suffix forming the genitive or possessive singular case of most Modern English nouns; its use gradually was extended in Middle English from Old English -es, the most common genitive inflection of masculine and neuter nouns (such as dæg "day," genitive dæges "day's"). The "-es" pronunciation is retained after a sibilant.
Old English also had genitives in -e, -re, -an, as well as "mutation-genitives" (boc "book," plural bec), and the -es form never was used in plural (where -a, -ra, -na prevailed), thus avoiding the verbal ambiguity of words like kings'.
In Middle English, both the possessive singular and the common plural forms were regularly spelled es, and when the e was dropped in pronunciation and from the written word, the habit grew up of writing an apostrophe in place of the lost e in the possessive singular to distinguish it from the plural. Later the apostrophe, which had come to be looked upon as the sign of the possessive, was carried over into the plural, but was written after the s to differentiate that form from the possessive singular. By a process of popular interpretation, the 's was supposed to be a contraction for his, and in some cases the his was actually "restored." [Samuel C. Earle, et al, "Sentences and their Elements," New York: Macmillan, 1911]
As a suffix forming some adverbs, it represents the genitive singular ending of Old English masculine and neuter nouns and some adjectives.
river in western Germany, perhaps ultimately from PIE verbal stem *ser- "to run, flow" (see serum). Related: Saarland, Saarlander.
a genus of fan-palms of tropical Americas, 1763, said to be from a South American or Mexican name.
"armies, hosts," only in Scripture, "the heavenly hosts," used as part of a title of God (Lord of Sabaoth), early 14c., from Late Latin Sabaoth (pl.), from Greek Sabaoth, transliterating Hebrew tzebhaoth "hosts, armies," plural of tzabha "army," from tzaba "he waged war, he served."
The word was translated in English in the Old Testament by the phrase "Lord of Hosts," but left untranslated in the New Testament (and in the "Te Deum") in Lord of Sabaoth. It sometimes is confused with unrelated Sabbath.
also sabbaton, mid-14c., sabatoun, a type of armored foot-covering, in 15c. also the name of a shoe or half-shoe worn by persons of wealth, from Old French sabot "wooden shoe" made of one piece hollowed out by boring tools and scrapers, worn by the peasants (13c.), altered (by association with Old French bot "boot") from earlier savate "old shoe," ultimately from the same source (perhaps Persian ciabat) that also produced similar words in Old Provençal (sabato), Portuguese, Spanish (zapata), Italian (ciabatta), Arabic (sabbat), and Basque (zapata). French sabot has been borrowed directly into English from c. 1600.
"witches' sabbath," a midnight meeting supposed to have been held annually by demons, sorcerers, and witches under the leadership of Satan, to celebrate their orgies, 1650s, a special application of the French form of Sabbath (q.v.).
"pertaining to the Sabbath or its observance," 1630s, from Latin sabbatarius (adj.), from sabbatum (see Sabbath).
also sometimes Sabbatharian, 1610s, "a Christian or Jew unusually strict about Sabbath observation," from Latin sabbatarius (adj.), from sabbatum (see Sabbath). Especially of members of Christian sects which maintained the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day of the week (and not the first) is from 1640s; earlier sabbatary (1590s). It took on tones of reproach when used of Puritans deemed overzealous to interdict worldly pastimes and recreations on the Sabbath.
Not to be confused with Sabbatian (n.) "member of a sect founded by Sabbatus, a convert from Judaism "who seceded from the Novatianists before 380, having adopted Quartodeciman views" [OED]. Related: Sabbatartianism. Sabbatism is used in the general sense of "observance of the Sabbath or a sabbath as a day of rest from labor" (from Late Latin sabbatismus, from Greek sabbatismos).
1590s, "recurring in sevens or on every seventh;" 1640s, "of or suitable for the Sabbath," from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos "of the Sabbath," from sabbaton (see Sabbath). By 1836 as "characterized by rest or cessation from labor or tillage." Other adjectives from Sabbath include Sabbatary, Sabbatine.
The noun meaning "a year's absence granted to researchers" (originally one year in seven, to university professors) is from 1934, short for sabbatical year, etc., which was recorded by 1886 (the thing itself is attested from 1880, at Harvard), a term perhaps suggested by the sabbatical year (1590s) in Mosaic law, the seventh year, in which land was to remain untilled and non-foreign debtors and slaves released.