from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.
  • n. A Jew.
  • n. Bible A descendant of Shem.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs.
  • n. A descendant of these peoples.
  • n. A member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language.
  • n. A descendant of the biblical Patriarch Shem.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One belonging to the Semitic race. Also used adjectively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A descendant or supposed descendant of Shem, son of Noah.
  • Of or belonging to Shem or his descendants. Also Shemite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and northern Africa
  • adj. of or relating to or characteristic of Semites


Back-formation from Semitic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French sémite, from Late Latin, from Ancient Greek σημ (sêm), from Classical Hebrew שם (šēm, "name"), from Proto-Semitic *shem. (Wiktionary)



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