Etymology
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Saul 
masc. proper name, Biblical first king of Israel, from Latin Saul, from Hebrew Shaul, literally "asked for," passive participle of sha'al "he asked for."
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Balaam 
Biblical prophet (wicked, but not false) whose story is told in Numbers xxii-xxiv; figurative of "one who makes profession of religion for the sake of gain" from 1640s. Balaam's ass speaks in a human voice in Numbers xxii ("And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay."). In old newspaper jargon Balaam came to be used for paragraphs regarding marvelous or incredible events, used to fill out short columns (1826). The name is of uncertain origin.
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Pilate (n.)

late 14c. as a term of reproach for a corrupt or lax prelate, from the Roman surname, especially that of Pontius Pilate, a governor of the Roman province of Judaea under Tiberius, from Latin Pilatus, literally "armed with javelins," from pilum "javelin" (see pile (n.2)).

Other than having presided over the trial of Jesus and ordering his crucifixion, little is known of him. In Middle English pilates vois was "a loud, boastful voice," of the sort used by Pilate in the mystery plays. Among slang and cant uses of Pontius Pilate mentioned in the 1811 "Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" is "(Cambridge) a Mr. Shepherd of Trinity College; who disputing with a brother parson on the comparative rapidity with which they read the liturgy, offered to give him as far as Pontius Pilate in the Belief."

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Slav (n.)

late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c. 800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c. 580), from Proto-Slavic *sloveninu "a Slav," probably related to *slovo "word, speech," which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (compare Old Church Slavonic Nemici "Germans," related to nemu "dumb;" Greek heterophonos "foreign," literally "of different voice;" and Old English þeode, which meant both "race" and "language").

Max Vasmer, the authority for Slavic etymologies, rejects a connection to *slava "glory, fame," which, however, influenced Slav via folk etymology. This is the -slav in personal names (such as Russian Miroslav, literally "peaceful fame;" Mstislav "vengeful fame;" Jaroslav "famed for fury;" Czech Bohuslav "God's glory;" Latinized Wenceslas "having greater glory"), perhaps from PIE root *kleu- "to hear."

In English, it was spelled Slave c. 1788-1866, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective from 1876.

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