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

  • adj. Of or relating to the Semites or their languages or cultures.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or constituting a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language group that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic.
  • n. The Semitic languages.
  • n. Any one of the Semitic languages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a subdivision of Afro-Asiatic Semitic languages: Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, Hebrew, Maltese, Tigrigna, Phoenician etc.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the Semites: Semitic people.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the descendants of Shem, the eldest of three sons of Noah.
  • adj. In a narrower sense, of or pertaining to the Israeli, Jewish, or Hebrew people.
  • proper n. The Semitic languages in general.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to Shem or his descendants; belonging to that division of the Caucasian race which includes the Arabs, Jews, and related races.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Relating to the Semites, or the descendants of Shem; pertaining to the Hebrew race or any of those kindred to it, as the Arabians and the Assyrians. Also Shemitic, Shemitish.
  • n. The Semitic languages collectively.

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

  • n. a major branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family
  • adj. of or relating to the group of Semitic languages
  • adj. of or relating to or characteristic of Semites


New Latin Sēmiticus, from Sēmita, Semite, from Late Latin Sēm, Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Semites, from Greek, from Hebrew Šēm.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Semite +‎ -ic (18th century), from German semitisch, from Ancient Greek Σημ (Sēm), from the Hebrew שֵׂם (Šēm, "Shem"), the name of the eldest son of Noah in biblical tradition (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), considered the forefather of the Semitic peoples. Perhaps derived from Akkadian  (šumu, "name" or "son"). (Wiktionary)



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