- History/Historical. a member of any of the nomadic tribes on the Syrian borders of the Roman Empire.
- (in later use) an Arab.
- a Muslim, especially in the period of the Crusades.
- Also Sar·a·cen·ic [sar-uh–sen-ik] /ˌsær əˈsɛn ɪk/, Sar·a·cen·i·cal. of or relating to the Saracens.
- history a member of one of the nomadic Arabic tribes, esp of the Syrian desert, that harassed the borders of the Roman Empire in that region
- a Muslim, esp one who opposed the crusades
- (in later use) any Arab
- of or relating to Arabs of either of these periods, regions, or types
- designating, characterizing, or relating to Muslim art or architecture
n.Old English, “an Arab” (in Greek and Roman translations), also, mid-13c., generally, “non-Christian, heathen, pagan,” from Old French saracin, from Late Latin saracenus, from Greek sarakenos, usually said to be from Arabic sharquiyin, accusative plural of sharqiy “eastern,” from sharq “east, sunrise,” but this is not certain. In medieval times the name was associated with that of Biblical Sarah (q.v.). Peple þat cleped hem self Saracenys, as þogh þey were i-come of Sarra [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon’s Polychronicon, 1387] The name Greeks and Romans gave to the nomads of the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Specific sense of “Middle Eastern Muslim” is from the Crusades. From c.1300 as an adjective. Related: Saracenic; and cf. sarsen.