anglo-saxon








noun

  1. an English person of the period before the Norman Conquest.
  2. Old English(def 1).
  3. the original Germanic element in the English language.
  4. plain and simple English, especially language that is blunt, monosyllabic, and often rude or vulgar.
  5. a person whose native language is English.
  6. a person of English descent.
  7. (in the U.S.) a person of colonial descent or British origin.

adjective

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Anglo-Saxons.
  2. of or relating to Anglo-Saxon.
  3. English-speaking; British or American.
  4. (of words, speech, or writing) blunt, monosyllabic, and often vulgar.

noun

  1. a member of any of the West Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) that settled in Britain from the 5th century ad and were dominant until the Norman conquest
  2. the language of these tribesSee Old English
  3. any White person whose native language is English and whose cultural affiliations are those common to Britain and the US
  4. informal plain blunt English, esp English containing taboo words

adjective

  1. forming part of the Germanic element in Modern English“forget” is an Anglo-Saxon word
  2. of or relating to the Anglo-Saxons or the Old English language
  3. of or relating to the White Protestant culture of Britain, Australia, and the US
  4. informal (of English speech or writing) plain and blunt
  5. of or relating to Britain and the US, esp their common legal, political, and commercial cultures, as compared to continental Europe

Old English Angli Saxones (plural), from Latin Anglo-Saxones, in which Anglo- is an adjective, thus literally “English Saxons,” as opposed to those of the Continent (now called “Old Saxons”). Properly in reference to the Saxons of ancient Wessex, Essex, Middlesex, and Sussex.

I am a suthern man, I can not geste ‘rum, ram, ruf’ by letter. [Chaucer, “Parson’s Prologue and Tale”]

After the Norman-French invasion of 1066, the peoples of the island were distinguished as English and French, but after a few generations all were English, and Latin-speaking scribes, who knew and cared little about Germanic history, began to use Anglo-Saxones to refer to the pre-1066 inhabitants and their descendants. When interest in Old English writing revived c.1586, the word was extended to the language we now call Old English. It has been used rhetorically for “English” in an ethnological sense from 1832, and revisioned as Angle + Saxon.

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