Today’s Word of the Week is actually just inspired by‘s trending word list, LOL. Which is funny, because those who know me well know that my church has actually opted to keep Saturday as the Sabbath rather than Sunday, so you might think I have an agenda with this word…but in fact, it just has an interesting history!
Our word for sabbath does come directly from the Hebrew shabbath (that ‘th’ is pronounced like a ‘t’), which is from the verb shabath, literally meaning “he rested.” In English it was spelled sabbat until the 16th century. Interesting to note that it didn’t just mean “a day of rest” but specifically “Saturday as a day of rest” until the 15th century. Up until then, though the Christian Church had adopted Sunday as their official day of worship long before, they never called it the Sabbath, only the Lord’s Day.

But the part that I actually found interesting here is that the very word for Saturday in many languages comes from sabbath–pretty much all Latin or Greek derived languages, including Spanish, Italian, French, German, Romanian, Hungarian, and many more.

English’s Saturday is of course from Saturn–and was preserved in English and other Norse languages largely because they had no god that would compete with the Roman Saturn, so they felt no objection to it when the Romans brought that name for the day of the week to their regions, LOL. But as Christianity spread in other regions, it was changed in the languages mentioned above away from the name of a Roman god and to something in keeping with biblical principles.
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