1847, "a Jew, Arab, Assyrian, or Aramaean" (an apparently isolated use from 1797 refers to the Semitic language group), back-formation from Semitic or else from French Sémite (1845), from Modern Latin Semita, from Late Latin Sem, Greek Sēm "Shem," one of the three sons of Noah (Genesis x.21-30), regarded as the ancestor of the Semites in Bible-based anthropology, from Hebrew Shem. In this modern sense it is said to have been introduced by German historian August Schlözer in 1781.
The credit, if such it be, of having originated the name "Semitic" (from Noah's son Sem or Shem) for the Hebrew group, is to be given either to Schlözer or to Eichhorn, — to which of the two is doubtful. The first known use of the term is in Schlözer's article on the Chaldæans, in Eichhorn's Repertorium, 8, 161 (1781), and he seems to claim the honor of its invention ; but a similar claim is made by Eichhorn himself, without mention of Schlözer, in his Allgemeine Bibliothek, 6, 772 (1794). [Philip Schaff, ed., "Religious Encyclopedia," 1889]
1570s, "to look at furtively," probably a variant of earlier glout "to gaze attentively, stare, scowl, look glum, pout" (mid-15c.), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse glotta "to grin, smile scornfully and show the teeth," Swedish dialectal glotta "to peep;" or from Middle High German glotzen "to stare, gape," from the Germanic group of *gl- words that also includes glower, from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine." Sense of "to look at with malicious satisfaction, ponder with pleasure something that satisfies an evil passion" first recorded 1748. Johnson didn't recognize the word, and OED writes that it was probably "taken up in the 16th c. from some dialect." Related: Gloated; gloating. As a noun, from 1640s with sense of "side-glance;" 1899 as "act of gloating."
Whosoever attempteth anything for the publike ... the same setteth himselfe upon a stage to be glouted upon by every evil eye. [translators' "note to the reader" in the 1611 King James Bible]
in reference to the winged, human-like celestial creatures that hovered above God's throne in Isaiah's dream, 1667, a word first used by Milton (probably on analogy of cherub/cherubim), a back-formed singular from Seraphim (attested from Old English). An earlier singular in English was seraphin (1570s).
This is from Late Latin seraphim, from Greek seraphim, from Hebrew seraphim (only in Isaiah vi), plural of *saraph (which does not occur in the Bible), probably literally "the burning one," from saraph "it burned."
Seraphs were traditionally regarded as burning or flaming angels, though the word seems to have some etymological sense of "flying," perhaps from confusion with the root of Arabic sharafa "be lofty." Some scholars identify it with a word found in other passages interpreted as "fiery flying serpent." The Late Latin word also was taken by early Christians as the name of a class of angels.
"to cause to lie or rest," Old English lecgan "to place on the ground (or other surface); place in an orderly fashion," also "put down" (often by striking), from Proto-Germanic *lagojanan (source also of Old Saxon leggian, Old Norse leggja, Old Frisian ledza, Middle Dutch legghan, Dutch leggen, Old High German lecken, German legen, Gothic lagjan "to lay, put, place"), from PIE root *legh- "to lie down, lay." This is the causative form of the ancient Germanic verb that became modern English lie (v.2).
Meaning "have sex with" first recorded 1934, in U.S. slang, probably from sense of "bring forth and deposit" (which was in Old English, as in lay an egg, lay a bet, etc.), perhaps reinforced by to lie with, a phrase frequently met in the Bible. To lay for (someone) "await a chance at revenge" is from late 15c.; lay low "stay inconspicuous" is from 1839; to lay (someone) low "defeat" (late 14c.) preserves the secondary Old English sense.
also help-meet, a ghost word from the 1611 "King James" translation of the Bible, in which it was at first a two-word noun-adjective phrase translating Latin adjutorium simile sibi [Genesis ii.18] as "an help meet for him," and meaning literally "a helper like himself."
Robert Alter ("The Five Books of Moses," 2004) suggests sustainer beside him as the closest possible in English to the original:
The Hebrew 'ezer kenegdo (King James Version "help meet") is notoriously difficult to translate. The second term means "alongside him," "opposite him," "a counterpart to him." "Help" is too weak because it suggests a mere auxiliary function, whereas 'ezer elsewhere connotes active intervention on behalf of someone, especially in military contexts, as often in Psalms. ["Five Books of Moses," footnote to Gen. ii.18].
Old English flæsc "flesh, meat, muscular parts of animal bodies; body (as opposed to soul)," also "living creatures," also "near kindred" (a sense now obsolete except in phrase flesh and blood), from Proto-Germanic *flaiska-/*fleiski- (source also of Old Frisian flesk, Middle Low German vlees, German Fleisch "flesh," Old Norse flesk "pork, bacon"), which is of uncertain origin; according to Watkins, originally "piece of meat torn off," from PIE *pleik- "to tear," but Boutkan suspects a northern European substratum word.
Of fruits from 1570s. Figurative use for "carnal nature, animal or physical nature of man" (Old English) is from the Bible, especially Paul's use of Greek sarx, and this led to sense of "sensual appetites" (c. 1200).
Flesh-wound is from 1670s; flesh-color, the hue of "Caucasian" skin, is first recorded 1610s, described as a tint composed of "a light pink with a little yellow" [O'Neill, "Dyeing," 1862]. In the flesh "in a bodily form" (1650s) originally was of Jesus (Wyclif has up the flesh, Tindale after the flesh). An Old English poetry-word for "body" was flæsc-hama, literally "flesh-home." A religious tract from 1548 has fleshling "a sensual person." Flesh-company (1520s) was an old term for "sexual intercourse."
Middle English prede, from late Old English pryto, Kentish prede, Mercian pride "unreasonable self-esteem, especially as one of the deadly sins; haughtiness, overbearing treatment of others; pomp, love of display," from prud (see proud (adj.)).
There is debate whether Scandinavian cognates (Old Norse pryði, Old Swedish prydhe, Danish pryd, etc.) are borrowed from Old French (which got it from Germanic) or from Old English.
In Middle English sometimes also positive, "proper pride, personal honor, good repute; exalted position; splendor," also "prowess or spirit in an animal." Used in reference to the erect penis from 15c. Meaning "that which makes a person or people most proud" is from c. 1300. First applied to groups of lions in a late 15c. book of terms, but not commonly so used until 20c. Paired with prejudice from 1610s.
Pride goþ befor contricioun, & befor falling þe spirit shall ben enhauncid. [Proverbs xvi.18, Wycliffe Bible, 1382]
Another late Old English/Middle English word for "pride, haughtiness, presumption" was orgol, orgel, which survived into 16c. as orgul, orgueil, from Old French orgoill (11c.), which is supposedly from a Germanic word meaning "renowned."
Old English hopian "have the theological virtue of Hope; hope for (salvation, mercy), trust in (God's word)," also "to have trust, have confidence; assume confidently or trust" (that something is or will be so), a word of unknown origin. Not the usual Germanic term for this, but in use in North Sea Germanic languages (cognates: Old Frisian hopia, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch hopen; Middle High German hoffen "to hope," which is borrowed from Low German).
From early 13c. as "to wish for" (something), "desire." Related: Hoped; hoping. To hope against hope (1610s) "hold to hope in the absence of any justification for hope" echoes Romans iv.18:
Who against hope, beleeued in hope, that hee might become the father of many nations: according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seede bee. [King James Version, 1611]
The Wycliffite Bible (c. 1384) has this as "Abraham agens hope bileuede that he schulde be maad fadir of manye folkis."
"impressed with fear, fearful," early 14c., originally the past participle of the now-obsolete Middle English verb afray "frighten," from Anglo-French afrayer, Old French affrai, effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from esfreer (v.) "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exfridare, a hybrid word meaning literally "to take out of peace."
The first element is from Latin ex "out of" (see ex-). The second is Frankish *frithu "peace," from Proto-Germanic *frithuz "peace, consideration, forbearance" (source also of Old Saxon frithu, Old English friu, Old High German fridu "peace, truce," German Freide "peace"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, to love."
A rare case of an English adjective that never stands before a noun. Because it was used in the King James Bible, it acquired independent standing and thrived while affray faded, and it chased off the once more common afeared. Colloquial sense in I'm afraid "I regret to say, I suspect" (without implication of fear, as a polite introduction to a correction, admission, etc.) is first recorded 1590s.
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone [Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes," 1820]
A Biblical word, originally used for a wide-spreading shade tree with fig-like fruit (Ficus sycomorus) common in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry; applied in English from 1580s to a large species of European maple (also plane-tree), perhaps because both it and the Biblical tree were notable for their shadiness (the Holy Family took refuge under a sycamore on the flight to Egypt), and from 1814 to the North American shade tree that also is called a buttonwood, which was introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by John Tradescant the Younger).
Spelling apparently influenced by sycamine "black mulberry tree," which is from Greek sykcaminos, which also is mentioned in the Bible (Luke xvii.6). For the sake of clarity, some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in reference to the Biblical tree.