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[suh-mit-ik] /səˈmɪt ɪk/
a subfamily of Afroasiatic languages that includes Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and Phoenician.
of or relating to the Semites or their languages, especially of or pertaining to the Jews.
Origin of Semitic
< New Latin sēmīticus, equivalent to sēmīt(a) Semite + -icus -ic
Related forms
half-Semitic, adjective
non-Semitic, adjective
pre-Semitic, adjective, noun
pseudo-Semitic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for Semitic


a branch or subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, and such ancient languages as Akkadian and Phoenician
denoting, relating to, or belonging to this group of languages
denoting, belonging to, or characteristic of any of the peoples speaking a Semitic language, esp the Jews or the Arabs
another word for Jewish
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 Semitic

1797, denoting the language group that includes Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, etc.; 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, perhaps directly from German semitisch. In recent use often with the specific sense "Jewish," but not historically so limited.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Semitic in Culture
Semitic [(suh-mit-ik)]

A descriptive term for several peoples of the Middle East and their descendants, including Jews and Arabs (see Arab-Israeli conflict). Today the term is mainly applied to Jews. (See anti-Semitism.)

The 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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