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Alternative forms[edit]


From Semite +‎ -ic (18th century), from German semitisch, from Ancient Greek Σημ (Sēm), from the Hebrew שֵׁם(Šēm, Shem), the name of the eldest son of Noah in biblical tradition (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), considered the forefather of the Semitic peoples. Perhaps derived from Akkadian 𒈬 (šumu, literally name" or "son). The word was coined and first applied to the Semitic languages by August Ludwig von Schlözer in 1781.[1]



Semitic (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to a subdivision of Afroasiatic Semitic languages: Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, Hebrew, Maltese, Tigrigna, Phoenician etc.
  2. Of or pertaining to the Semites; of or pertaining to one or more Semitic peoples.
    • 2008, Gary A. Tobin, The Trouble with Textbooks, page 93:
      On the other hand, scholars say that the Philistines were an Indo-European people not related to the Semitic Palestinians.
    • For quotations using this term, see Citations:Semitic.
    1. (biblical) Of or pertaining to the descendants of Shem, the eldest of three sons of Noah.
    2. (in particular) Of or pertaining to the Israeli, Jewish, or Hebrew people.
    3. Of or pertaining to any of the religions which originated among the Semites; Abrahamic.
      • 1893, George Thomas Bettany, Mohammedanism and Other Religions of Mediterranean Countries, page 45:
        Thus we trace ever and again the similarities which are to be found among the Semitic religions.
      • 2011, Makau Mutua, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique, page 114:
        The Semitic religions (Christianity and Islam) are nationally honored in much of Africa.
      • 2005, Xavier William, World Religions, True Beliefs and New Age Spirituality, page 45:
        In contrast to these Semitic religions some religions of Indian origin like Buddhism and Jainism, are pacifist to the extent of banning the killing of animals even for food.


Proper noun[edit]


  1. The Semitic languages in general.


Further reading[edit]

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Loprieno, Antonio (1995) Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 1