Samoa Look up Samoa at
an indigenous name, said to be from the name of a Polynesian chieftain, or else meaning "place of the moa." Related: Samoan (1846, noun and adjective).
Samos Look up Samos at
Greek island in the Aegean, from Old Greek samos "a height, dune, seaside hill." Many references to it are as the birthplace of Pythagoras. Related: Samian.
Samothrace Look up Samothrace at
Aegean island, from Samos + Thrace, representing the sources of two waves of settlers who came to the island in ancient times.
samovar (n.) Look up samovar at
1830, from Russian samovar, literally "self-boiler," from sam "self" (see same) + varit "to boil" (from Old Church Slavonic variti "to cook," from PIE root *wer- "to burn"); but this is perhaps folk-etymology if the word is from Tatar sanabar "tea-urn."
Samoyed (n.) Look up Samoyed at
Siberian Mongolian people, 1580s, from Russian samoyed (11c.), traditionally literally "self-eaters," i.e. "cannibals" (the first element cognate with same, the second with eat), but this might be Russian folk etymology of a native name:
The common Russian etymology of the name Samoyed, meaning "self-eater," deepened the Russians' already exotic image of far-northerners. The most probable linguistic origin of Samoyed, however, is from the Saami -- saam-edne, "land of the people" [Andrei V. Golovnev and Gail Osherenko, "Siberian Survival: The Nenets and Their Story," Cornell University, 1999]
Which would make the name a variant of Suomi "Finn." The native name is Nenets. As the name of a type of dog (once used as a working dog in the Arctic) it is attested from 1889.
sampan (n.) Look up sampan at
light Chinese boat, 1610s, from Chinese san pan, literally "three boards," from san "three" + pan "plank."
sample (n.) Look up sample at
c. 1300, "something which confirms a proposition or statement," from Anglo-French saumple, a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum "a sample" (see example). Meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c.; sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is from 1878. As an adjective from 1820.
sample (v.) Look up sample at
"to test by taking a sample," 1767, from sample (n.). Earlier "to be a match for" (1590s). Related: Sampled; sampling.
sampler (n.) Look up sampler at
"embroidery specimen by a beginner to show skill," 1520s, from sample (n.); earlier "pattern, model, example to be imitated" (early 14c.). The connecting notion is probably "piece of embroidery serving as a pattern to be copied, or to fix and retain the pattern." As "a collection of samples" from 1912.
samsara (n.) Look up samsara at
"endless cycle of death and rebirth, transmigration of souls," 1886, from Sanskrit samsara "a wandering through," from sam-, prefix denoting completeness (from the root of same), + sr- "to run, glide," from PIE root *ser- (2) "to flow" (see serum).
Samson Look up Samson at
masc. proper name, Biblical strong-man (Judges xiii-xvi), from Late Latin, from Greek Sampson, from Hebrew Shimshon, probably from shemesh "sun." As a generic name for a man of great strength, attested from 1565. Samsonite, proprietary name for a make of luggage, is 1939, by Shwayder Bros. Inc., Denver, U.S.
Samuel Look up Samuel at
masc. proper name, Biblical judge and prophet, from Late Latin, from Greek Samouel, from Hebrew Shemiel, literally "the name of God," from shem "name" + El "God."
samurai (n.) Look up samurai at
1727, from Japanese samurai "warrior, knight," originally the military retainer of the daimio, variant of saburai, nominal form of sabura(h)u "to be in attendance, to serve."
san Look up san at
Japanese honorific title, 1878, short form of more formal sama.
San Francisco Look up San Francisco at
city in California, U.S., named in Spanish for St. Francis of Assisi; the name first recorded in reference to this region 1590s, reinforced by long association of the area with the Franciscan order.
sanatorium (n.) Look up sanatorium at
1839, Modern Latin, noun use of neuter of Late Latin adjective sanitorius "health-giving," from Latin sanat-, past participle stem of sanare "to heal," from sanus "well, healthy, sane" (see sane). Latin sanare is the source of Italian sanare, Spanish sanar.
sanctification (n.) Look up sanctification at
1520s, from Church Latin sanctificationem, noun of action from past participle stem of sanctificare (see sanctify).
sanctify (v.) Look up sanctify at
late 14c., seintefie "to consecrate," from Old French saintefier "sanctify" (12c., Modern French sanctifier), from Late Latin sanctificare "to make holy," from sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Form altered in English c. 1400 to conform with Latin. Meaning "to render holy or legitimate by religious sanction" is from c. 1400; transferred sense of "to render worthy of respect" is from c. 1600. Related: Sanctified; sanctifying.
sanctimonious (adj.) Look up sanctimonious at
c. 1600 (in "Measure for Measure," with the disparaging sense "making a show of sanctity, affecting an appearance of holiness"), from sanctimony + -ous. The un-ironic, literal sense was used occasionally in English from c. 1600 to c. 1800. Related: Sanctimoniously; sanctimoniousness.
sanctimony (n.) Look up sanctimony at
1530s, from Middle French sanctimonie, from Latin sanctimonia "sacredness, holiness, virtuousness," from sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)).
sanction (n.) Look up sanction at
early 15c., "confirmation or enactment of a law," from Latin sanctionem (nominative sanctio) "act of decreeing or ordaining," also "decree, ordinance," noun of action from past participle stem of sancire "to decree, confirm, ratify, make sacred" (see saint (n.)). Originally especially of ecclesiastical decrees.
sanction (v.) Look up sanction at
1778, "confirm by sanction, make valid or binding;" 1797 as "to permit authoritatively;" from sanction (n.). Seemingly contradictory meaning "impose a penalty on" is from 1956 but is rooted in an old legalistic sense of the noun. Related: Sanctioned; sanctioning.
sanctions (n.) Look up sanctions at
in international diplomacy, 1919, plural of sanction (n.) in the sense of "part or clause of a law which spells out the penalty for breaking it" (1650s).
sanctitude (n.) Look up sanctitude at
mid-15c., from Latin sanctitudinem (nominative sanctitudo) "sacredness," from sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)).
sanctity (n.) Look up sanctity at
late 14c., from Old French sanctete (Modern French sainteté), from Latin sanctitatem (nominative sanctitas) "holiness, sacredness," from sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)).
sanctuary (n.) Look up sanctuary at
early 14c., "building set apart for holy worship," from Anglo-French sentuarie, Old French saintuaire "sacred relic, holy thing; reliquary, sanctuary," from Late Latin sanctuarium "a sacred place, shrine" (especially the Hebrew Holy of Holies; see sanctum), also "a private room," from Latin sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)).

Since the time of Constantine and by medieval Church law, fugitives or debtors enjoyed immunity from arrest in certain churches, hence transferred sense of "immunity from punishment" (late 14c.). Exceptions were made in England in cases of treason and sacrilege. General (non-ecclesiastical) sense of "place of refuge or protection" is attested from 1560s; as "land set aside for wild plants or animals to breed and live" it is recorded from 1879.
sanctum (n.) Look up sanctum at
1570s, "holy place of the Jewish tabernacle," from Latin sanctum "a holy place," as in Late Latin sanctum sanctorum "holy of holies" (translating Greek to hagion ton hagiou, translating Hebrew qodesh haqqodashim), from neuter of sanctus "holy" (see saint (n.)). In English, sanctum sanctorum attested from c. 1400; in sense of "a person's private retreat" from 1706.
Sanctus (n.) Look up Sanctus at
late 14c., Latin, initial word of the "angelic hymn" (Isa. vi:3), concluding the preface of the Eucharist, literally "holy" (see saint (n.)). It renders Hebrew qadhosh in the hymn.
sand (n.) Look up sand at
Old English sand, from Proto-Germanic *sandam (cognates: Old Norse sandr, Old Frisian sond, Middle Dutch sant, Dutch zand, German Sand), from PIE *bhs-amadho- (cognates: Greek psammos "sand;" Latin sabulum "coarse sand," source of Italian sabbia, French sable), suffixed form of root *bhes- "to rub."

Historically, the line between sand and gravel cannot be distinctly drawn. Used figuratively in Old English in reference to innumerability and instability. General Germanic, but not attested in Gothic, which used in this sense malma, related to Old High German melm "dust," the first element of the Swedish city name Malmö (the second element meaning "island"), and to Latin molere "to grind." Metaphoric for "innumerability" since Old English. Sand dollar, type of flat sea-urchin, so called from 1884, so called for its shape; sand dune attested from 1830.
sand (v.) Look up sand at
late 14c., "to sprinkle with sand," from sand (n.); from 1620s as "to bury or fill in with sand." Meaning "to grind or polish with sand" is from 1858. Related: Sanded; sanding.
sand-blast (v.) Look up sand-blast at
1878 (implied in sand-blasted), from sand (n.) + blast (v.). Related: Sand-blasting.
sand-blind (adj.) Look up sand-blind at
also sandblind, "half-blind," c. 1400, probably altered (by influence of sand) from Old English *samblind, the first element from West Germanic *sami-, from PIE *semi- (see semi-); compare Old English samlæred "half-taught, badly instructed," samstorfen "half-dead."
sand-castle (n.) Look up sand-castle at
1838, from sand (n.) + castle (n.).
sand-fly (n.) Look up sand-fly at
1748, from sand (n.) + fly (n.).
sand-lot (n.) Look up sand-lot at
also sandlot, "plot of empty land in a town or suburb," 1878, from sand (n.) + lot. In reference to the kind of sports or games played on them by amateurs, it is recorded from 1890, American English.
sand-trap (n.) Look up sand-trap at
1838, "device for filtering out impurities," from sand (n.) + trap (n.). As "a golf bunker" from 1906.
sandal (n.) Look up sandal at
type of shoe, late 14c., from Old French sandale, from Latin sandalium "a slipper, sandal," from Greek sandalion, diminutive of sandalon "sandal," of unknown origin, perhaps from Persian. Related: Sandals.
sandalwood (n.) Look up sandalwood at
1510s, earlier sandell (c. 1400), saundres (early 14c.), from Old French sandale, from Medieval Latin sandalum, from Late Greek santalon, ultimately from Sanskrit čandana-m "the sandalwood tree," perhaps literally "wood for burning incense," related to candrah "shining, glowing," and cognate with Latin candere "to shine, glow" (see candle).
sandbag (n.) Look up sandbag at
1580s, from sand (n.) + bag (n.).
sandbag (v.) Look up sandbag at
1860, "furnish with sandbags," from sandbag (n.). Meaning "pretend weakness," 1970s perhaps is extended from poker-playing sense of "refrain from raising at the first opportunity in hopes of raising more steeply later" (1940), which perhaps is from sandbagger in the sense of "bully or ruffian who uses a sandbag as a weapon to knock his intended victim unconscious" (1882). Hence "to fell or stun with a blow from a sandbag" (1887). Related: Sandbagged; sandbagging.
sandbar (n.) Look up sandbar at
1755, from sand (n.) + bar (n.1).
sandbox (n.) Look up sandbox at
also sand-box, 1570s as an instrument to sprinkle sand, from sand (n.) + box (n.1). From 1680s as "a box holding sand;" 1891 as a low-sided sand pit for children's play.
sanderling (n.) Look up sanderling at
wading bird (Crocethia alba), c. 1600, probably from sand (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling, but OED suggests possible derivation from Old English *sand-yrðling, with second element yrðling "plowman" (literally "earthling").
sandiness (n.) Look up sandiness at
1640s, from sandy + -ness.
Sandinista (n.) Look up Sandinista at
member of a Nicaraguan revolutionary group, 1928, from Spanish, from name of Augusto César Sandino (1893-1934), Nicaraguan nationalist leader; the modern organization of this name was founded in 1963. Related: Sandanistas.
sandman (n.) Look up sandman at
bringer of sleep in nursery lore, 1861, from sand (n.) in reference to hard grains found in the eyelashes on waking; first attested in a translation from the Norwegian of Andersen (his Ole Lukoie "Ole Shut-eye," about a being who makes children sleepy, came out 1842), and perhaps partly from German Sandmann. More common in U.S.; dustman with the same sense is attested from 1821.
sandpaper (v.) Look up sandpaper at
1835, from sandpaper (n.). Related: Sandpapered; sandpapering.
sandpaper (n.) Look up sandpaper at
also sand-paper, 1788, from sand (n.) + paper (n.).
sandpiper (n.) Look up sandpiper at
1670s, from sand (n.) + piper.
Sandra Look up Sandra at
fem. proper name, originally short for Alexandra. Little used before c. 1920; a top-20 name for girls born in the U.S. 1938-1967.