masc. proper name, typically a shortening of Samuel (q.v.).
Sam Browne in reference to a type of belt with shoulder strap is by 1915, from Sir Samuel James Browne (1824-1901), the British general who invented it. Sam Hill as an American English emphatic euphemism for "Hell!" (in exasperation) is by 1839. Sam Slick as the type of the resourceful Yankee (especially in the mind of the South) is from the character created 1835 by Nova Scotian judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton in a series of popular books.
I’ll tell you how I’d work it. I’d say, “Here’s a book they’ve namesaked arter me, Sam Slick the Clockmaker, but it tante mine, and I can’t altogether jist say rightly whose it is …. Its about the wittiest book I ever seed. Its nearly all sold off, but jist a few copies I’ve kept for my old customers. The price is just 5s. 6d. but I’ll let you have it for 5s. because you’ll not get another chance to have one.” Always ax a sixpence more than the price, and then bate it, and when Blue Nose hears that, he thinks he’s got a bargain, and bites directly. I never see one on ’em yet that didn’t fall right into the trap. [from "The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville"]
"intense esoteric meditation through yoga," 1827, earlier "state of union with creation" (1795), from Sanskrit samadhi-, literally "a putting or joining together," from sam- "together" (from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with") + a- "toward" + stem of dadhati "puts, places" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
the dried, winged fruit of certain trees, as the ash, birch, or elm (the maple's is a large double samara), 1570s, from Latin samara "the seed of the elm," a variant of samera, which is perhaps from Gaulish.
Old English, "native or inhabitant of Samaria," a district of ancient Palestine, from Late Latin Samaritanus, from Greek Samareitēs, from Samareia (see Samaria). A non-Hebrew race was settled in its cities by the king of Assyria after the removal of the Israelites from the country.
Originally idolaters they soon began to worship Jehovah, but without abandoning their former gods. They afterward became monotheists, and observed the Mosaic law very strictly, but with peculiar variations. About 400 B. C. they built a temple on Mount Gerisim, which was destroyed 130 B. C. They began to decline toward the close of the fifth century after Christ. They still exist, bat are nearly extinct. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
The figurative use for "charitable or benevolent person," with reference to the Biblical story of the good Samaritan in Luke x, is attested from 1630s. As an adjective by late 14c. Related: Samaritanism.
city in north-central Iraq; phrase an appointment in Samarra indicating the inevitability of death is from an old Arabic tale (first told in English apparently in W. Somerset Maugham's play "Sheppey," 1933): One day in the marketplace in Baghdad a man encounters Death (with a surprised look on his bony face); the man flees in terror and by dusk has reached Samarra. Death casually takes him there, and, when questioned, says, "I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."
Brazilian dance of African origin, 1885, Zemba, from Portuguese samba, shortened form of zambacueca, a type of dance, probably altered (by influence of zamacueco "stupid") from zambapalo, the name of a grotesque dance, itself an alteration of zampapalo "stupid man," from zamparse "to bump, crash." It was noted in 1938 as "just beginning to make its way in the New York nightclubs." As a verb from 1949.
"person of mixed blood in America and Asia," 1748, perhaps from Spanish zambo "bandy-legged," which is probably from Latin scambus "bow-legged," from Greek skambos "bow-legged, crooked, bent." The word was used variously in different regions to indicate some mixture of African, European, and Indian blood; common senses were "child of black and Indian parentage" and "offspring of a black and a mulatto."
a stereotypical name for male black person (now only derogatory), 1818, American English, and probably a different word from sambo (n.1); like many such words (Cuffy, Rastus, etc.) a common personal name among U.S. blacks in the slavery days (attested by 1704 in Boston), probably from an African source, such as Foulah sambo "uncle," or a similar Hausa word meaning "second son."
It fell from polite usage about the time of World War II, eventually taking with it, after the 1970s, the once-enormously popular children's book "The Story of Little Black Sambo" by Helen Bannerman, which is about an East Indian child, and the widespread Sambo's chain of U.S. pancake-specialty restaurants (founded in 1957; the name supposedly a merge of the names of the founders, Sam Battistone and Newell "Bo" Bohnett, but the chain's decor and advertising leaned heavily on the book).