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    B.T.U. — building (n.)


    1889 as an abbreviation of British Thermal Unit (1862), a commercial unit of electrical energy (the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit); the French Thermal Unit is the amount of heat required to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree centigrade. Also from 1889 as an abbreviation of Board of Trade Unit, in electicity "1,000 watt hours."ETD B.T.U..2


    internet abbreviation of by the way, in use by 1989.ETD btw.2

    bus (v.)

    1838, "to travel by omnibus," from bus (n.). The transitive meaning "transport students to integrate schools" is from 1961, American English. The meaning "clear tables in a restaurant" is by 1892, probably from the use of the noun in reference to four-wheeled carts used to carry dishes. Related: Bused; busing.ETD bus (v.).2

    bus (n.)

    1832, "public street carriage," originally a colloquial abbreviation of omnibus (q.v.). The modern English noun is nothing but a Latin dative plural ending. To miss the bus, in the figurative sense of "lose an opportunity," is from 1901, Australian English (OED has a figurative miss the omnibus from 1886). Busman's holiday "leisure time spent participating in what one does for a living" (1893) probably is a reference to London omnibus drivers riding the buses on their days off.ETD bus (n.).2

    bub (n.2)

    "strong drink of any kind," especially malt liquor, 1670s, perhaps imitative of the sound of drinking.ETD bub (n.2).2

    bub (n.1)

    also bubby, familiar address for males, 1839, perhaps a variation of bud "a little boy" (1848), American English colloquial; perhaps from German bube "boy." But sometimes, along with bud, assumed to be a corruption of brother (compare buddy, bubba).ETD bub (n.1).2

    bub (n.)

    "a woman's breast," 1860, short for bubby.ETD bub (n.).2

    bubba (n.)

    familiar address or nickname for a male, 1873 (in a South Carolina context), Southern U.S. slang, said to be a corruption of brother.ETD bubba (n.).2

    bubby (n.)

    "a woman's breast," 1680s, of uncertain origin. Compare boobs.ETD bubby (n.).2

    bubble (n.)

    "small vesicle of water or some other fluid inflated with air or gas," early 14c., perhaps from Middle Dutch bobbel (n.) and/or Middle Low German bubbeln (v.), all probably of echoic origin. Figurative use in reference to anything wanting firmness, substance, or permanence is from 1590s. Specifically in reference to inflated markets or financial schemes originally in South Sea Bubble, which originated c. 1711 and collapsed 1720. Bubble-bath recorded by 1937. Bubble-shell is from 1847.ETD bubble (n.).2

    bubbly (adj.)

    "full of bubbles," 1590s, from bubble (n.) + -y (2). Of persons, from 1939. The slang noun meaning "champagne" (1920) is short for bubbly water (1910).ETD bubbly (adj.).2

    bubble (v.)

    late 15c., bobelen, "to form or rise in bubbles," perhaps from bubble (n.) and/or from Middle Low German bubbeln (v.), which is probably of echoic origin. From 1610s as "cause to bubble." Related: Bubbled; bubbling.ETD bubble (v.).2

    bubble-gum (n.)

    "chewing gum that can be blown in bubbles," 1935, from bubble (n.) + gum (n.). Figurative of young teenager tastes or culture from the early 1960s.ETD bubble-gum (n.).2

    bubo (n.)

    "inflamed swelling in the glands," late 14c., plural buboes, from Late Latin bubo (genitive bubonis) "swelling of lymph glands" (in the groin), from Greek boubon "the groin, swelling in the groin," a word of unknown origin.ETD bubo (n.).2

    bubonic (adj.)

    "characterized by swelling in the groin," by 1795, from Latin bubo (genitive bubonis) "swelling of lymph glands" (in the groin), from Greek boubon "the groin; swelling in the groin" (which is of unknown origin) + -ic. Bubonic plague is attested by 1827.ETD bubonic (adj.).2

    buccal (adj.)

    "pertaining to the cheek," 1813, from Latin bucca "cheek," especially when puffed out (later "mouth"); see bouche.ETD buccal (adj.).2

    buccaneer (n.)

    "piratical rover on the Spanish coast," 1680s; earlier "one who roasts meat on a boucan" (1660s), from French boucanier "a pirate; a curer of wild meats, a user of a boucan," a native grill for roasting meat, from Tupi mukem (rendered in Portuguese as moquem c. 1587): "initial b and m are interchangeable in the Tupi language" [Klein]. The Haitian variant, barbacoa, became barbecue.ETD buccaneer (n.).2

    Originally used of French settlers working as woodsmen and hunters of wild hogs and cattle in the Spanish West Indies, they became a lawless and piratical set after being driven from their trade by Spanish authorities. Boucan/buccan itself is attested in English from 1610s as a noun, c. 1600 as a verb.ETD buccaneer (n.).3


    Alexander the Great's favorite horse, from Greek Boukephalos, literally "Ox-head," from bous "ox" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow") + kephalē "head" (see cephalo-).ETD Bucephalus.2

    buck (n.3)

    "sawhorse, frame composed of two X-shaped ends joined at the middle by a bar," 1817, American English, apparently from Dutch bok "trestle," literally "buck" (see buck (n.1)). Compare easel.ETD buck (n.3).2

    buck (v.2)

    "to copulate with," 1520s, from buck (n.1). Related: Bucked; bucking.ETD buck (v.2).2

    buck (v.1)

    of a horse, "make a violent back-arched leap in an effort to throw off a rider," 1848, apparently "jump like a buck," from buck (n.1). Related: Bucked; bucking. Buck up "cheer up" is from 1844, probably from the noun in the "man" sense.ETD buck (v.1).2

    buck (n.2)

    "dollar," 1856, American English, perhaps an abbreviation of buckskin as a unit of trade among Indians and Europeans in frontier days (attested from 1748).ETD buck (n.2).2

    buck (n.4)

    "violent effort of a horse to throw off a rider," 1877, from buck (v.1).ETD buck (n.4).2

    buck (v.3)

    1750, "to butt," apparently a corruption of butt (v.) by influence of buck (n.1). Figuratively, of persons, "to resist, oppose," 1857.ETD buck (v.3).2

    buck (n.1)

    "male deer," c. 1300, earlier "male goat;" from Old English bucca "male goat," from Proto-Germanic *bukkon (source also of Old Saxon buck, Middle Dutch boc, Dutch bok, Old High German boc, German Bock, Old Norse bokkr), perhaps from a PIE root *bhugo (source also of Avestan buza "buck, goat," Armenian buc "lamb"), but some speculate that it is from a lost pre-Germanic language. Barnhart says Old English buc "male deer," listed in some sources, is a "ghost word or scribal error." The Germanic word (in the sense "he-goat") was borrowed in French as bouc.ETD buck (n.1).2

    The meaning "a man" is from c. 1300 (Old Norse bokki also was used in this sense). Especially "fashionable man" (1725); also used of a male Native American (c. 1800) or Negro (1835). This also is perhaps the sense in army slang buck private "private of the lowest class" (1870s).ETD buck (n.1).3

    The phrase pass the buck is recorded in the literal sense 1865, American English poker slang; the buck in question being originally perhaps a buckhorn-handled knife:ETD buck (n.1).4

    The figurative sense of "shift responsibility" is first recorded 1912; the phrase the buck stops here (1952) is associated with U.S. President Harry Truman.ETD buck (n.1).5

    buckaroo (n.)

    "cowboy," 1907, American English, earlier buckayro (1889), bakhara (1827), from Spanish vaquero "cowboy," from vaca "cow," from Latin vacca, a word of uncertain origin. The spelling was altered by influence of buck (n.1).ETD buckaroo (n.).2

    buckboard (n.)

    1839, "plank mounted on four wheels," from board (n.1) + buck "body of a cart or wagon" (1690s), perhaps representing a dialectal survival of Old English buc "belly, body, trunk" (see bucket). As a type of vehicle constructed this way, from 1860.ETD buckboard (n.).2

    bucket (n.)

    "pail or open vessel for drawing and carrying water and other liquids," mid-13c., from Anglo-French buquet "bucket, pail," from Old French buquet "bucket," which is from Frankish or some other Germanic source, or a diminutive of cognate Old English buc "pitcher, bulging vessel," originally "belly" (buckets were formerly of leather as well as wood), both from West Germanic *buh- (source also of Dutch buik, Old High German buh, German Bauch "belly"), possibly from a variant of PIE root *beu-, *bheu- "to grow, swell" (see bull (n.2)).ETD bucket (n.).2

    To kick the bucket "die" (1785) perhaps is from an unrelated bucket "beam on which something may be hung or carried" (1570s), from French buquet "balance," a beam from which slaughtered animals were hung (by the heels or hooves). This was perhaps reinforced by the notion of suicide by hanging after standing on an upturned bucket; but Farmer calls attention to bucket "a Norfolk term for a pulley." Bucket list "list of experiences or achievements one hopes to have or accomplish during one's remaining life," is by 2007, probably based on kicking the bucket as "dying," but the phrase was used earlier in algorithm sorting.ETD bucket (n.).3

    buckeye (n.)

    also buck-eye, "American horse-chestnut tree," 1763, said to be so called from resemblance of the nut to a stag's eye (see buck (n.1) + eye (n.)). Meaning "native of Ohio" is attested since 1822, from the great number of such trees growing there. Used figuratively in early 20c. of anything cheap or inferior.ETD buckeye (n.).2

    buckhorn (n.)

    also buck-horn, "substance of the horns of a deer," used in making knife-handles, etc., 1610s, from buck (n.1) + horn (n.).ETD buckhorn (n.).2


    Old English Buccingahamscir, from Buccingahamme (early 10c.), "River-bend land of the family or followers of a man called Bucca."ETD Buckinghamshire.2

    buckish (adj.)

    "dandyish," 1782, from buck (n.1) in the slang sense + -ish. Earlier it meant "like a he-goat, foul-smelling, lascivious" (1510s). Related: Buckishly; buckishness.ETD buckish (adj.).2

    buckle (v.2)

    "distort, warp, bend out of shape" 1520s, bokelen "to arch the body," from French boucler "to bulge," from Old French bocler "to bulge," from bocle "boss of a shield" (see buckle (n.)). The meaning "to bend under strong pressure" is from 1590s (figurative from 1640s) . Related: Buckled; buckling.ETD buckle (v.2).2

    buckle (n.)

    "spiked metal ring for holding a belt, etc.," c. 1300, bukel, from Old French bocle "boss (of a shield)," then "shield," then by further extension "buckle, metal ring," (12c., Modern French boucle), from Latin buccula "cheek strap of a helmet," in Late Latin "boss of a shield," diminutive of bucca "cheek" (see bouche).ETD buckle (n.).2

    buckle (v.1)

    "to fasten with a buckle," late 14c., bokelen, from buckle (n.). The meaning "prepare for action of any kind" (1560s) probably is a metaphor from buckling on armor before battle. Related: Buckled; buckling.ETD buckle (v.1).2

    buckler (n.)

    "small, round shield used to ward off blows," c. 1300, from Old French bocler "boss (of a shield), shield, buckler" (12c., Modern French bouclier), from Medieval Latin *buccularius (adj.) "having a boss," from Latin buccula (see buckle (n.)).ETD buckler (n.).2

    bucko (n.)

    term of address, 1883, originally nautical and with a sense of "swaggering, domineering fellow." Probably from buck (n.1) in the slang sense of "a blood or choice spirit."ETD bucko (n.).2

    buckra (n.)

    disparaging term among Caribbean and Southern U.S. African-Americans for "white person," especially a poor one, 1790, apparently from an African language; compare mbakara "master" in Efik, a language of the Ibibio people of southern Nigeria.ETD buckra (n.).2

    buckram (n.)

    early 13c., from Old French boquerant "fine oriental cloth" (12c., Modern French bougran), probably (along with Spanish bucarán, Italian bucherame) from Bukhara, city in central Asia from which it was imported to Europe. Originally a name of a delicate, costly fabric, it later came to mean coarse linen used for lining. The many variations of its spelling in Middle English and Old French indicate confusion over the origin. The -m may indicate that the word arrived in English via Italian.ETD buckram (n.).2

    buckshot (n.)

    also buck-shot, "large size of shot used for killing deer and other large game," 1776, from buck (n.1) + shot (n.).ETD buckshot (n.).2

    buckskin (n.)

    c. 1300, "skin of a buck," from buck (n.1) + skin (n.). The meaning "kind of soft leather made from buckskin" was in use by 1793. Formerly much used for clothing by Native Americans and frontiersmen; the word was a nickname for Continental troops in the American Revolution.ETD buckskin (n.).2

    buck-tooth (n.)

    also bucktooth, "tooth that juts out beyond the rest," 1540s, from buck (n.1), perhaps on the notion of "kicking up," + tooth. In French, buck teeth are called dents à l'anglaise, literally "English teeth." Old English had twisel toð "with two protruding front teeth." Related: Buck-toothed.ETD buck-tooth (n.).2

    buckwheat (n.)

    common name of a type of grain that provides food for humans and animals, 1540s, from Middle Dutch boecweite "beech wheat" (compare Danish boghvede, Swedish bovete, German Buchweizen), so called from resemblance of the triangular grains to beech tree nuts. Possibly a native formation on the same model as the Dutch word, from a dialectal form of beech. See beech + wheat.ETD buckwheat (n.).2

    bucolic (adj.)

    "pastoral, relating to country life or the affairs and occupations of a shepherd," 1610s, earlier bucolical (1520s), from Latin bucolicus, from Greek boukolikos "pastoral, rustic," from boukolos "cowherd, herdsman," from bous "cow" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow") + -kolos "tending," related to Latin colere "to till (the ground), cultivate, dwell, inhabit" (from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round; sojourn, dwell"). Middle Irish búachaill, Welsh bugail "shepherd" are Celtic words formed from the same root material as Greek boukolos.ETD bucolic (adj.).2


    familiar form of address for a male, 1851, perhaps a shortening of buddy (q.v.) and ultimately from brother.ETD bud.2

    bud (v.)

    "put forth or produce buds," c. 1400; see bud (n.). Related: Budded; budding.ETD bud (v.).2

    budding (adj.)

    1560s, "sprouting, putting forth or producing buds," present-participle adjective from bud (v.). The figurative sense of "being in an early stage of growth" is from 1580s.ETD budding (adj.).2

    bud (n.)

    "undeveloped growth-point of a plant," late 14c., budde, a word of unknown origin, perhaps from Old French boter "push forward, thrust," itself a Germanic word (compare Dutch bot "bud," Old Saxon budil "bag, purse," German Beutel), or perhaps from Old English budd "beetle."ETD bud (n.).2


    Hungarian capital, formed 1872 from merger of two cities on opposite shores of the Danube, Buda (probably from a word originally meaning "water") + Pest, a Hungarian word meaning "furnace, oven, cove," also in Slavic (compare Russian pech'). Ofen, literally "oven," was the old German name for the place.ETD Budapest.2

    Buddha (n.)

    an epithet applied to the historical founder of Buddhism, 1680s, from Pali, literally "awakened, enlightened," past participle of budh "to awake, know, perceive," which is related to Sanskrit bodhati "is awake, observes, understands," from PIE root *bheudh- "be aware, make aware." Title given by his adherents to the man who taught this path, Siddhartha Gautama, also known to them as Sakyamuni "Sage of the Sakyas" (his family clan), who lived in northern India 5c. B.C.E.ETD Buddha (n.).2

    Buddhism (n.)

    "the religious system founded by the Buddha in India," 1801, from Buddha + -ism.ETD Buddhism (n.).2

    Buddhist (n.)

    "one who professes Buddhism, a follower of the Buddha," 1810, from Buddha + -ist. An earlier word in this sense was a direct borrowing of Sanskrit Bauddha "follower of Buddha" (1801 in English), hence early erroneous hybrid compounds such as Boudhist, Bauddhist.ETD Buddhist (n.).2

    buddy (n.)

    1850, American English, possibly an alteration of brother, or from British colloquial butty "companion" (1802), itself perhaps a variant of booty in booty fellow "confederate who shares plunder" (1520s). But butty, meaning "work-mate," also was a localized dialect word in England and Wales, attested since 18c., and long associated with coal miners. Short form bud is attested from 1851. Reduplicated form buddy-buddy (adj.) attested by 1952, American English.ETD buddy (n.).2

    Buddy system is attested from 1920.ETD buddy (n.).3

    buddy (v.)

    1925, usually with up, from buddy (n.); perhaps originally U.S. underworld slang. Related: Buddied; buddying.ETD buddy (v.).2

    budge (v.)

    1580s (intransitive) "to move, stir, change position, give way a little;" 1590s (transitive) "change the position of;" from French bougier "to move, stir" (Modern French bouger), from Vulgar Latin *bullicare "to bubble, boil" (hence, "to be in motion"), from Latin bullire "to boil" (see boil (v.)).ETD budge (v.).2

    Compare Spanish bullir "to move about, bustle;" Portuguese bulir "to move a thing from its place." In 16c. canting slang, "a general verb of action, usually stealthy action" (Farmer, "Musa Pedestris," who gives among his examples budge a beak "to give the constable the slip," budge out or off "to sneak off"). Related: Budged; budging.ETD budge (v.).3

    budgerigar (n.)

    small Australian parrot, 1847, from a native Australian language, said to mean "good cockatoo," from budgeri "good" + gar "cockatoo."ETD budgerigar (n.).2

    budget (n.)

    early 15c., bouget, "leather pouch, small bag or sack," from Old French bougette, diminutive of bouge "leather bag, wallet, pouch," from Latin bulga "leather bag," a word of Gaulish origin (compare Old Irish bolg "bag," Breton bolc'h "flax pod"), from PIE *bhelgh- "to swell," extended form of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."ETD budget (n.).2

    The modern financial meaning "statement of probable expenditures and revenues" (1733) is from the notion of the treasury minister keeping his fiscal plans in a wallet. Also used from late 16c. in a general sense of "a stock, store, or collection of miscellaneous items," which led to 18c. transferred sense "bundle of news," hence the use of the word as the title of some newspapers.ETD budget (n.).3

    budget (v.)

    "to include in a (fiscal) budget," 1884, from budget (n.). Related: Budgeted; budgeting.ETD budget (v.).2

    budgie (n.)

    1936, short for budgerigar.ETD budgie (n.).2


    German name of the Bohemian town known in Czech as České Budĕjovice ("Czech Budweis"), from an adjectival form of the Slavic proper name Budivoj, hence "settlement of Budivoj's people." Related: Budweiser.ETD Budweis.2

    buff (v.)

    "to polish, make attractive," 1849, from buff (n.1), either in reference to the treatment of buff leather or to the use of buff cloth to polish metals, etc., with a buff-wheel (1849) or a buff-stick (1850). Related: Buffed; buffing.ETD buff (v.).2

    buff (n.1)

    kind of thick, soft leather, 1570s, buffe leather "leather made of buffalo hide," from French buffle "buffalo" (15c., via Italian, from Latin bufalus; see buffalo (n.)).ETD buff (n.1).2

    The color term "light brownish-yellow" (by 1788) comes via the hue of buff leather. The old association of "hide" and "skin" led c. 1600 to the sense in in the buff "naked." Buff-colored uniforms of New York City volunteer firefighters since 1820s led to the meaning "enthusiast" (1903).ETD buff (n.1).3

    buff (n.2)

    "a blow, a slap," early 15c., probably from buffet (n.2).ETD buff (n.2).2

    buff (adj.)

    1690s, "of the nature of buff leather;" 1762, "of the color of buff leather;" see buff (n.1). The meaning "well-built, hunky" (of physically fit persons) is from 1980s, from buff (v.) "to polish, make attractive."ETD buff (adj.).2

    buffalo (n.)

    1580s (earlier buffel, 1510s, from French), from Portuguese bufalo "water buffalo," from Medieval Latin bufalus, variant of Latin bubalus "wild ox," from Greek boubalos "buffalo," originally the name of a kind of African antelope, later used of a type of domesticated ox in southern Asia and the Mediterranean lands, a word of uncertain origin. It appears to contain bous "ox, cow" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow"), but this is perhaps Greek folk-etymology.ETD buffalo (n.).2

    It has been wrongly applied since 1630s to the American bison. The other Germanic words (Dutch buffel, German Büffel, Danish böffel, etc.) are from French; from Medieval Latin come Russian buivolu, Polish bujwoł, Bulgarian bivol, etc. Buffalo gnat is recorded from 1822. Buffalo chip "dung of the American bison," used for fuel on the U.S. plains, is from 1840.ETD buffalo (n.).3


    city in western New York state, U.S., a name of disputed origin (there never were bison thereabouts), perhaps from the name of a native chief, or a corruption of French beau fleuve "beautiful river." Buffalo wings finger food so called because the recipe was invented in Buffalo (1964, at Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar on Main Street).ETD Buffalo.2

    buffalo (v.)

    "alarm, overawe," 1900, from buffalo (n.). Probably from the animals' tendency to mass panic. Related: Buffaloed; buffaloing.ETD buffalo (v.).2

    buffer (v.)

    "lessen the impact of," 1886, from buffer (n.). Related: Buffered; buffering.ETD buffer (v.).2

    buffer (n.2)

    "one who or that which polishes by buffing," 1854, agent noun from buff (v.).ETD buffer (n.2).2

    buffer (n.1)

    "something that absorbs a blow, apparatus for deadening the concussion between a moving body and that against which it strikes," 1835, agent noun from obsolete verb buff "make a dull sound when struck" (mid-16c.), from Old French bufe "a blow, slap, punch" (see buffet (n.2)). The figurative sense of "anything that prevents impact or neutralizes the shock of impact of opposing forces" is from 1858.ETD buffer (n.1).2

    buffet (n.1)

    1718, "cupboard, sideboard, etc., to hold china plates, etc.," from French bufet "bench, stool, sideboard" (12c.), which is of uncertain origin. The sense in English was extended to "refreshment bar, place set aside for refreshments in public places" (1792), then, via buffet-table, buffet-car (1887), buffet-lunch, etc., by 1951 to "meal served from a buffet." The French word was borrowed in Middle English in the sense "low stool" (early 15c.) but became obsolete.ETD buffet (n.1).2

    buffet (v.)

    c. 1200, "to strike with the fist or hand; cuff, box, slap;" from Old French bufeter "to strike, slap, punch," from bufet "a slap, a punch" (see buffet (n.2)). Related: Buffeted; buffeting.ETD buffet (v.).2

    buffet (n.2)

    c. 1200, "a blow struck with a fist or blunt weapon," from Old French bufet "a slap, a punch," diminutive of bufe "a blow, slap, punch; puff of wind," figuratively "cunning trick," probably echoic of the sound of something soft being hit.ETD buffet (n.2).2

    bufflehead (n.)

    small North American duck, 1858 (buffle-headed duck attested from 1831), from buffle (1510s), an obsolete variant of buffalo (n.), + head (n.). So called for its large head; earlier the noun meant "stupid person" (1650s; compare buffle-headed "big-headed," also "foolish," 1650s).ETD bufflehead (n.).2

    buffo (n.)

    1764, "comic actor in an opera," from Italian buffo "a comic actor," from buffare "to mock; to puff" (see buffoon).ETD buffo (n.).2

    buffoon (n.)

    1540s, "type of pantomime dance;" 1580s, "professional comic fool;" 1590s in the general sense "a clown, a joker;" from French bouffon (16c.), from Italian buffone "jester," from buffa "joke, jest, pleasantry," from buffare "to puff out the cheeks," a comic gesture, of echoic origin. Also see -oon.ETD buffoon (n.).2

    buffoonery (n.)

    "low jokes, vulgar pranks," 1620s; see buffoon + -ery.ETD buffoonery (n.).2

    Bufo (n.)

    toad genus, from Latin bufo "a toad," apparently also in Virgil "a hamster," a loan-word from Osco-Umbrian or another Italic dialect. Perhaps from PIE *gwebh-, a root denoting sliminess and also forming words for "frog" (source also of Old Prussian gabawo "toad," Old Church Slavonic žaba "frog," Middle Low German kwappe "tadpole," German Quappe). But de Vaan doubts the connection and suggests the basic sense might be "small creeping animal."ETD Bufo (n.).2

    bug (v.1)

    "to bulge, protrude," 1872, originally of eyes, perhaps from a humorous or dialect mispronunciation of bulge (v.). Related: Bugged; bugging. As an adjective, bug-eyed is recorded from 1872; it was so frequently used of space creatures in mid-20c. science fiction that the initialism (acronym) BEM for bug-eyed monster was current by 1953.ETD bug (v.1).2

    bug (v.4)

    "equip with a concealed microphone," 1949, earlier "equip with an alarm system," 1919, underworld slang, probably a reference to bug (n.1). Bug (n.) "concealed microphone" is from 1946. Related: Bugged; bugging.ETD bug (v.4).2

    bug (n.)

    "insect, beetle," 1620s (earliest reference is to bedbugs), of unknown origin, probably (but not certainly) from or influenced by Middle English bugge "something frightening, scarecrow" (late 14c.), a word or meaning that has become obsolete since the "insect" sense arose, except in bugbear (1570s) and bugaboo (q.v.).ETD bug (n.).2

    The Middle English word probably is connected with Scottish bogill "goblin, bugbear," or obsolete Welsh bwg "ghost, goblin" (compare Welsh bwgwl "threat," earlier "fear," Middle Irish bocanách "supernatural being"). Some speculate that these words are from a root meaning "goat" (see buck (n.1)) and represent originally a goat-like specter. Compare also bogey (n.1) and Puck. Middle English Compendium compares Low German bögge, böggel-mann "goblin." The sense shift perhaps was by influence of Old English -budda, used in compounds for "beetle" (compare Low German budde "louse, grub," Middle Low German buddech "thick, swollen").ETD bug (n.).3

    The meaning "defect in a machine" (1889) may have been coined c. 1878 by Thomas Edison (perhaps with the notion of an insect getting into the works). In compounds, the meaning "person obsessed by an idea" (as in firebug "arsonist") is from 1841, perhaps from notion of persistence. The colloquial sense of "microbe, germ" is from 1919.ETD bug (n.).4

    Bugs "crazy" is from c. 1900. Bug juice as a slang name for drink is from 1869, originally "bad whiskey." The 1811 slang dictionary has bug-hunter "an upholsterer." Bug-word "word or words meant to irritate and vex" is from 1560s.ETD bug (n.).5

    bug (v.3)

    "to scram, skedaddle," 1953, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to bug (v.2), and compare bug off. Bug out (n.) "precipitous retreat" (1951) is from the Korean War.ETD bug (v.3).2

    bug (v.2)

    "to annoy, irritate," 1949, perhaps first in swing music slang, probably from bug (n.) and a reference to insect pests. Related: Bugged; bugging.ETD bug (v.2).2

    bugaboo (n.)

    "something to frighten a child, fancied object of terror," 1843, earlier buggybow (1740), probably an alteration of bugbear (also see bug (n.)), but connected by Chapman ["Dictionary of American Slang"] with Bugibu, demon in the Old French poem "Aliscans" from 1141, which is perhaps of Celtic origin (compare Cornish bucca-boo, from bucca "bogle, goblin").ETD bugaboo (n.).2

    bugbear (n.)

    "something that causes terror," especially needless terror, 1580s, a sort of demon in the form of a bear that eats small children, also "object of dread" (whether real or not), from obsolete bug "goblin, scarecrow" (see bug (n.)) + bear (n.).ETD bugbear (n.).2

    bug-bite (n.)

    "the bite of a bug," or the swelling and irritation caused by it, 1760, from bug (n.1) + bite (n.).ETD bug-bite (n.).2

    bugger (n.)

    "sodomite," 1550s, earlier "heretic" (mid-14c.), from Medieval Latin Bulgarus "a Bulgarian" (see Bulgaria), so called from bigoted notions of the sex lives of Eastern Orthodox Christians or of the sect of heretics that was prominent there 11c. Compare Old French bougre "Bulgarian," also "heretic; sodomite."ETD bugger (n.).2

    The softened secondary sense of "fellow, chap," is in British English "low language" [OED] from mid-19c. The meaning "something unpleasant, a nuisance" is from 1936. Related: Buggerly.ETD bugger (n.).3

    The religious heretics in question were the Bogomils, whose name is a Slavic compound meaning "dear to God" (compare Russian bog "god") and might be a translation of Greek theophilos.ETD bugger (n.).4

    bugger (v.)

    "commit buggery with or on," 1590s, from bugger (n.). The meaning "ruin, spoil" is from 1923. Related: Buggered; buggering. Bugger off "go away" is from 1922, but the connection is obscure.ETD bugger (v.).2

    buggery (n.)

    mid-14c., "heresy," from Old French bougrerie, from bougre "heretic" (see bugger (n.)). Later (1510s) "unnatural intercourse" with man or beast, "carnalis copula contra Naturam, & hoc vel per confusionem Specierum;" from bugger (n.) + -y (4).ETD buggery (n.).2

    buggy (adj.)

    "infested with bugs," 1714, from bug (n.) + -y (2).ETD buggy (adj.).2

    buggy (n.)

    "light carriage with four wheels and seats for two," 1773, of unknown origin. OED finds no grounds for derivation from Hindi bagghi "a gig" or another Anglo-Indian source. Extended to baby carriages by 1884.ETD buggy (n.).2

    bughouse (adj.)

    1895, "crazy, insane," from bug (n.) + house (n.); probably originally tramps' jargon. As a noun, from 1891 as "insanity," 1898 as "insane asylum."ETD bughouse (adj.).2

    bugle (n.1)

    "brass musical instrument," mid-14c., abbreviation of buglehorn "musical horn, hunting horn" (c. 1300), from Old French bugle "(musical) horn," also "wild ox, buffalo," from Latin buculus "heifer, young ox," diminutive of bos "ox, cow" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow"). Middle English also had the word in the "buffalo" sense and it survived in dialect with meaning "young bull." Modern French bugle is a 19c. borrowing from English.ETD bugle (n.1).2

    bugle (v.)

    "sound a bugle," 1852, from bugle (n.). Related: Bugled; bugling (1847). Also compare bugler.ETD bugle (v.).2

    bugle (n.2)

    "glass bead used to ornament dress," 1570s, of unknown origin.ETD bugle (n.2).2

    bugler (n.)

    "one who plays a bugle," 1793; see bugle (n.). Bugle-boy attested from 1817.ETD bugler (n.).2

    bugloss (n.)

    popular name of several small plants, 1530s, from French buglosse, from Latin buglossa, from Greek bouglossos, literally "ox-tongued," from bous "ox" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow") + glōssa "tongue" (see gloss (n.2)) . So called from the shape and texture of its leaves.ETD bugloss (n.).2

    bug off (v.)

    "leave quickly," by 1956, perhaps from bugger off (see bugger (v.)), which chiefly is British (by 1920s) but was picked up in U.S. Air Force slang in the Korean War. Also see bug (v.3). To bug out "leave quickly, scram" is from 1953.ETD bug off (v.).2

    buy (v.)

    Middle English bien, from Old English bycgan (past tense bohte) "get by paying for, acquire the possession of in exchange for something of like value; redeem, ransom; procure; get done," from Proto-Germanic *bugjan (source also of Old Saxon buggjan, Old Norse byggja, Gothic bugjan), which is of unknown origin and not found outside Germanic.ETD buy (v.).2

    The surviving spelling is southwest England dialect; the word was generally pronounced in Old English and Middle English with a -dg- sound as "budge," or "bidge." The meaning "believe, accept as true" is attested by 1926. Related: Bought; buying. To buy time "prevent further deterioration but make no improvement" is attested from 1946.ETD buy (v.).3

    buy (n.)

    "a purchase," especially a worthwhile one, 1875, American English, from buy (v.).ETD buy (n.).2

    building (n.)

    c. 1300, "a structure;" late 14c., "act or process of constructing;" verbal noun from build (v.). Building-block is attested from 1846 as "one of a set of children's play blocks;" 1849 as "temporary support on which a ship's keel rests while the ship is being constructed;" 1856 as "cinder-block, concrete block, artificial stone block used in building construction." The figurative sense of "basic unit from which something is constructed" is by 1955.ETD building (n.).2

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