Ras·ta·far·i·an·ism (rä′stə-färē-ə-nĭz′əm, răs′tə-fâr-)
A religious and political movement originating in Jamaica in the 1930s that bases its doctrine on selections from the Bible and regards Ethiopia as the Promised Land and Haile Selassie I as a messiah, with many members advocating nonviolence and rejecting materialism.
[After Ras Tafari Makonnen, former name of Haile Selassie I, proclaimed a divine being by adherents : Amharic ras, head, prince; see rʾš the Appendix of Semitic roots + Amharic täfäri, feared, participle of täfärra, to be feared, derived stem of färra, to fear, respect; see prh the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.