[ suh-mit-iks ]
/ səˈmɪt ɪks /

noun (used with a singular verb)

the study of Semitic languages, literature, etc.

Origin of Semitics

1870–75, Americanism; see Semitic, -ics

Definition for semitics (2 of 2)


[ 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 formshalf-Se·mit·ic, adjectivenon-Se·mit·ic, adjectivepre-Se·mit·ic, adjective, nounpseu·do-Se·mit·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for semitics

British Dictionary definitions for semitics (1 of 2)


/ (sɪˈmɪtɪks) /


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

British Dictionary definitions for semitics (2 of 2)


less commonly Shemitic

/ (sɪˈmɪtɪk) /


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

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

Culture definitions for semitics


[ (suh-mit-ik) ]

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.