Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun The Semitic languages collectively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Shem or his descendants; belonging to that division of the Caucasian race which includes the Arabs, Jews, and related races.
  • adjective a name used to designate a group of Asiatic and African languages, some living and some dead, namely: Hebrew and Phœnician, Aramaic, Assyrian, Arabic, Ethiopic (Geez and Ampharic).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun a major branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family
  • adjective of or relating to the group of Semitic languages
  • adjective of or relating to or characteristic of Semites

Etymologies

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

[New Latin Sēmiticus, from Sēmita, Semite, from Late Latin Sēm, Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Semites, from Greek, from Hebrew Šēm.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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