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    antistrophe (n.) — aplomb (n.)

    antistrophe (n.)

    part of an ancient Greek choral ode, 1610s, from Latin, from Greek antistrophē "the returning of the chorus," "answering to a previous [strophe], except that they now moved from left to right instead of from right to left" [Liddell & Scott], literally "a turning about, a turning back," from antistrephein, from anti "opposite, in opposition to; in return" (see anti-) + strephein "to turn" (see strepto-). Related: Antistrophic.ETD antistrophe (n.).2

    antitheism (n.)

    also anti-theism, "opposition to theism; opposition to belief in God or gods," 1788; see anti- + theism.ETD antitheism (n.).2

    antitheist (n.)

    also anti-theist, "one opposed to belief in the existence of a god," 1813; see anti- "opposite to, against" + theist. Related: Antitheistic. Greek antitheos meant "equal to the gods, god-like," from a different sense of anti.ETD antitheist (n.).2

    antitheses (n.)

    plural of antithesis.ETD antitheses (n.).2

    antithesis (n.)

    1520s, "opposition, contrast," originally in rhetoric, "the bringing of contrary ideas or terms in close opposition;" 1530s as "that which is in (rhetorical) opposition or contrast," from Late Latin antithesis, from Greek antithesis "opposition, resistance," literally "a placing against," also a term in logic and rhetoric, noun of action from antitithenai "to set against, oppose," a term in logic, from anti "against" (see anti-) + tithenai "to put, place" (from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD antithesis (n.).2

    The extended sense of "direct or striking opposition" is from 1630s; by 1831 as "that which is the direct opposite."ETD antithesis (n.).3

    antithetical (adj.)

    "of the nature of or containing a (rhetorical) antithesis," 1580s, from Greek antithetikos "setting in opposition," from antithetos "placed in opposition," from antithesis "opposition, resistance," literally "a placing against" (see antithesis) + -al (1). The general sense of "characterized by direct opposition" is attested by 1848. Related: Antithetically.ETD antithetical (adj.).2

    antithetic (adj.)

    "containing an antithesis," c. 1600, from Latinized form of Greek antithetikos "contrasting, setting in opposition," from antithetos "placed in opposition," from antithesis "opposition, resistance," literally "a placing against" (see antithesis).ETD antithetic (adj.).2

    antitoxic (n.)

    "substance which counteracts a poison," 1860; from anti- "against" + toxic. As an adjective, "counteracting a poison," from 1862.ETD antitoxic (n.).2

    antitoxin (n.)

    "substance neutralizing poisons," 1892; see anti- "against" + toxin. Coined in 1890 by German bacteriologist Emil von Behring (1854-1917). Antitoxic "substance which counteracts a poison" is from 1860 in English.ETD antitoxin (n.).2

    anti-trust (adj.)

    also antitrust, "opposed to the political power or influence of organized business interests," 1890, U.S., from anti- "against" + trust (n.) in the "economic monopoly" sense.ETD anti-trust (adj.).2

    antitype (n.)

    also anti-type, 1610s, "that which is prefigured," especially of that which in the Gospel is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, from Greek antitypos "corresponding in form" (as the impression to the die), from anti "in return, compared with, counter-" (see anti-) + typos "a model, type," literally "a blow, a mark" (see type (n.)). Related: Antitypical.ETD antitype (n.).2

    antivenin (n.)

    "antivenom," 1894, from anti- + venin, from venom + chemical suffix -in (2). Perhaps immediately from French antivenin.ETD antivenin (n.).2

    antivirus (n.)

    "medication to help the body fight off a specific infection," 1903, from anti- + virus.ETD antivirus (n.).2

    anti-war (adj.)

    also antiwar, "opposition to a war," 1812, American English, in reference to opposition to the War of 1812, from anti- + war (n.). In a non-specific sense of "political pacifism, opposition to all war," by 1821.ETD anti-war (adj.).2

    antler (n.)

    late 14c., "first tine or branch of the horns of a deer," from Anglo-French auntiler, Old French antoillier (14c., Modern French andouiller) "antler," which is perhaps from Gallo-Roman cornu *antoculare "horn in front of the eyes," from Latin ante "before" (from PIE root *ant- "front, forehead," with derivatives meaning "in front of, before") + ocularis "of the eyes" (from Latin oculus "an eye," from PIE root *okw- "to see").ETD antler (n.).2

    This etymology is doubted by some because no similar word exists in other Romance languages, but compare German Augensprossen "antlers," literally "eye-sprouts," for a similar formation. Later used of any branch of the horns. Related: Antlered (1813).ETD antler (n.).3

    antoecian (adj.)

    "pertaining to the people dwelling on the opposite side of the earth," 1860, from antoeci (plural) "people dwelling on the opposite side of the earth" (1620s), a Latinized form of Greek antoikoi, literally "dwellers opposite," from anti "opposite" (see anti-) + oikein "to dwell" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan").ETD antoecian (adj.).2


    masc. proper name, from Latin Antonius, name of a Roman gens (see Anthony).ETD Antony.2


    fem. proper name, from Latin Antonia, fem. of Antonius (see Anthony).ETD Antonia.2

    Antonine (adj.)

    1680s, in reference to Roman emperors Antoninus Pius (ruled 138-161 C.E.) and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180). For the name, see Anthony. Earlier (1540s) of the followers of St. Anthony of Egypt; later Antonian (1904) was used in this sense.ETD Antonine (adj.).2

    antonomasia (n.)

    rhetorical substitution of an epithet for a proper name (or vice versa; as in His Holiness for the name of a pope), 1580s, from Latin, from Greek antonomasia, from antonomazein "to name instead, call by a new name," from anti "instead" (see anti-) + onomazein "to name," from onoma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). Related: Antonomastic.ETD antonomasia (n.).2

    antonym (n.)

    "an antithetical word," 1867, coined to serve as opposite of synonym, from Greek anti "opposite, against" (see anti-) + onym "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). Perhaps introduced to English in the book "Synonyms and Antonyms" (1867) by the Ven. C.J. Smith, M.A.ETD antonym (n.).2

    French antonyme (1842), German antonym (by 1859) are older. The un-Greek alternative counterterm has been left to fade.ETD antonym (n.).3

    antrum (n.)

    "a cave or cavity of the body," 1727, medical Latin, from Greek antron "a cave," a word of uncertain etymology, perhaps from a pre-Greek substrate language. Related: Antral.ETD antrum (n.).2

    antsy (adj.)

    "restlessly impatient," 1838, American English, from plural of ant + -y (2); probably reflecting the same image as the slang expression have ants in (one's) pants "be restless and fidgety" from a century later. Related: Antsiness.ETD antsy (adj.).2


    port city in Belgium, French Anvers, from a Germanic compound of *anda "at" + *werpum "wharf" (see wharf). Folk etymology connects the first word with hand.ETD Antwerp.2

    anus (n.)

    "inferior opening of the alimentary canal," 1650s, from Old French anus, from Latin anus "ring, anus," from PIE root *āno- "ring." So called for its shape; compare Greek daktylios "anus," literally "ring (for the finger)," from daktylos "finger."ETD anus (n.).2


    jackal-headed god of Egyptian religion, identified by the later Greeks with their Hermes, from Greek Anoubis, from Egyptian Anpu, Anepu.ETD Anubis.2

    anuria (n.)

    "absence of urination," 1838, medical Latin, from Greek an- "not, without" (see an- (1)) + ouron "urine" (see urine) + abstract noun ending -ia.ETD anuria (n.).2

    anvil (n.)

    Old English anfilt "anvil," a Proto-Germanic compound (source also of Middle Dutch anvilt, Old High German anafalz, Dutch aanbeeld, Danish ambolt "anvil"), apparently representing *ana- "on" (see on (prep.)) + *filtan "to hit" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive").ETD anvil (n.).2

    The ear bone (incus) is so called from 1680s. The musical Anvil Chorus is based on the "Gypsy Song" that opens Act II of Verdi's "Il Trovatore," first performed in Teatro Apollo, Rome, Jan. 19, 1853.ETD anvil (n.).3

    anxiety (n.)

    1520s, "apprehension caused by danger, misfortune, or error, uneasiness of mind respecting some uncertainty, a restless dread of some evil," from Latin anxietatem (nominative anxietas) "anguish, anxiety, solicitude," noun of quality from anxius "uneasy, troubled in mind" (see anxious).ETD anxiety (n.).2

    It was sometimes considered a pathological condition (1660s); modern psychiatric use dates to 1904. Age of Anxiety is from Auden's poem (1947). For "anxiety, distress," Old English had angsumnes, Middle English anxumnesse.ETD anxiety (n.).3

    anxious (adj.)

    1620s, "greatly troubled by uncertainties," from Latin anxius "solicitous, uneasy, troubled in mind" (also "causing anxiety, troublesome"), from angere, anguere "to choke, squeeze," figuratively "to torment, cause distress" (from PIE root *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful").ETD anxious (adj.).2

    The same image is in Serbo-Croatian tjeskoba "anxiety," literally "tightness, narrowness." The meaning "earnestly desirous" (as in anxious to please) is from 1742. Related: Anxiously; anxiousness.ETD anxious (adj.).3

    anybody (n.)

    c. 1300, ani-bodi, "any person," from any + body. One-word form attested by 1826. Phrase anybody's game (or race, etc.) is from 1840.ETD anybody (n.).2

    anyhow (adv.)

    1740, "in any way or manner," from any + how (adv.). Unlike most other any + (interrogative) compounds, there is no record of it in Old or Middle English. Compare anyway (16c.). Also used as a conjunction, "in any case." Emphatic form any old how is recorded from 1900, American English.ETD anyhow (adv.).2

    anymore (adv.)

    "any longer, to any extent," one-word form by 1865, from any + more. Typically used with a negative, a custom as old as Middle English, where without any more is found late 14c.ETD anymore (adv.).2

    anyone (n.)

    "any person or persons," 1844 as one word; since Old English as two words, from any + one. Old English also used ænigmon in this sense, Middle English eani mon, ani on; also compare anybody.ETD anyone (n.).2

    anyplace (n.)

    1911 as one word; two-word form is in Middle English (late 14c.); from any + place (n.).ETD anyplace (n.).2

    anything (n.)

    "a thing," indefinitely, late Old English aniþing, from any + thing. But Old English ænig þinga apparently also meant "somehow, anyhow" (glossing Latin quoquo modo).ETD anything (n.).2

    anythingarian (n.)

    "one indifferent to religious creeds, one 'that always make their interest the standard of their religion,'" 1704, originally dismissive, from anything on model of trinitarian, unitarian, etc.ETD anythingarian (n.).2

    anytime (adv.)

    "at whatever time," one-word form by 1854; two-word form is in Middle English (early 15c.; any while in the same sense is late 14c.), from any + time (n.).ETD anytime (adv.).2

    anyway (adv.)

    one-word form is common from 1830s; in two words from 1560s, "in any manner," also any ways (with adverbial genitive); see any + way (n.). As an adverbial conjunction, from 1859.ETD anyway (adv.).2

    Middle English in this sense had ani-gates "in any way, somehow" (c. 1400), also on anikinnes wise "in any way or manner" (c. 1200), and Late Old English had on enige wisan "in any wise, in any manner." As a prepositional phrase, in any way is from late 14c.ETD anyway (adv.).3

    anyways (adv.)

    16c., anyway (q.v.) with adverbial genitive -s.ETD anyways (adv.).2

    anywhere (adv.)

    "in, at, or to any place," late 14c., from any + where. Earlier words in this sense were owhere, oughwhere, aywhere, literally "aught where" (see aught (n.1)).ETD anywhere (adv.).2

    anywhither (adv.)

    "in any direction," 1610s, from any + whither.ETD anywhither (adv.).2

    anywise (adv.)

    "to any degree, in any way," c. 1200, from Old English ænige wisan, from any + wise (n.).ETD anywise (adv.).2


    1915, acronym of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. First used in reference to the Gallipoli campaign.ETD Anzac.2


    1961, said to be an abbreviation of all (systems) OK; popularized in the jargon of U.S. astronauts. See OK.ETD A-OK.2


    dominant online service of the late 1990s, initialism (acronym) of America Online, a company name attested from late 1989.ETD AOL.2

    aorist (n.)

    1580s, the tense of Greek verbs that most closely corresponds to the simple past in English, from Greek aoristos (khronos) "indefinite (tense)," from aoristos "without boundaries, undefined, indefinite," from assimilated form of a- "not" (see a- (3)) + horistos "limited, defined," verbal adjective from horizein "to limit, define," from horos "boundary, limit, border" (see horizon). Related: Aoristic.ETD aorist (n.).2

    aorta (n.)

    in anatomy, "main trunk of the arterial system," 1590s, from Medieval Latin aorta, from Greek aortē "a strap to hang (something by)," a word applied by Aristotle to the great artery of the heart, literally "what is hung up," probably from aeirein "to lift, heave, raise," which is of uncertain origin, according to Watkins possibly from PIE root *wer- (1) "raise, lift, hold suspended," But Beekes writes that "No cognates are known." Used earlier by Hippocrates of the bronchial tubes. It is cognate with the second element in meteor. Related: Aortal; aortic.ETD aorta (n.).2

    ap- (2)

    patronymic element in Welsh pedigrees and names, earlier map "son," cognate with Gaelic mac. Since 17c. merged into surnames and reduced to P- or B- (Ap Rhys = Price, Ap Evan = Bevan, Bowen = Ap Owen, etc.).ETD ap- (2).2

    ap- (1)

    form of Latin ad- in compounds with words or stems beginning in -p-; see ad-. In Old French reduced to a-, but scribal re-doubling of ap- to app- in imitation of Latin began 14c. in France, 15c. in England, and was extended to some compounds formed in Old French or Middle English that never had a Latin original (appoint, appall).ETD ap- (1).2

    In words from Greek, ap- is the form of apo before a vowel (see apo-).ETD ap- (1).3


    abbreviation of Associated Press, first recorded 1879; the organization was founded May 1848 as co-operative news gathering effort among New York City newspaper publishers covering the war with Mexico.ETD AP.2


    original U.S. grocery chain and leading food retailer of the mid-20c., the abbreviation by 1875, originally The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, which grew out of a New York firm founded 1859 by George Gilman and subsequently expanded by George Huntington Hartford. It ceased operation in 2015.ETD A&P.2

    ape (n.)

    Old English apa (fem. ape) "an ape, a monkey," from Proto-Germanic *apan (source also of Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Dutch aap, German affe), probably a borrowed word, perhaps from Celtic (compare Old Irish apa, Welsh epa) or Slavic (compare Old Bohemian op, Slovak opitza), and the whole group probably is ultimately from an Eastern or non-Indo-European language.ETD ape (n.).2

    The common word in English until the emergence of monkey in 16c. More technically, in zoology, "a simian; a tail-less, man-like monkey," by 1690s. The only native apes in Europe are the Barbary apes of Gibraltar, intelligent and docile, and these were the showman's apes of the Middle Ages. Apes were noted in medieval times for mimicry of human action, hence, perhaps, the other figurative use of the word, to mean "a fool" (c. 1300).ETD ape (n.).3

    To go ape "go crazy" is by 1953 (unsanitized or emphatic go apeshit is by 1954), American English; early attestations suggest armed forces slang. To lead apes in hell (1570s) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid. Middle English plural was occasionally apen. Middle English also had ape-ware "deceptions, tricks."ETD ape (n.).4

    ape (v.)

    "to imitate," 1630s, but the notion is implied earlier, as in the phrase play the ape (1570s), and Middle English apeshipe "ape-like behavior, simulation" (mid-15c.); and the noun sense of "one who mimics" may date from early 13c. Related: Aped; aping.ETD ape (v.).2

    aping (n.)

    "imitation, mimicry," 1680s, verbal noun from ape (v.). Apery in the same sense is attested from 1610s.ETD aping (n.).2

    apace (adv.)

    late 14c. contraction of a pace (early 14c.), literally "at a pace," but usually with a sense of "at a good pace," from a- (1) "on" + pace (n.).ETD apace (adv.).2


    1745, from American Spanish (where it is attested by 1598), probably from Yavapai (a Yuman language) 'epache "people." Sometimes derived from Zuni apachu "enemy" (see F.W. Hodge, "American Indians," 1907), but this seems to have been the Zuni name for the Navajo.ETD Apache.2

    In French, the sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" is attested by 1902, said to have been coined by journalist Victor Moris; it was in English by 1908. Apache dance was the World War I-era equivalent of 1990s' brutal "slam dancing." Fenimore Cooper's Indian novels were enormously popular in Europe throughout the 19c., and comparisons of Cooper's fictional Indian ways in the wilderness and underworld life in European cities go back to Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by German author Karl May that Apaches replaced Mohicans as the quintessential savages in European popular imagination. Also compare Mohawk.ETD Apache.3

    apagoge (n.)

    "demonstration of a proposition by the refutation of its opposite, indirect proof, reductio ad absurdum," from Greek apagogē "a leading away" (used by Aristotle in a logical sense), from apagein "to lead away," from assimilated form of apo "from, away from" (see apo-) + agein "push forward, put in motion; stir up; excite, urge" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Related: Apogogic (1670s); apogogical.ETD apagoge (n.).2

    apanage (n.)

    see appanage.ETD apanage (n.).2

    apanthropy (n.)

    "aversion to human company, love of solitude," 1753, nativized form of Greek apanthrōpia, abstract noun from apanthrōpos "unsocial," from assimilated form of apo "off, away from" (see apo-) + anthrōpos "man, human" (see anthropo-). Related: Apanthropic.ETD apanthropy (n.).2

    apart (adv.)

    "to or at the side; by itself, away from others," late 14c., from Old French a part (Modern French à part) "to the side," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + partem, accusative of pars "a part, piece, a faction, a part of the body" (from PIE root *pere- (2) "to grant, allot"). The first element is probably felt in English as a- as in abroad, ahead (see a- (1)). As an adjective from 1786.ETD apart (adv.).2

    apartment (n.)

    1640s, "private rooms for the use of one person or family within a house," from French appartement (16c.), from Italian appartimento, literally "a separated place," from appartere "to separate," from a "to" (see ad-) + parte "side, place," from Latin partem (nominative pars) "a part, piece, a division" (from PIE root *pere- (2) "to grant, allot").ETD apartment (n.).2

    The sense of "set of private rooms rented for independent living in a building entirely of these" (the U.S. equivalent of British flat) is by 1863, with reference to Paris. Apartment house is attested from 1870.ETD apartment (n.).3

    apartness (n.)

    "state of being apart," 1849, from apart + -ness.ETD apartness (n.).2

    apartheid (n.)

    1947 (the policy was officially begun 1948), "segregation of European from non-European people in South Africa," from Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally "separateness," from Dutch apart "separate" (from French àpart; see apart) + suffix -heid, which is cognate with English -hood. The official English synonym was separate development (1955).ETD apartheid (n.).2

    apathetic (adj.)

    "characterized by apathy," 1744, apathetick, from apathy + -ic, on model of pathetic.ETD apathetic (adj.).2

    apathy (n.)

    c. 1600, "freedom from suffering, passionless existence," from French apathie (16c.), from Latin apathia, from Greek apatheia "freedom from suffering, impassibility, want of sensation," from apathēs "without feeling, without suffering or having suffered," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + pathos "emotion, feeling, suffering" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer"). Originally a positive quality; the sense of "indolence of mind, indifference to what should excite" is by 1733.ETD apathy (n.).2

    apatite (n.)

    "common naturally occurring calcium phosphate," 1803, with -ite (1) + Greek apatē "cheating, fraud, deceit," which is of uncertain origin. Named by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1786) and so called because it often is mistaken for other minerals.ETD apatite (n.).2


    also a.p.b., "general alarm," 1960, police jargon initialism (acronym) for all-points bulletin, itself attested by 1953 (perhaps more in detective novels than in actual police use). The notion is "information of general importance," broadcast to all who can hear it.ETD APB.2

    ape-man (n.)

    also apeman, hypothetical "missing link" between the highest anthropoid apes and human beings, progenitor of the human race, 1869, in a translation of Haeckel, from ape (n.) + man (n.). Man-ape is attested from 1823 as "anthropoid ape, orangutan." The name Martin Halfape appears in an English roll from 1227.ETD ape-man (n.).2


    Latin Apenninus (mons), the chain of mountains which forms the spine of Italy, perhaps from Celtic penn "hill, head of land" (see pen-).ETD Apennine.2

    apercu (n.)

    "quick impression, hasty glance, sketch, brief survey," 1821 as a French word in English, from French aperçu (18c. in this sense), noun use of past participle of apercevoir "to perceive" (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *adpercipere, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + percipere "to perceive" (see perceive).ETD apercu (n.).2

    aperiodic (adj.)

    "without periodicity," 1874, from a- (3) "not" + periodic.ETD aperiodic (adj.).2

    aperitif (n.)

    "alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite," 1890, from French apéritif "laxative, laxative liqueur," literally "opening," from Latin aperitivus, from aperire "to open, uncover," from a PIE compound *ap-wer-yo-, which is from *ap- "off, away" (see apo-) + the root *wer- (4) "to cover." A doublet of apertive.ETD aperitif (n.).2

    apertive (n.)

    "medicine capable of opening or dilating" (pores, bowels, etc.), "a laxative," early 15c. (Chauliac), apertif, also as an adjective, from Latin aperitivus, from aperire "to open, uncover," from PIE compound *ap-wer-yo- from *ap- "off, away" (see apo-) + root *wer- (4) "to cover." Also aperient (1620s).ETD apertive (n.).2

    apert (adj.)

    "open, evident, undisguised," early 14c., from Old French apert "obvious, evident, visible, plain to see," and directly from Latin apertus "open, uncovered, unclosed," past participle of aperire "to open, uncover" (see overt). Related: Apertly.ETD apert (adj.).2

    aperture (n.)

    early 15c. (Chauliac), "an opening, hole, orifice," from Latin apertura "an opening," from apertus, past participle of aperire "to open, uncover," from PIE compound *ap-wer-yo- from *ap- "off, away" (see apo-) + root *wer- (4) "to cover." In optics, "the diameter of the exposed part of a telescope, microscope, etc.," from 1660s.ETD aperture (n.).2

    apex (n.)

    "the tip, point, or summit" of anything, c. 1600, from Latin apex "summit, peak, tip, top, extreme end;" which is plausibly related to apere "to fasten, fix," hence "the tip of anything" (one of the meanings of apex in Latin was "small rod at the top of the flamen's cap"), and thus ultimately from PIE *ap- (1) "to take, reach" (see apt). But if the original notion was "point," not "top," it might go another way. Proper plural is apices.ETD apex (n.).2

    aphagia (n.)

    "inability to swallow," 1854, from a- (3) "not, without" + abstract noun from Greek phagein "to eat" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share").ETD aphagia (n.).2

    aphasic (adj.)

    "characterized by pathological loss of ability to speak," 1867, from aphasia + -ic. Aphasiac (1868) is better as the noun, "one suffering from aphasia," but both words have been used in both senses.ETD aphasic (adj.).2

    aphasia (n.)

    in pathology, "loss of ability to speak," especially as result of brain injury or disorder, 1867, from Modern Latin aphasia, from Greek aphasia "speechlessness," abstract noun from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + phasis "utterance," from phanai "to speak," related to phēmē "voice, report, rumor" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").ETD aphasia (n.).2

    aphelion (n.)

    "point farthest from the sun" (of a celestial body's orbit), 1670s, a Grecianized form of Modern Latin aphelium (itself attested in English from 1650s), coined by Johannes Kepler based on Greek apo hēliou "away from the sun." The word is thus an assimilated form of apo "away from" (see apo-) + hēliou, genitive of hēlios "sun" (from PIE root *sawel- "the sun"), formed on the model of Ptolemaic apogaeum (see apogee) to reflect the new heliocentric model of the universe.ETD aphelion (n.).2

    apheresis (n.)

    also aphaeresis, "suppression of a letter or syllable at the beginning of a word," 1610s, from Latin aphaeresis, a grammarians' use of Greek aphairesis "a taking away," from aphairein "to take away," from assimilated form of apo "from, off" (see apo-) + hairein "to take" (see heresy). Related: Apheretic.ETD apheresis (n.).2

    aphetic (adj.)

    1880, in philology, "produced by or resulting from loss of an initial short, unaccented vowel;" with -ic + aphesis (1880), a word "suggested by the Editor" [Sir James A.H. Murray] for "gradual and unintentional loss of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word" [OED, 1989].ETD aphetic (adj.).2

    It is from Greek aphienai "to let go, to send forth," from assimilated form of apo "from" (see apo-) + hienai "to send, throw" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). Compare apheresis.ETD aphetic (adj.).3

    As squire (n.) from esquire, venture from adventure, the Middle English part of taint (v.) from attaint, spite (n.) from despite, tire (n.) from attire, tail (n.2) from entail, tend (v.2) from attend. More such aphetic variants did not survive (stablish from establish, prentice (n.) from apprentice), and they could overlap: tention c. 1600 could be short for intention or contention (and in modern times for attention!).ETD aphetic (adj.).4

    aphid (n.)

    1849, Englished from Modern Latin aphides, plural of aphis, coined by Linnaeus (1758), though where he got it and why he applied it to the plant louse are mysteries. The theory favored by OED as "least improbable" is that it derives from the plural of Greek apheidēs "unsparing, lavishly bestowed," in reference either to the "prodigious rate of production" of the insects or their voracity. The colloquial name was ant-cow (1847). Related: Aphidian (1855).ETD aphid (n.).2

    aphonic (adj.)

    "having no sound," 1827, with -ic + Greek aphonos "voiceless," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + phōnē "voice" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").ETD aphonic (adj.).2

    aphonia (n.)

    in pathology, "want of voice, loss of voice through some physical condition," 1778, from medical Latin aphonia, from Greek aphonia "speechlessness," abstract noun from aphonos "voiceless," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + phōnē "voice" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say") + abstract noun ending (see -ia). The Englished form aphony is attested from 1680s.ETD aphonia (n.).2

    aphorism (n.)

    1520s, "concise statement of a principle" (especially in reference to the "Aphorisms of Hippocrates"), from French aphorisme (corrected from Old French aufforisme, 14c.), from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos "definition; short, pithy sentence," from aphorizein "to mark off, divide," from apo "from" (see apo-) + horizein "to bound" (see horizon).ETD aphorism (n.).2

    The general sense of "short, pithy statement containing a truth of general import" (e.g. "life is short, and art is long") is from 1580s in English. Distinguished from an axiom, which is a statement of self-evident truth; an epigram is like an aphorism, but lacking in general import. Maxim and saying can be used as synonyms for aphorism, but maxims tend to be more practical than aphorisms, and sayings tend to be more commonplace and have an author's name attached.ETD aphorism (n.).3

    aphoristic (adj.)

    "of the nature of an aphorism," 1753, from Latinized form of Greek aphoristikos, from aphorismos "definition, pithy sentence" (see aphorism). Related: Aphoristically (1650s). Aphorismic "having the form of an aphorism" is from 1794.ETD aphoristic (adj.).2

    aphotic (adj.)

    "untouched by sunlight, lightless" (in reference to deep-sea regions), 1894, Modern Latin, from Greek a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + phōs (genitive phōtos) "light" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine") + -ic. Aphotic zone is recorded from 1913.ETD aphotic (adj.).2


    fem. proper name, apparently from a misunderstanding of Hebrew bebheth 'Aphrah "in the house of Aphrah" (Micah i.10), in which Aphrah probably is the name of a town, not a person. [Klein]ETD Aphra.2

    aphrodisiac (n.)

    "preparation or drug which excites sexual desire," 1719, from Latinized form of Greek aphrodisiakos "inducing sexual desire," from Aphrodisios, "sacred to Aphrodite, pertaining to Aphrodite," Greek goddess of love and beauty (see Aphrodite), whose name also meant "sexual pleasure; a temple of Aphrodite." As an adjective from 1775 (earlier was aphrodisical, 1719). Aphrodisian "devoted to sexual love" is attested from 1864.ETD aphrodisiac (n.).2

    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."ETD Aphrodite (n.).2

    Associated by the Romans with their Venus, who originally was a less-important goddess. It was pronounced in 17c. English to rhyme with night, right, etc.ETD Aphrodite (n.).3

    apiary (n.)

    1650s, from Latin apiarium "bee-house, beehive," noun use of neuter of apiarius "of bees," from apis "bee," a mystery word unrelated to any similar words in other Indo-European languages. A borrowing from Semitic has been proposed; de Vaan finds it "conceivable." Related: Apiarian (1798).ETD apiary (n.).2

    apiarist (n.)

    "bee-keeper, bee-master," 1816; see apiary + -ist.ETD apiarist (n.).2

    apical (adj.)

    "of or belonging to an apex," 1827, from Latin apicem, from apex (see apex) + -al (1).ETD apical (adj.).2

    apiculture (n.)

    "the rearing of bees," 1859, from Latin apis "bee" (see apiary) on analogy of agriculture, etc. (see culture (n.)).ETD apiculture (n.).2

    apiece (adv.)

    "for each" (thing, person, etc.), 1550s, a contraction of a pece (mid-15c.), originally of coins, objects for sale, etc.; see a (2) + piece (n.1).ETD apiece (adv.).2

    apish (adj.)

    "inclined to imitate servilely," 1530s; "looking like an ape," 1560s; from ape (n.) + -ish. Related: Apishly; apishness.ETD apish (adj.).2

    aplasia (n.)

    "defective or arrested development of a body part," 1876, medical Latin, from Greek a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + -plasia "formation, growth, development." Related: Aplastic.ETD aplasia (n.).2

    aplenty (adj.)

    also a-plenty, "in abundance," by 1829, colloquial when used after the noun, from a- (1) + plenty (n.).ETD aplenty (adj.).2

    But perhaps older, depending how some uses of aplenty or a plenty are read.ETD aplenty (adj.).3

    aplomb (n.)

    "assurance springing from confidence in oneself," 1828, from French aplomb "self-possession," literally "perpendicularity" (16c.), from phrase à plomb "poised upright, balanced," etymologically "on the plumb line," from Latin plumbum "(the metal) lead" (see plumb (n.)), of which the weight at the end of the line was made.ETD aplomb (n.).2

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