See also: sìth, siþ, and síð


Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English sith (journey, movement, lifetime, period, occasion), from Old English sīþ (journey, movement, trip, point in time, occasion), from Proto-Germanic *sinþaz, from Proto-Indo-European *sent- (to go, head). Cognate with Faroese sinn (time), Gothic 𐍃𐌹𐌽𐌸𐍃 (sinþs, path, movement), Icelandic sinn (time) . See also send.



sith (plural siths)

  1. (obsolete) A journey, way.
    • c. 1450, “Thomas of India”, in The Towneley Plays:
      The holy ghost before us glad / full softly on his sith.
  2. (obsolete) One's journey of life, experience, one's lot, also by extension life, lifetime.
    Christ's sith of sorrow and suffering.
  3. (obsolete) An instant in time, a point in time or an occasion.
    • a. 1450, Secretum Secretorum in Ashmole:
      Of them the other philosophers have, by siths, taken their beginning.
    • 1590, Spenser, Edmund, The Faerie Queene, book 3, canto X, stanza 33:
      The foolish man thereat woxe wondrous blith, / As if the word so spoken, were halfe donne, / And humbly thanked him a thousand sith, / That had from death to life him newly wonne.
    • 1598, Hall, Joseph, Quid placet ergo?, line 79:
      His land mortgag'd, he, sea-beat in the way, / Wishes for home a thousand siths a day.
Usage notesEdit

Sith fell out of common usage in the 16th century. 14th and 15th century mentions are plentiful and the presence of this word in such works as The Towneley Plays (which were performed up until the latter half of the 16th century) indicates that the word was still probably in use throughout the first half of the 16th century, mostly in various idioms and set expressions. The phrase “by siths” used to mean “at times, sometimes”.



Etymology 2Edit

8th to 16th century. Clipping of sithen. Compare German seit (since).




  1. (obsolete) since.
    • 1552, Latimer, Hugh, “Sermon 27: Epistle for Twenty-First Sunday After Trinity”, in Sermons of Hugh Latimer, Cambridge University Press, published 1844, page 494:
      Therefore we need not fear them, sith Christ is with us.
    • 1602, Shakespeare, William, Hamlet, act 2 scene 2, lines 6-7:
      Sith nor th'exterior nor the inward man / Resembles that it was.
    • Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.
Related termsEdit


  • Shipley, Joseph T. (1955) Dictionary of Early English, Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 602