OpeRation-MKUltRa-Violence

“If you can make people feel isolated, you can make ’em shut up!” -Terence McKenna

ultraviolet (adj.)

“beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum,” 1840, from ultra- “beyond” + violetUltra-red (1870) was a former name for what now is called infra-red.

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violence (n.)

late 13c., “physical force used to inflict injury or damage,” from Anglo-French and Old French violence (13c.), from Latin violentia “vehemence, impetuosity,” from violentus “vehement, forcible,” probably related to violare (see violation). Weakened sense of “improper treatment” is attested from 1590s.

culture (n.)

mid-15c., “the tilling of land, act of preparing the earth for crops,” from Latin cultura “a cultivating, agriculture,” figuratively “care, culture, an honoring,” from past participle stem of colere “to tend, guard; to till, cultivate” (see colony). Meaning “the cultivation or rearing of a crop, act of promoting growth in plants” (1620s) was transferred to fish, oysters, etc., by 1796, then to “production of bacteria or other microorganisms in a suitable environment” (1880), then “product of such a culture” (1884).

The figurative sense of “cultivation through education, systematic improvement and refinement of the mind” is attested by c. 1500; Century Dictionary writes that it was, “Not common before the nineteenth century, except with strong consciousness of the metaphor involved, though used in Latin by Cicero.” Meaning “learning and taste, the intellectual side of civilization” is by 1805; the closely related sense of “collective customs and achievements of a people, a particular form of collective intellectual development” is by 1867.

For without culture or holiness, which are always the gift of a very few, a man may renounce wealth or any other external thing, but he cannot renounce hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge. Culture is the sanctity of the intellect. [William Butler Yeats]

Slang culture vulture “one voracious for culture” is from 1947. Culture shock “disorientation experienced when a person moves to a different cultural environment or an unfamiliar way of life” is attested by 1940. Ironic or contemptuous spelling kulchur is attested from 1940 (Pound), and compare kultur.

cult (n.)

1610s, “worship, homage” (a sense now obsolete); 1670s, “a particular form or system of worship;” from French culte (17c.), from Latin cultus “care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence,” originally “tended, cultivated,” past participle of colere “to till” (see colony).

The word was rare after 17c., but it was revived mid-19c. (sometimes in French form culte) with reference to ancient or primitive systems of religious belief and worship, especially the rites and ceremonies employed in such worship. Extended meaning “devoted attention to a particular person or thing” is from 1829.

Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree. [Hugh Rawson, “Wicked Words,” 1993]

Cult is a term which, as we value exactness, we can ill do without, seeing how completely religion has lost its original signification. Fitzedward Hall, “Modern English,” 1873]

*kwel- (1)

also *kwelə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “revolve, move round; sojourn, dwell.”

It forms all or part of: accoladeancillaryatelo-bazaarbicyclebucolicchakrachukkercollarcolletcolonialcolonycultcultivateculturecyclamencyclecyclo-cyclonecyclopsdecolleteencyclicalencyclopediaentelechyepicyclehauberkhawseinquilineKulturlapidocolousnidicolouspalimpsestpalindromepalinodepole (n.2) “ends of Earth’s axis;” pulleyrickshawtalismanteleologytelictelophasetelostorticolliswheel.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit cakram “circle, wheel,” carati “he moves, wanders;” Avestan caraiti “applies himself,” c’axra “chariot, wagon;” Greek kyklos “circle, wheel, any circular body, circular motion, cycle of events,”polos “a round axis” (PIE *kw- becomes Greek p- before some vowels), polein “move around;” Latin colere “to frequent, dwell in, to cultivate, move around,” cultus “tended, cultivated,” hence also “polished,” colonus “husbandman, tenant farmer, settler, colonist;” Lithuanian kelias “a road, a way;” Old Norse hvel, Old English hweol “wheel;” Old Church Slavonic kolo, Old Russian kolo, Polish koło, Russian koleso “a wheel.”

colony (n.)

late 14c., “ancient Roman settlement outside Italy,” from Latin colonia “settled land, farm, landed estate,” from colonus “husbandman, tenant farmer, settler in new land,” from colere “to cultivate, to till; to inhabit; to frequent, practice, respect; tend, guard,” from PIE root *kwel- (1) “revolve, move round; sojourn, dwell” (source also of Latin -cola “inhabitant”). Also used by the Romans to translate Greek apoikia “people from home.”

In reference to modern situations, “company or body of people who migrate from their native country to cultivate and inhabit a new place while remaining subject to the mother country,” attested from 1540s. Meaning “a country or district colonized” is by 1610s.

caul (n.)

early 14c., “close-fitting cap worn by women,” from French cale “cap,” back-formation from calotte, from Italian callotta, from Latin calautica “type of female headdress with pendent lappets,” a foreign word of unknown origin.

The “cap” sense was the main one until 17c. Medical use, in reference to various membranes, dates to late 14c.; especially of the amnion enclosing the fetus before birth from 1540s. This, if a child was born draped in it, was supersititously supposed to betoken prosperity, give the gift of eloquence, and protect against drowning (18c. seamen paid dearly for one, and cauls were advertised for sale in British newspapers through World War I).

cauldron (n.)

“very large kettle or boiler,” c. 1300, caudron, from Anglo-French caudrun, Old North French cauderon (Old French chauderon “cauldron, kettle”), from augmentative of Late Latin caldaria “cooking pot” (source of Spanish calderon, Italian calderone), from Latin calidarium “hot bath,” from calidus “warm, hot” (from PIE root *kele- (1) “warm”). The -l- was inserted 15c. in imitation of Latin.

bubble (n.)

“small vesicle of water or some other fluid inflated with air or gas,” early 14c., perhaps from Middle Dutch bobbel (n.) and/or Middle Low German bubbeln (v.), all probably of echoic origin. Figurative use in reference to anything wanting firmness, substance, or permanence is from 1590s. Specifically in reference to inflated markets or financial schemes originally in South Sea Bubble, which originated c. 1711 and collapsed 1720. Bubble-bath recorded by 1937. Bubble-shell is from 1847.

rubble (n.)

“rough, irregular stones broken from larger masses,” late 14c., robeyl, from Anglo-French *robel “bits of broken stone,” probably related to rubbish [OED], but also possibly from Old French robe (see rob).

trouble (v.)

c. 1200, from Old French trubler, metathesis of turblertorbler “to trouble, disturb; make cloudy, stir up, mix” (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from Late Latin turbidare “to trouble, make turbid,” from Latin turbidus (see turbid). Related: Troubledtroubling.

stumble (v.)

c. 1300, “to trip or miss one’s footing” (physically or morally), probably from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian stumla, Swedish stambla “to stumble”), probably from a variant of the Proto-Germanic base *stam-, source of Old English stamerian “to stammer,” German stumm, Dutch stom “dumb, silent.” Possibly influenced in form by stumpen “to stumble,” but the -b- may be purely euphonious. Meaning “to come (upon) by chance” is attested from 1550s. Related: StumbledstumblingStumbling-block first recorded 1526 (Tindale), used in Romans xiv.13, where usually it translates Greek skandalon.

fool (n.1)

early 13c., “silly, stupid, or ignorant person,” from Old French fol “madman, insane person; idiot; rogue; jester,” also “blacksmith’s bellows,” also an adjective meaning “mad, insane” (12c., Modern French fou), from Medieval Latin follus (adj.) “foolish,” from Latin follis “bellows, leather bag,” from PIE root *bhel- (2) “to blow, swell.”

The sense evolution probably is from Vulgar Latin use of follis in a sense of “windbag, empty-headed person.” Compare also Sanskrit vatula- “insane,” literally “windy, inflated with wind.” But some sources suggest evolution from Latin folles “puffed cheeks” (of a buffoon), a secondary sense from plural of follis. One makes the “idiot” sense original, the other the “jester” sense.

The word has in mod.Eng. a much stronger sense than it had at an earlier period; it has now an implication of insulting contempt which does not in the same degree belong to any of its synonyms, or to the derivative foolish. [OED]

Also used in Middle English for “sinner, rascal, impious person” (late 13c.). Meaning “jester, court clown” in English is attested c. 1300, though it is not always possible to tell whether the reference is to a professional entertainer counterfeiting mental weakness or an amusing lunatic, and the notion of the fool sage whose sayings are ironically wise is also in English from c. 1300. The French word probably also got into English via its borrowing in the Scandinavian languages of the vikings (Old Norse fol, Old Danish foolfol).

There is no foole to the olde foole [“Proverbs of John Heywood,” 1546]

To make a fool of (someone) “cause to appear ridiculous” is from 1620s (make fool “to deceive, make (someone) appear a fool” is from early 15c.). Feast of Fools (early 14c., from Medieval Latin festum stultorum) was the burlesque festival celebrated in some churches on New Year’s Day in medieval times. Fool’s gold “iron pyrite” is from 1829. Fool’s paradise “illusory state of happiness based on ignorance or erroneous judgment” is from mid-15c. (foles paradyce). Fool-trap is from 1690s. Foolosopher, a useful insult, is in a 1549 translation of Erasmus. Fool’s ballocks is described in OED as “an old name” for the green-winged orchid. Fool-killer “imaginary personage invested with authority to put to death anybody notoriously guilty of great folly” is from 1851, American English.

Fool killer, a great American myth imagined by editors, who feign that his or its services are greatly needed, and frequently alluded to as being “around” or “in town” when some special act of folly calls for castigation. Whether the fool-killer be an individual or an instrument cannot always be gathered from the dark phraseology in which he or it is alluded to; but the weight of authority would sanction the impersonal interpretation. [Walsh, “Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities,” 1892]

crumble (v.)

late 15c., kremelen, “to break into small fragments” (transitive), from Old English *crymelan, presumed frequentative of gecrymman “to break into crumbs,” from cruma (see crumb). Intransitive sense of “fall into small pieces” is from 1570s.

The -b- is from 16c., probably on analogy of crumb (where it also is an unetymological intrusion) or of French-derived words like humble, where it belongs. Related: Crumbledcrumbling. Old English gecrymman yielded Middle English crimen “to crumble” (transitive).

As a noun, from 1570s as “a fragment,” from 1947 in cookery as dessert dish with a crumb topping, British English. “The technique itself seems to have been a product of Second World War culinary making-do” [Ayto, “Diner’s Dictionary”].

card (n.1)

early 15c., “a playing card,” from Old French carte (14c.), from Medieval Latin carta/charta “a card, paper; a writing, a charter,” from Latin charta “leaf of paper, a writing, tablet,” from Greek khartēs “layer of papyrus,” which is probably from Egyptian. Form influenced by Italian cognate carta “paper, leaf of paper.” Compare chart (n.). The shift in English from -t to -d is unexplained.

Sense of “playing cards” also is oldest in French. Sense in English extended by 1590s to similar small, flat, stiff pieces of paper. As “small piece of cardboard upon which is written or printed the name, address, etc. of the person presenting it” is from 1795, visiting-cards for social calls, business-cards announcing one’s profession. Meaning “printed ornamental greetings for special occasions” is from 1862.

Application to clever or original persons (1836, originally with an adjective, as in smart card) is from the playing-card sense, via expressions such as sure card “an expedient certain to attain an object” (c. 1560).

Card-sharper “professional cheat at cards” is from 1859. House of cards in the figurative sense “any insecure or flimsy scheme” is from 1640s, first attested in Milton, from children’s play. To (figuratively) have a card up (one’s) sleeve is from 1898. To play the _______ card (for political advantage) is from 1886, originally the Orange card, meaning “appeal to Northern Irish Protestant sentiment.”

Cards are first mentioned in Spain in 1371, described in detail in Switzerland in 1377, and by 1380 reliably reported from places as far apart as Florence, Basle, Regensburg, Brabant, Paris, and Barcelona. References are also claimed for earlier dates, but these are relatively sparse and do not withstand scrutiny. [David Parlett, “A History of Card Games”]

tumble (v.)

c. 1300, “to perform as an acrobat,” also “to fall down,” perhaps from a frequentative form of Old English tumbian “dance about, tumble, leap.” This is of unknown origin but apparently related to Middle Low German tummelen “to turn, dance,” Dutch tuimelen “to tumble,” Old High German tumon, German taumeln “to turn, reel.” Transitive sense from late 14c. Related: Tumbledtumbling.

Francis

masc. proper name, from French François, from Old French Franceis “noble, free,” as a noun “a Frenchman, inhabitant of Ile-de-France; the French language,” from Late Latin Franciscus, literally “Frankish;” cognate with French and frank (adj.).

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disturb (v.)

late 13c. distourben, “to frighten, alarm, break up the tranquility of;” c. 1300, “to stop or hinder;” from Old French destorber (Old North French distourber) and directly from Latin disturbare “throw into disorder,” from dis- “completely” (see dis-) + turbare “to disorder, disturb,” from turba “turmoil” (see turbid). Related: Disturbeddisturbingdisturbingly.

Middle English also had the verb as distourblen, from Old French destorbler; hence also distourbler (n.) “one who disturbs or incites” (late 14c.).

toil (n.1)

“hard work,” c. 1300, originally “turmoil, contention, dispute,” from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler “agitate, stir up, entangle, writhe about,” from Old French toeillier “drag about, make dirty” (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare “crush with a small hammer,” from tudicula “mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing,” from Latin tudes “hammer,” from PIE *tud-, variant of *(s)teu- “to push, stroke, knock, beat” (see obtuse). Sense of “hard work, labor” (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).

disrupt (v.)

“break or burst asunder, separate forcibly.” 1650s, but rare before c. 1820, from Latin disruptus, past participle of disrumpere “break apart, split, shatter, break to pieces,” from dis- “apart” (see dis-) + rumpere “to break,” from PIE root *runp- “to break” (see corrupt (adj.)). Or perhaps a back-formation from disruption. Earlier was disrump (1580s). Related: Disrupteddisrupting.

turmoil (n.)

1520s, of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of Middle French tremouille “mill hopper,” in reference to the hopper’s constant motion to and fro, from Latin trimodia “vessel containing three modii,” from modius, a Roman dry measure, related to modus “measure.” Attested earlier in English as a verb (1510s), though this now is obsolete.

philo-

before vowels phil-, word-forming element meaning “loving, fond of, tending to,” from Greek philos (adj.) “dear, loved, beloved,” as a noun, “friend,” from philein “to love, regard with affection,” a word of unknown origin. Productive of a great many compounds in ancient Greek (such as philokybos “a lover of dice-play”). Opposed to miso-. Compare -phile.

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Sophia

fem. proper name, from Greek sophia “skill, knowledge of, acquaintance with; sound judgment, practical wisdom; cunning, shrewdness; philosophy,” also “wisdom personified,” abstract noun from sophos “wise” (see sophist). Saint Sophia in ancient church names and place names in the East is not necessarily a reference to a person; the phrase also is the English translation of the Greek for “divine wisdom, holy wisdom,” to which churches were dedicated.

philosophy (n.)

c. 1300, philosophie, “knowledge, learning, scholarship, scholarly works, body of knowledge,” from Old French filosofie “philosophy, knowledge” (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia, from Greek philosophia “love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation,” from philo- “loving” (see philo-) + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” from sophis “wise, learned;” a word of unknown origin [Beekes]. With many spelling variants in Middle English (filozofie, phelosophie, etc.).

From mid-14c. as “the discipline of dealing in rational speculation or contemplation;” from late 14c. as “natural science,” also “alchemy, occult knowledge;” in the Middle Ages the word was understood to embrace all speculative sciences. Meaning “system a person forms for conduct of life” is attested from 1771. The modern sense of “the body of highest truth, the science of the most fundamental matters” is from 1794.

Nec quicquam aliud est philosophia, si interpretari velis, praeter studium sapientiae; sapientia autem est rerum divinarum et humanarum causarumque quibus eae res continentur scientia. [Cicero, “De Officiis”]

[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Philosophical Investigations,” 1953]

wise (adj.)

Old English wis “learned, sagacious, cunning; sane; prudent, discreet; experienced; having the power of discerning and judging rightly,” from Proto-Germanic *wissaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian wis, Old Norse viss, Dutch wijs, German weise “wise”), from past-participle adjective *wittos of PIE root *weid- “to see” (hence “to know”). Modern slang meaning “aware, cunning” first attested 1896. Related to the source of Old English witan “to know, wit.”

A wise man has no extensive knowledge; He who has extensive knowledge is not a wise man. [Lao-tzu, “Tao te Ching,” c. 550 B.C.E.]

Wise man was in Old English. Wise guy is attested from 1896, American English; wise-ass (n.) by 1966, American English (probably a literal sense is intended by the phrase in the 1607 comedy “Westward Hoe” by Dekker and Webster). Wisenheimer, with mock German or Yiddish surname suffix, first recorded 1904.

fall (v.)

Old English feallan (class VII strong verb; past tense feoll, past participle feallen) “to drop from a height; fail, decay, die,” from Proto-Germanic *fallanan (source also of Old Frisian falla, Old Saxon fallan, Dutch vallen, Old Norse falla, Old High German fallan, German fallen, absent in Gothic).

These are from PIE root *pol- “to fall” (source also of Armenian p’ul “downfall,” Lithuanian puolu, pulti “to fall,” Old Prussian aupallai “finds,” literally “falls upon”).

Meaning “come suddenly to the ground” is from late Old English. Of darkness, night, from c. 1600; of land sloping from 1570s; of prices from 1570s. Of empires, governments, etc., from c. 1200. Of the face or countenance from late 14c. Meaning “to be reduced” (as temperature) is from 1650s. Meaning “die in battle” is from 1570s. Meaning “to pass casually (into some condition)” is from early 13c.

To fall in “take place or position” is from 1751. To fall in love is attested from 1520s; to fall asleep is late 14c. To fall down is early 13c. (a-dun follon); to fall behind is from 1856. Fall through “fail, come to nothing” is from 1781. To fall for something is from 1903.

To fall out is by mid-13c. in a literal sense; military use is from 1832. Meaning “have a disagreement, begin to quarrel” is attested from 1560s (to fall out with “quarrel with” is from late 15c.).

Israel

Old English Israel, “the Jewish people, the Hebrew nation,” from Latin Israel, from Greek, from Hebrew yisra’el “he that striveth with God” (Genesis xxxii.28), symbolic proper name conferred on Jacob and extended to his descendants, from sara “he fought, contended” + El “God.” As the name of an independent Jewish state in the Middle East, it is attested from 1948. Compare IsraeliIsraelite

Jacob

masc. proper name; Old Testament patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca and father of the founders of the twelve tribes, from Late Latin Iacobus, from Greek Iakobos, from Hebrew Ya’aqobh, literally “one that takes by the heel; a supplanter” (Genesis xxv.26), a derivative of ‘aqebh “heel.” The most popular name for boys born in the U.S. from 1999 through 2008. Jacob’s ladder, in various transferred uses from 1733, is from Genesis xxviii.12. In Spanish as JagoIago, also Diego; with alterations as Italian GiacomoJames, and (contracted) Spanish Jaime.

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is (v.)

third person singular present indicative of be, Old English is, from Germanic stem *es- (source also of Old High German, German, Gothic ist, Old Norse eser), from PIE *es-ti- (source also of Sanskrit asti, Greek esti, Latin est, Lithuanian esti, Old Church Slavonic jesti), third person singular form of root *es- “to be.” Old English lost the final -t-.

Until 1500s, pronounced to rhyme with kiss. Dialectal use for all persons (I is) is in Chaucer. Phrase it is what it is, indicating resigned acceptance of an unpleasant but inevitable situation or circumstance about which nothing truly positive can be said, is attested by 2001.

Ra

“hawk-headed sovereign sun god of Egyptian mythology,” from Egyptian R’ “sun, day.”

Elohim

a name of God in the Bible, c. 1600, from Hebrew, plural (of majesty?) of Eloh “God” (cognate with Allah), a word of unknown etymology, perhaps an augmentation of El “God,” also of unknown origin. Generally taken as singular, the use of this word instead of Yahveh is taken by biblical scholars as an important clue to authorship in the Old Testament, hence Elohist (1862; Elohistic is from 1841), title of the supposed writer of passages of the Pentateuch where the word is used.

inquiry (n.)

early 15c., enquery, “a judicial examination of facts to determine truth;” mid-15c. in general sense “attempt to learn something, act or fact of inquiring,” probably an Anglo-French noun developed from enqueren “to inquire” (see inquire). Respelled from mid-16c. to conform to Latin.

Allah

Arabic name for the Supreme Being, 1702, Alha, from Arabic Allah, contraction of al-Ilah, literally “the God,” from al “the” + Ilah “God,” which is cognate with Aramaic elah, Hebrew eloah (see Elohim).

quest (n.)

c. 1300, “an inquest;” early 14c., “a search for something” (especially of judicial inquiries or hounds seeking game), from Old French queste “search, quest, chase, hunt, pursuit; inquest, inquiry” (12c., Modern French quête), properly “the act of seeking,” and directly from Medieval Latin questa “search, inquiry,” alteration of Latin quaesitus (fem. quaesita) “sought-out, select,” past participle of quaerere “seek, gain, ask” (see query (n.)). Romance sense of “adventure undertaken by a knight” (especially the search for the Grail) is attested from late 14c. Johnson’s dictionary has questmonger “Starter of lawsuits or prosecutions.”

alone (adj., adv.)

“unaccompanied, solitary; without companions, solitary,” c. 1300 contraction of all ane, from Old English all ana “unaccompanied, all by oneself,” literally “wholly oneself,” from all “all, wholly” (see all) + an “one” (see one). It preserves the old pronunciation of one. Similar compounds are found in German (allein) and Dutch (alleen). Sense of “and nothing else” (“Man shall not live on bread alone”) is from c. 1200. Related: Aloneness. Adverbial alonely seems to be obsolete since 17c.

ion (n.)

1834, introduced by English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday (suggested by the Rev. William Whewell, English polymath), coined from Greek ion, neuter present participle of ienai “go,” from PIE root *ei- “to go.” So called because ions move toward the electrode of opposite charge.

atone (v.)

1590s, “be in harmony, agree, be in accordance,” from adverbial phrase atonen (c. 1300) “in accord,” literally “at one,” a contraction of at and one. It retains the older pronunciation of one. Meaning “make up (for errors or deficiencies)” is from 1660s; that of “make reparations” is from 1680s.

Atone. To bring at one, to reconcile, and thence to suffer the pains of whatever sacrifice is necessary to bring about a reconciliation. [Wedgwood]

The phrase perhaps is modeled on Latin adunare “unite,” from ad “to, at” (see ad-) + unum “one.” Related: Atonedatoning.

uni-

word-forming element meaning “having one only,” from Latin uni-, combining form of unus “one” (from PIE root *oi-no- “one, unique”).

Aten

a name of the sun in ancient Egypt, from Egyptian itn.

verse (n.)

late Old English (replacing Old English fers, an early West Germanic borrowing directly from Latin), “line or section of a psalm or canticle,” later “line of poetry” (late 14c.), from Anglo-French and Old French vers “line of verse; rhyme, song,” from Latin versus “a line, row, line of verse, line of writing,” from PIE root *wer- (2) “to turn, bend.” The metaphor is of plowing, of “turning” from one line to another (vertere = “to turn”) as a plowman does.

Verse was invented as an aid to memory. Later it was preserved to increase pleasure by the spectacle of difficulty overcome. That it should still survive in dramatic art is a vestige of barbarism. [Stendhal “de l’Amour,” 1822]

The English New Testament first was divided fully into verses in the Geneva version (1550s). Meaning “metrical composition” is recorded from c. 1300; as the non-repeating part of a modern song (between repetitions of the chorus) by 1918.

The Negroes say that in form their old songs usually consist in what they call “Chorus and Verses.” The “chorus,” a melodic refrain sung by all, opens the song; then follows a verse sung as a solo, in free recitative; the chorus is repeated; then another verse; chorus again;–and so on until the chorus, sung for the last time, ends the song. [Natalie Curtis-Burlin, “Negro Folk-Songs,” 1918]

attend (v.)

c. 1300, “be subject to” (obsolete); early 14c., “direct one’s mind or energies” (archaic), from Old French atendre “to expect, wait for, pay attention” (12c., Modern French attendre) and directly from Latin attendere “give heed to,” literally “to stretch toward,” from ad “to, toward” (see ad-) + tendere “stretch,” from PIE root *ten- “to stretch.” The notion is of “stretching” one’s mind toward something.

Sense of “take care of, wait upon” is from mid-14c.; that of “endeavor to do” is from c. 1400. Meaning “to pay attention” is from early 15c.; that of “accompany and render service to” (someone) is from mid-15c., as is that of “be in attendance.” Meaning “to accompany or follow as a consequent” is from 1610s. Related: Attendedattending.

dance (v.)

c. 1300, dauncen, “move the body or feet rhythmically to music,” from Old French dancier (12c., Modern French danser), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Low Frankish *dintjan and akin to Old Frisian dintje “tremble, quiver.” Through French influence in arts and society, it has become the primary word for this activity from Spain to Russia (Italian danzare, Spanish danzar, Romanian dansa, Swedish dansa, German tanzen).

In part the loanword from French is used mainly with reference to fashionable dancing while the older native word persists in use with reference to folk-dancing, as definitively Russ. pljasat’ vs. tancovat’ [Carl Darling Buck, “A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages,” 1949].

In English it replaced Old English sealtian, itself a borrowing from Latin saltare “to dance,” frequentative of salire “to leap” (see salient (adj.); “dance” words frequently are derived from words meaning “jump, leap”). Native words used for the activity in Old English included tumbian (see tumble (v.)), hoppian(see hop (v.1)). Related: Danceddancing.

Meaning “to leap or spring with regular or irregular steps as an expression of some emotion” is from late 14c. Of inanimate things, “move nimbly or quickly with irregular motion,” 1560s. Transitive sense of “give a dancing motion to” is from c. 1500. To dance attendance “strive to please and gain favor by obsequiousness” is from late 15c.

transcendence (n.)

c. 1600, from transcendent + -ence, or else from Medieval Latin transcendentia, from Latin transcendentem. Related: Transcendency.

onion (n.)

early 12c., ungeon, oinyon, unione, “the underground bulb of the common onion plant,” from Anglo-French union, Old French oignon “onion” (formerly also oingnon), and directly from Latin unionem (nominative unio), a colloquial rustic Roman word for a kind of onion, also “pearl” (via the notion of a string of onions), literally “one, unity.” The sense connection is the unity of the successive layers of an onion, in contrast with garlic or cloves.

Old English had ynne (in ynne-leac), from the same Latin source, which also produced Irish inniun, Welsh wynwyn and similar words in Germanic. In Dutch, the ending in -n was mistaken for a plural inflection and new singular ui formed. The usual Indo-European name is represented by Greek kromion, Irish crem, Welsh craf, Old English hramsa, Lithuanian kermušė.

The usual Latin word was cepa, a loan from an unknown language; it is the source of Old French cive, Old English cipe, and, via Late Latin diminutive cepulla, Italian cipolla, Spanish cebolla, Polish cebula. German Zwiebel also is from this source, but altered by folk etymology in Old High German (zwibolla) from words for “two” and “ball.”

Onion-ring “circular segment of an onion” (especially battered and deep-fried) is attested by 1904. Onion-dome on a church-tower, etc., is attested by 1950, so called for the resemblance of shape; onion-grass, which forms tuberous nodes in its roots (also onion-couch) is from 1823; onion-skin as a type of paper (so called for its thinness, transparency, and finish, which resemble the skin of an onion) is from 1879.

Onions, the surname, is attested from mid-12c. (Ennian), from Old Welsh Enniaun, ultimately from Latin Annianus, which was associated with Welsh einion “anvil.”

entrance (v.)

“to throw into a trance,” 1590s, from en- (1) “put in” + trance (n.). Meaning “to delight” also is 1590s. Related: Entrancedentrancingentrancement.

at (prep.)

Old English æt, from Proto-Germanic *at (source also of Old Norse, Gothic at, Old Frisian et, Old High German az), from PIE root *ad- “to, near, at.” Lost in German and Dutch, which use their equivalent of to; in Scandinavian, however, to has been lost and at fills its place.

At is used to denote relations of so many kinds, and some of these so remote from its primary local sense, that a classification of its uses is very difficult. [OED]

In choosing between at churchin church, etc. at is properly distinguished from in or on by involving some practical connection; a worshipper is at church; a tourist is in the church. In 19c. it was used for points of the compass as regions of a country (at the South) where later tendency was to use in.

The colloquial use of at after where (as in where it’s at) is noted in Bartlett (1859). At last is recorded from late 13c.; adverbial phrase at least was in use by 1775. At in Middle English was used freely with prepositions (as in at after, which is in Shakespeare), but this has faded with the exception of at about.

en (prep.)

French, “in; as,” from Latin in (see in).

Lakshmi

Hindu goddess of beauty, said to be from Sanskrit lakshmi “mark, fortune, riches, beauty.”

luck (n.)

c. 1500, “fortune good or bad, what happens to one by chance (conceived as being favorable or not); good luck, quality of having a tendency to receive desired or beneficial outcomes,” not found in Old English, probably from early Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc “happiness, good fortune,” a word of unknown origin. It has cognates in Modern Dutch geluk, Middle High German g(e)lücke, German Glück “fortune, good luck.”

Perhaps first borrowed in English as a gambling term. To be down on (one’s) luck is from 1832; to be in luck is from 1857; to push (one’s) luck is from 1911. Good luck as a salutation to one setting off to do something is from 1805. Expression no such luck is from 1857. Better luck next time as an expression of encouragement in the face of disappointment is from 1858, but the expression itself is older:

A gentleman was lately walking through St Giles’s, where a levelling citizen attempting to pick his pocket of a handkerchief, which the gentleman caught in time, and secured, observing to the fellow, that he had missed his aim, the latter, with perfect sang-froid, answered, “better luck next time master.”  [“Monthly Mirror,” London, 1802]

Luck of the draw (1967) is from card-playing. In expressions often ironical, as in just (my) luck (1909). To be out of luck is from 1789; to have one’s luck run out is from 1966.

lux (n.)

unit of illumination, 1889, from Latin lux “light,” from PIE root *leuk- “light, brightness.”

lady (n.)

c. 1200, lafdilavede, from Old English hlæfdige (Northumbrian hlafdia, Mercian hlafdie), “mistress of a household, wife of a lord,” apparently literally “one who kneads bread,” from hlaf “bread” (see loaf (n.)) + -dige “maid,” which is related to dæge “maker of dough” (which is the first element in dairy; see dey (n.1)). Also compare lord (n.)). Century Dictionary finds this etymology “improbable,” and OED rates it “not very plausible with regard to sense,” but no one seems to have a better explanation.

The medial -f- disappeared 14c. The word is not found outside English except where borrowed from it. Sense of “woman of superior position in society” is c. 1200; that of “woman whose manners and sensibilities befit her for high rank in society” is from 1861 (ladylike suggesting this sense is attested from 1580s, and ladily from c. 1400). Meaning “woman chosen as an object of chivalrous love” is from early 14c. Used commonly as an address to any woman since 1890s.

Applied since Old English to the Holy Virgin, hence many extended usages in plant names, place names, etc., from genitive singular hlæfdigan, which in Middle English merged with the nominative, so that lady- often represents (Our) Lady’s, as in ladybugLady Day (late 13c.) was the festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (March 25). Ladies’ man first recorded 1784; lady-killer “man supposed to be dangerously fascinating to women” is from 1811. Lady of pleasure recorded from 1640s. Lady’s slipper as a type of orchid is from 1590s.

loganberry (n.)

1893, American English, named for U.S. horticulturalist James H. Logan (1841-1928), who developed it by crossing a blackberry and a raspberry.

Adelaide

fem. proper name, from French Adélaide, from a Germanic source similar to Old High German Adalhaid, from adal “noble family” (see atheling) + German heit “state, rank,” which is related to Old English -had “person, degree, state, nature” (see -hood). The first element affixed to French fem. ending -ine gave Adeline.

Entries related to Adelaide

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wonderland (n.)

“imaginary realm,” 1787, from wonder (n.) + land (n.).

wanderlust (n.)

1902, from German Wanderlust, literally “desire for wandering” (see wander + lust).

station (n.)

late 13c., “place which one normally occupies,” from Old French stacionestacion “site, location; station of the Cross; stop, standstill,” from Latin stationem (nominative statio) “a standing, standing firm; a post, job, position; military post; a watch, guard, sentinel; anchorage, port” (related to stare “to stand”), from PIE *steti-, suffixed form of root *sta- “to stand, make or be firm.”

Meaning “each of a number of holy places visited in succession by pilgrims” is from late 14c., as in Station of the Cross (1550s). Meaning “fixed uniform distance in surveying” is from 1570s. Sense of “status, rank” is from c. 1600. Meaning “military post” in English is from c. 1600. The meaning “place where people are stationed for some special purpose” (as in polling station) is first recorded 1823. Radio station is from 1912; station break, pause in broadcasting to give the local station a chance to identify itself, is from 1942.

The meaning “regular stopping place” is first recorded 1797, in reference to coach routes; applied to railroads 1830. Station-master is from 1836. Station wagon in the automobile sense is first recorded 1929, from earlier use for a horse-drawn conveyance that took passengers to and from railroad stations (1894). Station house “police station” is attested from 1836.

train (n.)

early 14c., “a drawing out, delay;” late 14c., “trailing part of a skirt, gown, or cloak;” also “retinue, procession,” from Old French train “tracks, path, trail (of a rome or gown); act of dragging,” from trainer “to pull, drag, draw,” from Vulgar Latin *traginare, extended from *tragere “to pull,” back-formation from tractus, past participle of Latin trahere “to pull, draw” (see tract (n.1)).,

General sense of “series, progression, succession, continuous course” is from late 15c. Train of thought first attested 1650s. The railroad sense “locomotive and the cars coupled to it” is recorded from 1820 (publication year, dated 1816), from notion of a “train” of wagons or carriages pulled by a mechanical engine.

Shrewsbury

track (n.)

late 15c., “footprint, mark left by anything,” from Old French trac “track of horses, trace” (mid-15c.), possibly from a Germanic source (compare Middle Low German treck, Dutch 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 reference to phonograph records. Meaning “mark on skin from repeated drug injection” is first attested 1964.

Track record (1955) is a figurative use from racing, “performance history” of an individual car, runner, horse, etc. (1907, but the phrase was more common in sense “fastest speed recorded at a particular track”). To make tracks “move quickly” is American English colloquial first recorded 1835; to cover (one’s) tracks in the figurative sense first attested 1898; to keep track of something is attested from 1883. American English wrong side of the tracks “bad part of town” is by 1901. Track lighting attested from 1970.

purple (n., adj.)

Old English purpul, dissimilation (first recorded in Northumbrian, in Lindisfarne gospel) of purpure “purple dye, a purple garment,” purpuren (adj.) “purple,” a borrowing by 9c. from Latin purpura “purple color, purple-dyed cloak, purple dye,” also “shellfish from which purple was made,” and “splendid attire generally,” from Greek porphyra “purple dye, purple” (see porphyry), of uncertain origin, perhaps Semitic, originally the name for the shellfish (murex) from which it was obtained. Purpur continued as a parallel form until 15c., and through 19c. in heraldry. As a color name, attested from early 15c. Tyrian purple, produced around Tyre, was prized as dye for royal garments.

Also the color of mourning or penitence (especially in royalty or clergy). Rhetorical for “splendid, gaudy” (of prose) from 1590s. Purple Heart, U.S. decoration for service members wounded in combat, instituted 1932; originally a cloth decoration begun by George Washington in 1782. Hendrix’ Purple Haze (1967) is slang for “LSD.” Purple finch so called from 1826; “the name is a misnomer, arising from the faulty coloring of a plate by Mark Catesby, 1731” [Century Dictionary]. It also is called house finch, for its domesticity.

dye (n.)

“coloring matter in solution,” Middle English deie, from Old English deahdeag “a color, hue, tinge,” from Proto-Germanic *daugo (source also of Old Saxon dogol “secret,” Old High German tougal “dark, hidden, secret,” Old English deagol “secret, hidden; dark, obscure,” dohsdox “dusky, dark”).

government (n.)

late 14c., “act of governing or ruling;” 1550s, “system by which a thing is governed” (especially a state), from Old French governement “control, direction, administration” (Modern French gouvernement), from governer “to steer, be at the helm of; govern, rule, command, direct,” from Latin gubernare “to direct, rule, guide, govern,” originally “to steer, to pilot”(see govern). Meaning “governing power” in a given place is from 1702. Compare governance.

paradise (n.)

late Old English, “the garden of Eden,” from Old French paradis “paradise, garden of Eden” (11c.), from Late Latin paradisus “a park, an orchard; the garden of Eden, the abode of the blessed,” from Greek paradeisos “a park; paradise, the garden of Eden,” from an Iranian source similar to Avestan pairidaeza “enclosure, park” (Modern Persian and Arabic firdaus “garden, paradise”), a compound of pairi- “around” (from PIE root *per- (1) “forward,” hence “in front of, near, against, around”) + diz “to make, to form (a wall).” The first element is cognate with Greek peri “around, about” (see per), the second is from PIE root *dheigh- “to form, build.”

The Greek word was used by Xenophon and others for an orchard or royal hunting park in Persia, and it was taken in Septuagint to mean “the garden of Eden,” and in New Testament translations of Luke xxiii.43 to mean “the Christian heaven, place where the souls of the righteous departed await resurrection” (a sense attested in English from c. 1200; extended from c. 1400 to the Muslim heaven). Meaning “place of extreme beauty, blissful state like or comparable to Paradise” is from c. 1300. The Gates of Paradise originally meant “the Virgin Mary” (late 14c.)

center (n.)

late 14c., “middle point of a circle; point round which something revolves,” from Old French centre (14c.), from Latin centrum “center,” originally the fixed point of the two points of a drafting compass (hence “the center of a circle”), from Greek kentron “sharp point, goad, sting of a wasp,” from kentein “stitch,” from PIE root *kent- “to prick” (source also of Breton kentr “a spur,” Welsh cethr “nail,” Old High German hantag “sharp, pointed”).

The spelling with -re was popularized in Britain by Johnson’s dictionary (following Bailey’s), though -er is older and was used by Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope. Meaning “the middle of anything” attested from 1590s. Figuratively, “point of concentration” (of power, etc.) is from 1680s. Political use, originally in reference to France, “representatives of moderate views” (between left and right) is from 1837. Center of gravity is recorded from 1650s. Center of attention is from 1868.

dice (n.)

plural of die (n.), early 14c., des, dys, plural of dy, altered 14c. to dysedyce, and 15c. to dice. “As in pence, the plural s retains its original breath sound, probably because these words were not felt as ordinary plurals, but as collective words” [OED]. Sometimes used as singular 1400-1700. Dice-box “box from which dice are thrown in gaming” is from 1550s.

intelligence (n.)

late 14c., “the highest faculty of the mind, capacity for comprehending general truths;” c. 1400, “faculty of understanding, comprehension,” from Old French intelligence (12c.) and directly from Latin intelligentiaintellegentia “understanding, knowledge, power of discerning; art, skill, taste,” from intelligentem (nominative intelligens) “discerning, appreciative,” present participle of intelligere “to understand, comprehend, come to know,” from assimilated form of inter “between” (see inter-) + legere “choose, pick out, read,” from PIE root *leg- (1) “to collect, gather,” with derivatives meaning “to speak (to ‘pick out words’).”

Meaning “superior understanding, sagacity, quality of being intelligent” is from early 15c. Sense of “information received or imparted, news” first recorded mid-15c., especially “secret information from spies” (1580s). Meaning “a being endowed with understanding or intelligence” is late 14c. Intelligence quotient first recorded 1921 (see I.Q.).

pentagon (n.)

1560s, “plane figure with five angles and five sides,” from French pentagone (13c.) or directly from Late Latin pentagonum “pentagon,” from Greek pentagōnon, a noun use of the neuter of the adjective pentagōnos “five-angled,” from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + gōnia “angle, corner” (from PIE root *genu- (1) “knee; angle”). The U.S. military headquarters known as the Pentagon was completed in 1942, and so called for its shape; used allusively for “U.S. military leadership” from 1945; Pentagonese “U.S. official military jargon” is by 1951. Related: Pentagonal.

In nature, pentagonal symmetry is rare in inanimate forms. Packed soap bubbles seem to strive for it but never quite succeed, and there are no mineral crystals with true pentagonal structures. But pentagonal geometry is basic to many living things, from roses and forget-me-nots to sea urchins and starfish. [Robert Bringhurst, “The Elements of Typographic Style,” 1992]

centaur (n.)

monster in Greek mythology, with the head, torso, and arms of a man joined to the body of a horse, late 14c., from Latin centaurus, from Greek Kentauros, a word of disputed origin. In early Greek literature they were a savage, horse-riding tribe from Thessaly; later they were monsters half horse, half man. The southern constellation of Centaurus is attested in English from 1550s but was known by that name to the Romans and known as a centaur to the Greeks. It has often been confused since classical times with Sagittarius. Related: Centauress; centaurian.

Pentateuch

“the first five books of the Bible,” those traditionally ascribed to Moses, c. 1400, Penta-teuke, from Late Latin pentateuchus (Tertullian, c. 207), from Greek pentateukhos (c. 160), originally an adjective (abstracted from phrase pentateukhos biblos), from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + teukhos “implement, vessel, gear” (in Late Greek “book,” via notion of “case for scrolls”), literally “anything produced,” related to teukhein “to make ready,” from PIE *dheugh- “to produce something of utility” (see doughty). Glossed in Old English as fifbec. Related: Pentateuchal.

century (n.)

1530s, “one hundred” (of anything), from Latin centuria “group of one hundred” of things of one kind (including a measure of land and a division of the Roman army, one-sixteenth of a legion, headed by a centurion), from centum “hundred” (see hundred) on analogy of decuria “a company of ten.”

Used in Middle English from late 14c. as a division of land, from Roman use. The Modern English meaning “period of 100 years,” reckoned from any starting point, is attested from 1650s, short for century of years (1620s). Latin centuria was not used in the sense “one hundred years,” for which saeculum was the word (see secular). The older, general sense is preserved in the meaning “score of 100 points” in cricket and some other sports. The century-pant (American aloe), 1843, was believed to bloom only after a century of growth.

pentagram (n.)

“five-pointed star or other figure, a pentacle,” 1820, from Greek pentagrammon, noun use of neuter of adj. pentagrammos “having or consisting of five lines,” from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + gramma “letter, character, what is written” (see -gram).

agency (n.)

1650s, “active operation;” 1670s, “a mode of exerting power or producing effect,” from Medieval Latin agentia, abstract noun from Latin agentem (nominative agens) “effective, powerful,” present participle of agere “to set in motion, drive forward; to do, perform,” figuratively “incite to action; keep in movement” (from PIE root *ag- “to drive, draw out or forth, move”). Meaning “establishment where business is done for another” first recorded 1861.

penthouse (n.)

c. 1300, pentispendize, “a shed or sloping roof projecting from a main wall or the side or end of a building,” from Anglo-French pentiz, a shortening of Old French apentis “attached building, appendage,” from Medieval Latin appendicium, from Latin appendere “to hang” (see append).

The modern spelling is from c. 1530 by folk etymology influence of Middle French pente “slope,” and English house (the meaning at that time was “attached building with a sloping roof or awning”). Originally a simple structure (Middle English homilies describe Jesus’ birthplace in the manger as a “penthouse”); meaning “apartment or small house built on the roof of a skyscraper” is attested by 1921, from which time dates its association with luxury.

Boston

U.S. city, 1630, named for town in Lincolnshire, a region from which many settlers came to New England. The name is said to be literally “Botolph’s Stone,” probably from the name of some Anglo-Saxon landowner (Old English Botwulf). Boston Massacre was March 5, 1770; three civilians killed, two mortally wounded. The Boston Tea Party (1824) took place on Dec. 16, 1773 (see tea party). Related: Bostonian.

pendulum (n.)

“anything that hangs down from a point of attachment and is free to swing;” specifically, in mechanics, “a body so suspended from a fixed point as to move to and fro by the alternate action of gravity and its acquired energy of motion,” 1660, from Modern Latin pendulum (1643), noun use of neuter of Latin adjective pendulus “hanging down,” from pendere “to hang, cause to hang” (from PIE root *(s)pen- “to draw, stretch, spin”). The Modern Latin word is perhaps a Latinization of Italian pendolo.

genital (adj.)

late 14c., “pertaining to (sexual) reproduction,” in membres genytal “the genitals,” from Latin genitalis “pertaining to generation or birth; fruitful” (also a by-name of the goddess Diana), from genitus, past participle of gignere “to beget” (from PIE root *gene- “give birth, beget”). Hence the English word came to mean “pertaining to the organs of generation.” As a noun meaning “sex organ” from mid-15c. (plural genitals is from late 14c.).

penultimate (adj.)

“next to the last, immediately proceeding that member of a series which is the last,” 1670s, from penultima (n.) on model of proximate. Earlier was penultim (mid-15c.), from Old French penultime.

generation (n.)

early 14c., “body of individuals born about the same period” (historically 30 years but in other uses as few as 17), on the notion of “descendants at the same stage in the line of descent,” from Old French generacion “race, people, species; progeny, offspring; act of procreating” (12c., Modern French génération) and directly from Latin generationem (nominative generatio) “generating, generation,” noun of action from past-participle stem of generare “bring forth, beget, produce,” from genus “race, kind” (from PIE root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups).

From late 14c. as “act or process of procreation; process of being formed; state of being procreated; reproduction; sexual intercourse;” also “that which is produced, fruit, crop; children; descendants, offspring of the same parent.” Generation gap first recorded 1967; generation x is 1991, by author Douglas Coupland (b.1961) in the book of that name; generation y attested by 1994. Adjectival phrase first-generationsecond-generation, etc. with reference to U.S. immigrant families is from 1896. Related: Generational.

ration (n.)

1550, “reasoning,” later, “relation of one number to another” (1660s), then “fixed allowance of food” (1702, often rations, from French ration in this sense), from Latin rationem (nominative ratio) “reckoning, numbering, calculation; business affair, procedure,” also “reason, reasoning, judgment, understanding,” from rat-, past participle stem of reri “to reckon, calculate,” also “think” (from PIE root *re- “to reason, count”). The military pronunciation (rhymes with fashion) took over from the preferred civilian pronunciation (rhymes with nation) during World War I.

epi-

before vowels reduced to ep-, before aspirated vowels eph-, word-forming element meaning “on, upon, above,” also “in addition to; toward, among,” from Greek epi “upon, at, close upon (in space or time), on the occasion of, in addition,” also “after,” from PIE *epi*opi “near, at, against” (source also of Sanskrit api “also, besides;” Avestan aipi “also, to, toward;” Armenian ev “also, and;” Latin ob “toward, against, in the way of;” Oscan op, Greek opi- “behind;” Hittite appizzis “younger;” Lithuanian ap- “about, near;” Old Church Slavonic ob “on”). A productive prefix in Greek; also used in modern scientific compounds (such as epicenter).

Minotaur (n.)

in Greek mythology a flesh-eating monster with a human body and the head of a bull, late 14c., from Greek minotauros, from Minos, king of Crete (compare Minoan), + tauros “bull” (see Taurus). The son of Pasiphae (wife of Minos) by a bull, he was confined in the labyrinth and killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.

ewe (n.)

Old English eowu “female sheep,” fem. of eow “sheep,” from Proto-Germanic *awi, genitive *awjoz (source also of Old Saxon ewi, Old Frisian ei, Middle Dutch ooge, Dutch ooi, Old High German ouwi “sheep,” Gothic aweþi “flock of sheep”), from PIE *owi- “sheep” (source also of Sanskrit avih, Greek ois, Latin ovis, Lithuanian avis “sheep,” Old Church Slavonic ovica “ewe,” Old Irish oi “sheep,” Welsh ewig “hind”).

monitor (n.)

1540s, “senior pupil at a school charged with keeping order, etc.,” from Latin monitor “one who reminds, admonishes, or checks,” also “an overseer, instructor, guide, teacher,” agent noun from monere “to remind, bring to (one’s) recollection, tell (of); admonish, advise, warn, instruct, teach,” from PIE *moneie- “to make think of, remind” (source also of Sanskrit manayati “to honor, respect,” Old Avestan manaiia- “making think”), suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) “to think” (source also of Latin memini “I remember, I am mindful of,” mens “mind”) The notion is “one who or that which warns of faults or informs of duties.”

The type of lizard (1826) was so called because it is fabled to give warning to man of Nile crocodiles. Meaning “squat, slow-moving type of ironclad warship” (1862) is from the name of the first vessel of this design, chosen by the inventor, Swedish-born U.S. engineer John Ericsson (1803-1889), because it was meant to “admonish” the Confederate leaders in the U.S. Civil War.

I now submit for your approbation a name for the floating battery at Green Point. The impregnable and aggressive character of this structure will admonish the leaders of the Southern Rebellion that the batteries on the banks of their rivers will no longer present barriers to the entrance of the Union forces. The iron-clad intruder will thus prove a severe monitor to those leaders. … “Downing Street” will hardly view with indifference this last “Yankee notion,” this monitor. … On these and many similar grounds I propose to name the new battery Monitor. [Ericsson to Asst. Sec. of Navy, Jan. 20, 1862]

 Broadcasting sense of “a device to continuously check on the technical quality of a transmission” (1931) led to special sense of “a TV screen displaying the picture from a particular camera.”

Jean

masc. proper name, French equivalent of John (q.v.). The fem. proper name is from the French equivalent of Jane. Related: Jeanette.

Ezra

masc. proper name, in Old Testament name of a celebrated 5c. B.C.E. scribe, from Late Latin, from Hebrew Ezra, contraction of Azaryah(u), literally “God has helped,” from ezer “help” + Yah, a shortened form of Yahweh “God.”

Reagan

surname, from Irish riagan, literally “little king.” Reaganism first recorded 1966, in reference to policies of Ronald W. Reagan (1911-2004), U.S. governor of California 1967-75, U.S. president 1981-89.

Michael

masc. proper name, also the name of an archangel, from Late Latin Michael (source of French Michel, Spanish Miguel), from Greek Mikhael, from Hebrew Mikha-el, literally “Who is like God?” The modern form of the name was a learned form in Middle English, where the common form was Michel (also Mihhal, Mighel, etc.), from Old French. The surname Mitchell might be from the old pronunciation of Michael or in some cases it might be from Old English mycel “big.”

reign (n.)

early 13c., “kingdom,” from Old French reigne “kingdom, land, country” (Modern French règne), from Latin regnum “kingship, dominion, rule, realm,” related to regere “to rule, to direct, keep straight, guide” (from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” with derivatives meaning “to direct in a straight line,” thus “to lead, rule”). Meaning “period of rule” first recorded mid-14c.

Gabriel

masc. proper name, also name of an Old Testament angel, from Hebrew Gabhri el, literally “man of God,” from gebher “man” + El “God.” First element is from base of verb gabhar “was strong” (compare Arabic jabr “strong, young man;” jabbar “tyrant”). Gabriel’s hounds (17c.) was a folk explanation for the cacophony of wild geese flying over, hidden by clouds or night.

aerial (adj.)

also aërial, c. 1600, “pertaining to the air,” from Latin aerius “airy, aerial, lofty, high” (from Greek aerios “of the air, pertaining to air,” from aēr “air;” see air (n.1)). With adjectival suffix -al (1). Also in English “consisting of air,” hence, figuratively, “of a light and graceful beauty; insubstantial” (c. 1600). From 1915 as “by means of aircraft.” From the Latin collateral form aereus comes the alternative English spelling aereal.

autumn (n.)

late 14c., autumpne (modern form from 16c.), from Old French autumpneautomne (13c.), from Latin autumnus (also auctumnus, perhaps influenced by auctus “increase”), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps from Etruscan, but Tucker suggests a meaning “drying-up season” and a root in *auq- (which would suggest the form in -c- was the original) and compares archaic English sere-month “August.” De Vaan writes, “Although ‘summer’, ‘winter’ and ‘spring’ are inherited IE words in Latin, a foreign origin of autumnus is conceivable, since we cannot reconstruct a PIE word for ‘autumn'”.

Harvest (n.) was the English name for the season until autumn began to displace it 16c. Astronomically, from the descending equinox to the winter solstice; in Britain, the season is popularly August through October; in U.S., September through November. Compare Italian autunno, Spanish otoño, Portuguese outono, all from the Latin word.

As de Vaan notes, autumn’s names across the Indo-European languages leave no evidence that there ever was a common word for it. Many “autumn” words mean “end, end of summer,” or “harvest.” Compare Greek phthinoporon “waning of summer;” Lithuanian ruduo “autumn,” from rudas “reddish,” in reference to leaves; Old Irish fogamar, literally “under-winter.”

Raphael

masc. proper name, Biblical archangel (Apocrypha), from Late Latin, from Greek Rhaphael, from Hebrew Repha’el, literally “God has healed,” from rapha “he healed” + el “God.” Raphaelesque (1832) is in reference to painter Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520). See Pre-Raphaelite.

awe (n.)

c. 1300, aue, “fear, terror, great reverence,” earlier aghe, c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse agi “fright;” from Proto-Germanic *agiz- (source also of Old English ege “fear,” Old High German agiso “fright, terror,” Gothic agis “fear, anguish”), from PIE *agh-es- (source also of Greek akhos “pain, grief”), from root *agh- (1) “to be depressed, be afraid” (see ail). Current sense of “dread mixed with admiration or veneration” is due to biblical use with reference to the Supreme Being. To stand in awe (early 15c.) originally was simply to stand aweAwe-inspiring is recorded from 1814.

Al engelond of him stod awe.

[“The Lay of Havelok the Dane,” c. 1300]

Ariel

1382, in the Wyclif Bible, a word taken untranslated from the Vulgate, from Greek ariel (Septuagint), from Hebrew ariel; in later Bibles, translated as “altar.”

(Gesenius would here translate “fire-hearth of God,” after Arab. arr; elsewhere in O.T. the same word occurs as a man’s name, and appellation of Jerusalem, where it is taken as = “lion of God.”) Ariel in T. Heywood and Milton is the name of an angel, in Shakespeare of “an Ayrie spirit”; in Astron. of one of the satellites of Uranus. [OED]

As the name of a species of gazelle found in the Middle East, 1832, from Arabic aryil, variant of ayyil “stag.” The Uranian satellite was discovered in 1851.

inter (v.)

“bury in the earth or a grave,” c. 1300, formerly also enter, from Old French enterer (11c.), from Medieval Latin interrare “put in the earth, bury,” from in- “in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + Latin terra “earth” (from PIE root *ters- “to dry”). Related: Interredinterring.

Stella

fem. proper name, from Latin stella “star” (see star (n.)).

winter (n.)

Old English winter (plural wintru), “the fourth and coldest season of the year, winter,” from Proto-Germanic *wintruz “winter” (source also of Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr “winter”), probably literally “the wet season,” from PIE *wend-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) “water; wet”). On another old guess, cognate with Gaulish vindo-, Old Irish find “white.” The usual PIE word is *gheim-.

As an adjective in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons counted years in “winters,” as in Old English ænetre “one-year-old;” and wintercearig, which might mean either “winter-sad” or “sad with years.” Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.

stellar (adj.)

1650s, “pertaining to stars, star-like,” from Late Latin stellaris “pertaining to a star, starry,” from stella “star,” from PIE *sterla-, suffixed form of root *ster- (2) “star.” Meaning “outstanding, leading” (1883) is from the theatrical sense of star.

winner (n.)

mid-14c., agent noun from win (v.). Adjectival winner-take-all attested from 1901.

star (n.)

Old English steorra “star,” from Proto-Germanic *sternan- (source also of Old Saxon sterro, Old Frisian stera, Dutch ster, Old High German sterro, German Stern, Old Norse stjarna, Swedish stjerna, Danish stierne, Gothic stairno). This is from PIE root *ster- (2) “star.”

Astrological sense of “influence of planets and zodiac on human affairs” is recorded from mid-13c., hence “person’s fate as figured in the stars” (c. 1600; star-crossed “ill-fated” is from “Romeo and Juliet,” 1592). Meaning “lead performer” is from 1824; star turn is from 1898. Stars as a ranking of quality for hotels, restaurants, etc. are attested from 1886, originally in Baedecker guides. Sticker stars as rewards for good students are recorded from 1970s. Brass star as a police badge is recorded from 1859 (New York City). Star-cluster is from 1870. To see stars when one is hit hard on the head is from 1839.

inner (adj.)

c. 1400, from Old English inra, comparative of inne (adv.) “inside” (see in (adv.)). Similar formation in Old High German innaro, German inner. The original order of comparison was in/inner/inmost; the evolution has been unusual for a comparative, and inner has not been used with than since Middle English.

Inner man “the soul” is from late Old English; as “the spiritual part of man” by late 14c. The Quaker inner light is attested by that name from 1833. Inner tube in the pneumatic tire sense is from 1894. Inner city is attested from 1690s; as a euphemism for “urban poverty and crime,” from 1963.

ear (n.1)

“organ of hearing,” Old English eare “ear,” from Proto-Germanic *auzon (source also of Old Norse eyra, Danish øre, Old Frisian are, Old Saxon ore, Middle Dutch ore, Dutch oor, Old High German ora, German Ohr, Gothic auso), from PIE *ous- “ear” (source also of Greek aus, Latin auris, Lithuanian ausis, Old Church Slavonic ucho, Old Irish au “ear,” Avestan usi “the two ears”).

þe harde harte of man, þat lat in godis word atte ton ere & vt atte toþir. [sermon, c. 1250]

In music, “capability to learn and reproduce by hearing,” 1520s, hence play by ear (1670s). The belief that itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you is mentioned in Pliny’s “Natural History” (77 C.E.). Until at least the 1880s, even some medical men still believed piercing the ear lobes improved one’s eyesight. Meaning “handle of a pitcher” is mid-15c. (but compare Old English earde “having a handle”). To be wet behind the ears “naive” is from 1902, American English. Phrase walls have ears is attested from 1610s. French orielle, Spanish oreja are from Latin auricula (Medieval Latin oricula), diminutive of auris.

hear (v.)

Old English heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (West Saxon) “to hear, perceive by the ear, listen (to), obey, follow; accede to, grant; judge,” from Proto-Germanic *hausejanan (source also of Old Norse heyra, Old Frisian hera, hora, Dutch horen, German hören, Gothic hausjan “to hear”), from PIE root *kous- “to hear” (source also of Greek koein “to mark, perceive, hear;” see acoustic). The shift from *-s- to -r- is a regular feature in some Germanic languages. For the vowels, see head (n.).

Spelling distinction between hear and here developed 1200-1550. Meaning “be told, learn by report” is from early 14c. Old English also had the excellent adjective hiersum “ready to hear, obedient,” literally “hear-some” with suffix from handsome, etc. Hear, hear! (1680s) originally was imperative, an exclamation to call attention to a speaker’s words (“hear him!”); now a general cheer of approval. To not hear of “have nothing to do with” is from 1754.

here (adv.)

Old English her “in this place, where one puts himself; at this time, toward this place,” from Proto-Germanic pronominal stem *hi- (from PIE *ki- “this;” see he) + adverbial suffix -r. Cognate with Old Saxon her, Old Norse, Gothic her, Swedish här, Middle Dutch, Dutch hier, Old High German hiar, German hier.

As the answer to a call, in Old English. Right here “on the spot” is from c. 1200. Here and there “in various places” is from c. 1300. Phrase here today and gone tomorrow first recorded 1680s in writings of Aphra Behn. Here’s to _____ as a toast is from 1590s, probably short for here’s health to _____. Emphatic this here (adv.) is attested from mid-15c.; colloquially, this here as an adjective is attested from 1762. To be neither here nor there “of no consequence” is attested from 1580s. Here we go again as a sort of verbal rolling of the eyes is attested from 1950.

As a noun, “this place, the present” from c. 1600. Noun phrase here-and-now “this present life” is from 1829.

nowhere (adv.)

“not in any situation or state; in no place,” Old English nahwær “nowhere, not at all;” see no + where. Colloquial nowheres, with adverbial genitive, is by 1803. As a noun, “non-existent place,” 1831; “remote or inaccessible place,” 1908. Hence road to nowhere (1916); middle of nowhere (1891). Similar constructions were attempted with nowhat (“not at all,” 1650s) and nowhen (“at no time, never,” 1764), but they failed to take hold and remain nonce words. Middle English also had an adverb never-where (early 14c.).

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road (n.)

Old English rad “riding expedition, journey, hostile incursion,” from Proto-Germanic *raido (source also of Old Frisian red “ride,” Old Saxon reda, Middle Dutch rede, Old High German reita “foray, raid”), from PIE *reidh- “to ride” (see ride (v.)). Also related to raid (n.). In Middle English, “a riding, a journey;” sense of “open way for traveling between two places” is first recorded 1590s. Meaning “narrow stretch of sheltered water” is from early 14c. (as in Hampton Roads in Virginia).

Modern spelling established 18c. In 19c. U.S. use, often meaning “railroad.” On the road “traveling” is from 1640s. Road test (n.) is from 1906; as a verb from 1937. Road hog is attested from 1886; road rage is from 1988. Road map is from 1786; road trip is by 1950, originally of baseball teams. Old English had radwerig “weary of traveling.”

ride (v.)

Old English ridan “sit or be carried on” (as on horseback), “move forward; rock; float, sail” (class I strong verb; past tense rad, past participle riden), from Proto-Germanic *ridan (source also of Old Norse riða, Old Saxon ridan, Old Frisian rida “to ride,” Middle Dutch riden, Dutch rijden, Old High Germn ritan, German reiten), from PIE *reidh- “to ride” (source also of Old Irish riadaim “I travel,” Old Gaulish reda “chariot”). Common to Celtic and Germanic, perhaps a loan word from one to the other.

Meaning “heckle” is from 1912; that of “have sex with (a woman)” is from mid-13c.; that of “dominate cruelly” is from 1580s. To ride out “endure (a storm, etc.) without great damage” is from 1520s. To ride shotgun is by 1919, from custom of having an armed man beside the driver on the stagecoach in Old West movies to ward off trouble. To ride shank’s mare “walk” is from 1846 (see shank (n.)).

roam (v.)

c. 1300, romen, possibly from Old English *ramian “act of wandering about,” which is probably related to aræman “arise, lift up.” There are no certain cognate forms in other Germanic languages, but Barnhart points to Old Norse reimuðr “act of wandering about,” reimast “to haunt.” “Except in late puns, there is no evidence of connexion with the Romance words denoting pilgrims or pilgrimages to Rome ….” [OED], such as Spanish romero “a pilot-fish; a pilgrim;” Old French romier “traveling as a pilgrim; a pilgrim,” from Medieval Latin romerius “a pilgrim” (originally to Rome). Related: Roamedroamerroaming.

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Rome

capital of Italy; seat of an ancient republic and empire; city of the Papacy, Old English, from Old French Rome, from Latin Roma, a word of uncertain origin. “The original Roma quadrata was the fortified enclosure on the Palatine hill,” according to Tucker, who finds “no probability” in derivation from *sreu- “flow,” and suggests the name is “most probably” from *urobsma (urbsrobur) and otherwise, “but less likely” from *urosma “hill” (compare Sanskrit varsman- “height, point,” Lithuanian viršus “upper”). Another suggestion [Klein] is that it is from Etruscan (compare Rumon, former name of Tiber River).

Common in proverbs, such as Rome was not buylt in one daye (1540s); for when a man doth to Rome come, he must do as there is done (1590s); All roads alike conduct to Rome (1806).

riddle (n.1)

“A word game or joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording” [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], early 13c., from Old English rædels “riddle; counsel; conjecture; imagination; discussion,” common Germanic (Old Frisian riedsal “riddle,” Old Saxon radisli, Middle Dutch raetsel, Dutch raadsel, Old High German radisle, German Rätsel “riddle”).

The first element is from Proto-Germanic *redaz-, from PIE *re-dh-, from root *re- “to reason, count.” The ending is Old English noun suffix -els, the -s of which later was mistaken for a plural affix and stripped off. Meaning “anything which puzzles or perplexes” is from late 14c.

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canticle (n.)

“short hymn,” early 13c., from Latin canticulum “a little song,” diminutive of canticum “song” (also a scene in Roman comedy enacted by one person and accompanied by music and dancing), from cantus “song, a singing; bird-song,” from past participle stem of canere “to sing” (from PIE root *kan- “to sing”).

sphinx (n.)

monster of Greek mythology having a lion’s (winged) body and a woman’s head; she waylaid travelers around Thebes and devoured those who could not answer her questions; Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx killed herself. In English from early 15c., from Latin Sphinx, from Greek Sphinx, said to mean literally “the strangler,” a back-formation from sphingein “to squeeze, bind” (see sphincter).

There also was an Egyptian form (usually male and wingless); in reference to this it is attested in English from 1570s; specific reference to the colossal stone one near the pyramids at Giza is attested from 1610s. Transferred sense of “person or thing of mysterious nature” is from c. 1600. The proper plural would be sphinges. As adjectives in English, sphingalsphingiansphinginesphinxiansphinxine, and sphinx-like all have been tried.

can (v.1)

Old English 1st & 3rd person singular present indicative of cunnan “to know,” less commonly as an auxiliary, “to have power to, to be able,” (also “to have carnal knowledge”), from Proto-Germanic *kunnjanan “to be mentally able, to have learned” (source also of Old Norse kenna “to become acquainted, try,” Old Frisian kanna “to recognize, admit, know,” German kennen “to know,” Middle Dutch kennen “to know,” Gothic kannjan “to make known”), from PIE root *gno- “to know.”

It holds now only the third sense of “to know,” that of “to know how to do something” (as opposed to “to know as a fact” and “to be acquainted with” something or someone). Also used in the sense of may, denoting mere permission. An Old English preterite-present verb, its original past participle, couth, survived only in negation (see uncouth), but compare could. The present participle has spun off with a deflected sense as cunning.

sphincter (n.)

1570s, from Middle French sphincter, from Late Latin sphincter “contractile muscle,” from Greek sphinkter “band, lace, anything that binds tight,” from sphingein “to squeeze, bind,” of unknown origin. First used in anatomical sense by Galen. There are several in the body; the one usually meant is the sphincter ani.

ken (v.)

“to know, understand, take cognizance of,” a word surviving mainly in Scottish and northern England dialect, from Middle English kennen, “make known; give instruction to; be aware, know, have knowledge of, know how to; recognize by sight; see, catch sight of,” a very common verb, from Old English cennan “make known, declare, acknowledge” (in late Old English also “to know”), originally “cause to know, make to know,” causative of cunnan “to become acquainted with, to know” (see can (v.)). Cognate with German kennen, Danish kjende, Swedish känna. Related: Kennedkenning.

pink (n., adj.)

1570s, common name of Dianthus, a garden plant of various colors; a word of unknown origin. It is perhaps from pink (v.) via the notion of “perforated” (scalloped) petals. Or perhaps it is from Dutch pink “small, narrow” (see pinkie), itself obscure, via the term pinck oogen “half-closed eyes,” literally “small eyes,” which was borrowed into English (1570s) and may have been used as a name for Dianthus, which sometimes has small dots resembling eyes.

The noun meaning “pale red color, red color of low chroma but high luminosity” is recorded by 1733 (pink-coloured is recorded from 1680s), from one of the common colors of the flowers.  The adjective pink is attested by 1720. As an earlier name for such a color English had incarnation “flesh-color” (mid-14c.), and as an adjective incarnate (1530s), from Latin words for “flesh” (see incarnation) but these also had other associations and tended to drift in sense from “flesh-color, blush-color” toward “crimson, blood color.”

The flower meaning led (by 1590s) to a figurative use for “the flower” or highest type or example of excellence of anything (as in Mercutio’s “Nay, I am the very pinck of curtesie,” Rom. & Jul. II.iv.61). Compare flour (n.). The political noun sense “person perceived as left of center but not entirely radical (i.e. red)” is attested by 1927, but the image dates to at least 1837. Pink slip “discharge notice” is attested by 1915; pink slips had various connotations in employment in the first decade of the 20th century, including a paper signed by a worker to testify he would leave the labor union or else be fired. To see pink elephants “hallucinate from alcoholism” is from 1913 in Jack London’s “John Barleycorn.”

sine (n.)

trigonometric function, 1590s (in Thomas Fale’s “Horologiographia, the Art of Dialling”), from Latin sinus “fold in a garment, bend, curve, bosom” (see sinus). Used mid-12c. by Gherardo of Cremona in Medieval Latin translation of Arabic geometrical text to render Arabic jiba “chord of an arc, sine” (from Sanskrit jya “bowstring”), which he confused with jaib “bundle, bosom, fold in a garment.”

Floyd

masc. proper name, variant of Lloyd.

sin (n.)

Old English synn “moral wrongdoing, injury, mischief, enmity, feud, guilt, crime, offense against God, misdeed,” from Proto-Germanic *sundiō “sin” (source also of Old Saxon sundia, Old Frisian sende, Middle Dutch sonde, Dutch zonde, German Sünde “sin, transgression, trespass, offense,” extended forms), probably ultimately “it is true,” i.e. “the sin is real” (compare Gothic sonjis, Old Norse sannr “true”), from PIE *snt-ya-, a collective form from *es-ont- “becoming,” present participle of root *es- “to be.”

The semantic development is via notion of “to be truly the one (who is guilty),” as in Old Norse phrase verð sannr at “be found guilty of,” and the use of the phrase “it is being” in Hittite confessional formula. The same process probably yielded the Latin word sons (genitive sontis) “guilty, criminal” from present participle of sumesse “to be, that which is.” Some etymologists believe the Germanic word was an early borrowing directly from the Latin genitive. Also see sooth.

Sin-eater is attested from 1680s. To live in sin “cohabit without marriage” is from 1838; used earlier in a more general sense. Ice hockey slang sin bin “penalty box” is attested from 1950.

Lloyd

male proper name, from Welsh Llwyd, literally “gray,” from PIE root *pel- (1) “pale.” Lloyd’s, meaning the London-based association of marine underwriters, is first recorded as such 1805, from Lloyd’s Coffee House, London, opened in 1688 by Edward Lloyd, who supplied shipping information to his patrons; merchants and underwriters met there to do business.

sign (n.)

early 13c., “gesture or motion of the hand,” especially one meant to communicate something, from Old French signe “sign, mark,” from Latin signum “identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof; military standard, ensign; a signal, an omen; sign in the heavens, constellation.”

According to Watkins, literally “standard that one follows,” from PIE *sekw-no-, from root *sekw- (1) “to follow.” But de Vaan has it from PIE *sekh-no- “cut,” from PIE root *sek- “to cut” He writes: “The etymological appurtenance to seco ‘to cut’ implies a semantic shift of *sek-no- ‘what is cut out’, ‘carved out’ > ‘sign’.” But he also also compares Hebrew sakkin, Aramaic sakkin “slaughtering-knife,” and mentions a theory that “both words are probably borrowed from an unknown third source.”

It has ousted native token. Meaning “a mark or device having some special importance” is recorded from late 13c.; that of “a miracle” is from c. 1300. Zodiacal sense in English is from mid-14c. Sense of “characteristic device attached to the front of an inn, shop, etc., to distinguish it from others” is first recorded mid-15c. Meaning “token or signal of some condition” (late 13c.) is behind sign of the times (1520s). In some uses, the word probably is a shortening of ensignSign language is recorded from 1847; earlier hand-language (1670s).

overlook (v.)

late 14c., overloken, “to examine carefully, scrutinize, inspect,” from over- + look (v.). Another Middle English sense was “to peer over the top of, survey from on high, view from a high place” (c. 1400).

These two literal senses have given rise to the two main modern meanings. The meaning “to look over or beyond and thus fail to see” (hence “to pass over indulgently”) is via the notion of “to choose to not notice” and is attested from 1520s. The seemingly contradictory sense of “to watch over officially, keep an eye on, superintend” is from 1530s. Related: Overlookedoverlooking. In Shakespeare’s day, overlooking also was a common term for “inflicting the evil eye on” (someone or something). Middle English had oure-loker (over-looker), meaning “a timekeeper in a monastery” (early 15c.).

shine (v.)

Old English scinan “shed light, be radiant, be resplendent, illuminate,” of persons, “be conspicuous” (class I strong verb; past tense scan, past participle scinen), from Proto-Germanic *skeinanan (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German skinan, Old Norse and Old Frisian skina, Dutch schijnen, German scheinen, Gothic skeinan “to shine, appear”), which perhaps is from a PIE root *skai- “to shine, to gleam” (source also of Old Church Slavonic sinati “to flash up, shine”). Transitive meaning “to black (boots)” is from 1610s. Related: Shined (in the shoe polish sense), otherwise shoneshining.

hotel (n.)

1640s, “public official residence; large private residence,” from French hôtel “a mansion, palace, large house,” from Old French ostelhostel “a lodging” (see hostel). Modern sense of “an inn of the better sort” is first recorded 1765. The same word as hospital.

English (n.1)

“the people of England; the speech of England,” noun use of Old English adjective Englisc (contrasted to DeniscFrencisce, etc.), “of or pertaining to the Angles,” from Engle (plural) “the Angles,” the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)). The use of the word in Middle English was reinforced by Anglo-French Engleis. Cognates: Dutch Engelsch, German Englisch, Danish Engelsk, French Anglais (Old French Engelsche), Spanish Inglés, Italian Inglese.

Technically “of the Angles,” but Englisc also was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders — Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede’s gens Anglorum) — and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. “The name English for the language is thus older than the name England for the country” [OED]. After 1066, it specifically meant the native population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French occupiers), a distinction which lasted about a generation. But as late as Robert of Gloucester’s “Chronicle” (c. 1300) it still could retain a sense of “Anglian” and be distinguished from “Saxon” (“Þe englisse in þe norþ half, þe saxons bi souþe”).

… when Scots & others are likely to be within earshot, Britain & British should be inserted as tokens, but no more, of what is really meant [Fowler]

In pronunciation, “En-” has become “In-,” perhaps through the frequency of -ing- words and the relative rarity of -e- before -ng- in the modern language. A form Inglis is attested from 14c. and persisted in Scotland and northern England, and Ingland and Yngelond were used for “England” in Middle English, but the older spelling has stood fast. Meaning “English language or literature as a subject at school” is from 1889.

Elizabeth

fem. proper name, Biblical name of the wife of Aaron, from Late Latin Elisabeth, from Greek EleisabethEleisabet, from Hebrew Elishebha “God is an oath,” the second element said by Klein to be related to shivah (fem. sheva) “seven,” and to nishba “he swore,” originally “he bound himself by (the sacred number) seven.” Has never ranked lower than 26th in popularity among the names given to baby girls in the U.S. in any year since 1880, the oldest for which a reliable list is available. The city in New Jersey is named for Lady Elizabeth Carteret (d.1697), wife of one of the first proprietors of the colony.

language (n.)

late 13c., langage “words, what is said, conversation, talk,” from Old French langage “speech, words, oratory; a tribe, people, nation” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *linguaticum, from Latin lingua “tongue,” also “speech, language,” from PIE root *dnghu- “tongue.”

The -u- is an Anglo-French insertion (see gu-); it was not originally pronounced. Meaning “manner of expression” (vulgar language, etc.) is from c. 1300. Meaning “a language,” as English, French, Arabic, etc., is from c. 1300; Century Dictionary (1897) defines this as: “The whole body of uttered signs employed and understood by a given community as expressions of its thoughts; the aggregate of words, and of methods of their combination into sentences, used in a community for communication and record and for carrying on the processes of thought.” Boutkan (2005) writes: “In general, language unity exists as long as the language is capable of carrying out common innovations, but this does not preclude profound differences among dialects.”

In Middle English the word also was used of dialects:

Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Engelond[,] vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþerne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer. [John of Trevisa, c. 1398 translation of Bartholomew de Glanville’s “De proprietatibus rerum”]

In oþir inglis was it drawin, And turnid ic haue it til ur awin Language of the norþin lede, Þat can na noþir inglis rede. [“Cursor Mundi,” early 14c.]

 Language barrier attested from 1885. 

elite (n.)

“a choice or select body, the best part,” 1823, from French élite “selection, choice,” from Old French eslite (12c.), fem. past participle of elireelisre “pick out, choose,” from Latin eligere “choose” (see election). Borrowed in Middle English as “chosen person” (late 14c.), especially a bishop-elect; died out mid-15c.; re-introduced by Byron’s “Don Juan.” As an adjective by 1852. As a typeface, first recorded 1920.

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languish (v.)

early 14c., “fail in strength, exhibit signs of approaching death,” from languiss-, present participle stem of Old French languir “be listless, pine, grieve, fall ill” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *languire, from Latin languere “be weak or faint” (from PIE root *sleg- “be slack, be languid”). Weaker sense of “be lovesick, grieve, lament, grow faint,” is from mid-14c. Related: Languishedlanguishing.

jovial (adj.)

1580s, “under the influence of the planet Jupiter,” from Middle French jovial (16c.), from Italian joviale, literally “pertaining to Jupiter,” and directly from Late Latin Iovialis “of Jupiter,” from Latin Iovius (used as genitive of Iuppiter) “of or pertaining to Jupiter,” Roman god of the sky (see Jove). The meaning “good-humored, merry,” is from the astrological belief that those born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are of such dispositions. Related: Jovially.

languid (adj.)

1590s, from Middle French languide (16c.) and directly from Latin languidus “faint, listless, and sluggish from weakness, fatigue, or want of energy,” from languere “be weak, be fatigued, be faint, be listless,” from PIE *langu-, from root *sleg- “be slack, be languid.” Related: Languidlylanguidness.

jocular (adj.)

1620s, “disposed to joking,” from Latin iocularis “funny, comic,” from ioculus “joke,” diminutive of iocus “pastime; a joke” (see joke (n.)). Often it implies evasion of an issue by a joke.

Agnus Dei (n.)

Late Latin, literally “lamb of God.” From c. 1400 in English as the name of the part of the Mass beginning with these words, or (later) a musical setting of it. Latin agnus “lamb” is from PIE *agwh-no- “lamb” (see yean). For deus “god,” see Zeus. The phrase is used from 1620s in reference to an image of a lamb as emblematic of Christ; usually it is pictured with a nimbus and supporting the banner of the Cross.

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jock (n.)

1952, short for jockstrap “supporter of the male genital organs,” which also meant, in slang, “athletic male.” Jock with the meaning “an athletic man” is from 1963, American English slang. A jockette (1948) originally was a female disk jockey, then a female jockey (1969), then an athletic female (1979).

Jock

c. 1500, variant of the masc. proper name Jack, the by-form of John. In Scotland and northern England it is the usual form. Since 1520s, like Jack, it has been used generically, as a common appellative of lads and servants, as the name of a typical man of the common folk, of a Scottish or North Country seaman, etc.

shock (n.1)

1560s, “violent encounter of armed forces or a pair of warriors,” a military term, from Middle French choc “violent attack,” from Old French choquer “strike against,” probably from Frankish, from a Proto-Germanic imitative base (compare Middle Dutch schokken “to push, jolt,” Old High German scoc “jolt, swing”).

Meaning “a sudden blow” is from 1610s; meaning “a sudden and disturbing impression on the mind” is from 1705. Sense of “feeling of being (mentally) shocked” is from 1876. Medical sense is attested from 1804 (it also once meant “seizure, stroke,” 1794). Shock-absorber is attested from 1906 (short form shocks attested by 1961); shock wave is from 1907. Shock troops (1917) translates German stoßtruppen and preserves the word’s original military sense. Shock therapy is from 1917; shock treatment from 1938.

Angus

masc. proper name, Scottish, related to Irish Aonghus, a compound that may be rendered in English as “having solitary strength,” or else “one choice, sole choice.” From Celtic oen “one” (from PIE root *oi-no- “one, unique”) + Old Irish gus “ability, excellence, strength, inclination,” from Celtic root *gustu- “choice,” from PIE root *geus- “to taste; to choose.” Also the name of a former county in Scotland (said to have been named for an 8c. Pictish king of that name), hence a breed of cattle (1842) associated with that region.

long (adj.)

Old English lang “having a great linear extent, that extends considerably from end to end; tall; lasting,” from Proto-Germanic *langa- (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon lang, Old High German and German lang, Old Norse langr, Middle Dutch lanc, Dutch lang, Gothic laggs “long”).

The Germanic words perhaps are from PIE *dlonghos- (source also of Latin longus “long, extended; further; of long duration; distant, remote,” Old Persian darga-, Persian dirang, Sanskrit dirghah “long”), from root *del- (1) “long” (source also of Greek dolikhos “long,” endelekhes “perpetual”). Latin longus (source of prolongelongatelongitude, etc.) thus is probably cognate with, but not the source of, the Germanic words. The word illustrates the Old English tendency for short “a” to become short “o” before -n- (also retained in bond/band and West Midlands dialectal lond from land and hond from hand).

Also in Old English in reference to time, “drawn out in duration,” with overtones of “serious.” The old sense of “tall” now appears to be dialectal only, or obsolete. For long “during a long time” is from c. 1300. To be long on something, “have a lot” of it, is from 1900, American English slang. A long vowel (c. 1000) originally was pronounced for an extended time. Mathematical long division is from 1808. Sporting long ball is from 1744, originally in cricket. Long jump as a sporting event is attested from 1864. A long face, one drawn downward in expression of sadness or solemnity, is from 1786. Long in the tooth (1841 of persons) is from horses showing age by recession of gums (but not in this sense until 1870). Long knives, name Native Americans gave to white settlers (originally in Virginia/Kentucky) is from 1774, perhaps a reference to their swords. Long time no see, supposedly imitative of American Indian speech, is first recorded 1919 as Chinese English.

anger (v.)

c. 1200, “to irritate, annoy, provoke,” from Old Norse angra “to grieve, vex, distress; to be vexed at, take offense with,” from Proto-Germanic *angaz (source also of Old English enge “narrow, painful,” Middle Dutch enghe, Gothic aggwus “narrow”), from PIE *anghos, suffixed form of root *angh- “tight, painfully constricted, painful.”

In Middle English, also of physical pain. Meaning “excite to wrath, make angry” is from late 14c. Related: Angeredangering.

con (adj.)

“swindling,” 1889 (in con man), American English, from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of “assurance based on insufficient grounds” dates from 1590s.

penal (adj.)

“of or pertaining to punishment by law,” mid-15c., from Old French peinal (12c., Modern French pénal) and directly from Medieval Latin penalis, from Latin poenalis “pertaining to punishment,” from poena “punishment,” from Greek poinē “blood-money, fine, penalty, punishment,” from PIE *kwoina, from root *kwei- “to pay, atone, compensate” (source also of Greek timē “price, worth, honor, esteem, respect,” tinein “to pay a price, punish, take vengeance;” Sanskrit cinoti “observes, notes;” Avestan kaena “punishment, vengeance;” Old Church Slavonic cena “honor, price;” Lithuanian kaina “value, price”).

anchor (n.)

“device for securing ships to the ground under the water by means of cables,” Old English ancor, borrowed 9c. from Latin ancora “an anchor,” from or cognate with Greek ankyra “an anchor, a hook,” from PIE root *ang-/*ank- “to bend” (see angle (n.)).

A very early borrowing into English and said to be the only Latin nautical term used in the Germanic languages (German Anker, Swedish ankar, etc.). The unetymological -ch- emerged late 16c., a pedantic imitation of a corrupt spelling of the Latin word. The figurative sense of “that which gives stability or security” is from late 14c. Meaning “host or presenter of a TV or radio program” is from 1965, short for anchorman (q.v.).

ancient (adj.)

late 14c., auncyen, of persons, “very old;” c. 1400, of things, “having lasted from a remote period,” from Old French ancien “old, long-standing, ancient,” from Vulgar Latin *anteanus, literally “from before,” adjectivization of Latin ante “before, in front of, against” (from PIE *anti “against,” locative singular of root *ant- “front, forehead”). The unetymological -t dates from 15c. by influence of words in -ent.

From early 15c. as “existing or occurring in times long past.” Specifically, in history, “belonging to the period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire” (c. 1600, contrasted with medieval and modern). In English law, “from before the Norman Conquest.” As a noun, “very old person,” late 14c.; “one who lived in former ages,” 1530s. Ancient of Days “supreme being” is from Daniel vii.9. Related: Anciently.

real (adj.)

early 14c., “actually existing, true;” mid-15c., “relating to things” (especially property), from Old French reel “real, actual,” from Late Latin realis “actual,” in Medieval Latin “belonging to the thing itself,” from Latin res “property, goods, matter, thing, affair,” which de Vaan traces to a PIE *Hreh-i- “wealth, goods,” source also of Sanskrit rayimrayah “property, goods,” Avestan raii-i- “wealth.”

The meaning “genuine” is recorded from 1550s; the sense of “unaffected, no-nonsense” is from 1847.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. [Margery Williams, “The Velveteen Rabbit”]

Real estate, the exact term, is recorded from 1660s, but in Middle English real was used in law in reference to immovable property, paired with, and distinguished from, personal. Noun phrase real time is early 19c. as a term in logic and philosophy, 1953 as an adjectival phrase; get real, usually an interjection, was U.S. college slang in 1960s, reached wide popularity c. 1987.

dream (n.)

“sequence of sensations or images passing through the mind of a sleeping person,” mid-13c., probably related to Old Norse draumr, Danish drøm, Swedish dröm, Old Saxon drom “merriment, noise,” Old Frisian dram “dream,” Dutch droom, Old High German troum, German Traum “dream.” These all are perhaps from a Proto-Germanic *draugmas “deception, illusion, phantasm” (source also of Old Saxon bidriogan, Old High German triogan, German trügen “to deceive, delude,” Old Norse draugr “ghost, apparition”). Possible cognates outside Germanic are Sanskrit druh- “seek to harm, injure,” Avestan druz- “lie, deceive.”

Old English dream meant “joy, mirth, noisy merriment,” also “music.” Much study has failed to prove that Old English dream is the source of the modern word for “sleeping vision,” despite being identical in form. Perhaps the meaning of the word changed dramatically, or “vision” was an unrecorded secondary Old English meaning of dream, or there are two words here.

OED offers this theory for the absence of dream in the modern sense in the record of Old English: “It seems as if the presence of dream ‘joy, mirth, music,’ had caused dream ‘dream’ to be avoided, at least in literature, and swefn, lit. ‘sleep,’ to be substituted ….”

The dream that meant “joy, mirth, music” faded out of use after early Middle English. According to Middle English Compendium, the replacement of swefn (Middle English swevn) by dream in the sense “sleeping vision” occurs earliest and is most frequent in the East Midlands and the North of England, where Scandinavian influence was strongest.

Dream in the sense of “that which is presented to the mind by the imaginative faculty, though not in sleep” is from 1580s. The meaning “ideal or aspiration” is from 1931, from the earlier sense of “something of dream-like beauty or charm” (1888). The notion of “ideal” is behind dream girl (1850), etc.

Before it meant “sleeping vision” Old English swefn meant “sleep,” as did a great many Indo-European “dream” nouns originally, such as Lithuanian sapnas, Old Church Slavonic sunu, and the Romanic words (French songe, Spanish sueño, Italian sogno all from Latin somnium. All of these (including Old English swefn) are from PIE *swep-no-, which also is the source of Greek hypnos (from PIE root *swep- “to sleep”). Old English also had mæting in the “sleeping vision” sense.

estate (n.)

early 13c., “rank, standing, condition,” from Anglo-French astat, Old French estat “state, position, condition, health, status, legal estate” (13c., Modern French état), from Latin status “state or condition, position, place; social position of the aristocracy,” from PIE root *sta- “to stand, make or be firm.”

For the unetymological e-, see e-. Sense of “property” is late 14c., from that of “worldly prosperity;” specific application to “landed property” (usually of large extent) is first recorded in American English 1620s. A native word for this was Middle English ethel (Old English æðel) “ancestral land or estate, patrimony.” Meaning “collective assets of a dead person or debtor” is from 1830.

The three estates (in Sweden and Aragon, four) conceived as orders in the body politic date from late 14c. In France, they are the clergy, nobles, and townsmen; in England, originally the clergy, barons, and commons, later Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and commons. For Fourth Estate see four.

weather (n.)

Old English weder “air, sky; breeze, storm, tempest,” from Proto-Germanic *wedra- “wind, weather” (source also of Old Saxon wedar, Old Norse veðr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch weder, Old High German wetar, German Wetter “storm, wind, weather”), traditionally said to be from PIE *we-dhro-, “weather” (source also of Lithuanian vėtra “storm,” Old Church Slavonic vedro “good weather”), suffixed form of root *we- “to blow.” But Boutkan finds this “problematic from a formal point of view” and finds only the Slavic word a likely cognate.

Alteration of -d- to -th- begins late 15c., though such pronunciation may be older (see father (n.)). In nautical use, as an adjective, “toward the wind” (opposed to lee).

Greek had words for “good weather” (aithriaeudia) and words for “storm” and “winter,” but no generic word for “weather” until kairos (literally “time”) began to be used as such in Byzantine times. Latin tempestas “weather” (see tempest) also originally meant “time;” and words for “time” also came to mean weather in Irish (aimsir), Serbo-Croatian (vrijeme), Polish (czas), etc. Weather-report is from 1863. Weather-breeder “fine, serene day which precedes and seems to prepare a storm” is from 1650s.

Surnames FairweatherMerriweather probably reflect disposition; medieval lists and rolls also include FoulwederWetwederStrangweder.

state (n.1)

c. 1200, “circumstances, position in society, temporary attributes of a person or thing, conditions,” from Old French estat “position, condition; status, stature, station,” and directly from Latin status “a station, position, place; way of standing, posture; order, arrangement, condition,” figuratively “standing, rank; public order, community organization,” noun of action from past participle stem of stare “to stand” from PIE root *sta- “to stand, make or be firm.” Some Middle English senses are via Old French estat (French état; see estate).

The Latin word was adopted into other modern Germanic languages (German, Dutch staat) but chiefly in the political senses only. Meaning “physical condition as regards form or structure” is attested from late 13c. Meaning “mental or emotional condition” is attested from 1530s (phrase state of mind first attested 1749); colloquial sense of “agitated or perturbed state” is from 1837.

He [the President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. [U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section iii]

whether (conj.)

Old English hwæðerhweðer “which of two, whether,” from Proto-Germanic *gihwatharaz (cognates Old Saxon hwedar, Old Norse hvarr, Gothic huaþar, Old High German hwedar “which of the two,” German weder “neither”), from interrogative base *khwa- “who” (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + comparative suffix *-theraz (cognate compounds in Sanskrit katarah, Avestan katara-, Greek poteros, Latin uter “which of the two, either of two,” Lithuanian katras “which of the two,” Old Church Slavonic koteru “which”). Its comparative form is either. Also in Old English as a pronoun and adjective. Phrase whether or not (also whether or no) recorded from 1650s.

H

eighth letter of the alphabet; it comes from Phoenician, via Greek and Latin. In Phoenician it originally had a rough guttural sound like German Reich or Scottish loch. In Greek at first it had the value of Modern English -h-, and with this value it passed into the Latin alphabet via Greek colonies in Italy. Subsequently in Greek it came to be used for a long “e” sound; the “h” sound being indicated by a fragment of the letter, which later was reduced to the aspiration mark.

In Germanic it was used for the voiceless breath sound when at the beginning of words, and in the middle or at the end of words for the rough guttural sound, which later came to be written -gh.

The sound became totally silent in Vulgar Latin and in the languages that emerged from it; thus the letter was omitted in Old French and Italian, but it was restored pedantically in French and Middle English spelling, and often later in English pronunciation. Thus Modern English has words ultimately from Latin with missing -h- (able, from Latin habile); with a silent -h- (heirhour); with a formerly silent -h- now often vocalized (humblehumorherb); and even a few with an unetymological -h- fitted in confusion to words that never had one (hostagehermit). Relics of the formerly unvoiced -h- persist in pedantic insistence on an historical (object) and in obsolete mine host.

The pronunciation “aitch” was in Old French (ache “name of the letter H”), and is from a presumed Late Latin *accha (compare Italian effeelleemme), with the central sound approximating the rough, guttural value of the letter in Germanic. In earlier Latin the letter was called ha. The use in digraphs (as in -sh--th-) goes back to the ancient Greek alphabet, which used it in -ph--th--kh- until -H- took on the value of a long “e” and the digraphs acquired their own characters. The letter passed into Roman use before this evolution, and thus retained there more of its original Semitic value.

eight (adj., n.)

“1 more than seven, twice four; the number which is one more than seven; a symbol representing this number;” late 14c., eighte, earlier ehte (c. 1200), from Old English eahtaæhta, from Proto-Germanic *akhto (source also of Old Saxon ahto, Old Frisian ahta, Old Norse atta, Swedish åtta, Dutch acht, Old High German Ahto, German acht, Gothic ahtau), from PIE *okto(u) “eight” (source also of Sanskrit astau, Avestan ashta, Greek okto, Latin octo, Old Irish ocht-n, Breton eiz, Old Church Slavonic osmi, Lithuanian aštuoni). From the Latin word come Italian otto, Spanish ocho, Old French oit, Modern French huit. For spelling, see fight (v.).

Meaning “eight-man crew of a rowing boat” is from 1847. The Spanish piece of eight (1690s) was so called because it was worth eight reals (see piece (n.)). Figure (of) eight as the shape of a race course, etc., attested from c. 1600. To be behind the eight ball “in trouble” (1932) is a metaphor from shooting pool. Eight hours as the ideal length of a fair working day is recorded by 1845.

heaven (n.)

Old English heofon “home of God,” earlier “the visible sky, firmament,” probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin-, a dissimilation of *himin- (source also of Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel “heaven, sky”), which is of uncertain and disputed origin.

Perhaps it means literally “a covering,” from a PIE root *kem- “to cover” (which also has been proposed as the source of chemise). Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- “sharp” via *akman- “stone, sharp stone,” then “stony vault of heaven.”

The English word is attested from late 14c. as “a heavenly place; a state of bliss.” The plural use in sense of “sky” probably is from the Ptolemaic theory of space as composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense in the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayimHeaven-sent (adj.) is attested from 1640s.

Ate

Greek goddess or personification of infatuation and blundering mischief, from ate “damage, ruin; guilt; blindness, dazzlement, infatuation; penalty, fine,” which is of uncertain origin.

hell (n.)

also Hell, Old English helhelle, “nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions, place of torment for the wicked after death,” from Proto-Germanic *haljō “the underworld” (source also of Old Frisian helle, Old Saxon hellia, Dutch hel, Old Norse hel, German Hölle, Gothic halja “hell”). Literally “concealed place” (compare Old Norse hellir “cave, cavern”), from PIE root *kel- (1) “to cover, conceal, save.”

The English word may be in part from Old Norse mythological Hel (from Proto-Germanic *halija “one who covers up or hides something”), in Norse mythology the name of Loki’s daughter who rules over the evil dead in Niflheim, the lowest of all worlds (nifl “mist”). A pagan concept and word fitted to a Christian idiom. In Middle English, also of the Limbus Patrum, place where the Patriarchs, Prophets, etc. awaited the Atonement. Used in the KJV for Old Testament Hebrew Sheol and New Testament Greek HadesGehenna. Used figuratively for “state of misery, any bad experience” at least since late 14c. As an expression of disgust, etc., first recorded 1670s.

To have hell break loose is from 1630s. Expression hell in a handbasket is attested by 1867, in a context implying use from a few years before, and the notion of going to Heaven in a handbasket is from 1853, implying “easy passage” to the destination. Hell or high water (1874) apparently is a variation of between the devil and the deep blue sea. To wish someone would go to hell is in Shakespeare (“Merchant of Venice”). Snowball’s chance in hell “no chance” is from 1931; till hell freezes over “never” is from 1832.

To do something for the hell of it “just for fun” is from 1921. To ride hell for leather is from 1889, originally with reference to riding on horseback. Hell on wheels is from 1843 as the name of a steamboat; its general popularity dates from 1869 in reference to the temporary workers’ vice-ridden towns along the U.S. transcontinental railroad. Scottish had hell-wain (1580s) “a phantom wagon seen in the sky at night.”

head (n.)

Old English heafod “top of the body,” also “upper end of a slope,” also “chief person, leader, ruler; capital city,” from Proto-Germanic *haubid (source also of Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ “head”), from PIE root *kaput- “head.”

Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning “origin of a river” is mid-14c. Meaning “obverse of a coin” (the side with the portrait) is from 1680s; meaning “foam on a mug of beer” is first attested 1540s; 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 late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c. 1300. Meaning “drug addict” (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.

To be over (one’s) head “beyond one’s comprehension” is by 1620s. To give head “perform fellatio” is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll “people will be punished” (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case “eccentric or insane person” is from 1966. Head game “mental manipulation” attested by 1972.

ate

past tense of eat (q.v.).

heel (n.1)

“back of the foot,” Old English hela, from Proto-Germanic *hanhilon (source also of Old Norse hæll, Old Frisian hel, Dutch hiel), from PIE *kenk- (3) “heel, bend of the knee” (source also of Old English hoh “hock”).

Meaning “back of a shoe or boot” is c. 1400. Down at heels (1732) refers to heels of boots or shoes worn down and the owner too poor to replace them. For Achilles’ heel “only vulnerable spot” see Achilles. To fight with (one’s) heels (fighten with heles) in Middle English meant “to run away.”

sole (n.1)

“bottom of the foot” (“technically, the planta, corresponding to the palm of the hand,” Century Dictionary), early 14c., from Old French sole, from Vulgar Latin *sola, from Latin solea “sandal, bottom of a shoe; a flatfish,” from solum “bottom, ground, foundation, lowest point of a thing” (hence “sole of the foot”), a word of uncertain origin. In English, the meaning “bottom of a shoe or boot” is from late 14c.

heal (v.)

Old English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailjan (source also of Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), literally “to make whole,” from PIE *kailo- “whole” (see health). Intransitive sense from late 14c. Related: Healedhealing.

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solid (adj.)

late 14c., “not empty or hollow,” from Old French solide “firm, dense, compact,” from Latin solidus “firm, whole, undivided, entire,” figuratively “sound, trustworthy, genuine,” from PIE *sol-ido-, suffixed form of root *sol- “whole.”

Meaning “firm, hard, compact” is from 1530s. Meaning “entirely of the same stuff” is from 1710. Of qualities, “well-established, considerable” c. 1600. As a mere intensifier, 1830. Slang sense of “wonderful, remarkable” first attested 1920 among jazz musicians. As an adverb, “solidly, completely,” 1650s. Solid South in U.S. political history is attested from 1858. Solid state as a term in physics is recorded from 1953; meaning “employing printed circuits and solid transistors” (as opposed to wires and vacuum tubes) is from 1959. Related: Solidly.

Saul

masc. proper name, Biblical first king of Israel, from Latin Saul, from Hebrew Shaul, literally “asked for,” passive participle of sha’al “he asked for.”

id (n.)

1924, in Joan Riviere’s translation of Freud’s “Das Ich und das Es” (1923), from Latin id “it” (as a translation of German es “it” in Freud’s title), used in psychoanalytical theory to denote the unconscious instinctual force. Latin id is from PIE pronominal stem *i- (see yon).

entity (n.)

1590s, “being,” from Late Latin entitatem (nominative entitas), from ens (genitive entis) “a thing,” proposed by Caesar as present participle of esse “be” (see is), to render Greek philosophical term to on “that which is” (from neuter of present participle of einai “to be,” from PIE root *es- “to be”). Originally abstract; concrete sense in English is from 1620s.