually called a Nazarite is Samson. We do not know whether the vow for life was ever voluntarily taken by the individual. In all the cases mentioned in the sacred history, it was made by the parents before the birth of the Nazarite himself. The consecration of the Nazarite bore a striking resemblance to that of the high priest (Leviticus 21:10-12). The meaning of the Nazarite vow has been regarded in different lights. It may be regarded as an act of self-sacrifice. That it was essentially a sacrifice of the person to the Lord is obviously in accordance with the terms of the law (Numbers 6:2). As the Nazarite was a witness for the straitness of the law, as distinguished from the freedom of the gospel, his sacrifice of himself was a submission to the letter of the rule. Its outward manifestations were restraints and eccentricities. The man was separated from his brethren that he might be peculiarly devoted to the Lord. This was consistent with the purpose of divine wisdom for the time for which it was ordained.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).