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Sabbat or sabbat?

This post was written by Elysia
on March 11, 2010 | Comments (6)

This may be one of my shortest blog posts ever, but bear with me.

I realized today while proofing some copy on “celebrating the sabbats” that I am more used to seeing the word sabbat capitalized – as in, “celebrating the Sabbats.”

I asked one of our trusted Llewellyn editors what she thought, and she pointed out that the word holiday is never capitalized, but the names of the holidays are. (Or in this case, Beltane, Samhain, Lughnasadh, and so on.) Also it often happens that the word sabbat and the name of the sabbat appear side-by-side, making it look a little silly to capitalize both – “as we approach the Sabbat Beltane,” for example.

What do you think? Do you want to see Sabbat uppercased, or lowercased? Let’s hear your opinions! (And to make things really fun, you can also include how you pronounce Sabbat – I’ve heard a few variations and never really knew why some people preferred one way over another.)

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By JH
on March 11th, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

Sabbat should definitely be lowercase.
Isn’t it just pronounced sa-bat? How else would it be pronounced? I guess you could give it a sort of a soft t like sabbath.

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#2 
Written By Jolee Cleary
on March 12th, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

I also think sabbat should be lower cased, as in holiday. As far as a pronunciation, I’ve always gone with sa-baht’.

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#3 
Written By Raven Digitalis
on March 14th, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

Definitely uppercase — as with The Sabbath, or other holidays :) But I can understand the argument of it being a word equivalent to ‘holiday.’ I always prounounce it Sah-bat (as in rhyming with Rabbit)

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#4 
Written By Hilary
on March 15th, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

I agree with the reasoning on lowercasing “sabbat”, and I pronounce it “sa-bat”. I love this post! I’m a copy editor; I talk about this kind of stuff all the time!

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#5 
Written By Elysia
on March 16th, 2010 @ 8:29 am

Thanks for all your input! The question about pronunciation hasn’t been cleared up though, because writing sa-bat doesn’t really tell me anything about how you pronounce it!

The two ways I’ve heard it are:
SAB-bit (rhyming with rabbit, as Raven wrote) or
sab-BOT (not really rhyming with anything, but the first a sounding like a schwa, end sounding like the end of robot).
The syllable stress is obviously different in both versions too.

Any takers?

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#6 
Written By Emairelhd
on August 28th, 2012 @ 11:59 am

I have always thought of the word sabbat a bit like the word earth. I like it capitalized when writing about it as a proper noun: “The witches met to celebrate the winter Sabbat.” When writing of it in a more abstract way, I prefer not to have it capitalized: “She was dressed in her sabbat finery.” In the later sentence the word is used as an adjective, the word sabbat is describing the type of finery. While in the first it is the noun, the word sabbat is the object of the celebration and being used in its proper form.

Thoughts anyone?

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