• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the study of Semitic languages, literature, etc.

Origin of Semitics

1870–75, Americanism; see Semitic, -ics


  1. a subfamily of Afroasiatic languages that includes Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and Phoenician.
  1. 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 formshalf-Se·mit·ic, adjectivenon-Se·mit·ic, adjectivepre-Se·mit·ic, adjective, nounpseu·do-Se·mit·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for semitics

Historical Examples

  • They again were probably not Semitics but of the Aryan race.

    The World's Progress, Vol. I (of X)


  • After having occupied for twenty years the chair of Semitics at the university of Leipzig, he retired to Prostnitz.

    Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ

    Rev. A. Bernstein, B.D.

  • Sufficient evidence goes to show that they worshipped many gods in the beginning, as did other Semitics.

  • These Semitics remembered their old allies, now in the desert, and besought them for aid.

British Dictionary definitions for semitics


  1. (functioning as singular) the study of Semitic languages and culture
Derived FormsSemitist (ˈsɛmɪtɪst), noun


less commonly Shemitic

  1. 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
  1. denoting, relating to, or belonging to this group of languages
  2. denoting, belonging to, or characteristic of any of the peoples speaking a Semitic language, esp the Jews or the Arabs
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for semitics



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

semitics in Culture



A descriptive term for several peoples of the Middle East and their descendants, including Jews (see also 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.