in reference to the presumed ancestral language of ancient Greek, Latin, and most of the modern European ones, 1730, from Biblical Japheth, a son of Noah, from whom the European peoples once were popularly supposed to have descended (as Middle Eastern Semitic from Shem; African Hamitic from Ham). Compare Aryan. Related: Japhetian (1752).
updated on January 24, 2016
Dictionary entries near Japhetic