Entries linking to sangrail
early 12c. as an adjective, seinte, "holy, divinely inspired, worthy of worship," used before proper names (Sainte Marian Magdalene, etc.), from Old French saint, seinte "holy, pious, devout," from Latin sanctus "holy, consecrated," past participle of sancire "consecrate" (see sacred). It displaced or altered Old English sanct, which is directly from Latin sanctus.
From an adjective prefixed to the name of a canonized person, it came to be used in English by c. 1200 as a noun, "a specific canonized Christian," also "one of the elect, a member of the body of Christ, one consecrated or set apart to the service of God," also in an Old Testament sense "a pre-Christian prophet."
It is attested by late 13c. as "moral or virtuous person, one who is pure or upright in heart and life."
The adjectives also were used as nouns in Late Latin and Old French: "a saint; a holy relic." The Latin word also is the source of Spanish santo, santa, Italian san, etc., and also ultimately the source of the word in most Germanic languages (Old Frisian sankt, Dutch sint, German Sanct).
Perhaps you have imagined that this humility in the saints is a pious illusion at which God smiles. That is a most dangerous error. It is theoretically dangerous, because it makes you identify a virtue (i.e., a perfection) with an illusion (i.e., an imperfection), which must be nonsense. It is practically dangerous because it encourages a man to mistake his first insights into his own corruption for the first beginnings of a halo round his own silly head. No, depend upon it; when the saints say that they—even they—are vile, they are recording truth with scientific accuracy. [C.S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain," 1940]
c. 1300, gral, "the Holy Grail," from Old French graal, greal "Holy Grail; cup," earlier "large shallow dish, basin," from Medieval Latin gradalis, also gradale, grasale, "a flat dish or shallow vessel." The original form is uncertain; the word is perhaps ultimately from Latin crater "bowl," which is from Greek krater "bowl, especially for mixing wine with water" (see crater (n.)).
Holy Grail is Englished from Middle English seint gral (c. 1300), also sangreal, sank-real (c. 1400), which seems to show deformation as if from sang real "royal blood" (that is, the blood of Christ) The object had been inserted into the Celtic Arthurian legends by 12c., perhaps in place of some pagan otherworldly object. It was said to be the cup into which Joseph of Arimathea received the last drops of blood of Christ (according to the writers who picked up the thread of Chrétien de Troyes' "Perceval") or the dish from which Christ ate the Last Supper (Robert de Boron), and ultimately was identified as both ("þe dische wiþ þe blode," "Joseph of Aramathie," c. 1350?).
updated on August 15, 2013