A DEVIL OF A TIME
We've seen that Lucifer means light-bringer, but now somebody requested the word Satan. While researching, I found the etymology to be fairly straightforward, but there were some interesting side Easter eggs! For example, did you know that Satan is actually a genus name for an ugly kind of fish? And that Lucifer should not be used interchangeably with Satan, for the former refers only to the angel before he fell, and vice versa for the latter? Anyway, onto the origin. Satan, through languages the Bible's been reprinted in, can be traced to Old English, Latin, and farthest back, Greek. This Greek Satan is from the Hebrew word satan (no capitalization) which just meant "adversary", a definition which makes sense. Due to a cognate in the other Semitic language of Arabic, linguists reconstruct this as from a root stn, again with the same meaning, and probably from Proto-Afroasiatic through Proto-Semitic. Really old words like this are hard to etymologize.
2/5/2020 05:37:33 am
Was "accuser" also used as a meaning for satan?
Dallin J N Heperi
2/17/2021 12:56:59 am
Yes, accuser and adversary. Generally a person. The idea of supernatural is Greek not Hebrew.
9/3/2020 03:00:39 pm
I've read that "satan" derives from the Arabic "syaltan"(?), which is a type/race of jinns (genies).
Dallin J N Heperi
2/17/2021 12:26:50 am
Satan or the Biblical Hebrew is Ha Satan (more than one) example: Gam Ha Satan benei Elohim , Gather the sons of Satan and the sons of God. Arabic is the youngest of the Semitic languages but it lends to many languages. Ha Satan is Biblical Hebrew, much older.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.