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90s Slang You Should Know


[sem-ahyt or, esp. British, see-mahyt] /ˈsɛm aɪt or, esp. British, ˈsi maɪt/
a member of any of various ancient and modern peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including the Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs.
a Jew.
a member of any of the peoples descended from Shem, the eldest son of Noah.
Origin of Semite
1870-75; < New Latin sēmīta < Late Latin Sēm (< Greek Sḗm < Hebrew Shēm Shem) + -īta -ite1
Related forms
non-Semite, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Semite
Historical Examples
  • Then, too, there came another great outburst of Semite religious enthusiasm.

  • The Being in whom that fulness of light was revealed,—was he not a Semite of the Semites?

    Zionism and Anti-Semitism Max Simon Nordau
  • It was in the third map period, about 100,000 years ago, that the Akkadians finally overthrew the Semite power.

  • But the worship of which blood is the tie is not to the Aryan, as to the Semite, the whole of religion.

    History of Religion Allan Menzies
  • Their descendants eventually became subject, at least nominally, to the Semite kings.

  • His force diminished, his numbers lessened, and the subjugated Semite increased in strength.

  • The Semite had avenged himself for the conquest of his country by the northern mountaineers centuries before.

    The Hittites A. H. Sayce
  • The Semite has a smaller range of ideas, but he applies them more practically and more thoroughly.

    History of Religion Allan Menzies
  • The power that uplifted Aryan and Semite did not come from without, but from within.

    The Color Line William Benjamin Smith
  • It will be found that the Aryan draws a less absolute distinction than the Semite between the human and the divine.

    History of Religion Allan Menzies
British Dictionary definitions for Semite


a member of the group of Caucasoid peoples who speak a Semitic language, including the Jews and Arabs as well as the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, and Phoenicians
another word for a Jew
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin sēmīta descendant of Shem, via Greek Sēm, from Hebrew Shem
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Semite

1847, "a Jew, Arab, Assyrian, or Aramaean" (an apparently isolated use from 1797 refers to the Semitic language group), back-formation from Semitic or else from French Sémite (1845), from Modern Latin Semita, from Late Latin Sem "Shem," one of the three sons of Noah (Gen. x:21-30), regarded as the ancestor of the Semites (in old Bible-based anthropology), from Hebrew Shem. In modern sense said to have been first used by German historian August Schlözer in 1781.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Semite in Culture
Semite [(sem-eyet)]

Someone who belongs to the Semitic peoples. The Semites are supposedly descended from the biblical Shem, the eldest son of Noah.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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