Etymology
Advertisement
Anglo-Saxon (n.)

Old English Angli Saxones (plural), from Latin Anglo-Saxones, in which Anglo- is an adjective, thus literally "English Saxons," as opposed to those of the Continent (now called Old Saxons). Properly in reference to the Saxons of ancient Wessex, Essex, Middlesex, and Sussex.

I am a suthern man, I can not geste 'rum, ram, ruf' by letter. [Chaucer, "Parson's Prologue and Tale"]

After the Norman-French invasion of 1066, the peoples of the island were distinguished as English and French, but after a few generations all were English, and Latin-speaking scribes, who knew and cared little about Germanic history, began to use Anglo-Saxones to refer to the pre-1066 inhabitants and their descendants. When interest in Old English writing revived late 16c., the word was extended to the language we now call Old English.

In the last years of the reign of Elizabeth, Camden revived the use of the old name Anglosaxones, and, probably for the first time, used lingua Anglosaxonica for the language of England before the Norman conquest. He explains that Anglosaxones means the Saxons of England, in contradistinction to those of the continent; and, in his English Remains, he, accordingly, renders it by "English Saxons." Throughout the seventeenth century, and even later, "English Saxon" continued to be the name ordinarily applied by philologists to the language of king Alfred, but, in the eighteenth century, this gave place to "Anglo-Saxon." [Henry Bradley, in "Cambridge History of English Literature," 1907]

It has been used rhetorically for "English" in an ethnological sense from 1832, and revisioned as Angle + Saxon.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
deity (n.)

c. 1300, deite, "divine nature, godhood, attributes of a god;" late 14c., "a god, God, the Supreme Being or self-existing spirit," from Old French deité, from Late Latin deitatem (nominative deitas) "divine nature," coined by Augustine from Latin deus "god," from PIE *deiwos "god," from root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god." From 1580s as "a being to whom a divine or godlike nature is attributed."

Related entries & more 
Anglo (n.)
"American, English-speaking white person," 1941, southwestern U.S., from Anglo-American. Anglo was used similarly of native, English-speakers in Canada from 1800 and Britain from 1964.
Related entries & more 
Anglo- 
word-forming element meaning "of or pertaining to England or the English (including the English inhabitants of North America and other places); of England and," from Medieval Latin Anglo-, combining form of Angli "the English" (see Angle).
Related entries & more 
Saxon (n.)

c. 1200, Sexun, Saxun, "member of a people or tribe formerly living in northern Germania who invaded and settled in Britain 5c.-6c.," from Late Latin Saxonem (nominative Saxo; also source of Old French saisoigne, French Saxon, Spanish Sajon, Italian Sassone), usually found in plural Saxones, probably from a West Germanic tribal name (represented by Old English Seaxe, Old High German Sahsun, German Sachse "Saxon").

This is traditionally regarded as meaning "warrior with knives" (compare Middle English sax, Old English seax, Old Frisian, Old Norse sax "knife, short sword, dagger," Old High German Saxnot, name of a war-god), from Proto-Germanic *sahsa- "knife," from PIE root *sek- "to cut." But Watkins considers this doubtful.

The word figures in the oft-told tale, related by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who got it from Nennius, of the treacherous slaughter by the Anglo-Saxons of their British hosts:

Accordingly they all met at the time and place appointed, and began to treat of peace; and when a fit opportunity offered for executing his villany, Hengist cried out, "Nemet oure Saxas," and the same instant seized Vortigern, and held him by his cloak. The Saxons, upon the signal given, drew their daggers, and falling upon the princes, who little suspected any such design, assassinated them to the number of four hundred and sixty barons and consuls ....

The OED editors helpfully point out that the murderous shout in correct Old English (with an uninflected plural) would be nimað eowre seax. For other Germanic national names that may have derived from characteristic tribal weapons, see Frank, Lombard. Celtic languages used their form of the word to mean "an Englishman, one of the English race" or English-speaking person in Celtic lands (for example Welsh Sais, plural Seison "an Englishman;" Seisoneg "English;" compare Sassenach).

As an adjective from late 14c. (earlier was Saxish, c. 1200); in reference to the later German state of Saxony (German Sachsen, French Saxe) in central Germany it is attested by mid-14c. Bede distinguished the Anglo-Saxons, who conquered much of southern Britain, from the Ealdesaxe "Old Saxons," who stayed in Germany.

Saxon is the source of the -sex in Essex, Sussex, etc. (compare Middlesex, from Old English Middel-Seaxe "Middle Saxons").

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Anglo-Indian (adj.)
1814, "pertaining to the English who settled in India," from Anglo- + Indian.
Related entries & more 
Anglo-Latin (n.)
Medieval Latin as written in England, 1791, from Anglo- + Latin (n.).
Related entries & more 
Anglo-American (n.)
"English person who has settled in North America," 1738, from Anglo- + American. Originally often in contrast to German immigrants; later (1830s) in contrast to French-Canadians, Louisiana French, Spanish Mexicans. As an adjective from 1797, "pertaining to the English who have settled in America;" meaning "pertaining to both England and the United States" is from 1812.
Related entries & more 
Anglo-French (n.)

the form of Old French written in England from the Norman Conquest (1066) through the Middle Ages; the administrative and legal language of England 12c.-17c.; the name is attested from 1887 and was popularized, if not coined, by Skeat.

And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
After the scole of Stratford-atte-Bowe,
For Frenssh of Parys was to hir unknowe.
[Chaucer]
Related entries & more 
Anglo-Norman (adj.)
1767, "pertaining to the Normans who settled in England," from Anglo- + Norman. As a noun, 1735; from 1801 as "the Norman dialect of Old French as spoken and developed in England."
Related entries & more