What is the definition of Semitic?

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“Semitic” is from the Hebrew word for Arabic, and describes a person who speaks any of the various ancient and modern Semitic languages from southwestern Asia, such as Amharic, Hebrew, Maltese and Phoenician.

Because language is associated with cultures, the term “Semitic” has evolved to include not only the languages, but also ethnicities and cultures.  Semites include Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites, Hebrews, Phoenicians, Israelites, Judeans and others.

The term “Anti-Semitic” has been applied almost exclusively to those who dislike Jews.

See the reference for a comprehensive listing of Semitic peoples and languages, including regional, religious and ethnic identities.

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