[sab-uh th]


the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8–11.
the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.
any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
(sometimes lowercase) a period of rest.
(sometimes lowercase) Demonology. Sabbat.

Origin of Sabbath

before 900; Middle English, variant of sabbat, Old English < Latin sabbatum < Greek sábbaton < Hebrew shabbāth rest
Related formsSab·bath·less, adjectiveSab·bath·like, adjective

Synonyms for Sabbath

2. See Sunday. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sabbath

Contemporary Examples of sabbath

Historical Examples of sabbath

British Dictionary definitions for sabbath



the seventh day of the week, Saturday, devoted to worship and rest from work in Judaism and in certain Christian Churches
Sunday, observed by Christians as the day of worship and rest from work in commemoration of Christ's Resurrection
(not capital) a period of rest
Also called: sabbat, witches' Sabbath a midnight meeting or secret rendezvous for practitioners of witchcraft, sorcery, or devil worship

Word Origin for Sabbath

Old English sabbat, from Latin sabbatum, from Greek sabbaton, from Hebrew shabbāth, from shābath to rest
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 sabbath



Old English sabat "Saturday as a day of rest," as observed by the Jews, from Latin sabbatum, from Greek sabbaton, from Hebrew shabbath, properly "day of rest," from shabath "he rested." Spelling with -th attested from late 14c., not widespread until 16c.

The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities then; the Jewish observance might have begun as a similar custom. Among European Christians, from the seventh day of the week it began to be applied early 15c. to the first day (Sunday), "though no definite law, either divine or ecclesiastical, directed the change" [Century Dictionary], but elaborate justifications have been made. The change was driven by Christians' celebration of the Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week, a change completed during the Reformation.

The original meaning is preserved in Spanish Sabado, Italian Sabbato, and other languages' names for "Saturday." Hungarian szombat, Rumanian simbata, French samedi, German Samstag "Saturday" are from Vulgar Latin sambatum, from Greek *sambaton, a vulgar nasalized variant of sabbaton. Sabbath-breaking attested from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for sabbath


The holy day of rest and reflection observed each Saturday among the Jews. This custom fulfills the fourth of the Ten Commandments (“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”). The Sabbath commemorates the last of the seven days of Creation as described in the Book of Genesis, the day God rested from his labors of creating the heavens and the Earth.


Christians have traditionally kept Sunday as a weekly day of rest in adaptation of the Jewish observance, and in commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Some denominations, such as the Seventh-Day Adventists, observe Saturday as the Sabbath.
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.