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    Abnaki — abuse (n.)


    see Abenaki.ETD Abnaki.2

    abnegation (n.)

    late 14c., "a negative assertion," c. 1500 as "self-denial, renunciation," from Latin abnegationem (nominative abnegatio) "refusal, denial," noun of action from past-participle stem of abnegare "to refuse, deny," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + negare "to deny" (from PIE root *ne- "not").ETD abnegation (n.).2

    abnegate (v.)

    "deny (something) to oneself," 1650s, from Latin abnegatus, past participle of abnegare "to refuse, deny," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + negare "to deny" (from PIE root *ne- "not"). Related: Abnegated; abnegating.ETD abnegate (v.).2


    masc. proper name, name of Saul's commander in the Old Testament, from Hebrew Abhner, literally "my father is light," from abh "father" + ner "light."ETD Abner.2

    abnormal (adj.)

    "not conformed or conforming to rule, deviating from a type or standard, contrary to system or law, irregular, unnatural," 1835, a refashioning of anormal (q.v.) under influence of Latin abnormalis "deviating from a fixed rule, irregular," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + norma "rule" (see norm).ETD abnormal (adj.).2

    The older form was from French anormal (13c.), from Medieval Latin anormalus, an altered (by association with norma) borrowing of Greek anomalos "uneven, irregular," from an- "not" (see an- (1)) + homalos "even," from homos "same" (from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with"). Compare anomaly. "Few words show such a series of pseudo-etymological perversions" [Weekley]. Another adjective was abnormous (1742) "irregular, misshapen," from Latin abnormis. Related: Abnormally.ETD abnormal (adj.).3

    abnormality (n.)

    1846, "an instance of abnormality, irregularity, deformity;" 1853 as "fact or quality of being abnormal," from abnormal (q.v.) + -ity. Earlier was abnormity (1731), but according to OED the earlier word has more "depreciatory force" than the later one. Abnormalism "tendency to be abnormal" is from 1847. As a verb, abnormalize (1855) seem to be rare.ETD abnormality (n.).2

    aboard (adv., prep.)

    late 14c., "at the side of a ship;" mid-15c., "onto or on a ship," probably in most cases from the Old French phrase à bord (compare Old French aborder "to board (a ship)"), from à "on" + bord "board," from Frankish *bord or a similar Germanic source (see board (n.2)). The word for the "boarding" or sides of a vessel being extended to the ship itself. The usual Middle English expression was within borde. The call all aboard! as a warning to passengers (on ships or railway cars) is attested by 1829 (compare French aller à bord "go aboard").ETD aboard (adv., prep.).2

    abode (n.)

    mid-13c., "action of waiting," verbal noun from abiden "to abide" (see abide). It is formally identical with the old, strong past participle of abide (Old English abad), but the modern conjugation is weak and abided is used. The present-to-preterite vowel change is consistent with an Old English class I strong verb (ride/rode, etc.). The meaning "habitual residence" is attested by 1570s.ETD abode (n.).2

    aboil (adj.)

    "boiling, on the boil," 1858, from a- + boil (v.).ETD aboil (adj.).2

    abolish (v.)

    "put an end to, do away with," mid-15c., from Old French aboliss-, present-participle stem of abolir "to abolish" (15c.), from Latin abolere "destroy, efface, annihilate; cause to die out, retard the growth of," which is perhaps from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + the second element of adolere "to grow, magnify" (and formed as an opposite to that word), from PIE *ol-eye-, causative of root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish," and perhaps formed as an antonym to adolere.ETD abolish (v.).2

    But the Latin word rather could be from a root in common with Greek olluein "destroy, maker an end of." Tucker writes that there has been a confusion of forms in Latin, based on similar roots, one meaning "to grow," the other "to destroy." Now generally used of institutions, customs, etc.; application to persons and concrete objects has long been obsolete. Related: Abolished; abolishing.ETD abolish (v.).3

    abolition (n.)

    1520s, "act of abolishing; state of being abolished," from French abolition or directly from Latin abolitionem (nominative abolitio) "an abolition, an annulling," noun of action from past-participle stem of abolere "destroy" (see abolish). Related: Abolitionary ("destructive"); abolitional ("pertaining to abolition").ETD abolition (n.).2

    Specific application to "opposition to the trans-Atlantic African slave trade" as a political question is first attested 1788. By 1823 abolition was being used in regard to proposals or arguments to end American slavery itself, and after 1832 this was the usual sense of the word until the effort was accomplished by the 13th Amendment (1865). The alternative noun abolishment (1540s) seems not to have acquired a special use in reference to slavery issues.ETD abolition (n.).3

    abolitionism (n.)

    "belief in the principle of abolishing (something)," 1790, in a purely anti-slavery sense (distinguished from opposition to the slave trade); from abolition + -ism.ETD abolitionism (n.).2

    abolitionist (n.)

    person who favors doing away with some law, custom, or institution, 1792, originally in reference to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, from abolition + -ist. By 1825 (in Britain) in reference to abolition of slavery as an institution. In Britain, applied 20c. to advocates of ending capital punishment. In a general sense, abolisher has been used at least since 1742.ETD abolitionist (n.).2

    abominate (v.)

    "abhor, loathe," 1640s, a back-formation from abomination or else from Latin abominatus, past participle of abominari "shun as an ill omen." Related: Abominated; abominating. Middle English had noun, adjective, and adverb but seems to have lacked the verb. The Old French verb, abominer "to loathe" is said to have fallen out of use since 16c.ETD abominate (v.).2

    abominable (adj.)

    mid-14c., "exciting disgust or loathing, morally detestable," from Old French abominable (12c.) and directly from Late Latin abominabilis "deserving abhorrence," from stem of Latin abominari "deplore (as an evil omen)," hence, generally, "detest, execrate, deprecate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + omin-, stem of omen (see omen).ETD abominable (adj.).2

    The more common Middle English form was abhominable, which persisted into 17c.; it is a folk-etymology, as if from Latin ab homine "away from man" (thus "beastly"). In early Modern English sometimes misdivided as a bominable. Related: Abominably; abominableness. Abominable snowman (1921) translates Tibetan meetaoh kangmi.ETD abominable (adj.).3

    abomination (n.)

    early 14c., abominacioun, "abominable thing or action;" late 14c., "feeling of disgust, hatred, loathing," from Old French abominacion "abomination, horror, repugnance, disgust" (13c.) and directly from Latin abominationem (nominative abominatio) "abomination," noun of action from past-participle stem of abominari "shun as an ill omen," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + omin-, stem of omen (see omen).ETD abomination (n.).2

    In biblical use, often "that which is ceremonially impure." The meaning was intensified by folk etymology derivation from Latin ab homine "away from man" (thus "beastly"); Wycliffe and Chaucer both have abhominacioun, and abhominable was mocked by Shakespeare in "Love's Labour's Lost." The U.S. Tariff of Abominations, with high protective duties offensive to the South, was passed in 1828.ETD abomination (n.).3

    aborigine (n.)

    "person, animal, or plant that has been in a country or region from earliest times," 1858, mistaken singular of aborigines (1540s; aboriginal is considered the correct singular in English), from Latin aborigines "the first inhabitants," especially of Latium, hence "the first ancestors of the Romans." This is possibly a tribal name, or from or made to conform to the Latin phrase ab origine, which means literally "from the beginning."ETD aborigine (n.).2

    This is from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + ablative of origo "a rise, commencement, beginning, source; descent, lineage, birth," from stem of oriri "arise, rise; be born, be descended, receive life" (see origin).ETD aborigine (n.).3

    It was extended by 1789 to natives of other countries which Europeans had colonized, especially "aboriginal inhabitant of Australia," with capital A-. The Australian English slang shortening Abo is attested from 1922 as a noun, by 1906 as an adjective.ETD aborigine (n.).4

    aboriginal (adj.)

    1660s, "first, earliest, existing from the beginning," especially in reference to inhabitants of lands colonized by Europeans, from aborigines (see aborigine) + -al (1). The specific Australian sense is attested from 1820, with capital A-. The noun meaning "an original inhabitant, an autochthon" is attested from 1760. Related: Aboriginally; aboriginality (1848); aboriginalism (1859).ETD aboriginal (adj.).2

    aborning (adv.)

    "while being born," 1893, American English; see a- (1) + born + -ing (2).ETD aborning (adv.).2

    abortive (adj.)

    late 14c., "born prematurely or dead," from Latin abortivus "prematurely born; pertaining to miscarriage; causing abortion," from abort-, past-participle stem of aboriri "disappear, miscarry, fail" (see abort). From 14c.-18c. stillborn children or domestic animals were said to be abortive. Transferred meaning "not brought to completion or successful issue" is from 1590s. Also see abortion. Related: Abortiveness.ETD abortive (adj.).2

    abort (v.)

    1570s, "to miscarry in giving birth," from Latin abortus, past participle of aboriri "to miscarry, be aborted, fail, disappear, pass away," a compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc., which according to OED is from ab, here as "amiss" (see ab-), + stem of oriri "appear, be born, arise," from PIE *heri- "to rise" (see origin). [Watkins, contra de Vaan, etc., derives the second element from a suffixed form of PIE root *er- (1) "move, set in motion."]ETD abort (v.).2

    The English word is attested from 1610s as "to deliberately terminate" anything (intransitive), but especially a pregnancy in a human or animal. Intransitive use in aeronautics and space-flight is by 1946. Transitive meaning "to cause (a woman) to miscarry" is recorded by 1916; with the fetus or pregnancy as the object of the action, by 1966. Related: Aborted; aborting. The Latin verb for "produce an abortion" was abigo, literally "to drive away."ETD abort (v.).3

    abortion (n.)

    1540s, "the expulsion of the fetus before it is viable," originally of deliberate as well as unintended miscarriages; from Latin abortionem (nominative abortio) "miscarriage; abortion, procuring of an untimely birth," noun of action from past-participle stem of aboriri "to miscarry, be aborted, fail, disappear, pass away," a compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc., which according to OED is from ab, here as "amiss" (see ab-), + stem of oriri "appear, be born, arise" (see origin).ETD abortion (n.).2

    Meaning "product of an untimely birth" is from 1630s; earlier in this sense was abortive (early 14c.). Another earlier noun in English for "miscarriage" was abort (early 15c.). In the Middle English translation of Guy de Chauliac's "Grande Chirurgie" (early 15c.) Latin aborsum is used for "stillbirth, forced abortion." Abortment is attested from c. 1600; aborsement from 1530s, both archaic. Aborticide (1875) is illogical. Compare miscarriage.ETD abortion (n.).3

    In 19c. some effort was made to distinguish abortion "expulsion of the fetus between 6 weeks and 6 months" from miscarriage (the same within 6 weeks of conception) and premature labor (delivery after 6 months but before due time). The deliberate miscarriage was criminal abortion. This broke down late 19c. as abortion came to be used principally for intentional miscarriages, probably via phrases such as procure an abortion.ETD abortion (n.).4

    Foeticide (n.) appears 1823 as a forensic medical term for deliberate premature fatal expulsion of the fetus; also compare prolicide. Another 19c. medical term for it was embryoctony, with second element from a Latinized form of Greek kteinein "to destroy." Abortion was a taboo word for much of early 20c., disguised in print as criminal operation (U.S.) or illegal operation (U.K.), and replaced by miscarriage in film versions of novels. Abortium "hospital specializing in abortions," is from 1934, in a Soviet Union context.ETD abortion (n.).5

    abortifacient (n.)

    1853, noun ("that which causes miscarriage") and adjective ("producing abortion"), from Latin abortus (see abort) + facientem "making," related to facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). An earlier noun for this was abortive (1640s), also a special use of an adjective.ETD abortifacient (n.).2

    abortionist (n.)

    "one who produces an abortion," 1848, from abortion + -ist.ETD abortionist (n.).2

    abounding (adj.)

    1630s, "affluent," present-participle adjective from abound. Literal sense of "overflowing" is recorded by 1680s. Related: Aboundingly. Compare abundant.ETD abounding (adj.).2

    abound (v.)

    "be in great plenty," early 14c., from Old French abonder "to abound, be abundant, come together in great numbers" (12c.), from Latin abundare "overflow, run over," from Latin ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + undare "rise in a wave," from unda "a wave" (from PIE *unda-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet"). Related: Abounded; abounding; abounder "one who has plenty or is wealthy" (1755).ETD abound (v.).2

    English seems to always have used in the -ou- spelling, though in Middle English an unetymological h- sometimes was added. The vowel in Old French abonder, abondance is a continuation of a Merovingian Latin scribal use of -o- for classical Latin -u- to attempt to identify a sound that had evolved since classical times. In French eventually this sound came to be represented by -ou-. Compare French tour "tower," from Old French tor, from Latin turris; court (n.), from Old French cort, from Latin curtus; French outre from Latin ultra, etc. However -o- remained before a nasal (as nombre from numerus, monde from mundum, etc.).ETD abound (v.).3

    about (adv., prep.)

    Middle English aboute, from Old English abutan (adv., prep.), earlier onbutan "on the outside of; around the circumference of, enveloping; in the vicinity of, near; hither and thither, from place to place," also "with a rotating or spinning motion," in late Old English "near in time, number, degree, etc., approximately;" a compound or contraction of on (see on; also see a- (1)) + be "by" (see by) + utan "outside," from ut (see out (adv.)).ETD about (adv., prep.).2

    By c. 1300 it had developed senses of "around, in a circular course, round and round; on every side, so as to surround; in every direction;" also "engaged in" (Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?), and gradually it forced out Old English ymbe, ymbutan (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") in the sense "round about, in the neighborhood of."ETD about (adv., prep.).3

    From mid-13c. as "in the matter, in connection with." From early 14c. as "in partial rotation, so as to face in a different direction." From late 14c. as "near at hand, about one's person." "In a circuitous course," hence "on the move" (late 13c.), and in Middle English "be about to do, be busy in preparation for," hence its use as a future participle in (to be) about to "in readiness, intending." Abouts (late 14c.), with adverbial genitive, still found in hereabouts, etc., probably is a northern dialectal form.ETD about (adv., prep.).4

    To bring about "cause or effect" and to come about "happen" are from late 14c. About face as a military command (short for right about face) is first attested 1861, American English.ETD about (adv., prep.).5

    above (adv., prep.)

    Middle English above, aboven (also aboun in northern dialects, abow in southwestern dialects), from Old English abufan (adv., prep.), earlier onbufan "above, in or to a higher place, on the upper side; directly over, in or to a higher place than," a contraction or compound of on (also see a- (1)) + bufan "over."ETD above (adv., prep.).2

    The second element is itself a compound of be "by" (see by) + ufan "over/high" (from Proto-Germanic *ufan-, source also of Old Saxon, Old High German oban, German oben; from PIE root *upo "under," also "up from under," hence also "over").ETD above (adv., prep.).3

    From c. 1200 as "of higher rank or position, superior in authority or power; of higher rank than, superior to." This sense in Middle English perhaps was reinforced by a literal use of above in the sense "higher at the table than," thus "in a place of greater honor than, taking precedence over" (mid-14c.) From mid-14c. as "in addition to;" also "superior to, out of reach of, not condescending to." From late 14c. as "more" (in number, linear measurement, weight, value); "older; better than, more desirable than, superior to."ETD above (adv., prep.).4

    Phrase above all "before other considerations" is from late 14c. To be above (someone's) head in the figurative sense "out of range of his or her intellect" is from 1914 (above in the sense "not to be grasped or understood by" is from mid-14c.). In Middle English to be above erthe was "above ground, unburied," hence "living, among the living."ETD above (adv., prep.).5

    aboveboard (adj.)

    "in open sight, without trickery or disguise," 1610s, from above and board (n.1). "A figurative expression borrowed from gamesters, who, when they put their hands under the table, are changing their cards." [Johnson]ETD aboveboard (adj.).2

    abovementioned (adj.)

    1707, from above (here in the sense "higher up on the written page, at a point closer to the beginning of a document," attested from mid-14c.) + past tense of mention. Above-named is recorded from c. 1600; above-written from early 15c.; above-said from mid-14c.ETD abovementioned (adj.).2

    ab ovo

    "from the beginning," Latin, literally "from the egg," from ab "from, away from" (see ab-) + ablative of ovum "egg" (see ovum). The expression is said to refer to the Roman custom of beginning the meal with eggs, as also in the expression ab ovo usque ad mala, "from the egg to the apples" (Horace), hence "from the beginning to the end" (compare early 20c. soup to nuts).ETD ab ovo.2


    magical formula, 1690s, from Latin (Q. Serenus Sammonicus, 2c.), from Late Greek Abraxas, cabalistic or gnostic name for the supreme god, and thus a word of power. It was written out in a triangle shape and worn around the neck to ward off sickness, etc. Another magical word, from a mid-15c. writing, was ananizapta.ETD abracadabra.2

    abrade (v.)

    ""to rub or wear away; rub or scrape off," 1670s, from Latin abradere "to scrape off, shave away," from ab "off" (see ab-) + radere "to scrape" (see raze (v.)). Abrase, from the stem of the Latin verb, is attested from 1590s. Related: Abraded; abrading.ETD abrade (v.).2


    masc. proper name, name of the first of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament, from Hebrew Abraham "father of a multitude," from abh "father" + *raham (cognate with Arabic ruham "multitude"); the name he altered from Abram "high father," from second element ram "high, exalted." Related: Abrahamic; Abrahamite.ETD Abraham.2

    Abraham-man was an old term for mendicant lunatics, or, more commonly, frauds who wandered England shamming madness so as to collect alms (1560s). According to the old explanation of the name (from at least 1640s), they originally were from Bethlehem Hospital, where in early times there was an Abraham ward or room for such persons, but the ward might have been named for the beggars.ETD Abraham.3

    abrasive (adj.)

    "tending to wear or rub off by friction," 1805, from Latin abras-, past-participle stem of abradere "to scrape away, shave off" (see abrasion) + -ive. Figurative sense of "tending to provoke anger" is first recorded 1925. Related: Abrasively; abrasiveness.ETD abrasive (adj.).2

    abrasion (n.)

    1650s, "act of abrading," from Medieval Latin abrasionem (nominative abrasio) "a scraping," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin abradere "to scrape away, shave off," from ab "off" (see ab-) + radere "to scrape" (see raze (v.)). From 1740 as "result of abrasion."ETD abrasion (n.).2

    abrasive (n.)

    "an abrasive substance," 1850, from abrasive (adj.). Abradant in this sense is from 1868.ETD abrasive (n.).2


    Cabalistic word associated with the followers of Basilides the Gnostic, by 1680s, of uncertain origin and with many elaborate explanations. Also used in reference to a type of Gnostic amulet featuring a carved gem depicting a monstrous figure and obscure words or words connected to Hebrew or Egyptian religion (1725).ETD abraxas.2

    abreast (adv.)

    mid-15c., a contraction of on brest "side-by-side," from a- (1) + breast (n.); the notion is of "with breasts in line." To keep abreast in figurative sense of "stay up-to-date" is from 1650s.ETD abreast (adv.).2

    abridge (v.)

    c. 1300, abreggen, "make shorter, shorten, condense," from Old French abregier, abrigier "abridge, diminish, shorten" (12c., Modern French abréger), from Late Latin abbreviare "make short," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + breviare "shorten," from brevis "short, low, little, shallow" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short").ETD abridge (v.).2

    Abbreviate is the same word directly from Latin. The sound development that turned Latin -vi- to French -dg- is paralleled in assuage (from assuavidare) and deluge (from diluvium). Of writing, "shorten by omission," late 14c. Related: Abridged; abridging.ETD abridge (v.).3

    abridgement (n.)

    early 15c., abreggement, "act of making shorter," also, of writing, "that which has been shortened," from Old French abregement, abrigement "shortening, abbreviation," from abregier "shorten, diminish" (see abridge). Verbal noun abridging is attested from late 14c. (abregging).ETD abridgement (n.).2

    abroad (adv.)

    mid-13c., "widely apart," a contraction of on brode, from Old English on brede, "in width," literally "at wide" (see a- (1) + broad (adj.)). From c. 1300 as "at a distance from each other," hence "out of doors, away from home" (late 14c.) also "at a distance generally" (early 15c.), and the main modern sense, "out of one's country, overseas" (mid-15c.).ETD abroad (adv.).2

    abrogate (v.)

    "abolish by authoritative act, repeal," 1520s, from Latin abrogatus, past participle of abrogare "to annul, repeal (a law)," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rogare "propose (a law), ask, request," apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from root *reg- "move in a straight line." Form abrogen, from Old French abroger, is recorded from early 15c. Related: Abrogated; abrogating; abrogative.ETD abrogate (v.).2

    abrogation (n.)

    "annulling of (a law) by legislative action," 1530s, from Latin abrogationem (nominative abrogatio) "a repeal (of a law)," noun of action from past-participle stem of abrogare "annul, repeal," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rogare "propose (a law), ask, request," apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from root *reg- "move in a straight line."ETD abrogation (n.).2

    abrupt (adj.)

    1580s, "sudden, unceremonious, without notice," a figurative use from Latin abruptus "broken off," also "precipitous, steep" (as a cliff), also "disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *runp- "to snatch" (see corrupt (adj.)). The literal sense "broken off or appearing as if broken off" is from c. 1600 in English. Of writing, "having sudden transitions, lacking continuity," 1630s. Related: Abruptly; abruptness.ETD abrupt (adj.).2

    abruption (n.)

    c. 1600, "a sudden breaking off," from Latin abruptionem (nominative abruptio) "a breaking off," noun of action from past-participle stem of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *runp- "to break" (see corrupt (adj.)).ETD abruption (n.).2


    masc. proper name, King David's son in the Old Testament, often used figuratively for "favorite son," from Hebrew Abhshalom, literally "father of peace," from abh "father" + shalom "peace."ETD Absalom.2

    abscess (n.)

    in pathology, "collection of pus in some part of the body," 1610s, from Latin abscessus "an abscess" (the Latin word was used in a medical sense by Celsus), literally "a going away, departure," from the stem of abscedere "withdraw, depart, retire," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + cedere "to go, withdraw" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). The notion is that humors "go from" the body through the pus in the swelling.ETD abscess (n.).2

    abscessed (adj.)

    1846, in pathology, adjective from abscess (n.). If there is a verb abscess it would be a back-formation from this.ETD abscessed (adj.).2

    abscind (v.)

    "to cut off," 1650s, from Latin abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate" (see abscissa). Related: Abscinded; abscinding.ETD abscind (v.).2

    abscise (v.)

    "to cut off or away," 1610s, from Latin abscisus, past participle of abscidere "to cut away," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + caedere "to cut, cut down" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). Related: Abscised; abscising.ETD abscise (v.).2

    abscission (n.)

    "removal or cutting away," early 15c., from Latin abscissionem (nominative abscissio) "a cutting off, a breaking off, interruption," noun of action from past-participle stem of abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate" (see abscissa).ETD abscission (n.).2

    abscissa (n.)

    1798 in Latin form, earlier Englished as abscisse (1690s), from Latin abscissa, short for abscissa (linea) "(a line) cut off," or (recta ex diametro) abscissa "(a line) cut off (from the diameter)," fem. of abscissus "cut off," past participle of abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate." This is from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + scindere "to cut, rend, tear asunder, split; split up, part, divide, separate" (from PIE *skind-, from root *skei- "to cut, split"). The Latin word translates Greek apolambanomenē, from a verb meaning "to cut off, intercept."ETD abscissa (n.).2

    abscond (v.)

    "depart suddenly and secretly," especially to escape debt or the law, 1560s, from French abscondre "to hide" and directly from Latin abscondere "to hide, conceal, put out of sight," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + condere "put together, store," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + -dere "put" (from PIE root *dhe- "to put, place"). Related: Absconded; absconder; absconding.ETD abscond (v.).2

    absence (n.)

    "state of not being present," late 14c., from Old French absence "absence" (14c.), from Latin absentia, abstract noun from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be"). Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a line from the song "Isle of Beauty" by English poet and composer Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839).ETD absence (n.).2

    absent (adj.)

    "not present, not in a certain place" (of persons), "non-existent" (of things), late 14c., from Old French absent, ausent "absent" and directly from Latin absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be"). Related: Absently; absentness.ETD absent (adj.).2

    absent (v.)

    late 14c., "withdraw (oneself), go away, stay away," from Old French absenter "absent (oneself)," from Late Latin absentare "cause to be away," from Latin absentem (see absent (adj.)). Related: Absented; absenting.ETD absent (v.).2

    absent (prep.)

    "in the absence of," 1944, principally from U.S. legal use, from absent (adj.).ETD absent (prep.).2

    absenteeism (n.)

    "practice or habit of being absent," 1822, from absentee + -ism; originally in reference to landlords, especially in Ireland, who lived at a distance from their estates (the earlier word was absenteeship (1778) and Johnson's dictionary has absentee in the landlord sense). In reference to pupils or workers from 1922.ETD absenteeism (n.).2

    absentee (n.)

    "one who is absent," 1530s, from absent (v.) + -ee. In reference to voting, by 1892, American English.ETD absentee (n.).2

    absent-minded (adj.)

    also absentminded, "so preoccupied as to be forgetful of one's immediate surroundings," 1810, from absent (adj.) + -minded. Absence of mind "habitual or temporary forgetfulness" is from 1782. Related: Absent-mindedly; absent-mindedness.ETD absent-minded (adj.).2

    absinthe (n.)

    also absinth (though properly that means "wormwood"), "bitter, pale-green alcoholic liqueur distilled from wine mixed with wormwood" (Artemisia Absinthium), 1842, from French absinthe, "essence of wormwood" (short for extrait d'absinthe) from Latin absinthum "wormwood," from Greek apsinthion, which is perhaps from Persian (compare Persian aspand, of the same meaning). The wormwood plant itself is figurative of "bitter" sorrow; it was known as absinth in English from c. 1500; Old English used the word in the Latin form. The drink itself attained popularity from its heavy use by French soldiers in Algiers. Related: Absinthal; absinthic; absinthism.ETD absinthe (n.).2

    absit omen (interj.)

    Latin, literally "may this omen be absent." Added to an expression of something one does not wish to be true or come true, "may it not be ominous;" from third person singular present subjunctive of abesse "be away" (see absent (adj.)) + omen (see omen).ETD absit omen (interj.).2

    absolution (n.)

    "remission, forgiveness," c. 1200, from Old French absolucion, earlier assolucion, from Latin absolutionem (nominative absolutio) "completion, acquittal," noun of action from past-participle stem of absolvere "set free, loosen, acquit," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, dissolve; untie, release; dismiss," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." Originally of sins; in general use from c. 1400.ETD absolution (n.).2

    absolutism (n.)

    1753 in theology, of God's actions; 1830 in political science, "system of government where the power of the sovereign is unrestricted," in which sense it seems to have been introduced by British reformer and parliamentarian Maj. Gen. Thomas Perronet Thompson. See absolute and -ism.ETD absolutism (n.).2

    absoluteness (n.)

    1560s, "perfection," a sense now obsolete, from absolute (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "unlimited rule" is from 1610s; that of "unconditional quality" is from 1650s.ETD absoluteness (n.).2

    absolute (adj.)

    late 14c., "unrestricted, free from limitation; complete, perfect, free from imperfection;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit; complete, bring to an end; make separate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, detach," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."ETD absolute (adj.).2

    Sense evolution probably was from "detached, disengaged" to "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position;" absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s). Grammatical sense is from late 14c.ETD absolute (adj.).3

    Absolute magnitude (1902) is the brightness a star would have at a distance of 10 parsecs (or 32.6 light years); scientific absolute value is from 1907. As a noun in metaphysics, the absolute "that which is unconditional or free from restriction; the non-relative" is from 1809.ETD absolute (adj.).4

    absolutely (adv.)

    late 14c., "unconditionally, completely," from absolute (adj.) + -ly (2). From mid-15c. as "without reference to anything else, not relatively;" the meaning "to the utmost degree" emerged by mid-16c. As a colloquial emphatic, by 1867, American English.ETD absolutely (adv.).2

    absolute zero (n.)

    "lowest possible temperature which the nature of heat admits" (determined to be —273 centigrade, —458 Fahrenheit), the idea dates back to 1702 and soon thereafter its general value was guessed to within a few degrees, but it was not precisely discovered until Lord Kelvin's work in 1848. It was known by many names, such as infinite cold, absolute cold, natural zero of temperature; the term absolute zero was among them by 1806.ETD absolute zero (n.).2

    absolutist (n.)

    1830 in political science, "advocate of despotism" (Thompson), from absolute + -ist on model of French absolutiste (by 1820). From 1835 as an adjective. Compare absolutism. Used in a different sense in metaphysics by the followers of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.ETD absolutist (n.).2

    absolve (v.)

    early 15c., "release" (from an oath or obligation), from Latin absolvere "set free," especially judicially, "acquit" (source also of Old French assoldre (11c.), Modern French absoudre), from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, remove," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." In modern use, "set free from consequences or penalties of actions." Related: Absolved; absolving.ETD absolve (v.).2

    absorbent (adj.)

    "absorbing or capable of absorbing," 1718, from Latin absorbentem (nominative absorbens) "a drinking," present participle of absorbere "swallow up" (see absorb). Also from 1718 as a noun, "anything which absorbs."ETD absorbent (adj.).2

    absorbing (adj.)

    1670s, "soaking up, swallowing," present-participle adjective in a figurative sense from absorb (v.). Originally in medicine. Figurative sense of "engrossing" is by 1826. Related: Absorbingly.ETD absorbing (adj.).2

    absorb (v.)

    "to drink in, suck up, take in by absorption," early 15c., from Old French absorbir, assorbir (13c., Modern French absorber), from Latin absorbere "to swallow up, devour," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + sorbere "suck in," from PIE root *srebh- "to suck, absorb" (source also of Armenian arbi "I drank," Greek rhopheo "to sup greedily up, gulp down," Lithuanian srebiu, srėbti "to drink greedily"). Figurative meaning "to completely grip (one's) attention" is from 1763.ETD absorb (v.).2

    absorbency (n.)

    "quality of absorbing," 1781, from absorbent + abstract noun suffix -cy.ETD absorbency (n.).2

    absorbed (adj.)

    "engrossed mentally," 1760, past-participle adjective in a figurative sense from absorb (v.). Related: Absorbedly.ETD absorbed (adj.).2

    absorption (n.)

    1590s, "a swallowing up" (now obsolete), from Latin absorptionem (nominative absorptio) "a swallowing," noun of action from past-participle stem of absorbere "swallow up" (see absorb). From 1714 specifically of "disappearance by assimilation into something else."ETD absorption (n.).2

    absquatulate (v.)

    "run away, make off," 1840, earlier absquotilate (1837), "Facetious U.S. coinage" [Weekley], perhaps based on a mock-Latin negation of squat (v.) "to settle." Said to have been used on the London stage in in the lines of rough, bragging, comical American character "Nimrod Wildfire" in the play "The Kentuckian" as re-written by British author William B. Bernard, perhaps it was in James K. Paulding's American original, "The Lion of the West." Civil War slang established skedaddle in its place. Related: Absquatulated; absquatulating; absquatulation.ETD absquatulate (v.).2

    abstainer (n.)

    mid-15c., "one who practices self-denial," agent noun from abstain. Modern use in the temperance movement and specifically with reference to alcoholic drink is from 1862. French used abstème in this sense, from Latin abstemius.ETD abstainer (n.).2

    abstain (v.)

    late 14c., "avoid (something); refrain (oneself) from; keep free from sin or vice; live austerely, practice abstinence or asceticism; be sexually continent," from Old French abstiner, abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain voluntarily, abstain (from what satisfies the passions), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Specifically of liquor from late 14c. Meaning "refrain from voting" is from 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.ETD abstain (v.).2

    abstemious (adj.)

    "sparing or moderate in eating or drinking," c. 1600, from Latin abstemius "sober, temperate, abstaining from wine," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + stem of temetum "strong drink," which is related to temulentus "drunken." Etymologically it refers only to abstaining from alcoholic drink, but it was extended in Latin to temperance in living generally. Related: Abstemiously; abstemiousness.ETD abstemious (adj.).2

    abstention (n.)

    1520s, "a holding off, refusal to do something," from French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). As "a refraining from voting" by 1859.ETD abstention (n.).2

    abstinent (adj.)

    late 14c., "refraining from undue indulgence," especially in reference to food and drink, from Old French abstinent (earlier astenant) "moderate, abstemious, modest," from Latin abstinentem (nominative abstinens) "temperate, moderate," present participle of abstinere, abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch").ETD abstinent (adj.).2

    abstinence (n.)

    mid-14c., "forbearance in indulgence of the appetites," from Old French abstinance (earlier astenance), from Latin abstinentia "abstinence, starvation; self-restraint, integrity," abstract noun from abstinentem (nominative abstinens), present participle of abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Especially of sexual appetites but also in Middle English of food, fighting, luxury.ETD abstinence (n.).2

    abstract (v.)

    1540s, "to draw away, withdraw, remove" (transitive), from Latin abstractus or else from abstract (adj.). From 1610s in the philosophical sense "consider as a general object or idea without regard to matter." Related: Abstracted; abstracting.ETD abstract (v.).2

    abstract (n.)

    "abridgment or summary of a document," mid-15c., from abstract (adj.).ETD abstract (n.).2

    abstraction (n.)

    c. 1400, "a withdrawal from worldly affairs, asceticism," from Old French abstraction (14c.), from Late Latin abstractionem (nominative abstractio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin abstrahere "to drag away, detach, pull away, divert;" also figuratively, from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + trahere "to draw" (from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move;" see tract (n.1)). Meaning "idea of something that has no actual existence" is from 1640s.ETD abstraction (n.).2

    abstract (adj.)

    late 14c., originally in grammar (in reference to nouns that do not name concrete things), from Latin abstractus "drawn away," past participle of abstrahere "to drag away, detach, pull away, divert," also used figuratively; from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + trahere "to draw" (from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move;" see tract (n.1)).ETD abstract (adj.).2

    The meaning in philosophy, "withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters" (opposed to concrete) is from mid-15c. That of "difficult to understand, abstruse" is from c. 1400.ETD abstract (adj.).3

    In the fine arts, "characterized by lack of representational qualities" by 1914; it had been a term at least since 1847 for music without accompanying lyrics. Abstract expressionism as an American-based uninhibited approach to art exemplified by Jackson Pollock is from 1952, but the term itself had been used in the 1920s of Kandinsky and others.ETD abstract (adj.).4

    abstracted (adj.)

    "absent in mind, distracted from present reality by intellectual activity," 1640s, past-participle adjective from abstract (v.). Related: Abstractedly.ETD abstracted (adj.).2

    abstractly (adv.)

    late 14c., "by itself, absolutely, unconnected with anything else," from abstract (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD abstractly (adv.).2

    abstruse (adj.)

    1590s, "remote from comprehension," from French abstrus (16c.) or directly from Latin abstrusus "hidden, concealed, secret," past participle of abstrudere "conceal, hide," literally "to thrust away," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + trudere "to thrust, push" (from PIE root *treud- "to press, push, squeeze;" see threat). Related: Abstrusely; abstruseness.ETD abstruse (adj.).2

    absurd (adj.)

    "plainly illogical," 1550s, from French absurde (16c.), from Latin absurdus "out of tune, discordant;" figuratively "incongruous, foolish, silly, senseless," from ab- "off, away from," here perhaps an intensive prefix, + surdus "dull, deaf, mute," which is possibly from an imitative PIE root meaning "to buzz, whisper" (see susurration). Thus the basic sense is perhaps "out of tune," but de Vaan writes, "Since 'deaf' often has two semantic sides, viz. 'who cannot hear' and 'who is not heard,' ab-surdus can be explained as 'which is unheard of' ..." The modern English sense is the Latin figurative one, perhaps "out of harmony with reason or propriety." Related: Absurdly; absurdness.ETD absurd (adj.).2

    absurdity (n.)

    late 15c., absurdite, "that which is absurd," from Late Latin absurditatem (nominative absurditas) "dissonance, incongruity," noun of state from Latin absurdus "out of tune;" figuratively "incongruous, silly, senseless" (see absurd).ETD absurdity (n.).2

    abuilding (adj.)

    also a-building, "in the process of being built," 1530s, from a- (1) + building (n.) in the "process of construction" sense.ETD abuilding (adj.).2

    abundance (n.)

    "copious quantity or supply," mid-14c., from Old French abondance and directly from Latin abundantia "fullness, plenty," abstract noun from abundant-, stem of abundans "overflowing, full," present participle of abundare "to overflow" (see abound).ETD abundance (n.).2

    abundant (adj.)

    "present in great quantity, plentiful," late 14c., from Old French abundant and directly from Latin abundantem (nominative abundans) "overflowing, full; rich, abounding," present participle of abundare "to overflow, flow in profusion, have in excess" (see abound). Related: Abundantly.ETD abundant (adj.).2

    ab urbe condita

    with year-dates, an occasional Roman method of identifying a given year by reference to the time passed since founding of the city, which in 1c. B.C.E. was calculated to have taken place in what we would call 753 B.C.E. Literally "from the city founded;" the elements are ab "from" (see ab-) + ablative of urbs "city" (see urban) + fem. past participle of condere "put together, store," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + -dere "put" (from PIE root *dhe- "to put, place").ETD ab urbe condita.2

    abusive (adj.)

    1530s (implied in abusively) "improper," from French abusif, from Latin abusivus "misapplied, improper," from abus-, past-participle stem of abuti "misuse," literally "use up" (see abuse (v.)). Meaning "full of abuse" is from 1580s. Shakespeare has abusious ("Taming of the Shrew," 1594). Abuseful "abounding in reproaches" was in use 17c.-19c. Related: Abusively; abusiveness.ETD abusive (adj.).2

    abuse (v.)

    early 15c., "to misuse, misapply" (power, money, etc.), from Old French abuser "deceive, abuse, misuse" (14c.), from Vulgar Latin *abusare, from Latin abusus "an abusing; a using up," past participle of abuti "use up, consume," also "to misuse, abuse, misapply, outrage," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + uti "use" (see use).ETD abuse (v.).2

    Also in reference to forbidden sexual situations from early 15c., but originally meaning incest, masturbation (self-abuse), homosexuality, prostitution, etc. From 1550s specifically as "to misuse sexually, ravish," but OED 2nd ed. marks this obsolete and the modern use "subject (someone) to unwanted sexual activity" is likely a fresh coinage from late 20c. Specifically of drugs, from 1968. Meaning "attack with harsh language, revile" is from c. 1600. Related: Abused; abusing.ETD abuse (v.).3

    abuser (n.)

    mid-15c., "one who uses (something) improperly," agent noun from abuse (v.). From c. 1600 as "a ravisher;" 1836 as "one who abuses in speech or words."ETD abuser (n.).2

    abuse (n.)

    mid-15c., "improper practice," from Old French abus (14c.), from Latin abusus "a using up" (see abuse (v.)). From 1570s as "violation, defilement" (surviving in self-abuse "masturbation," if at all). In reference to drugs by 1961. Modern use in reference to unwanted sexual activity is from late 20c. Earlier in Middle English was abusion "wicked act or practice, shameful thing, violation of decency" (early 14c.), "an insult" (mid-14c.), from Old French abusion, from Latin abusio.ETD abuse (n.).2

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