General English


  • abbreviationSt
    (written as Saint)

Origin & History of “saint”

Latin sancīre meant ‘consecrate’ (it was formed from the same base as produced sacer ‘holy’, source of English sacred, sacrifice, etc). Its past participle was sanctus. This came to be used as an adjective meaning ‘holy, sacred’, and in due course as a noun too, ‘holy person’. English originally borrowed it direct from Latin, as sanct, but this was superseded in the 12th century by saint, acquired via Old French. other English words based on the Latin stem sanct- include sanction, sanctity, etc, and saunter may be related to saint.