Word Origin & History
Greek cross with arms bent at right angles, 1871 (later specifically as emblem of the Nazi party, 1932), from Skt. svastika-s, lit. "being fortunate," from svasti-s "well-being, luck," from su- "well" + as-, root of asti "(he) is," from root of L. esse "to be" (see
). Also known as gammadion and fylfot. Originally an ancient cosmic or religious symbol thought to bring good luck. Use in reference to the Nazi emblem first recorded in Eng. in 1932. The Ger. word was Hakenkreuz, lit. "hook-cross."