The earliest written use of the word synagogue was in a late twelfth century collection of Christian sermons. That comes from Old French sinagoge, which could be used to refer to any non-Christian places of worship, including mosques and pagan temples, and (through Latin) ultimately traces to the Ancient Greek word synagoge, meaning "place of assembly" or "to bring together". That was composed of syn, which meant "with" (and is an element in words like syllable, syntax, and symphony) and agein, a verb which meant "to move" (and is an element in words like strategy, agony, and demagogue). Respectively, those terms come from Proto-Indo-European sem ("together") and heg ("to drive"). Literary usage of the word synagogue has trended upwards over time, peaking in the year 1998.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.