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    alimentary (adj.) — alluvium (n.)

    alimentary (adj.)

    "pertaining to nutrition," 1610s, from Medieval Latin alimentarius "pertaining to food," from Latin alimentum "nourishment, food," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish").ETD alimentary (adj.).2

    alimony (n.)

    1650s, "nourishment," also "allowance to a wife from a husband's estate, or in certain cases of separation," from Latin alimonia "food, support, nourishment, sustenance," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish") + -monia suffix signifying action, state, condition (cognate with Greek -men). Derived form palimony was coined 1979, from pal (n.). Related: Alimonious.ETD alimony (n.).2


    fem. proper name, French, short for Adeline.ETD Aline.2

    A-line (adj.)

    descriptive of a dress or skirt flared in shape of a capital letter "A," 1955, in reference to the creations of French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905-1957).ETD A-line (adj.).2


    also Allison, fem. proper name popular in England and Scotland 13c.-17c., from French Alison, a pet form of Alice. As a surname, from this or representing "Alice's son" or in some cases "Alan's son."ETD Alison.2

    A-list (adj.)

    in reference to the most prominent celebrities, 1984, from A in the sense of "first, best" (as in A-1) + list (n.1).ETD A-list (adj.).2


    poetic past tense and past participle of alight (v.).ETD alit.2


    word-forming element; see -al (1) + -ity. Originally also in reduced form -alty, especially in words from French (mayoralty, etc.), hence the occasional doublet such as fealty/fidelity, realty/reality, specialty/speciality, loyalty/legality.ETD -ality.2

    aliveness (n.)

    "life, vigor, state or condition of being alive," 1853, from alive + -ness.ETD aliveness (n.).2

    alive (adj.)

    c. 1200, "in life, living," contraction of Old English on life "in living, not dead," from a- (1) + dative of lif "life" (see life). The full form on live was still current 17c. Of abstract things (love, lawsuits, etc.) "in a state of operation, unextinguished," c. 1600. From 1709 as "active, lively;" 1732 as "attentive, open" (usually with to). Used emphatically, especially with man (n.); as in:ETD alive (adj.).2

    Thus it was abstracted as an expletive, man alive! (1845). Alive and kicking "alert, vigorous," attested from 1823; Farmer says "The allusion is to a child in the womb after quickening," but kicking in the sense "lively and active" is recorded from 1550s (e.g. "the wanton or kicking flesh of yong maydes," "Lives of Women Saints," c. 1610).ETD alive (adj.).3

    alkahest (n.)

    "universal solvent sought by alchemists," 1640s, from French alcahest, from Medieval Latin alcahest, a pseudo-Arabic word coined by Paracelsus (compare alchemy).ETD alkahest (n.).2

    alkalize (v.)

    "render alkaline," 1725 (implied in alkalized), from French alcaliser; see alkali.ETD alkalize (v.).2

    alkalescent (adj.)

    "becoming or tending to become alkaline," 1732, from alkali + -escent. Related: Alkalescence.ETD alkalescent (adj.).2

    alkali (n.)

    late 14c., "soda ash," from Medieval Latin alkali, from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (of saltwort, which abounds in soda due to growing in alkaline soils), from qala "to roast in a pan." Later extended to similar substances, natural or manufactured. The modern chemistry sense is from 1813.ETD alkali (n.).2

    alkaline (adj.)

    1670s, "pertaining to alkalis," from alkali + -ine (1). Of soils, from 1850. Related: Alkalinity.ETD alkaline (adj.).2

    alkaloid (n.)

    1831, from alkali (q.v.) + -oid. "A general term applied to basic compounds of vegetable origin, bitter in taste, and having powerful effects on the animal system" [Flood], including morphine and nicotine. As an adjective by 1859.ETD alkaloid (n.).2

    alkanet (n.)

    mid-14c., "the plant alkanet" or its root (which yields a red dye material and is used as a styptic), from Medieval Latin, from a diminutive of alcanna, from Arabic al-hinna (see henna). As the name of the plant itself, from 1560s.ETD alkanet (n.).2

    alky (n.)

    also alchy, 1841, "an alcoholic drink" (also "alcoholic drink personified"), a slang shortening of alcoholic liquor first attested in temperance publications. As "a drunkard" (short for alcoholic (n.)) it is suggested by 1888.ETD alky (n.).2

    allative (adj.)

    in reference to the grammatical case expressing motion towards, 1854, with -ive + Latin allat-, past-participle stem of the irregular verb adferre/affere "to bring to;" from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + lātus "borne, carried" (see oblate (n.)).ETD allative (adj.).2

    all (adj./adv.)

    Old English eall "every, entire, the whole quantity of" (adj.), "fully, wholly, entirely" (adv.), from Proto-Germanic *alnaz (source also of Old Frisian, Old High German al; German all, alle; Old Norse allr; Gothic alls), with no certain connection outside Germanic. As a noun, in Old English, "all that is, everything."ETD all (adj./adv.).2

    Combinations with all meaning "wholly, without limit" were common in Old English (such as eall-halig "all-holy," eall-mihtig "all-mighty") and the habit has continued. Middle English had al-wher "wherever; whenever" (early 14c.); al-soon "as soon as possible," al-what (c. 1300) "all sorts of things, whatever."ETD all (adj./adv.).3

    The use of a, a' as an abbreviation of all (as in Burns' "A Man's a Man for A' that") is a modern Scottishism but has history in English to 13c.ETD all (adj./adv.).4

    Of the common modern phrases with it, at all "in any way" is from mid-14c., and all "and everything (else)" is from 1530s, all but "everything short of" is from 1590s. First record of all out "to one's full powers" is by 1880. All clear as a signal of "no danger" is recorded from 1902. All right, indicative of assent or approval, is attested by 1837; the meaning "satisfactory, acceptable" is by 1939, from the notion of "turning out well."ETD all (adj./adv.).5

    All's fair in love and war is by 1826 with that wording; but variants (all advantages are lawful in love and war, in love and war all stratagems are fair, etc.) are to be found as far back as 17c. in English. The phrase may have originated with Don Quixote:ETD all (adj./adv.).6


    Arabic name for the Supreme Being, 1702, Alha, from Arabic Allah, contraction of al-Ilah, literally "the God," from al "the" + Ilah "God," which is cognate with Aramaic elah, Hebrew eloah (see Elohim).ETD Allah.2

    allay (v.)

    "put down, quiet, assuage, pacify," Middle English alegen, from Old English alecgan "to put, place, put down; remit, give up, suppress, abolish; diminish, lessen," from a- "down, aside" (see a- (1)) + lecgan "to lay" (see lay (v.)). A common Germanic compound (cognates: Gothic uslagjan "lay down," Old High German irleccan, German erlegen "to bring down").ETD allay (v.).2

    Early Middle English pronunciations of -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in Middle English with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy (v.) and especially a now-obsolete verb allege "to alleviate, lighten" (from Latin alleviare, from ad "to" + levis "light" in weight; from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight").ETD allay (v.).3

    Hence the senses "lighten, alleviate; mix, temper, weaken." The confusion with the Latin words probably also accounts for the unetymological double -l-, attested from 17c. Related: Allayed; allaying.ETD allay (v.).4

    all-American (n.)

    1888, plural, as the name of a barnstorming baseball team composed of players from various teams across the United States. From all + American.ETD all-American (n.).2

    alleger (n.)

    "one who alleges or affirms," 1570s, agent noun from allege. The Latinate form, allegator (1680s) rarely is used, for some reason.ETD alleger (n.).2

    allege (v.)

    c. 1300, "make a formal declaration in court;" mid-14c., "pronounce positively, claim as true," with or without proof; it has the form of one French verb and the meaning of another. The form is Anglo-French aleger, Old French eslegier "to clear at law" (from a compound of Latin ex "out of;" see ex- + litigare "bring suit" (see litigation).ETD allege (v.).2

    However eslegier meant "acquit, clear of charges in a lawsuit," and the Middle English word somehow acquired the meaning of French alléguer, from Latin allegare/adlegare "send for, bring forth, name, produce in evidence, send on business," from ad "to" (see ad-) + legare "to depute, send" (see legate). Related: Alleged; alleging.ETD allege (v.).3

    allegation (n.)

    early 15c., "action of alleging, formal declaration in court," from Old French alegacion "allegation, affirmation" (Modern French allégation) and directly from Latin allegationem (nominative allegatio) "a sending, dispatching," noun of action from past-participle stem of allegare "send for, bring forth, name, produce in evidence, send on business" (see allege). Specifically in law, "assertion of a party to a suit or action, which he intends to prove." In general (non-legal) use, since 17c., often suggesting an assertion without proof.ETD allegation (n.).2

    alleged (adj.)

    mid-15c., "quoted," past-participle adjective from allege. Attested from 1610s in sense of "brought forth in court;" 1670s as "asserted but not proved."ETD alleged (adj.).2

    allegedly (adv.)

    indicating assertion but not proof, 1828, from alleged + -ly (2).ETD allegedly (adv.).2

    allegiance (n.)

    "ties or obligations of a citizen or subject to a government or sovereign," late 14c., alligeaunce, formed in English from Anglo-French legaunce "loyalty of a liege-man to his lord," from Old French legeance, from liege (see liege (adj.)). Corrupted in spelling by confusion with the now-obsolete legal term allegeance "alleviation, mitigation" (for which see allay (v.)). The general figurative sense of "recognition of claims to respect or duty, observance of obligation" is attested from 1732. French allégeance in this sense is said to be from English.ETD allegiance (n.).2

    allegorical (adj.)

    "consisting of or pertaining to allegory, figurative, describing by resemblance," 1520s, earlier allegoric (late 14c.); from French allégorique, from Latin allegoricus, from Greek allegorikos, from allegoria "figurative language, description of one thing in terms of another" (see allegory). Related: Allegorically. An allegorical interpretation draws spiritual or figurative meaning from historical matter.ETD allegorical (adj.).2

    allegorize (n.)

    "turn (something) into allegory, interpret allegorically," 1570s; see allegory + -ize. Related: Allegorized; allegorizing.ETD allegorize (n.).2

    allegory (n.)

    "figurative treatment of an unmentioned subject under the guise of another similar to it in some way," late 14c., allegorie, from Old French allegorie (12c.), from Latin allegoria, from Greek allegoria "figurative language, description of one thing under the image of another," literally "a speaking about something else," from allos "another, different" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + agoreuein "speak openly, speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly" (see agora). Related: Allegorist.ETD allegory (n.).2


    1740, in music, In music, indicating "quicker in time than andante, but not so quick as allegro;" from Italian allegretto, diminutive of allegro (q.v.) "brisk, sprightly." Also as a noun, a musical movement in such time.ETD allegretto.2


    1721 as a musical term, from Italian allegro "brisk, sprightly, cheerful," from Latin alacrem (nominative alacer) "lively, cheerful, brisk" (see alacrity). The same Latin word came into English 17c. as aleger "lively, brisk," from Old French alegre, from Latin alacris; and Milton used "L'Allegro" in its literal sense as a poem title (1632).ETD allegro.2

    alley (n.1)

    mid-14c., "passage in a house; open passage between buildings; walkway in a garden," from Old French alee (13c., Modern French allée) "a path, passage, way, corridor," also "a going," from fem. of ale, past participle of aler "to go," which is of uncertain origin. It might be a contraction of Latin ambulare "to walk" (Watkins, see amble (v.)), or it might be from Gallo-Roman allari, a back-formation from Latin allatus "having been brought to" [Barnhart]. Compare sense evolution of gate.ETD alley (n.1).2

    Applied by c. 1500 to "long narrow enclosure for playing at bowls, skittles, etc." Used in place names from c. 1500. "In U.S. applied to what in London is called a Mews" [OED], and in American English especially of a back-lane parallel to a main street (1729). To be up someone's alley "in someone's neighborhood" (literally or figuratively) is from 1931; alley-cat (n.) is attested by 1890.ETD alley (n.1).3

    alley (n.2)

    also ally, type of large playing marble (generally one of stone as opposed to terra cotta), 1720, said to be a shortening of alabaster.ETD alley (n.2).2

    allele (n.)

    1931 in genetics, from German allel, abbreviation of allelomorph "alternative form of a gene" (1902), coined from Greek allel- "one another" (from allos "other;" from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + morphē "form," a word of uncertain etymology.ETD allele (n.).2

    alleluia (interj.)

    late 14c., from Latin alleluja, from Greek allelouia, from Hebrew hallelu-yah "praise Jehovah" (see hallelujah). Related: Alleluiatic.ETD alleluia (interj.).2

    allemande (n.)

    name of a German dance in 3/4 time, 1775, from French Allemande, fem. of allemand "German" (see Alemanni). As a piece of music in a suite, 1680s. As a figure in country or square dancing, from 1808.ETD allemande (n.).2


    masc. proper name and surname, variant of Alan (q.v.). In reference to a wrench, key, screw, etc. with a hexagonal socket or head, 1913, from the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.ETD Allen.2

    allergic (adj.)

    "having an allergy (to something)," 1911, from allergy (q.v.) + -ic; perhaps modeled on French allergique (1906). The figurative use, "antipathetic, repulsed" is by 1936.ETD allergic (adj.).2

    allergen (n.)

    "substance causing allergy," 1912, from allergy on model of antigen.ETD allergen (n.).2

    allergy (n.)

    "condition caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to typically harmless substances," 1911, from German Allergie, coined 1906 by Austrian pediatrician Clemens E. von Pirquet (1874-1929) as an abstract noun from Greek allos "other, different, strange" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + ergon "work, activity" (from PIE root *werg- "to do").ETD allergy (n.).2

    allergist (n.)

    "one who treats or studies allergic diseases," 1937, from allergy + -ist.ETD allergist (n.).2

    alleviation (n.)

    early 15c., "mitigation, relief," from Medieval Latin alleviationem (nominative alleviatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of alleviare "lift up, raise," figuratively "to lighten (a burden), comfort, console," from assimilated form of Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + levis "light" in weight (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight").ETD alleviation (n.).2

    alleviate (v.)

    early 15c., alleviaten, "to mitigate, relieve (sorrows, suffering, etc.)," from Late Latin alleviatus, past participle of alleviare "lift up, raise," figuratively "to lighten (a burden), comfort, console," from assimilated form of Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + levis "light" in weight (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight"). Related: Alleviated; alleviating.ETD alleviate (v.).2

    alleyway (n.)

    also alley-way, "small, short alley," as between two houses, 1788, from alley (n.1) + way (n.).ETD alleyway (n.).2

    all-fired (adj.)

    1829, U.S. slang, said to be a euphemism for hell-fired, but perhaps it is what it says, with all as an intensive.ETD all-fired (adj.).2

    allgates (adv.)

    c. 1200, allgate "all the time, on all occasions," mid-13c. "in every way," probably from the Old Norse phrase alla gotu (see all + gate (n.) "a way"). With adverbial genitive -s from late 14c. (compare always).ETD allgates (adv.).2

    allied (adj.)

    c. 1300, past-participle adjective from ally (v.). Originally of kindred (compare alliance); in reference to a league or formal treaty, it is recorded by late 14c.ETD allied (adj.).2

    ally (v.)

    late 13c., allien, "join in marriage" (transitive), from Old French alier "combine, unite," from a differentiated stem of aliier (from Latin alligare "bind to, tie to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ligare "to bind, bind one thing to another, tie" (from PIE root *leig- "to tie, bind"). The meaning "form an alliance, join, associate" is late 14c. Related: allied; allying.ETD ally (v.).2

    ally (n.)

    late 14c., "relative, kinsman" (a sense now obsolete), from ally (v.); mid-15c. in the sense of "one united with another by treaty or league." Allies as the name of the nations aligned against the Central Powers in World War I is from 1914; as the nations aligned against Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II, from 1939.ETD ally (n.).2

    alliance (n.)

    c. 1300, "bond of marriage" (between ruling houses or noble families), from Old French aliance (12c., Modern French alliance) "alliance, bond; marriage, union," from aliier (Modern French allier) "combine, unite" (see ally (v.)).ETD alliance (n.).2

    The general sense of "combination for a common object" is from mid-14c., as are those of "bond or treaty between rulers or nations, contracted by treaty" and "aggregate of persons allied." Unlike its synonyms, "rarely used of a combination for evil" [Century Dictionary]. Meaning "state of being allied or connected" is from 1670s. The Latin word was alligantia.ETD alliance (n.).3

    alligator (n.)

    1560s, "large carnivorous reptile of the Americas," lagarto, aligarto, a corruption of Spanish el lagarto (de Indias) "the lizard (of the Indies)," from Latin lacertus (see lizard), with Spanish definite article el, from Latin ille (see le).ETD alligator (n.).2

    The modern form of the English word is attested from 1620s, with unetymological -r as in tater, feller, etc. (Alligarter was an early variant) and an overall Latin appearance. The slang meaning "non-playing devotee of swing music" is attested from 1936; the phrase see you later, alligator is from a 1956 song title.ETD alligator (n.).3

    all-in (adj.)

    "without restrictions," 1890, from the adverbial phrase; see all + in (adv.).ETD all-in (adj.).2

    all-inclusive (adj.)

    "including everything or everyone," 1813, from all + inclusive. Related: All-inclusively; all-inclusiveness.ETD all-inclusive (adj.).2


    fem. proper name, a diminutive of Alice (q.v.), via Old French Alison. Popular in U.S. as a girl's name from 1990s, but all but unknown there before 1946; it was popular in England and Scotland 13c.-17c. As a surname, it could represent "Alice's son."ETD Allison.2

    alliterative (adj.)

    1764, "characterized by alliteration," from stem of alliteration + -ive. Related: Alliteratively; Alliterativeness.ETD alliterative (adj.).2

    alliterate (v.)

    "begin with the same letter or sound," 1776 (implied in alliterated), back-formation from alliteration. Related: Alliterating.ETD alliterate (v.).2

    alliteration (n.)

    1650s, "repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of words in close succession," from Modern Latin alliterationem (nominative alliteratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of alliterare "to begin with the same letter," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter (n.1)). Related: Alliterational.ETD alliteration (n.).2

    all-nighter (n.)

    "incident of staying up all night," 1870, from the adverbial phrase; see all + night. By 1930 as "person who stays up all night."ETD all-nighter (n.).2


    word-forming element meaning "other," from Greek allos "other, different," cognate with Latin alius "other," from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond."ETD allo-.2

    allocate (v.)

    "to set aside for a special purpose," 1630s, from Medieval Latin allocate (the common first word of writs authorizing payment), imperative plural of allocare "allocate, allot," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus). It is a twin of allow. Related: Allocated; allocating. English allocate as an adjective is attested from mid-15c. in legal use.ETD allocate (v.).2

    allocation (n.)

    mid-15c., allocacion, "authorization," from Medieval Latin allocationem (nominative allocatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of allocare "allocate, allot," from assimilated form of Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus).ETD allocation (n.).2

    allocentric (adj.)

    "concentrating on the other rather than oneself," 1927, from allo- "other" + -centric.ETD allocentric (adj.).2

    allogenic (adj.)

    1888 in geology, "transported to its present position from elsewhere," from Greek allogenēs "of another race, stranger," from allos "other, another, different" (see allo-) + -genēs "born" (see -gen) + -ic. An earlier adjective was allogeneous "of a different kind or nature" (1842).ETD allogenic (adj.).2

    allograph (n.)

    "writing made by another person," by 1900, from allo- "other" + -graph "something written." Especially in law, "a deed not written by any of the parties to it." The linguistics sense of "form of an alphabetic letter" is from 1951; here the second element is abstracted from grapheme. Related: Allographic.ETD allograph (n.).2

    alloy (v.)

    c. 1400, "mix (a metal) with a baser metal," from Old French aloiier, aliier "assemble, join," from Latin alligare "bind to, tie to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ligare "to bind, bind one thing to another, tie" (from PIE root *leig- "to tie, bind"). In figurative use often implying debasement or reduction. The meaning "mix any two metals" without reference to values is from 1822. Related: Alloyed; alloying.ETD alloy (v.).2

    alloy (n.)

    early 14c. "relative freedom of a noble metal from alloy or other impurities," from Anglo-French alai, Old French aloi "alloy," from aloiier (see alloy (v.)). The meaning " base metal alloyed with a noble metal" is from c. 1400. The modern spelling from late 17c. The meaning "any mixture of metals," without reference to values, is from 1827.ETD alloy (n.).2


    "well!" French, literally "let us go," first person plural imperative of aller "to go" (see alley (n.1)).ETD allons.2

    allonym (n.)

    "false proper name," 1867, from French allonyme or German allonym (1847), from Greek allos "other" (see allo-) + onyma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name").ETD allonym (n.).2

    allopath (n.)

    "one who practices allopathy," 1830, a back-formation from allopathy or else from German allopath (1823).ETD allopath (n.).2

    allopathic (adj.)

    "pertaining to allopathy," 1830, from French allopathique, from allopathie (see allopathy). Related: Allopathically.ETD allopathic (adj.).2

    allopathy (n.)

    1836, "treatment of disease by remedies that produce effects opposite to the symptoms," from German Allopathie (Hahnemann), from Greek allos "other" (from PIE root *al- "beyond") + -patheia, "suffering, disease, feeling" (see -pathy). It is the term applied by homeopathists to traditional medicine. A word unloved by classicists; it is malformed and the equivalent Greek compound had a different sense and was used in grammar, etc.ETD allopathy (n.).2

    allot (v.)

    "parcel out, divide or distribute as by lots," late 15c., also alot, from Old French aloter (Modern French allotir) "to divide by lots, to divide into lots," from à "to" (see ad-) + loter "lot," a word of Germanic origin (cognates: Gothic hlauts, Old High German hloz, Old English hlot; see lot). Related: Allotted; allotting; allotter; allottee.ETD allot (v.).2

    allotment (n.)

    1570s, "action of allotting," from French allotement, from Old French aloter "divide by lots" (see allot). Or else a native formation from allot + -ment. The meaning "that which is allotted, portion assigned to someone or some purpose" is from 1670s.ETD allotment (n.).2

    allotheism (n.)

    "worship of strange gods," 1650s, from allo- "other" + -theism.ETD allotheism (n.).2

    allotrope (n.)

    "a form in which an element having the property of allotropy may exist," 1847, a back-formation from allotropy "variation of physical properties without change of substance," from Greek allotropos "in another manner;" see allo- "different" + -trope "way, manner." Diamond is an allotrope of carbon. Related: Allotropic.ETD allotrope (n.).2

    allotropy (n.)

    in chemistry, "property of existing in two or more distinct forms, variation of physical properties without change of substance," 1850, from French or German allotropie (1840), from Greek allotropia "variety," from allos "different, other" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond") + tropos "manner, way" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn").ETD allotropy (n.).2

    all-over (adj.)

    "covering every part," 1859, from the adverbial phrase; see all + over (adv.). As a noun, by 1838 as the trade name for a button, etc., gilded on both the upper and under sides, as distinguished from a top, plated on the upper side only. All-overish "generally and indefinitely indisposed" is from 1820, on the notion of "affecting the whole system." Related: All-overishness.ETD all-over (adj.).2

    allowance (n.)

    late 14c., "praise" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French aloance "sanction, granting, allocation," from aloer "allot, apportion, assign" (see allow). As with allow, the English word involves senses of two different French words.ETD allowance (n.).2

    The meaning "sanction, approval, tolerance" is from 1550s. The sense of "a sum allotted to meet expenses" is from c. 1400. In accounts, the meaning "a sum placed to one's credit" is attested from 1520s. The mechanical meaning "permissible deviation from a standard" is from 1903. To make allowances is to add or deduct a sum from someone's account for some special circumstance; figurative use of the phrase is attested from 1670s.ETD allowance (n.).3

    allowed (adj.)

    late 14c., "praised;" mid-15c., "assigned as a due share;" late 15c., "permitted," past-participle adjective from allow.ETD allowed (adj.).2

    allow (v.)

    early 14c., allouen, "to commend, praise; approve of, be pleased with; appreciate the value of;" also, "take into account or give credit for," also, in law and philosophy, "recognize, admit as valid" (a privilege, an excuse, a statement, etc.). From late 14c. as "sanction or permit; condone;" in business, of expenses, etc., by early 15c.ETD allow (v.).2

    The Middle English word is from Anglo-French alouer, Old French aloer, alloiier (13c.) "to place, situate, arrange; allot, apportion, bestow, assign," from Latin allocare "allocate" (see allocate). This word in Old French was confused and ultimately merged with aloer; alloer "to praise, commend, approve," from Latin allaudare, adlaudare, a compound of ad "to" (see ad-) + laudare "to praise" (see laud).ETD allow (v.).3

    From the first word came the sense preserved in allowance "money granted;" from the second came allowance "permission based on approval." The 19c. U.S. colloquial meaning "assert, say," also was in English dialect and goes back to 1570s. Related: Allowed; allowing.ETD allow (v.).4

    allowable (adj.)

    late 14c., "worthy of praise;" mid-15c., "permissible, not forbidden," from Old French alloable "permissible, allowable," from alloer "allot, apportion, bestow" (see allow).ETD allowable (adj.).2

    all-purpose (adj.)

    "suitable for every use or occasion," 1877, from all + purpose (n.).ETD all-purpose (adj.).2


    see alright.ETD allright.2

    all-round (adj.)

    1728, "everywhere," from all + round (adj.). The meaning "able to do many things well, versatile" is from 1867. Also sometimes all-around. All-rounder is from 1855 as a type of men's collar; 1875 as "person who is good at everything."ETD all-round (adj.).2

    all-sorts (n.)

    name in old taverns and beer-shops for a beverage composed of remnants of other liquors mixed together, 1823, from the adjectival phrase; see all + plural of sort (n.).ETD all-sorts (n.).2

    allspice (n.)

    spice made from the berry of the Jamaican pimento, 1620s, from all + spice (n.), "so called because supposed to combine the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves" [Weekley].ETD allspice (n.).2

    all-star (adj.)

    1893, originally of theatrical casts, from all + star (n.) in the "celebrated person" sense. From 1898 in reference to sports teams.ETD all-star (adj.).2

    all-time (adj.)

    "during recorded time," 1910, American English, from all + time (n.). Earlier it had been used in a sense "full-time," of employment, or in opposition to one-time (1883). Middle English had al-time (adv.) "at all times, always; all the time" (c. 1400).ETD all-time (adj.).2

    allude (v.)

    1530s, "to mock" (transitive, now obsolete), from French alluder or directly from Latin alludere "to play, make fun of, joke, jest," also of waves lapping the shore, from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). The meaning "make an indirect reference, point in passing" is from 1530s. Related: Alluded; alluding.ETD allude (v.).2

    allumette (n.)

    "match for lighting," 1848, from French allumette "a match," from allumer "to light, kindle," from Old French alluminer, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + luminare "to shine," from Latin lumen (genitive luminis) "light" (from suffixed form of PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness").ETD allumette (n.).2

    alluring (adj.)

    "appealing to desires," 1570s, present-participle adjective from allure (v.). Related: Alluringly.ETD alluring (adj.).2

    allure (n.)

    "quality of being fascinating and desirable," 1540s, from allure (v.); properly this sense is in allurement.ETD allure (n.).2

    allure (v.)

    "tempt by the offering of something desired," c. 1400, from Anglo-French alurer, Old French aleurer "to attract, captivate; train (a falcon to hunt)," from à "to" (see ad-) + loirre "falconer's lure," from a Frankish word (see lure), perhaps influenced by French allure "gait, way of walking." Related: Allured; alluring.ETD allure (v.).2

    allurement (n.)

    1540s, "means of alluring;" see allure (v.) + -ment. The meaning "act of alluring" is recorded from 1560s. The verbal noun alluring (n.) "action of attracting" is from 1530s; allurance (1580s) sometimes has been used as well.ETD allurement (n.).2

    allusion (n.)

    1540s, "metaphor, parable" (a sense now obsolete); 1550s, "word-play, joke;" 1610s as "passing or casual reference," from Latin allusionem (nominative allusio) "a playing with, a reference to," noun of action from past-participle stem of alludere "to play, jest, make fun of," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). An allusion is never an outright or explicit mention of the person or thing the speaker seems to have in mind.ETD allusion (n.).2

    allusive (adj.)

    "involving allusions," c. 1600, from Latin allus-, past-participle stem of alludere "to joke, jest" (see allude) + -ive. Related: Allusively; allusiveness.ETD allusive (adj.).2

    alluvial (adj.)

    "deposited by flowing water," 1794; see alluvium + -al (1).ETD alluvial (adj.).2

    alluvium (n.)

    "matter deposited by flowing water," 1660s, from noun use of Medieval Latin alluvium, neuter of alluvius "washed against," from Latin alluere "wash against," from ad "to, against" (see ad-) + -luere, combining form of lavere "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash").ETD alluvium (n.).2

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