sagebrush (n.) Look up sagebrush at
1850, from sage (n.1), to which it has no biological affinity, + brush (n.2). Said to be so called for resemblance of its appearance or odor.
Sage-brush is very fair fuel, but as a vegetable it is a distinguished failure. Nothing can abide the taste of it but the jackass and his illegitimate child, the mule. ["Mark Twain," "Roughing It"]
sagely (adv.) Look up sagely at
c. 1400, from sage (adj.) + -ly (2).
saggy (adj.) Look up saggy at
1848, from sag (n.) + -y (2). Related: Saggily; sagginess.
sagittal (adj.) Look up sagittal at
"shaped like or resembling an arrow," 1540s, from Modern Latin sagittalis, from Latin sagitta "arrow" (see Sagittarius).
Sagittarius (n.) Look up Sagittarius at
zodiac constellation, late Old English, from Latin, literally "archer," properly "pertaining to arrows," from sagitta "arrow," which probably is from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language. Meaning "person born under Sagittarius" (properly Sagittarian) is attested from 1940. It represents a centaur drawing a bow, but to modern observers unfamiliar with either it looks vaguely like a teapot.
sago (n.) Look up sago at
"starch made of the piths of palms," 1570s, via Portuguese and Dutch from Malay (Austronesian) sagu, the name of the palm tree from which it is obtained (attested in English in this sense from 1550s). Also borrowed in French (sagou), Spanish (sagu), German (Sago).
saguaro (n.) Look up saguaro at
type of large branching columnar cactus of the North American desert, 1856, from Mexican Spanish, from a native name of unknown origin, perhaps from Yaqui (Sonoran).
Sahara Look up Sahara at
1610s, from Arabic çahra "desert" (plural çahara), according to Klein, noun use of fem. of the adjective asharu "yellowish red." Related: Saharan.
Sahel Look up Sahel at
from Arabic sahil "sea coast, shore." Originally in reference to the coastal region. Related: Sahelian.
sahib (n.) Look up sahib at
respectful address to Europeans in India, 1670s, from Hindi or Urdu sahib "master, lord," from Arabic sahib, originally "friend, companion," from sahiba "he accompanied." Female form ("European lady") is memsahib.
said (adj.) Look up said at
"named or mentioned before," c. 1300, past participle adjective from say (v.).
Saigon Look up Saigon at
southern Vietnamese city, capital of former South Vietnam, named for its river, which bears a name of uncertain origin.
sail (v.) Look up sail at
Old English segilan "travel on water in a ship; equip with a sail," from the same Germanic source as sail (n.); cognate with Old Norse sigla, Middle Dutch seghelen, Dutch zeilen, Middle Low German segelen, German segeln. Meaning "to set out on a sea voyage, leave port" is from c. 1200. Related: Sailed; sailing.
sail (n.) Look up sail at
Old English segl "sail, veil, curtain," from Proto-Germanic *seglom (source also of Old Saxon, Swedish segel, Old Norse segl, Old Frisian seil, Dutch zeil, Old High German segal, German Segel), of obscure origin with no known cognates outside Germanic (Irish seol, Welsh hwyl "sail" are Germanic loan-words). In some sources (Klein, OED) referred to PIE root *sek- "to cut," as if meaning "a cut piece of cloth." To take the wind out of (someone's) sails (1888) is to deprive (someone) of the means of progress, especially by sudden and unexpected action, "as by one vessel sailing between the wind and another vessel," ["The Encyclopaedic Dictionary," 1888].
sailboat (n.) Look up sailboat at
also sail-boat, 1769, from sail (n.) + boat (n.).
sailing (n.) Look up sailing at
Old English seglinge, verbal noun from the source of sail (v.).
sailor (n.) Look up sailor at
c. 1400, sailer, agent noun from sail (v.). Spelling with -o- arose 16c., probably by influence of tailor, etc., and to distinguish the meaning "seaman, mariner" from "thing that sails." It replaced much older seaman and mariner (q.q.v.). Old English also had merefara "sailor." Applied as an adjective from 1870s to clothing styles and items based on a sailor's characteristic attire.
sain (v.) Look up sain at
"to cross oneself; to mark with the sign of the cross," Old English segnian, from Latin signare "to sign" (in Church Latin "to make the sign of the Cross"); see sign (n.). A common Germanic borrowing, cognate with Old Saxon segnon, Dutch zegenen, Old High German seganon, German segnen "to bless," Old Norse signa.
saint (v.) Look up saint at
"to enroll (someone) among the saints," late 14c., from saint (n.). Related: Sainted; sainting.
saint (n.) Look up saint at
early 12c., from Old French saint, seinte "a saint; a holy relic," displacing or altering Old English sanct, both from Latin sanctus "holy, consecrated" (used as a noun in Late Latin; also source of Spanish santo, santa, Italian san, etc.), properly past participle of sancire "consecrate" (see sacred). Adopted into most Germanic languages (Old Frisian sankt, Dutch sint, German Sanct).

Originally an adjective prefixed to the name of a canonized person; by c. 1300 it came to be regarded as a noun. Meaning "person of extraordinary holiness" is recorded from 1560s.
Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. The Duchess of Orleans relates that the irreverent old calumniator, Marshal Villeroi, who in his youth had known St. Francis de Sales, said, on hearing him called saint: 'I am delighted to hear that Monsieur de Sales is a saint. He was fond of saying indelicate things, and used to cheat at cards. In other respects he was a perfect gentleman, though a fool.' [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]

Perhaps you have imagined that this humility in the saints is a pious illusion at which God smiles. That is a most dangerous error. It is theoretically dangerous, because it makes you identify a virtue (i.e., a perfection) with an illusion (i.e., an imperfection), which must be nonsense. It is practically dangerous because it encourages a man to mistake his first insights into his own corruption for the first beginnings of a halo round his own silly head. No, depend upon it; when the saints say that they--even they--are vile, they are recording truth with scientific accuracy. [C.S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain," 1940]
Saint Bernard, the breed of mastiff dogs (1839), so called because the monks of the hospice of the pass of St. Bernard (between Italy and Switzerland) sent them to rescue snowbound travelers; St. Elmo's Fire "corposant" (1560s) is from Italian fuoco di Sant'Elmo, named for the patron saint of Mediterranean sailors, a corruption of the name of St. Erasmus, an Italian bishop martyred in 303.
sainthood (n.) Look up sainthood at
1540s, from saint (n.) + -hood.
saintly (adj.) Look up saintly at
1620s, from saint (n.) + -ly (1). Related: Saintliness.
sake (n.1) Look up sake at
"purpose," Old English sacu "a cause at law, crime, dispute, guilt," from Proto-Germanic *sako "affair, thing, charge, accusation" (source also of Old Norse sök "charge, lawsuit, effect, cause," Old Frisian seke "strife, dispute, matter, thing," Dutch zaak "lawsuit, cause, sake, thing," German Sache "thing, matter, affair, cause"), from PIE root *sag- "to investigate, seek out" (source also of Old English secan, Gothic sokjan "to seek;" see seek).

Much of the word's original meaning has been taken over by case (n.1), cause (n.), and it survives largely in phrases for the sake of (early 13c.) and for _______'s sake (c. 1300, originally for God's sake), both probably are from Norse, as these forms have not been found in Old English.
sake (n.2) Look up sake at
"Japanese rice liquor," 1680s, from Japanese sake, literally "alcohol."
saki (n.) Look up saki at
see sake (n.2).
sakura Look up sakura at
1884, from Japanese.
sal (n.) Look up sal at
chemical name for salt, late 14c., from Old French sal, from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). For sal ammoniac "ammonium chloride" (early 14c.), see ammonia.
sal volatile (n.) Look up sal volatile at
1650s, Modern Latin, literally "volatile salt" (see salt (n.) + volatile); ammonium carbonate, especially as used in reviving persons who have fainted.
salaam Look up salaam at
Muslim greeting, 1610s, from Arabic salam (also in Urdu, Persian), literally "peace" (compare Hebrew shalom); in full, (as)salam 'alaikum "peace be upon you," from base of salima "he was safe" (compare Islam, Muslim).
salacious (adj.) Look up salacious at
1660s, from Latin salax (genitive salacis) "lustful," probably originally "fond of leaping," as in a male animal leaping on a female in sexual advances, from salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Earliest form of the word in English is salacity (c. 1600). Related: Salaciously; salaciousness.
salad (n.) Look up salad at
late 14c., from Old French salade (14c.), from Vulgar Latin *salata, literally "salted," short for herba salata "salted vegetables" (vegetables seasoned with brine, a popular Roman dish), from fem. past participle of *salare "to salt," from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").

Dutch salade, German Salat, Swedish salat, Russian salat are from Romanic languages. Salad days "time of youthful inexperience" (perhaps on notion of "green") is first recorded 1606 in Shakespeare and probably owes its survival, if not its existence, to him. Salad bar first attested 1940, American English.
Saladin Look up Saladin at
Sultan of Egypt and Syria 1174-93, in full Salah-ad-din Yusuf ibn-Ayyub (1137-1193).
salamander (n.) Look up salamander at
mid-14c., "legendary lizard-like creature that can live in fire," from Old French salamandre "legendary fiery beast," also "cricket" (12c.), from Latin salamandra, from Greek salamandra, probably of eastern origin.

The application in zoology to a tailed amphibian (known natively as an eft or newt) is first recorded 1610s. Aristotle, and especially Pliny, are responsible for the fiction of an animal that thrives in and extinguishes fires. The eft lives in damp logs and secretes a milky substance when threatened, but there is no obvious natural explanation its connection with the myth.

Also used 18c. for "a woman who lives chastely in the midst of temptations" (after Addison), and "a soldier who exposes himself to fire in battle." To rub someone a salamander was a 19c. form of German student drinking toast (einem einen salamander reiben). Related: Salamandrine; salamandroid.
salami (n.) Look up salami at
"salted, flavored Italian sausage," 1852, from Italian salami, plural of salame "spiced pork sausage," from Vulgar Latin *salamen, from *salare "to salt," from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").
salary (v.) Look up salary at
"to pay a regular salary to," late 15c., from salary (n.). Related: Salaried, which as an adjective in reference to positions originally was contrasted with honorary; lately with hourly.
salary (n.) Look up salary at
late 13c., "compensation, payment," whether periodical, for regular service or for a specific service; from Anglo-French salarie, Old French salaire "wages, pay, reward," from Latin salarium "salary, stipend, pension," originally "salt-money, soldier's allowance for the purchase of salt," noun use of neuter of adjective salarius "pertaining to salt," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). Japanese sarariman "male salaried worker," literally "salary-man," is from English.
salat (n.) Look up salat at
Islamic ritual prayer, from Arabic salah "prayer."
sale (n.) Look up sale at
late Old English sala "a sale, act of selling," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse sala "sale," from Proto-Germanic *salo (source also of Old High German sala, Swedish salu, Danish salg), from PIE root *sal- (3) "to grasp, take." Sense of "a selling of shop goods at lower prices than usual" first appeared 1866. Sales tax attested by 1886. Sales associate by 1946. Sales representative is from 1910.
saleable (adj.) Look up saleable at
also salable, 1520s, from sale + -able. Related: Salability; saleability.
Salem Look up Salem at
place mentioned in Genesis xiv.18, from Hebrew Shalem, usually said to be another word for Jerusalem and to mean "peace" (compare Hebrew shalom, Arabic salaam). Common as a Baptist and Methodist meetinghouse name, so much so that by mid-19c. it (along with Bethel and Ebenezer) had come to be used in Britain generically to mean "non-conformist chapel."
salep (n.) Look up salep at
1736, "drug from starch or jelly made from dried tubers of orchid-like plants," from Turkish salep, from dialectal pronunciation of Arabic thaeleb, which usually is taken to be a shortening of khasyu 'th-thaeleb, literally "fox's testicles" (compare native English name dogstones).
salesman (n.) Look up salesman at
1520s, from genitive of sale (compare craftsman, tradesman) + man (n.).
salesmanship (n.) Look up salesmanship at
1853, from salesman + -ship.
The modern system of salesmanship has become so much like persecution reduced to a science, that it is quite a luxury to be allowed the use of your own discretion, without being dragooned, by a shopkeeper's deputy, into looking at what you do not care to see, or buying what you would not have. A man in his sane mind, with the usual organs of speech, has a right to be treated as if he knows what he wants, and is able to ask for it. ["The Literary World," Feb. 26, 1853]
salesperson (n.) Look up salesperson at
1920, from genitive of sale + person.
saleswoman (n.) Look up saleswoman at
1704, from genitive of sale + woman.
Salic (adj.) Look up Salic at
"based on or contained in the law code of the Salian Franks," 1540s, from French Salique, from Medieval Latin Salicus, from the Salian Franks, a tribe that once lived near the Zuider Zee, the ancestors of the Merovingian kings, literally "those living near the river Sala" (modern Ijssel).

Salic Law, code of law of Germanic tribes, was invoked 1316 by Philip V of France to exclude a woman from succeeding to the throne of France (and later to combat the French claims of Edward III of England), but the precise meaning of the passage is unclear.
salience (n.) Look up salience at
1836, "quality of leaping;" see salient (adj.) + -ence. Meaning "quality of standing out" is from 1849.
saliency (n.) Look up saliency at
1660s, "leaping, jumping;" see salient (adj.) + -cy. From 1834 as "salience."
salient (adj.) Look up salient at
1560s, "leaping," a heraldic term, from Latin salientem (nominative saliens), present participle of salire "to leap," from PIE root *sel- (4) "to jump" (source also of Greek hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish saltraim "I trample," and probably Sanskrit ucchalati "rises quickly").

It was used in Middle English as an adjective meaning "leaping, skipping." The meaning "pointing outward" (preserved in military usage) is from 1680s; that of "prominent, striking" first recorded 1840, from salient point (1670s), which refers to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, and translates Latin punctum saliens, going back to Aristotle's writings. Hence, the "starting point" of anything.
salient (n.) Look up salient at
1828, from salient (adj.).