From the second edition (1989):
Saxon, n. and a.
(ˈsæksən) Forms: 3–5 Saxoyn(e, 4–5 Saxoun, Sessoyne, 5–6 Saxson(e, 4– Saxon. [a. F. Saxon, ad. L. Saxon-em (nom. sing. Saxo, pl. Saxonēs, Gr. in Ptolemy Σάξονες), a. WGer. *Saxon- (OE. Seaxan, Seaxe pl., OHG. Sahsûn pl., G. Sachse).
It has been conjectured that the name may have been derived from *sahsom sax n.1, as the name of the weapon used by the Saxons; cf. the probable derivation of the German tribe-name Cherusci from OTeut. *heru sword.]


A. n.


1. a. One of a Germanic people which in the early centuries of the Christian era dwelt in a region near the mouth of the Elbe, and of which one portion, distinguished as Anglo-Saxons (see Anglo-Saxon) conquered and occupied certain parts of South Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries, while the other, the Old Saxons (med.L. Antiqui Saxones, Beda; OE. Ealdseaxe) remained in Germany. Often, like Anglo-Saxon, applied indiscriminately to all the Germanic peoples that settled in Britain. Also, an Englishman who is presumed to be descended from this people.

1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 2540 Hit was of grace þat þe saxoyns þus com verst to londe. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 184 A Saxon and a worthi knyht. ?a1400 Morte Arth. 3530 Sarazenes and Sessoynes. c1420 Chron. Vilod. 99 Saxsones were y-clepud Engestis men. c1450 Merlin xii. 173 Oure werres a-gein the saxoyns. Ibid. xiii. 193 That day Gawein slowgh many a sarazin of the saxouns. 1547 Boorde Introd. Knowl. xvi. (1870) 164, I do maruel greatly how the Saxsons should conquere Englonde. 1781 Gibbon Decl. & F. xxv. (1787) II. 522 The sea-coast of Gaul and Britain was exposed to the depredations of the Saxons. Ibid. xxxviii. III. 613 Three valiant tribes or nations of Germany; the Jutes, the old Saxons, and the Angles. 1856 Emerson Eng. Traits, Ability Wks. (Bohn) II. 33 The Norman has come popularly to represent in England the aristocratic—and the Saxon the democratic principle. 1862 W. H. Jervis Hist. France v. §6 (1872) 65 Divided into the three confederacies of Westphalians, Ostphalians, and Angarians, the Saxons occupied at this time the greater part of Northern Germany.


b. In mod. use spec. (primarily as the term used by Celtic speakers). An Englishman as distinct from a Welshman or Irishman, a Lowland Scot as distinct from a Highlander. Cf. Sassenach. Also, an Englishman as distinct from a ‘Latin’.

1810 Scott Lady of L. iv. xxxi, He gave him of his Highland cheer‥And bade the Saxon share his plaid. 1862 Thackeray Philip xxx, Scores of [Irish] gentlemen‥who would not object to take the Saxon's pay until they finally shook his yoke off. 1908 Beerbohm Let. 23 Dec. (1964) 180 The Latins are born actors, while the Saxons have to train themselves up to the scratch. 1977 Times Lit. Suppl. 1 Apr. 394/3 In 1962 Ewart Milne returned to Ireland after more than twenty years in the land of the Saxon.


2. A native or inhabitant of Saxony in its modern German sense. (Saxony formerly included the kingdom of Saxony, the Prussian province of Saxony, and certain principalities; it existed as a state of the German Democratic Republic until 1952, when it was replaced as an administrative district by Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Stadt, and Dresden.)

1737 Gentl. Mag. VII. 4/1 The Saxons, who long since have done great damage to your coarser sorts of Cloths.


3. Pyrotechnics. (See quot. 1839.)

1839 Ure Dict. Arts 480 The saxons are cartridges clayed at each end, charged with the brilliant turning fire, and perforated with one or two holes at the extremity of the same diameter. 1873 W. H. Browne Pyrotechny viii. 87 Saxons‥[are] used largely in the construction of set pieces; they are sometimes called Chinese flyers.


4. Ent. A night-moth, Hadena rectilinea.

1869 E. Newman Brit. Moths 423.


B. adj.


1. a. Of or belonging to the Saxons (see A. 1). Formerly often used (like Anglo-Saxon) as the distinctive epithet of the Old English language, and of books written in it, and of the period of English history between the conquest of Britain by the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, and the Norman Conquest. †Saxon Angles = Anglo-Saxons.
Old Saxon: pertaining to the Old Saxons or their language: see A. 1 and B. 2b.

1568 Jewel Let. to Abp. Parker 18 Jan., Wks. 1848 VIII. 193, I‥have found‥one book, written in the Saxon tongue.‥ It may be Alfricus for all my cunning. 1589 Puttenham Eng. Poesie ii. vi. (Arb.) 90 Ryme is a borrowed word from the Greeks by the Latines and French, from them by vs Saxon angles. 1605 Camden Rem., Languages 24 The Saxon letter Thorne. 1781 Gibbon Decl. & F. xxv. (1787) II. 523 The Saxon pirates. Ibid. xxxviii. III. 610 The obscure hints of the Saxon laws and chronicles. 1819 Scott Ivanhoe xliii, The last scion of Saxon royalty. 1824 Johnson Typogr. II. 581 Greek, Hebrew, Saxon, &c., or any of the dead characters. 1840 Rituale Eccl. Dunelm. (Surtees) p. xii, An interlinear version into the Saxon language. 1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. vi. II. 130 In Ireland Scot and Southron were strongly bound together by their common Saxon origin. 1862 W. H. Jervis Hist. France v. §6 (1872) 65 Witikind became the hero of the Saxon resistance.


b. Used to denote the element of the English tongue which is derived from Anglo-Saxon.
†Saxon-English, †English-Saxon = Anglo-Saxon.

1589 Puttenham Eng. Poesie i. xxx. (Arb.) 72 This word (song) which is our naturall Saxon English word. Ibid. ii. xiii. 126 Our vulgar Saxon English standing most vpon wordes monosillable. Ibid. 130 Not content with the vsual Normane or Saxon word. ?1595–6 R. Carew Excell. Engl. Tongue in G. G. Smith Elizab. Crit. Ess. II. 287 In our natiue Saxon language. 1840 Carlyle Heroes v. (1841) 307 Wheresoever a Saxon dialect is spoken. 1849 F. W. Newman Soul 71 Poetry must have Saxon vocables. 1860 G. J. Whyte-Melville Mkt. Harb. 2 Mr. Sawyer's fluency in all Saxon expletives is undeniable.


c. Used (primarily by Celtic speakers: see A. 1b) for ‘English’ in contradistinction to Welsh and Irish or Gaelic. Also, in wider sense, applied, like Anglo-Saxon, to the people of England and of the other English-speaking communities, chiefly in contradistinction to ‘Latin’.

1787 Burns ‘When Guilford good’ vii, The Saxon lads, wi' loud placads, On Chatham's Boy did ca', man. a1845 C. G. Duffy in Spirit of Nation 3 Saxon wiles or Saxon powers Can enslave our land no longer Than your own dissensions wrong her. 1847 Emerson Repr. Men, Uses of Gt. Men Wks. (Bohn) I. 282 Every child of the Saxon race is educated to wish to be first. 1862 Calverley Verses & Transl. (1894) 49 Then nectar—was that beer, or whisky~toddy? Some say the Gaelic mixture, I the Saxon. 1893 Leland Mem. II. 64, I never found a Saxon-Englishman who had this step.


d. Arch. Used to designate the special variety of Romanesque architecture used in England in the ‘Saxon period’. (Formerly often misapplied to early Norman buildings.)

17‥ Warburton Note on Pope's Ep. Ld. Burlington 29 This, by way of distinction, I would call the Saxon Architecture. 1762–71 H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Paint. (1786) I. 181 This Saxon style begins to be defined by flat and round arches. 1797 Encycl. Brit. (ed. 3) II. 222/1 Those arcades we see in the early Norman or Saxon buildings or walls. 1825 Scott Betrothed xiii, With doors and windows forming the heavy round arch which is usually called Saxon.


2. absol. (quasi-n.). The language of the Saxons: a. = Anglo-Saxon in its various applications. Often used for Modern English speech of Saxon or Anglo-Saxon origin; English diction derived chiefly from the Saxon stock, as distinct from the Latin and French elements.
†English Saxon = Anglo-Saxon.

1388 Purvey Prol. Bible 59 Bede translatide the bible, and expounide myche in Saxon, that was English, either comoun langage of this lond. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 206 For Couste in Saxoun is to sein Constance upon the word Romein. 1589 Puttenham Eng. Poesie ii. v. (Arb.) 90 For this purpose serue the monosillables of our English Saxons [sic] excellently well. Ibid. iii. iv. (Arb.) 157 Neither shall he take the termes of Northern-men,‥nor in effect any speach vsed beyond the riuer of Trent, though no man can deny but that theirs is the purer English Saxon at this day. 1624 Fletcher Wife for a Month 1, A Letter, But 'tis a womans, Sir, I know by the hand, And the false Orthography, they write old Saxon. 1662 M. W. Marriage Broaker 72 He in olde Saxon's call'd a match-maker. 1819 Scott Ivanhoe xxvi, Here is a letter, and, if I mistake not, it is in Saxon. 1820 Gentl. Mag. Apr. 312/1 Maund. This word being derived from the Saxon, deserves to be in more frequent and general use.


b. Old Saxon: the language of the Old Saxons (see A. 1), especially as exemplified in the remains of 9th century poetry, including the Heliand and some fragments of paraphrases of the story of Genesis.

1841 R. G. Latham Eng. Lang. iii. 51 Grammatical Structure of Old Saxon, as compared with Anglo-Saxon. 1908 Wright O.E. Grammar 2 Low German.‥ Up to about 1300 it is generally called Old Saxon.


3. a. Of or belonging to Saxony in its modern German sense. (See A. 2.)

a1634 Chapman Alphonsus iii. i. 271 With Saxon lans~knights and brunt-bearing Switzers. 1737 Gentl. Mag. VII. 3/1 The thriving‥Trade of all sorts of Saxon Cloths. 1842 Macaulay Ess., Fredk. Gt. (near beginning), Even Frederic William, with all his rugged Saxon prejudices, thought it necessary that his children should know French. 1842 J. Bischoff Woollen Manuf. II. 363 The indigenous Saxon breed [of sheep] resembled that of the neighbouring states.


b. Saxon blue = Saxony blue s.v. Saxony n. 2. Saxon green: cobalt green.

1753 Hanway Trav. (1762) I. vii. xciv. 432 The blues and greens, commonly called Saxon, are best dyed in this place. 1766 W. Gordon Gen. Counting-ho. 428, 2 Saxon-green durants. 1771 Woulfe in Phil. Trans. LXI. 127 Saxon blues‥are made by dissolving indigo in oil of vitriol. 1775 Romans Hist. Florida App. 19 The color of the water changes‥to a beautiful saxon blue. 1804 tr. Tingry's Painter & Varnisher's Guide 302 Smalt, or the vitreous oxide of saffer, reduced to coarse powder, is distinguished by the name of coarse Saxon blue, or enamel blue. 1968 E. Brill Old Cotswold v. 85 It is sometimes mixed with indigo, or in the old days with woad, to give what dyers call Saxon Green. 1976 Southern Even. Echo (Southampton) 12 Nov. (Advt. Suppl.) 14/3, 1973 Vauxhall Viva. Saxon blue.‥ £1095.