1. A member of a pre-Islamic nomadic people of the Syrian and Arabian Deserts.
2. A Muslim, especially of the time of the Crusades.
[Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin Saracēnus, from Late Greek Sarakēnos, ultimately from Arabic šarq, east, sunrise; see śrq in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
Sar′a·cenic (-sĕnĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.