Assyrians and Babylonians and others who lived round the ancient Fertile Crescent, and their modern descendants, both Jews and Muslims. The name is derived from Shem (son of Noah, Gen. 6: 10). (In modern parlance, since the late 19th cent., including NT scholarship, the term ‘anti-Semitic’ is used more restrictively to describe opposition to Judaism.) Groups of languages spoken by peoples of that region are known as Semitic, classical Hebrew being just one. The particular Semitic contribution to civilization was the development of an alphabet.