Words related to Semite

Semitic (adj.)

1797, denoting the major language group that includes Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, etc., distinguished by triliteral verbal roots and vowel inflection; 1826 as "of or pertaining to Semites," from Medieval Latin Semiticus (source of Spanish semitico, French semitique, German semitisch), from Semita (see Semite).

As a noun, as the name of a linguistic family, from 1813. In non-linguistic use, it is perhaps directly from German semitisch. In recent use often with the specific sense "Jewish," but not historically so delimited.

anti-Semitism (n.)

also antisemitism, 1881, from German Antisemitismus, first used by Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904) German radical, nationalist and race-agitator, who founded the Antisemiten-Liga in 1879; see anti- + Semite.

Not etymologically restricted to anti-Jewish theories, actions, or policies, but almost always used in this sense. Those who object to the inaccuracy of the term might try Hermann Adler's Judaeophobia (1881). Anti-Semitic (also antisemitic) and anti-Semite (also antisemite) also are from 1881, like anti-Semitism they appear first in English in an article in The Athenaeum of Sept. 31, in reference to German literature. Jew-hatred is attested from 1881. As an adjective, anti-Jewish is from 1817.

Semitism (n.)

1848, "characteristic attributes of Semitic languages;" 1851, "characteristic attributes of Semitic people," especially "the ways, life, practices, etc., of Jewish people;" see Semite + -ism. By 1870 in the specialized sense of "Jewish influence in a society." However a Semitist (1885) was "one versed in Semitic languages."


word-forming element meaning "Semitic; Semitic and," from combining form of Semite (q.v.).