- snack treat, 1937, from childish contraction of some more, as in "I'd like some more of those." S'more as a contraction is recorded by 1887.
- initialism (acronym) from shit out of luck (though sometimes euphemised), 1917, World War I military slang. "Applicable to everything from death to being late for mess" [R. Lord, "Captain Boyd's Battery A.E.F."]
- the insignia of Rome, from Latin Senatus Populusque Romanus "the Senate and People of Rome."
- 1975 as an abbreviation of sexually transmitted disease. Earlier it was an abbreviation of Latin Sacrosanctae Theologiae Doctor "Doctor of Sacred Theology."
- also SWAT, 1968, acronym said to be for Special Weapons and Tactics squad or team; or Special Weapons Attack Team.
- s/he (pron.)
- artificial genderless pronoun, attested from 1977; from he + she.
- river in western Germany, from PIE root *ser- (2) "to run, flow" (see serum).
- Sabaoth (n.)
- early 14c., from Late Latin, from Greek Sabaoth, rendering Hebrew tzebhaoth "hosts, armies," plural of tzabha "army," from tzaba "he waged war, he served." A word translated in English in the Old Testament by the phrase "the Lord of Hosts," but originally left untranslated in the New Testament and in the "Te Deum" in the designation Lord of Sabaoth; often confused with sabbath.
- sabaton (n.)
- type of armored foot-covering, also sabbaton, early 14c., ultimately from Provençal sabato, equivalent of French savate (see sabotage (n.)).
- sabbat (n.)
- "witches' sabbath," 1650s, special application of the French form of sabbath.
- Sabbatarian (n.)
- 1610s, "a Christian unusually strict about Sabbath observation," from Latin Sabbatarius (adj.), from Sabbatum (see Sabbath). Meaning "member of a Christian sect which maintained the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day" is attested from 1640s; earlier sabbatary (1590s). Related: Sabbatartianism.
- Sabbath (n.)
- Old English sabat "Saturday as a day of rest," as observed by the Jews, from Latin sabbatum, from Greek sabbaton, from Hebrew shabbath, properly "day of rest," from shabath "he rested." Spelling with -th attested from late 14c., not widespread until 16c.
The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities then; the Jewish observance might have begun as a similar custom. Among European Christians, from the seventh day of the week it began to be applied early 15c. to the first day (Sunday), "though no definite law, either divine or ecclesiastical, directed the change" [Century Dictionary], but elaborate justifications have been made. The change was driven by Christians' celebration of the Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week, a change completed during the Reformation.
The original meaning is preserved in Spanish Sabado, Italian Sabato, and other languages' names for "Saturday." Hungarian szombat, Rumanian simbata, French samedi, German Samstag "Saturday" are from Vulgar Latin sambatum, from Greek *sambaton, a vulgar nasalized variant of sabbaton. Sabbath-breaking attested from 1650s.
- sabbatical (adj.)
- 1640s, "of or suitable for the Sabbath," from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos "of the Sabbath" (see Sabbath). Noun meaning "a year's absence granted to researchers" (originally one year in seven, to university professors) is from 1934, short for sabbatical year, etc., first recorded 1886 (the thing itself is attested from 1880, at Harvard), related to sabbatical year (1590s) in Mosaic law, the seventh year, in which land was to remain untilled and debtors and slaves released.
- Sabean (n.)
- inhabitant of the region of Arabia now known as Yemen, from Latin Sabaeus, from Greek Sabaios "the people of Saba," the region's capital city, from Arabic Saba'. In ancient times it was an important transit point for spices, perfumes, precious stones, etc., imported to Europe from India.
- saber (n.)
- type of single-edged sword, 1670s, from French sabre "heavy, curved sword" (17c.), alteration of sable (1630s), from German Sabel, Säbel, probably ultimately from Hungarian szablya "saber," literally "tool to cut with," from szabni "to cut."
The Balto-Slavic words (Russian sablya, Polish szabla "sword, saber," Lithuanian shoble) perhaps also are from German. Italian sciabla seems to be directly from Hungarian. Saber-rattling "militarism" is attested from 1922. Saber-toothed cat (originally tiger) is attested from 1849.
- Sabian (n.)
- an adherent of a religious sect mentioned thrice in the Qu'ran (in which they are classified with Christians, and Jews as "true believers" worth of toleration by Muslims), 1610s, from Arabic, of uncertain origin. As an adjective from 1748.
Perhaps the reference is to a Gnostic sect akin to the later Mandæans (if the word derives, as some think it does, from Arabic ch'bae "to baptize," Aramaic tzebha "he dipped, dyed"); but it has the appearance of derivation from the Semitic root of Hebrew tzabha "host" (see Sabaoth), and as the Sabians were thought in the Middle Ages to have been star-worshippers, it was interpreted as referring to the "host of heaven." Related: Sabaism.
- in reference to polio vaccine, 1955, from name of Russian-born U.S. microbiologist Albert B. Sabin (1906-1993).
- Sabine (adj.)
- "pertaining to a people in ancient Italy," late 14c., from Latin Sabinus (in poetic Latin often Sabellus), perhaps literally "of its own kind" and connected to root of Sanskrit sabha "gathering of village community," Russian sebr "neighbor, friend," Gothic sibja, Old High German sippa "blood-relationship, peace, alliance," Old English sibb "relationship; peace;" see sibling).
- sable (n.1)
- "fur or pelt of the European sable" (Martes zibellina), early 15c., from Middle French sable (also martre sable "sable martin"), in reference to the mammal or its fur, borrowed in Old French from Germanic (Middle Dutch sabel, Middle Low German sabel, Middle High German zobel), ultimately from a Slavic source (compare Russian, Czech sobol, Polish soból, the name of the animal), "which itself is borrowed from an East-Asiatic language" [Klein], but Russian sources (such as Vasmer) find none of the proposed candidates satisfactory.
- sable (n.2)
- "black" as a heraldic color, early 14c., commonly identified with sable (n.1), but the animal's fur is brown and this may be a different word of unknown origin; or it might reflect a medieval custom (unattested) of dyeing sable fur black. As an adjective from late 14c. Emblematic of mourning or grief from c. 1600; c. 1800 as "black" with reference to Africans and their descendants, often with mock dignity.
- sabotage (n.)
- 1907 (from 1903 as a French word in English), from French sabotage, from saboter "to sabotage, bungle," literally "walk noisily," from sabot "wooden shoe" (13c.), altered (by association with Old French bot "boot") from Middle French savate "old shoe," from an unidentified source that also produced similar words in Old Provençal, Portuguese, Spanish (zapata), Italian (ciabatta), Arabic (sabbat), and Basque (zapata).
In French, and at first in English, the sense of "deliberately and maliciously destroying property" originally was in reference to labor disputes, but the oft-repeated story (as old as the record of the word in English) that the modern meaning derives from strikers' supposed tactic of throwing shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image; the word was used in French in a variety of "bungling" senses, such as "to play a piece of music badly." This, too, was the explanation given in some early usages.
SABOTAGE [chapter heading] The title we have prefixed seems to mean "scamping work." It is a device which, we are told, has been adopted by certain French workpeople as a substitute for striking. The workman, in other words, purposes to remain on and to do his work badly, so as to annoy his employer's customers and cause loss to his employer. ["The Liberty Review," January 1907]
You may believe that sabotage is murder, and so forth, but it is not so at all. Sabotage means giving back to the bosses what they give to us. Sabotage consists in going slow with the process of production when the bosses go slow with the same process in regard to wages. [Arturo M. Giovannitti, quoted in report of the Sagamore Sociological Conference, June 1907]
In English, "malicious mischief" would appear to be the nearest explicit definition of "sabotage," which is so much more expressive as to be likely of adoption into all languages spoken by nations suffering from this new force in industry and morals. Sabotage has a flavor which is unmistakable even to persons knowing little slang and no French .... ["Century Magazine," November 1910]
- sabotage (v.)
- 1912, from sabotage (n). Related: Sabotaged; sabotaging.
- saboteur (n.)
- 1912 (from 1909 as a French word in English), a borrowing of the French agent noun from sabotage (see sabotage (n.)).
- Sabra (n.)
- "Jew born in Palestine (or, after 1948, Israel)," 1945, from Modern Hebrew sabrah, literally "prickly pear."
- sabre (n.)
- see saber.
- fem. proper name, personified as a nymph by Milton in "Comus" (1634), from a Welsh tale of a maiden drowned in the river Severn by her stepmother, a legend found in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Giraldus Cambrensis. The name appears to be the Romanized form of the name of the River Severn (Welsh Hafren, Habren), which is Celtic and of unknown origin; it perhaps means "boundary." Sabrina neckline is from the 1954 film "Sabrina" starring Audrey Hepburn.
- sabulous (adj.)
- "sandy," 1630s, from Latin sabulosus, from sabulum "coarse sand" (see sand (n.)).
- sac (n.)
- "biological pocket," 1741, from French sac, from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)).
- central Algonquian people who lived near the upper Mississippi before the Black Hawk War of 1832, from French Canadian Saki, probably a shortened borrowing of Ojibwa (Algonquian) /osa:ki:/, literally "person of the outlet" (of the Saginaw River, which itself contains their name, and means literally "in the Sauk country").
- also Sacajawea, name of the Shoshoni woman who accompanied the Lewis & Clark expedition.
She had been a captive among the Hidatsas (a Siouan people), and her Hidatsa name was tsaka'aka wi'a, lit. 'bird woman' (Hartley, 2002). Her Shoshoni name, rendered as Sacajawea and translated 'boat launcher,' may have been a folk-etymological transformation of the Hidatsa term (Shaul, 1972). [Bright]
Her image appeared on U.S. dollar coins from 2000.
- saccade (n.)
- 1705, from French saccade "a jerk," from obsolete saquer "to shake, pull," dialectal variant of Old French sachier, ultimately from Latin saccus "sack" (see sack (n.1)). Related: Saccadic.
- saccharin (n.)
- white crystalline compound used as a sugar substitute, 1885, from German, coined 1879 by Russian-born chemist Constantin Fahlberg (1850-1910), who discovered it by accident, from Latin saccharon (see saccharine). Marketed from 1887 as saccharine.
- saccharine (adj.)
- 1670s, "of or like sugar," from Medieval Latin saccharum "sugar," from Latin saccharon "sugar," from Greek sakkharon, from Pali sakkhara, from Sanskrit sarkara "gravel, grit" (see sugar). Metaphoric sense of "overly sweet" first recorded 1841. For the sugar substitute, see saccharin.
- sacerdotal (adj.)
- c. 1400, from Old French sacerdotal and directly from Latin sacerdotalis "of or pertaining to a priest," from sacerdos (genitive sacerdotis) "priest," literally "offerer of sacrifices," from sacer "holy" (see sacred) + stem of dare "to give" (see date (n.1)).
- sachem (n.)
- chief of an American Indian tribe, 1620s, from Narragansett (Algonquian) sachim "chief, ruler," cognate with Abenaki sangman, Delaware sakima, Micmac sakumow, Penobscot sagumo. Applied jocularly to a prominent member of any society from 1680s; specific political use in U.S. is from 1890, from its use as the title of the 12 high officials of the Tammany Society of New York.
- sachet (n.)
- "small perfumed bag," 1838, from French sachet (12c.), diminutive of sac (see sac). A reborrowing of a word that had been used 15c. in the sense "small bag, wallet."
- sack (n.1)
- "large bag," Old English sacc (West Saxon), sec (Mercian), sæc (Old Kentish) "large cloth bag," also "sackcloth," from Proto-Germanic *sakkiz (cognates: Middle Dutch sak, Old High German sac, Old Norse sekkr, but Gothic sakkus probably is directly from Greek), an early borrowing from Latin saccus (also source of Old French sac, Spanish saco, Italian sacco), from Greek sakkos, from Semitic (compare Hebrew saq "sack").
The wide spread of the word is probably due to the Biblical story of Joseph, in which a sack of corn figures (Gen. xliv). Baseball slang sense of "a base" is attested from 1913. Slang meaning "bunk, bed" is from 1825, originally nautical. The verb meaning "go to bed" is recorded from 1946. Sack race attested from 1805.
- sack (n.2)
- "a dismissal from work," 1825, from sack (n.1), perhaps from the notion of the worker going off with his tools in a bag; the original formula was to give (someone) the sack. It is attested earlier in French (on luy a donné son sac, 17c.) and Dutch (iemand de zak geven).
- sack (n.4)
- "sherry," 1530s, alteration of French vin sec "dry wine," from Latin siccus "dry" (see siccative).
- sack (v.1)
- "to plunder," 1540s, from Middle French sac, in the phrase mettre à sac "put it in a bag," a military leader's command to his troops to plunder a city (parallel to Italian sacco, with the same range of meaning), from Vulgar Latin *saccare "to plunder," originally "to put plundered things into a sack," from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)). The notion is probably of putting booty in a bag.
- sack (n.3)
- "plunder; act of plundering, the plundering of a city or town after storming and capture," 1540s, from French sac "pillage, plunder," from Italian sacco (see sack (v.1)).
- sack (v.2)
- "put in a bag," late 14c., from sack (n.1). Related: Sacked; sacking.
- sack (v.3)
- "dismiss from work," 1841, from sack (n.2). Related: Sacked; sacking.
- sack (v.4)
- type of U.S. football play, 1969, from sack (v.1) in the sense of "to plunder" or sack (v.2) on the notion of "put in a bag." As a noun from 1972.
- sackbut (n.)
- medieval wind instrument, c. 1500, from French saquebute, a bass trumpet with a slide like a trombone; presumably identical with Old North French saqueboute (14c.), "a lance with an iron hook for pulling down mounted men," said to be from Old North French saquier "to pull, draw" + bouter "to thrust," from Germanic *buton (see butt (v.)). Originally in English with many variant spellings, including sagbutt, shakbott, shagbush.
In Dan. iii:5, used wrongly to translate Aramaic sabbekha, name of a stringed instrument (translated correctly in Septuagint as sambuke, and in Vulgate as sambuca, both names of stringed instruments, and probably ultimately cognate with the Aramaic word). The error began with Coverdale (1535), who evidently thought it was a wind instrument and rendered it with shawm; the Geneva translators, evidently following Coverdale, chose sackbut because it sounded like the original Aramaic word, and this was followed in KJV and Revised versions.
- sackcloth (n.)
- penitential or grieving garb, late 13c., literally "cloth of which sacks are made," from sack (n.1) + cloth. In the Biblical sense it was of goats' or camels' hair, the coarsest possible clothing.
- sacral (adj.)
- 1767, in anatomy, "of or pertaining to the sacrum, from Modern Latin sacralis. In anthropology, "pertaining to religious rites," 1882, from Latin sacrum "sacred thing, rite" (see sacred). Related: sacralization.
- sacrament (n.)
- "outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c. 1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" (12c., Modern French sacrement) and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating" (also source of Spanish sacramento, German Sakrament, etc.), from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery).
Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick (extreme unction).
- sacramental (adj.)
- late 14c., from Old French sacramental or directly from Late Latin sacramentalis, from sacramentum (see sacrament). As a noun, "religious practice or object," mid-15c.
- California city, settled 1839, named for its river (1808), from Spanish sacramento, in honor of the Holy Sacrament (see sacrament).