mastiff

[mas-tif, mah-stif]

Origin of mastiff

1300–50; Middle English mastif, perhaps extracted from Anglo-French masti(n)s (taken as *mastifs), plural of Old French mastin < Vulgar Latin (canis) *ma(n)suētīnus, derivative of Latin mansuētus tame, mild (see mansuetude)
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British Dictionary definitions for mastiff

mastiff

noun
  1. an old breed of large powerful short-haired dog, usually fawn or brindle with a dark mask

Word Origin for mastiff

C14: from Old French, ultimately from Latin mansuētus tame; see mansuetude
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 mastiff
n.

large, powerful breed of dog, early 14c., from Old French mastin (Modern French mâtin) or Provençal mastis, both from Vulgar Latin *mansuetinus "domesticated, tame," from Latin mansuetus "tame, gentle" (see mansuetude). Probably originally meaning a dog that stays in the house, thus a guard-dog. Form in English perhaps influenced by Old French mestif "mongrel."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper