Definition of Semitic in US English:

Semitic

adjective

  • 1Relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family.

    • ‘The rest of the population speaks languages drawn from Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, or Semitic language families.’
    • ‘It's a Semitic language, totally unlike English.’
    • ‘Dialects much changed in the new surroundings, needless to say - in Amharic, the ancient Semitic word for ‘almond’ now refers to the African groundnut.’
    • ‘It is a Semitic language somewhat related to Arabic and Hebrew.’
    • ‘Arabic, like other Semitic languages, including Hebrew, is based on triliteral roots.’
    • ‘The alphabet used to write Arabic from the 6th century to the present day is a form of Aramaic script that belongs to the family of Semitic scripts whose ultimate origins go back to Egyptian hieroglyphs.’
    • ‘Aramaic belongs to the Semitic language group historically centred in the Middle East.’
    • ‘Diligently, he traces each letter from the ancient Semitic and Phoenician alphabets through Old English and Norman French, exploring shapes and pronunciation.’
    • ‘Arabic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Aramaic.’
    • ‘The Sumerian signs were used to write the Old Akkadian language which was Semitic.’
    • ‘Arabic, the language of the majority and the official language of the country, is a Semitic tongue related to Hebrew, Aramaic, and Amharic.’
    • ‘Moreover, the heart of the Islamic domain has always been the region closest to Europe… Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages, and together they dispose and redispose of material that is urgently important to Christianity.’
    • ‘Arabic derives from the ancient Semitic languages.’
    • ‘It is called Geez, an ancient Semitic language used in the Coptic Christian Church.’
    • ‘Arabic is the youngest of the Semitic languages.’
    • ‘Had they come to Israel at the end of the 19th century, Israeli would have been a very Semitic language, just like Arabic and Hebrew.’
    • ‘Both studied in Germany and spent time studying and teaching Hebrew and other Semitic languages; both were especially fascinated by the significance of Arabic for the study of ancient Semitic languages.’
    • ‘Whereas Hebrew and Arabic are Semitic languages, Israeli is a Semito-European language.’
    • ‘Arabic, on the other hand, belongs to the Semitic language family.’
    • ‘Arabic, a Semitic language, was introduced by the Arab conquerors and has three different forms: classical, modern standard, and spoken.’
  • 2Relating to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.

    • ‘Aramaic was the language of Semitic peoples - the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Hebrews and Syrians.’
    • ‘Some are ethnically Arab, which means that they are Semitic, and speak Arabic.’
    • ‘For the ancient Semitic world, of course, this watery chaos was the home of the great sea monster, the forces of death and destruction.’
    • ‘The Semitic mind speaks in terms of beings, beings that embody good and evil.’
    • ‘Like the vestry that surrounded ancient anointed Semitic kings, the dove was symbolic both of God's approval and the installation of power to his servant for service.’

Origin

From modern Latin Semiticus (see Semite).

Pronunciation

Semitic

/səˈmɪdɪk//səˈmidik/