c. 1700, "pertaining to or founded by antiquarian Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1570-1631), especially in reference to the library in the British Museum, named for him. He donated some books to the state and his grandson donated the rest. It was badly damaged in a fire in 1731. The surname represents Old English cotum, plural of cot "cottage."
masc. proper name, biblical patriarch, from Hebrew Noach, literally "rest." Phrase Noah's ark in reference to the ark in which, according to Genesis, Noah saved his family and many animals, is attested from 1610s. As a child's toy representing Noah's ark, by 1841.
The adjective Noachian, in reference to the flood legend, is from 1670s, reflecting the Hebrew pronunciation. Noachical is from 1660s; Noachic from 1773.
also Athabascan, Athapaskan, 1844 as a language name, from the name of the widespread family of North American Indian languages, from Lake Athabaska in northern Alberta, Canada, from Woods Cree (Algonquian) Athapaskaw, literally "(where) there are plants one after another" [Bright], referring to the delta region west of the lake. The languages are spoken across a wide area of Alaska and sub-arctic Canada and include Apachean (including Navajo) in the U.S. southwest.
Middle English sabat, from Old English sabat "seventh day of the week in the Jewish calendar; Saturday" as observed by the Jews as a day of rest from secular employment and of religious observance, from Old French sabat and directly from Latin sabbatum, from Greek sabbaton, from Hebrew shabbath, properly "day of rest," from shabath "he rested" (from labor). The spelling with -th is attested from late 14c. but was not widespread until 16c.
The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities on them; the Jewish observance might have begun as a similar custom. Among European Christians, the time of "Sabbath" shifted from the seventh day to the first (Sunday) via the Christians' celebration of the Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week (a Christian Sabbath) "though no definite law, either divine or ecclesiastical, directed the change" [Century Dictionary], but elaborate justifications have been made. In English Sabbath as "Sunday" is evident by early 15c. The sense change was completed among the English people generally during the Reformation.
The original use of the word is preserved in Spanish Sabado, Italian Sabato, and other languages' names for "Saturday." Hungarian szombat, Rumanian simbata, French samedi, German Samstag "Saturday" are from Vulgar Latin *sambatum, from Greek *sambaton, a vulgar nasalized variant of sabbaton. Gothic Sabbato, Sabbatus probably are directly from Greek.
The meaning "any day (or month or year) in which religious rest is enjoined" is by late 14c.; the word also was used in Medieval Latin of any feast day, the solstice, etc. Sabbath-breaking "act of profaning the Sabbath" is attested from 1650s (to break the Sabbath is from late 14c.), formerly a legal violation in parts of the old U.S., "immoral, disturbing, or unnecessary labors or practices" [Century Dictionary]. Sabbath-school is by 1798.