Attributive Designating a group of chiefly eastern Indo-European languages having sibilants (as in Avestan satəm) where cognate words in the western group have (voiceless) velar plosives; relating to or characteristic of this group. Contrasted with centum .
It is disputed whether the centrum–satem division reflects a dialectal split in early Indo-European.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Classical Review. From German Satem, denoting a group of languages from Avestan satəm hundred, chosen as an example of a word reflecting the distinctive phonological feature of this group of languages.