1. A member of a Germanic people that once lived near the mouth of the Elbe, and in Roman times spread across Germany from Schleswig to the Rhine. Some (the Anglo-Saxons: that is, those who joined the Angles) migrated in the 5–6c to Britain; others (the Ealdseaxe, Old Saxons) became the founding people of Saxony, the name of a German territory that has changed its location and political standing several times over the centuries.
2. The DIALECTS spoken by the Saxons in southern England, in Essex (home of the East Saxons), Middlesex (the Middle Saxons), Sussex (the South Saxons). and Wessex (the West Saxons). The term has sometimes been used instead of OLD ENGLISH and ANGLO-SAXON, as the name of the language carried to Britain by the Angles and Saxons.
3. A native of Saxony.
4. The Low German dialect of Saxony.
5. An English man or woman, especially in medieval times, in contrast to Norman, and sometimes in more recent times in contrast to Latin and Celt.
6. Also Saxon English, Saxon language. Formerly, a name for native or VERNACULAR English in contrast to French and Latinate usage: ‘Our vulgar Saxon English standing most vpon wordes monsillable’ ( George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, 1589).
7. Relating to any of the above: Saxon traditions.
Sax·on / ˈsaksən/ • n. 1. a member of a Germanic people that inhabited parts of central and northern Germany from Roman times, many of whom conquered and settled in southern England in the 5th–6th centuries. ∎ a native of modern Saxony in Germany. 2. the language of the Saxons, in particular: ∎ (Old Saxon) the West Germanic language of the ancient Saxons. ∎ the Low German dialect of modern Saxony. • adj. 1. of or relating to the Anglo-Saxons, their language (Old English), or their period of dominance in England (5th–11th centuries). 2. of or relating to Saxony or the continental Saxons or their language. DERIVATIVES: Sax·on·ize / -ˌnīz/ v.
In modern English usage (primarily as a term used by Celtic speakers), Saxon means an English person as distinct from someone of Welsh, Irish, or Scots origin, a Sassenach.
Saxon Shore the coast of Britain, from Norfolk to Hampshire, as fortified by the Romans.