1. Of or relating to the Semites or their languages or cultures.
2. Of, relating to, or constituting a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic.
1. The Semitic languages.
2. Any of the Semitic languages.
[New Latin Sēmiticus, from Sēmita, Semite, from Late Latin Sēm, Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Semites, from Greek, from Hebrew Šēm.]
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.