First used by Caesar and Tacitus to describe tribes as distinct from the Gauls and originally from the east of the Rhine. Of uncertain origin; several conjectures have been put forward, such as that it derives from a Celtic/Gaulish word meaning "neighbor" (compare Old Irish gair (“neighbor”)) or "noisy" (compare Old Irish garim (“shout; loud cry”)), or is related to Old High German gēr (“spear”); it may have originally been the name of a particular tribe. It is not to be confused with word germānus (“of brothers or sisters”), which derives from germen (“sprout, bud”) and is thought to be unrelated.
- a person from a Germanic people
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- Germanus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- Germanus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories (1991, →ISBN), page 194
- Ernest Weekley, An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English, volume 1 (A-K) (2013, →ISBN), page 634: "Prob. orig. name of particular tribe. [...] Etymologies proposed for the name (e.g. Olr. gair, neighhour, gairm, war-cry, OHG. ger, spear) are pure conjectures."