Etymology
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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 or identical with Italian sacco (see sack (v.1)).

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sack (n.1)

"large oblong bag," Middle English sak, from Old English sacc (West Saxon), sec (Mercian), sæc (Old Kentish) "large cloth bag," also "sackcloth," from Proto-Germanic *sakkiz (source also of 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 "bag (made of goat hair); sieve; burlap, large burlap cloak," which is from Semitic (compare Hebrew, Phoenician saq "sack, cloth of hair, bag, mourning-dress").

The wide spread of this word for "a bag" probably is due to the incident in the Biblical story of Joseph in which a sack of corn figures (Genesis xliv). In English, the meaning "a sack or sack material used as an article of clothing" as a token of penitence or mourning is from c. 1200. The baseball slang sense of "a base" is attested from 1913.

The slang meaning "bunk, bed" is by 1825, originally nautical, hence many slang phrases, originally nautical, such as sack duty "sleep;" the verb meaning "go to bed" is recorded from 1946. Sack-race (n.) is attested from 1805.

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sack (v.1)

1540s, "to plunder, (a place) after storming and taking," from French sac (n.) "bag," in the phrase mettre à sac "put it in a bag," a military leader's command to his troops to plunder a city (from or cognate with Italian sacco, which had the same meanings), from Vulgar Latin *saccare "to plunder," originally "to put plundered things into a sack," from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)). The notion beneath the verb probably is "fill your bags with booty."

The U.S. football sense of "tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage" (by 1969) probably is extended from the notion of "to plunder," though there may be a felt sense of "put in a bag involved. As a noun, "an act of tackling the quarterback for a loss," by 1972.

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sack (v.2)

"put into a bag, pack in a sack" for preservation or transport, hence also generally "to lay up, hoard;" c. 1300, from sack (n.1). Related: Sacked; sacking. The sacked friars (c. 1400, sakked freres) were a mendicant order noted for wearing sackcloth; they appeared in England mid-13c.

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sack (n.4)

"sherry," 1530s, an alteration of French (vin) sec "dry (wine)," from Latin siccus "dry" (see siccative). Originally of strong, light-colored wine from Spain and the Canaries. OED notes that the vowel is "not a normal development from the original 'seck.' "

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sackage (n.)

"act of taking by storm and pillaging," 1570s, from French saccage "pillaging," from sac "bag" (see sack (v.1)).

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sackbut (n.)

medieval wind instrument, c. 1500, from French saquebute, a kind of bass trumpet with a slide like a trombone. The word is "presumably is identical with" [OED] Old North French saqueboute (14c.), "a lance with an iron hook for pulling down mounted men," based on resemblance, perhaps. That word is from Old North French saquier "to pull, draw" + second element perhaps bouter "to thrust" (from Proto-Germanic *buttan, from PIE root *bhau- "to strike").

Originally in English it had many variant spellings, including sagbutt, shakbott, shagbush. In Daniel iii.5, it is used wrongly to translate Aramaic (Semitic) sabbekha, the name of a stringed instrument (translated correctly in Septuagint as sambuke, and in Vulgate as sambuca, names of stringed instruments in those languages, 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.

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sackcloth (n.)

"coarse textile fabric worn as penitential or grieving garb," late 13c., literally "cloth of which sacks are made," from sack (n.1) + cloth. In the Bible it was of goats' or camels' hair, the coarsest used for clothing.

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sacral (adj.)

1767, in anatomy, "of or pertaining to the sacrum," the bone at the base of the spine (see sacrum), from Modern Latin sacralis. In anthropology, "pertaining to religious rites," 1882, from Latin sacrum "sacred thing, rite," neuter of sacer "sacred" (see sacred). Related: sacralization; sacrality.

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sacrament (n.)

late Old English, in Christian use, "an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," especially "a sacrament of the Church, one of the religious ceremonies enjoined by Christ or the Church," and later specifically "the sacrament of the Eucharist" (c. 1300), from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" (12c., Modern French sacrement) and directly from Latin sacramentum, "a solemn oath" (source also of Spanish sacramento, German Sakrament, etc.), from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred).

A Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery). The Latin word sacramentum in its secular aspect was used of any engagement or ceremony that binds or imposes obligation, specifically "oath of obedience and fidelity taken by Roman soldiers on enlistment; sum which two parties to a suit first deposit," hence also, "a cause, a civil suit," thus either "a result of consecration" or "a means of consecration." By 3c. it was used in Church Latin for "a mystery, a sacrament, something to be kept sacred; the gospel revelation; a Church sacrament." In theology, particularly, "a solemn religious ceremony enjoined by Christ, or by the church, for the spiritual benefit of the church or of individual Christians, by which their special relation to him is created or recognized or their obligations to him are renewed and ratified."

The meaning "arcane knowledge; a secret; a mystery; a divine mystery" in English is from late 14c. (Wyclif); from mid-14c. as "a solemn oath, pledge, covenant; a ceremony accompanying the taking of an oath or the making of a pledge." The seven sacraments in the West were baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick (extreme unction); the Reformation loosened the sense in England.

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