+ About Illustrated Etymology
"Chinese official," 1580s, via Portuguese mandarim or older Dutch mandorijn from Malay mantri, from Hindi mantri "councilor, minister of state," from Sanskrit...
1550s, from Medieval Latin algebra, from Arabic al jebr "reunion of broken parts," as in computation, used 9c. by Baghdad mathematician Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn...
Adam R Garcia
1715, from Gaelic uisge beatha "whisky," literally "water of life," from Old Irish uisce "water" + bethu "life." The Gaelic is probably a loan-translation of...
c.1400, handsom "easy to handle, ready at hand," from hand (n.) + -some. Sense extended to "fair size, considerable" (1570s), then "having fine form,...
John J. Custer
1530s (in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), via French and Italian, from Arabic hashishiyyin "hashish-users," plural of hashishiyy, from hashish (q.v.). A fanatical...
Early 13c., "skin color, complexion," from Old French color "color, complexion, appearance" (Modern French couleur), from Latin color "color of the skin; color...
1944, "airshaft for submarines," from German Schnorchel, from German navy slang Schnorchel "nose, snout," related to schnarchen "to snore" (see snore). So...
1917, noun, verb, and adjective, from French camoufler, Parisian slang, "to disguise," from Italian camuffare "to disguise," of uncertain origin, perhaps a...
by 1912, American English, first attested in baseball slang; as a type of music, attested from 1913. Probably ultimately from Creole patois jass "strenuous...
Translucent whitish kind of gypsum used for vases, ornaments, and busts, late 14c., from Old French alabastre (12c., Modern French albâtre), from Latin...
1530s, from Middle French porcelaine and directly from Italian porcellana "porcelain" (13c.), literally "cowrie shell," the chinaware so called from resemblance...
"low-waisted two-piece women's bathing suit," 1948, from French coinage, 1947, named for U.S. A-bomb test of June 1946 on Bikini, Marshall Islands atoll,...
1948, from Italian cappuccino, from Capuchin in reference to the beverage's color and its supposed resemblance to that of the brown hoods of the Friars Minor...
1763, from Spanish avocado, from earlier aguacate, from Nahuatl ahuakatl "avocado, testicle." So called for its shape. Illustration by Joshua Wiley
Late 15c., "financial loss incurred through damage to goods in transit," from French avarie "damage to ship," and Italian avaria; a word from 12c. Mediterranean...
Late 13c., "affected with periodic insanity, dependent on the changes of the moon," from O.Fr. lunatique, lunage "insane," or directly from L.L. lunaticus...
Type of Italian bread, c.1990, from Italian ciabatta, lit. "carpet slipper," so called for its shape; from the same source that produced French sabot, Spanish...
c.1300, from O.Fr. hasard, hasart (12c.) "game of chance played with dice," possibly from Sp. azar "an unfortunate card or throw at dice," which is said to be...
Adam R Garcia
"talisman, charm," 1881, from provincial Fr. mascotte "sorcerer's charm, 'faerie friend,' good luck piece" (19c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related...
1720, Scottish, "magic, enchantment" (especially in phrase "to cast the glamor"), a variant of Scottish gramarye "magic, enchantment, spell," alteration of...
"fate, destiny," 1834, from Turkish qismet, from Arabic qismah, qismat "portion, lot, fate," from root of qasama "he divided." Illustration by Maxwell...
1650s, "pertaining to fingers," from L. digitalis, from digitus. Illustration by Grace Danico.
c.1200, from O.N.Fr., from M.L. capulum "lasso, rope, halter for cattle," from L. capere "to take, seize." Illustration by Dan Lesage
1870 in spiritualism, "subtle emanation around living beings;" earlier "characteristic impression" made by a personality (1859), earlier still "gentle breeze"...
mid-15c., "small box for jewels, etc.," possibly formed as a dim. of English cask, or from M.Fr. casset. Meaning "coffin" is Amer.Eng., probably euphemistic,...
mid-14c., "compensation, payment," whether periodical, for regular service or for a specific service; from Anglo-Fr. salarie (late 13c.), O.Fr. salarie, from L....
c.1200, "the young of a goat," from a Scandinavian source (cf. O.N. kið "young goat"), from P.Gmc. *kiðjom (cf. O.H.G. kizzi, Ger. kitze, Dan., Swed. kid)....
Lloyd Eugene Winter IV
"to cut roughly, cut with chopping blows," c.1200, from verb found in stem of O.E. tohaccian "hack to pieces," from W.Gmc. *hakkon (cf. O.Fris. hackia "to chop...
1530s (in L. form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer," from L. sycophanta, from Gk. sykophantes, originally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig"...
Adam R Garcia
1663, originally an abusive nickname for a stupid person, from pumpern "to break wind" + Nickel "goblin, lout, rascal," from proper name Niklaus. An earlier...
1844, from berserk (n.) "Norse warrior," by 1835, an alternative form of berserker (1822), a word which was introduced by Sir Walter Scott, from O.N. berserkr...
Adam R Garcia
late 13c., prp. of lightnen "make bright," extended form of O.E. lihting, from leht. Meaning "cheap, raw whiskey" is attested from 1781. Illustration by...
early 13c., lit. "wind eye," from O.N. vindauga, from vindr "wind" + auga "eye." Replaced O.E. eagþyrl, lit. "eye-hole," and eagduru, lit. "eye-door."...
mid-15c., from L.L. decimationem (nom. decimatio), from decimat-, pp. stem of L. decimare "the removal or destruction of one-tenth," from decem "ten." Earliest...
distill, also distil, late 14c., from O.Fr. distiller (14c.), from L. distillare "trickle down in minute drops," from dis- "apart" + stillare "to drip, drop,"...
early 15c., from L. cataracta "waterfall," from Gk. katarhaktes "waterfall, broken water; swooping, rushing down; portcullis," noun use of adj. from kata "down"...
Adam R Garcia
early 15c., "genealogical table or chart," from Anglo-Fr. pe de gru, a variant of O.Fr. pied de gru "foot of a crane," from L. pedem acc. of pes "foot" + gruem...
c.1300, from L. extortionem (nom. extortio) "a twisting out, extorting," noun of action from pp. stem of extorquere "wrench out, wrest away, to obtain by...
1630s, "huge wagon bearing an image of the god Krishna," especially that at the town of Puri, drawn annually in procession in which (apocryphally) devotees...
1690s, from Mod.L. marsupialis "having a pouch," coined from L.L. marsupium "pouch, purse," L. marsuppium, from Gk. marsipion, dim. of marsipos...
early 13c., "person shut up from the world for purposes of religious meditation," from O.Fr. reclus (fem. recluse), noun use of reclus (adj.) "shut up," from...
"curl or lock of hair over the forehead," 1890, originally a style among soldiers, of unknown origin. Perhaps connected with quiff "a puff or whiff of tobacco...
1962, Amer.Eng., possibly from Yiddish glitsh "a slip," from glitshn "to slip," from Ger. glitschen, and related gleiten "to glide". Perhaps directly from...
1650s, from Gk. kakophonia, from kakophonos "harsh sounding," from kakos "bad, evil" (caco-) + phone "voice". Illustration by Colin Strandberg.
late 14c., flowering plant (Iris germanica), also "prismatic rock crystal," from L. iris (pl. irides) "iris of the eye, iris plant, rainbow," from Gk. iris...
"suicide flier," 1945, Japanese, lit. "divine wind," from kami "god, providence, divine" + kaze "wind." Originally the name given in folklore to a typhoon which...
mid-14c., from O.E. Zefferus, from L. Zephyrus, from Gk. Zephyros "the west wind" (sometimes personified as a god), probably related to zophos "the west, the...
1 of 2