From Middle English sak (“bag, sackcloth”), from 古期英語 sacc (“sack, bag”) and sæcc (“sackcloth, sacking”); both from Proto-Germanic *sakkuz (“sack”), from Latin saccus (“large bag”), from Ancient Greek σάκκος (sákkos, “bag of coarse cloth”), from Semitic, possibly Phoenician. Cognate with Dutch zak, German Sack, Swedish säck, Hebrew שַׂק (śaq, “sack, sackcloth”), Aramaic סַקָּא, Classical Syriac ܣܩܐ, Ge'ez ሠቅ (śäḳ), Akkadian (saqqu), Egyptian sꜣgꜣ.
Černý and Forbes suggest the word was originally Egyptian, a nominal derivative of sꜣq (“to gather または put together”) that also yielded Coptic ⲥⲟⲕ (sok, “sackcloth”) and was borrowed into Greek perhaps by way of a Semitic intermediary. However, Vycichl and Hoch reject this idea, noting that such an originally Egyptian word would be expected to yield Hebrew *סַק rather than שַׂק. Instead, they posit that the Coptic and Greek words are both borrowed from Semitic, with the Coptic word perhaps developing via Egyptian sꜣgꜣ.
- “Pillage” senses from the use of sacks in carrying off plunder. From Middle French sac, shortened from the phrase mettre à sac (“put it in a bag”), a military command to pillage; also parallel meaning with Italian sacco (“plunder”), from Medieval Latin saccō (“pillage”). From Vulgar Latin saccare (“to plunder”), from saccus (“sack”). See also ransack. American football “tackle” sense from this “plunder, conquer” root.
- “Removal from employment” senses attested since 1825; the original formula was “to give (someone) the sack”, likely from the notion of a worker going off with his tools in a sack, or being given such a sack for his personal belongings as part of an expedient severance. Idiom exists earlier in French (on luy a donné son sac, 17c.) and Middle Dutch (iemand den zak geven). English verb in this sense recorded from 1841. Current verb, to sack (“to fire”) carries influence from the forceful nature of “plunder, tackle” verb senses.
- Slang meaning “bunk, bed” is attested since 1825, originally nautical, likely in reference to sleeping bags. The verb meaning “go to bed” is recorded from 1946.
- A bag; especially a large bag of strong, coarse material for storage and handling of various commodities, such as potatoes, coal, coffee; or, a bag with handles used at a supermarket, a grocery sack; or, a small bag for small items, a satchel.
- The amount a sack holds; also, an archaic or historical measure of varying capacity, depending on commodity type and according to local usage; an old English measure of weight, usually of wool, equal to 13 stone (182 pounds), or in other sources, 26 stone (364 pounds).
- The American sack of salt is 215 pounds; the sack of wheat, two bushels. — McElrath.
- 1843, The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Vol. 27, page 202
- (uncountable) The plunder and pillaging of a captured town or city.
- The sack of Rome.
- (uncountable) Loot or booty obtained by pillage.
- (米国用法 football) A successful tackle of the quarterback. See verb sense4 below.
- (baseball) One of the square bases anchored at first base, second base, or third base.
- (informal) Dismissal from employment, or discharge from a position, usually as give (someone) the sack or get the sack. See verb sense4 below.
- (colloquial, US) Bed; usually as hit the sack or in the sack. See also sack out.
- (dated) (also sacque) A kind of loose-fitting gown or dress with sleeves which hangs from the shoulders, such as a gown with a Watteau back or sack-back, fashionable in the late 17th to 18th century; or, formerly, a loose-fitting hip-length jacket, cloak or cape.
- (dated) A sack coat; a kind of coat worn by men, and extending from top to bottom without a cross seam.
- (vulgar, slang) The scrotum.
- (bag): bag, tote, poke (廃れた用法)
- (booty obtained by pillage): For semantic relationships of this sense, see booty in the Thesaurus.
- (くだけた用法: dismissal from employment): the axe, pink slip, the boot, the chop, the elbow, one's cards, the old heave-ho
- (口語: bed): hay, rack
- (卑語 スラング: scrotum): For semantic relationships of this sense, see scrotum in the Thesaurus.
- To put in a sack or sacks.
- To bear or carry in a sack upon the back or the shoulders.
- To plunder or pillage, especially after capture; to obtain spoils of war from.
- (米国用法 football) To tackle, usually to tackle the offensive quarterback behind the line of scrimmage before he is able to throw a pass.
- (informal) To discharge from a job or position; to fire.
- (colloquial) In the phrase sack out, to fall asleep. See also hit the sack.
- (plunder, pillage): loot, ransack
- (to remove someone from a job): can, dismiss, fire, lay off, let go, terminate, make redundant, give the axe, give the boot, give (someone) their cards, give the chop, give the elbow, give the old heave-ho, See also: Wikisaurus:lay off
- (スラング: to hit in the groin): rack
- (dated) A variety of light-colored dry wine from Spain or the Canary Islands; also, any strong white wine from southern Europe; sherry.
- 1594, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
- 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1
- 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2
- Forbes, Robert Jacobus (1955) Studies in Ancient Technology, vol. IV, p. 66
- Černý, Jaroslav (1976) Coptic Etymological Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 052107228X, page 149
- Vycichl, Werner (1983) Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Copte, Leuven: Peeters, ISBN 978-2-8017-0197-3, page 186
- Hoch, James E. (1994) Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-03761-2, page 269
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