Advertisement

sack (n.1)

"large bag," Old English sacc (West Saxon), sec (Mercian), sæc (Old Kentish) "large cloth bag," also "sackcloth," from Proto-Germanic *sakkiz (source also of Middle Dutch sak, Old High German sac, Old Norse sekkr, but Gothic sakkus probably is directly from Greek), an early borrowing from Latin saccus (also source of Old French sac, Spanish saco, Italian sacco), from Greek sakkos, from Semitic (compare Hebrew saq "sack").

The wide spread of the word is probably due to the Biblical story of Joseph, in which a sack of corn figures (Genesis xliv). Baseball slang sense of "a base" is attested from 1913. Slang meaning "bunk, bed" is from 1825, originally nautical. The verb meaning "go to bed" is recorded from 1946. Sack race attested from 1805.

sack (n.2)

"a dismissal from work," 1825, from sack (n.1), perhaps from the notion of the worker going off with his tools in a bag; the original formula was to give (someone) the sack. It is attested earlier in French (on luy a donné son sac, 17c.) and Dutch (iemand de zak geven). English used bag (v.) in the same sense by 1848.

sack (n.3)

"plunder; act of plundering, the plundering of a city or town after storming and capture," 1540s, from French sac "pillage, plunder," from Italian sacco (see sack (v.1)).

sack (n.4)

"sherry," 1530s, alteration of French vin sec "dry wine," from Latin siccus "dry" (see siccative).

sack (v.1)

"to plunder," 1540s, from French sac, in the phrase mettre à sac "put it in a bag," a military leader's command to his troops to plunder a city (parallel to Italian sacco, with the same range of meaning), from Vulgar Latin *saccare "to plunder," originally "to put plundered things into a sack," from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)). The notion is probably of putting booty in a bag.

sack (v.2)

"put in a bag," late 14c., from sack (n.1). Related: Sacked; sacking.

sack (v.3)

"dismiss from work," 1841, from sack (n.2). Related: Sacked; sacking.

sack (v.4)

type of U.S. football play, 1969, from sack (v.1) in the sense of "to plunder" or sack (v.2) on the notion of "put in a bag." As a noun from 1972.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of sack from WordNet
1
sack (n.)
a bag made of paper or plastic for holding customer's purchases;
Synonyms: poke / paper bag / carrier bag
sack (n.)
an enclosed space;
Synonyms: pouch / sac / pocket
sack (n.)
the quantity contained in a sack;
Synonyms: sackful
sack (n.)
any of various light dry strong white wine from Spain and Canary Islands (including sherry);
sack (n.)
a woman's full loose hiplength jacket;
Synonyms: sacque
sack (n.)
a hanging bed of canvas or rope netting (usually suspended between two trees); swings easily;
Synonyms: hammock
sack (n.)
a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist;
Synonyms: chemise / shift
sack (n.)
the plundering of a place by an army or mob; usually involves destruction and slaughter;
the sack of Rome
sack (n.)
the termination of someone's employment (leaving them free to depart);
Synonyms: dismissal / dismission / discharge / firing / liberation / release / sacking
2
sack (v.)
plunder (a town) after capture;
the barbarians sacked Rome
Synonyms: plunder
sack (v.)
terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position;
Synonyms: displace / fire / give notice / can / dismiss / give the axe / send away / force out / give the sack / terminate
sack (v.)
make as a net profit;
Synonyms: net / sack up / clear
sack (v.)
put in a sack;
The grocer sacked the onions
From wordnet.princeton.edu