Marty McFly’s Al-arm Clock

galaxy (n.)

late 14c., from French galaxie or directly from Late Latin galaxias “the Milky Way” as a feature in the night sky (in classical Latin via lactea or circulus lacteus), from Greek galaxias (adj.), in galaxias kyklos, literally “milky circle,” from gala (genitive galaktos) “milk” (from PIE root *g(a)lag- “milk”).

The technical astronomical sense in reference to the discrete stellar aggregate including the sun and all visible stars emerged by 1848. Figurative sense of “brilliant assembly of persons” is from 1580s. Milky Way is a translation of Latin via lactea.

See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt. [Chaucer, “House of Fame”]

Originally ours was the only one known. Astronomers began to speculate by mid-19c. that some of the spiral nebulae they could see in telescopes were actually immense and immensely distant structures the size and shape of the Milky Way. But the matter was not settled in the affirmative until the 1920s.

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*g(a)lag- also *g(a)lakt-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “milk.”

It forms all or part of: ablactationcafe au laitgalacticgalaxylactate (v.); lactate (n.); lactationlacteallactescencelacticlactivorouslacto-lactoselattelettuce.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin lac (genitive lactis) “milk;” Greek gala (genitive galaktos), “milk;” Armenian dialectal kaxc’ “milk.” The initial “g” probably was lost in Latin by dissimilation. This and the separate root *melg-, account for words for “milk” in most of the Indo-European languages. The absence of a common word for it is considered a mystery.

Milky Way (n.)

“the galaxy as seen in the night sky,” late 14c., loan-translation of Latin via lactea; see galaxy. Formerly in Middle English also Milken-Way and Milky Cercle. The ancients speculated on what it was; some guessed it was a vast assemblage of stars (Democrates, Pythagoras, even Ovid); the question was settled when Galileo, using his telescope, reported that the whole of it was resolvable into stars. Old native names for it include Jacob’s Ladderthe Way to St. James’s, and Watling Street (late 14c.).


masc. proper name, from French, from Latin Isidorus, from Greek Isidoros, literally “gift of Isis,” from Isis (see Isis) + dōron “gift” (from PIE root *do- “to give”). St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville (600-636) wrote important historical, etymological, and ecclesiastical works and in 2001 was named patron saint of computers, computer users, and the internet. Related: Isidorian.

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Isis Egyptian goddess, from Greek Isis, from Egyptian Hes, female deity identified by the Greeks with Io. She is distinguished in visual representations by the solar disc and cow horns on her head.


*dō-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to give.”

It forms all or part of: addanecdoteantidotebetraycondonedachadadodatadate (n.1) “time;” dativedeodanddie (n.); donationdonativedonorDorianDorothydosedowagerdowerdowryeditionendowEudorafedoraIsidoremandatePandorapardonperditionPolydorusrenderrent (n.1) “payment for use of property;” sacerdotalsamizdatsurrenderTheodoreTheodosiatraditiontraitortreasonvend.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dadati “gives,” danam “offering, present;” Old Persian dadatuv “let him give;” Greek didomididonai, “to give, offer,” dōron “gift;” Latin dare “to give, grant, offer,” donum “gift;” Armenian tam “to give;” Old Church Slavonic dati “give,” dani “tribute;” Lithuanian duoti “to give,” duonis “gift;” Old Irish dan “gift, endowment, talent,” Welsh dawn “gift.”


Egyptian hawk-headed god of dual relations, 1650s, from Latin Horus, from Greek Horos, from Egyptian Hor, said to mean literally “the high-flying one.”


cow-goddess of love and joy in ancient Egypt, identified by the Greeks with their Aphrodite, from Greek Hathor, from Egyptian Het-Heru “mansion of Horus,” or possibly Het-Herh “the house above.”

phosphorus (n.)

1640s, “substance or organism that shines of itself,” from Latin phosphorus “light-bringing,” also “the morning star” (a sense attested in English from 1620), from Greek Phosphoros “morning star,” literally “torchbearer,” from phōs “light,” contraction of phaos “light, daylight” (related to phainein “to show, to bring to light,” from PIE root *bha- (1) “to shine”) + phoros “bearer,” from pherein “to carry” (from PIE root *bher- (1) “to carry,” also “to bear children”).

As the name of a solid, non-metallic, combustible chemical element, it is recorded from 1680, originally one among several substances so called; the word used exclusively of the element from c. 1750. It was discovered in 1669 by Henning Brand, merchant and alchemist of Hamburg, who derived it from urine. Lavoisier demonstrated it was an element in 1777. According to Flood, “It is the first element whose discoverer is known.”

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*bha- (1)

*bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to shine.”

It forms all or part of: aphoticbandolierbannerbanneretbeaconbeckonbuoydiaphanousemphasisepiphanyfantasiafantasyhierophantpant (v.); -phanephanero-phantasmphantasmagoriaphantomphasephenepheneticpheno-phenologyphenomenonphenylphoticphoto-photocopyphotogenicphotographphotonphotosynthesisphosphorusphaetonsycophanttheophanytiffanytryptophan.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati “shines, glitters;” Greek phainein “bring to light, make appear,” phantazein “make visible, display;” Old Irish ban “white, light, ray of light.”

*bher- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to carry,” also “to bear children.”

It forms all or part of: Aberdeenamphoraanaphoraaquiferauriferousbairnbarrow (n.1) “frame for carrying a load;” bear (v.); bearingBerenicebierbirthbringburden (n.1) “a load;” carboniferousChristopherchromatophorecircumferenceconferconferenceconifercumbercumbersomedefer (v.2) “yield;” differdifferencedifferentiateefferentesophaguseuphoriaferretfertileForaminiferaforbear (v.); fossiliferousfurtiveindifferentinferInvernessLucifermetaphorodoriferousofferopprobriumoverbearparaphernaliaperipherypestiferouspheromonephoresyphosphorusPoriferapreferprofferproliferationpyrophoricreferreferencesemaphoresomniferoussplendiferoussuffertransfervociferatevociferous.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati “he carries, brings,” bhrtih “a bringing, maintenance;” Avestan baraiti “carries;” Old Persian barantiy “they carry;” Armenian berem “I carry;” Greek pherein “to carry,” pherne “dowry;” Latin ferre “to bear, carry,” fors (genitive fortis) “chance, luck,” perhaps fur “a thief;” Old Irish beru/berim “I catch, I bring forth,” beirid “to carry;” Old Welsh beryt “to flow;” Gothic bairan “to carry;” Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera “barrow;” Old Church Slavonic birati “to take;” Russian brat’ “to take,” bremya “a burden,” beremennaya “pregnant.”

hermaphrodite (n.)

late 14c. (harmofroditus), from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek hermaphroditos “person partaking of the attributes of both sexes,” as a proper name, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who, in Ovid, was loved by the nymph Salmacis so ardently that she prayed for complete union with him and as a result they were united bodily, combining male and female characteristics.

Old English glosses the Latin word with wæpenwifestrescrittabæddel. Also used figuratively in Middle English of “one who improperly occupies two offices.” As a name for the physical condition, Middle English had hermofrodito (late 14c.), hermofrodisia (early 15c.). As an adjective, from c. 1600. Also used of things of two natures, such as hermaphrodite brig, for a vessel square-masted fore and schooner-rigged aft.

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Hermes son of Zeus and Maia in Greek mythology; Olympian messenger and god of commerce, markets, and roads; protector of herdsmen, travelers, and rogues; giver of good luck, god of secret dealings, and conductor of the dead. from Greek Hermes, a word of unknown origin. He was identified by the Romans with their Mercury.

Aphrodite (n.)Greek goddess of love and beauty, personification of female grace, 1650s; the ancients derived her name from Greek aphros “foam,” from the story of her birth, but the word is perhaps rather from Phoenician Ashtaroth (Assyrian Ishtar). Beekes writes, “As the goddess seems to be of oriental origin …, the name probably comes from the East too. …. It may have entered Greek via another language.” He concludes, “[I]t seems possible that the name came from the one languages [sic] which on historical grounds we should expect to be relevant: Cypriot Phoenician.”

Associated by the Romans with their Venus, originally a less-important goddess. In 17c. English, pronounced to rhyme with nightright, etc.


Old English Lucifer “Satan,” also “morning star, Venus in the morning sky before sunrise,” also an epithet or name of Diana, from Latin Lucifer “morning star,” noun use of adjective, literally “light-bringing,” from lux (genitive lucis) “light” (from PIE root *leuk- “light, brightness”) + ferre “to carry, bear,” from PIE root *bher- (1) “to carry,” also “to bear children.” Venus in the evening sky was Hesperus.

Belief that it was the proper name of Satan began with its use in Bible to translate Greek Phosphoros, which translates Hebrew Helel ben Shahar in Isaiah xiv.12 — “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” [KJV] Because of the mention of a fall from Heaven, the verse was interpreted spiritually by Christians as a reference to Satan, even though it is literally a reference to the King of Babylon (see Isaiah xiv.4). Sometimes rendered daystar in later translations.

As “friction match,” 1831, short for Lucifer match (1831). Among the 16c. adjectival forms were LuciferianLuciferineLuciferous. There was a noted Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari in Sardinia in the 4th century, a strict anti-Arian regarded locally as a saint.

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Proto-Indo-European root meaning “light, brightness.”

It forms all or part of: allumetteelucidateilluminationillustrationlealeukemialeuko-light (n.) “brightness, radiant energy;” lightninglimnlink (n.2) “torch of pitch, tow, etc.;” lucentlucidLuciferluciferaseluciferouslucifugouslucubratelucubrationluculentlumenLuminalluminaryluminateluminescenceluminouslunalunacylunarLunarianlunatelunationlunaticlunelunetteluni-lusterlustrumluxpellucidsublunarytranslucent.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit rocate “shines;” Armenian lois “light,” lusin “moon;” Greek leukos “bright, shining, white;” Latin lucere “to shine,” lux “light,” lucidus “clear;” Old Church Slavonic luci “light;” Lithuanian laukas “pale;” Welsh llug “gleam, glimmer;” Old Irish loche “lightning,” luchair “brightness;” Hittite lukezi “is bright;” Old English lehtleoht “light, daylight; spiritual illumination,” German Licht, Gothic liuhaþ “light.”

*bher- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to carry,” also “to bear children.”

It forms all or part of: Aberdeenamphoraanaphoraaquiferauriferousbairnbarrow (n.1) “frame for carrying a load;” bear (v.); bearingBerenicebierbirthbringburden (n.1) “a load;” carboniferousChristopherchromatophorecircumferenceconferconferenceconifercumbercumbersomedefer (v.2) “yield;” differdifferencedifferentiateefferentesophaguseuphoriaferretfertileForaminiferaforbear (v.); fossiliferousfurtiveindifferentinferInvernessLucifermetaphorodoriferousofferopprobriumoverbearparaphernaliaperipherypestiferouspheromonephoresyphosphorusPoriferapreferprofferproliferationpyrophoricreferreferencesemaphoresomniferoussplendiferoussuffertransfervociferatevociferous.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati “he carries, brings,” bhrtih “a bringing, maintenance;” Avestan baraiti “carries;” Old Persian barantiy “they carry;” Armenian berem “I carry;” Greek pherein “to carry,” pherne “dowry;” Latin ferre “to bear, carry,” fors (genitive fortis) “chance, luck,” perhaps fur “a thief;” Old Irish beru/berim “I catch, I bring forth,” beirid “to carry;” Old Welsh beryt “to flow;” Gothic bairan “to carry;” Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera “barrow;” Old Church Slavonic birati “to take;” Russian brat’ “to take,” bremya “a burden,” beremennaya “pregnant.”


place in Egypt, from a misdivision of Arabic al-uqsur, plural of al-qasr, which is from an Arabicized form of Latin castrum “fortified camp” (see castle (n.)). Remains of Roman camps are nearby.

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castle (n.)

late Old English castel “village” (this sense from a biblical usage in Vulgar Latin); later “large building or series of connected buildings fortified for defense, fortress, stronghold” (late Old English), in this sense from Old North French castel (Old French chastel, 12c.; Modern French château), from Latin castellum “a castle, fort, citadel, stronghold; fortified village,” diminutive of castrum “fort,” from Proto-Italic *kastro- “part, share;” cognate with Old Irish cather, Welsh caer “town” (probably related to castrare via notion of “cut off,” from PIE root *kes- “to cut”). In early bibles, castle was used to translate Greek kome “village.”

Latin castrum in its plural castra was used for “military encampment, military post” and thus it came into Old English as ceaster and formed the -caster and -chester in place names. Spanish alcazar “castle” is from Arabic al-qasr, from Latin castrumCastles in Spain “visionary project, vague imagination of possible wealth” translates 14c. French chastel en Espaigne (the imaginary castles sometimes stood in Brie, Asia, or Albania) and probably reflects the hopes of landless knights to establish themselves abroad. The statement that an (English) man’s home is his castle is from 16c.

THAT the house of every man is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injuries and violence, as for his repose …. [Edward Coke, “Semaynes Case,” 1604]

fourteenth letter of the English alphabet; in chemistry, the symbol for nitrogen.

In late Middle English a and an commonly were joined to the following noun, if that word began with a vowel, which caused confusion over how such words ought to be divided when written separately. In nicknamenewt, and British dialectal naunt, the -n- belongs to a preceding indefinite article an or possessive pronoun mine.

Other examples of this from Middle English manuscripts include a neilond (“an island,” early 13c.), a narawe (“an arrow,” c. 1400), a nox (“an ox,” c. 1400), a noke (“an oak,” early 15c.), a nappyle (“an apple,” early 15c.), a negge (“an egg,” 15c.), a nynche (“an inch,” c. 1400), a nostryche (“an ostrich,” c. 1500). My naunt for mine aunt is recorded from 13c.-17c. None other could be no noder (mid-15c.). My nown (for mine own) was frequent 15c.-18c. In 16c., an idiot sometimes became a nidiot (1530s), which, with still-common casual pronunciation, became nidget (1570s), now, alas, no longer whinnying with us.

It is “of constant recurrence” in the 15c. vocabularies, according to Thomas Wright, their modern editor. One has, among many others, Hoc alphabetum … a nabse, from misdivision of an ABC (and pronouncing it as a word), and Hic culus … a ners. Also compare noncepigsney. Even in 19c. provincial English and U.S., noration (from an oration) was “a speech; a rumor.”

The process also worked in surnames, from oblique cases of Old English at “by, near,” as in Nock/Nokes/Noaks from atten Oke “by the oak;” Nye from atten ye “near the lowland;” and see Nashville. (Elision of the vowel of the definite article also took place and was standard in Chancery English of the 15c.: þarchebisshop for “the archbishop,” thorient for “the orient.”)

But it is more common for an English word to lose an -n- to a preceding aapronaugeradderumpirehumble pie, etc. By a related error in Elizabethan English, natomy or atomy was common for anatomynoyance (annoyance) and noying (adj.) turn up 14c.-17c., and Marlowe (1590) has Natolian for Anatolian.  The tendency is not limited to English: compare Luxorjade (n.1), luteomelet, and Modern Greek mera for hēmera, the first syllable being confused with the article.

The mathematical use of n for “an indefinite number” is attested by 1717 in phrases such as to the nth power (see nth). In Middle English n. was written in form documents to indicate an unspecified name of a person to be supplied by the speaker or reader.

apocalypse (n.)

late 14c., “revelation, disclosure,” from Church Latin apocalypsis “revelation,” from Greek apokalyptein “uncover, disclose, reveal,” from apo “off, away from” (see apo-) + kalyptein “to cover, conceal,” from PIE root *kel- (1) “to cover, conceal, save.” The Christian end-of-the-world story is part of the revelation in John of Patmos’ book “Apokalypsis” (a title rendered into English as pocalipsis c. 1050, “Apocalypse” c. 1230, and “Revelation” by Wyclif c. 1380).

Its general sense in Middle English was “insight, vision; hallucination.” The meaning “a cataclysmic event” is modern (not in OED 2nd ed., 1989); apocalypticism “belief in an imminent end of the present world” is from 1858. As agent nouns, “author or interpreter of the ‘Apocalypse,'” apocalypst (1829), apocalypt (1834), and apocalyptist (1824) have been tried.

Origin and meaning of apocalypse

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apo- before vowels ap-, word-forming element meaning “of, from, away from; separate, apart from, free from,” from Greek apo “from, away from; after; in descent from,” in compounds, “asunder, off; finishing, completing; back again,” of time, “after,” of origin, “sprung from, descended from; because of,” from PIE root *apo- “off, away” (source also of Sanskrit apa “away from,” Avestan apa “away from,” Latin ab “away from, from,” Gothic af, Old English of “away from,” Modern English ofoff).

*kel- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to cover, conceal, save.”

It forms all or part of: AnselmapocalypseBrusselscaliologyCalypsocalyxceilingcellcellarcellularcellulitecellulitisciliaclandestinecojonescoleopteracolorconcealeucalyptushallhellhelm (n.2) “a helmet;” helmethold (n.2) “space in a ship below the lower deck;” holehollowholsterhousing (n.2) “ornamental covering;” hull (n.1) “seed covering;” kil-kleptomaniaoccultrathskellersuperciliousValhallaWilliam.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit cala “hut, house, hall;” Greek kalia “hut, nest,” kalyptein “to cover,” koleonkoleos “sheath,” kelyphos “shell, husk;” Latin cella “small room, store room, hut,” celare “to hide, conceal,” clam “secret,” clepere “to steal, listen secretly to;” Old Irish cuile “cellar,” celim “hide,” Middle Irish cul “defense, shelter;” Gothic hulistr “covering,” Old English heolstor “lurking-hole, cave, covering,” Gothic huljan “to cover over,” hulundi “hole,” hilms “helmet,” halja “hell,” Old English hol “cave,” holu “husk, pod;” Old Prussian au-klipts “hidden;” Old Church Slavonic poklopu “cover, wrapping.”

revelation (n.)

c. 1300, revelacioun, “disclosure of information or knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural agency,” from Old French revelacion and directly from Latin revelationem (nominative revelatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of revelare “unveil, uncover, lay bare” (see reveal).

The general meaning “disclosure of facts to those previously unaware of them” is attested from late 14c.; meaning “striking disclosure” is from 1862. As the name of the last book of the New Testament (Revelation of St. John), it is attested from late 14c. (see apocalypse); as simply Revelations, it is recorded by 1690s.

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reveal (v.)

c. 1400, revelen, “disclose, divulge, make known (supernaturally or by divine agency, as religious truth),” from Old French reveler “reveal” (14c.), from Latin revelare “reveal, uncover, disclose,” literally “unveil,” from re- “back, again,” here probably indicating “opposite of” or transition to an opposite state (see re-) + velare “to cover, veil,” from velum “a veil” (see veil (n.)). Related: Revealedrevealerrevealing. Meaning “display, make clear or visible, expose to sight” is from c. 1500.

apocalypse (n.)


Olympian deity, god of music, poetry, medicine, etc., later identified with Helios, the sun god; the name is a Latin form of Greek Apollon, which is of uncertain origin. Beekes, after considering the alternatives, concludes, “In spite of repeated attempts, there is no IE etymology. … The name is probably Pre-Greek, and Hitt. Appaliunaš, mentioned in a treaty between Alaksandus of Wilusa and the Hittite king, may well be the Pre-Greek proto-form Apal’un.” The U.S. space program ran from 1961 to 1972.

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Apollonian (adj.)1660s, “of, pertaining to, or resembling the Greek god Apollo,” from Apollo (Greek Apollon) + -ian. The Greek adjective was Apollonios. Other adjectival forms in English include ApollinarianApollonicApolline (c. 1600). Also sometimes in reference to Apollonius of Perga, the great geometer.

eclipse (n.)

c. 1300, from Old French eclipse “eclipse, darkness” (12c.), from Latin eclipsis, from Greek ekleipsis “an eclipse; an abandonment,” literally “a failing, forsaking,” from ekleipein “to forsake a usual place, fail to appear, be eclipsed,” from ek “out” (see ex-) + leipein “to leave” (from PIE root *leikw- “to leave”).

Origin and meaning of eclipse

eclipse (v.)

late 13c., “to cause an eclipse of,” from Old French eclipser, from eclipse (see eclipse (n.)).Figurative use from 1570s. Also in Middle English in an intransitive sense “to suffer an eclipse,” now obsolete. Related: Eclipsedeclipsing.

Origin and meaning of eclipse

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ex- word-forming element, in English meaning usually “out of, from,” but also “upwards, completely, deprive of, without,” and “former;” from Latin ex “out of, from within; from which time, since; according to; in regard to,” from PIE *eghs “out” (source also of Gaulish ex-, Old Irish ess-, Old Church Slavonic izu, Russian iz). In some cases also from Greek cognate exek. PIE *eghs had comparative form *eks-tero and superlative *eks-t(e)r-emo-. Often reduced to e- before -b--d--g-, consonantal -i--l--m--n--v- (as in eludeemergeevaporate, etc.).

*leikw- Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to leave.”

It forms all or part of: delinquentderelicteclipseelevenellipseellipsisellipticlipo- (2) “lacking;” lipogramloanparalipsisrelicrelictrelictionrelinquishreliquiaetwelve.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit reknas “inheritance, wealth,” rinakti “leaves;” Greek leipein “to leave, be lacking;” Latin linquere “to leave;” Gothic leihvan, Old English lænan “to lend;” Old High German lihan “to borrow;” Old Norse lan “loan.”


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

ray (n.1)

“beam of light, light emitted in a given direction from a luminous body,” early 14c., rai, from Old French rai (nominative rais) “ray (of the sun), spoke (of a wheel); gush, spurt,” from Latin radius “ray, spoke, staff, rod” (see radius). Not common before 17c. [OED]; of the sun, usually in reference to heat (beam being preferred for light).

Ray is usually distinguished from beam, as indicating a smaller amount of light; in scientific use a beam is a collection of parallel rays. In ordinary language ray is the word usually employed when the reference is to the heat rather than the light of the sun …. [OED]

Science fiction’s ray-gun is recorded by 1931 (in Amazing Stories; electric ray gun as an imaginary weapon is from 1924; death-ray gun from 1926 as a prop in a vaudeville act), but the Martians had a Heat-Ray weapon in “War of the Worlds” (1898).

ray (n.2)

“a skate, type of fish related to sharks and noted for its broad, flat body,” early 14c., raie, from Old French raie (13c.) and directly from Latin raia. De Vaan describes this as a word of unknown origin but with apparent cognates in Germanic (Middle Dutch rogghe, Old English reohhe), perhaps a loan-word from a substrate language. The old etymology (Century Dictionary, etc.) was that the fish was so called from its resemblance to the rays of a fan and from the source of ray (n.1).

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radius (n.)

1590s, “cross-shaft, straight rod or bar,” from Latin radius “staff, stake, rod; spoke of a wheel; ray of light, beam of light; radius of a circle,” a word of unknown origin. Perhaps related to radix “root,” but de Vaan finds that “unlikely.” The classical plural is radii

The geometric sense of “straight line drawn from the center of a circle to the circumference” is recorded from 1650s. Meaning “circular area of defined distance around some place” is attested from 1853. As the name of the shorter of the two bones of the forearm from 1610s in English (the Latin word had been used thus by the Romans).

sting-ray (n.)also sting ray, 1620s, from sting + ray (n.2). First in Capt. John Smith’s writings: “Stingraies, whose tailes are very dangerous ….”

rayon (n.)

type of manufactured fiber, 1924, chosen by National Retail Dry Goods Association of America, probably from French rayon “beam of light, ray,” from rai (see ray (n.1)) and so called because it is shiny. A marketer’s alternative to the original patented name, artificial silk (1884) and the other marketing attempt, Glos, which was “killed by ridicule” [Draper’s Record, June 14, 1924].

[T]he production of rayon in American plants, which in 1920 had been only eight million pounds, had by 1925 reached fifty-three million pounds. The flesh-colored stocking became as standard as the short skirt. … No longer were silk stockings the mark of the rich; as the wife of a workingman with a total family income of $1,638 a year told the authors of Middletown, “No girl can wear cotton stockings to high school. Even in winter my children wear silk stockings with lisle or imitations underneath.” [Frederick Lewis Allen, “Only Yesterday,” 1931]

By coincidence, Old French rayon had been borrowed into Middle English centuries earlier as a name for a type of cloth.


conspicuous constellation containing seven bright starts in a distinctive pattern, late 14c., orioun, ultimately from Greek OriōnOariōn, name of a giant hunter in Greek mythology, loved by Aurora, slain by Artemis, a name of unknown origin, though some speculate on Akkadian Uru-anna “the Light of Heaven.”

Another Greek name for the constellation was Kandaon, a title of Ares, god of war, and the star pattern is represented in many cultures as a giant (such as Old Irish Caomai “the Armed King,” Old Norse Orwandil, Old Saxon Ebuðrung). A Mesopotamian text from 1700 B.C.E. calls it The True Shepherd of Anu. The Orionid meteors, which appear to radiate from the constellation, are so called by 1876.

I this day discovered a new particular of my own ignorance of things which I ought to have known these thirty years — One clear morning about a fortnight since I remarked from my bed-chamber window a certain group of stars forming a Constellation which I had not before observed and of which I knew not the name — I marked down their positions on a slip of paper with a view to remember them hereafter and to ascertain what they were — This day on looking into the Abridgment of La Lande’s Astronomy, one of the first figures that struck my eye in the plates was that identical Constellation — It was Orion — That I should have lived nearly fifty years without knowing him, shews too clearly what sort of observer I have been. [John Quincy Adams, diary entry for Nov. 18, 1813, St. Petersburg, Russia]


name of a principal god of Egypt, judge of the dead, from Latin Osiris, from Greek, from Egyptian Asar. At the beginning of the Christian era his worship extended over Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. Related: Osirian.

Sirius (n.)

brightest star by magnitude, late 14c., from Latin Sirius “the Dog Star,” from Greek Seirios, said to mean literally “scorching” or “the scorcher.” But other related Greek words seem to derive from this use, and the name might be a folk-etymologized borrowing from some other language. An Egyptian name for it was Sothis. Beekes suggests it is from PIE root *twei- “to agitate, shake, toss; excite; sparkle” if the original meaning of the star-name is “sparkling, flickering.”

The connection of the star with scorching heat is from its ancient heliacal rising at the summer solstice (see dog days). Related: Sirian. The constellation Canis Major seems to have grown from the star, not the other way.

Homer made much of it as [Kyōn], but his Dog doubtless was limited to the star Sirius, as among the ancients generally till, at some unknown date, the constellation was formed as we have it, — indeed till long afterwards, for we find many allusions to the Dog in which we are uncertain whether the constellation or its lucida is referred to. [Richard Hinckley Allen, Canis Major in “Star Names and Their Meanings,” London: 1899]

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dog days (n.)

“period of dry, hot weather at the height of summer,” 1530s, from Latin dies caniculares, the idea, though not the phrase, from Greek; so called because they occur around the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (kyōn seirios). Noted as the hottest and most unwholesome time of the year; often reckoned as July 3 to August 11, but variously calculated, depending on latitude and on whether the greater Dog-star (Sirius) or the lesser one (Procyon) is reckoned.

The heliacal rising of Sirius has shifted down the calendar with the precession of the equinoxes; in ancient Egypt c. 3000 B.C.E. it coincided with the summer solstice, which also was the new year and the beginning of the inundation of the Nile. The “dog” association apparently began here (the star’s hieroglyph was a dog), but the reasons for it are now obscure.

canicular (adj.)late 14c., in caniculer dayes, the “dog days” around mid-August, from Latin canicularis “pertaining to the dog days or the Dog Star,” from canicula “little dog,” also “the Dog Star,” diminutive of canis “a dog” (from PIE root *kwon- “dog”). In literal use (“pertaining to a dog”) historically only as attempt at humor.

Also see Sirius, and compare heliacal. The ancient Egyptian canicular year was computed from the heliacal rising of Sirius; the canicular cycle of 1,461 years is how long it would take a given day to pass through all seasons in an uncorrected calendar.


fifteenth letter of the alphabet, from a character that in Phoenician was called  ‘ain (literally “eye”) and represented “a very peculiar and to us unpronounceable guttural” [Century Dictionary]. The Greeks also lacked the sound, so when they adopted the Phoenician letters they arbitrarily changed O’s value to a vowel. (Thus there is no grounds for the belief that the form of the letter represents the shape of the mouth in pronouncing it.) The Greeks later added a special character for “long” O (omega), and the original became “little o” (omicron).

In Middle English and later colloquial use, o or o’ can be an abbreviation of on or of, and is still literary in some words (o’clockJack-o’-lantern, tam-o’-shanter, cat-o’-nine-tails, will-o’-the-wisp, etc.).

O’ the common prefix in Irish surnames is from Irish ó, ua (Old Irish au, ui) “descendant.” 

The “connective” -o- is the usual connecting vowel in compounds taken or formed from Greek, where it often is the vowel in the stem. “[I]t is affixed, not only to terms of Greek origin, but also to those derived from Latin (Latin compounds of which would have been formed with the L. connecting or reduced thematic vowel, -i), especially when compounds are wanted with a sense that Latin composition, even if possible, would not warrant, but which would be authorized by the principles of Greek composition.” [OED]

As “zero” in Arabic numerals it is attested from c. 1600, from the similarity of shape. Similarly the O blood type (1926) was originally “zero,” denoting the absence of A and B agglutinogens.

As a gauge of track in model railroads, by 1905. For o as an interjection of fear, surprise, joy, etc., see oh.

The use of the colloquial or slang -o suffix in winoammocombokiddo, the names of the Marx Brothers, etc., “is widespread in English-speaking countries but nowhere more so than in Australia” [OED].

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oh (interj.)

interjection expressing various emotions (fear, surprise, pain, invocation, gladness, admiration, etc.), 1530s, from Middle English o, from Old French ôoh or directly from Latin ooh; a common Indo-European interjection (compare Greek ō; Old Church Slavonic and Lithuanian o; Irish och, Old Irish a; Sanskrit a). But it is not found in Old English (which had ea and translated Latin oh with la or eala) or the older Germanic languages except those that probably borrowed it from Greek or Latin.

The present tendency is to restrict oh to places where it has a certain independence, & prefer o where it is proclitic or leans forward upon what follows …. [Fowler]

Often extended for emphasis, as in Oh, baby, a stock saying from c. 1918; oh, boy (by 1917); oh, yeah (1924). Reduplicated form oh-oh as an expression of alarm or dismay is attested from 1944 (as uh-oh by 1935). Oh-so “so very” (often sarcastic or ironic) is by 1916. Oh yeah? “really? Is that so?” is attested from 1930.

wino (n.)1915, from wine + suffix as in buckokiddo.

serious (adj.)

mid-15c., “expressing earnest purpose or thought” (of persons), from Old French serios “grave, earnest” (14c., Modern French sérieux) and directly from Late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius “weighty, important, grave,” probably from a PIE root *sehro- “slow, heavy” (source also of Lithuanian sveriu, sverti “to weigh, lift,” svarus “heavy, weighty;” Old English swær “heavy,” German schwer “heavy,” Gothic swers “honored, esteemed,” literally “weighty”). As opposite of jesting, from 1712; as opposite of light (of music, theater, etc.), from 1762. Meaning “attended with danger” is from 1800.

Entries linking to Serious

heavy (adj.)

Old English hefig “heavy, having much weight; important, grave; oppressive; slow, dull,” from Proto-Germanic *hafiga “containing something; having weight” (source also of Old Saxon, Old High German hebig, Old Norse hofugr, Middle Dutch hevich, Dutch hevig), from PIE root *kap- “to grasp.” Jazz slang sense of “profound, serious” is from 1937 but would have been comprehensible to an Anglo-Saxon. Heavy industry recorded from 1932. Heavy metal attested by 1839 in chemistry; in nautical jargon from at least 1744 in sense “large-caliber guns on a ship.”

While we undervalue the nicely-balanced weight of broadsides which have lately been brought forward with all the grave precision of Cocker, we are well aware of the decided advantages of heavy metal. [United Services Journal, London, 1830]

As a type of rock music, from 1972. Most other Germanic languages use as their primary word for this their equivalent of Middle English swere, Old English swær “heavy, sad; oppressive, grievous; sluggish, inactive, weak” (but never in a physical sense; see serious); for example, Dutch zwaar, Old High German suari, German schwer. The English word died out in the Middle Ages.

seriocomic (adj.)also serio-comic, 1749 (implied in seriocomical), a blend of serious + comic.

esoteric (adj.)

“secret; intended to be communicated only to the initiated; profound,” 1650s, from Latinized form of Greek esoterikos “belonging to an inner circle” (Lucian), from esotero “more within,” comparative adverb of eso “within,” from PIE *ens-o-, suffixed form of *ens, extended form of root *en “in.” Classically applied to certain writings of Aristotle of a scientific, as opposed to a popular, character; later to doctrines of Pythagoras. In English, first of Pythagorean doctrines.

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*en Proto-Indo-European root meaning “in.”

It forms all or part of: andatolldysenteryembargoembarrassembryoempireemployen- (1) “in; into;” en- (2) “near, at, in, on, within;” enclaveendo-enemaengineenoptomancyenterentericenteritisentero-enticeento-entrailsenvoyenvyepisodeesotericimbroglioimmolateimmureimpedeimpendimpetusimportantimpostorimpresarioimpromptuinin- (2) “into, in, on, upon;” inchoateinciteincreaseinculcateincumbentindustryindigenceinflictingenuousingestinlyinmostinninnateinnerinnuendoinoculateinsigniainstantintagliointer-interiminteriorinterninternalintestineintimate (adj.) “closely acquainted, very familiar;” intra-intricateintrinsicintro-introduceintroductionintroitintrospectinvertmesentery.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antara- “interior;” Greek en “in,” eis “into,” endon “within;” Latin in “in, into,” intro “inward,” intra “inside, within;” Old Irish in, Welsh yn, Old Church Slavonic on-, Old English in “in, into,” inne “within, inside.”

eso- word-forming element meaning” within,” from Greek eso “within” (see esoteric).

  • esoterica
  • exoteric
  • seriously
  • seriousness
  • ammo
  • combo
  • kiddo
  • cheapo
  • o’clock
  • omega
  • omicron
  • primo
  • dog star
  • Procyon
  • ec-
  • ecliptic
  • *apo-
  • apocalyptic
  • revelation
  • Hesperus
  • luciferase
  • luciferous
  • match
  • Promethean
  • dyke
  • hermaphrodism
  • hermaphroditic
  • morphodite
  • phosphate
  • Phosphor
  • phosphorescent
  • phosphorous
  • galactic
  • galacto-
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September 11, 20011084514555
Bill Gates873315657
Donna Hayward1285619661
Benjamin Horne1286522370
Bi den342510129
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The Science of Music1777828293
Requiem For A Dream1698826392
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Ritual Sacrifice15473251107
Society of Jesus1915618779
President #451195614261
Dairy Queen1195615152
Queen Card884315547
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Dragon Queen1215817650
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Queen Elizabeth1506922866
Serpent eating its Tail24390297126
Benjamin Linus1435320882
Wizard of Oz1436212746
Doctor Strange1596019275
Kyle XY102306024
Stranger Things1797119982
Saturn’s Rings1795314582
16 episodes994513150
Dog Star Sirius1796217291
This is Sirius1796214591
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Robin Williams1566619587
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Seven Seven1304014050
Ten Four99369036
Wake Up The Dead1245222765
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Marty McFly’s Alarm Clock24482323125

march (v.)

“to walk with measured steps or a regular tread,” either individually or as a body, early 15c., from Old French marcher “to stride, march, walk,” originally “to trample, tread underfoot,” a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Frankish *markon or some other Germanic source related to Middle English march (n.) “borderland” (see march (n.2)). Or possibly from Gallo-Roman *marcare, from Latin marcus “hammer,” via notion of “tramping the feet.”

The transitive meaning “cause to march, cause to move in military order” is from 1590s. Sense of “cause (someone) to go (somewhere) at one’s command” is by 1884. Related: MarchedmarchingMarching band is attested by 1852. Italian marciare, Spanish marchar are said to be from French.


third month of our year, first month of the ancient Roman calendar, c. 1200, from Anglo-French marche, Old French marz, from Latin Martius (mensis) “(month) of Mars,” from Mars (genitive Martis). The Latin word also is the source of Spanish marzo, Portuguese março, Italian marzo, German März, Dutch Maart, Danish Marts, etc.

Replaced Old English hreðmonaþ, the first part of which is of uncertain meaning, perhaps from hræd “quick, nimble, ready, active, alert, prompt.” Another name for it was LideLyde (c.1300), from Old English hlyda, which is perhaps literally “noisy” and related to hlud “loud” (see loud). This fell from general use 14c. but survived into 19c. in dialect.

For March hare, proverbial type of madness, see mad (adj.). The proverb about coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb is since 1630s. March weather has been figurative of changeableness since mid-15c.

march (n.1)

“act of marching;” 1580s, “a measured and uniform walk; a regular advance of a body of persons in which they keep time with each other,” from march (v.) or else from French marche (n.), from marcher (v.). As “an advance from one halting place to another,” also the distance so covered, from 1590s.

The musical sense of “strongly rhythmic composition” is attested from c. 1600, from the earlier meaning “rhythmic drumbeat for marching” (1570s). The earliest sense of the word in English is “footprint, track” (early 15c.), from a sense in Old French. Transferred sense of “forward motion” (as in march of progress, etc.) is from 1620s.

march (n.2)

“a frontier, boundary of a country; border district,” early 13c., from Old French marche “boundary, frontier,” from Frankish *marka or some other Germanic source (compare Old Saxon marka, Old English mearc; Old High German marchon “to mark out, delimit,” German Mark “boundary”), from Proto-Germanic *markō; see mark (n.1)). Now obsolete.  Related: Marches.

In early use often in reference to the borderlands beside Wales, sometimes rendering Old English Mercia; later especially of the English border with Scotland. There was a verb marchen in Middle English (c. 1300), “to have a common boundary,” from Old French marchier “border upon, lie alongside,” which survived in dialect.

This is the old Germanic word for “border, boundary,” but as it came to mean “borderland” in many languages, other words were shifted or borrowed to indicate the original sense (compare border (n.), bound (n.)”border, boundary”). Modern German Grenze is from Middle High German grenize (13c., replacing Old High German marcha), a loan-word from Slavic (compare Polish and Russian granica). Dutch grens, Danish groense, Swedish gräns are from German.

Entries linking to March


c. 1300 as the name of the bright reddish-orange planet in the heavens; late 14c. as the name of the Roman god of war, from Latin Mars (stem *Mawort-), the Roman god of war (identified with Greek Ares), a name of unknown origin, apparently from earlier Mavors, related to Oscan Mamers.

According to Watkins the Latin word is from *Mawort- “name of an Italic deity who became the god of war at Rome ….” He also had agricultural attributes, and might ultimately have been a Spring-Dionysus. The planet was so named by the Romans, no doubt for its blood-like color. The Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis “the fiery.” Also in medieval alchemy, “iron” (late 14c.). The Mars candy bar was first manufactured in 1932 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the candy-making family.

loud (adj.)Middle English, from Old English hlud “noisy; making or emitting noise” (of voices, musical instruments, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *hludaz “heard” (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon hlud, Middle Dutch luut, Dutch luid, Old High German hlut, German laut “loud”), from PIE *klutos- (source also of Sanskrit srutah, Greek klytos “heard of, celebrated,” Latin inclutus “renowned, famous,” Armenian lu “known,” Irish cloth “noble, brave,” Welsh clod “praise, fame”), suffixed form of root *kleu- “to hear.”

Of places, “noisy,” from 1590s. Application to colors, garments, etc. (“flashy, showy”) is by 1849. Also used colloquially of notably strong or bad smells. Paired with clear (adj.) at least since c. 1650.

Tuesday (n.)

third day of the week, Old English tiwesdæg, from Tiwes, genitive of Tiw “Tiu,” from Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz “god of the sky,” the original supreme deity of ancient Germanic mythology, differentiated specifically as Tiu, ancient Germanic god of war, from PIE *deiwos “god,” from root *dyeu- “to shine,” in derivatives “sky, heaven, god.” Cognate with Old Frisian tiesdei, Old Norse tysdagr, Swedish tisdag, Old High German ziestag.

The day name (second element dæg, see day) is a translation of Latin dies Martis (source of Italian martedi, French Mardi) “Day of Mars,” from the Roman god of war, who was identified with Germanic Tiw (though etymologically Tiw is related to Zeus), itself a loan-translation of Greek Areos hēmera. In cognate German Dienstag and Dutch Dinsdag, the first element would appear to be Germanic ding, þing “public assembly,” but it is now thought to be from Thinxus, one of the names of the war-god in Latin inscriptions.

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Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to shine,” in derivatives “sky, heaven, god.”

It forms all or part of: adieuadiosadjournAsmodeuscircadiandeificdeifydeismdeitydeodanddeus ex machinadevadialdiaryDianaDianthusdiet (n.2) “assembly;” DioscuriDisdismaldiurnaldivaDivesdivinejossjournaljournalistjourneyJovejovialJuliaJuliusJulyJupitermeridianMidiper diempsychedelicquotidiansojournTuesdayZeus.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit deva “god” (literally “shining one”); diva “by day;” Avestan dava- “spirit, demon;” Greek delos “clear;” Latin dies “day,” deus “god;” Welsh diw, Breton deiz “day;” Armenian tiw “day;” Lithuanian dievas “god,” diena “day;” Old Church Slavonic dini, Polish dzień, Russian den “day;” Old Norse tivar “gods;” Old English Tig, genitive Tiwes, name of a god.

day (n.)

Old English dæg “period during which the sun is above the horizon,” also “lifetime, definite time of existence,” from Proto-Germanic *dages- “day” (source also of Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian di, dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), according to Watkins, from PIE root *agh- “a day.”  He adds that the Germanic initial d- is “of obscure origin.” But Boutkan says it is from PIE root *dhegh- “to burn” (see fever). Not considered to be related to Latin dies (which is from PIE root *dyeu- “to shine”).

Meaning originally, in English, “the daylight hours;” it expanded to mean “the 24-hour period” in late Anglo-Saxon times. The day formerly began at sunset, hence Old English Wodnesniht was what we would call “Tuesday night.” Names of the weekdays were not regularly capitalized in English until 17c.

From late 12c. as “a time period as distinguished from other time periods.” Day-by-day “daily” is from late 14c.; all day “all the time” is from late 14c.  Day off “day away from work” is attested from 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.

All in a day’s work “something unusual taken as routine” is by 1820. The nostalgic those were the days is attested by 1907. That’ll be the day, expressing mild doubt following some boast or claim, is by 1941. To call it a day “stop working” is by 1919; earlier call it a half-day (1838). One of these days “at some day in the near future” is from late 15c. One of those days “a day of misfortune” is by 1936.

  • Zeus
  • Mardi Gras
  • mad
  • mark
  • border
  • bound
  • demarche
  • *merg-
  • mush
  • countermarch
  • dead-march
  • marquis
  • quick-march
  • Marcomanni
  • Mercia
  • See all related words (15) >

Oct. 26, 1984

  • According to 2 sources

The Terminator (1984) Release Date : Oct. 26, 1984| Rating ➦ ★★★★★★★★

The Terminator (1984)

About kylegrant76

Eye am that Eye am
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