Anglo-Saxon

[ang-gloh-sak-suh n]
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noun

adjective


Origin of Anglo-Saxon

1605–15; based on New Latin, Medieval Latin Anglo-Saxōnēs, Anglī Saxōnēs (plural); from 10th cent., collective name for WGmc-speaking people of Britain (compare Old English Angulseaxan); see Angle, Saxon
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British Dictionary definitions for anglo-saxon

Anglo-Saxon

noun

a member of any of the West Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) that settled in Britain from the 5th century ad and were dominant until the Norman conquest
the language of these tribesSee Old English
any White person whose native language is English and whose cultural affiliations are those common to Britain and the US
informal plain blunt English, esp English containing taboo words

adjective

forming part of the Germanic element in Modern English``forget'' is an Anglo-Saxon word
of or relating to the Anglo-Saxons or the Old English language
of or relating to the White Protestant culture of Britain, Australia, and the US
informal (of English speech or writing) plain and blunt
of or relating to Britain and the US, esp their common legal, political, and commercial cultures, as compared to continental Europe
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 anglo-saxon

Anglo-Saxon

Old English Angli Saxones (plural), from Latin Anglo-Saxones, in which Anglo- is an adjective, thus literally "English Saxons," as opposed to those of the Continent (now called "Old Saxons"). Properly in reference to the Saxons of ancient Wessex, Essex, Middlesex, and Sussex.

I am a suthern man, I can not geste 'rum, ram, ruf' by letter. [Chaucer, "Parson's Prologue and Tale"]

After the Norman-French invasion of 1066, the peoples of the island were distinguished as English and French, but after a few generations all were English, and Latin-speaking scribes, who knew and cared little about Germanic history, began to use Anglo-Saxones to refer to the pre-1066 inhabitants and their descendants. When interest in Old English writing revived c.1586, the word was extended to the language we now call Old English. It has been used rhetorically for "English" in an ethnological sense from 1832, and revisioned as Angle + Saxon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper