1400, in kenebowe, perhaps from phrase in keen bow “at a sharp angle,” or from a Scand
Ainu — people native to northern Japan and far eastern Russia, 1819, from Ainu, lit. “man, human.” Once considered to be Caucasian based on their appearance, DNA testing has dispelled this.
Their language is an isolate with no known relatives. air (1) — c.1300, “invisible gases that make up the atmosphere,” from O.Fr.
Air, from L. ærem (nom. ær), from Gk.
Aer (gen. æros) “air” (related to aenai “to blow, breathe”), of unknown origin, possibly from a base *awer- and thus related to aeirein “to raise” and arteria “windpipe, artery” (see aorta), on notion of “lifting, that which rises.” In Homer mostly “thick air, mist;” later “air” as one of the four elements.
Words for “air” in Indo-European languages tend to be associated with wind, brightness, sky.
Replaced native lyft, luft (see loft).
The verb meaning “to expose to open air” is first recorded 1530.
Broadcasting sense (eg on the air) first recorded 1927.
Air-conditioning first attested 1909, originally an industrial process; main modern use in residences and office buildings is from 1930s.
Air-freshener first attested 1949.
Air-tight “impervious to air” is from 1760; fig.
Sense of “incontrovertible” (of arguments, alabis, etc.) is from 1929.
Airmail is from 1913; airport first attested 1919; Airhead “empty-headed person” first recorded 1972.
Airily is from 1766.
To give (someone) the air “dismiss” is from 1900. air (2) — assumed manner, affected appearance, 1660 (esp.
In phrase put on airs, 1781), perhaps via Fr.
Air, from L.
Ager “place, field” (see acre) on notion of “place of origin.” Air in the sense of “manner, appearance” (eg an air of mystery) is attested in Eng.
From 1596, an independent adoption of Fr.
Air, which had acquired this sense. air (3) — melody, tune, 1590, from It.
Aria (see aria). air force — 1917, from air + force, first attested with creation of the Royal Air Force.
There was no United States Air Force until after World War II.
The Air Corps was an arm of the U.S.
In 1942, the War Department reorganized it and renamed it Army Air Forces.
The National Security Act of 1947 created the Department of the Air Force, headed by a Secretary of the Air Force, and the U.S.A.F. airedale — type of terrier, 1880, named for Airedale, a district in West Riding, Yorkshire. airplane — 1907, from air + plane; though the original references are British, the word caught on in Amer.Eng., where it largely superseding earlier aeroplane (1873, and still common in British Eng.; q.v.).
Aircraft is also from 1907; airship is 1888, from Ger.
Luftschiff “motor-driver dirigible.” Air-raid first attested 1914, in ref.
To British attacks on Cologne and Dusseldorf in WWI. aisle — c.1370, ele, from O.Fr.
Ele “wing” (of a church), from L.
Ala, related to axilla “wing, upper arm, armpit,” from PIE *aks- “axis” (see axis), via a suffixed form *aks-la-.
The root meaning in “turning” connects it with axle and axis.
With unrelated ile “island” (perhaps from notion of a “detached” part of a church), and so it took an -s- when isle did, c.1700; by 1750 it had acquired an a-, on the model of Fr.
The word also was confused with alley, which gave it the sense of “passage between rows of pews or seats” (1731), which was then extended to railway cars, theaters, etc. ajar — 1718, perhaps from Scottish dialectal a char “slightly open,” earlier on char (early 16c.), from M.E.
Char, from O.E.
Cier “a turn.” Ajax — name of two Gk.
Heroes in the Trojan War (Great Ajax, son of Telamon, and Little Ajax, son of Oileus), L., from Gk.
Aias, probably originally the name of an earth-god, from aia “earth.” akimbo — c.1400, in kenebowe, perhaps from phrase in keen bow “at a sharp angle,” or from a Scand.
Word akin to Icelandic kengboginn “bow-bent.” Many languages use a teapot metaphor for this, such as Fr.
Faire le pot a deux anses “to play the pot with two handles.” akin — 1558, from phrase of kin. Akkadian — 1855, from Akkad (Sumerian Agde, Biblical Acca), name of city founded by Sargon I in northern Babylonia, of unknown origin; applied by modern scholars to the east Sem.
Language spoken there (c.2300-2100 B.C.E.) and preserved in cuneiform inscriptions. al dente — 1935, from It., lit. “to the tooth.” al fresco — 1753, from It., lit. “in the fresh (air).” The It.
Al represents a contraction of words from L.
Ad “to” + ille “that.” Alfresco also meant “painted on plaster that was still fresh or moist” (1764; see fresco). al Qaida — also Al-Qaeda, name of a loosely structured jihadist movement founded c.1989 by Osama bin Laden; from Arabic, lit. “the base.” A common Arabic term among Muslim radicals from the wider Islamic world who came to Afghanistan in 1980s and fought alongside local rebels against the Soviets, and who regarded themselves and their struggle not merely in Afghan terms but as the “base” or foundation of a wider jihad and revival in Islam.
Used by Bin Laden’s mentor, Abdallah Azzam (1941-1989), who refered to the “vanguard” which “constitutes the strong foundation [al-qaida al-sulbah] for the expected society.” In U.S., the term first turns up in a CIA report in 1996. Alabama — created and named as a U.S.
Territory 1817 by a division of Mississippi Territory; ultimately named for one of the native peoples who lived there, who speak Muskogean.
Their name probably is from a Choctaw term meaning “plant-cutters.” alabaster — a translucent whitish kind of gypsum used for vases, ornaments, and busts, 1375, from O.Fr.
Alabastre, from L.
Alabaster “colored rock used to make boxes and vessels for unguents,” from Gk.
Alabast(r)os “vase for perfumes,” probably from Egypt. ‘a-labaste “vessel of the goddess Bast.” Used figuratively for whiteness and smoothness from 1580. alack — 1480, from ah, lack, from lack (q.v.) in M.E.
Sense of “loss, failure, reproach, shame.” Originally an expression of dissatisfaction, later of regret or surprise. alacrity — c.1510, from L.
Alacritas) “liveliness,” from alacer (gen.
Alacris) “cheerful, brisk, lively;” cognate with Goth.
Aljan “zeal,” O.E.
Ellian. Aladdin — name of a hero in stories from the Arabian Nights, from Arabic Ala’ al Din, lit. “nobility of faith.” Alamo — nickname of Franciscan Mission San Antonio de Valeroin (begun 1718, dissolved 1793) in San Antonio, Texas; Amer.Sp., lit. “poplar” (in New Spain, also “cottonwood”), from alno “the black poplar,” from L.
Alnus “alder.” Perhaps so called in reference to trees growing nearby (cf.
Alamogordo, New Mexico, lit. “big poplar,” and Sp.
Alameda “a public walk with a row of trees on each side”); but the popular name seems to date from the period 1803-13, when the old mission was the base for a Spanish cavalry company from the Mexican town of Alamo de Parras in Nueva Vizcaya. Alan/Allen — masc.
Proper name, 1066, from O.Bret.
Alan, name of a popular Welsh and Breton saint, brought to England by the large contingent of Bretons who fought alongside William the Conqueror. Alaric — Visigothic masc.
Proper name, lit. “all-ruler,” from P.Gmc. *ala- “all” + *rikja “rule.” alarm — c.1325, from O.Fr.
Alarme, from It.
All’arme “to arms!” (lit. “to the arms”).
That came to be used as the name of the call or warning.
To “any sound to warn of danger or to arouse.” Weakened sense of “apprehension, unease” is from 1833.
Variant alarum is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form.
The verb is 1590, from the noun.
Alarmist “one addicted to sounding alarms” is from 1793. alas — c.1260, from O.Fr.
Ha, las (later Fr.
Hélas), from ha “ah” + las “unfortunate,” originally “tired, weary,” from L.
Lassus “weary,” originally an expression of weariness rather than woe. — aquatint — 1782, “engraving made with aqua fortis” (q.v.), from It.
Acquatinta, from L.
Aqua tincta “dyed water.” aqueduct — 1538, from L.
Aquæductus “conveyance of water,” from aquæ, gen.
Of aqua “water,” + ductus “a leading, conducting,” pp.
Of ducere “to lead” (see duke). aqueous — 1643, from L.
Aqua “water,” on analogy of Fr.
Aqueux. aquifer — 1901, coined from L.
Form of aqua “water” + -fer “bearing,” from ferre “to bear” (see infer). aquiline — 1646, from L.
Aquilinus “of or like an eagle,” from aquila “eagle.” Originally in Eng.
To long, hooked noses. Arab (n.) — c.1391 (Arabiens), from O.Fr.
Arabe, from L.
Arabem), from Gk.
Arabos), from Arabic ‘arab, indigenous name of the people, perhaps lit. “inhabitant of the desert” (rel.
As a prized type of horse, it is attested from 1666.
Meaning “homeless little wanderer, child of the street” is from 1848, in ref.
To nomadic ways.
Arab League formed in Cairo, March 22, 1945.
Arabic numerals (actually Indian) first attested 1727; they were introduced in Europe by Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Sylvester II) after a visit to Islamic Spain in 967-970.
A prominent man of science, he taught in the diocesan school at Reims, but the numbers made little headway against fierce conservative opposition in the Church until after the Crusades.
The earliest depiction of them in Eng., in “The Crafte of Nombrynge” (c.1350) correctly identifies them as “teen figurys of Inde.” arabesque — 1611, “Moorish or Arabic ornamental design,” from Fr.
Arabesque, from It.
Arabesco, from Arabo “Arab,” with reference to Moorish architecture.
As a ballet pose, first attested 1830.
Musical sense, in ref.
To an ornamented theme, is from 1864, originally the title given by Robert Schumann to one of his piano pieces. arable — c.1410, “capable of being plowed” (as opposed to pasture- or wood-land), from O.Fr.
Arable, from L.
Arabilis, from arare “to plow,” from PIE *are- “to plow” (cf.
Ariu “to plow;” Goth.
Airim, Welsh arddu “to plow;” O.N.
Arþr “a plow”).
Replaced native erable, from O.E.
Erian “to plow.” arachnid — 1869, from Fr.
Arachnide (1806), introduced as name for this class of arthropods 1815 by Fr.
Biologist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829), from Gk.
Arachne “spider,” which probably is cognate with L.
Aranea “spider, spider’s web” (from aracsna). Aramaic — northern branch of Sem.
Language group, 1834, from biblical land of Aram, roughly corresponding to modern Syria, probably related to Heb.
Rum “to be high,” thus originally “highland.” arbalest — crossbow, c.1100, from O.Fr.
Arbaleste, from V.L.
Arbalista, from L.L.
Arcuballista “catapult,” from L.
Arcus “bow” (see arc) + ballista “machine for throwing projectiles” (see ballistic). arbiter — 1502, from L.
Arbiter “one who goes somewhere (as witness or judge),” from ad- “to” + baetere “to come, go.” The spec.
Sense of “one chosen by two disputing parties to decide the matter” is from 1549.
Arbitration in this sense is from 1634 (see also arbitrate).
The earliest form of the word attested in Eng.
Is the fem.
Noun arbitress (1340) “a woman who settles disputes.” arbitrary — 1424 (in arbitrament), “deciding by one’s own discretion,” from L.
Arbitrarius, from arbiter (see arbiter).
The original meaning gradually descended to “capricious” (1646) and “despotic” (1642). arbitrate — 1590, from L.
Of arbitrari “to give a decision,” from arbiter (see arbiter).
In modern usage, an arbiter makes decisions of his own accord and is accountable to no one but himself; an arbitrator (1424) decides issues referred to him by the parties. arbor — c.1300, herber, “herb garden,” from O.Fr.
Erbier, from L.
Herba “grass, herb.” Later “a grassy plot” (c.1325), “a shaded nook” (c.1350).
Probably not from L.
Arbor “tree,” though influenced by its spelling. Arbor Day — the day set aside for the planting of trees, first celebrated 1872 in Nebraska, the brainchild of J.
Arbor “tree,” of unknown origin. arbor vitae — type of evergreen shrub, 1664, name given by Fr.
Physician and botanist Charles de Lécluse, from L., lit. “tree of life.” Used in late 18c.
Rogue’s slang as a cant word for “penis.” arboreal — c.1667, from L.
Arbor “tree,” of unknown origin. arboretum — 1838, from L., lit. “a place grown with trees,” from arbor “tree,” of unknown origin. arc — c.1386, from O.Fr.
Arc, from L.
Arcus “a bow, arch,” from PIE base *arqu- “bowed, curved” (cf.
Arhvazna “arrow,” O.E.
Earh, O.N. ör).
Electrical sense is from 1821. arcade — 1731, from It.
Arcata “arch of a bridge,” from L.
Arcus (see arc).
Applied to passages formed by a succession of arches, avenues of trees, and ultimately to any covered avenue, especially one lined with shops (1731) or amusements; hence arcade game (1977). Arcadian — ideally rustic or rural, 1590, from Gk.
Arkadia, district in the Peloponnesus, taken by poets as an ideal region of rural felicity, from Gk.
Arkadas), name of the founder of Arcadia. arcane — 1547, from L.
Arcanus “secret, hidden,” from arcere “close up,” from arca “chest, box,” from PIE *ark- “to hold, contain, guard” (cf.
Arkos “defense,” Arm.
Argel “obstacle,” Lith.
Raktas “key,” rakinti “to shut, lock”).
Arcana “hidden things” (1599) is a direct adoptation of the L.
Plural of arcanum, neut.
Of arcanus. arch (adj.) — 1547, “chief, principal,” from prefix arch- (from Gk.
Arkhos “chief;” see archon); used in 12c.
Archangel, etc., but extended to so many derogatory uses (arch-rogue, arch-knave, etc.) that it acquired a meaning of “roguish, mischievous,” since softened to “saucy” (1662).
Also found in archwife (c.1386) “A wife of a superior order.” arch (n.) — 1297, from O.Fr.
Arche “arch of a bridge,” from L.
Arcus (see arc).
Replaced native bow.
Transferred 1590 to anything having this form (eyebrows, etc.).
The verb meaning “to curve” is from 1625.
Archway is from 1802. Archaean — of the earliest geological age, 1872, from Gk.
Arkhaios “ancient,” from arkhe “beginning” (see archon). archaeology — 1607, “ancient history,” from Fr.
Archéologie, from Gk.
Arkhaiologia “the study of ancient things,” from arkhaios “ancient” (see Archaean).
Meaning “scientific study of ancient peoples” first recorded 1837. archaeopteryx — oldest known fossil bird, 1859, from Gk.
Arkhaio-, combining form of arkhaios “ancient, primitive” (see Archaean) + pteryx “wing.” archaic — 1832, originally of words no longer in use, from Fr.
Arkhaikos “old-fashioned,” from arkhaios “ancient” (see Archaean).
Archaism “an archaic word or expression” is attested from 1748. archangel — c.1175, from L.L.
Archangelus, from Gk.
Arkhangelos “chief angel,” from arkh- “chief, first” (see archon) + angelos (see angel).
Heah encgel. archbishop — O.E. ærcebiscop, from L.L.
Archiepiscopus, from Gk.
Arkhi- “chief” (see archon) + episkopos “overseer.” Replaced earlier O.E.
Heah biscop (see bishop).
Archdiocese is recorded from 1844. archduke — 1530, from M.Fr., from O.Fr.
Archeduc, from Merovingian L.
Archiducem (c.750), from arch- (see arch (adj.)) + duke (q.v.).
Formerly the title of the rulers of Austrasia, Lorraine, Brabant, and Austria; later the titular dignity of the sons of the Emperor of Austria. archer — 1297, from O.Fr.
Archier, from L.
Arcarius, from arcus “bow” (see arc).
Also a 17c.
Name for the bishop in chess.
Archery is c.1400, from O.Fr.
Archerie. archetype — original pattern from which copies are made, 1545, from L.
Archetypum, from Gk.
Arkhetypon “pattern, model,” neut.
Arkhetypos “first-moulded,” from arkhe- “first” (see archon) + typos “model, type, blow, mark of a blow.” Jungian psychology sense of “pervasive idea or image from the collective unconscious” is from 1919. Archibald — male proper name, from O.H.G.
Erchanbald, lit. “genuine bold,” from erchan “genuine” + bald (see bold).
Archie, British WWI military slang for “German anti-aircraft fire” (1915) supposedly is from black humor of airmen dodging hostile fire and thinking of the refrain of a popular music hall song, “Archibald, certainly not!” archipelago — 1502, from It.
Arcipelago “the Aegean Sea” (13c.), from Gk.
Arkhipelagos, from arkhi- “chief” (see archon) + pelagos “sea.” Aegean Sea being full of island chains, the meaning was extended in It.
To “any sea studded with islands.” Etymologists, noting the absence of arkhipelagos in ancient or Med.Gk. (the modern word in Gk.
Is borrowed from It.) believe it is an It.
Mistake for Aigaion pelagos “Aegean Sea” (M.L.
Egeopelagus), or influenced by that name. architect — 1563, from M.Fr.
Architecte, from L.
Architectus, from Gk.
Arkhitekton “master builder,” from arkhi- “chief” (see archon) + tekton “builder, carpenter” (see texture).
Architecture also is from 1563. architrave — 1563, from It.
Architrave, from archi- “beginning, origin” + trave “beam,” from L.
Trabs). archives — 1603, from Fr.
Archif, from L.L.
Archivum (sing.), from Gk.
Ta arkheia “public records,” pl.
Of arkheion “town hall,” from arkhe “government,” lit. “beginning, origin, first place” (see archon).
The verb is first attested 1934. archon — one of the nine chief magistrates of ancient Athens, 1659, from Gk.
Arkhon “ruler,” prp.
Of arkhein “to rule,” from PIE *arkhein- “to begin, rule, command,” a “Gk.
Verb of unknown origin, but showing archaic Indo-European features …
With derivatives arkhe, ‘rule, beginning,’ and arkhos, ‘ruler’ ” [Watkins]. -archy — suffix meaning “rule,” from L. -archia, from Gk. -arkhia, from arkhos “leader, chief, ruler,” from arkhe “beginning, origin, first place” (see archon). Arctic — c.1391, artik, from O.Fr.
Artique, from M.L.
Articus, from L.
Arcticus, from Gk.
Arktikos “of the north,” lit. “of the (constellation) Bear,” from arktos “bear,” the Bear being a northerly constellation.
From the usual ie base for “bear” (cf.
Avestan aresho, Arm.
Ursus, Welsh arth); see bear (n.) for why the name changed in Gmc.
The -c- was restored 1556.
Arctic Circle (66 degrees 32 minutes north), first attested 1556, is that inside which the Great Bear never sets. Arcturus — c.1374, bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), anciently associated with the Bear, and is Gk.
For “guardian of the bear.” See Arctic; second element is from ouros “watcher, guardian, ward.” ardent — c.1374, from O.Fr.
Ardant, from L.
Of ardere “to burn,” from PIE base *as- “to burn, glow” (cf.
Asah “ashes, dust,” Arm.
Azazem “I dry up,” Gk.
Azein “to dry up, parch,” Goth.
Azgo, O.E. æsce “ashes,” L.
Ardus “parched, dry”).
Sense (of passions, desire, etc.) was earliest in Eng.; literal sense of “burning, parching” (c.1440) remains rare.
Ardent spirits (1471) “strong alcoholic liquor” so called because they are inflammable, but the term now, if used at all, probably is felt in the fig.
Sense. ardor — c.1386, “heat of passion or desire,” from O.Fr.
Ardour, from L.
Ardor) “a flame, fire,” from ardere “to burn” (see ardent).
In M.E., used of base passions; since Milton’s time, of noble ones. arduous — 1538, “high, steep, difficult to climb,” from L.
Arduus “high, steep,” from PIE base *eredh- “to grow, high” (see ortho-).
Metaphoric extension to “difficult” first attested 1713. are (n.) — square unit of 10 meters on each side, 1819, from Fr., formed 1795 by decree of the French National Convention, from L.
Area “vacant piece of ground” (see area). are (v.) — present pl.
Indicative of be, from O.E.
Earun (Mercian), aron (Northumbrian), see be.
Also from O.N.
In 17c., began to replace be, ben as first person plural present indicative in standard English.
The only non-dialectal survival of be in this sense is the powers that be.
But in southwest England, we be (in Devonshire us be) remains non-standard idiom as a contradictory positive (“You people aren’t speaking correct English.” “Oh, yes we be!”).
Aren’t, contraction of are not, is first recorded 1794. — arrange — 1375, “to draw up a line of battle,” from O.Fr.
Arrangier, from a- “to” + rangier “set in a row,” from rang “rank,” from Frank. *hring.
A rare word until the meaning generalized to “to place things in order” c.1780-1800.
Musical sense of “adapt for other instruments or voices” is from 1808. arrant — c.1386, variant of errant (q.v.), at first merely derogatory, then (1550) acquiring a meaning “thoroughgoing, downright.” arras — 1397, from Anglo-Norm.
Draps d’arras, from Arras, city in France where pictured tapestries were made, from L.
Atrebates, name of a tribe of the Belgae who inhabited the Artois region; probably lit. “inhabitants,” from a Celtic trebu “tribe.” array — 1297, from O.Fr.
Areer “to put in order,” from V.L. *ar-redare, from L.
Ad- “to” + Frank. *ræd- “ready” (cognate with Goth.
Geræde “ready”). arrears — c.1315 (implied in arrearage), from O.Fr.
Ariere “behind, backward,” from V.L. *ad retro, from L.
Ad “to” + retro “behind.” Meaning “balance due” dates from 1432; phrase in arrears first recorded 1620, but in arrearages is from 1393. arrest (v.) — to cause to stop, 1375, from O.Fr.
Arester “to stay, stop,” from V.L. *arrestare, from L.
Ad- “to” + restare “to stop, remain behind, stay back,” from re- “back” + stare “to stand,” from PIE base *sta- “to stand” (see stet).
Meaning “detain legally” is first recorded 1375.
Sense of “to catch and hold (the attention, etc.)” is from 1814; arresting in this sense is from 1792. arrive — 1205, from O.Fr.
Ariver “to come to land,” from V.L. *arripare “to touch the shore,” from L.
Ad ripam “to the shore,” from ad “to” + ripa “shore,” with an original meaning of coming ashore after a long voyage.
Sense of “to come to a position or state of mind” is from 1393. arrogance — 1303, from O.Fr.
Arrogance (12c.), from L.
Arrogantia, from arrogantem (nom.
Arrogans) “assuming, overbearing, insolent,” prp.
Of arrogare “to claim for oneself, assume,” from ad- “to” + rogare “ask, propose” (see rogation). arrogate — 1537, from L.
Stem of arrogare “to claim for oneself” (see arrogance). arrondissement — 1807, “administrative subdivision of a Fr.
Department,” from Fr., lit. “a rounding,” from stem of arrondir “to make round.” arrow — O.E.
Arwan, earlier earh “arrow,” possibly borrowed from O.N. ör (gen. örvar), from P.Gmc. *arkhwo (cf.
Arhwanza), from PIE base *arku- “bow and/or arrow,” source of Latin arcus (see arc).
The ground sense would be “the thing belonging to the bow,” perhaps a superstitious avoidance of the actual name.
A rare word in O.E., where more common words for “arrow” were stræl (cognate with the word still common in Slavic, once prevalent in Gmc., too; meaning related to “flash, streak”) and fla, flan, a N.Gmc.
Word, perhaps with the sense of “splinter.” Stræl disappeared by 1200; fla lingered in Scottish until after 1500.
Arrowhead is from 1483; ancient ones dug up also were called elf-arrows (17c.).
Arrowroot (1696) so called because it was used to absorb toxins from poison-dart wounds. arroyo — a watercourse, dry streambed, 1845, a California word, from Amer.Sp., from Sp., “rivulet, small stream,” from L.
Arrugia “shaft or pit in a gold mine,” apparently a compound of ad- “to” + ruga “wrinkle.” arse — buttocks, O.E. ærs “tail, rump,” from P.Gmc. *arsoz (cf.
Ars, M.Du. ærs, Ger.
Arsch “buttock”), cognate with Gk.
Orros “tail, rump, base of the spine,” Hittite arrash, Arm.
Or “buttock,” O.Ir.
Err “tail.” Arse-hole first attested c.1400 as arce-hoole.
Arsy-versy “backside foremost” first attested 1539. arsenal — 1506, “dockyard,” from It.
Arzenale, from Arabic dar as-sina’ah “house of manufacture, workshop,” from sina’ah “art, craft, skill,” from sana’a “he made.” Applied by the Venetians to a large wharf in their city, which was the earliest meaning in Eng.
Sense of “public place for making or storing weapons and ammunition” is from 1579. arsenic — c.1386, from O.Fr.
Arsenic, from L.
Arsenicum, from Gk.
Arsenikon “arsenic,” adopted for Syriac (al) zarniqa “arsenic,” from Middle Persian zarnik “gold-colored” (arsenic trisulphide has a lemon-yellow color).
Word is folk etymology, from arsen “male, strong, virile” (cf.
Arseno-koites “lying with men” in N.T.) supposedly in reference to the powerful properties of the substance.
The mineral (as opposed to the element) is properly orpiment, from L.
Auri pigmentum, so called because it was used to make golden dyes. arson — 1680, from Anglo-Fr.
Arsoun (1275), from O.Fr.
Arsion, from L.L.
Arsio) “a burning,” from L.
Of ardere “to burn,” from PIE base *as- “to burn, glow” (see ardent).
Term was bærnet, lit. “burning;” and Coke has indictment of burning (1640).
Arsonist is from 1864. art (n.) — c.1225, “skill as a result of learning or practice,” from O.Fr.
Art, from L.
Ars) “art, skill, craft,” from PIE *ar-ti- (cf.
Rtih “manner, mode;” Gk.
Arti “just,” artios “complete;” Armenian arnam “make,” Ger.
Art “manner, mode”), from base *ar- “fit together, join” (see arm (1)).
Usually with sense of “skill in scholarship and learning” (c.1305), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts (divided into the trivium — grammar, logic, rhetoric — and the quadrivium –arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy).
This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc.
Meaning “human workmanship” (as opposed to nature) is from 1386.
Sense of “cunning and trickery” first attested c.1600.
Meaning “skill in creative arts” is first recorded 1620; esp.
Of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1668.
Broader sense of the word remains in artless (1589).
As an adj.
Meaning “produced with conscious artistry (as opposed to popular or folk) it is attested from 1890, possibly from infl.
Kunstlied “art song” (cf.
Art film, 1960; art rock, c.1970).
Fine arts, “those which appeal to the mind and the imagination” first recorded 1767.
Art brut “art done by prisoners, lunatics, etc.,” is 1955, from Fr., lit. “raw art.” Artsy “pretentiously artistic” is from 1902.
Expression art for art’s sake (1836) translates Fr.
L’art pour l’art.
First record of art critic is from 1865.
Arts and crafts “decorative design and handcraft” first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888. “Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.
The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead.” [William Butler Yeats] art (v.) — second person present indicative of be; see be. art deco — decorative and architectural style of the period 1925–1940 is first attested 1966, from Fr.
Art décoratif, lit. “decorative art,” from L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris 1925. art nouveau — first recorded 1901, from Fr., lit. “new art.” Called in Ger.
Jugendstil. Artaxerxes — Persian masc.
Proper name, in classical history, a son of Xerxes II, also a son of Darius, from Gk.
Artaxerxes (explained by Herodotus as “Great Warrior”), from O.Pers.
Artaxšaca, lit. “having a kingdom of justice,” from arta- “justice” + xšaca “kingdom.” Artemis — Gk.
Goddess of the moon, wild animals, hunting, childbirth, etc., sister of Apollo; her name is of unknown origin. artery — 1398, from O.Fr.
Artaire, from L.
Arteria, from Gk.
Arteria “windpipe,” also “an artery,” as distinct from a vein; related to aeirein “to raise” (see aorta).
They were regarded by the ancients as air ducts because the arteries do not contain blood after death; medieval writers took them for the channels of the “vital spirits.” The word is used of major rivers from 1805; of railways from 1850.
Arteriosclerosis, from comb.
Form + Gk.
Sklerosis “hardening” is a Mod.L.
Formation first attested 1886. artesian — 1830, from Fr.
Puits artésien “wells of Artois,” French province where such wells were first bored 18c.
By Bélidor (1698-1761), from O.Fr.
Arteis, from Atrebates, a tribe who lived in northwestern Gallia. artful — skilled in adapting means to ends, 1739, from art (n.). arthritis — 1543, from L.
Arthritis, from Gk.
Nosos arthritis “disease of the joints,” from nosos “disease” + arthritis, fem.
Of arthrites (adj.) “pertaining to joints” (Gk.
Nosos is a fem.
Noun), from arthron “a joint” (see arthropod).
Arthritic was used in Eng.
As an adj.
And a noun from 1366. — battleship — 1794, shortened from line-of-battle ship (1705), one large enough to take part in a main attack (formerly one of 74-plus guns).
Battleship-gray as a color is attested from 1916.
Fighter and bomber airplanes in World War I newspaper articles were sometimes called battleplanes, but it did not catch on. battology — 1603, “needless repetition in speaking or writing,” from Gk.
Battologia “a speaking stammeringly,” from battos “stammerer” + -logia, from -logos “one who speaks (in a certain manner).” bauble — c.1320, from O.Fr.
Baubel “child’s toy, trinket,” probably a reduplication of bel, from L.
Bellus “pretty.” baud — 1932, originally a unit of speed in telegraphy, coined in Fr. 1929 in honor of Fr.
Inventor and engineer J.M.E.
Baudot (1845-1903), who designed a telegraph printing system. Bauhaus — 1923, from Ger., lit. “architecture-house;” school of design founded in Weimar, Germany, 1919 by Walter Gropius (1883-1969), later extended to the principles it embodied.
First element is bau “building, construction, structure,” from O.H.G.
Buan “to dwell” (see bound (adj.2)).
For second element, see (see house). bauxite — 1861, clayey mineral containing aluminum, from Fr., from Les Baux, near Soles, where it was first found.
The place name is from Prov.
Li Baus, lit. “the precipices.” bawd — a complicated word of uncertain history.
First attested 1483, “lewd person” (of either sex; since c.1700 applied only to women), probably from baude-strote “procurer of prostitutes” (1362), which may be from M.E.
Bawde (adj.) “merry, joyous,” from O.Fr.
Baud “gay, licentious” (from Frank.
It would not be the first time a word meaning “joyous” had taken on a sexual sense.
Word also is the source of Fr.
Baudet “donkey,” in Picardy dialect “loose woman.” The second element in baude-strote would be trot “one who runs errands,” or Gmc. *strutt (see strut).
But OED doubts all this.
There was an O.Fr.
Baudetrot of the same meaning (13c.), and this may be the direct source of M.E.
The obsolete word bronstrops “procuress,” frequently found in Middleton’s comedies, probably is an alt.
Of baude-strote Bawdry “obscenity” (c.1374) is probably from O.Fr.
Bauderie “boldness.” Bawdy is 1513, “of, pertaining to, or befitting a bawd;” usually of language (originally to talk bawdy). “Bawdy Basket, the twenty-third rank of canters, who carry pins, tape, ballads and obscene books to sell.” [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785] bawl — c.1440, from O.N.
Baula “to low like a cow,” and/or M.L.
Baulare “to bark like a dog,” both echoic.
To bawl (someone) out “reprimand loudly” is 1908, Amer.Eng. bay (1) — inlet of the sea, 1385, from O.Fr.
Baia (c.640), from Iberian bahia. bay (2) — opening in a wall, c.1325 (especially bay window, 1405), from O.Fr.
Of bayer “to gape, yawn,” from M.L.
Batare “gape,” perhaps of imitative origin.
Sick-bay “forepart of a ship’s main deck used as a hospital” is from 1582, from the notion of a recessed space. bay (3) — howl of a hound (especially when hunting), c.1300, from O.Fr.
Bayer, from PIE base *bai- echoic of howling (cf.
Baubari “to bark,” Eng.
Noun meaning “cornering of a hunted animal” is also 14c.
At bay (1649) is from special sense of “chorus raised by hounds in conflict with quarry.” bay (4) — reddish-brown, 1341, from Anglo-Fr.
Bai, from O.Fr.
Bai, from L.
Badius “chestnut-brown” (used only of horses), from PIE *badyo- “yellow, brown” (cf.
Also elliptical for a horse of this color. bay (5) — shrub (Laurus nobilis, source of the bay leaf), 1373, originally only of the berry, from O.Fr.
Baie “berry, seed,” from L.
Baca “berry.” Extension to the shrub itself is from 1530.
The leaves or sprigs were woven as wreaths for conquerors or poets.
Bayberry first recorded 1578. Bayard — generic or mock-heroic name for a horse, c.1374, from O.Fr.
Baiard, name of the bay-colored magic steed given by Charlemagne to Renaud in the legends, from O.Fr.
Baiart “bay-colored” (see bay (4)).
The name was also used attributively of gentlemen of courage and integrity, from Pierre du Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1473-1524), Fr.
Knight celebrated as Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, however the meaning deteriorated in later times till it came to denote blind recklessness and actual blindness.
The surname is perhaps in reference to hair color. bayonet — 1611, from Fr.
Baionnette, said to be from Bayonne, city in France where they were first made, or perhaps a dim.
Bayon “crossbow bolt.” bayou — 1766, via Louisiana Fr., from Choctaw bayuk “small stream.” bazaar — 1588, from It.
Bazarra, from Pers.
Bazar (Pahlavi vacar) “a market.” bazooka — metal tube rocket launcher, 1942, from name of a junkyard musical instrument used (c.1935) as a prop by U.S.comedian Bob Burns (1896-1956), extension of bazoo, slang for “mouth” or “boastful talk” (1877), probably from Du.
Bazuin “trumpet.” bazooms — woman’s breasts, 1955, Amer.Eng.
Slang alteration of bosoms. be — O.E.
Beon, beom, bion “be, exist, come to be, become,” from P.Gmc. *beo-, *beu-.
Roger Lass (“Old English”) describes the verb as “a collection of semantically related paradigm fragments,” while Weekley calls it “an accidental conglomeration from the different Old English dial[ect]s.” It is the most irregular verb in Mod.E.
And the most common.
Collective in all Gmc.
Languages, it has eight different forms in Mod.E.: BE (infinitive, subjunctive, imperative), AM (present 1st person singular), ARE (present 2nd person singular and all plural), IS (present 3rd person singular), WAS (past 1st and 3rd persons singular), WERE (past 2nd person singular, all plural; subjunctive), BEING (progressive & present participle; gerund), BEEN (perfect participle).
The modern verb represents the merger of two once-distinct verbs, the “b-root” represented by be and the am/was verb, which was itself a conglomerate.
The “b-root” is from PIE base *bheu-, *bhu- “grow, come into being, become,” and in addition to Eng.
It yielded Ger.
Present first and second person sing. (bin, bist, from O.H.G.
Bim “I am,” bist “thou art”), L.
Tenses of esse (fui “I was,” etc.), O.C.S.
Byti “be,” Gk.
Phu- “become,” O.Ir.
Bi’u “I am,” Lith.
Bu’ti “to be,” Rus.
Byt’ “to be,” etc.
It is also behind Skt.
Bhavah “becoming,” bhavati “becomes, happens,” bhumih “earth, world.” The paradigm in O.E.
Was: “1st pres.
Ic beo – SING.
Ic eom 1st pres.
We beoð – SING.
We sind(on) 2nd pres. þu bist – SING. þu eart 2nd pres.
Ge beoð – SING.
Ge sind(on) 3rd pres.
He bið – SING.
He is 3rd pres.
Hie beoð – SING.
Hie sind(on) 1st pret. — below — c.1325, biloogh, from be- “by” + logh, lou, lowe “low.” Apparently a variant of earlier a-lowe (influenced by other advs.
In be-, cf.
Before), the parallel form to an-high (now on high).
Beneath was the usual word; below was very rare in M.E.
And only gained currency in 16c.
It is frequent in Shakespeare.
Below is the opposite of above and concerns difference of level and suggests comparison of independent things.
Under is the opposite of over and is concerned with superposition and subjection and suggests some interrelation. Belshazzar — last Chaldean king of Babylon (Dan.
V), from Heb.
Belshatztzar, a contraction of Akkad.
Bel-shar-usur, lit. “Bel-protect-the-king” (see Bel). belt — O.E.
Belt, from P.Gmc. *baltjaz (cf.
Bälte), an early borrowing from L.
Balteus “girdle, sword belt,” said by Varro to be an Etruscan word.
As a mark of rank or distinction, c.1340; references to boxing championship belts date from 1812.
Transferred sense of “broad stripe encircling something” is from 1664; verb meaning “to thrash as with a belt” is from 1649; general sense of “to hit, thrash” is attested from 1838.
Below the belt “unfair” (1889) is from pugilism.
To get something under (one’s) belt is to get it into one’s stomach. Beltane — 1424, from Lowland Scot., from Gaelic bealltainn “May 1,” important Celtic religious rite marking the start of summer, probably lit. “blazing fire,” from PIE base *bhel- “to gleam” + O.Ir.
Ten “fire,” from PIE *tepnos, related to L.
Tepidus “warm.” But this derivation of the second element is hotly disputed by some on philological grounds.
Fires were equally important in the other Celtic holidays.
Also known as “Old May Day,” since after the 1752 calendar reform it continued to be reckoned according to Old Style; it was one of the quarter-days of ancient Scotland. beluga — 1591, from Rus.
Beluga, lit. “great white,” from belo- “white” + augmentative suffix -uga.
Originally the great sturgeon, found in the Caspian and Black seas; later (1817) also the small white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) found in northern seas. belvedere — raised turret atop a house, 1596, from It.
Belvedere, lit. “a fair sight,” from bel, bello “beautiful” + vedere “a view, sight” (see vista).
Pronunciation perhaps infl.
Form of the word.
So called because it was used for viewing the grounds. bemoan — O.E.
Bemænan; see be- + moan. bemuse — 1735, “to make utterly confused,” from be- + muse (cf.
Used humorously by Pope (1705) in the sense “devoted utterly to the Muses.” ben — mountain peak in Celtic place names (esp.
Of roughly pyramidal peaks standing alone), from Gael.
Beann, from O.Ir. *benno- “peak, horn, conical point,” from PIE base *bend- “projecting point.” bench — O.E.
Benc “long seat,” from P.Gmc. *bankiz (cf.
Used for “office of a judge” since 1292.
Sporting sense (in baseball, N.Amer.
Football, etc.) is from 1912; the verb meaning “to take out of the game” is from 1917.
Hence, also, bench-warmer (1892).
Benchmark “surveyor’s point of reference” is from 1842; fig.
Sense is from 1884. “The days for ‘bench-warmers’ with salaries are also past.” ["New York Sporting News," Jan. 9, 1892] bend — O.E.
Bendan “to confine with a string,” causative of bindan “to bind,” from P.Gmc.
Base *band- “string, band” (cf.
Benda “to join, strain, strive, bend”), from PIE base *bhendh- (cf.
Badhnati “binds,” Lith.
Bendras “partner;” O.Pers.
Modern sense (c.1320) is via notion of bending a bow to string it.
Cognate with band, bind, and bond).
The noun meaning “thing of bent shape” is from c.1600.
The bends “decompression pain” first attested 1894.
Bender “drinking bout” is U.S.
Slang, first attested 1846. beneath — O.E.
Be “by” + neoðan “below,” originally “from below,” from P.Gmc. *niþar “lower, farther down, down” (see nether).
Meaning “unworthy of” is attested from 1849 (purists prefer below in this sense). benedict — newly married man (especially one who had seemed a confirmed bachelor), 1821, from the character Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” (1599).
The name is from L.L.
Benedictus, lit. “blessed,” from L.
Benedicte “bless (you).” This also produced the proper name Bennet; hence also benet (c.1383), the third of the four lesser orders of the Roman Catholic Church, one of whose functions was to exorcize spirits. Benedictine — 1602, “one of the order known from the color of its dress as the Black Monks,” founded c.529 by St.
Benedict (see benedict). benediction — 1432, from L.
Benedictio), noun of action from benedicere “to speak well of, bless,” from bene “well” + dicere “to speak” (see diction).
The oldest sense in Eng.
Is of grace before meat.
The older Fr.
Form beneiçon passed into M.E.
As benison (c.1300). benefactor — 1451, from L.L.
Benefactor, from L.
Phrase bene facere, from bene “well” + facere “to do” (see factitious).
Translated in O.E.
As wel-doend. benefit (n.) — 1377, “good or noble deed,” from Anglo-Fr.
Benfet “well-done,” from L.
Benefactum “good deed” (see benefactor.) Meaning “advantage, profit” first attested 1393.
Meaning “performance or entertainment to raise money for some charitable cause” is from 1687.
The verb is attested from 1549.
Benefice “ecclesiastical living” is from 1340. Benelux — the customs union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, formed October 1947. benevolence — c.1384, “disposition to do good,” from L.
Benevolentia “good feeling,” from bene “well” + volantem (nom.
Of velle “to wish” (see will (v.)).
History, this was the name given to forced extra-legal loans or contributions to the crown, first so called 1473 by Edward IV, who cynically “asked” it as a token of good will toward his rule. benighted — 1575, “overtaken by darkness,” from be- + night (q.v.).
Sense of “in intellectual or moral darkness” (1634) first recorded in Milton. benign — c.1320, from O.Fr.
Benigne, from L.
Benignus “good, kind,” lit. “well born,” from bene “well” + gignere “to bear, beget,” from genus “birth” (see genus).
For similar sense evolution, see gentle, kind, generous. Benjamin — Jacob’s youngest son (Gen.
“v.18), from Heb.
Binyamin, lit. “son of the south,” though interpreted in Genesis as “son of the right hand,” from ben “son of” + yamin “right hand,” also “south” (in an East-oriented culture).
Arab cognate yaman “right hand, right side, south;” yamana “he was happy,” lit. “he turned to the right.” The right was regarded as auspicious (see left and dexterity). bent (1) — mental inclination, 1586, from the adj., “not straight” (c.1374), originally pp.
The verb meaning “directed in a course” is from 1697.
Phrase bent out of shape “extremely upset” is 1960s Air Force and college student slang. bent (2) — stiff grass, O.E.
Beonet, from W.Gmc. *binut- “rush, marsh grass” (cf.
Binse “rush, reed”), of unknown origin.
An obsolete word, but common in place names (cf.
Bentley, from O.E.
Beonet-leah). Benzedrine — amphetamine, 1933, registered as a proprietary name 1935 by Smith, Kline & French Laboratories, from benzoic + chemical suffix -edrine from ephedrine, etc.
It is a carbonate of benzyl-methyl-carbinamine.
Slang shortening benny first attested 1955. benzene — 1835, benzine, from Ger.
Benzin, coined in 1833 by Ger.
Chemist Eilhardt Mitscherlich (1794-1863) from Benz(oesäure) “benzoic acid.” Mitscherlich obtained it from a distillation of benzoic acid, obtained from benzoin (q.v.).
The form benzene dates from 1872 in Eng. — bier — O.E.
Bær (W.Saxon), ber (Anglian) “handbarrow, litter, bed,” from W.Gmc. *bero (O.H.G.
Bare), from base *ber- and thus related to the O.E.
Verb beran “to bear” (see bear (v.)), making a bier anything used for carrying, only later limited to funerary sense.
Since 1600, spelling influenced by Fr.
Bière, from O.Fr.
Biere, from Frankish *bera, from the same Gmc.
Root. bifocal — 1888, from bi- + focal (see focus).
Conceived by Benjamin Franklin, but called by him double spectacles. bifurcate — 1615, from M.L.
Bifurcatus, from L.
Bi- + furca, the root of fork. big — c.1300, northern England dialect, “powerful, strong,” of unknown origin, possibly from a Scand.
Bugge “great man”).
Meaning “of great size” is c.1386; that of “grown up” is attested from 1552.
Sense of “important” is from 1577.
Bigass (adj.) is 1940s military slang.
Bigwig is from 1781, from the large wigs formerly worn by men of importance.
Big band as a musical style is from 1926; Big Bang in astrophysics theory popularized (and possibly coined) by Brit.
Astronomer Fred Hoyle in a 1950 book.
Slang big head “conceit” is first recorded 1850.
Big business is 1905; big house “penitentiary” is U.S.
Underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, “a workhouse,” 1851).
In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956. Big Apple — New York, 1909 (but popularized by 1970s tourism promotion campaign), apparently from jazz musicians’ use of apple for any city, especially a Northern one. Big Ben — clock in the Parliament tower in London, generally said to have been named for Sir Benjamin Hall (1802–1867), first Chief Commissioner of Works, under whose supervision the bell was cast. Big Brother — apparently benevolent but repressive authority first recorded 1949, from George Orwell’s novel “1984.” Big Dipper — Amer.Eng.
Name for the seven-star asterism (known in England as Charles’ Wain; see Charles) in the constellation Ursa Major, first attested 1869, but certainly older than that.
In Anglo-Saxon times, it was O.E.
Wænes þisl “pole of the wain.” Big Mac — trademark name (McDonald’s Corp.) of a type of hamburger sandwich, patented 1974 but alleged to have been in use from 1957. bigamy — c.1250, from O.Fr.
Bigamie, from L.L.
Bigamus “twice married,” from bi- “double” + Gk.
Gamos “marrying” (see gamete). “Bigamie is unkinde ðing, On engleis tale, twie-wifing.” [c.1250] bight — O.E.
Byht “bend, angle, corner” (related to bow), from P.Gmc. *bukhtis (cf.
Geological sense of “indentation on a coastline” is from 1481. bigot — 1598, from M.Fr.
Bigot, from O.Fr., supposedly a derogatory name for Normans, the old theory (not universally accepted) being that it springs from their frequent use of O.E.
Oath bi God.
Plausible, since the Eng.
Were known as goddamns in Joan of Arc’s France, and during World War I Americans serving in France were said to be known as les sommobiches (see also son of a bitch).
But the earliest Fr.
Use of the word (12c.) is as the name of a people apparently in southern Gaul.
The earliest Eng.
Sense is of “religious hypocrite,” especially a female one, and may be influenced by beguine.
Sense extended 1687 to other than religious opinions. bijou — 1668, from Fr., from Breton bizou “(jeweled) ring,” from bez “finger” (cf.
Cornish bisou “finger-ring,” 13c.). bike — 1882, Amer.Eng., shortened and altered form of bicycle. bikini — 1948, from Fr.
Coinage, 1947, named for U.S.
A-bomb test of June 1946 on Bikini, Marshall Islands atoll, locally Pikinni and said to derive from pik “surface” and ni “coconut,” but this is uncertain.
Various explanations for the swimsuit name have been suggested, none convincingly, the best being an analogy of the explosive force of the bomb and the impact of the bathing suit style on men’s libidos (cf.
C.1900 British slang assassin “an ornamental bow worn on the female breast,” so called because it was very “killing”). “Bikini, ce mot cinglant comme l’explosion même …
Correspondant au niveau du vêtement de plage à on antéantissement de la surface vêtue; à une minimisation extrême de la pudeur.” [Le Monde, 1947] Variant style trikini (1967), with separate bra cups held on by Velcro, falsely presumes a compound in bi-. bilateral — 1775, from bi- + lateral (q.v.). bilbo — kind of sword noted for temper and elasticity, 1598, from Bilbao, town in northern Spain where swords were made, in Eng.
Bilboa. Bildungsroman — 1910, from Ger., from bildung “education” + roman “novel.” A novel set in the formative years, or the time of spiritual education, of the main character. bile — 1665, from Fr.
Bile, from L.
Bilis “fluid secreted by the liver,” also one of the four humors (also known as choler), thus “anger, peevishness” (especially as black bile, 1797).
Bilious “ill-tempered” first recorded 1561. bilge — 1513, “lowest internal part of a ship,” also “the foulness which collects there,” variant of bulge “ship’s hull,” also “leather bag,” from O.N.Fr.
Boulge “leather sack,” from L.L.
Bulga “leather sack,” apparently from Gaulish bulga. bilingual — 1847, from bi- + lingual. bilk (v.) — 1651, from the noun (1633), first used as a cribbage term.
Origin obscure, it was believed in 17c.
To be “a word signifying nothing,” perhaps of Arabic origin; but it is rather perhaps a thinned form of balk.
Meaning “to defraud” is first recorded 1672. bill (1) — written statement, c.1340, from Anglo-L.
Billa “list,” from M.L.
Bulla “decree, seal, document,” in classical L. “bubble, boss, stud, amulet for the neck” (hence “seal;” see bull (2)).
Sense of “account, invoice” first recorded 1404; that of “order to pay” (technically bill of exchange) is from 1579; that of “paper money” is from 1670.
Meaning “draft of an act of Parliament” is from 1512.
The verb meaning “to send someone a bill of charge” is from 1867.
Billboard is from 1851. bill (2) — bird’s beak, O.E., related to bil, a poetic word for “a kind of sword” (especially one with a hooked blade), common Gmc.
Word for cutting weapons (cf.
Bilda “hatchet,” O.S.
Bil “sword”), from PIE base *bhei- “to cut.” Used also in M.E.
Of beak-like projections of land. billet — 1599, “to assign quarters to,” earlier “official record or register” (M.E.), from Anglo-Fr.
Billette “list, schedule,” dim.
Of bille (see bill (1)). billet-doux — 1673, “love letter,” from Fr., lit. “sweet note,” from billet “document, note” (dim.
Of bille) + doux “sweet,” from L.
Dulcis (see dulcet). billiards — 1591, from Fr.
Billiard, originally the wooden cue stick, from O.Fr.
Bille “stick of wood,” from Gaul. *bilia “tree.” billingsgate — 1676, the kind of coarse, abusive language once used by women in the Billingsgate fish market on the River Thames below London Bridge (c.1250). “Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners a little on the left hand.” ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811] billion — 1690, from Fr.
Billion (originally byllion in Chuquet’s unpublished “Le Triparty en la Science des Nombres”, 1484; copied by De la Roche, 1520), from bi- “two” + (m)illion.
A million million in Britain and Germany (numeration by groups of sixes), which was the original sense; subsequently altered in Fr.
To “a thousand million” (numeration by groups of threes) and picked up in that form in U.S., “due in part to French influence after the Revolutionary War.” France then reverted to the original meaning in 1948.
British usage is truer to the etymology, but U.S.
Sense is increasingly common there in technical writing.
Billionaire first recorded 1861 in Amer.Eng.
The first in the world was likely John D.
Rockefeller. billow — 1552, perhaps older in dialectal use, from O.N.
Bylgja “a wave,” from P.Gmc. *bulgjan, from PIE *bhelgh- “to swell” (see belly). — bourbon — type of American whiskey, 1846, from Bourbon County, Ky., where it was made, the county named for the line of Fr.
Kings (who also ruled in Naples and Spain), of whom it was proverbially said, “they learn nothing and forget nothing.” Credited to Baptist Rev.
Elijah Craig of Scott County (1789) who is said to have been the first to age Kentucky corn whiskey.
The royal family ruled in France 1589-1792 and 1815-48; its name is from Bourbon l’Archambault, chief town of a lordship in central France, probably from Borvo, name of a local Celtic deity associated with thermal springs, whose name probably is related to Celt.
Borvo “foam, froth.” bourgeois — 1564, “of the Fr.
Middle class,” from Fr., from O.Fr.
Burgeis “town dweller” (as distinct from “peasant”), from borc “town, village,” from Frank. *burg (see borough).
Sense of “socially or aesthetically conventional” is from 1764; in communist and socialist writing, “a capitalist” (1883).
Bourgeoisie (n.) “middle class” is first recorded 1707. “It is better to be a good ordinary bourgeois than a bad ordinary bohemian.” [Aldous Huxley, 1930] bourn (1) — small stream (also bourne), especially of the winter torrents of the chalk downs, O.E.
Brunna, from P.Gmc. *brunnoz “spring, fountain” (cf.
Brunnen “fountain,” Goth.
Brunna “well”), ult.
From PIE base *bhreue- “to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn” (see brew). bourn (2) — destination, 1523, from Fr.
Borne, apparently a variant of bodne (see bound (n.)), used by Shakespeare in Hamlet’s soliloquy (1602), from which it entered into Eng.
He meant it probably in the correct sense of “boundary,” but it has been taken to mean “goal” (Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold) or sometimes “realm” (Keats). “The dread of something after death, The vndiscouered Countrey; from whose Borne No Traueller returnes.” ["Hamlet" III.i.79] bourse — stock exchange, 1575, burse, from O.Fr.
Borse, from M.L.
Bursa “a bag” (see purse).
Spelling and modern sense of “exchange for merchants” is first recorded 1845, from the name of the Paris stock exchange.
The term originated because in 13c.
Bruges the sign of a purse (or perhaps three purses), hung on the front of the house where merchants met. boustrophedon — 1783, ancient form of writing with lines alternately written left-to-right and right-to-left, from Gk., lit. “turning as an ox in plowing,” from bous “ox” + strephein “to turn.” bout — 1541, from M.E.
Bught, probably from an unrecorded O.E.
Variant of byht “a bend,” from P.Gmc. *bukhta-.
Sense evolved from “a circuit of any kind” (as of a plow) to “a round at any kind of exercise” (1575), “a round at fighting” (1591), extended 1670 to “a fit of drinking.” boutique — fashion shop, 1953, earlier “small shop of any sort” (1767), from Fr., from O.Prov.
Botica, from L.
Apotheca (see apothecary). bovine — 1817, from Fr.
Bovin, from L.L.
Bovinus, from L.
Of bos “ox, cow,” from PIE *gwous-, cognate with O.E.
Cu “cow.” Fig.
Sense of “inert and stupid” is from 1855. bovver — 1969, Cockney pronunciation of bother “trouble” (q.v.), given wide extended usage in skinhead slang. bow (n1.) — weapon, O.E.
Boga “archery bow, arch, rainbow,” from P.Gmc. *bugon (see bow (v.)).
The sense of “a looped knot” is from 1547.
The musician’s bow (1580) was formerly curved like the archer’s.
Bow-legged is attested from 1552. bow (n2.) — front of a ship, 1342, from O.N.
Bogr or M.Du.
Boech “bow of a ship,” lit. “shoulder (of an animal),” the connecting notion being “the shoulders of the ship.” See bough. bow (v.) — O.E.
Bugan “to bend, to bend the body in condescension,” also “to turn back” (class II strong verb; past tense beag, pp.
Bogen), from P.Gmc. *bugon (cf.
Biugan “to bend,” O.N.
Boginn “bent”), from *beugen, from PIE base *bheugh- (cf.
Bhujati “bends, thrusts aside”).
The noun is first recorded 1656.
Bow out “withdraw” is from 1942. bowdlerize — 1836, from Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), English editor who in 1818 published a notorious expurgated Shakespeare, “in which those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.” bowel — c.1300, from O.Fr.
Bouele, from M.L.
Botellus “small intestine,” originally “sausage,” dim.
Of botulus “sausage,” a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian, from PIE *gwet-/*geut- (cf.
Guttur “throat,” O.E.
Qiþus “belly, womb,” Ger.
Kutteln “guts, chitterlings”).
Splankhnon (from the same PIE base as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, felt as the seat of various emotions.
It was later used in Septuagint to translate a Heb.
Word, and then in early Bibles rendered in Eng.
In its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired a secondary meaning of “pity, compassion” (1382).
But in later editions often translated as heart.
Poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. bower — O.E.
Bur “room, hut, dwelling,” from P.Gmc. *buraz (cf.
Bauer “birdcage”), from base *bu- “to dwell.” Modern spelling developed after 1350.
Sense of “leafy arbor” (place closed in by trees) is first attested 1523.
Hence, too, Australia’s bower-bird (1847).
New York City’s Bowery (1787) was originally a homestead farm (Du.
Bowerij); used attributively for its squalor since 1840. bowie knife — 1842, named for inventor, Col.
James Bowie (1799-1836), and properly pronounced boo-ee. bowl — O.E.
Bolla “pot, cup, bowl,” from P.Gmc. *bul- “a round vessel” (cf.
Bolla), from PIE *bhel- “to inflate, swell” (see bole). bowler — hard round hat, 1861, said to be from a J.
London hat manufacturer; but perhaps simply from bowl (q.v.); cf.
Heafodbolla “brainpan, skull.” bowling — 1535, “playing at bowls” (1440, implied in v.
Bowlyn), from gerund of bowl “wooden ball” (1413), from M.Fr.
Boule “ball,” ult.
Bulla “bubble, knob, round thing.” Bowling alley is from 1555. “Noon apprentice … [shall] play …
At the Tenys, Closshe, Dise, Cardes, Bowles nor any other unlawfull game.” [Act 11, Henry VII, 1495] bowsprit — spar extending from the bow of a ship, 1296, probably from M.L.G.
Bochspret, from boch “bow” + spret “pole” (cf.
Spreot “pole,” Du.
Spriet “spear”). bow-wow — imitative of a dog’s barking, first recorded 1576. box (n.1.) — O.E. “a wooden container,” also “type of shrub,” from L.L.
Buxis, from Gk.
Pyxis “boxwood box,” from pyxos “box tree,” of uncertain origin.
Slang meaning “vulva” is attested 17c., according to “Dictionary of American Slang;” modern use seems to date from c.WWII, perhaps originally Australian, and on notion of “box of tricks.” Box office is 1786; in the fig.
Sense of “financial element of a performance” it is first recorded 1904.
Boxing-day (1849) “first weekday after Christmas,” on which postmen and others expect to receive a Christmas present, originally in ref.
To the custom of distributing the contents of the Christmas box, which was placed in the church for charity collections. box (n.2.) — a blow, c.1300, of uncertain origin, possibly related to M.Du.
Buc and Dan.
Bask, all meaning “a blow,” perhaps imitative.
The verb meaning “to fight with the fists” is from 1567.
Boxing as a sport is first recorded 1711. boxer — fighter, 1472, from box (n.2).
The name of the breed of dog (1934), is from Ger. (the breed originated in Germany), itself taken from Eng.
Boxer “fighter,” the dog so called for its pugnaciousness.
Boxer shorts (1944) so called from their resemblance to the attire worn in the ring.
Boxer Rebellion (1900) is based on British mistranslation of Chinese xenophobic society of I-He-T’uan “Righteous Harmony Band,” rendered by British as I-He-Ch’uan “Righteous Uniting Fists.” boy — 1154, boie “servant, commoner, knave, boy,” possibly from O.Fr.
Embuie “one fettered,” from V.L. *imboiare, from L.
Boia “leg iron, yoke, leather collar,” from Gk.
Boeiai dorai “ox hides.” But it also appears to be identical with E.Fris.
Boi “young gentleman,” and perhaps with Du.
Boef “knave,” from M.Du.
Boeve, perhaps from M.L.G.
Used slightingly of young men in M.E.
Meaning “male negro slave or Asian personal servant of any age” attested from 1609.
Boyfriend is attested from 1909.
Expression oh, boy attested from 1917. boyar — 1591, “member of a Rus.
Aristocratic class (abolished by Peter the Great),” from Rus.
Boyarin, perhaps from boji “struggle,” or from O.Slav.
Root bol- “great.” boycott — 1880, from Irish Land League ostracism of Capt.
Boycott (1832-1897) land agent of Lough-Mask in County Mayo, who refused to lower rents for his tenant farmers.
Quickly adopted by newspapers in languages as far afield as Japanese (boikotto).
The family name is from a place in England. Boyd — in many cases, the family name represents Gaelic or Irish buidhe “yellow,” suggesting blond hair, cf.
Manx name Mac Giolla Buidhe (1100). boysenberry — 1935, developed early 1900s by California botanist Rudolf Boysen, and named for him. bozo — muscular low-I.Q.
Male, c.1910, perhaps from Sp.
Bozal, used in slave trade and to mean “one who speaks Spanish poorly.” Bozo the clown was created 1940 at Capitol Records as the voice in a series of story-telling records for children ["Wall Street Journal," Oct. 31, 1983]. bra — 1936, shortening of brassiere (q.v.). brace (n.) — 1313, “armor for the arms,” from O.Fr.
Brace “arms,” also “length measured by two arms,” from L.
Of brachium “an arm,” from Gk.
Brakhion “arm, upper arm,” from brakhys “short,” in contrast to the longer forearm.
Applied to various devices for fastening, tightening, on notion of clasping arms.
The verb “to render firm or steady by tensing” is c.1440, with figurative extension to tonics, etc.
That “brace” the nerves (cf.
Bracer “stiff drink,” 1740). bracelet — 1437, from M.Fr., from O.Fr., dim.
Of bracel, from L.
Bracchiale “armlet,” from brachium (see brace). brach — bitch hound (archaic), c.1340, brache, originally “hound that hunts by scent,” from O.Fr.
Brache, of W.Gmc.
Braccho “hound, setter”).
Related to M.H.G.
Bræhen “to smell,” cognate with L.
Fragrare “to smell sweetly.” brachiopod — bivalve mollusk, 1836, Mod.L., from Gk.
Brakhion “arm” + pous “foot.” They have long spiral arms on either side of their mouths. brachiosaurus — 1903, Mod.L., from Gk.
Brakhion “arm” + sauros “lizard.” The forelegs are longer than the hind legs. — brisket — 1338, perhaps from O.Fr.
Bruschet, with identical sense of the Eng.
Word, or from O.N.
Brjosk “gristle” (related to brjost “breast”) or Dan.
Bryske or M.H.G.
Brusche “lump, swelling.” bristle — O.E.
Byrst “bristles,” with metathesis of -r-, from P.Gmc. *bors- (cf.
Borstel), from PIE *bhrsti- from base *bhar- “point, bristle” (cf.
Bhrstih “point, spike”).
With -el, dim.
The verb “become angry or excited” is 1549, from the way animals show fight. Bristol — City in western England, M.E.
Bridgestow, from O.E., lit. “assembly place by a bridge” (see stow).
A local peculiarity of pronunciation adds -l to words ending in vowels. Britain — 1297, Breteyne, from O.Fr.
Bretaigne, from L.
Britannia, earlier Brittania, from Brittani “the Britons” (see Briton).
If there was a Celt.
Name for the island, it has not been recorded. britches — 1905, from britch (1630), an old variant of breeches. British — O.E.
Bryttisc “of or relating to ancient Britons,” from Bryttas “natives of ancient Britain” (see Briton).
First record of British Isles is from 1621. Briton — Anglo-Fr.
Bretun, from L.
Britto, misspelled Brito in MSS) “a member of the tribe of the Britons,” from *Britt-os, the Celtic name of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain and southern Scotland before the 5c.
Anglo-Saxon invasion drove them into Wales, Cornwall, and a few other corners.
They are recorded as Prittanoi, which is said to mean “tattooed people.” Only in historical use after O.E.
Period; revived when James I was proclaimed King of Great Britain in 1604, and made official at the union of England and Scotland in 1707. brittle — O.E.
Bryttian “to break to pieces,” from P.Gmc.
Stem *brutilo- “break” (cf.
Brjota “to break,” O.H.G.
Brodi “fragile”), from PIE *bhreu-, from base *bher- “to cut with a sharp point.” With -le, suffix forming adjectives with meaning “liable to.” broach (n.) — pointed instrument, c.1305, from O.Fr.
Broche “spit for roasting, awl,” from V.L. *brocca “pointed tool,” orig.
Broccus “projecting, pointed” (used especially of teeth), perhaps of Gaulish origin (cf.
Gaelic brog “awl”). broach (v.) — begin to talk about, 1579, from figurative use of the lit.
Meaning “to pierce” (1330), with suggestions of “broaching” a cask and spurring into action (cf.
Brochier “to spur”); from the same source as broach (n.). broad — O.E.
Brad, from P.Gmc. *braithaz (cf.
Brouþs), of unknown origin.
Not found outside Gmc.
Slang extension to meaning “woman” (1911) may be suggestive of broad hips, but it also may trace to Amer.Eng.
Abroadwife, for a woman away from her husband, often a slave.
Earliest use suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women.
Because of this negative association, and the rise of women in athletics, the track and field broad jump was changed to the long jump c. 1967.
Broadside (nautical), 1591, “the side of a ship above the water, between the bow and the quarter.” Broadcast, originally “scattering seed” (1767), applied to radio waves 1921.
Broadsword is O.E.
There was a street named Broadway in many towns; the allusive use for “New York theater district” is first recorded 1881. brobdingnag — (not brobdignag), 1727, Swift’s name in “Gulliver’s Travels” for imaginary country where everything was on a gigantic scale. brocade — 1563, from Sp.
Brocado, from It.
Broccato “embossed cloth,” orig.
Of broccare “to stud, set with nails,” from brocco “small nail,” from L.
Broccus “projecting, pointed.” broccoli — 1699, from It., pl.
Of broccolo “a sprout, cabbage sprout,” dim.
Of brocco “shoot, protruding tooth, small nail” (see brocade). brochure — 1748, from Fr.
Brochure “a stitched work,” from brocher “to stitch” (sheets together), from O.Fr.
Brocher “to prick,” from broche “pointed tool, awl” (see broach). brock — O.E.
Brocc “badger,” a borrowing from Celtic (cf.
Brocc, Welsh broch).
After c.1400, often with the adjective stinking, and meaning “a low, dirty fellow.” brogue — accent, 1705, perhaps from the meaning “rough, stout shoe” worn by rural Irish and Scottish highlanders (1586), via Gaelic or Irish, from O.Ir.
Broce “shoe,” thus, probably, originally meaning something like “speech of those who call a shoe a brogue.” Or perhaps it is from O.Ir.
Barrog “a hold” (on the tongue). broil (1) — cook, 1375, from O.Fr.
Bruller “to broil, roast,” from brosler “to burn,” from L.
Ustulare “to scorch, singe,” from ustus, pp.
Of urere “to burn.” Alt.
Of Gmc. “burn” words beginning in br-. broil (2) — quarrel, 1402, from Anglo-Fr.
Broiller “mix up, confuse,” O.Fr.
Brooillier, probably from breu, bro “broth, brew,” from Frankish or another Gmc.
Brod “broth”) akin to broth (see brew); also compare imbroglio. broke — obsolete pp.
Of break (variant of broken); extension to “insolvent” is first recorded 1716 (broken, in this sense, is attested from 1593).
By coincidence, O.E.
Cognate broc meant, in addition to “that which breaks,” “affliction, misery;” but that sense died out long before the current one began. broker — 1377, from Anglo-Norm.
Brocour “small trader,” from Anglo-Fr.
Abrokur “retailer of wine, tapster,” perhaps Port.
Alborcar “barter,” but more likely O.Fr.
Brocheor, from brochier “to broach, tap, pierce (a keg),” from broche “pointed tool” (see broach (n.)), giving original sense of “wine dealer,” hence “retailer, middleman, agent.” In M.E., used contemptuously of peddlers and pimps. bromide — 1836, from bromine, the pungent, poisonous element (1827), from Fr.
Brome, from Gk.
Bromos “stench.” Used as a sedative; figurative sense of “dull, conventional person or trite saying” popularized by U.S.
Humorist Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) in his book “Are You a Bromide?” (1906). bromine — nonmetallic element, 1827, from Fr.
Brome, coined by its discoverer, Fr.
Chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802-76) from Gk.
Bromos “stench.” bronchial — c.1735, from L.L.
Bronchus, from Gk.
Bronchos “windpipe, throat.” Bronchitis is from 1814, coined in Mod.L. 1808 by Charles Bedham (see -itis). bronco — 1850, Amer.Eng., “untamed or half-tamed horse,” from Sp.
Bronco “rough, rude,” originally a noun meaning “a knot in wood,” perhaps from V.L. *bruncus “a knot, projection,” apparently from a cross of L.
Broccus “projecting” + truncus “trunk of a tree.” brontosaurus — 1879, Mod.L., from Gk.
Bronte “thunder” + sauros “lizard.” Brontes was the name of one of the Cyclopes in Gk.
Mythology. — butt (n.3) — target of a joke, 1616, originally “target for shooting practice” (1345), from O.Fr.
But “aim, goal, end,” perhaps from butte “mound, knoll,” from Frank. *but (cf.
Butr “long of wood”), which would connect it with butt (n.1). butt (v.) — hit with the head, c.1200, from Anglo-Norm.
Buter, from O.Fr.
Boter “to thrust against,” from V.L. *bottare “thrust,” or from Frankish (cf.
Bauta, Low Ger.
Boten “to strike, beat”), from P.Gmc. *butan, from PIE base *bhau- “to strike” (see batter (v.)).
To butt in “rudely intrude” is Amer.Eng., 1900. butte — 1805, Amer.Eng., from Fr., from O.Fr.
Butte “mound, knoll” (see butt (n.3)). butter — O.E.
Butere, from a W.Gmc.
Boter), an early loan-word from L.
Butyrum “butter,” from Gk.
Boutyron, perhaps lit. “cow-cheese,” from bous “ox, cow” + tyros “cheese;” but this may be a folk-etymology of a Scythian word.
The product was used from an early date in India, Iran and northern Europe, but not in ancient Greece and Rome.
Herodotus described it (along with cannabis) among the oddities of the Scythians.
The verb meaning “to flatter lavishly” is from 1816.
Butter-fingered is attested from 1615.
Deceptively named buttermilk is from 1528; it is what remains after the butter has been churned out. buttercup — type of small wildflower with a yellow bloom, 1777, from a merger of two older names, gold-cups and butterflower. butterfly — O.E.
Buttorfleoge, perhaps based on the old notion that the insects (or witches disguised as butterflies) consume butter or milk that is left uncovered.
Or, less creatively, simply because the pale yellow color of many species’ wings suggests the color of butter.
Another theory connects it to the color of the insect’s excrement, based on Du.
A fascinating overview of words for “butterfly” in various languages can be found here.
The swimming stroke so called from 1936.
Butterflies “light stomach spasms caused by anxiety” is from 1908.
The butterfly effect is a deceptively simple insight extracted from a complex modern field.
As a low-profile assistant professor in MIT’s department of meteorology in 1961, [Edward] Lorenz created an early computer program to simulate weather.
One day he changed one of a dozen numbers representing atmospheric conditions, from .506127 to .506.
That tiny alteration utterly transformed his long-term forecast, a point Lorenz amplified in his 1972 paper, “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” [Peter Dizikes, "The Meaning of the Butterfly," The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008] butternut — 1753, nut of the white walnut, a N.Amer.
Tree; transferred to the tree itself from 1783.
The nut’s color was a brownish-gray, hence the word was used (1861) to describe the warm gray color of the Southern uniforms in the Amer.
Civil War. buttocks — c.1300, probably from O.E.
Buttuc “end, short piece of land” (see butt (1)). button — 1265, from O.Fr.
Bouton, boton “a button, bud,” from bouter, boter “to thrust” (see butt (v.)).
Thus a button is, etymologically, something that pushes up, or thrusts out.
Button-hole (n.) is from 1561; the verb is from 1862, an alteration of button-hold (1834) “to catch someone by the button and hold him in conversation against his will.” buttress — c.1330, from O.Fr.
Of bouter “to thrust against,” of Frankish origin (cf.
Bauta “to strike, beat”), from P.Gmc. *butan, from PIE base *bhau- “to strike” (see batter (v.)). buxom — c.1175, buhsum “humble, obedient,” from buh- stem of O.E.
Bugen “to bow” + -som, for a total meaning “capable of being bent.” Meaning progressed from “compliant, obliging,” through “lively, jolly,” “healthily plump, vigorous,” to (in women, and perhaps infl.
By lusty) “plump, comely” (1589). buy — O.E.
Bohte) from P.Gmc. *bugjanan (cf.
Bugjan), of unknown origin, not found outside Gmc.
The surviving spelling is southwest England dialect; the word was generally pronounced in O.E.
With a -dg- sound as “budge,” or “bidge.” Meaning “believe, accept as true” first recorded 1926. buzkashi — Afghan sport, a sort of mounted polo played with a goat carcass, 1956, from Pers.
Buz “goat” + kashi “drawing.” buzz — 1495, echoic of bees and other insects.
Meaning “a busy rumor” is attested from 1605.
Aviation sense of “fly low and close” is 1941.
Sense of “pleasant sense of intoxication” first recorded 1935.
The game of counting off, with 7 or multiples of it replaced by buzz is attested from 1864.
Buzzword first attested 1946.
Buzz off (1914) originally meant “to ring off on the telephone.” Buzzer “apparatus for making loud buzzing noises” is from 1870. buzzard — c.1300, from O.Fr.
Buisart “inferior hawk,” from buson, buison, from L.
Of buteo a kind of hawk, perhaps with -art suffix for one that carries on some action or possesses some quality, with derogatory connotation. BVDs — 1893, trademark name (dating to 1876) of manufacturer Bradley, Vorhees, and Day. by — O.E.
Be (unstressed) or bi (stressed), from P.Gmc. *bi “around, about” (cf.
Bei “by, at, near”), from *umbi, (cognate with second element in PIE *ambhi “around,” cf.
Abhi “toward, to,” Gk.
Amphi- “around, about”).
Originally an adverbial particle of place, in which sense it is retained in place names (Whitby, Grimsby, etc.).
Elliptical use for “secondary course” (opposed to main) was in O.E.
This also is the sense of the second by in the phrase by the by (1615).
Bygone is from 1424; by-product is from 1857; bystander from 1619; byline of a newspaper article, etc., is from 1926.
Phrase by and by (c.1314) originally meant “one by one,” modern sense is from 1526.
By and large (1669) was originally nautical, “sailing to the wind and off it,” hence “in one direction then another.” bye (1) — in sporting use, a variant of by (prep).
Originally in cricket, “a run scored on a ball that is missed by the wicket-keeper” (1746); hence, in other sports, “position of one who is left without a competitor when the rest have drawn pairs” (1883). bye (2) — shortened form of good-bye.
Reduplication bye-bye is recorded from 1709, though as a sound used to lull a child to sleep it is attested from 1636. bylaw — 1283, bilage “local ordinance,” from O.N.
Bi-lagu “town law,” from byr “place where people dwell, town, village,” from bua “to dwell” + lagu “law.” So, a local law pertaining to local residents, or rule of a corporation or association. BYOB — acronym for “bring your own bottle” or “bring your own booze,” first recorded 1950s. bypass — 1848, of certain pipes in a gasworks, from by + pass.
First used 1922 for “road for the relief of congestion;” fig.
Sense is from 1928.
The heart operation was first so-called 1957. Byronic — 1823, pertaining to or resembling British poet George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824). byte — 1956, Amer.Eng.; see bit (2).
Reputedly coined by Dr.
Werner Buchholz at IBM. byword — O.E.
Biword formed after L.
Proverbium, or Gk.
Para-bole. Byzantine — 1599, from L.
Byzantinus, originally used of art style; later in reference to the complex, devious, and intriguing character of the royal court of Constantinople. — dago — 1823, from Sp.
Diego “James,” orig.
Used of Sp.
Sailors on Eng.
Ships, by 1900 it had broadened to include non-sailors and shifted to mean chiefly “Italian.” daguerreotype — 1839, from Fr., coined from name of inventor, Louis Daguerre. dahlia — 1804, named 1791 for Anders Dahl, Sw.
Botanist who discovered it in Mexico.
No blue variety had ever been cultivated, hence “blue dahlia,” fig.
For “something impossible or unattainable” (1880). daily — O.E.
Dæglic (see day).
This form is known from compounds, twadæglic “happening once in two days,” þreodæglic “happening once in three days;” the more usual O.E.
Word was dæghwamlic. dainty — c.1225, from O.Fr.
Daintie (n.) “price, value,” also “delicacy, pleasure,” from L.
Dignitas) “worthiness, worth, beauty,” from dignus “worthy” (see dignity).
Use first recorded c.1300.
Meaning evolved from “choice, excellent,” to “delicately pretty.” daiquiri — type of alcoholic drink, 1920 (first recorded in F.
Scott Fitzgerald), from Daiquiri, name of a district or village in eastern Cuba. dairy — 1290, from Anglo-Fr. -erie suffix affixed to M.E.
Daie (in daie maid “dairymaid”), from O.E.
Dæge “kneader of bread, housekeeper, female servant” (see dey (1)).
The native word was dey-house. dais — c.1259, from Anglo-Fr.
Deis, from O.Fr.
Dais “table, platform,” from L.
Discus “disk-shaped object,” also, by medieval times, “table,” from Gk.
Diskos “quoit, disk, dish.” Died out in Eng.
C.1600, preserved in Scotland, revived 19c.
By antiquarians. daisy — O.E.
Dægesege, from dæges eage “day’s eye,” because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk.
It was solis oculus “sun’s eye.” Daisy-cutter first attested 1791, originally of horses that trotted with low steps; later of cricket (1889) and baseball hits that skim along the ground.
Daisy-chain in the “group sex” sense is attested from 1941.
Pushing up daisies “dead” is attested from 1918, but variant with the same meaning go back to 1842. Dakota — group of native peoples from the Plains states speaking a Siouan language, from a word often translated as “allies;” cf.
Dakota dakhota “friendly.” Lakota represents the pronunciation in western dialects; in other dialects it is Nakota. dale — O.E.
Dæl, from P.Gmc. *dalan “valley,” preserved from extinction in north of England by Norse infl.
Akin to words for “bow” (v.), probably through the notion of a bend in the ground. dally — c.1300, possibly from Anglo-Fr.
Dalier “to amuse oneself,” of uncertain origin. Dalmatian — 1810, spotted dog, presumably named for Dalmatia, the reach of modern Croatia along the Adriatic coast, but dog breeders argue over whether there is a Croatian ancestry for the breed, which seems to be represented in Egyptian bas-reliefs and Hellenic friezes.
Popular in early 1800s as a carriage dog, to trot alongside carriages and guard them in owner’s absence.
Even fire departments nowadays tend to spell it *Dalmation.
The place name is perhaps from a derivative of PIE *dhal- “to bloom,” in a sense of “young animal,” in ref.
To the mountain pastures. dam (1) — water barrier, c.1325, probably from O.N.
Dammr or M.Du.
Dam, both from P.Gmc. *dammaz, of unknown origin. dam (2) — animal mother, 1297, variant of dame (q.v.), also originally used, like that word, for “lady, mother;” but meanings diverged into separate spellings by 16c. damage — 1292, from O.Fr.
Damage “loss caused by injury,” from dam “damage,” from L.
Damnum “loss, hurt, damage.” damask — c.1250, Damaske “cloth from Damascus,” the Syrian city, famous in medieval times for steel and silk, from Gk.
Damaskos, from Ar.
Dimashq. dame — c.1225, from O.Fr.
Dame, from L.L.
Domna, from L.
Domina “lady, mistress of the house,” from L.
Domus “house” (see domestic).
Legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet.
Slang sense of “woman” first attested 1902 in Amer.Eng. damn — c.1280, “to condemn,” from O.Fr.
Damner, derivative of L.
Verb damnare, from noun damnum “damage, loss, hurt.” Latin word evolved a legal meaning of “pronounce judgment upon.” Theological sense is first recorded c.1325; the optative expletive use likely is as old.
To be not worth a damn is from 1817.
Damn Yankee, characteristic Southern U.S.
Term for “Northerner,” is attested from 1812. Damocles — courtier of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse; his name in Gk.
Means lit. “fame of the people,” from demos, damos “people” (see demotic) + -kles “fame,” a common ending in Gk.
Proper names (eg Sophocles, Pericles), from PIE *klew-es, from base *kleu- “to hear” (see listen).
To teach Damocles how a tyrant lives, Dionysius seated him at a banquet with a sword suspended above his head by a single hair. damp — attested from 1316, probably in O.E., but no record of it.
If not, probably from M.L.G.
From P.Gmc. *dampaz.
Originally “a noxious vapor;” sense of “moisture” is first attested 1706.
Damper of a piano is from 1783; of a chimney, 1788; either or both of which led to various fig.
Senses. damsel — 1199, from O.Fr.
Dameisele, modified by association with dame from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Romance *domnicella, dim.
Domina “lady” (see dame).
Archaic until revived by romantic poets, along with 16c.-17c.
Variant form damozel. dance — c.1300, from O.Fr.
Dancier, perhaps from Frankish.
A word of uncertain origin but which, through French influence in arts and society, has become the primary word for this activity from Spain to Russia.
Sealtian. dandelion — 1513, from M.Fr.
Dent de lion, lit. “lion’s tooth” (from its toothed leaves), transl.
Other folk names, like tell-time refer to the custom of telling the time by blowing the white seed (the number of puffs required to blow them all off supposedly being the number of the hour), or to the plant’s more authentic diuretic qualities, preserved in M.E.
Piss-a-bed and Fr.
Pissenlit. dander — 1831, Amer.Eng., “temper,” originally (W.Indies) “fermentation of sugar,” perhaps from Sp.
Redundar “to overflow,” from L.
Redundare. dandle — 1530, of unknown origin. — ejaculate — 1578, “emit semen,” from L.
Of ejaculari, from ex- “out” + jaculari “to throw, dart,” from jaculum “javelin,” from jacere “to throw.” Only other surviving sense is “exclaim suddenly” (1666). eject — 1555, from L.
Of eicere “throw out,” from ex- “out” + -icere, comb.
Form of jacere “to throw.” Ejector seat is from 1945. eke — c.1200, north England and E.
Of echen from O.E.
Ecan, eacan, eacian “addition, reinforcement,” probably from eaca “an increase,” from P.Gmc. *aukan (cf.
Aukan), from PIE *aug- “to increase” (see augment).
Now mainly in phrase to eke out (1596).
It means “to make something go further or last longer;” you can eke out your income by taking a second job, but you can’t eke out your miserable existence.
Obsolete eke “also” (O.E.
Auch) is probably related. elaboration — 1578, in a physiological sense relating to tissue development, from L.
Elaboratio), from elaborare “work out, produce by labor,” from ex- “out” + laborare “to labor.” Elaborate in the sense of “conducted with attention to detail” is from 1649. elan — 1877, from Fr. élan (16c.), noun derived from élancer “to rush, dart,” from O.Fr.
Elancer, from e- “out” + lancer “to throw a lance,” from L.L.
Lanceare, from L.
Lancea “lance.” eland — large S.
African antelope, 1786, from Du.
Eland “elk,” from a Baltic source akin to Lith.
Elnias “deer,” from PIE *el- “red, brown” (see elk), cognate with first element in Gk.
Elaphebolion, name of the ninth month of the Attic year (corresponding to late March-early April), lit. “deer-hunting (month).” elapse — 1644, from M.Fr.
Elapser, from L.
Of elabi “slip or glide away,” from ex- “out, away” + labi “to slip, glide.” The noun now corresponding to elapse is lapse. elasmosaurus — giant sea reptile from the Mezozoic, 1879, from Mod.L. (coined 1868 by E.D.
Cope), from Gk.
Elasmos “metal plate” + sauros “lizard.” elastic (adj.) — 1653, coined in Fr. (1651) as a scientific term to describe gases, from Gk.
Elastos “ductile, flexible,” related to elaunein “to strike, beat out,” of uncertain origin.
Applied to solids from 1674.
The noun, “cord or string woven with rubber,” is 1847, Amer.Eng. elation — c.1386, from O.Fr.
Elacion, from L.
Elatio), from elatus “elevated,” pp.
Of efferre, from ex- “out” + ferre “carry” (see infer).
Elate is c.1375, probably from L.
Metaphoric sense of “lifting spirits” was in L.
And has always been the principal meaning in Eng. elbow — O.E.
Elnboga, from ell “length of the forearm” + boga “bow, arch,” from W.Gmc. *alinobogan, from P.Gmc. *elino-bugon, lit. “bend of the forearm.” Second element related to O.E.
Bugan “to bend;” first element from *alina “arm,” from PIE *el- “elbow, forearm” (see ell).
The verb meaning “thrust with the elbow” is from 1605; fig.
Sense is from 1863.
Phrase elbow grease “hard rubbing” is attested from 1672, from jocular sense of “the best substance for polishing furniture.” elder (berry) — O.E.
Ellæn, ellærn “elderberry tree,” origin unknown, perhaps related to alder. elder, eldest — O.E. (Mercian) eldra, eldrost, comp.
Of eald, ald “old;” only Eng.
Survival of umlaut in comparison.
Superseded by older, oldest since 16c.
Elder statesman (1921) originally was a transl.
Elderly is 1611; elder was used in biblical translation for Gk.
For “grandfather” was ealdfæder. eldorado — 1596, from Sp.
El Dorado “the golden one,” name given 16c.
To country or city believed to lie in the heart of the Amazon jungle, from pp.
Of dorar “to gild.” Eleanor — from Provençal Ailenor, a variant of Leonore, introduced in England by Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), wife of Henry II. election — 1270, from Anglo-Fr.
Eleccioun, from L.
Electionem, from stem of eligere “pick out, select,” from ex- “out” + -ligere, comb.
Form of legere “to choose, read” (see lecture).
Elect (v.) is first recorded 1494.
Electioneer first attested 1789 in writing of Thomas Jefferson (probably on model of auctioneer, as the verb engineer was not yet in use).
Elective, of school subjects studied at the student’s choice, first recorded 1847. Electra — daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, responsible for the murder of her mother, from Gk., lit. “shining, bright.” Esp.
In psychological Electra complex (1913) in reference to a daughter who feels attraction toward her father and hostility to her mother. electric — 1646, first used in Eng.
Physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), coined in Mod.L.
Physicist William Gilbert (1540-1603) in treatise “De Magnete” (1600), from L.
Electrum “amber,” from Gk.
Elektron “amber” (Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus), also “pale gold” (a compound of 1 part silver to 4 of gold); of unknown origin.
The physical force so called because it first was generated by rubbing amber.
Electric toothbrush first recorded 1936; electric typewriter 1958.
Electricity is 1646, also in Browne’s work.
Electrical is first attested 1635; electrify in the figurative sense is from 1752. electrocute — execute by electricity, 1889, Amer.Eng., from electro- (see electric) + (exe)cute; sense involving accidental death is first recorded 1909.
Electric chair is also first recorded 1889, which is when the first one was introduced in New York state as a humane alternative to hanging. electrode — 1834, coined by Eng.
Physicist and chemist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) from electro- (see electric) + Gk.
Hodos “way” (see cede). electrolysis — 1834, introduced by Faraday on the suggestion of the Rev.
William Whewell, from electro- (see electric) + Gk.
Lysis “a loosening,” from lyein “to loosen, set free” (see lose).
Originally of tumors, later (1909) of hair removal. electron — coined 1891, from electric; electronic is 1902 in the sense of “pertaining to electrons;” 1930 as “pertaining to electronics.” Electronics (1910) is the branch of physics and technology concerned with the penomenon of electrons in vacuums, gas, semi-conductors, etc. electrum — alloy of gold and silver, 1398 (in O.E.
Elehtre), from L., lit. “amber,” so called probably for its pale yellow color. eleemosynary — 1620, from M.L.
Eleemosynarius “pertaining to alms,” from L.L.
Eleemosyna “alms,” from Gk.
Eleemosyne “pity” (see alms). elegant — c.1485, from M.Fr. élégant (15c.), from L.
Elegans) “choice, fine, tasteful,” prp.
Of eligere “select with care, choose.” Elegans was originally a term of reproach, “dainty, fastidious;” the notion of “tastefully refined” emerged in classical L. — fianchetto — chess move, from It., dim.
Of fianco “flank” (n.). fiasco — 1855, theater slang for “a failure,” by 1862 acquired the general sense of any dismal flop, on or off the stage.
Phrase fiare fiasco “turn out a failure,” from It.
Far fiasco “suffer a complete breakdown in performance,” lit. “make a bottle,” from fiasco “bottle,” from L.L.
Flasco, flasconem (see flask).
The reason for all this is utterly obscure today, but “the usual range of fanciful theories has been advanced” [Ayto].
Weekley finds it utterly mysterious and compares Fr.
Ramasser un pelle “to come a cropper (in bicycling), lit.
To pick up a shovel.” OED makes nebulous reference to “alleged incidents in Italian theatrical history.” Klein suggests Venetian glass-crafters tossing aside imperfect pieces to be made later into common flasks.
But according to an Italian dictionary, fare il fiasco used to mean “to play a game so that the one that loses will pay the fiasco,” in other words, he will buy the next bottle (of wine).
That plausibly connects the word with the notion of “a costly mistake.” fiat — 1384, from fiat lux “let there be light” in the Book of Genesis, from L.
Fiat “let it be done” (also used in the opening of M.L.
Proclamations and commands), third pers.
Subjunctive of fieri, used as passive of facere “to make, do” (see factitious). fib (n.) — 1611, of uncertain origin, perhaps from fibble-fable “nonsense” (1581), a reduplication of fable.
The verb is attested from 1690. fiber — 1540, from Fr.
Fibre, from O.Fr.
Fibre, from L.
Fibra “a fiber, filament,” of uncertain origin, perhaps related to L.
Filum “thread,” or from root of findere “to split.” Fiberboard is from 1897, Fiberglas is 1937, U.S.
Registered trademark name; and fiber optics is 1956.
Medical fibrosis (1873) is a Mod.L.
Hybrid, with Gk.
Suffix -osis. fibula — 1706, from L.
Fibula “clasp, brooch,” used in reference to the outer leg bone as a loan-translation of Gk.
Perone “bone in the lower leg,” originally “clasp, brooch;” the bone was so called because it resembles a clasp like a modern safety pin. -fication — suffix meaning “a making or causing,” from L. -ficationem, acc.
Of -ficatio, ult.
From facere “to make, do” (see factitious). fiche — 1949, from Fr.
Fiche “slip of paper, form,” from O.Fr.
Fiche “point,” from ficher “to fix, fasten,” from V.L. *figicare, from L.
Figere “to fix, fasten” (see fix).
Sense of “card, strip of film” is a shortening of microfiche (1950). fickle — O.E.
Ficol “deceitful,” related to befician “deceive,” and to facen “deceit, treachery.” Common Gmc. (cf.
Feihhan “deceit, fraud, treachery”), from PIE *peig- “evil-minded, treacherous, hostile” (cf.
Piget “it irks, troubles, displeases,” piger “reluctant, lazy”).
Sense of “changeable” is first recorded c.1275. fiction — 1398, “something invented,” from L.
Fictio) “a fashioning or feigning,” from fingere “to shape, form, devise, feign,” originally “to knead, form out of clay,” from PIE *dheigh- (cf.
Dag “dough;” see dough).
As a type of literature, 1599.
Fictitious is 1615, from M.L.
Fictitus, a misspelling of L.
Ficticius “artificial, counterfeit,” from fictus, pp.
Of fingere. fiddle (n.) — O.E.
Fiðele, related to O.N.
Fiedel, all probably from M.L.
Vitula “stringed instrument,” perhaps related to L.
Vitularia “celebrate joyfully,” from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy and victory, who probably, like her name, originated among the Sabines.
The verb is from 1377; the fig.
Sense of “to act idly” is from 1530.
The word has been relegated to colloquial usage by its more proper cousin, violin (q.v.), a process encouraged by phraseology such as fiddlestick (15c., originally “the bow of a fiddle;” meaning “nonsense” is from 1621) and fiddle-faddle (1577), which is unrelated, being a reduplication of obsolete faddle “to trifle.” Fiddler’s Green first recorded 1825, from sailors’ slang.
Fiddler crab is from 1714.
Fiddle-head “one with a head as hollow as a fiddle” is from 1887.
Fit as a fiddle is from 1616. fidelity — 1494, from M.Fr.
Fidélité, from L.
Fidelitas) “faithfulness, adherence,” from fidelis “faithful,” from fides “faith” (see faith). fidget (n.) — 1674, as the fidget “uneasiness,” later the fidgets, from a 16c.
Fidge “move restlessly,” from M.E.
Fiken “to fidget, hasten,” from O.N.
Fikjask “to desire eagerly” (cf.
Ficken “to move about briskly;” see fuck).
Fidget is first attested 1672 (implied in fidgetting). fiduciary — 1640, from L.
Fiduciarius “(holding) in trust,” from fidere “to trust” (see faith).
In Roman law, fiducia was “a right transferred in trust;” paper currency sense (1878) is because its value depends on the trust of the public. fie — 1297, possibly from O.Fr.
Fi, reinforced by a Scand.
Fy); it’s a general sound of disgust that seems to have developed independently in most languages. fief — 1611, from Fr.
Fief, from O.Fr., a variant of fieu “fee” (see fee). field (n.) — O.E.
Feld “plain, open land” (as opposed to woodland), also “a parcel of land marked off and used for pasture or tillage,” probably related to O.E.
Folde “earth, land,” from P.Gmc. *felthuz “flat land,” from PIE *pel(e)-tu-, from base *pele- “flat, to spread” (cf.
Planus “flat, level,” O.C.S.
Polje “field;” see plane (1)).common W.Gmc. (cf.
Feld), but not found outside it (Sw.
Felt are borrowed from Ger.), though Finnish pelto “field” is believed to have been adapted from P.Gmc.
Spelling with -ie- is probably the work of Anglo-Fr.
The verb meaning “to go out to fight” is 16c., from the n.
In the sense of “battlefield” (c.1300).
Collective use for “all engaged in a sport” (or, in horseracing, all but the favorite) is 1742; play the field “avoid commitment” (1936) is from notion of gamblers betting on other horses than the favorite.
The verb meaning “to stop and return the ball” is first recorded 1823, originally in cricket; figurative sense is from 1902.
Field day (1747) was originally a day of military exercise and review; fig.
Sense is from 1827. fiend — O.E.
Feond “enemy, foe,” originally prp.
Of feogan “to hate,” from P.Gmc. *fijæjan (cf.
Fijands, like the O.E.
Word all prp.
Forms), from PIE base *pei-/*pi- “to blame, revile” (cf.
Faian “to blame;” see passion).
As spelling suggests, it was originally the opposite of friend, but the word began to be used in O.E.
For “Satan” (as the “enemy of mankind”), which shifted its sense to “diabolical person” (c.1220).
The old sense of the word devolved to foe, then to the borrowed enemy.
For spelling with -ie- see field.
Meaning “devotee (of whatever is indicated),” cf.
Dope fiend, is from 1865. fierce — 1240, from O.Fr.
Form of fer, fier “wild, ferocious,” from L.
Ferus “wild, untamed,” from PIE base *gwer- “wild, wild animal” (cf.
Zveris “wild beast”).
Originally in Eng.
Also with a sense of “brave, proud,” which died out 16c., but caused the word at first to be commonly used as an epithet, which accounts for the rare instance of a Fr.
Word entering Eng.
In the nom.
Case. fieri facias — writ concerning a sum awarded in judgment (often requiring seizure and sale of property for debt), 1463, from L., lit. “cause it to be done,” the first words of the writ. fiery — c.1275, from M.E.
Fier “fire,” the offbeat spelling is a relic of one of the attempts to render O.E. “y” in fyr in a changing system of vowel sounds. fiesta — 1844, from Sp., lit. “feast” (see feast). fife — 1540 (implied in fifer), from Ger.
Pfeife “fife, pipe,” from O.H.G.
Pfifa, or via M.Fr.
Fifre (15c.) from the same O.H.G.
Musicians provided music for most European courts in those days. fifteen — O.E.
Fiftyne, from fif “five” + tyne “teen,” from ten “ten.” (cf.
Fimftaihun). fifth — M.E.
Fift, from O.E.
Fifta, from fif “five.” Altered 14c.
Meaning “fifth part of a gallon of liquor” is first recorded 1938, Amer.Eng.
Fifth Avenue (in New York City) has been used figuratively for “elegance, taste” since at least 1858.
Fifth column is 1936, from Gen.
Emilio Mola’s comment during the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, that he would take the city with his “fifth column” (quinta columna) in the city as well as his four columns of troops outside it.
Fifth wheel “superfluous person or thing” first attested 1631. fifty — O.E.
Fiftig, from fif “five” + -tig “group of ten.” (cf.
Fimm tigir, Du.
Colloquial fifty-fifty “in an even division” is from 1913. fig — c.1225, from O.Fr.
Figue, from O.Prov.
Figa, from V.L. *fica, from L.
Ficus “fig tree, fig,” from a pre-ie Mediterranean language, possibly Semitic (cf.
Phoenician pagh “half-ripe fig”).
Earlier borrowed directly into O.E.
The insulting sense of the word in Shakespeare, etc. (A fig for …) is 1579, from Gk.
Use of their versions of the word as slang for “cunt,” apparently because of how a ripe fig looks when split open.
Giving the fig (Fr.
Faire la figue, Sp.
Dar la higa) was an indecent gesture of ancient provenance, made by putting the thumb between two fingers or into the mouth.
Use of fig leaf in fig.
Sense of “flimsy disguise” (1553) is from Gen.
Iii.7. fight (v.) — O.E.
Feohtan “to fight” (class III strong verb; past tense feaht, pp.
Fohten), from P.Gmc. *fekhtanan (cf.
Fiuhta), from PIE *pek- “to pluck out” (wool or hair), apparently with a notion of “pulling roughly.” Spelling substitution of -gh- for a “hard H” sound was a M.E.
Scribal habit, especially before -t-.
In some late O.E.
Examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh.
The noun is from O.E.
First use of fighter for “fast military airplane used for combat” is from 1917. figment — 1432, from L.
Figmentum “something formed or fashioned, creation,” related to figura “shape” (see figure (n.)). figure (n.) — c.1225, from O.Fr.
Figure, from L.
Figura “a shape, form, figure,” from PIE *dheigh- “to form, build” (see dough); originally in Eng.
With meaning “numeral,” but sense of “form, likeness” is almost as old (c.1250).
The verb meaning “to picture in the mind” is from 1603.
Philosophical and scientific senses are from L.
Figura being used to translate Gk.
Figurine is first attested 1854; a figurehead (1765) was originally the ornament on the bow of a ship; sense of “leader without real authority” is first attested 1883. filament — 1594, from Mod.L.
Filamentum, from L.L.
Filare “to spin, draw out in a long line,” from L.
Filum “thread” (see file (v.)). filbert — hazelnut, 1393, from Anglo-Norm.
Philber (1292), from Norman dialect noix de filbert, in allusion to St.
Abbot, so called because the hazel nuts ripen near his feast day, Aug. 22. filch — steal, 1561, slang, perhaps from c.1300 filchen “to snatch, take as booty,” of unknown origin. file (n.) — metal tool, O.E.
Feol (Mercian fil), from P.Gmc. *finkhlo (cf.
Feile), probably from PIE *pik-/*peik- “cut” (cf.
Pimsati “hews out, carves,” L.
Pingere “to paint,” O.C.S.
Pila “file, saw,” Lith.
Pela “file;” see paint).
The verb in this sense is from c.1225. file (v.) — to place (papers) in consecutive order for future reference, 1473, from M.Fr.
Filer “string documents on a wire for preservation or reference,” from fil “thread, string,” from L.
Filum “thread,” from PIE base *gwhis-lom (cf.
Armenian jil “sinew, string, line,” Lith.
Gysla “vein, sinew,” O.C.S.
The notion is of documents hung up on a line like drying laundry.
Methods have become more sophisticated, but the word has stuck.
The noun first attested in Eng.
In the military sense, “line or row of men,” 1598, from M.Fr.
Filer in the sense of “spin out (thread), march in file.” The noun meaning “arranged collection of papers” is from 1626; computer sense is from 1954. filet — 1841, reborrowing from Fr.
Of the same word that had been taken 14c.
And Anglicized as fillet (q.v.).
Filet mignon first recorded in Eng. 1906 in writings of O.
Henry. filial — 1393, from M.Fr.
Filial, from L.L.
Filialis “of a son or daughter,” from L.
Filius “son,” filia “daughter,” possibly from a suffixed form of PIE root *bheue- “to be, exist, grow” (see be), though *dhe(i)- “to suck, suckle” (see fecund) “is more likely” [Watkins]. filibuster (n.) — 1587 as flibutor “pirate,” probably ultimately from Du.
Vrijbuiter “freebooter,” used of pirates in the West Indies as Sp.
Filibustero and Fr.
Flibustier, either or both of which gave the word to Amer.Eng. (see freebooter).
Used 1850s and ’60s of lawless adventurers from the U.S.
Who tried to overthrow Central American countries.
The legislative sense is first recorded c.1851, probably because obstructionist legislators “pirated” debate.
Not technically restricted to U.S.
Senate, but that’s where the strategy works best. filigree — 1693, shortening of filigreen (1668), from Fr.
Filigrane “filigree,” from It.
Filigrana, from L.
Filum “thread” + granum “grain.” Filipino — 1898 (fem.
Filipina), from Sp., from las Islas Filipinas “the Philippine Islands.” fill (v.) — O.E.
Fyllan, from P.Gmc. *fullijan (cf.
Füllen “to fill”), a derivative of adj. *fullaz “full.” The related noun meaning “a full supply” is M.E.
Fille, from O.E.
To fill the bill (1882) was originally U.S.
Theatrical slang, in reference to a star whose name would be the only one on a show’s poster. fillet — 1327, “headband,” from O.Fr.
Of fil “thread.” Sense of “cut of meat or fish” is c.1420, apparently so called because it was prepared by being tied up with a string. fillip — 1530, philippen “to flip something with the fingers, snap the fingers,” possibly of imitative origin. filly — 1404, fyly, possibly from O.N.
Of foli “foal” (see foal).
Slang sense of “young girl” is from 1616. film — O.E.
Filmen “membrane, skin,” from W.Gmc. *filminjan (cf.
Filmene “skin,” O.E.
Fell “hide”), extended from P.Gmc. *fello(m) “animal hide,” from PIE *pello-/*pelno- (cf.
Sense of “a thin coat of something” is 1577, extended by 1845 to the coating of chemical gel on photographic plates.
By 1895 this also meant the coating plus the paper or celluloid.
First used of “motion pictures” in 1905.
The verb “to make a movie of” is from 1899. — hawthorn — O.E.
Hagaþorn, earlier hæguþorn, from obsolete haw “hedge or encompassing fence” (see haw) + thorn (q.v.).common Gmc., cf.
Hagþorn. hay — grass mown, O.E.
Heg (Anglian), hieg, hig (W.Saxon) “grass cut or mown for fodder,” from P.Gmc. *khaujan (cf.
Hawi “hay”), lit. “that which is cut,” or “that which can be mowed,” from PIE *kau- “to hew, strike” (cf.
Heawan “to cut”).
Hay-fever is from 1829; earlier it was called summer catarrh.
Hayseed is from 1577 in the literal sense of “grass seed shaken out of hay;” in U.S.
Slang sense of “comical rustic” it dates from 1851.
Haymaker in the sense of “very strong blow with the fist” is from 1912, probably in imitation of the wide swinging stroke of a scythe.
Slang phrase hit the hay (pre-1880) was originally “to sleep in a barn;” hay in the general fig.
Sense of “bedding” (eg roll in the hay) is from 1903. Hayward — proper name, is O.E.
Hege-weard “guardian of the fence/hedge.” His original duties seem to have been protecting the fences around the Lammas lands, when enclosed, to prevent cattle from breaking in while the crops grew. haywire — poorly equipped, makeshift, 1905, Amer.Eng., lit. “soft wire for binding bales of hay,” from hay + wire.
The extended sense being of something only held together with this, particularly said to be from use in New England lumber camps for jerry-rigging and makeshift purposes, so that haywire outfit became the term for a logging camp chronically ill-equipped and short on suplies.
Its springy, uncontrollable quality led to the sense in go haywire (1929). hazard — 1167, from O.Fr.
Hasard “game of chance played with dice,” possibly from Sp.
Azar “an unfortunate card or throw at dice,” which is said to be from Arabic az-zahr (for al-zahr) “the die.” But this is doubtful because of the absence of zahr in classical Arabic dictionaries.
Klein suggests Arabic yasara “he played at dice;” Arabic -s- regularly becomes Sp. -z-.
The -d was added in Fr.
In confusion with the native suffix -ard.
Sense of “chance of loss or harm, risk,” first recorded 1548; the verb sense of “put something at stake in a game of chance” is from 1530.
Hazardous in the sense of “perilous” is from 1618. haze (n.) — see hazy. haze (v.) — subject to cruel horseplay, 1850, Amer.Eng.
Student slang, from earlier nautical sense of “punish by keeping at unpleasant and unnecessary hard work” (1840), perhaps from hawze “terrify, frighten, confound” (1678), from M.Fr.
Haser “irritate, annoy” (1450), of unknown origin. hazel — O.E.
Hæsl, from P.Gmc. *khasalaz (cf.
Hasel), from PIE *koslos (cf.
Shakespeare (“Romeo and Juliet,” 1592) was first to use it (in print) in the sense of “reddish-brown color of eyes” (in reference to the color of ripe hazel-nuts), when Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being testy with: hazy — 1625, hawsey, nautical, of unknown origin.
Some connect it with Ger.
Hase “hare,” an animal which plays an important part in Gmc.
Folklore, with many supernatural and unlucky aspects in medieval times (among the superstitions: a dead hare should not be brought aboard a fishing ship, and the word hare should not be spoken at sea).
Another suggestion is O.E.
Hasu, haswe “gray.” Haze (n.) is from 1706, probably a back-formation.
Sense of “confusion, vagueness” is 1797.The Eng.
Differentiation of mist, fog, haze is unmatched in other languages (where the same word generally covers all three and often “cloud” as well), and may be a reflection of the Eng.
Climate. he — O.E.
He, from P.Gmc. *hiz, from P.Gmc.
Base *khi-, from PIE *ki-, the “this, here” (as opposed to “that, there”) root (cf.
Hittite ki “this,” Gk.
Ekeinos “that person,” O.C.S.
Sis “this”), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in O.E.
The feminine, hio, was replaced in early M.E.
By forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off O.E.
Hit to make modern it.
Root is also the source of the first element in Ger.
Heute “today,” lit. “the day” (cf.
Slang he-man “masculine fellow” is from 1832, originally among U.S.
Pioneers. head — O.E.
Heafod “top of the body,” also “upper end of a slope,” also “chief person, leader, ruler,” from P.Gmc. *khaubuthan (cf.
Haubiþ “head”), from PIE *kauput- “head” (cf.
Caput “head”), also “bowl” (as in skull).
Modern spelling is c.1420, representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat).
Meaning “obverse of a coin” is from 1684; meaning “foam on a mug of beer” is first attested 1545; meaning “toilet” is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship.
Synechdochic use for “person” (as in head count) is first attested 1535; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1513.
To give head “perform fellatio” is from 1950s.
Meaning “drug addict” (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
The verb head “to shape one’s course toward” (1835) was originally nautical.
Header “head-first dive or plunge” first attested 1849.
Headlight is from 1861, originally of ships and locomotives.
Headquarters is from 1647.
Headstrong “determined to have one’s way” is from 1398.
Headroom “space above the head” first recorded 1851.
Headphone is 1914, with second element extracted from telephone.
Phrase head over heels is “a curious perversion” [Weekley] of M.E.
Heels over head.
Phrase heads will roll “people will be punished” (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. headache — O.E.
Heafod ece, from head + ache.
Colloquial sense of “troublesome problem” is first recorded 1934. headline — 1676, from head + line.
Originally a printers’ term for the line at the top of a page containing the title and page number; used of newspapers from 1890, and transferred unthinkingly to broadcast media.
Headlinese “language peculiar to headlines” is from 1927. headlong — 1482, from hed “head” + suffix -ling (see grovel).
Altered by folk etymology on pattern of sidelong, etc. headway — c.1300, short for ahead-way; ultimately nautical (cf.
Generalized sense of “motion forward” first attested 1748. heady — 1382, from head + adj.
Originally “headstrong;” first recorded 1577 in sense of “apt to go to the head.” heal — O.E.
Hælan “make whole, sound and well,” from P.Gmc. *khailaz (cf.
Heilen), lit. “to make whole,” which is also the source of O.E.
Hal (see health).
Heal-all as a native word for “panacea” is attested from 1577; applied to various plants since 1853. health — O.E.
Hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (cf.
Hal “hale, whole;” O.N.
Heill “healthy;” O.E.
Helge “holy, sacred;” O.E.
Hælan “to heal”).
Healthy is first attested 1552. heap — O.E.
Heap “pile, great number, multitude,” from W.Gmc. *khaupaz (cf.
Haufe “heap”), probably related to O.E.
Heah “high.” The verb is from O.E.
Slang meaning “old car” is attested from 1924. hear — O.E.
Heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *khauzjianan (cf.
Hausjan), perhaps from PIE base *(s)keu- “to notice, observe.” Spelling difference between hear and here developed 1200-1550.
Hearing “listening to evidence in a court of law” is from 1576; hearsay is 1532 from phrase to hear say.
Also had the excellent adj.
Hiersum “ready to hear, obedient,” lit. “hear-some” with suffix from handsome, etc.
Hear, hear! (1689) was originally imperative, used as an exclamation to call attention to a speaker’s words; now a general cheer of approval.
Originally it was hear him! hearken — O.E.
Heorcnian, from base of hieran (see hear).
Harken is the usual spelling in U.S.
And probably is better justified by etymology. hearse — 1291 (in Anglo-Latin), “flat framework for candles, hung over a coffin,” from O.Fr.
Herce “long rake, harrow,” from M.L.
Hercia, from L.
Hirpex) “harrow,” from Oscan hirpus “wolf,” supposedly in allusion to its teeth.
The Oscan word may be related to L.
Hirsutus “shaggy, bristly.” So called because it resembled a harrow, a large rake for breaking up soil.
Sense extended to other temporary frameworks built over dead people, then to “vehicle for carrying a body,” a sense first recorded 1650. heart — O.E.
Heorte, from P.Gmc. *khertan- (cf.
Hairto), from PIE *kerd- “heart” (cf.
Cride, Welsh craidd, Hittite kir, Lith. širdis, Rus.
Serdce “heart,” Breton kreiz “middle,” O.C.S.
Spelling with -ea- is c.1500, by analogy of pronunciation with stream, heat, etc., but remained when pronunciation shifted.
Most of the figurative senses were present in O.E., including “intellect, memory,” now only in by heart.
Hearty is c.1380; heart-rending is from 1687.
Heartache was in O.E.
In the sense of a physical pain, 1602 in sense of “anguish of mind;” heartburn is c.1250.
Broken-hearted is attested from 1526.
Heart-strings (1483) was originally literal, in old anatomy theory “the tendons and nerves that brace the heart.” Heartless (c.1330) originally was used with a meaning “dejected;” sense of “callous, cruel” is not certainly attested before Shelley used it so in 1816.
Heartland first recorded 1904 in geo-political writings of H.J.
MacKinder. hearth — O.E.
Heorð, from W.Gmc. *kherthaz “burning place” (cf.
Herd “floor, ground, fireplace”), from PIE *ker- “to singe, burn, glow” (see carbon). heat — O.E.
Hætu, hæto, from P.Gmc. *khaitin- “heat,” from *khaitaz “hot” (cf.
Hitze “heat,” Goth.
The same root is the source of O.E.
Hat “hot” and hæða “hot weather.” The verb is from O.E.
Hætan, from P.Gmc. *khaitijanam.
Meaning “a single course in a race” is from 1663, perhaps from earlier fig.
Sense of “a single intense effort” (c.1380), or meaning “run given to a horse to prepare for a race” (1577).
Meaning “sexual excitement in animals” is from 1768.
Meaning “trouble with the police” attested by 1920.
Heat wave “period of excessive hot weather” first attested 1893. heath — O.E.
Hæð “tract of wasteland,” earlier “heather,” infl.
Heiðr “field,” from P.Gmc. *khaithijo (cf.
Heida “heather,” Du.
Heide “heath,” Goth.
Haiþi “field”), from PIE *kait- “open, unplowed country” (cf.
Ciad, Welsh coed, Breton coet “wood, forest”). — hothouse — 1451, “bath house,” from hot + house.
A euphemism for “brothel” (cf.
Massage parlor); the meaning “glass-roofed structure for raising plants” is from 1749. Hottentot — 1677, from S.African Du., said to mean “stammerer,” it is from hot en tot “hot and tot,” nonsense words imitative of the clicking, jerking Khoisan speech. houdini — escape artist or other ingenious person, 1923, from Harry Houdini, professional name of U.S.
Escapist Erich Weiss (1874-1926). hound — O.E.
Hund “dog,” from P.Gmc. *khundas (cf.
Hunds), from PIE *kuntos, dental enlargement of base *kwon- “dog” (see canine).
Meaning narrowed 12c.
To “dog used for hunting.” The verb sense of “urge on, incite” is first attested 1528, that of “pursue relentlessly” is first recorded 1605. hour — c.1250, from O.Fr.
Hore “one-twelfth of a day” (sunrise to sunset), from L.
Hora “hour, time, season,” from Gk.
Hora “any limited time,” used of day, hour, season, year; cognate O.E.
Gear “year” (see year).
Greeks borrowed the notion of dividing the day into hours from the Babylonians, but the Babylonian hour was one-twelfth of the whole day and thus twice as long as a modern hour.
The Greeks divided only the period of light into 12 parts, and the Romans adopted the system from them.
Night was not similarly divided till much later, and thus the period of time covered by an hour varied according to the season.
Distinction sometimes was made between temporary (unequal) hours and sidereal (equal) ones.
The h- has persisted in this word despite not being pronounced since Roman times.
Tid, lit. “time,” and stund “period of time.” Hourglass is from 1515. houri — nymph of Muslim paradise, 1737, from Fr.
Houri (1654), from Pers.
Huri “nymph in Paradise,” from Ar.
Haura “to be beautifully dark-eyed,” like a gazelle. house — O.E.
Hus “dwelling, shelter, house,” from P.Gmc. *khusan (cf.
Haus), of unknown origin, perhaps connected to the root of hide (v.).
Only in gudhus “temple,” lit. “god-house;” the usual word for “house” in Goth.
Meaning “family, including ancestors and descendants, especially if noble” is from c.1000.
The legislative sense (1541) is transferred from the building in which the body meets.
Meaning “audience in a theater” is from 1921.
Zodiac sense is first attested c.1391.
The verb meaning “give shelter to” is O.E.
Husian (cognate with Ger.
Household is first recorded 1382; for housewife (c.1225) see hussy.
To play house is from 1871; as suggestive of “have sex, shack up,” 1968.
House arrest first attested 1936; housewarming is from 1577; houseboat is 1790.
On the house “free” is from 1889. “And the Prophet Isaiah the sonne of Amos came to him, and saide vnto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not liue.” [2 Kings xx.1, version of 1611] housebreak — 1820, “to break into a house criminally;” sense of “to train a domestic animal to be clean in the house” is from 1900. housekeeper — c.1440, “householder;” sense of “female head domestic servant of a house” is from 1607. housing (1) — buildings, lodgings, c.1300, husing, from the root of house. housing (2) — ornamental covering, 1312, houce “covering for the back and flanks of a horse,” from M.L.
Hultia, from Frank. *khulfti (cf.
Hulfte “pocket for bow and arrow,” M.H.G.
Sense of “case or enclosure for machine or part” is first recorded 1882. hovel — 1358, “roofed passage, vent for smoke,” later “shed for animals” (1435), of unknown origin.
Meaning “shed for human habitation; rude or miserable cabin” is from 1625.
It also sometimes meant “canopied niche for a statue or image” (1463). hover — c.1400, hoveren, freq.
Of hoven “hover, tarry, linger” (c.1250), of unknown origin, chiefly nautical at first, of ships standing off a coast.
Hovercraft first attested 1959; a proprietary name after 1961. how (adv.) — O.E.
Hu, from W.Gmc. *khwo- (cf.
Hwo, O.Fris., M.Du.
Hvaiwa “how”), from common PIE interrogative pronomial stem.
However is M.E.; how come? for “why?” is recorded from 1848.
And how! emphatic, first recorded 1865, said to be a Ger.-Amer.
Colloquialism. how (interj.) — Native American greeting, Siouxan (cf.
Dakota hao, Omaha hau); first recorded 1817 in Eng, but noted early 17c.
Missionary Jean de Brebeuf among Hurons as an expression of approval (1636). Howard — proper name, from O.Fr.
Huard, from a Gmc.
Source similar to O.H.G. *Hugihard “heart-brave,” or *Hoh-weard, lit. “high defender; chief guardian.” Also probably in some cases a confusion with cognate O.N.
Haward, and also with unrelated Hayward.
In some rare cases from O.E.
Eowu hierde “ewe herd.” howbeit — 1398, contraction of how be it. howdy — 1840, first recorded in Southern U.S.
Dialect, contraction of how do you do (1632), phrase inquiring after someone’s health; earlier how do ye (1563). howitzer — 1687, via Du.
Houwitser (1663), Ger.
Haubitze from Czech houfnice “a catapult,” introduced to Ger.
During the Hussite wars, 14c. howl (v.) — c.1220, houlen, probably of imitative origin.
Howler “glaring blunder, ridiculous mistake” is first recorded 1890. hoyden — 1593, perhaps from Du.
Heiden “rustic, uncivilized man,” from M.Du.
Heiden “heathen.” Originally in Eng. “rude, boorish fellow,” sense of “ill-bred, boisterous female” first recorded 1676. Hoyle — cited as a typical authority on card or board games, in ref.
To Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), author of several works on card-playing. HTML — 1992, from Hypertext Markup Language. hub — 1511, perhaps from hubbe, originally “lump,” the source of hob of a fireplace and hobnail, as in boots.
A wheelwright’s word, not generally known or used until c.1828; it reached wider currency in connection with bicycles.
Meaning “center of interest or activity or importance” first recorded 1858 in writings of Oliver W.
Holmes. “Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system.” [O.W.
Holmes, "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table"] Hub cap first recorded 1913. hubba-hubba — U.S.
Slang cry of excitement or enthusiasm, first recorded 1944. hubbub — 1555, whobub “confused noise,” generally believed to be of Irish origin, perhaps from Gaelic ub!, expression of aversion or contempt, or O.Ir.
Battle cry abu, from buide “victory.” — inch (2) — small Scottish island, c.1425, from Gael.
Innse) “island, land by a river.” inchoate — 1534, from L.
Of inchoare, alteration of incohare “to begin,” originally “to hitch up,” from in- “on” + cohum “strap fastened to the oxen’s yoke.” incident — 1412, “something which occurs casually in connection with something else,” from L.
Of incidere “happen, befall,” from in- “on” + -cidere, comb.
Form of cadere “to fall” (see case (1)).
Sense of “an occurrence viewed as a separate circumstance” is from 1462.
Meaning “event that might trigger a crisis or political unrest” first attested 1913.
Incidental “casual, occasional” first recorded in Milton (1644).
Conversational use of incidentally for “by the way” first attested 1925. incinerate — 1555, from M.L.
Incineratus “reduce to ashes,” pp.
Of incinerare, from L.
In- “into” + cinis (gen.
Cineris) “ashes.” Incinerator first recorded 1883, originally in the Amer.Eng.
Terminology of cremation; meaning “device for waste disposal by burning” is from 1889. incipient — 1669, from L.
Of incipere “begin, take up,” from in- “on” + -cipere, comb.
Form of capere “to take” (see capable). incipit — opening word of a Latin book or manuscript, from L., lit. “(here) begins,” third person sing.
Of incipere (see incipient). incision — 1392, from O.Fr.
Incision (13c.), from L.
Incisio) “a cutting into,” noun of action from incidere “to cut in,” from from in- “into” + -cidere, comb.
Form of caedere “to cut” (see concise).
Incisive (1597), from M.L.
Incisivus originally was lit., “cutting with a sharp edge;” fig.
Sense of “mentally acute” first recorded 1850 as a borrowing from Fr. incisor — cutting tooth, 1672, from M.L.
Incisor, lit. “that which cuts into,” from L.
Of incidere (see incision). incite — 1447, from M.Fr.
Enciter (14c.), from L.
Incitare “to put into rapid motion, urge, encourage, stimulate,” from in- “on” + citare “move, excite” (see cite). inclement — 1559 (implied in inclemency), from L.
Inclemens) “harsh, unmerciful,” from in- “not” + clementem “mild, placid.” “Limitation to weather is curious” [Weekley]. incline (v.) — c.1305, “to bend or bow toward,” from O.Fr.
Encliner, from L.
Inclinare “to cause to lean,” from in- “in” + clinare “to bend,” from PIE *klei-n-, suffixed form of *klei “to lean” (see lean (v.)).
Metaphoric sense of “have a mental disposition toward” is c.1430 in Eng. (but existed in classical L.).
The noun meaning “slant, slope” is attested from 1846. include — 1402, from L.
Includere “to shut in, enclose, insert,” from in- “in” + claudere “to shut” (see close (v.)).
The alleged Sam Goldwyn-ism, “Include me out,” is attested from 1937. incognito — 1649, from It.
Incognito “unknown,” especially in connection with traveling, from L.
Incognitus “unknown,” from in- “not” + cognitus, pp.
Of cognoscere “to get to know” (see cognizance).
Form incognita was maintained through 19c.
By those scrupulous about Latin. incoherence — 1611, formed from in- “not” + coherence on model of It.
Incoerenza (see coherence). income — c.1300, “entrance, arrival,” lit. “what enters,” perhaps a noun use of the late O.E.
Verb incuman “come in,” from in (adv.) + cuman “to come” (see come).
Meaning “money made through business or labor” first recorded 1601.
Income tax is from 1799, first introduced in Britain as a war tax, re-introduced 1842; authorized on a national level in U.S.
Incoming was originally of game approaching the hunter. incommensurable — 1557, from M.L.
Incommensurabilis, from in- “not” + L.L.commensurabilis, from L.com- “with” + mensurabilis “measurable,” from mensurare “to measure.” incommunicable — 1568, “not communicative,” from in- “not” + communicable (see communication).
Sense of “not able to be communicated” first recorded 1577. incommunicado — 1844, Amer.Eng., from Sp.
Of incomunicar “deprive of communication,” from in- “not” + comunicar “communicate,” from L.communicare “to share, impart,” from communis (see common). incomparable — 1412, from O.Fr.
Incomparable (12c.), from L.
Incomparabilis, from in- “not” + comparabilis “comparable” (see comparison). incompatible — 1563, from M.L.
Incompatibilis, from in- “not” + compatibilis (see compatible).
Originally of benefices, “incapable of being held together;” sense of “mutually intolerant” is from 1592. incompetent — 1611, “insufficient,” from Fr.
Incompetent, from L.L.
Incompetentem, from in- “not” + L.competentem (see competent).
Sense of “lacking qualification or ability” first recorded 1635. incomplete — c.1380, from L.
Incompletus, from in- “not” + completus (see complete). incomprehensible — c.1340, from L.
Incomprehensibilis, from in- “not” + comprehensibilis (see comprehend). inconceivable — 1631, from in- “not” + conceivable (see conceive). incongruous — 1611, from L.
Incongruus, from in- “not” + congruus (see congruent). inconsequent — 1579, “not following as a logical conclusion,” from L.
Inconsequens) “not logically connected,” from in- “not” + consequens, pp.
Of consequi “to follow” (see consequence).
Inconsequential “not worth noticing” first attested 1782. — isometric — 1840, coined from Gk.
Isos “equal” + metron “measure” (see meter (2)).
Originally a method of using perspective in drawing; the physiological sense relating to muscular action is from 1891, borrowed from Ger.
Isomer is an 1866 back-formation; isometrics coined 1962 in Amer.Eng. isosceles — 1551, from L.L.
Isosceles, from Gk.
Isoskeles “with equal sides,” from isos “equal” + skelos “leg” (see scalene). isotope — 1913, introduced by British chemist Frederick Soddy (1877-1956) on suggestion of Margaret Todd, from Gk.
Isos “equal” + topos “place;” so called because despite the different atomic weights, the various forms of an element occupy the same place on the periodic table. Israel — O.E., “the Jewish people,” from L.
Israel, from Gk., from Heb.
Yisra’el “he that striveth with God” (Gen.
“ii.28), symbolic proper name conferred on Jacob and extended to his descendants, from sara “he fought, contended” + El “God.” As an independent Jewish state in the country formerly called Palestine, it is attested from 1948.
Citizens of it are called Israelis; the ancient people are Israelites (1382). Issachar — son of Jacob by Leah (O.T.), name of a biblical tribe of Israel, from Gk.
Issakhar, from Heb.
Yissakhar, probably from yesh sakhar “there is a reward” (cf.
“.18). issue (n.) — c.1300, from O.Fr.
Issue “a way out, exit,” from fem.
Of issir “to go out,” from L.
Exire, from ex- “out” + ire “go.” Meaning “discharge of blood or other fluid from the body” is from 1526; sense of “offspring” is from 1377.
Meaning “outcome of an action” is attested from 1382; legal sense of “point in question at the conclusion of the presentation by both parties in a suit” (1308 in Anglo-Fr.) led to transf.
Sense of “a point to be decided” (1836).
Meaning “action of sending into publication or circulation” is from 1833.
The verb meaning “to flow out” (c.1300) is from O.Fr.
Of issir; sense of “to send out authoritatively” is from 1601; that of “to supply (someone with something)” is from 1925. -ist — agent noun suffix, also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from Fr. -iste, from L. -ista, from Gk. -istes, from agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (eg chorister, barister) is from O.Fr. -istre, on false analogy of ministre.
Variant -ista is from Sp.
Form, popularized in Eng. 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements. Istanbul — Turk.
Name of Constantinople, a corruption of Gk.
Phrase eis tan (ten) polin “into the city,” which is how the local Gk.
Population referred to it.
Picked up in Turkish 16c., though Turk.
Folk etymology traces the name to Islam bol “plenty of Islam.” Gk.
Polis “city” has been adopted into Turk.
As a place-name suffix as -bolu. isthmus — 1555, from Gk.
Isthmos “narrow neck of land,” especially that of Corinth, of unknown origin, perhaps from eimi “to go” + suffix -thmo (cf.
Ithma “a step, movement”). -istic — adj.
Suffix, from L. -isticus (often via Fr. -istique), from Gk. -istikos, which is adj.
Suffix -ikos added to n.
Suffix -istes (see -ist). it — O.E.
Nom. & acc.
Of third pers.
Pronoun, from P.Gmc.
Demonstrative base *khi- (cf.
Hita “it”), which is also the root of he.
As gender faded in M.E., it took on the meaning “thing or animal spoken about before.” The h- was lost due to being in an unemphasized position, as in modern speech the h- in “give it to him,” “ask her,” “is only heard in the careful speech of the partially educated” [Weekley].
It “the sex act” is from 1611; meaning “sex appeal (especially in a woman)” first attested 1904 in works of Rudyard Kipling, popularized 1927 as title of a book by Elinor Glyn, and by application of It Girl to silent-film star Clara Bow (1905-1965).
In children’s games, meaning “the one who must tag the others” is attested from 1842. Italian — 1422, “native of Italy,” from It.
Italiano, from Italia “Italy,” from L.
Italia, probably from a Gk.
Alteration of Oscan Viteliu “Italy,” but originally only the southwestern point of the peninsula, perhaps originally “land of cattle,” related to L.
Vitulus “calf,” or else a tribal name from an Illyrian word of unknown meaning.
Italianate (1572) is from It.
Italianato “rendered Italian,” from Italiano. italic — 1612, from L.
Italicus “Italian;” so called because it was introduced in 1501 by Aldus Manutius, printer of Venice (who also gave his name to Aldine), and first used in an edition of Virgil dedicated to Italy.
Earlier (1571) the word was used for the plain, sloping style of handwriting, as opposed to Gothic.
Italicize “to print in italics” (for emphasis, etc.) is from 1795. itch (n.) — O.E.
Gicce, from giccan (v.) “to itch,” from W.Gmc. *jukkjan (cf.
Sense of “restless desire” is first attested 1532; itching in this sense is from 1340. item — 1398, from L.
Item (adv.) “likewise, just so,” used to introduce a new fact or statement, probably from ita “thus,” id “it” + adv.
Ending -tem (cf.
Idem “the same”).
Thus “a statement or maxim” (of the kind formerly introduced by the word item), first recorded 1561.
Meaning “detail of information” (especially in a newspaper) is from 1819; item “sexually linked unmarried couple” is 1970, probably from notion of being an item in the gossip columns.
Noun sense of “an article of any kind” (1578) developed from earlier adv.
Sense of “moreover, in addition,” which was used before every article in a list (such as an inventory or bill).
Itemize coined 1864. iterate (v.) — 1533, “to do again, repeat,” back-formation from iteration (1477), from L.
Iteratio) “repetition,” noun of action from iterare “do again, repeat,” from iterum “again.” ithyphallic — 1614, “poem in ithyphallic meter,” from Gk.
Ithys “straight” + phallos “erect penis” (see phallus).
The meter was that of the Bacchic hymns, which were sung in the rites during which such phalluses were carried.
Thus, in Victorian times, the word also meant “grossly indecent” (1864). itinerant — 1570 (attested in Anglo-L.
From 1292), from L.L.
Of itinerare “to travel,” from L.
Itineris) “journey,” from ire “go” (see ion).
Originally in ref.
To circuit courts.
Itinerary is from 1432, from L.L.
Itinerarium “account of a journey,” from noun use of neut.
Of itinerarius “of a journey,” from L.
Itineris. -itis — noun suffix denoting diseases characterized by inflammation, Mod.L., from Gk. -itis, fem.
Suffix -ites “pertaining to.” Fem.
Because it was used with fem.
Noun nosos “disease,” eg Gk.
Arthritis (nosos) “(disease) of the joints.” its — see it.
Developed late 16c.
From it + ‘s, gen.
Or possessive ending, to replace his (which is used throughout the K.J.V.) as the neut.
Originally written it’s, and still deliberately spelled thus by some writers until early 1800s. itself — 1382, from O.E.
Hit sylf, from it + self (q.v.).
Usually regarded as its self (cf.
Its own self). itsy-bitsy — 1938, “charmingly small,” from itty (1798, in a letter of Jane Austen), baby-talk form of little. Ivan — masc.
Proper name, from Russian, lit. “John,” from Gk.
Ioannes “John.” As the personification of Russia, or the typical name for a Russian man (originally a Russian soldier), attested from 1870. I’ve — contraction of I have, 1742, first attested in Richardson’s “Pamela.” ivory — 1181, Anglo-Fr.
Ivorie, from O.N.Fr.
Ivurie (12c.), from L.
Eboreus “of ivory,” from ebur (gen.
Eboris) “ivory,” probably via Phoenician from an African source (cf.
Egyptian ab “elephant,” Coptic ebu “ivory”).
Elpendban, lit. “elephant bone.” Applied in slang to articles made from it, such as dice (1830) and piano keys (1854).
As a color, esp.
To human skin, it is attested from 1590.
Ivories as slang for “teeth” dates from 1782.
Ivory tower (1911) first used 1837 in Fr. (tour d’ivorie) by critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) with reference to the poet Alfred de Vigny, whom he accused of excessive aloofness. ivy — O.E.
Ifig, from W.Gmc. *ibakhs (cf.
Efeu), of unknown origin; the second element in the O.H.G.
Word may be “hay.” Ivy bush as a sign of a tavern where wine is served is attested from 1436.
Ivy League, inspired by the notion of old, ivy-coated walls, dates to 1933. (It consists of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale). ixnay — no, no more, pig Latin for nix. izard — chamois-like antelope of the Pyrenees, 1791, from Fr.
Isard, Gascon isart, “perhaps of Iberian origin,” or from Basque (cf.
Izzara “star”). -ize — suffix forming verbs, M.E. -isen, from O.Fr. -iser, from L.L. -izare, from Gk. -izein.
English picked up the Fr.
Form, but partially reverted to the correct Gk. -z- spelling from late 16c.
In Britain, despite the opposition (at least formerly) of OED, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Times of London, and Fowler, -ise remains dominant.
Fowler thinks this is to avoid the difficulty of remembering the short list of common words not from Greek (advertise, devise, surprise) which must be spelled with an -s-. J — the letter is a late modification of Roman -i-, originally a scribal creation in continental M.L.
To distinguish small -i- in cursive writing from the strokes of other letters, especially in the final positions of words.
But in Eng., -y- was used for this, and -j- was introduced c.1600-1640 to take up the consonantal sound that had evolved from -i- since L.L.
This usage first was attested in Sp., where it was in place before 1600.
Dictionaries continued to lump together words beginning in -i- and -j- until 19c. jab — 1825, “to thrust with a point,” Scot.
Variant of job “to strike, pierce, thrust,” from M.E.
Jobben “to jab, thrust, peck” (c.1490), of unknown origin, perhaps echoic.
Noun meaning “a punch with the fist” is from 1889.
Sense of “injection with a hypodermic needle” is from 1914. jabber (v.) — c.1440, jablen, javeren, jaberen, probably echoic. Jabberwocky — 1872, nonsense word (perhaps based on jabber) coined by Lewis Carroll, for the poem of the same name, which he published in “Through the Looking-Glass.” The poem is about a fabulous beast called the Jabberwock. j’accuse — Fr., lit. “I accuse,” phrase made famous by Emile Zola in a public letter attacking the irregularities of the Dreyfus trial (published Jan. 13, 1898). jacinth — c.1230, an ancient blue gem (probably sapphire), from O.Fr.
Iacinte, from L.
Hyacinthus (see hyacinth).
In modern use, a reddish-orange gem. Jack — masc.
Proper name, 1218, probably an Anglicization of O.Fr.
Jacques (which was a dim.
Jacobus, see Jacob), but in Eng.
The name always has been associated with Johan, Jan “John,” and some have argued that it is a native formation.
Alliterative coupling of Jack and Jill is from 15c. (Ienken and Iulyan).
As a generic name addressed to an unknown stranger, it is attested from 1889 in Amer.Eng.
Used especially of sailors (1659; Jack-tar is from 1781). jack (n.) — 1391, jakke “a mechanical device,” from the name Jack.
Used by 14c.
For “any common fellow” (1362), and thereafter extended to various appliances replacing servants (1572).
Used generically of men (jack-of-all-trades, 1618), male animals (1623, see jackass, jackdaw, etc.), and male personifications (1522, eg Jack Frost).
The jack in a pack of playing cards (1674) is in Ger.
Bauer “peasant.” Jackhammer is from 1930.
Jack shit “nothing at all” is 1970s southern U.S.
The jack of Union Jack is a nautical term for a small flag at the bow of a ship (1633). jack (v.) — 1873, jack up, originally “abandon, give up,” later (1885) “hoist with a jack;” then “increase prices, etc.” (1904, Amer.Eng.), all from the noun.
Jack off (v.) “to masturbate” is attested from 1916, probably from jack in the sense of “penis.” Jack o’lantern — 1663, a local name for a Will-o-the-wisp (L.
Ignis fatuus), mainly attested in East Anglia but also in southwestern England.
The extension to carved pumpkins is 1837, Amer.Eng. Jack Russell — type of terrier (not recognized as a distinct breed), 1907, named for the Rev.
John Russell (1795-1883) of Devonshire, “the sporting parson.” jackal — 1603, from Turk. çakal, from Pers.
Shaghal, from Skt.
Srgala-s, lit. “the howler.” Fig.
Sense of “skulking henchman” is from the old belief that jackals stirred up game for lions. jackanapes — c.1449, “a monkey,” also “an impertinent, conceited fellow;” apparently from Jack of Naples, but whether this is some specific personification or folk etymology of jack (n.) + ape is unknown. jackass — 1727, from jack (n.) + ass (q.v.).
Meaning “stupid person” is attested from 1823. jackboot — 1686, type of large, strong cavalry boot of 17c.-18c., later a type worn by Ger.
Soldiers in the Nazi period.
From jack (q.v.), though the exact sense here is unclear + boot.
Figurative of military oppression since 1768. jackdaw — 1543, the common name of the daw (Corvus monedula), “which frequents church towers, old buildings, etc.; noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities” [OED].
See jack (n.) + daw. jacket — 1451, from M.Fr.
Jaque, a kind of tunic, probably from Jacque, the male proper name, also the generic name of a Fr.
Peasant (see jacquerie), but possibly associated with jaque (de mailles) “short, tight-fitting coat,” originally “coat of mail,” from Sp.
Jaco, from Arabic shakk “breastplate.” Iakke “a short, close-fitting upper garment” is attested in Eng.
Meaning “paper wrapper of a book” is first attested 1894. jack-in-the-box — 1570, originally a name for a sharp or cheat, “who deceived tradesmen by substituting empty boxes for others full of money” [Robert Nares, "A Glossary of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions," London, 1905].
As a type of toy, it is attested from 1702. jack-knife — 1711, perhaps so called because it originally was associated with sailors.
As a type of dive, from 1922.
The verb is attested from 1776. jackpot — big prize, 1944, from obsolete poker sense (1881) of progressive antes that begin when no player has a pair of jacks or better.
Earlier, in criminal slang, it meant “trouble,” especially “an arrest” (1902). jackrabbit — 1863, Amer.Eng., shortening of jackass-rabbit, so called for its long ears. Jacksonian — 1824, of or in the character of U.S.
Politician Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). Jacob — masc.
Proper name, name of O.T.
Patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca and father of the founders of the twelve tribes, from L.L.
Jacobus, from Gk.
Iakobos, from Heb.
Ya’aqobh, lit. “one that takes by the heel” (Gen.
Xxviii.12), a derivative of ‘aqebh “heel.” — lap (v.1) — take up liquid with the tongue, from O.E.
Lapian, from P.Gmc. *lapajanan (cf.
Laffen “to lick,” O.S.
Löffel “spoon”), from PIE imitative base *lab- (cf.
Laptein “to sip, lick,” L.
Lambere “to lick”).
Meaning “splash gently” first recorded 1823, based on similarity of sound. lap (v.2) — to lay one part over another, c.1225, from lap (n.).
The sense of “to get a lap ahead (of someone) on a track” is from 1847, on notion of “overlapping.” The noun meaning “a turn around a track” (1861) is from this sense. lapel — 1751 (implied in lapelled), from lap (n.) + -el, dim.
Suffix. lapidary (n.) — one skilled in working with precious stones, 1382, from O.Fr.
Lapidaire, from L.
Lapidarius “stonecutter,” originally an adj. “of or working with stone,” from lapis (gen.
Lapidis) “stone.” lapis lazuli — 1398, from M.L. “stone of azure,” from L.
Lapis “stone” + M.L.
Of lazulum, from Arabic lazuward (see azure). Lapland — 1580, from Lapp, the Swedish name for this Finnic people (their name for themselves was Sabme), which probably originally was an insulting coinage (cf.
Lappe “simpleton”); but in Eng.
Traditionally the home of witches and wizards who had power to conjure winds and tempests. Lapp — 1859; see Lapland. lappet — a small flap, 1573, from M.E.
Lappe “lap” (see lap (n.)) + -et, dim.
Suffix. lapse — 1526, “slip of the memory,” from M.Fr.
Laps “lapse,” from L.
Lapsus “a slipping and falling, flight (of time), falling into error,” from labi “to slip, glide, fall.” Meaning “a moral slip” is from 1582; that of “a falling away from one’s faith” is from 1660.
Legal sense of “termination of a right or privilege” first recorded 1570.
The verb is first attested 1641. lapwing — M.E.
Lappewinke (1390), lapwyngis (c.1430), folk etymology alteration of O.E.
Hleapewince, lit. “leaper-winker,” from hleapan “to leap” + wince “totter, waver, move rapidly,” related to wincian “to wink.” Said to be “in reference to its irregular flapping manner of flight” [Barnhart], but the lapwing also flaps around on the ground pretending to have a broken wing to lure egg-hunters away from its nest, which seems a more logical explanation.
Name was polyplagktos “luring on deceitfully.” larboard — left-hand side of a ship (to a person on board and facing the bow), c.1300, ladde-borde, perhaps lit. “the loading side,” if this was the side on which goods were loaded onto a ship, from laden “to load” + bord “ship’s side.” Altered 16c.
On influence of starboard, then largely replaced by port (1).
To avoid confusion of similar-sounding words.
Term was bæcboard, lit. “back board” (see starboard). larceny — c.1460, from Anglo-Fr.
Larcin (1292), from O.Fr.
Larrecin “theft,” from L.
Latrocinium “robbery,” from latro (gen.
Latronis) “robber, bandit,” also “hireling, mercenary,” ult.
Latron “pay, hire, wages.” The former distinction between grand and petty larceny was of property valued at more than, or less than, 12 pence. larch — 1548, from Ger.
Lärche, from M.H.G.
Larche, from O.H.G. *larihha, from L.
Laricis), probably a loan-word from an Alpine Gaulish language, corresponding phonetically to O.Celt. *darik- “oak” (see Druid and tree). lard — c.1420, “fat of a swine,” from O.Fr.
Larde “bacon fat,” from L.
Lardum “lard, bacon,” probably cognate with Gk.
Larinos “fat,” laros “pleasing to the taste.” larder — c.1300, from Anglo-Fr.
Larder “a place for meats,” from M.L.
Lardarium “a room for meats,” from L.
Lardum “lard, bacon” (see lard). lares — Roman tutelary gods, household deities, 1586, from L., pl.
Of lar. large — c.1175, “bountiful,” from O.Fr.
Large “broad, wide,” from L.
Largus “abundant, copious, plentiful, liberal,” of unknown origin.
Main modern meaning “extensive, big” emerged c.1300.
An older sense of “liberated, free” is preserved in at large (1399).
Phrase larger-than-life first attested 1937 (bigger than life is from 1641). largesse — gift generously given, c.1225, from O.Fr.
Largesse “a bounty, munificence,” from V.L. *largitia “abundance,” from L.
Largus “abundant” (see large). lariat — 1832, Amer.Eng., from Sp.
La reata “the rope,” from reatar “to tie again,” from atar “to tie,” from L.
Aptare “to join.” lark (n.) — songbird, O.E.
Lawerce (late O.E.
Laferce), from P.Gmc. *laiw(a)rikon (cf.
Lerche), of unknown origin.
Forms suggest a compound meaning “treason-worker,” but there is no folk tale to explain or support this.
The plant larkspur (1578) is so called from resemblance to the bird’s large hind claws. lark (v.) — spree, frolic, 1811, possibly shortening of skylark (1809), sailors’ slang “play rough in the rigging of a ship” (larks were proverbial for high-flying), or from Eng.
Lake/laik “to play” (c.1300, from O.N.
Leika “to play”) with intrusive -r- common in southern British dialect.
The verb lake, considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play. larrup — to beat, thrash, 1823, of unknown origin, possibly related to Du.
Larpen “to thrash.” First mentioned as a Suffolk dialect word. larva — 1651, “a ghost, specter,” from L.
Larva, earlier larua “ghost,” also “mask;” applied in biological sense 1768 by Linnaeus because immature forms of insects “mask” the adult forms.
On the double sense of the L.
Word, Carlo Ginzburg, among other students of mythology and folklore, has commented on “the well-nigh universal association between masks and the spirits of the dead.” larynx — 1578, from M.Fr., from Gk.
Laryngos) “the upper windpipe,” probably from laimos “throat,” influenced by pharynx “throat, windpipe.” Laryngitis (1822) is Medical L., from larynx + -itis (q.v.). lasagna — pasta cut in long, wide strips; a dish made from this, 1760, from It. (pl.
Is lasagne), from V.L. *lasania, from L.
Lasanum “a pot,” from Gk.
Lasanon “pot with feet, trivet.” lascivious — c.1425, from L.L.
Lasciviosus (used in a scolding sense by Isidore and other early Church writers), from L.
Lascivia “lewdness, playfulness,” from lascivus “lewd, playful,” from PIE *las-ko-, from *las- “to be eager, wanton, or unruly” (cf.
Skt. -lasati “yearns,” lasati “plays, frolics,” Hittite ilaliya- “to desire, covet,” Gk.
Laste “harlot,” O.C.S.
Laska “flattery,” Slovak laska “love,” O.Ir.
Lainn “greedy,” Goth.
Lust “lust”). — Lola — fem.
Proper name, dim.
Dolores. Lolita — fem.
Proper name, dim.
Title and name of character in the 1958 novel by Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) about a precocious schoolgirl seduced by an older man; by 1960 the name was in widespread fig.
Use. loll — 1362, lollen “to lounge idly, hang loosely,” perhaps related to M.Du.
Lollen “to doze, mumble,” or somehow imitative of rocking or swinging.
Specifically of the tongue from 1611. lollapalooza — remarkable or wonderful person or thing, 1904 (lallapalootza), Amer.Eng., fanciful formation. Lollard — 1395 (in Chaucer, Loller, c.1386), from M.Du.
Lollaerd, applied pejoratively to members of reforming sects c.1300 who devoted themselves to the care of the sick and poor, lit. “mumbler, mutterer,” so called by critics who regarded them as heretics pretending to humble piety, from lollen “to mumble or doze.” Generic late M.E.
Term for groups suspected of heresy, esp.
Followers of John Wycliffe. lollipop — 1784, lolly-pops “sweetmeats, soft candy,” perhaps related to loll “to dangle” (the tongue) + pop “strike, slap.” Or the first element may be northern dial.
Lolly “the tongue.” Meaning “hard candy on a stick” is from 1920s. lollygag — dawdle, dally, 1862, lallygag, Amer.Eng., perhaps from dial.
Lolly “tongue” + gag “deceive, trick.” Lombard — banker, money-changer, pawnbroker, 1377, from O.Fr. (which also gave the word in this sense to M.Du.
And Low Ger.), from It.
Lombardus), from L.L.
Langobardus, proper name of a Gmc.
People who conquered Italy 6c.
And settled in the northern region that became known as Lombardy, from P.Gmc.
Langgobardoz, often said to mean lit. “Long-beards,” but perhaps rather from *lang- “tall, long” + the proper name of the people (L.
Their name in O.E.
Was Langbeardas (pl.), but also Heaðobeardan, from heaðo “war.” Lombards in Middle Ages were notable throughout Western Europe as bankers and money-lenders, also pawn-brokers; London’s Lombard Street (1598) originally was occupied by Lombard bankers.
Lombardy poplar, originally from Italy but planted in N.Amer.
Colonies as an ornamental tree, is attested from 1766. London — chief city and capital of England, L.
Londinium (c.115), often explained as “place belonging to a man named Londinos,” a supposed Celtic personal name meaning “the wild one,” “but this etymology is rejected in an emphatic footnote in Jackson 1953 (p.308), and we have as yet nothing to put in its place.” [Margaret Gelling, "Signposts to the Past: Place-Names and the History of England," Chichester, 1978] London Bridge the children’s singing game is attested from 1827.
London broil “large flank steak broiled then cut in thin slices” is 1969, Amer.Eng.; London fog first attested 1830. lone — 1377, aphetic shortening of alone (q.v.) by misdivision of what is properly al(l) one.
The Lone Star in ref.
To “Texas” is first recorded 1843, from its flag.
First record of lonely is from 1607; lonesome from 1647.
Loner “one who avoids company” first recorded 1947.
Lone wolf in the fig.
Sense is 1909, Amer.Eng. long (adj.) — O.E.
Lang, long, from P.Gmc. *langgaz (cf.
Laggs “long”), perhaps from PIE *dlonghos- (cf.
Dolikhos “long,” Gk.
Endelekhes “perpetual,” L.
Indulgere “to indulge”).
Is from O.E.
Lange, longe, from the adjective.
The word illustrates the O.E.
Tendency for short “a” to become short “o” before -n- (also retained in bond/band and W.
Lond from land and hond from hand).
Long vowels (c.1000) originally were pronounced for an extended time.
Long-playing (phonograph record) is from 1929; abbreviation LP is from 1948.
Long-bow, the characteristic medieval Eng.
Weapon, is attested from c.1500.
Longhair is 1920 in the sense of “intellectual,” especially in musical tastes, “devotee of classical music;” sense of “hippie” took over 1969.
Long-distance in ref.
To telephoning is from 1884.
Long in the tooth (1852) is from horses showing age by recession of gums.
Long shot in the fig.
Sense of “something unlikely” is from 1867.
Long-term (adj.) is from 1908.
Long run “ultimate outcome” is attested from 1627.
Long time no see, imitative of Amer.Indian speech, is first recorded 1900.
Long-winded “given to lengthy speeches” is from 1589. long (v.) — O.E.
Langian “to yearn, to seem long,” lit. “to grow long,” from P.Gmc. *langojanan (see long (adj.)).
Related to O.N.
Verlangen “to desire.” longevity — 1615, from L.L.
Longævitas “great age, long life,” from L.
Longævus “long-lived,” from longus “long” (adj.) + ævum “lifetime, age.” longitude — c.1391, from L.
Longitudo “length,” from longus “long” (adj.) (see long (adj.)).
For origins, see latitude. longshoreman — 1811, from alongshore + man. loo (1) — lavatory, 1940, but perhaps 1922, probably from Fr.
Lieux d’aisances, “lavatory,” lit. “place of ease,” picked up by British servicemen in France during World War I.
Or possibly a pun on Waterloo, based on water closet. loo (2) — type of card game, 1675, short for lanterloo, from Fr.
Lanturelau, originally the refrain of a song. loofah — 1887, from Egyptian Arabic lufah, the name of the plant (Luffa ægyptiaca) with fibrous pods from which flesh-brushes are made. look (v.) — O.E.
Locian “see, gaze, look, spy,” from W.Gmc. *lokjan (cf.
Lugen “to look out”), of unknown origin, perhaps cognate with Bret.
Lagud “eye.” In O.E., usually with on; the use of at began 14c.
Meaning “to have a certain appearance” is from c.1400.
Noun meaning “an act of looking” is c.1200; meaning “appearance of a person” is from c.1385.
To look down upon in the fig.
Sense is from 1711; to look down one’s nose is from 1921; looker “attractive woman” is from 1893; look-see (n.) “inspection” first recorded 1883.
In look sharp (1711) sharp originally was an adv. “sharply.” Look after “take care of” is from 1375; look into “investigate” is from 1586; to not look back “make no pauses” is colloquial, first attested 1893.
Look up “research in books or papers” is from 1692.
Look-alike (n.) “someone who closely resembles another” is 1947, Amer.Eng.
Looking-glass first attested 1526.
Look-out “person who stands watch or acts as a scout” is from 1699. loom (n.) — O.E.
Geloma “utensil, tool,” from ge- perfective prefix + -loma, of unknown origin.
Originally “implement or tool of any kind” (cf.
Heirloom); thus, “the penis” (c.1400-1600).
Meaning “a machine in thich yarn or thread is woven into fabric” is from 1404. loom (v.) — 1542, perhaps from a Scand.
Lomen “move slowly”), perhaps a variant from the root of lame (adj.); first used of ships. loon (1) — diving bird (esp.
The Great Northern Diver), 1634, from a Scand.
Lom, from O.N.
Lomr). loon (2) — crazy person, c.1450, lowen “rascal,” of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Du.
Loen “stupid person.” loony — 1853, Amer.Eng., short for lunatic, but also infl.
By loon (2), which is noted for its wild cry and method of escaping from danger.
Slang loony bin “insane asylum” is from 1919.
Looney left in ref.
To holders of political views felt to be extreme is from 1977. loop — c.1390, probably of Celtic origin (cf.
Lub “bend,” Ir.
Lubiam), influenced by O.N.
Hlaup “a leap, run.” In ref.
To magnetic recording tape or film, first recorded 1931.computer programming sense first attested 1947.
The verb meaning “to form a loop” is first recorded 1856.
Looped “drunk” is from 1934; loopy “crazy” is from 1925.
To loop the loop (1902) originally was a stunt of bicycle-riding. loophole — 1464, from M.E.
Loupe “opening in a wall” (c.1300), perhaps related to M.Du.
Lupen “to watch, peer;” + hole.
Figurative sense of “outlet, means of escape” is from 1663. — lotion — c.1400, from O.Fr.
Lotion, from L.
Lotio) “a washing,” from lotus, popular form of lautus, pp.
Of lavere “to wash” (see lave). lottery — 1567, “arrangement for a distribution of prizes by chance,” from It.
Lotteria, from same root as O.E.
Hlot (see lot). lotto — 1778, “type of card game,” from It.
Lotto “a lot,” from O.Fr.
Lot “lot,” from Frank. (cf.
Hlot, see lot).
Meaning “a lottery” is attested from 1787. lotus — c.1540, from L.
Lotus, from Gk.
Lotos, name used for several plants before it came to mean Egyptian white lotus (a sense attested in Eng.
From 1584); perhaps from a Sem.
The yogic sense is attested from 1848.
Lotus-eaters (1832) are from Gk.
Lotophagoi, mentioned in “Odyssey,” book IX. loud (adj.) — O.E.
Hlud “making noise, sonorous,” from W.Gmc. *khluthaz “heard” (cf.
Laut “loud”), from PIE pp. *klutos- (cf.
Klytos “heard of, celebrated,” Arm.
Lu “known,” Welsh clod “praise”), from base *kleu- “to hear” (see listen).
Is from O.E.
Hlude, from P.Gmc. *khludai.
Application to colors first recorded 1849.
Loudmouth (n.) first recorded 1934.
Loudspeaker is from 1884. lough — c.1330, “a lake,” Anglo-Celtic, representing a northern form of Ir.
Loch, Welsh llwch. Louis — masc.
Proper name, from Fr.
Louis, from O.Fr.
Loois, probably via M.L.
Ludovicus from O.H.G.
Ludwig), lit. “famous in war,” from P.Gmc. *hluda- “heard of, famous” (see loud) + *wiga “war.” Louis Quatorze (1855) refers to styles reminiscent of the time of King Louis XIV of France (1643-1715). lounge (v.) — 1508, from Scot., of uncertain origin, perhaps from Fr.
S’allonger (paresseusement) “to lounge about, lie at full length,” from O.Fr.
Alongier “lengthen,” from L.
Longus “long.” Another etymology traces it through obsolete lungis (n.) “slow, lazy person” (c.1560), from M.Fr.
Longis, a generic application of Longinus, supposed to be the name of the centurion who pierced Christ’s side with a spear in John xix.34.
Popular etymology associated the name with long (adj.).
The noun in the sense of “comfortable drawing room” is first recorded 1881; in the sense of “couch on which one can lie at full length,” 1830.
Lounge lizard is from 1912, originally in reference to men who hung around in tea rooms to flirt. lour — to frown, c.1290, variant of lower (v.2). louse — O.E.
Lus, “parasitic insect infecting human hair and skin,” from P.Gmc. *lus (cf.
O.N., M.Du., O.H.G.
Slang meaning “obnoxious person” is from 1633.
The plural lice (O.E.
Lys) shows effects of i-mutation.
Lousy is 1377 lousi “infested with lice;” figurative use as a generic term of abuse dates from c.1386; sense of “swarming with” (money, etc.) is Amer.Eng.
Slang from 1843.
The verb meaning “to clear of lice” is from c.1440; to louse up “ruin, botch” first attested 1934. lout (n.) — 1548, “awkward fellow, clown, bumpkin,” perhaps from dialectal derivative of O.E.
Verb lutan “bow low,” from P.Gmc. *leut- “to bow, bend, stoop” (cf.
Lutr “stooping”), from PIE *leud- “to lurk” (cf.
Luton “to deceive,” O.E.
Lot “deceit), also “to be small” (see little).
Cognates probably include Lith.
Liudeti “to mourn;” O.C.S.
Luditi “to deceive,” ludu “foolish.” Sense of “cad” is first attested 1857 in British schoolboy slang. louver — 1367, “domed turret-like structure atop a building to disperse smoke and admit light,” from O.Fr.
Lovier, of uncertain origin.
One theory connects it to M.L. *lodarium, which might be from a Gmc.
Louba “upper room, roof;” see lobby).
Another suggests it is from Fr.
L’ouvert, lit. “the open place,” from le, definite article, + pp.
Of ouvrir “to open.” Meaning “overlapping strips in a window (to let in air but keep out rain)” first recorded 1555.
The form has been influenced by unrelated Fr.
Louvre, the name of the palace in Paris, which is said to be so named because its builder, Philip Augustus, intended it as a wolf kennel. love (n.) — O.E.
Lufu “love, affection, friendliness,” from P.Gmc. *lubo (cf.
Liufs “dear, beloved;” not found elsewhere as a noun, except O.H.G.
Liebe), from PIE *leubh- “to care, desire, love” (cf.
Lubet, later libet “pleases;” Skt.
Lubhyati “desires;” O.C.S.
L’ubu “dear, beloved;” Lith.
Liaupse “song of praise”).
Meaning “a beloved person” is from c.1225.
The sense “no score” (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of “playing for love,” ie “for nothing” (1678).
Love-letter is attested from c.1240; love-song from c.1310.
To be in love with (someone) is from 1508.
Love life “one’s collective amorous activities” is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon.
Phrase make love is attested from 1580 in the sense “pay amorous attention to;” as a euphemism for “have sex,” it is attested from c.1950.
Love child “child born out of wedlock,” first attested 1805, from earlier love brat (17c.).
Lovesick is attested from 1530; lovelorn from 1634 (see lose).
Phrase for love or money “for anything” is attested from 1590.
To fall in love is attested from 1423.
The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c.
To two who love each other well (c.1640) as well as two who have no love for each other (1622). love (v.) — O.E.
Lufian, from P.Gmc. *lubojanan, from root of love (n.).
Love-hate (adj.) “ambivalent” is from 1937, originally a term in psychological jargon. love apple — tomato, 1578, corresponding to Fr.
Pomme d’amour, Ger.
Liebesapfel, but the reason for the term remains obscure.
One guess is that it is a corruption of It.
Pomo de’Mori or Sp.
Pome dei Moro, lit. “Moorish apple.” love bird — 1595, “small species of W.African parrot, noted for the remarkable attention mating pairs pay to one another;” fig.
Sense of “a lover” is attested from 1911. lovelonging — c.1300, luue langing, from love (n.) + inf.
Of long (v.). lovely — O.E.
Luflic “affectionate, loveable,” the modern sense of “lovable on account of beauty, attractive” is from c.1300, “applied indiscriminately to all pleasing material objects, from a piece of plum-cake to a Gothic cathedral” [Marsh]. low (adj.) — M.E.
Lah (c.1150), from O.N.
Lagr “low,” from P.Gmc. *lægaz (cf.
Läge “low”), lit. “that which is lying flat;” related to O.E.
Licgan (see lie (v.)).
Meaning “humble in rank” is from c.1200; “undignified” is from 1559; sense of “dejected, dispirited” is attested from 1737.
In reference to sounds, it is attested from 1422.
In geographical usage, it refers to the part of a country near the sea-shore (c.1300; cf.
Low Countries “Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg,” 1548).
Low-down “vulgar” is from 1888.
Lowbrow “person who is not intellectual” is first attested 1902, said to have been coined by humorist Will Irwin.
Low-life (adj.) “disreputable, vulgar” is from 1794; as a noun, “coarse, no-good person” it is recorded from 1911.
Lowly “humble” is from c.1374. low (v.) — O.E.
Hlowan “make a noise like a cow,” from P.Gmc. *khlo- (cf.
Hluojen), from onomatopoeic PIE base *kla- (see claim). lowboy — chest of drawers on short legs, 1899, from low (adj.) + Fr.
Bois “wood” (see bush). lower (v.1) — to cause to descend, 1606, from lower (adj.), from M.E.
Lahghere (c.1200), comp.
Of low (adj.). lower (v.2) — (also lour), M.E.
Louren, luren “to frown, lurk,” from O.E. *luran or from its cognates, M.L.G.
Loeren “lie in wait.” Lowestoft — type of porcelain, named for a town in Suffolk where it was made from 1757. lox — 1941, Amer.Eng., from Yiddish laks, from M.H.G.
Lahs “salmon,” from P.Gmc. *lakhs-, from the common IE root for the fish (cf.
Losos “salmon”). loyalty — c.1400, from O.Fr.
Loyauté), from O.Fr.
Loial, from L.
Legalis “legal,” from lex (gen.
Leal (q.v.), from the same L.
Sense development in Eng.
Is feudal, via notion of “faithful in carrying out legal obligations.” Loyalty oath first attested 1952. — no-account — worthless, 1845, Amer.Eng., lit. “of no account” (see account).
Contracted form no’count is attested from 1853. Noah — masc.
Proper name, from Heb.
Noah, lit. “rest.” Noachian, in ref.
To the flood legend, is from 1678. nob — head, c.1700, variant of knob (q.v.). Nobel — 1900, in ref.
To five prizes (in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace) established in the will of Alfred Nobel (1833-96), Swed.
Chemist and engineer, inventor of dynamite.
A sixth prize, in economics, was added in 1969. nobility — 1398, “quality of being excellent or rare,” from O.Fr.
Nobilité), from L.
Nobilitas) “nobleness,” from nobilis “well-known, prominent” (see noble).
Meaning “quality of being of noble rank or birth” is attested from c.1440; sense of “noble class collectively” is from 1530. noble — c.1225, “illustrious, distinguished, worthy of honor or respect,” from O.Fr.
Noble, from L.
Nobilis “well-known, famous, renowned, of superior birth,” earlier gnobilis, lit. “knowable,” from gnoscere “to come to know,” from PIE base *gno- (see know).
The prominent Roman families, which were “well known,” provided most of the Republic’s public officials.
Meaning “distinguished by rank, title, or birth” is first recorded 1297.
Sense of “having lofty character, having high moral qualities” is from 1601.
The noble gases (1902) so called for their inactivity or interness; a use of the word that had been applied in M.E.
To precious stones, metals, etc., of similar quality (c.1390), from the sense of “having admirable properties” (c.1305). noblesse — c.1225, “noble birth or condition,” from O.Fr.
Noblesse), from V.L. *nobilitia, from L.
Nobilis (see noble).
Phrase noblesse oblige “privilege entails responsibility” is first attested in Eng. 1837. nobodaddy — c.1793, William Blake’s derisive name for the anthropomorphic God of Christianity. nobody — 1338, no body, from M.E.
No (adj.) “not any” + bodi “body.” Written as two words 14c.-18c.; hyphenated 17c.-18c.
Incorrect use with their is attested from 1548. nock — notch on a bow, 1398, probably from a Scand.
Nock “notch”), but cf.
Also Low Ger.
Nok “tip of a sail.” nocturn — a division of the office of matins, c.1225, from M.L.
Nocturna, “group of Psalms used in the nocturns,” from L.
Nocturnus (see nocturnal). nocturnal — 1485, from M.Fr.
Nocturnal, from L.L.
Nocturnalis, from L.
Nocturnus “belonging to the night,” from nox (gen.
Noctis) “night,” cognate with O.E.
Neaht (see night) + -urnus, suffix forming adjectives of time.
Nocturnal emission “involuntary ejaculation during sleep” first recorded 1821. nocturne — 1862, “composition of a dreamy character,” from Fr.
Nocturne, lit. “composition appropriate to the night,” noun use of O.Fr.
Nocturne “nocturnal,” from L.
Nocturnus (see nocturnal).
Said to have been coined c.1814 by John Field, who wrote many of them, in a style that Chopin mastered in his own works, which popularized the term. nod (v.) — to quickly bow the head, c.1386, of unknown origin, probably an O.E.
Word, but not recorded; perhaps related to O.H.G.
Hnoton “to shake,” from P.Gmc. *khnudojanan.
The noun is first attested 1540.
Meaning “to drift in and out of consciousness while on drugs” is attested from 1968. node — 1572, “a knot or complication,” from L.
Nodus “knot.” Originally borrowed c.1400 in L.
Form, meaning “lump in the flesh.” Meaning “point of intersection” (originally of planetary orbits with the ecliptic) first recorded 1665. nodule — 1600, from L.
Nodulus “small knot,” dim.
Of nodus “knot.” Noel — c.1390, from M.E.
Nowel, from O.Fr.
Noel “the Christmas season,” var.
Of nael, from L.
Natalis (dies) “birth (day),” in Eccles.
In reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, pp.
Of nasci “be born.” no-fault (adj.) — as a type of U.S.
Motor vehicle insurance, attested from 1967. no-frills (adj.) — first attested 1960 (see frill). noggin — 1630, “small cup, mug,” later “small drink” (1693), of unknown origin, possibly related to Norfolk dial.
Nog “strong ale” (now chiefly in eggnog).
Informal meaning “head” first attested 1866 in Amer.Eng. no-go — phrase for an impracticable situation, first attested 1870. no-good (adj.) — 1908, from phrase no good “good for nothing.” As a noun, first recorded 1924; variant no-goodnik (see -nik) first attested 1960. Noh — traditional Japanese masked drama, 1871, from Japanese, lit. “ability, talent, function.” Dramatic form also known as nogaku, with gaku “music.” no-hitter — baseball term for game in which one side fails to make a hit, first attested 1948. nohow — not at all, 1775, Amer.Eng., from no + how, on model of nowhere. noise — c.1225, “loud outcry, clamor, shouting,” from O.Fr.
Noise “uproar, brawl” (in modern Fr.
Only in phrase chercher noise “to pick a quarrel”), apparently from L.
Nausea “disgust, annoyance, discomfort,” lit. “seasickness” (see nausea).
Another theory traces the O.Fr.
Word to L.
Noxia “hurting, injury, damage.” OED considers that “the sense of the word is against both suggestions,” but nausea could have developed a sense in V.L.
Of “unpleasant situation, noise, quarrel” (cf.
Nauza “noise, quarrel”).
Replaced native gedyn (see din). noisome — 1382, “harmful, noxious,” from noye “harm, misfortune,” shortened form of anoi “annoyance” (from O.Fr.
Anoier, see annoy) + -some.
Meaning “bad-smelling” first recorded 1577. nole contendere — 1872, from L., lit. “I do not wish to contend.” noli me tangere — 1398, “type of facial ulcer, lupus,” from L., lit. “touch me not,” from noli, imperative of nolle “to be unwilling” + me (see me) + tangere “to touch” (see tangent).
Used over the years of various persons or things that must not be touched, esp. “picture of Jesus as he appeared to Mary Magdalene” (1680) and “plant of the genus Impatiens” (1563, so called because the ripe seed pods burst when touched). — overzealous — 1635, from over + zealous (q.v.). oviparous — producing eggs that are hatched outside the body of the female, 1646, from L.
Oviparus, from ovum “egg” (see egg) + stem of parere “to bring forth” (see pare). ovulation — 1848, from Mod.L.
Ovulum (see ovule).
Ovulate is an 1888 back-formation. ovule — 1830, from Fr.
Ovule, from Mod.L.
Ovulum, lit. “small egg,” dim.
Ovum “egg” (see ovum). ovum — (pl.
Ova), 1706, from L.
Ovum “egg,” cognate with Gk.
Egg, O.E. æg, all from PIE base *owyo-/*oyyo- “egg” (see egg). owe — O.E.
Ahte) “to have, own,” from P.Gmc. *aiganan “to possess” (cf.
Aigan “to possess, have”), from PIE *aik- “to be master of, possess” (cf.
Ise “he owns,” isah “owner, lord, ruler;” Avestan is- “riches,” isvan- “well-off, rich”).
Sense of “to have to repay” began in late O.E.
With the phrase agan to geldanne lit. “to own to yield,” which was used to translate L.
Debere (earlier in O.E.
This would have been sceal “shall”); by c.1175 the phrase had been shortened to simply agan, and own (v.) took over this word’s original sense.
An original Gmc.
Preterite-present verb (cf.
Can, dare, may, etc.).
New past tense form owed arose 15c.
To replace oughte, which developed into ought (1). Owen/Ewen — Celtic proper name, ult.
Eugenes “well-born;” via Gael.
Eogan, O.Welsh Eugein, Ougein.
In Medieval records, frequently Latinized as Eugenius; the form Eugene emerged in Scotland by 1178.
The Breton form Even led to modern Fr.
Owenite in ref.
To the communistic system of social reformer Robert Owen (1771-1858) is attested from 1829. owl — O.E.
Ule, from P.Gmc. *uwwalon (cf.
Ugla), a dim.
Of root *uwwa, which is imitative of an owl’s hoot (cf.
Ulula “owl;” cf.
The bird was employed proverbially and figuratively in ref.
To nocturnal habits, ugliness, and appearance of gravity and wisdom (often ironic). own (adj.) — O.E.
Agen “one’s own,” lit. “possessed by,” from P.Gmc. *aigana- “possessed, owned” (cf.
Eigen “own”), from pp.
Of PIE *aik- “to be master of, possess,” source of O.E.
Agan “to have” (see owe). own (v.) — evolved in early M.E.
Geagnian, from root agan “to have, to own” (see own), and in part from own (adj.) (q.v.).
It became obsolete after c.1300, but was revived early 17c., in part as a back-formation of owner (1340), which continued.
To own up “make full confession” is from 1853. ox — O.E.
Oxan), from P.Gmc. *ukhson (cf.
Auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- “male animal,” (cf.
Welsh ych “ox,” M.Ir.
Oss “stag,” Skt.
Uksa, Avestan uxshan- “ox, bull”), said to be from base *uks- “to sprinkle,” related to *ugw- “wet, moist.” The animal word, then, is lit. “besprinkler.” Oxen is the only true survival in Mod.Eng.
Of the O.E.
Ox-bow “semicircular bend in a river” is first recorded 1797, Amer.Eng. (New England), in ref.
To the shape of the piece of wood which forms the collar for an ox yoke (so called from 1368). Oxford — university town in England, M.E.
Oxforde, from O.E.
Oxnaforda (10c.) lit. “where the oxen ford.” As the name for a type of shoe laced over the instep, it is attested from 1721.
Oxbridge (1849), a conflation of Oxford and Cambridge, is used in ref.
To the characteristics common to the two universities.
Oxfam (1963) is short for Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. oxide — compound of oxygen with another element, 1790, from Fr.
Oxide (1787), coined by G.
De Morveau and A.
Lavoisier from ox(ygène) + (ac)ide.
Oxidation (1791) is from Fr.
Oxidation (1787), noun of action from oxider “oxidize,” from oxide.
Verb oxidize is attested from 1802 (implied in oxidizable). Oxonian — “pertaining to Oxford or to Oxford University, c.1540, from M.L.
Oxonia, Latinized form of M.E.
Oxforde (see oxford). oxygen gaseous chemical element, 1790, from Fr.
Oxygène, coined in 1777 by Fr.
Chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743-94), from Gk.
Oxys sharp, acid”" (see acrid) + Fr. -gène “”something that produces”" (from Gk. -genes “”formation, creation”").
Intended to mean “”acidifying (principle),”" from Fr.
So called because oxygen was considered essential in the formation of acids.
The element was isolated by Priestley (1774), who thought it an altered form of common air and called it dephlogisticated air.” oxymoron — 1657, from Gk.
Oxymoron, noun use of neut.
Of oxymoros (adj.) “pointedly foolish,” from oxys “sharp” (see acrid) + moros “stupid.” Rhetorical figure by which contradictory terms are conjoined so as to give point to the statement or expression; the word itself is an illustration of the thing.
Now often used loosely to mean “contradiction in terms.” oyer — 1432, “a hearing of causes,” from Anglo-Fr.
Oyer, from O.Fr.
Oir, from L.
Audire “to hear” (see audience).
Especially in phrase oyer and terminer (1414), from Anglo-Fr. (1278), lit. “a hearing and determining,” in England a court of judges of assize, in U.S.
A higher criminal court. oyez — c.1425, from Anglo-Fr.
Oyez “hear ye!” (c.1286, O.Fr.
Oiez), a cry uttered (usually thrice) to call attention, from L.
Subjunctive audiatis, pl.
Imperative of audire “to hear” (Anglo-Fr.
Oier; see audience). oyster — 1357, from O.Fr.
Huître), from L.
Of ostreum “oyster,” from Gk.
Ostreon, from PIE *ost- “bone” (see osseous).
Related to Gk.
Ostrakon “hard shell” and to osteon “bone.” Ozark — mountains of southcentral United States, from Fr.
Aux Arcs, short for aux Arkansas “to the Arkansas (Indians),” who once inhabited that region.
See Arkansas. ozone — 1840, from Ger.
Ozon, coined in 1840 by Ger.
Chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868) from Gk.
Of ozein “to smell.” So called for its pungent odor. P — a rare letter in the initial position in Gmc., in part because by Grimm’s Law PIE p- became Gmc.
F-; even with early L.
Borrowings, -p- takes up only a little over 4 pages in J.R.
Clark Hall’s “Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary,” compared to 31 pages for B and more than 36 for F.
But it now is the third most common initial letter in the Eng.
Vocabulary, and with C and S, comprises nearly a third of the words in the dictionary, a testimonial to the flood of words that have entered the language since 1066 from L., Gk., and Fr.
To mind one’s Ps and Qs (1779), possibly is from confusion of these letters among children learning to write.
Another theory traces it to old-time tavern-keepers tracking their patrons’ bar tabs in pints and quarts.
Also to be P and Q (1612), “to be excellent,” a slang phrase said to derive from prime quality. P.C. — abbreviation for personal computer is from 1978; abbreviation for politically correct is by 1990. P.C.P. — 1960s, from animal tranquilizer phencyclidine. P.D.Q. — acronym for pretty damn quick, attested from 1875. — ragweed — 1790, from ragged (q.v.), so called from shape of the leaves.
Applied to a different plant, ragwort, from 1658.
Ragwort itself is attested from c.1450. rah — in cheers, 1870, a shortening of hurrah.
Adjective rah-rah is attested from 1914, originally indicating college life generally, later enthusiastic cheerleading. Rahab — name of a Biblical monster, from Heb.
Rahab, lit. “storming, against, impetuous,” from rahabh “he stormed against” (cf.
Arabic rahiba “he feared, was alarmed”). raid — c.1425, “military expedition on horseback,” Scottish and northern English form of rade “a riding, journey,” from O.E.
Rad “a riding” (see road).
The word died out by 17c., but was revived by Scott, 1805 (“The Lay of the Last Minstrel”) and 1818 (“Rob Roy”), with extended sense of “attack, foray.” The verb is from 1865. rail (n.1) — bar, c.1320, from O.Fr.
Reille, from V.L. *regla, from L.
Regula “straight stick,” dim.
Form related to regere “to straighten, guide” (see right).
Used figuratively for “thinness” from 1872.
Technically, railings (1471) are horizontal, palings are vertical. rail (n.2) — small bird, c.1450, from O.Fr.
Raale (13c.), related to râler “to rattle,” of unknown origin, perhaps imitative. rail (v.) — complain, 1460, from M.Fr.
Railler “to tease or joke” (15c.), perhaps from O.Prov.
Ralhar “scoff, to chat, to joke,” from V.L. *ragulare “to bray” (cf.
Ragghiare “to bray”), from L.L.
Ragere “to roar,” probably of imitative origin.
See rally (2).
Raillery “good-humored ridicule” is from 1653. raillery — 1653, from Fr.
Raillerie, from M.Fr.
Railler “to tease” (see rail (v.)). railroad (n.) — 1757, from rail (n.1) + road.
Originally “road laid with rails for heavy wagons (in mining).” The system itself seems to have been in use by late 17c.
Application to passenger and freight trains dates from 1825, though tending to be replaced in this sense in England by railway (1812).
The verb meaning “to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly” is from 1884. raiment — c.1440, shortening of arayment “clothing,” from Anglo-Fr.
Araiement, from O.Fr.
Areement, from areer “to array” (see array). rain — O.E.
Regn, from P.Gmc. *regna- (cf.
Rign “rain”), with no certain cognates outside Gmc., unless it is from a presumed PIE *reg- “moist, wet,” which may be the source of L.
Rigare “to wet, moisten” (cf.
The verb is O.E.
Regnian, usually contracted to rinan.
Use of other things that fall as rain (blessings, tears, etc.) is recorded from c.1200.
Rainbow is O.E.
Renboga (common Gmc.compound, cf.
Regenboog, see bow (n.)).
Raindrop is O.E.
Rendropa; first record of raincheck is from 1884, originally of tickets to rained-out baseball games.
Raincoat attested from 1830.
Rainmaker first recorded 1775, in ref.
To tribal magicians.
Phrase to rain cats and dogs is attested from 1738 (variation rain dogs and polecats is from 1652), of unknown origin, despite intense speculation.
One of the more idiotic assertions is that it refers to pets sliding off sod roofs when the sod got too wet during a rainstorm.
Ever see a cat react to a rainstorm by climbing up on an exposed roof? To rain on (someone’s) parade is attested from 1941. rain forest — 1903, apparently a loan-translation of Ger.
Regenwald, coined by A.F.W.
Schimper for his 1898 work “Pflanzengeographie,” and used first in the Eng.
Translation of it. raise (v.) — c.1200, from O.N.
Reisa “to raise,” from P.Gmc. *raizjan (cf.
Ræran “to rear,” see rear (v.)), causative of base *ris- “to rise” (see rise).
At first sharing many senses with native rear (v.).
Used in most of the varied modern senses since M.E.; some later evolutions include “to bring up” (a child), 1744; “to elevate” (the consciousness), 1970.
The noun is first recorded 1500 in sense of “a levy;” meaning “increase in amount or value” is from 1728, specific sense in poker is from 1821.
Meaning “increase in salary or wages” is from 1898, chiefly Amer.Eng. (British preferring rise). raisin — c.1300, from Anglo-Fr.
Raycin (1278), O.Fr.
Raisin “grape, raisin,” from V.L. *racimus, alteration of L.
Racemus “cluster of grapes or berries,” probably from the same ancient lost Mediterranean language as Gk.
Rhagos) “grape, berry.” raison d’être — 1864, first recorded in letter of J.S.
Mill, from Fr., lit. “rational grounds for existence.” rajah — 1555, from Hindi, from Skt.
Rajan “king,” cognate with L.
Rig “king.” Related to raj “kingdom, kingship” (used from 1859 in ref.
To the British dominion in India).
Rajput “member of the ruling caste in northern India” (1598) is from Skt.
Rajaputrah “prince,” lit. “king’s son,” from putrah “son, boy” (cf.
Puerile). rake (n.1) — toothed tool, O.E.
Raca “rake,” earlier ræce, from P.Gmc. *rak- “gather, heap up” (cf.
Reka “spade, shovel,” O.H.G.
Rechen “rake,” Goth.
Rikan “to heap up, collect”).
The verb is attested from c.1250; of gunfire from c.1630. rake (n.2) — debauchee, 1653, shortening of rakehell (1547), possibly an alteration (by association with rake (1) and Hell) of M.E.
Rakel (adj.) “hasty, rash, headstrong,” probably from raken “to go, proceed,” from O.E.
Racian, of unknown origin.
Rakish first recorded 1706. rally (1) — bring together, 1603, from Fr.
Rallier, from O.Fr.
Ralier “reassemble, unite again,” from re- “again” + alier “unite” (see ally).
The noun is first recorded 1651, originally in the military sense of “regroup for renewed action after a repulse.” Sense of “mass meeting to arouse group support” first attested 1840, Amer.Eng.
Sense of “gathering of automobile enthusiasts” is from 1932, from Fr.
Sports sense of “long series of hits” in tennis, etc., is from 1887.
Rally round the flag (1862) is a line from popular Amer.
Civil War song “Battle Cry of Freedom.” rally (2) — make fun of, tease, 1668, from Fr.
Railler “to rail, reproach,” from M.Fr. (see rail (v.)). Ralph — masc.
Proper name, shortened from Radulf, from O.N.
Rædwulf), lit. “wolf-counsel,” from rað “counsel” + ulfr “wolf.” RAM — abbreviation for “random access memory” (computerese) first recorded 1957 (see random). ram — O.E.
Ramm “male sheep,” also “battering ram,” earlier rom “male sheep,” a W.Gmc.
M.L.G., M.Du., Du., O.H.G.
Ram), of unknown origin.
Perhaps connected with O.N.
Rammr “strong,” O.C.S.
Ramenu “impetuous, violent.” The verb meaning “to beat with a heavy implement” is first recorded c.1330.
Rammy is attested from 1607. -rama — noun suffix meaning “spectacular display or instance of,” 1824, abstracted from panorama, ultimately from Gk.
Horama “sight.” Rama — incarnation of Vishnu, from Skt.
Ramah, lit. “lovely,” from stem of ramate “stands still, rests, is pleased.” ramada — 1869, from Amer.Sp.
Ramada “tent, shelter,” from Sp.
Ramada “an arbor,” from rama “branch,” from V.L. *rama, collective of L.
Ramus “branch.” — rear (v.) — O.E.
Ræran “to raise, build up, set on end,” from P.Gmc. *raizijanau “to raise,” causative of *risanan “to rise” (see raise).
Meaning “bring into being, bring up” (as a child) is recorded from c.1420; that of “raise up on the hind legs” is first recorded 1375. rearm — 1870, from re- “back, again” + arm (v.) “to supply with arms.” rearrange — 1824, from re- “back, again” + arrange (q.v.). reason (n.) — c.1225, “statement in an argument,” also “intellectual faculty that adopts actions to ends,” from Anglo-Fr.
Raison, from L.
Ratio) “reckoning, understanding, motive, cause,” from ratus, pp.
Of reri “to reckon, think,” from PIE base *rei- “to reason, count” (cf.
Rædan “to advise; see read).
Meaning “sanity” is recorded from, c.1380.
The verb (c.1300) is from O.Fr.
Raisoner, from L.L.
Rationare “to discourse.” Originally “to question (someone),” sense of “employ reasoning (with someone)” is from 1847, and that of “to think in a logical manner” is from 1593.
Phrase it stands to reason is from 1632.
Age of Reason “the Enlightenment” is first recorded 1794, as the title of Tom Paine’s book. reasonable — 1303, “having sound judgment, sane, rational,” from O.Fr.
Raisonable, from L.
Rationabilis, from ratio (see ratio). reassure — restore (someone) to confidence, 1598, from re- “back, again” + assure (q.v.). reb — abbreviation of rebel (n.), 1862, in Amer.
Civil War context. re-bar — steel reinforcing rod in concrete, 1961, from re(inforced) bar. rebate (v.) — 1427, “to deduct, subtract,” from O.Fr.
Rabattre “beat down, drive back,” also “deduct,” from re- “repeatedly” + abattre “beat down” (see abate).
Meaning “to pay back (a sum) as a rebate” is from 1957.
The noun is 1656, from the verb. rebbe — 1881, from Yiddish, from Heb.
Rabbi (see rabbi). rebec — medieval stringed musical instrument, 1509, from Fr.
Rebec, an unexplained alteration of O.Fr.
Ribabe (perhaps somehow infl.
By bec “beak”), ultimately from Arabic rebab (cf.
It has three strings and is played with a bow. Rebecca — fem.
Proper name, biblical wife of Isaac, mother of Jacob and Esau, from L.L.
Rebecca, from Gk.
Rhebekka, from Heb.
Ribhqeh, lit. “connection” (cf.
Ribhqah “team”), from Semitic base r-b-q “to tie, couple, join” (cf.
Arabic rabaqa “he tied fast”).
Rebekah, form of the name in Authorized Version, was taken as the name of a society of women (founded 1851 in Indiana, U.S.) as a complement to the Odd Fellows. rebel (adj.) — 1297, from O.Fr.
Rebelle (12c.), from L.
Rebellis “insurgent, rebellious,” from rebellare “to rebel, wage war against,” from re- “opposite, against,” or perhaps “again” + bellare “wage war,” from bellum “war.” The noun is attested from c.1400.
Meaning “supporter of the American cause in the War of Independence” is from 1775; sense of “supporter of the Southern cause in the American Civil War” is attested from April 15, 1861. rebop — see bebop. reborn — 1598, from re- “back, again” + born, past tense of birth (q.v.).
Rebirth is attested from 1837. reborrow — 1631, from re- “back, again” + borrow (q.v.). rebound (v.) — c.1300, “to spring, leap,” also “return to afflict” (1412), from O.Fr.
Rebondir “leap back, resound,” from re- “back” + bondir “leap, bound” (see bound (v.)).
Sense of “to spring back from force of impact” is recorded from 1398.
Sports use probably first in tennis; basketball sense is attested from 1954.
The noun is first recorded 1530. rebuff (v.) — 1586, from obs.
Rebuffer “to check, snub,” from It.
Ribuffare “to check, chide, snide,” from ribuffo “a snub,” from ri- “back” (from L.
Re-) + buffo “a puff,” of imitative origin (cf.
The noun is first recorded 1611. rebuild — 1611, from re- “back, again” + build (q.v.). rebuke (v.) — c.1325, from Anglo-Fr.
Rebuker “to repel, beat back,” O.Fr.
Rebuchier, from re- “back” + buschier “to strike, chop wood,” from busche (Fr.
Bûche) “wood,” from P.Gmc. *busk- (see bush).
The noun is first attested c.1430. rebus — 1605, from L.
Rebus “by means of objects,” ablative plural of res “thing, object,” perhaps principally from the phrase de rebus quæ geruntur “of things which are going on,” in reference to the satirical pieces composed by Picardy clerks at carnivals, subtle satires of current events using pictures to suggest words, phrases or things.
Or it may be from the representations being non verbis sed rebus “not by words, but by things.” rebut — c.1300, from O.Fr.
Rebuter “to thrust back,” from re- “back” + boter “to thrust, hit” (see butt (v.)).
Sense of “try to disprove, refute” is from 1817.
Rebuttal first recorded 1830. recalcitrant — 1843, from Fr.
Récalcitrant, lit. “kicking back” (17c.-18c.), pp.
Of recalcitrare “to kick back,” from re- “back” + L.
Calcitrare “to kick,” from calx (gen.
Calcis) “heel.” Verb recalcitrate “to kick out” is attested from 1623; sense of “resist obstinately” is from 1759. recall (v.) — 1582, “to bring back by calling upon,” from re- “back, again” + call (q.v.); in some cases a loan-translation of M.Fr.
Rappeler (see repeal) or L.
Revocare (see revoke).
Sense of “bring back to memory” is from 1611.
Political sense of “removal of an elected official” is recorded from 1902.
The noun is first recorded 1611. recant — 1535, from L.
Recantare “recall, revoke,” from re- “back” + cantare “to chant” (see cant (1)).
A word from the Reformation.
Loan-translation of Gk.
Palinoidein “recant,” from palin “back” + oeidein “to sing.” recap — put a strip of rubber on the tread of a tire, 1856.
Used of automobile tires 1920s.
As a shortened form of recapitulate, it dates from 1920s (see recapitulation). — salve (n.) — O.E.
Sealf “healing ointment,” from W.Gmc. *salbo- “oily substance” (cf.
Salbe “ointment”), from PIE *solpa-, from base *selp- “fat, butter” (cf.
Elpos “fat, oil,” Skt.
Sarpis “melted butter”).
The figurative sense of “something to soothe wounded pride, etc.” is from 1736.
The verb is O.E.
Sealfian “anoint (a wound) with salve,” from P.Gmc. *salbojanan (cf.
Salbon “to anoint”). salver — 1661, “tray,” formed in Eng.
On the model of platter, etc., from Fr.
Salve “tray used for presenting objects to the king,” from Sp.
Salva “a testing of food or drink” to test for poison (a procedure known as pre-gustation), hence “tray on which food was placed to show it was safe to eat,” from salvar “to save, render safe,” from L.L.
Salvare (see save). salvo — 1719, alteration of salva (1591) “simultaneous discharge of guns,” from It.
Salva “salute, volley” (cf.
Salve, from It.), from L.
Salve “hail!,” lit. “be in good health!,” the usual Roman greeting, regarded as imperative of salvere “to be in good health,” but prop.
Of salvus “healthy” (see safe (adj.)).
The notion is of important visitors greeted with a volley of gunfire into the air. SAM — 1958, acronym for surface to air missile. Sam Browne — type of belt with shoulder strap, 1915, from Sir Samuel James Browne (1824-1901), British general who invented it. Sam Hill — euphemism for “Hell,” 1839, Amer.Eng., of unknown origin. samadhi — intense esoteric meditation through yoga, 1795, from Skt.
Samadhi-, lit. “a putting or joining together,” from sam- “together” + a- “toward” + stem of dadhati “puts, places.” Samaritan — O.E., “inhabitant of Samaria,” a district of Palestine, from L.L.
Samaritanus, from Gk.
Samareia “Samaria,” from Aramaic Shamerayin, ult.
Shomeron, town named for Shemer, owner of the hill on which it was built (cf.
I Kings xvi:24).
Figurative use with reference to the good Samaritan is first recorded 1640, from Luke x:33. Samarra — city in north-central Iraq; phrase an appointment in Samarra indicating the inevitability of death is from an old Arabic tale (first in Eng.
Apparently in W.
Somerset Maugham’s play “Sheppey,” 1933), in which a man meets Death one day in the marketplace in Baghdad and flees him to Samarra.
When questioned, Death replies, “I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.” samba (n.) — Brazilian dance of African origin, 1885, Zemba, from Port.
Samba, shortened form of zambacueca, a type of dance, probably altered (by influence of zamacueco “stupid”) from zambapalo, the name of a grotesque dance, itself an alteration of zampapalo “stupid man,” from zamparse “to bump, crash.” sambo (1) — person of mixed blood in America and Asia, 1748, perhaps from Sp.
Zambo “bandy-legged,” probably from L.
Scambus “bow-legged,” from Gk.
Used variously in different regions to indicate some mixture of African, European, and Indian blood; common senses were “child of black and Indian parentage” and “offspring of a black and a mulatto.” Sambo (2) — stereotypical name for male black person (now only derogatory), 1818, Amer.Eng., probably a different word from sambo (1); like many such words (Cuffy, Rastus, etc.) a common personal name among U.S.
Blacks in the slavery days (first attested 1704 in Boston), probably from an African source, cf.
Foulah sambo “uncle,” or a similar Hausa word meaning “second son.” Used without conscious racism or contempt until circa World War II.
When the word fell from polite usage, collateral casualties included the enormously popular children’s book “The Story of Little Black Sambo” (by Helen Bannerman), which actually is about an East Indian child, and the Sambo’s Restaurant chain, a U.S.
Pancake-specialty joint originally opened in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1957 (the name supposedly from a merging of the names of the founders, Sam Battistone and Newell “Bo” Bohnett, but the chain’s decor and advertising leaned heavily on the book), which once counted 1,200 units coast-to-coast.
Civil rights agitation against it began in 1970s and the chain collapsed, though the original restaurant still is open.
Many of the defunct restaurants were taken over by rival Denny’s. sambuca — It.
Liqueur resembling anisette, 1971, from It., from L.
Sambucus “elder tree.” same — perhaps abstracted from O.E.
Swa same “the same as,” but more likely from O.N.
Same, samr “same,” both from P.Gmc. *samon (cf.
O.S., O.H.G., Goth.
Samt “together, with,” Goth.
Samana “together,” Du.
Zamelen “to collect,” Ger.
Zusammen “together”), from PIE *samos “same,” from base *sem- “one, together” (cf.
Samah “even, level, similar, identical;” Avestan hama “similar, the same;” Gk.
Hama “together with, at the same time,” homos “one and the same,” homios “like, resembling,” homalos “even;” L.
Similis “like;” O.Ir.
Samail “likeness;” O.C.S.
Had lost the pure form of the word; the modern word replaced synonymous ilk (q.v.).
Phrase same here as an exclamation of agreement is from 1895.
Same difference curious way to say “equal,” is attested from 1945. Samhain — 1888, from Ir.
Samhain (Gaelic Samhuinn), from O.Ir.
Samain, lit. “summer’s end,” from O.Ir.
Sam “summer” (see summer) + fuin “end.” Nov. 1, the Celtic festival of the start of winter and of the new year. samisen — Japanese three-stringed instrument, 1616, from Chinese san-hsien, lit. “three-strings.” samite — rich silk cloth, c.1300, from O.Fr.
Samit, from M.L.
Samitum, examitum, from Medieval Gk.
Hexamiton (source of O.C.S.
Aksamit “velvet”), prop.
Hexamitos “six-threaded,” from hex “six” + mitos “warp thread” (see miter (1)).
The reason it was called this is variously explained.
Obsolete c.1600; revived by Tennyson.
Sammet “velvet” is from Fr. samizdat — illegal and clandestine copying and sharing of literature, 1967, from Rus.
Samizdat, lit. “self-publishing,” from sam “self” + izdatel’stvo “publishing,” probably a word-play on Gosizdat, the former state publishing house of the U.S.S.R.
One who took part in it was a samizdatchik (pl.
Samizdatchiki). Sammy — British slang for “U.S.
Soldier in World War I,” 1918, a ref.
To Uncle Sam. Samnite — member of an ancient people who inhabited Samnium in Italy, 1390, from L.
Samnites (pl.), from Samnium, probably related to Sabine (q.v.). Samos — Gk.
Island in the Aegean, from Old Gk.
Samos “a height.” Man references to it are as the birthplace of Pythagoras. samovar — 1830, from Rus.
Samovar, lit. “self-boiler,” from sam “self” + varit “to boil,” from O.Slav.
Variti “to cook;” but this is perhaps folk-etymology if the word is from Tatar sanabar “tea-urn.” Samoyed — Siberian Mongolian people, 1589, from Rus.
Samoyed, lit. “self-eaters, cannibals” (the first element cognate with Eng.
Same, the second with O.E.
Etan “to eat”).
The native name is Nenets.
As the name of a type of dog (once used as a working dog in the Arctic) it is attested from 1889. sampan — light Chinese boat, 1620, from Chinese san pan, lit. “three boards,” from san “three” + pan “plank.” sample — c.1300, “something which confirms a proposition or statement,” from Anglo-Fr.
Saumple, aphetic of O.Fr.
Essample, from L.
Exemplum “a sample” (see example).
Meaning “small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred” (usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from 1428; sense of “specimen for scientific sampling” is from 1878.
The verb meaning “to test by taking a sample” is from 1767. sampler — embroidery specimen by a beginner to show skill, 1523, from sample (q.v.), probably transf.
From meaning “piece of embroidery serving as a pattern to be copied,” from the notion of “an example to be imitated” (c.1300). — shako — cylindrical soldier’s hat with plume, 1815, from Hungarian csákó, short for csákó süveg “peaked cap,” from adj.
Form of csák “peak, projecting point of a cow’s horn,” which European etymologists derive from Ger.
Zacken “point, spike.” shale — 1747, possibly a specialized use of M.E.
Schale “shell, husk, pod” (c.1380), also “fish scale,” from O.E.
Scealu (see shell) in its base sense of “thing that divides or separate,” in ref.
To the way the rock breaks apart in layers.
Geological use also possibly influenced by Ger.
Schalstein “laminated limestone,” and Schalgebirge “layer of stone in stratified rock.” shall — O.E.
Sceal “I owe/he owes, will have to, ought to, must” (infinitive sculan, pt.
Sceolde), a common Gmc.
Preterite-present verb, from P.Gmc. *skal-, *skul- (cf.
Sculan, O.N., Swed.
Skulan “to owe, be under obligation;” related via past tense form to O.E.
Scyld “guilt,” Ger.
Schuld “guilt, debt;” also O.N.
Skuld, name of one of the Norns).
Ground sense probably is “I owe,” hence “I ought.” The sense shifted in M.E.
From a notion of “obligation” to include “futurity.” Its past tense form has become should (q.v.).
Cognates outside Gmc.
Skeleti “to be guilty,” skilti “to get into debt;” O.Prus.
Skallisnan “duty,” skellants “guilty.” shallop — kind of light boat, 1578, from Fr.
Chaloupe, from Du.
Sloep “sloop” (see sloop).
Scialuppa. shallot — 1664, from Fr. échalote, from M.Fr.
Eschalotte, from O.Fr.
Eschaloigne, from V.L. *escalonia (see scallion). shallow — c.1400, schalowe “not deep,” probably from O.E.
Sceald (see shoal).
Of breathing, attested from 1875; of thought or feeling, “superficial,” first recorded c.1586.
The noun, usually shallows, is first recorded 1571, from the adj. shalom — Jewish word of greeting, 1881, from Heb., lit. “peace,” prop. “completeness, soundness, welfare,” from stem of shalam “was intact, was complete, was in good health.” sham (n.) — 1677, “a trick, a hoax, a fraud,” perhaps from sham, a northern dialectal variant of shame (q.v.).
Sense of “Something meant to be mistaken for something else” is from 1728.
The meaning in pillow-sham (1721) is from the notion of “counterfeit.” The adj.
Is attested from 1681; the verb from 1677.
Shamateur “amateur sportsman who acts like a professional” is from 1896. shaman — 1698, “priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples,” probably via Ger.
Schamane, from Rus.
Shaman, from Tungus shaman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men “Buddhist monk,” from Prakrit samaya-, from Skt.
Sramana-s “Buddhist ascetic.” shamble (v.) — to walk with a shuffling gait, 1681, from an adj.
Meaning “ungainly, awkward” (1607), from shamble (n.) “table, bench” (see shambles) perhaps on the notion of the splayed legs of bench, or the way a worker sits astride it.
Bancal “bow-legged, wobbly” (of furniture), prop. “bench-legged,” from banc “bench.” shambles — 1477, “meat or fish market,” from schamil “table, stall for vending” (c.1305), from O.E.
Scomul, sceamel “stool, footstool, table for vending,” an early W.Gmc.
Schemel) from L.
Scamillus “low stool,” ultimately a dim.
Of scamnum “stool, bench,” from PIE base *skabh- “to prop up, support.” In Eng., sense evolved to “slaughterhouse” (1548), “place of butchery” (1593), and “confusion, mess” (1901). shame (n.) — O.E.
Sceamu, sceomu “feeling of guilt or disgrace,” from P.Gmc. *skamo (cf.
Scham), probably from PIE *skem-, from *kem- “to cover” (covering oneself being a common expression of shame).
Word for it was kinnroði, lit. “cheek-redness,” hence, “blush of shame.” Gk.
Distinguished shame in the bad sense of “disgrace, dishonor” (aiskhyne) from shame in the good sense of “modesty, bashfulness” (aidos).
The verb is O.E.
Schämen sich). shamefaced — 1555, “modest, bashful,” folk etymology alteration of shamefast, from O.E.
Scamfæst “bashful,” lit. “restrained by shame,” or else “firm in modesty,” from shame + -fæst, adjectival suffix (see fast (adj.)). shammy — 1651, phonetic spelling of chamois. shampoo (v.) — 1762, “to massage,” from Anglo-Indian shampoo, from Hindi champo, imperative of champna “to press, knead the muscles,” perhaps from Skt.
Capayati “pounds, kneads.” Meaning “wash the hair” first recorded 1860; extended 1954 to carpets, upholstery, etc.
The noun meaning “soap for shampooing” first recorded 1866. shamrock — 1571, from Ir.
Of seamar “clover.” shamus — police officer, detective, 1925, probably from Yiddish, lit. “sexton of a synagogue,” from Heb.
Shamash “servant;” influenced by Celt.
Seamus “James,” as a typical name for an Irish cop. shandy — mix of beer and fizzy lemonade, 1888, shortening of shandygaff (1853), of unknown origin. shanghai — 1854, Amer.Eng., “to drug a man unconscious and ship him as a sailor,” from the practice of kidnapping to fill the crews of ships making extended voyages, such as to the Chinese seaport of Shanghai; lit. “by the sea,” from Shang “on, above” + hai “sea.” Shangri La — imaginary earthly paradise, 1938, from Shangri La, name of Tibetan utopia in James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon” (1933).
In Tibetan, la means “mountain pass.” shank — O.E.
Sceanca “leg, shank, shinbone,” from P.Gmc. *skankon- (cf.
Schenkel “shank, leg”), perhaps lit. “that which bends,” from PIE base *skeng- “crooked” (cf.
Skakkr “wry, distorted,” Gk.
Skazein “to limp”).
Specifically, the part of the leg from the knee to the ankle.
Shank’s mare “one’s own legs as a means of transportation” is attested from 1774.
The verb, originally in golf, meaning “to strike (the ball) with the heel of the club” is recorded from 1927. shantung — coarse silk, 1882, from Shantung province, in China, where the fabric was made. shanty (1) — rough cabin, 1820, from Fr.
Canadian chantier “lumberjack’s headquarters,” in Fr., “timberyard, dock,” from O.Fr.
Chantier “gantry,” from L.
Cantherius “rafter, frame” (see gantry).
Shanty-town is first recorded 1876; Shanty Irish is from 1928 (title of a book by Jim Tully). shanty (2) — sea song, 1867, alternate spelling of chanty, from Fr.
Of chanter “to sing” (see chant). shape (n.) — O.E.
Gesceap “creation, form, destiny,” from root of shape (v.)).
Meaning “contours of the body” is attested from c.1393.
Meaning “condition, state” is first recorded 1865, Amer.Eng.
In M.E., the word also had a sense of “a woman’s private parts.” Shapely “well-formed” is recorded from 1382. — short-lived — 1588, from short (adj.) + pt.
Of live (v.). short-order — in restaurant jargon, “to be made quickly,” 1906, from short (adj.) + order (n.).
First attested in an O.
Henry story. shorts — short pants, 1826, from short (adj.).
Short-shorts is attested from 1946, originally men’s briefs. short-sighted — 1622, “not taking the future into account,” from short (adj.) + pt.
Of sight (q.v.).
Sense is recorded from 1649. short-sleeve — 1639, from short (adj.) + sleeve.
First recorded in an ordinance of Massachusetts Bay colony, forbidding “short sleeves, whereby the nakedness of the arme may be discovered.” shortstop (n.) — 1837, from short (adj.) + stop.
In cricket, there also is a longstop. short-term — 1901, from short (adj.) + term (n.). short-timer — one whose term or enlistment is about to expire, 1906, from short (adj.) + time. short-wave — radio wavelength less than c.100 meters, 1907, from short (adj.) + wave. Shoshone — Uto-Aztecan people of the Great Basin, of unknown origin, first applied 19c.
To eastern Shoshonis of Wyoming. shot — O.E.
Scot, sceot “an act of shooting, that which is discharged in shooting,” from P.Gmc. *skutan (cf.
Schuß “a shot”), related to sceotan “to shoot” (see shoot).
Meaning “discharge of a bow, missile,” is from O.E.
Gesceot; extended to other projectiles in M.E., and to sports (hockey, basketball, etc.) 1868.
Another original meaning, “payment,” is preserved in scot-free.
Meaning “drink of straight liquor” first attested 1676.
Meaning “try, attempt” is from 1756; adj.
Sense of “exhausted” is from 1930.
Sense of “hypodermic injection” first attested 1904; fig.
Phrase shot in the arm “stimulant” first recorded 1922.
Meaning “remark meant to wound” is recorded from 1841; hence cheap shot (1973).
To call the shots is first attested 1967; shot in the dark is from 1895.
Big shot “important person” first recorded 1929; earlier great shot (1861). shotgun — 1828, Amer.Eng., from shot in the sense of “lead in small pellets” (1770) + gun.
As distinguished from a rifle, which fires bullets.
Shotgun wedding first attested 1927, Amer.Eng. shotten — having shot its spawn, and accordingly of inferior value, 1451, from pp.
Of shoot (q.v.).
Originally of fish; applied to persons, with sense of “exhausted by sickness,” from 1596. should — c.1200, from O.E.
Sceolde, past tense of sceal (see shall).
Preserves the original notion of “obligation” that has all but dropped from shall. shoulder — O.E.
Sculdor, from W.Gmc. *skuldro (cf.
Schulter), of unknown origin, perhaps related to shield.
Meaning “edge of the road” is attested from 1933.
The verb is first attested c.1300 with sense “to push with the shoulder;” meaning “take a burden” first recorded 1582.
Cold shoulder (Neh.
Ix:29) translates L.
Humerum recedentum dare in Vulgate (but see alternate explanation under cold). shout — c.1300, schowten “to call or cry out loudly,” of unknown origin; perhaps from the root of shoot, on the notion of “throw the voice out loudly,” or related to O.N.
Skuta “a taunt.” The noun is first recorded 1375. shove — O.E.
Scufan “push away” (class II strong verb; past tense sceaf, pp.
Scoven), from P.Gmc. *skeub-, *skub- (cf.
Schieben “to push, thrust,” Goth.
Af-skiuban) “to put away,” from PIE base *skeubh- “to shove” (cf.
Scuffle, shuffle, shovel; likely cognates outside Gmc.
Skubti “to make haste,” skubinti “to hasten”).
Replaced by push in all but colloquial and nautical usage.
The noun is attested from c.1300.
Shove off “leave” (1844) is from boating. shovel — O.E.
Scofl, sceofol, related to scufan (see shove), from P.Gmc. *skublo (cf.
Schaufel).The verb is attested from c.1440. show (n.) — c.1300, “act of exhibiting to view,” from show (v.).
Sense of “appearance put on with intention to deceive” is recorded from c.1526.
Meaning “display, spectacle” is first recorded 1561; that of “ostentatious display” is from 1713 (showy is from 1712).
Sense of “entertainment program on radio or TV” is first recorded 1932.
Meaning “third place in a horse race” is from 1925, Amer.Eng.
Show of hands is attested from 1789; Phrase for show “for appearance’s sake” is from c.1700.
Show business is attested from 1850; shortened form show biz first attested 1945.
Expression the show must go on is first attested 1941.
Show-stopper is from 1926; show trial first recorded 1937. show (v.) — O.E.
Sceawian “to look at, see,” from W.Gmc. *skauwojanan (cf.
Skauwon “to look at,” O.Fris.
Scouwon “to look at;” Du.
Skaunjai “beautiful,” originally “conspicuous”), from P.Gmc.
Root *skau- “behold, look at,” from PIE *skou-, variant of base *skeue- “to pay attention, perceive” (see caveat).
Causal meaning “let be seen, put in sight, make known” evolved c.1200 for unknown reasons and is unique to Eng. (Ger.
Schauen still means “look at”).
Spelling shew, popular 18c.
And surviving into early 19c., represents obsolete pronunciation (rhymes with view). show up — arrive, 1888, see show (v.).
Meaning “to disgrace through exposure” is attested from 1826. show-and-tell — elementary school teaching tool, 1948, Amer.Eng. showboat — 1869, “river steamer on which theatrical performances are given,” from show (n.) + boat.
The verb meaning “to show off” is attested from 1951. showcase — glass case for exhibiting valuable things, 1835, from show (v.) + case (q.v.).
In the extended, theatrical sense, it is attested from 1937.
The verb is first recorded 1945. show-down — 1904, from poker players’ slang term for the act of laying down the hands face-up (1892); see show (v.). shower (n.) — O.E.
Scur “short fall of rain, fall of missiles or blows,” from W.Gmc. *skuraz (cf.
Skur, O.S., O.H.G.
Skura, in skura windis “windstorm”), from base *skuro, from PIE base *kew-(e)ro- “north, north wind” (cf.
Caurus “northwest wind;” O.C.S.
Severu “north, north wind;” Lith.
Siaurus “raging, stormy,” siaurys “north wind,” siaure “north”).
Sense of “shower bath” first recorded 1851.
The verb is from 1573.
Meaning “large number of gifts bestowed on a bride” (1904, Amer.Eng.
Colloquial) later was extended to the party at which it happens (1926). — stomach — c.1300, “internal pouch into which food is digested,” from O.Fr.
Estomac, from L.
Stomachus “stomach, throat,” also “pride, inclination, indignation” (which were thought to have their origin in that organ), from Gk.
Stomachos “throat, gullet, esophagus,” lit. “mouth, opening,” from stoma “mouth” (see stoma).
Applied to the openings of various internal organs, especially the stomach, then to the stomach itself.
Anatomists tried to correct the sense back to “esophagus” and introduce ventricle for what we call the stomach.
Meaning “belly, midriff, part of the body that contains the stomach” is from c.1375.
Figurative senses in L.
Extended into M.E. (cf. “relish, inclination, desire,” 1513).
The verb meaning “to tolerate, put up with” is from 1577; earlier sense was opposite: “to be offended at, resent” (1523), from L.
Stomachari “to be resentful.” stomp (v.) — 1803, variant of stamp.
Meaning “lively social dance” is recorded from 1912 in jazz slang. stone (adj.) — intensifying adj., 1935, first recorded in black slang, probably from earlier use in phrases like stone blind (c.1375, lit. “blind as a stone”), stone deaf, etc., from stone (n.).
Stone cold sober dates from 1937. stone (n.) — O.E.
Stan, used of common rocks, precious gems, concretions in the body, memorial stones, from P.Gmc. *stainaz (cf.
Steen, O.H.G., Ger.
Stains), from PIE *stai- “stone,” also “to thicken, stiffen” (cf.
Styayate “curdles, becomes hard;” Avestan stay- “heap;” Gk.
Stear “fat, tallow,” stia, stion “pebble;” O.C.S.
Slang sense of “testicle” is from 1154.
The British measure of weight (usually equal to 14 pounds) is from 1390s, originally a specific stone.
Phrase stone’s throw for “a short distance” is attested from 1581.
Metaphoric use of stone wall for “act of obstruction” is first attested 1876; stonewall (v.) “to obstruct” is from 1914.
Stone Age is from 1864.
To kill two birds with one stone is first attested 1656. stone (v.) — c.1200, “to pelt with stones,” from stone (n.).
Stoned “drunk, intoxicated with narcotics” is 1930s slang; stoner “stuporous person” is from 1960s. Stonehenge — c.1130, Stanenges, lit. “stone gallows,” perhaps so called from fancied resemblance to old-style gallows with two posts, with the second element related to the verb hang.
Some antiquarians suggest the notion may be of “supported in the air, that which hangs in the air” (cf.
Henge-clif, for L.
Præruptum), in ref.
To the lintel stones, but the order of the elements and the inflexion is against this.
An ancient name for it was the Giant’s Dance. stooge — 1913, “stage assistant,” of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of student (with the mispronunciation STOO-jent), in sense of “apprentice.” Meaning “lackey, person used for another’s purpose” first recorded 1937, perhaps influenced by the Three Stooges film comedy act, which had been appearing in movies since 1930, starting as “Ted Healy and His Stooges.” stool — O.E.
Stol “seat for one person,” from P.Gmc. *stolaz (cf.
Stuhl “seat,” Goth.
Stols “high seat, throne”), from PIE *sta-lo-, locative of base *sta- “to stand” (cf.
Pa-stolas “stand,” O.C.S.
Stolu “stool;” see stet).
Originally used of thrones (cf.
Cynestol “royal seat, throne”); change of meaning began with adoption of chair from Fr., which relegated stool to small seats without arms or backs, then “privy” (1410) and thence to “bowel movement” (1533). stool pigeon — 1830, Amer.Eng., said to be from notion of decoys fastened to stools to lure other pigeons.
But perhaps related to stall “decoy bird” (1500), especially “a pigeon used to entice a hawk into the net” (see stall (2)). stoop (n.) — raised open platform at the door of a house, 1755, Amer.Eng.
And Canadian, from Du.
Stoep “flight of steps, doorstep, stoop,” from M.Du., from P.Gmc. *stopo “step” (see step). stoop (v.) — bend forward, O.E.
Stupian “to bow, bend” (cognate with M.Du.
Stupen “to bow, bend”), from P.Gmc. *stup-, from PIE *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)).
Figurative sense of “condescend” is from 1579.
Sense of “swoop” is first recorded 1575 in falconry. stop (v.) — O.E. -stoppian (in forstoppian “to stop up, stifle”), along with M.L.G.
Stopfen) a W.Gmc.
Borrowing from V.L. *stuppare “to stop or stuff with tow or oakum” (cf.
Stoppare, Fr. étouper “to stop with tow”), from L.
Stuppa “coarse part of flax, tow.” Plugs made of tow were used from ancient times in Rhine valley.
Sense of “bring or come to a halt” (1440) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word’s development in this sense is unique to Eng., though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps infl.
Stupere “be stunned, be stupefied.” The noun is first recorded 1483.
Stopper “glass plug for a bottle neck” is from 1667.
Stopgap is from 1684.
Stop-watch is from 1737.
Stop-and-go (adj.) is from 1926. store (n.) — 1297, “that with which a household, camp, etc.
Is stored,” from store (v.).
Sense of “sufficient supply (of anything)” is attested from 1471.
The meaning “place where goods are kept for sale” is first recorded 1721 in Amer.Eng. (British prefers shop).
Stores “articles and equipment for an army” is from 1636.
Storefront first attested 1880.
In store “laid up for future use” (also of events, etc.) is recorded from c.1386.
Store-bought is attested from 1952, Amer.Eng.; earlier store-boughten (1883). store (v.) — 1264, “to supply or stock,” from O.Fr.
Estorer “erect, furnish, store,” from L.
Instaurare “restore,” from in- “in” + -staurare, from a noun cognate with Gk.
Stauros “pole, stake” (see steer (v.)).
The meaning “to keep in store for future use” (1552) probably is a back-formation from store (n.).
Storage is from 1612. storied — 1481, “ornamented with scenes from history,” from story (1).
Meaning “celebrated in history or legend” is from 1725. stork — O.E.
Storc, related to stear “stiff, strong” (see stark), from P.Gmc. *sturkaz (cf.
Perhaps so called with reference to the bird’s stiff or rigid posture.
But some connect the word to Gk.
Torgos “vulture.” O.C.S.
Starkus, Magyar eszterag, Albanian sterkjok “stork” are Gmc.
The fable that babies are brought by storks is from Ger.
Nursery stories, no doubt from the notion that storks nesting on one’s roof meant good luck, often in the form of family happiness. storm (n.) — O.E.
Storm, from P.Gmc. *sturmaz (cf.
Stormr, O.S., M.L.G., M.Du., Du.
Storm, O.H.G., Ger.
Estour “onset, tumult,” It.
Stormo are Gmc.
Fig. (non-meteorological) sense was in late O.E.
The verb in the sense of “to rage, be violent” is from c.1380; military sense (1645) first used by Oliver Cromwell.
Storm-door first recorded 1878; storm-water is from 1879; storm-window is attested from 1824.
Sturmtruppen) is from 1917, introduced by the German military in World War I.
Storm-trooper “member of the Nazi Sturmabteilung” is from 1933 (see Sturmabteilung). story (1) — account of some happening, c.1225, “narrative of important events or celebrated persons of the past,” from O.Fr.
Estorie, from L.L.
Storia and L.
Historia “history, account, tale, story” (see history).
Meaning “recital of true events” first recorded c.1375; sense of “narrative of fictitious events meant to entertain” is from c.1500.
Not differentiated from history till 1500s.
As a euphemism for “a lie” it dates from 1697.
Meaning “newspaper article” is from 1892.
Story-teller is from 1709.
Story-line first attested 1941.
That’s another story “that requires different treatment” is attested from 1818.
Story of my life “sad truth” first recorded 1938. story (2) — floor of a building, c.1400, from Anglo-L.
Historia “floor of a building” (c.1200), also “picture,” from L.
Historia (see history).
Perhaps so called because the fronts of buildings in the Middle Ages often were decorated with rows of painted windows. stoup — 1397, “jug, jar,” from O.N.
Staup “cup” (cognate of O.E.
Steap), from P.Gmc. *staupo- (cf.
Stauf). stour — c.1300, “armed conflict, struggle with adversity or pain,” from Anglo-Fr.
Estur, from O.Fr.
Estour, from P.Gmc. *sturmoz “storm” (see storm).
Became obsolete, revived by Spenser and his followers in various senses; also surviving as a Scottish and Northern English word meaning “a (driving) storm” or “uproar, commotion.” stout — c.1300, “proud, valiant, strong,” from O.Fr.
Estout “brave, fierce, proud,” earlier estolt “strong,” from W.Gmc. *stult- “proud, stately” (cf.
Stolt “stately, proud,” Ger.
Stolz “proud, haughty, arrogant, stately”), from PIE base *stel- “to put, stand.” Meaning “strong in body, powerfully built” is attested from c.1386, but has been displaced by the (often euphemistic) meaning “thick-bodied, fat and large,” which is first recorded 1804.
Original sense preserved in stout-hearted (1552).
The noun “strong, dark-brown beer” is first recorded 1677, from the adjective. stove — 1456, “heated room, bath-room,” from M.L.G.
Stove, both meaning “heated room,” which was the original sense in Eng.; a general W.Gmc.
Stofa “bath-room,” Ger.
Stube “sitting room”) of uncertain relationship to similar words in Romance languages (cf.
Stufa, Fr. étuve “sweating-room;” see stew (v.)).
One theory traces them all to V.L. *extufare “take a steam bath.” The meaning “device for heating or cooking” is first recorded 1618.
Stove pipe is recorded from 1699; as a type of tall cylindrical hat for men, from 1851. stow — c.1300, verb use of O.E.
Noun stow “a place” (common in place names) from P.Gmc. *stowijanan (cf.
Sto “place,” M.L.G., M.Du., Du.
Stouwen “to stow,” O.H.G.
Stouwen “to stop, check,” Ger.
Stauen “to stow”), from PIE *stau-, from base *sta- “to stand” (cf.
Stavljo “to place,” Lith.
Stoviu “to stand;” see stet).
The nautical sense of “put away to be stored, pack” (1555) was enforced by Du.
Stouwen “to cram, pack up close.” Phrase stow away “conceal” is first found 1795; the noun stowaway is from 1850. strabismus — a squint, 1684, from Mod.L., from Gk.
Strabismos, from strabizein “to squint,” from strabos “squinting, squint-eyed.” Earlier in Anglicized form strabism (1656). straddle (v.) — 1565, probably an alteration of stridlen, frequentative of striden (see stride).
Colloquial sense of “take up an equivocal position, appear to favor both sides” is attested from 1838.
The noun is first recorded 1611. — stride — O.E.
Stridan “to straddle,” from P.Gmc. *stridanan (cf.
Strede “stride,” Du.
Streit “fight, contention, combat,” O.N.
Striðr “strong, hard, stubborn, severe”), from base *strid- “to strive, make a strong effort.” Meaning “to walk with long or extended steps” is from c.1200.
Cognate words in most Gmc.
Languages mean “to fight, struggle;” the notion behind the Eng.
Usage might be the effort involved in making long strides, striving forward.
The noun was in O.E.; fig.
Meaning of make strides “make progress” is from 1600.
To take (something) in stride (1832), ie “without change of gait” is originally of horses leaping hedges in the hunting-field; fig.
Sense attested from 1902.
Jazz music stride tempo is attested from 1938. strident — 1656, from Fr.
Strident, from L.
Of stridere “utter an inarticulate sound, grate, screech,” possibly of imitative origin. stridulous — 1611, from L.
Stridulus “giving a shrill sound, creaking,” from stridere “to utter an inarticulate sound, grate, creak” (see strident).
Stridulation is first recorded 1838. strife — c.1225, from O.Fr.
Estrif, variant of estrit “quarrel, dispute, impetuosity,” probably from Frank. *strid, from P.Gmc. *strido- “strife, combat” (cf.
Strit “quarrel, dispute”), related to O.H.G.
Stritan “to fight;” see stride. strigil — ancient tool for scraping the skin after a bath, 1581, from L.
Strigilis “horse-comb,” from stringere (1) “draw along a surface, graze, wound, strip off, rub,” from PIE base *streig- (cf.
Striga “stroke, strike, furrow,” stria “furrow, channel;” O.C.S.
Striga “shear;” O.E.
Stracian “to stroke;” Ger.
Streichen “to stroke, rub”).
Etymologists dispute over whether this is connected to L.
Stringere (2), root of strain (v.). strike (n.) — concentrated cessation of work by a body of employees, 1810, from verb meaning “refuse to work to force an employer to meet demands” (1768), from strike (v.).
Perhaps from notion of striking or “downing” one’s tools, or from sailors’ practice of striking (lowering) a ship’s sails as a symbol of refusal to go to sea (1768), which preserves the verb’s original sense of “make level, smooth.” Baseball sense is first recorded 1841; bowling sense attested from 1859.
Meaning “sudden military attack” is attested from 1942. strike (v.) — O.E.
Strican “pass over lightly, stroke, smooth, rub,” also “go, proceed” (past tense strac, pp.
Stricen), from P.Gmc. *strik- (cf.
Strykva “to stroke,” O.Fris.
Strikjen “to smooth, stroke, rub,” O.H.G.
Streichen), from PIE base *str(e)ig- “to stroke, rub, press” (see strigil).
Related to streak and stroke, and perhaps influenced in sense development by cognate O.N.
Sense of “to deal a blow” developed by 1325; meaning “to collide” is from c.1340; that of “to hit with a missile” is from 1377.
Meaning “to cancel or expunge” (as with the stroke of a pen) is attested from c.1386.
An older sense is preserved in strike for “go toward.” striking — producing a vivid impression, 1752, from strike (v.) in the sense of “to catch the fancy of” (1599). string (n.) — O.E.
Streng “line, cord, thread,” from P.Gmc. *strangiz (cf.
Strang “rope, cord”), from base *strang- “taut, stiff,” from PIE base *strenk- “tight, narrow; pull tight, twist” (see strain).
Gradually restricted by early M.E.
To lines that are smaller than a rope.
Sense of “a number of objects arranged in a line” first recorded 1488.
Meaning “ligaments, tendons” is preserved in hamstring, heartstrings.
Meaning “limitations, stipulations” (1888) is Amer.Eng., probably from the common April Fool’s joke of leaving a purse that looks full of money on the sidewalk, then tugging it away with an attached string when someone stoops to pick it up.
To pull strings “control the course of affairs” (1860) is from the notion of puppet theater.
First string, second string, etc.
In athletics (1863) is from archers’ custom of carrying spare bowstrings in the event that one breaks.
Strings “stringed instruments” is attested from c.1340.
String bean is from 1759; string bikini is from 1974. string (v.) — c.1400, “to fit a bow with a string,” from string (n.).
Meaning “to thread (beads, etc.) on a string” is from 1612.
To string (someone) along is slang from 1902; string (v.) in this sense is attested in British dialect from c.1812.
Stringer “newspaper correspondent paid by length of copy” is attested from 1952, probably from earlier fig.
Sense of “one who strings words together” (1774). stringent — 1605, “astringent,” especially with reference to taste, from L.
Of stringere “to compress, contract, bind or draw tight” (see strain).
Of regulations, procedures, etc., 1846. strip (n.) — long, narrow, flat piece, 1459, “narrow piece of cloth,” probably from M.L.G.
Strippe “strap, thong,” related to stripe (see stripe (1)).
Sense extension to wood, land, etc.
First recorded 1638.
Sense in comic strip is from 1920.
Meaning “street noted for clubs, bars, etc.” is attested from 1939, originally in ref.
To Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip.
Strip mine is attested from 1934, so called because the surface material is removed in successive parallel strips. strip (v.) — make bare, O.E. -striepan, -strypan “plunder, despoil,” as in W.Saxon bestrypan “to plunder,” from P.Gmc. *straupijanan (cf.
Stropen “to strip off, to ramble about plundering,” O.H.G.
Stroufen “to strip off, plunder,” Ger.
Streifen “strip off, touch upon, to ramble, roam, rove”).
Meaning “to unclothe” is recorded from c.1225.
Of screw threads, from 1839; of gear wheels, from 1873.
Strip poker is attested from 1929; strip search is from 1947. stripe (1) — a line or band in cloth, 1626 (but probably much older), from M.Du.
Stripe “stripe, streak,” from P.Gmc. *stripanan (cf.
Stribe “a striped fabric,” Ger.
Streifen “stripe”), cognate with O.Ir.
Sriab “stripe,” from PIE base *streig- (see strigil).
Of soldiers’ chevrons, badges, etc., attested from 1827. stripe (2) — a stroke or lash, 1440, probably a special use of stripe (1), from the marks left by a lash.
Strippen “to whip,” W.Fris.
Strips, apparently cognate but not attested as early as the Eng.
Word. stripling — a youth, 1398, possibly from strip (n.) “long, narrow piece,” on the notion of “one who is slender as a strip, whose figure is not yet filled out.” stripper — strip-tease dancer is from 1930, from strip (v.).
Strip-tease itself is first recorded 1936, though strip and tease were both used in this sense in late 1920s. strive — c.1205 (implied in striving), from O.Fr.
Estriver “to quarrel, dispute,” from estrif, estrit “quarrel” (see strife).
It became a strong verb (past tense strove) by rhyming association with drive, etc. strobe — 1942, shortening of stroboscope “instrument for studying motion by periodically interrupted light” (1896), from Gk.
Strobos “act of whirling” + -scope, from Gk.
Skopein “to look at, examine.” Stroganoff — name of a beef dish cooked in sauce containing sour cream, 1932, from Fr., from name of 19c.
Diplomat Count Paul Stroganov. stroke (n.) — act of striking, c.1297, probably from O.E. *strac, from P.Gmc. *straikaz (cf.
Striks “stroke”), related to the verb stracian (see stroke (v.)).
The meaning “mark of a pen” is from 1567; that of “a striking of a clock” is from 1436.
Sense of “feat, achievement” (eg stroke of luck, 1853) first found 1672; the meaning “single pull of an oar or single movement of machinery” is from 1731.
Meaning “apoplectic seizure” is from 1599 (originally the Stroke of God’s Hand).
Swimming sense is from 1800. stroke (v.) — pass the hand gently over, O.E.
Stracian, related to strican “pass over lightly,” from P.Gmc. *straikojanan, which is related to the root of strike, from PIE base *streig- (see strigil).
Sense of “soothe, flatter” is recorded from 1513.
The noun meaning “a stroking movement of the hand” is recorded from 1631. stroll (v.) — 1603, a cant word introduced from the Continent, probably from dialectal Ger.
Strollen, variant of Ger.
Strolchen “to stroll, loaf,” from strolch “vagabond, vagrant,” also “fortuneteller,” perhaps from It.
Astrologo “astrologer.” The noun is 1814, from the verb.
Stroller “child’s push-chair” is recorded from 1920. strong (adj.) — O.E.
Strang “physically powerful, powerful in effect, forceful, severe,” from P.Gmc. *strangaz (cf.
Strangr “strong,” Du.
Streng “strict, rigorous,” O.H.G.
Strang “strong, bold, hard,” Ger.
Streng “strict, rigorous”).
Originally compared strenger, strengest (cf.
Grammatical sense, of noun and verb inflections, is first attested 1841, translating Ger.
Stark, used in a grammatical sense by J.
Grimm (the terms strong and weak better fit Ger.
Strong suit (1865) is from card-playing.
Strong man “man of great strength” (especially one who displays it professionally) is recorded from 1699; meaning “dominating man in a political organization” is from 1859. strong (adv.) — O.E.
Strange (alongside strongly), from the same source as strong (adj.).
Going strong (1898) is from racing.
To come on strong was originally come it strong (1812). — tousle — pull roughly, disorder, dishevel, c.1440, freq.
Of -tousen “handle or push about roughly,” from O.E. *tusian, from P.Gmc. *tus- (cf.
Zausen “to tug, pull, dishevel”); related to tease. Toussaint — from Fr., lit. “feast of All Saints” (Nov. 1), from tous, pl.
Of tout “all” + saint “saint.” tout — 1700, thieves’ cant, “to act as a lookout, spy on,” from M.E.
Tuten “to peep, peer,” probably from a variant of O.E.
Totian “to stick out, peep, peer,” from P.Gmc. *tut- “project” (cf.
Tuit “sprout, snout,” M.Du.
Tute “nipple, pap,” M.L.G.
Tute “horn, funnel,” O.N.
Tota “teat, toe of a shoe”).
The sense developed to “look out for jobs, votes, etc., to try to get them” (1731), then “praise highly” (1920). tow (n.) — coarse, broken fibers of flax, hemp, etc., 1377, probably from O.E.
Tow- “spinning” (in towlic “fit for spinning”), perhaps cognate with Gothic taujan “to do, make,” M.Du.
Touwen “to knit, weave.” Tow-head, in ref.
To tousled blond hair, is recorded from 1830. tow (v.) — pull with a rope, O.E.
Togian “to drag, pull,” from P.Gmc. *tugojanan (cf.
Teon “to draw,” O.Fris.
Togia “to pull about,” O.N.
Ziehen “to draw, pull, drag”), from PIE base *deuk- “to pull, draw” (cf.
Ducere “to lead;” see duke).
The noun meaning “act or fact of being towed” is recorded from 1622.
Towaway, in ref.
To parking zones, is recorded from 1956. toward — O.E.
Toweard “in the direction of,” prepositional use of toweard (adj.) “coming, approaching,” from to (see to) + -weard, from P.Gmc. *-warth, from PIE *wert “turn” (see -ward).
Towards with adverbial genitive ending, was in O.E.
As toweards. towel (n.) — 1284, from O.Fr.
Toaille (12c.), from Frank. *thwahlja, from P.Gmc. *thwakhlijon (cf.
Dwale “towel,” Du.
Dwaal “altar cloth,” O.H.G.
Dwehila “towel,” Ger.
Zwehle “napkin”); related to Ger.
Zwagen, O.E. þwean “to wash.” Sp.
Tovaglia are Gmc.
The verb is first recorded 1836.
Towelette is recorded from 1902. tower — O.E.
Torr, from L.
Turris “high structure” (cf.
Tor, 11c.; Sp., It.
Torre “tower”), possibly from a pre-ie Mediterranean language.
Also borrowed separately 13c.
As tour, from O.Fr.
The modern spelling first recorded in 1526.
Meaning “lofty pile or mass” is recorded from 1340.
The verb is attested from c.1400. town — O.E.
Tun “enclosure, enclosed land with buildings,” later “village,” from P.Gmc. *tunaz, *tunan (cf.
O.S., O.N., O.Fris.
Tun “fence, hedge,” M.Du.
Tuun “fence,” Du.
Tuin “garden,” O.H.G.
Zaun “fence, hedge”), an early borrowing from Celtic *dunom (cf.
Dun, Welsh din “fortress, fortified place, camp;” see down (n.2)).
Meaning “inhabited place larger than a village” (1154) arose after the Norman conquest, to correspond to Fr.
The modern word is partially a generic term, applicable to cities of great size as well as places intermediate between a city and a village; such use is unusual, the only parallel is perhaps L.
Oppidium, which occasionally was applied to Rome or Athens (each of which was more properly an urbs).
First record of town hall is from 1481; townhouse “residence in a town” is from 1825.
Townie “townsman, one raised in a town” is recorded from 1827, often opposed to the university students or circus workers who were just passing through.
Town ball, version of baseball, is recorded from 1852.
Town car (1907) originally was a motor car with an enclosed passenger compartment and open driver’s seat.
On the town “living the high life” is from 1712.
Go to town “do (something) energetically” is first recorded 1933.
Man about town “one constantly seen at public and private functions” is attested from 1734. township — O.E.
Tunscipe “inhabitants or population of a town.” Applied in M.E.
To “manor, parish, or other division of a hundred.” Specific sense of “local division or district in a parish, each with a village or small town and its own church” is from 1540; as a local municipal division of a county in U.S.
And Canada, first recorded 1685. toxic — 1664, from Fr.
Toxique, from L.L.
Toxicus “poisoned,” from L.
Toxicum “poison,” from Gk.
Toxikon (pharmakon) “(poison) for use on arrows,” from toxikon, neut.
Of toxikos “pertaining to arrows or archery,” and thus to a bow, from toxon “bow,” probably from a Scythain word that also was borrowed into L.
As taxus “yew.” toxicology — 1839, from Fr.
Toxicologie (1812), from comb.
Form of Gk.
Toxikon “arrow poison” (see toxic) + -logia, from -logos “one who speaks” (in a certain manner), “one who deals with” (a certain topic). toxin — organic poison, 1886, from L.
Toxicum “poison” (see toxic). toy (n.) — c.1303, “amorous playing, sport,” later “piece of fun or entertainment” (c.1500), “thing of little value, trifle” (1530), and “thing for a child to play with” (1586).
Of uncertain origin, and there may be more than one word here.
Tuig “tools, apparatus, stuff, trash,” in speeltuig “play-toy, plaything;” Ger.
Zeug “stuff, matter, tools,” Spielzeug “plaything, toy;” Dan.
Tyg “stuff, gear.” The verb is first attested 1529, from the noun. trace (n.1) — track made by passage of a person or thing, c.1300, from O.Fr.
Trace, back-formation from tracier (see trace (v.)).
Scientific sense of “indication of minute presence in some chemical compound” is from 1827.
The verb in the sense of “follow by means of traces or tracks” is recorded from c.1450.
Traces “vestiges” is from c.1400.
Tracer “bullet whose course is made visible” is attested from 1910. trace (n.2) — straps or chains by which an animal pulls a vehicle, c.1300, from earlier collective plural trays, from O.Fr.
Of trait “strap for harnessing, act of drawing,” from L.
Tractus “a drawing, track,” from stem of trahere “to pull, draw” (see tract (1)). trace (v.) — 1374, “to make a plan or diagram,” from O.Fr.
Trasser “delineate, score, trace, follow, pursue” (12c.), from V.L. *tractiare “delineate, score, trace” (cf.
Trazar “to trace, devise, plan out,” It.
Tracciare “to follow by foot”), from L.
Tractus “track, course,” lit. “a drawing out,” from pp.
Stem of trahere “to pull, draw” (see tract (1)).
Meaning “to pass over” (a path, etc.) is attested from c.1381.
Sense of “draw an outline of” is first recorded 1390.
Meaning “copy a drawing on a transparent sheet laid over it” is recorded from 1762. tracery — 1464, “a place for drawing,” formed in Eng.
From trace (v.).
Architectural sense, in ref.
To intersecting rib work in the upper part of a gothic window, is attested from 1669. “Introduced by Wren, who described it as a masons’ term,” according to Weekley. trachea — c.1400, from M.L.
Trachea (c.1255), as in trachea arteria, from L.L.
Trachia (c.400), from Gk.
Trakheia, in trakheia arteria “windpipe,” lit. “rough artery” (so called from the rings of cartilage that form the trachea), from fem.
Of trakhys “rough.” See artery for connection with windpipe in Gk.
Tracheotomy (1726) coined 1718 by Ger.
Surgeon Lorenz Heister (1683-1758) from Gk. -tomia “a cutting of,” from tome “a cutting.” track (n.) — 1470, “footprint, mark left by anything,” from O.Fr.
Trac “track of horses, trace” (1440), possibly from a Gmc.
Trek “drawing, pulling;” see trek).
Meaning “lines of rails for drawing trains” is from 1805.
Meaning “branch of athletics involving a running track” is recorded from 1905.
Meaning “single recorded item” is from 1904, originally in ref.
To phonograph records.
Meaning “mark on skin from repeated drug injection” is first attested 1964.
The verb meaning “to follow or trace the footsteps of” is recorded 1565, from the noun.
Track record (1965) is a figurative use from horse racing.
To make tracks “move quickly” is Amer.Eng.
Colloquial first recorded 1835; to cover (one’s) tracks in the fig.
Sense first attested 1898; to keep track of something is attested from 1883.
The metaphor in Amer.Eng.
Wrong side of the tracks “bad part of town” has been traced back to 1929.
Track lighting attested from 1972. tract (1) — area, 1494, “period or lapse of time,” from L.
Tractus “track, course, space, duration,” lit, “a drawing out or pulling,” from stem of trahere “to pull, draw,” from PIE base *tragh- “to draw, drag, move” (cf.
Slovenian trag “trace, track,” M.Ir.
Tragud “ebb,” with variant form *dhragh-; see drag).
The meaning “stretch of land or water” is first recorded 1553.
Sense of “plot of land for development” is recorded from 1912; tract houses attested from 1963. tract (2) — little book, 1432, probably a shortened form of L.
Tractatus “a handling, treatise, treatment,” from tractare “to handle” (see treat).
Not in any other language, according to OED. tractable — manageable, 1502, from L.
Tractabilis “that may be touched, handled, or managed,” from tractare “to handle, manage” (see treat). traction — 1615, “a drawing or pulling,” from M.L.
Tractio) “a drawing” (c.1250), noun of action from stem of L.
Trahere “to pull, draw” (see tract (1)).
Sense of “rolling friction of a vehicle” first appears 1825. tractor — 1856, “something that pulls,” earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins’s metallic tractor), from M.L.
Tractor, from stem of L.
Trahere “to pull, draw” (see tract (1)).
Sense of “an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows” is first recorded 1901, from earlier traction engine (1859).
The meaning “powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer” is first found 1926; tractor-trailer is attested from 1949. trade (n.) — c.1375, “path, track, course of action,” introduced by the Hanse merchants, from M.Du.
Trade “track, course” (probably originally of a trading ship), cognate with O.E.
Tredan (see tread).
Sense of “one’s habitual business” (1546) developed from the notion of “way, course, manner of life” (1456); sense of “buying and selling” is first recorded 1555.
Trade wind (1650) has nothing to do with commerce, but preserves the obsolete sense of “in a habitual or regular course.” Trademark first attested 1838; in figurative sense, 1873.
Trade union is attested from 1831. — unauthorized — 1596, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Of authorize. unavailable — 1549, “ineffectual,” from un- (1) “not” + avail + -able.
Meaning “incapable of being used” is recorded from 1855.
Unavailing (1670) has taken up the older sense of the word. unavoidable — 1577, from un- (1) “not” + avoid + -able. unawares — 1535, “without being aware,” from un- (1) “not” + aware + adverbial genitive -s.
Meaning “without being noticed” is recorded from 1667.
Form unaware is recorded from 1592. unbalanced — 1650, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Earliest use is in ref.
To the mind, judgment, etc.
Of material things, it is recorded from 1732. unbearable — c.1449, from un- (1) “not” + bear (v.) + -able. unbeaten — c.1275, “not beaten or struck,” from un- (1) + pp.
In the sense of “undefeated” it is first recorded 1757. unbecoming — 1598, from un- (1) “not” + becoming “fitting” (see become). unbeknownst — 1848, vulgar formation from unbeknown (1636).
No clear reason for the -st, but since 19c.
This has become the dominant form. unbelief — c.1160, “absence or lack of religious belief,” from un- (1) “not” + belief.
Unbelievable is first attested 1548; unbeliever “infidel” is recorded from 1526. unbend — to relax a bow by unstringing it, c.1250, from un- (2) + bend.
Meaning “to become genial, relax” (1748) has a sense opposite to that of unbending “inflexible, obstinate” (1688), which does not derive from the bowstringing image. unbeseeming — 1583, “not befitting, inappropriate,” from un- (1) “not” + beseeming.
A common 17c.
Word. unbiased — 1607, lit., in ref to throws at bowls, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Sense of “impartial, unprejudiced” is recorded from 1647. unbidden — O.E.
Unbedene, “not asked or invited,” from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Ubeðinn. unbind — O.E.
Unbindan, “to free from binding,” from un- (2) + bind.
Senses both present in O.E. unblemished — c.1300, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Originally in moral sense; material sense is attested from c.1450. unborn (adj.) — O.E.
Unboren “not yet born, stillborn,” from un- (1) “not” + born.
Ungeboren. unbounded — 1598, “not limited in extent,” from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Of verb form of bound (n.).
Sense of “generous, profuse, liberal” is recorded from 1704. unbreakable — c.1480, from un- (1) “not” + break + -able. unbridled — c.1374, originally in fig.
Sense of “unrestrained, ungoverned,” from un- (1) “not” + bridled (see bridle).
Sense of “not fitted with a bridle” (of horses) is not recorded before 1553.
The verb unbridle is attested from c.1400 in the lit.
Sense; c.1440 in the fig.
Sense. un-British — 1746, from un- (1) “not” + British. unbroken — c.1300, in ref.
To vows or compacts, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Attested from 1495 in ref.
To material things; 1513 in ref.
To courage, spirit, etc.; 1538 in ref.
To horses; 1561 in ref.
To the flow of time. unbuckle — c.1386, from un- (2) + buckle (v.). unburden — 1538, “to unload” (trans.), from un- (2) + burden (v.).
Sense is recorded from 1589. unburied — O.E.
Unbyrged, from un- (1) “not” + pp.
Of bury (v.).
Read more about 1400, in kenebowe, perhaps from phrase in keen bow “at a sharp angle,” or from a Scand:
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