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    cajole (v.) — calypto-

    cajole (v.)

    "deceive or delude by flattery," 1640s, from French cajoler "to cajole, wheedle, coax," a word of uncertain origin; perhaps a blend of cageoler "to chatter like a jay" (16c., from gajole, southern diminutive of geai "jay;" see jay (n.)), and Old French gaioler "to cage, entice into a cage" (see jail (n.)). Related: Cajoled; cajoling.ETD cajole (v.).2

    cajolery (n.)

    "act of cajoling, delusive wheedling," 1640s, from French cajolerie "persuasion by flattery" (16c.), from cajoler "to wheedle, coax" (see cajole). Coleridge used cajolement.ETD cajolery (n.).2

    Cajun (n.)

    "Louisianan descendant of French refugees from Acadia," 1868, Cagian, dialectic pronunciation of Acadian, from Acadia, former French colony in what is now the Canadian Maritimes. Its French setters were dispersed and exiled by the English and thousands made their way to New Orleans in the period 1764-1788.ETD Cajun (n.).2

    cake (n.)

    early 13c., "flat or comparatively thin mass of baked dough," from Old Norse kaka "cake," from West Germanic *kokon- (source also of Middle Dutch koke, Dutch koek "a cake, gingerbread, dumpling," Old High German kuohho, German Kuchen "a cake, a tart"). Not believed to be related to Latin coquere "to cook," as formerly supposed. Replaced its Old English cognate, coecel.ETD cake (n.).2

    Extended mid-15c. to any flat, rounded mass. Extended from early 15c. to "a light composition of flour, sugar, butter and other ingredients baked in any form." To take the cake "win all, rank first" (often ironic) is from 1847, American English; piece of cake "something easy" is from 1936.ETD cake (n.).3

    The let them eat cake story is found in Rousseau's "Confessions," in reference to an incident c. 1740, long before Marie Antoinette, though it has been associated with her since c. 1870; it apparently was a chestnut in the French royal family that had been told of other princesses and queens before her.ETD cake (n.).4

    cake (v.)

    "to form into a cake" (transitive), c. 1600; "to concrete into a hard mass" (intransitive), 1610s; from cake (n.). Related: Caked; caking.ETD cake (v.).2

    caked (adj.)

    "thickly encrusted," 1922, past-participle adjective from cake (v.).ETD caked (adj.).2

    cakewalk (n.)

    "something easy," 1863, American English, from cake (n.) + walk (n.). Probably it is in some way a reference to the cake given as a prize for the fanciest steps in a procession in a Southern black custom (explained by Thornton, 1912, as, "A walking competition among negroes," in which the prize cake goes to "the couple who put on most style"), even though its figurative meaning is recorded before the literal one (1879). As a verb, from 1904. This also might be the source of the verbal phrase take the cake "win all" (1847).ETD cakewalk (n.).2

    calabash (n.)

    "dried, hollowed gourd used as a drinking cup," 1650s, callebass, from Spanish calabaza, possibly from Arabic qar'a yabisa "dry gourd," from Persian kharabuz, used of various large melons; or from a pre-Roman Iberian *calapaccia. As "the fruit of the calabash tree" (from which the cups were made) from 1590s.ETD calabash (n.).2

    calaboose (n.)

    "prison, a common jail or lock-up," 1792, Western and Southwestern American English, from Louisiana French calabouse, from Spanish calabozo "dungeon," probably from Vulgar Latin *calafodium, from pre-Roman *cala "protected place, den" + Latin fodere "to dig" (see fossil).ETD calaboose (n.).2


    region of southern Italy, named for a people who once lived there. Related: Calabrian; Calabrese.ETD Calabria.2


    city on the French coast of the English Channel, from Gaulish Caleti, the name of a Celtic people who once lived along the shore there.ETD Calais.2

    calamity (n.)

    early 15c., "damage, state of adversity;" 1550s, "a great misfortune or cause of misery," from Old French calamite (14c.), from Latin calamitatem (nominative calamitas) "damage, loss, failure; disaster, misfortune, adversity," a word of obscure origin.ETD calamity (n.).2

    Early etymologists associated it with calamus "straw" (see shawm) on the notion of damage to crops, but this seems folk-etymology. Perhaps it is from a lost root also preserved in incolumis "uninjured," from PIE *kle-mo-, from *kel- "to strike, cut" (see holt). Calamity Jane was the nickname (attested by 1876) of U.S. frontierswoman, scout, and folk-hero Martha Jane Cannary (c. 1852-1903).ETD calamity (n.).3

    calamari (n.)

    "squid, type of cuttlefish," 1560s, from Italian calamari, from Latin calamarius, literally "pertaining to a pen," from calamus "a writing pen," literally "reed" (see shawm). So called from the cuttlefish's pen-shaped internal shell and perhaps also from its being full of ink.ETD calamari (n.).2

    calamine (n.)

    "zinc carbonate," also, confusedly, "zinc silicate," 1590s, from French calamine, from Old French calemine, chalemine (13c.), from Medieval Latin calamina, corrupted by alchemists from Latin cadmia "zinc ore," from Greek kadmeia (see cadmium). Or possibly the Medieval Latin word is from Latin calamus "reed," in reference to the mineral's stalactite form in furnace chimneys.ETD calamine (n.).2

    calamint n.

    type of strong, fragrant herb found in Northern temperate zones, late 14c., calamente, from Old French calamente, from Medieval Latin calamentum, probably from Greek kalaminthē, name of an odoriferous plant, perhaps literally "beautiful mint" (kalos "beautiful, noble, good," see Callisto + minthē, see mint (n.1)). But Beekes writes that "The formal agreement ... does not permit a conclusion" and that a folk-etymology origin is equally hypothetical.ETD calamint n..2

    calamitous (adj.)

    "marked by great misfortune," 1540s, from French calamiteux (16c.), from Latin calamitosus "causing loss, destructive; liable to damage or disaster," from calamitas (see calamity). Related: Calamitously; calamitousness.ETD calamitous (adj.).2

    calash (n.)

    "light carriage with low wheels either open or covered with a folding top," 1660s, from French calèche, from German kalesche, from Czech koleska, diminutive of kolesa "wheel-carriage," from kolo "wheel" (from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round"). Also the name of the folding hood or top fitted to it (1856).ETD calash (n.).2

    calcaneus (n.)

    "heel-bone," 1751, from Latin (os) calcaneum "bone of the heel," from calcem (nominative calx (1)) "heel," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Etruscan. De Vaan lists as possible cognates Old Prussian culczi "hip," Lithuanian kulkšnis "ankle-(bone)," Bulgarian kalka "hip, thigh." Related: Calcaneal.ETD calcaneus (n.).2

    calcareous (adj.)

    also calcarious, "of the nature of lime, containing lime, chalky," 1670s, from Latin calcarius "of lime, pertaining to lime," from calx (genitive calcis) "lime, limestone" (see chalk (n.)).ETD calcareous (adj.).2

    calcify (v.)

    "become hardened like bone," 1785 (implied in calcified), from French calcifier, from stem of Latin calcem "lime" (see chalk (n.)) + -fy. Related: Calcifying; calcification.ETD calcify (v.).2

    calcite (n.)

    crystalline calcium carbonate, 1849, from German Calcit, coined by Austrian mineralogist Wilhelm Karl von Hardinger (1795-1871) from Latin calx (genitive calcis) "lime" (see chalk (n.)) + mineral suffix -ite (2) (German -it).ETD calcite (n.).2

    calcitrant (adj.)

    "kicking (at restrictions), refractory," 1857, as if from Latin calcitrantem (nominative calcitrans) "kicking" (see recalcitrant). Pedantic humor; probably a back-formation.ETD calcitrant (adj.).2

    calcium (n.)

    metallic element, coined 1808 by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, the first to succeed in isolating it, from Latin calx (genitive calcis) "limestone" (see chalk (n.)) + metallic element ending -ium. Related: Calcic.ETD calcium (n.).2

    calculation (n.)

    late 14c., calculacioun, "art, manner, or practice of computing by numbers," also "the process of making a horoscope," from Late Latin calculationem (nominative calculatio) "a computation, calculation, reckoning," noun of action from past-participle stem of calculare "to reckon, compute," from Latin calculus "reckoning, account," originally "pebble used in counting," diminutive of calx (genitive calcis) "limestone" (see chalk (n.)). It is attested from early 15c. as "the result of reckoning, the solution for a problem."ETD calculation (n.).2

    calculating (n.)

    1710, "calculation," verbal noun from calculate (v.). Calculating-machine "mechanical computer, machine which performs mathematical calculations" is from 1830 [Babbage].ETD calculating (n.).2

    calculator (n.)

    late 14c., "mathematician, one who calculates," from Latin calculator, from calculatus, past participle of calculare "to reckon, compute," from calculus "reckoning, account" (see calculus). In reference to mechanical adding machine contraptions from 1784; of electronic ones from 1946.ETD calculator (n.).2

    calculating (adj.)

    1710, "carrying out calculations," present-participle adjective from calculate (v.). The meaning "given to forethought and shrewdly or selfishly seeking advantage, scheming," is attested from 1802.ETD calculating (adj.).2

    calculate (v.)

    1560s, "ascertain by computation, estimate by mathematical means," from Latin calculatus, past participle of calculare "to reckon, compute," from calculus (see calculus). It replaced earlier calculen (mid-14c.), from Old French calculer.ETD calculate (v.).2

    The meaning "to plan, devise" is attested from 1650s; hence "to purpose, intend" and "think, guess" (1830), both U.S. idioms. Related: Calculable.ETD calculate (v.).3

    calculated (adj.)

    1722, "suited, apt;" 1796, "devised beforehand;" past-participle adjective from calculate (v.). Related: Calculatedly.ETD calculated (adj.).2

    calculous (adj.)

    c. 1600, "of or pertaining to a bodily concretion;" 1670s, "stony, stone-like;" from Latin calculosus and (in the medical sense) directly from calculus "a pebble," diminutive of calx (genitive calcis) "limestone" (see chalk (n.)).ETD calculous (adj.).2

    calculus (n.)

    mathematical method of treating problems by the use of a system of algebraic notation, 1660s, from Latin calculus "reckoning, account," originally "pebble used as a reckoning counter," diminutive of calx (genitive calcis) "limestone" (see chalk (n.)). The modern mathematical sense is a shortening of differential calculus.ETD calculus (n.).2

    In medicine, the word also has been used from 1732 to mean kidney stones, etc., then generally for "concretion occurring accidentally in the animal body," such as dental plaque.ETD calculus (n.).3


    city in eastern India, former capital of British India, named for Hindu goddess Kali. In modern use often de-Englished as Kolkata.ETD Calcutta.2

    caldera (n.)

    "cavity on the summit of a volcano," 1865, from Spanish caldera, literally "cauldron, kettle," from Latin caldarium "hot-bath" (plural caldaria), from caldarius "pertaining to warming," from calidus "warm, hot" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm"). A doublet of cauldron.ETD caldera (n.).2

    caldron (n.)

    spelling of cauldron preferred by other dictionary editors.ETD caldron (n.).2


    masc. proper name, in the Bible, one of the 12 men sent by Moses to reconnoiter Canaan, from Hebrew Kalebh, literally "dog-like," from kelebh "dog."ETD Caleb.2


    ancient Roman name for part of northern Britain, taken from the name of its former inhabitants, which is of unknown origin, presumably Celtic. Since 18c. it has been applied poetically to Scotland or the Scottish Highlands. Related: Caledonian.ETD Caledonia.2

    calender (v.)

    "to pass through a calender," a machine which smooths and presses paper, cloth, etc., 1510s, from French calandre, the machine name, from Medieval Latin calendra (see calender (n.)).ETD calender (v.).2

    calender (n.)

    "machine consisting of close-set revolving cylinders or rolls which smooths and presses paper, cloth, etc.," 1510s (late 13c. in calenderer, surname of persons who use such a machine), from Old French calandreur, from Medieval Latin calendra "cloth-pressing machine," so called from the shape of the machine used, from Latin cylindrus, from Greek kylindros "roll, cylinder" (see cylinder).ETD calender (n.).2

    calends (n.)

    c. 1200, "a day as reckoned back from the first of the following month" (as fourteenth calend of March = February 16th), from Latin kalendae "first day of the month" in the Roman calendar (see calendar). It is attested in English from mid-14c. as "the first day of the month," and from late 14c. as the beginning of anything.ETD calends (n.).2

    calendar (n.)

    c. 1200, calender, "the year as divided systematically into days and months;" mid-14c. as "table showing divisions of the year;" from Old French calendier "list, register," from Latin calendarium "account book," from calendae/kalendae "the calends" the first day of the Roman month, when debts fell due and accounts were reckoned.ETD calendar (n.).2

    This is from calare "to announce solemnly, call out," as the priests did in proclaiming the new moon that marked the calends, from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout." In Rome, new moons were not calculated mathematically but rather observed by the priests from the Capitol; when they saw it, they would "declare" the number of days till the nones (five or seven, depending on the month). The word was taken by the early Church for its register list of saints and their feast days. The meaning "list of documents arranged chronologically" is from late 15c.ETD calendar (n.).3

    The -ar spelling in English is from 17c., to differentiate it from the now-obscure calender "cloth-presser." Related: Calendarial; calendary.ETD calendar (n.).4

    calf (n.1)

    "young of a bovine animal," Old English cealf (Anglian cælf) "young cow," from Proto-Germanic *kalbam (source also of Middle Dutch calf, Old Norse kalfr, German Kalb, Gothic kalbo), perhaps from PIE *gelb(h)-, from root *gel- "to swell," hence, "womb, fetus, young of an animal."ETD calf (n.1).2

    The elliptical sense of "fine kind of leather made from the skin of a calf" is from 1727 (short for calf-skin, 1580s). It was extended by 1725 to the young of marine mammals, the adults of which are called bulls and cows. It has been used of icebergs that break off from glaciers from 1818 (perhaps from Scandinavian uses in reference to a small islet lying near a large one). Finnish kalpe is from Germanic. Golden calf "idol" is from Exodus.ETD calf (n.1).3

    calf (n.2)

    "thick, fleshy part of the back of the lower human leg," early 14c., from Old Norse kalfi, a word of unknown origin; possibly from the same Germanic root as calf (n.1). It is relatively larger in man than in other mammals for the support of the body standing upright. Of garments, calf-length is from 1956.ETD calf (n.2).2

    caliber (n.)

    "inside diameter of a gun barrel," 1580s, from French calibre (by mid-16c., perhaps late 15c.), often said to be ultimately from Arabic qalib "a mold for casting." Barnhart remarks that Spanish calibre, Italian calibro "appear too late to act as intermediate forms" between the Arabic word and the French.ETD caliber (n.).2

    But English Words of Arabic Ancestry finds that the idea of an Arabic source "comes with no evidence and no background historical context to support it. It is far more likely that the word was formed in French" from Medieval Latin qua libra "of what weight" (a theory first published 19c. by Mahn), from fem. ablative of quis (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + ablative of libra "balance" (see Libra).ETD caliber (n.).3

    In U.S., expressed in decimal parts of an inch (.44-caliber = ".44-inch caliber"). The earliest sense in English is a figurative one, "degree of merit or importance" (1560s), from French. Later, figuratively, "the capacity of one's mind, one's intellectual endowments."ETD caliber (n.).4

    Caliban (n.)

    "degraded and bestial man," from the name of Shakespeare's character in "The Tempest" (1610), which is from a version of cannibal with -n- and -l- interchanged found in Hakluyt's "Voyages" (1599).ETD Caliban (n.).2

    calibre (n.)

    chiefly British English spelling of caliber (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.ETD calibre (n.).2

    calibration (n.)

    "act or process of calibrating," 1854, noun of action from calibrate.ETD calibration (n.).2

    calibrate (v.)

    "determine the caliber of," 1839, verb formed from caliber + -ate (2). Also "determine the relative value of" different parts of an arbitrary scale (1869). Related: calibrated; calibrating.ETD calibrate (v.).2

    calice (n.)

    early and more etymologically correct form of chalice (q.v.).ETD calice (n.).2

    caliche (n.)

    sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from South American Spanish, from Spanish caliche "pebble accidentally enclosed in a brick; flake of lime," from Latin calx "limestone, pebble" (see chalk (n.)).ETD caliche (n.).2

    calico (n.)

    1530s, kalyko cloth, "white cotton cloth," from an alternative form of Calicut (modern Kozhikode), name of the seaport on the Malabar coast of India where Europeans first obtained it. In U.S. use from c. 1800, "printed cotton cloth coarser than muslin;" extended to animal colorings suggestive of printed calicos in 1807, originally of horses, of cats from 1882. The place-name (mentioned by Ptolemy as kalaikaris) is Tamil, said to mean "fort of Kalliai."ETD calico (n.).2

    calid (adj.)

    "hot, burning; ardent," 1590s, from Latin calidus "warm," from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm."ETD calid (adj.).2

    calif (n.)

    see caliph.ETD calif (n.).2


    name of an imaginary realm in "Las sergas de Esplandián" ("Exploits of Espladán"), a romance by Spanish writer Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, published in 1510. It was a sequel to his "Amadis de Gaula," and was said to have been influential among Spanish explorers of the New World. It could have led them to misidentify Baja California as this mythical land and to mistake it for an island. The Amadis tales are the Iberian equivalent of the Arthurian romances; they are older than 1510 (traces of them have been found mid-14c.) and were wildly popular. That conquistadors and sailors would have known the story in all its imaginative detail is hardly surprising.ETD California.2

    Where Montalvo got the name and what it means, if anything, is a mystery. In reference to the native inhabitants, Californian is attested from 1785 as an adjective, 1789 as a noun. The element Californium (1950) was named in reference to University of California, where it was discovered.ETD California.3

    caliginous (adj.)

    "dim, obscure, dark," 1540s, from Latin caliginosus "misty," from caliginem (nominative caligo) "mistiness, darkness, fog, gloom," which is of uncertain origin. De Vaan's entry for it compares Greek kēlas "mottled; windy" (of clouds), kēlis "stain, spot;" perhaps Sanskrit kala- "black," Latin calidus "with a white mark on the forehead." Related: Calignously; caliginosity.ETD caliginous (adj.).2

    caligraphy (n.)

    alternative spelling of calligraphy.ETD caligraphy (n.).2


    cognomen of the mad, extravagant, and legendarily cruel third Roman emperor (12 C.E.-41 C.E.), born Gaius Caesar. The nickname is Latin, literally "little boot," given when he joined his father on military campaigns when still a toddler, in full, child-sized military gear; it is a diminutive of caliga "heavy military shoe," which is of unknown origin.ETD Caligula.2

    caliology (n.)

    "scientific study of birds' nests," 1875, from Latinized form of Greek kalia "a dwelling, hut, nest" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save") + -ology. Related: Caliological.ETD caliology (n.).2

    caliper (n.)

    "instrument for measuring diameters," 1620s, short for calliper compass (1580s), a device used to measure calibers, from a corrupt form of caliber (q.v.). Usually in the plural, calipers.ETD caliper (n.).2

    caliph (n.)

    late 14c., "ruler of a Muslim country," from Old French caliphe (12c., also algalife), from Medieval Latin califa, from Arabic khalifa "successor" (from khalafa "succeed"). The title given to the successor of Muhammad as leader of the community and defender of the faith; the first was Abu-Bakr, who succeeded Muhammad in the role of leader of the faithful after the prophet's death.ETD caliph (n.).2

    caliphate (n.)

    1610s, "dominion of a caliph," from caliph + -ate (1). The meaning "rank of a caliph" is recorded from 1753.ETD caliphate (n.).2

    calisthenics (n.)

    also callisthenics, kind of light gymnastics, 1842, (the adjective calisthenic/callisthenic, of exercises, was in use by 1837), formed on model of French callisthenie, from Latinized combining form of Greek kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + sthenos "strength, power, ability, might" (perhaps from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold," on the notion of "steadfastness, toughness") + -ics.ETD calisthenics (n.).2

    Originally, gymnastic exercises suitable for girls and meant to develop the figure and promote graceful movement. OED describes the word as "chiefly a term of young ladies' boarding-schools." A place for doing it was a calisthenium (1853). The proper Greek, had the Greeks attempted such a word, would have been *kallistheneia.ETD calisthenics (n.).3

    call (v.)

    mid-13c., "cry out; call for, summon, invoke; ask for, demand, order; give a name to, apply by way of designation," from Old Norse kalla "cry loudly, summon in a loud voice; name, call by name," from Proto-Germanic *kall- (source also of Middle Dutch kallen "speak, say, tell," Dutch kallen "to talk, chatter," Old High German kallon "speak loudly, call"), from PIE root *gal- "to call, shout." Related: Called; calling.ETD call (v.).2

    Old English cognate ceallian "to shout, utter in a loud voice" was rare, the usual word being clipian (source of Middle English clepe, yclept). Old English also had hropan hruofan, cognate of German rufen.ETD call (v.).3

    The "heads-or-tails" coin-toss sense is from 1801; the card-playing sense "demand that the hands be shown" is from 1670s; the specific poker sense of "match or raise a bet" is by 1889. The meaning "make a short stop or visit" (Middle English) was literally "stand at the door and call." The "attempt a telephone connection with" sense is from 1882.ETD call (v.).4

    To call for "demand, require" is from 1530s (earlier in this sense was call after, c. 1400). To call (something) back "revoke" is from 1550s. To call (something) off "cancel" is by 1888; earlier call off meant "summon away, divert" (1630s). To call (someone) names is from 1590s. To call out someone to fight (1823) corresponds to French provoquer. To call it a night "go to bed" is from 1919.ETD call (v.).5

    calling (n.)

    mid-13c., "outcry, shouting," also "a summons or invitation," verbal noun from call (v.). The sense of "vocation, profession, trade, occupation" (1550s) traces to I Corinthians vii.20, where it means "position or state in life."ETD calling (n.).2

    call (n.)

    early 14c., "a loud cry, an outcry," also "a summons, an invitation," from call (v.). From 1580s as "a summons" (by bugle, drum, etc.) to military men to perform some duty; from 1680s as "the cry or note of a bird." The sense of "a short formal visit" is from 1862; the meaning "a communication by telephone" is from 1878. It is attested from 1670s as "requirement, duty, right," hence, colloquially, "occasion, cause."ETD call (n.).2

    calla (n.)

    marsh-plant found in colder parts of Europe and America, 1789, from Latin calla, the name in Pliny of an unidentified plant, perhaps a mistake for calyx. The common calla-lily (1805) is a related species, not a lily but so called for the appearance of the flowers.ETD calla (n.).2

    caller (n.)

    c. 1500, "one who proclaims," agent noun from call (v.). The meaning "one who announces step changes at a dance" is short for caller-out (1882). The meaning "a social visitor" is attested from 1786; as "one who places a telephone call," 1880.ETD caller (n.).2

    call-girl (n.)

    "prostitute who makes appointments by phone," 1928, from call (n.) + girl.ETD call-girl (n.).2

    calligraphy (n.)

    "the art of beautiful writing, elegant penmanship," 1610s, from Latinized form of Greek kaligraphia, from kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Related: Calligrapher; calligraphic.ETD calligraphy (n.).2

    calliope (n.)

    "harsh-sounding steam-whistle keyboard organ," 1858, named incongruously for Calliope, the ninth and chief muse, who presided over eloquence and epic poetry. A Latinized from Greek Kalliopē, literally "beauty of voice," from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + opos (genitive of *ops) "voice" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak").ETD calliope (n.).2

    calliper (n.)

    variant of caliper. Related: Callipers.ETD calliper (n.).2

    callipygian (adj.)

    "of, pertaining to, or having beautiful buttocks," 1800, Latinized from Greek kallipygos, the name of a statue of Aphrodite at Syracuse, from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + pygē "rump, buttocks," which Beekes calls "A slang word, completely avoided in epic poetry and higher literature (Wackernagel 1916: 225f.). It has no convincing etymology." Sir Thomas Browne (1646) refers to "Callipygæ and women largely composed behinde."ETD callipygian (adj.).2


    in classical mythology a nymph, mother of Arcas by Zeus, turned to a bear by Hera, from Greek kallistos, superlative of kalos "beautiful, beauteous, noble, good," and its derived noun kallos "beauty," from *kal-wo-, which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Sanskrit kalyana "beautiful." The usual combining form in Greek was kalli- "beautiful, fine, happy, favorable;" kalo- was a later, rarer alternative form. Also a name given to the fourth moon of Jupiter in 17c. but not widely used before mid-19c. Feminized as a proper name as Callista.ETD Callisto.2

    callithumpian (adj.)

    "pertaining to a noisy concert or serenade," also the name of the concert itself, 1836, U.S. colloquial, probably a fanciful construction (perhaps based on the calli- "beauty" words (see Callisto) + thump). But Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) reports Gallithumpians as a Dorset and Devon word from 1790s for a society of radical social reformers, and also in reference to "noisy disturbers of elections and meetings" (1770s). The U.S. reference is most commonly "a band of discordant instruments" or a crowd banging on tin pots and pans, blowing horns, etc., especially on New Year's or to "serenade" a newlywed couple to show disapproval of one or the other or the match.ETD callithumpian (adj.).2

    callosal (adj.)

    "pertaining to the corpus callosum," 1864, from Latin callosus (see callous) + -al (1).ETD callosal (adj.).2

    callous (adj.)

    c. 1400, "hardened," in the physical sense, from Latin callosus "thick-skinned," from callus, callum "hard skin" (see callus). The figurative sense of "unfeeling, hardened in the mind" was in English by 1670s. Related: Callously; callousness.ETD callous (adj.).2

    callow (adj.)

    Middle English calwe, Old English calu "bare, bald," from Proto-Germanic *kalwa- (source also of Middle Dutch calu, Dutch kaal, Old High German kalo, German Kahl), from PIE root *gal- (1) "bald, naked" (source also of Russian golyi "smooth, bald"). From young birds with no feathers, the meaning was extended to any young inexperienced thing or creature, hence "youthful, juvenile, immature" (1570s). It is apparently not related to Latin calvus "bald."ETD callow (adj.).2

    callus (n.)

    "hardened skin," 1560s, from Latin callus, variant of callum "hard skin," related to callere "be hard," from Proto-Italic *kaln/so- "hard," but the PIE source is uncertain. Among proposed cognates are Old Irish calath, calad, Welsh caled "hard;" Old Church Slavonic kaliti "to cool, harden," Russian kalit "to heat, roast," Serbo-Croatian kaliti "to temper, case-harden."ETD callus (n.).2

    calmative (adj.)

    "quieting excessive action," by 1831, from French calmatif; see calm (adj.) + -ative. A Greek-Latin hybrid; purists prefer sedative, but OED writes that "The Latinic suffix is here defensible on the ground of It. and Sp. calmar, F. calmer ...." Also as a noun, "a quieting drug" (1847).ETD calmative (adj.).2

    calmness (n.)

    "quietness, stillness, tranquility," 1510s, from calm (adj.) + -ness.ETD calmness (n.).2

    calm (v.)

    late 14c., "to become calm," from Old French calmer or from calm (adj.). Also transitive, "to make still or quiet" (1550s). Related: Calmed; calming.ETD calm (v.).2

    calm (adj.)

    late 14c., of the sea, "windless, without motion or agitation;" of a wind, "light, gentle," perhaps via Old French calme "tranquility, quiet," or directly from Old Italian calma "quiet, fair weather," which probably is from Late Latin cauma "heat of the mid-day sun" (in Italy, a time when everything rests and is still), from Greek kauma "heat" (especially of the sun), from kaiein "to burn" (see caustic). The spelling was influenced by Latin calere "to be hot." The figurative application to social or mental conditions, "free from agitation or passion," is from 1560s.ETD calm (adj.).2

    calm (n.)

    c. 1400, "absence of storm or wind," from the adjective or from Old French calme, carme "stillness, quiet, tranquility," or directly from Old Italian calma "quiet, fair weather" (see calm (adj.)). The figurative sense of "peaceful manner, mild bearing" is from early 15c.; that of "freedom from agitation or passion" is from 1540s.ETD calm (n.).2

    calmly (adv.)

    "quietly, peacefully," 1590s, from calm (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD calmly (adv.).2

    calomel (n.)

    old name for mercurous chloride, 1670s, from French calomel, supposedly (Littré) from Latinized form of Greek kalos "beautiful" (see Callisto) + melas "black;" but as the powder is yellowish-white this seems difficult. "It is perhaps of significance that the salt is blackened by ammonia and alkalis" [Flood].ETD calomel (n.).2

    caloric (n.)

    hypothetical fluid in a now-discarded model of heat exchange, 1792, from French calorique, coined in this sense by Lavoisier, from Latin calorem "heat" (nominative calor), from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm." The adjective, "pertaining to heat or the principle of heat," is recorded from 1865.ETD caloric (n.).2

    Calor (n.)

    proprietary name for a type of liquid gas sold in Britain, 1936, from Latin calor, literally "heat" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm").ETD Calor (n.).2

    calorie (n.)

    unit of heat in physics, 1866, from French calorie, from Latin calor (genitive caloris) "heat," from PIE *kle-os-, suffixed form of root *kele- (1) "warm."ETD calorie (n.).2

    As a unit of energy, defined as "heat required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius" (the small or gram calorie), but as a measure of the energy-producing value of food, "heat required to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius" (the large calorie or kilocalorie). In part because of this confused definition, it was largely replaced 1950 in scientific use by the joule. Calorie-counting or -watching as a method of scientific weight-regulation is attested by 1908.ETD calorie (n.).3

    calorimeter (n.)

    "apparatus for measuring heat given off by a body," 1794, from Latin calor "heat" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm") + -meter. A hybrid word. Related: Calorimetric; calorimetry.ETD calorimeter (n.).2

    calque (n.)

    "loan translation of a foreign word or phrase," 1937, from French calque, literally "a copy," from calquer "to trace by rubbing" (itself borrowed in English 1660s as calk "to copy by tracing"), a 16c. borrowing by French of Italian calcare, from Latin calcare "to tread, to press down," from calx (1) "heel" (see calcaneus).ETD calque (n.).2

    calumet (n.)

    kind of tobacco pipe used by North American Indians, 1660s, from Canadian French calumet (1630s), from Norman French calumet "pipe, reed pipe" (Old French chalemel, 12c., Modern French chalumeau), from Latin calamellus, diminutive of calamus "reed; something made of reed or shaped like a reed" (see shawm).ETD calumet (n.).2

    calumny (n.)

    mid-15c., "false accusation, slander," from Old French calomnie (15c.), from Latin calumnia "trickery, subterfuge, misrepresentation, malicious charge," from calvi "to trick, deceive."ETD calumny (n.).2

    According to de Vaan, PIE cognates include Greek kēlein "to bewitch, cast a spell," Gothic holon "to slander," Old Norse hol "praise, flattery," Old English hol "slander," holian "to betray," Old High German huolen "to deceive." The whole group is perhaps from the same root as call (v.). A doublet of challenge.ETD calumny (n.).3

    calumniation (n.)

    "act of caluminating," 1540s, noun of action from calumniate (v.).ETD calumniation (n.).2

    calumniator (n.)

    "one who falsely and knowingly accuses another of anything disgraceful or maliciously propagates false reports," 1560s, from Latin calumniator, agent noun from calumniari "to accuse falsely" (see calumniate (v.)). Related: Calumniatory.ETD calumniator (n.).2

    calumnious (adj.)

    "slanderous, using calumny," late 15c., from Latin calumniosus, from calumnia "slander, false accusation" (see calumny). Related: Calumniously; calumniousness.ETD calumnious (adj.).2

    calumniate (v.)

    "knowingly utter false charges," 1550s, from Latin calumniatus, past participle of calumniari "to accuse falsely," from calumnia "slander, false accusation" (see calumny). A doublet of challenge. Related: Calumniated; calumniating.ETD calumniate (v.).2

    calve (v.)

    "to bring forth a calf or calves," Old English cealfian, from cealf "calf" (see calf (n.1)). Of glaciers, "to lose a portion by an iceberg breaking off," 1837. Related: Calved; calving.ETD calve (v.).2


    name of the mount of the Crucifixion, late 14c., from Latin calvaria "skull," rendering Greek Kraniou topos, translating Aramaic gulgulta "place of the skull" (see Golgotha). Old English used Heafodpannan stow as a loan-translation. Latin Calvaria is related to calvus "bald" (see Calvin).ETD Calvary.2

    Calvinism (n.)

    1560s, "religious doctrines and theology of John Calvin" (1509-1564), French Protestant reformer and theologian. With -ism. Alternative form Calvinian was in use in 1566. Later extended broadly to positions he did not hold. Generalized association with stern moral codes and predestination is attested at least since 1853. Related: Calvinist; Calvinistic.ETD Calvinism (n.).2


    surname, especially in reference to John Calvin (1509-1564), French Protestant leader and theologian, born Jean Caulvin. The surname is related to French Chauvin (compare chauvinism), from Latin Calvinus, a Roman cognomen, literally "bald," from calvus "bald," from PIE *kle-wo- "bald."ETD Calvin.2


    sea nymph in the "Odyssey," literally "hidden, hider" (perhaps originally a death goddess) from Greek kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save," which also is the source of English Hell. The type of West Indian song is so called from 1934, but the origin of the name is obscure.ETD Calypso.2


    word-forming element meaning "hidden, covered," from Latinized form of Greek kalyptos "covered," from kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."ETD calypto-.2

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