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.
in reference to the polio vaccine, 1955, from name of Russian-born U.S. microbiologist Albert B. Sabin (1906-1993), who developed it. As a unit of sound absorption by 1934, for U.S. physicist Wallace C. Sabine (1868-1919), founder of architectural acoustics.
fem. proper name, personified as a nymph by Milton in "Comus" (1634). The name is from a Welsh tale of a maiden drowned in the river Severn by her stepmother; the legend is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Giraldus Cambrensis. It appears to be the Romanized form of the name of the River Severn (Welsh Hafren, Habren), which is Celtic and of unknown origin; it perhaps means "boundary." Sabrina neckline is from the 1954 film "Sabrina" starring Audrey Hepburn. Sabrina-work (1871) was a millinery term for a variety of application embroidery.
central Algonquian people who lived near the upper Mississippi before the 1832 Black Hawk War, from French Canadian Saki, probably a shortened borrowing of Ojibwa (Algonquian) /osa:ki:/, literally "person of the outlet" (of the Saginaw River, which itself contains their name, and means literally "in the Sac country").
also Sacajawea, name of the Shoshoni woman who accompanied and aided the Lewis & Clark expedition.
She had been a captive among the Hidatsas (a Siouan people), and her Hidatsa name was tsaka'aka wi'a, lit. 'bird woman' (Hartley, 2002). Her Shoshoni name, rendered as Sacajawea and translated 'boat launcher,' may have been a folk-etymological transformation of the Hidatsa term (Shaul, 1972). [Bright]
Her image appeared on U.S. dollar coins from 2000.
California city, settled 1839, named for its river (1808), from Spanish sacramento, in honor of the Holy Sacrament (see sacrament).
member of a Jewish group in New Testament times, Middle English Saduce, from Old English, from Late Latin Sadducaei (plural), from Greek Zaddoukaios, an inexact transliteration of Hebrew tzedoqi, from the personal name Tzadhoq "Zadok" (II Samuel viii.17), the high priest from whom the priesthood of the captivity claimed descent. According to Josephus the sect denied the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels and spirits, but later historians regard them as the political party of the priestly class more than a sect. The man's name sometimes was said to mean "the just one," but OED finds this "philologically untenable." Related: Sadducean; Sadduceeism; Sadducaic; Saducaical; Saduceeic.
It is not easy to define exactly the doctrine of the Sadducees, because It was a negative rather than a positive philosophy, and a speculative rather than a practical system ; and for our knowledge of it we are almost wholly dependent on the representations of its opponents. It was the doctrine of the rich, the worldly, and the compliant. [Century Dictionary]
fem. proper name, a familiar form of Sarah. Sadie Hawkins Day (1939) is from name of a character in U.S. newspaper cartoon strip "Li'l Abner," by Al Capp (1909-1979); in reference to a day in early November on which women take the lead in romantic matters.
southern Vietnamese city, capital of former South Vietnam, named for its river, which bears a name of uncertain origin.
place mentioned in Genesis xiv.18, from Hebrew Shālēm, usually said to be another name for Jerusalem and to mean "peace" (compare Hebrew shalom, Arabic salaam). A typical meetinghouse name among Baptists and Methodists, so much so that by mid-19c. it (along with Bethel and Ebenezer) had come to be used in Britain generically to mean "non-conformist chapel."