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    chronometer (n.) — circadian (adj.)

    chronometer (n.)

    "any instrument that measures time or divides it into equal portions," especially "a time-keeper of great accuracy," 1735, from chrono- "time" + -meter. Related: Chronometric; chronometry.ETD chronometer (n.).2

    chrysalis (n.)

    "form in the life-cycle of butterflies, moths, etc., between larval and adult, consisting of a dormant pupa in a hard outer case," also the case itself, c. 1600, from Latin chrysallis, from Greek khrysallis (genitive khrysallidos) "golden colored pupa of the butterfly," from khrysos "gold" (see chryso-), + second element meaning something like "sheath." Seeking a plural, OED leans toward the classically correct chrysalides."ETD chrysalis (n.).2

    chrysalid (adj.)

    "pertaining to a chrysalis," 1801, see chrysalis + -id. As a noun variant of chrysalis, 1620s, perhaps from French chrysalide.ETD chrysalid (adj.).2

    chrysanthemum (n.)

    composite plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the national flower of Japan, 1550s, from Latin chrysanthemum, from Greek khrysanthemon "marigold," literally "golden flower," from khrysos "gold" (see chryso-) + anthemon "a flower," from PIE *andh- "bloom" (see anther). "The generic name is now rarely appropriate, as only a small number have yellow flowers" [Century Dictionary].ETD chrysanthemum (n.).2

    chryselephantine (adj.)

    of ancient statues, "overlaid with gold and ivory," 1816, probably via German, from Latinized form of Greek khryselephantinos, from khrysos "gold" (see chryso-) + elephantinos "made of ivory," from elephans (genitive elephantos) "elephant; ivory" (see elephant).ETD chryselephantine (adj.).2


    U.S. automobile corporation, organized 1925 as Chrysler Corporation by Walter P. Chrysler (1875-1940) out of the old Maxwell Motor Co. (Maxwell produced a car named Chrysler in 1924). The surname is a spelling variant of German Kreisler, perhaps related to kreisel "spinning top," but the sense connection is unclear.ETD Chrysler.2


    before vowels chrys-, word-forming element meaning "gold, gold-colored," also sometimes "wealth," from Latinized form of Greek khrysos "gold," which is usually said to be a Punic (Semitic) loan-word (compare Hebrew and Phoenician harutz "gold").ETD chryso-.2

    chthonian (adj.)

    "subterranean," 1804, with -an + Latinized form of Greek khthonios "of the earth, in the earth," from khthōn "the earth, solid surface of the earth" (mostly poetic), from PIE root *dhghem- "earth."ETD chthonian (adj.).2

    chthonic (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to the under world," 1882, with -ic + Latinized form of Greek khthonios "of the earth, in the earth," from khthōn "the earth, solid surface of the earth" (mostly poetic), from PIE root *dhghem- "earth."ETD chthonic (adj.).2

    chub (n.)

    type of river fish, mid-15c., chubbe, of unknown origin. In Europe, a kind of carp; in U.S., the black bass. Also applied to a lazy person (1550s) and to one who is plump. Compare chubby.ETD chub (n.).2

    chubbiness (n.)

    1805, from chubby + -ness.ETD chubbiness (n.).2

    chubby (adj.)

    "fat, round, and plump," 1610s, literally "resembling a chub," from chub, the short, thick type of fish + -y (2). Perhaps influenced by Old Norse kumba "log," kumben "stumpy."ETD chubby (adj.).2

    chuck (v.1)

    "to throw," 1590s, variant of chock "give a blow under the chin" (1580s), possibly from French choquer "to shock, strike against," imitative (see shock (n.1)). Meaning "pat playfully, give ablow to" is from 1610s. Related: Chucked; chucking.ETD chuck (v.1).2

    chuck (n.2)

    "slight blow under the chin," 1610s, from chuck (v.1). Meaning "a toss, a throw" is from 1862.ETD chuck (n.2).2

    chuck (n.1)

    "piece of wood," 1670s; "piece of meat," 1723; probably a variant of chock (n.) "block." "Chock and chuck appear to have been originally variants of the same word, which are now somewhat differentiated" [OED].ETD chuck (n.1).2

    Specifically of shoulder meat from early 18c. (the exact cut varies from place to place). Meaning "device for holding work in a lathe or other machine" is from 1703 (also chock). American English chuck wagon (1880) is from a mid-19c. meaning "food, grub," generalized from the meat sense.ETD chuck (n.1).3

    chuckle (v.)

    1590s, "to laugh loudly," frequentative of Middle English chukken "make a clucking noise" (late 14c.), of imitative origin. Meaning shifted to "laugh in a suppressed or covert way, express inward satisfaction by subdued laughter" by 1803. Related: Chuckled; chuckling.ETD chuckle (v.).2

    chuckle (n.)

    "a sly, suppressed laugh," 1754, from chuckle (v.).ETD chuckle (n.).2

    chucklehead (n.)

    also chuckle-head, "blockhead, dolt," 1731, with head (n.), the first element perhaps from chuck (n.1) "piece of wood" (compare blockhead). Related: Chuckle-headed.ETD chucklehead (n.).2


    as an adjective, "pleased, happy," 1860, British dialect, from obsolete chuff "swollen with fat" (1520s). A second British dialectal chuff has an opposite meaning, "displeased, gruff" (1832), from chuff "rude fellow," or, as Johnson has it, "a coarse, fat-headed, blunt clown" (mid-15c.), which is of unknown origin. Related: Chuffed "pleased" (1957).ETD chuff.2

    chug (n.)

    1866, echoic of a working steam engine. As a verb, from 1884. Related: Chugged; chugging. Drinking sense attested by 1940s (chug-a-lug), probably imitative of the sound of swallowing.ETD chug (n.).2

    chukker (n.)

    also chucker, chukka, "period in a polo game," 1898, from Hindi chakkar, from Sanskrit cakra "circle, wheel," from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round."ETD chukker (n.).2

    chum (n.2)

    "fish bait," consisting usually of pieces of some other fish, 1857, perhaps from Scottish chum "food."ETD chum (n.2).2

    chum (n.1)

    "friend, intimate companion," 1680s, originally university slang for "roommate," an alternative spelling of cham, short for chamber(mate); the formation is typical of the late-17c. fondness for clipped words. Among derived forms used 19c. were chumship; chummery "shared bachelor quarters," chummage "system of quartering more than one to a room."ETD chum (n.1).2

    chummy (adj.)

    "companionable, sociable, intimate," 1874, from chum (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Chumminess. Previously it was a noun, a common name for a chimney sweep, as a corruption of chinmey.ETD chummy (adj.).2

    chump (n.)

    1703, "short, thick lump of wood," of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of chunk (n.) or a nasalized variant of chub (compare chuck/chunk and Old Norse kumbr for kubbr "block of wood"). Meaning "blockhead" is first attested 1883. Chump change attested by 1950.ETD chump (n.).2

    chunder (v.)

    "vomit," 1950, Australian slang, of unknown origin.ETD chunder (v.).2

    chunk (n.)

    "short, thick piece" of something, 1690s, probably a nasalized variant of chuck (n.1) "cut of meat;" meaning "large amount" is 1883, American English. Meaning "person or beast that is small but thick-set and strong" is from 1822.ETD chunk (n.).2

    chunk (v.)

    "to throw," 1835, American English, from chunk (n.) or by similar mutation from chuck (v.1). Related: Chunked; chunking.ETD chunk (v.).2

    chunky (adj.)

    "thickset, disproportionately stout," 1751, from chunk (n.) + -y (2). Originally U.S. colloquial. Related: Chunkiness.ETD chunky (adj.).2

    Chunnel (n.)

    1928, a blend of (English) Channel + tunnel (n.).ETD Chunnel (n.).2

    church (v.)

    "to bring or lead to church," mid-14c., from church (n.). Related: Churched.ETD church (v.).2

    church (n.)

    Old English cirice, circe "place of assemblage set aside for Christian worship; the body of Christian believers, Christians collectively; ecclesiastical authority or power," from Proto-Germanic *kirika (source also of Old Saxon kirika, Old Norse kirkja, Old Frisian zerke, Middle Dutch kerke, Dutch kerk, Old High German kirihha, German Kirche).ETD church (n.).2

    This is probably [see extensive note in OED] borrowed via an unrecorded Gothic word from Greek kyriake (oikia), kyriakon doma "the Lord's (house)," from kyrios "ruler, lord," from PIE root *keue- "to swell" ("swollen," hence "strong, powerful").ETD church (n.).3

    Greek kyriakon (adj.) "of the Lord" was used of houses of Christian worship since c. 300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike. An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic transmission of many Christian words, via the Goths; probably it was used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period.ETD church (n.).4

    The word also was picked up by the Slavic tongues, probably via Germanic (Old Church Slavonic criky, Russian cerkov). Finnish kirkko, Estonian kirrik are from Scandinavian. Romance and Celtic languages use variants of Latin ecclesia (such as French église, 11c.).ETD church (n.).5

    Phonetic spelling from c. 1200, established by 16c. For vowel evolution, see bury. After the Reformation, church was used for any particular Christian denomination agreeing on doctrine and forms of worship.ETD church (n.).6

    As an adjective, "pertaining to a church," from 1570s. Church-bell was in late Old English. Church-goer is from 1680s. Church-key "key of a church door" is from early 14c.; slang use for "can or bottle opener" is by 1954, probably originally U.S. college student slang. Church-mouse (1731) "a mouse supposed to live in a church" (where there is nothing for it to eat) is proverbial in many languages for poverty.ETD church (n.).7

    church-going (adj.)

    "habitually attending church," 1540s, from the verbal phrase; go to church for "attend divine service in a religious building" is from late 12c. Late Old English had church-gang for "attendance at church." Related: Church-goer.ETD church-going (adj.).2

    churchman (n.)

    "an ecclesiastic, a clergyman," mid-13c., from church (n.) + man (n.). Later "an adherent of the Church of England."ETD churchman (n.).2

    churchyard (n.)

    "ground adjoining a church," especially if used for burial, late Old English, from church (n.) + yard (n.1).ETD churchyard (n.).2

    churl (n.)

    Old English ceorl "peasant, one of the lowest class of freemen, man without rank," from Proto-Germanic *kerlaz, *karlaz (source also of Old Frisian zerl "man, fellow," Middle Low German kerle, Dutch kerel "freeman of low degree," German Kerl "man, husband," Old Norse karl "old man, man").ETD churl (n.).2

    It had various meaning in early Middle English, including "man of the common people," "a country man," "husbandman," "free peasant;" by 1300, it meant "bondman, villain," also "fellow of low birth or rude manners."ETD churl (n.).3

    For words for "common man" that acquire an insulting flavor over time, compare boor, villain. In this case, however, the same word also has come to mean "king" in many languages (such as Lithuanian karalius, Czech kral, Polish król) via Charlemagne.ETD churl (n.).4

    churlish (adj.)

    late Old English cierlisc "of or pertaining to churls," from churl + -ish. Meaning "deliberately rude, surly and sullen" is late 14c. Related: Churlishly; churlishness.ETD churlish (adj.).2

    churn (n.)

    "vessel in which cream or milk is agitated to separate it and make butter," Old English cyrin, from Proto-Germanic *kernjon (source also of Old Norse kirna, Swedish kärna, Danish kjerne, Dutch karn, Middle High German kern); probably akin to cyrnel "kernel" (see kernel) and describing the "grainy" appearance of churned cream.ETD churn (n.).2

    churn (v.)

    mid-15c., chyrnen, "to stir or agitate (milk or cream) to make butter," from churn (n.). Extended sense "shake or agitate violently" is from late 17c. Intransitive sense is from 1735. Related: Churned; churning. To churn out, of writing, "produce mechanically and in great volume" is from 1902.ETD churn (v.).2

    chute (n.2)

    also 'chute, short for parachute (n.), attested from 1919.ETD chute (n.2).2

    chute (n.1)

    1725, American English, "fall of water" (earlier shoot, 1610s), from French chute "fall," from Old French cheoite "a fall," fem. past participle of cheoir "to fall," from Latin cadere "to fall," from PIE root *kad- "to fall." Meaning "inclined tube, trough" is from 1804; that of "narrow passage for cattle, etc." first recorded 1871. In North America, absorbing some senses of similar-sounding shoot (n.1).ETD chute (n.1).2

    chutney (n.)

    "compound of fruits and spices used as a condiment in the East Indies," 1813, said to be from Hindi chatni "to lick."ETD chutney (n.).2

    chutzpah (n.)

    also hutzpah, 1892, from Yiddish khutspe "impudence, gall," from Hebrew hutspah. The classic definition is that given by Leo Rosten: "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."ETD chutzpah (n.).2

    chyle (n.)

    "milky fluid formed during the process of digestion," 1540s, from Late Latin chylus "the extracted juice of a plant," from Greek khylos "juice" (of plants, animals, etc.), from stem of khein "to pour, gush forth," from PIE *ghus-mo-, from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation." Compare also chyme.ETD chyle (n.).2

    chyme (n.)

    early 15c., "bodily fluid;" c. 1600 in specific sense of "mass of semi-liquid food in the stomach," from Late Latin chymus, from Greek khymos, nearly identical to khylos "juice" (see chyle) and meaning essentially the same thing; from PIE root *gheu- "to pour." Differentiated by Galen, who used khymos for "juice in its natural or raw state," and khylos for "juice produced by digestion," hence the modern distinction.ETD chyme (n.).2


    word-forming element meaning "on the near side of, on this side," from Latin preposition cis "on this side" (in reference to place or time), related to citra (adv.) "on this side," from PIE *ki-s, suffixed form of root *ko-, the stem of demonstrative pronoun meaning "this." Opposed to trans- or ultra-. Originally only of place, sometimes 19c. of time; 21c. of life situations (such as cis-gender, which is attested by 2011).ETD cis-.2


    U.S. civilian espionage agency, initialism (acronym) of Central Intelligence Agency, founded 1947 as successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).ETD CIA.2

    ciabatta (n.)

    type of Italian bread made with olive oil, c. 1990, from Italian ciabatta, literally "carpet slipper;" the bread so called for its shape; the Italian word is from the same source that produced French sabot, Spanish zapata (see sabotage (n.)). The bread itself is said to have been developed in the 1980s as an Italian version of the French baguette.ETD ciabatta (n.).2

    ciao (interj.)

    parting salutation, 1929, dialectal variant of Italian schiavo "(your obedient) servant," literally "slave," from Medieval Latin sclavus "slave" (see slave (n.)).ETD ciao (interj.).2

    cicada (n.)

    popular name of many insects which make a rhythmic chirping or creaking noise, late 14c., from Latin cicada "cicada, tree cricket," not a native Latin word; perhaps a loan-word from a Mediterranean substrate language.ETD cicada (n.).2

    cicatrix (n.)

    "a scar or scar-like mark," 1640s, from Latin cicatrix (accusative cicatricem ) "a scar," which is of unknown origin. Earlier in English as cicatrice (mid-15c.). The classical plural is cicacitres. Related: cicatrical, cicatrize, cicatrization.ETD cicatrix (n.).2


    fem. proper name, an alteration or nativization of Cecilia. The popular plant name (late 16c.) is a corruption (by influence of the proper name) of Latin seselis, from Greek seselis, a foreign word, perhaps from Egyptian.ETD Cicely.2

    cicerone (n.)

    "a local guide to antiquities and curiosities in Italy," 1726, from Italian cicerone, from Latin Ciceronem, from the name of the great Roman orator (see Ciceronian). Traditionally the local guides were so called in reference to their florid loquacity.ETD cicerone (n.).2

    Ciceronian (adj.)

    1660s, "pertaining to or characteristic of Roman statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero" (106-43 B.C.E.), especially of speaking or writing style, "eloquent, copious." He often was known as Tully in early Modern English writers, Cicero being a cognomen of the genus Tullia. The name evidently is related to cicer "chickpea," and may have referred to a facial wart prominent on some ancestor of the family.ETD Ciceronian (adj.).2

    cicisbeo (n.)

    1718, from Italian cicisbeo "the recognized gallant of a married woman," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from older French chiche beau "little man," or from Venetian dialect cici "the chattering of women" (imitative, attested in 18c.).ETD cicisbeo (n.).2


    el Cid, title applied in Spanish literature to dauntless Castilian nobleman and warlord Ruy Diaz, Count of Bivar (c.1040-1099), champion of the Christian religion and the old Spanish monarchy against the Moors, 1680s, from Spanish cid "chief, commander," from Arabic sayyid "lord."ETD Cid.2


    word-forming element meaning "killer," from French -cide, from Latin -cida "cutter, killer, slayer," from -cidere, combining form of caedere "to fall, fall down, fall away, decay, fall dead" (from Proto-Italic *kaid-o-, from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). For the Latin vowel change, compare acquisition.ETD -cide.2

    The element also can represent "killing," from French -cide, from Latin -cidium "a cutting, a killing." But it has a classical literal sense in stillicide.ETD -cide.3

    cider (n.)

    late 13c. (in a biblical context), "strong liquor;" mid-14c., "liquor made from the juice of fruits," from Old French cidre, cire "pear or apple cider" (12c., Modern French cidre), variant of cisdre, from Late Latin sicera, Vulgate rendition of Hebrew shekhar, a word used for any strong drink (translated in Old English as beor, taken untranslated in Septuagint Greek as sikera), related to Arabic sakar "strong drink," sakira "was drunk."ETD cider (n.).2

    Meaning gradually narrowed in English to mean exclusively "fermented drink made from apples," though this sense also was in Old French. Later applied to any expressed juice of apples, either before or after fermentation (19c.). The former is distinguished as sweet cider, the latter as hard cider.ETD cider (n.).3

    ci-devant (adj.)

    "former, late, ex-," applied to a person with reference to an office or position he no longer occupies, 1790, from French, properly an adverb, "formerly, before," from ci, contracted from ici "here," + devant, from Old French davant, properly d'avant, from de "of" + avant "before" (see avant).ETD ci-devant (adj.).2


    also c.i.f., abbreviation of cost, insurance, freight, a trade term.ETD cif.2

    cig (n.)

    slang abbreviation of cigarette or cigar, attested from 1889. Elaborated form ciggy attested from 1962.ETD cig (n.).2

    cigar (n.)

    "cylindrical roll of tobacco for smoking," generally pointed at one end and cut at the other, 1730, from Spanish cigarro (source also of French cigare), probably from Maya sicar "to smoke rolled tobacco leaves," from si'c "tobacco;" or from or influenced by Spanish cigarra "grasshopper, cicada" (on resemblance of shape), from Vulgar Latin *cicala (source also of French cigale, Italian cigala); see cicada.ETD cigar (n.).2

    Cigar-box is from 1819; cigar-store from 1839; the wooden cigar-store Indian is so called from 1879, American English, but wooden images of feathered Indians or Negroes are mentioned outside tobacconists' shops in England by 1852, and are said to have been in earlier use on the Continent.ETD cigar (n.).3

    cigarette (n.)

    "small cigar made of finely cut tobacco," rolled up in an envelop of tobacco, corn-husk, or (typically) rice paper, 1835, American English, from French cigarette (by 1824), diminutive of cigare "cigar" (18c.), from Spanish cigarro (see cigar). The Spanish forms cigarito, cigarita also were popular in English mid-19c. Cigarette heart "heart disease caused by smoking" is attested from 1884. Cigarette-lighter is attested from 1884.ETD cigarette (n.).2

    cigarillo (n.)

    1829, from Spanish cigarillo, diminutive of cigarro (see cigar).ETD cigarillo (n.).2

    cilantro (n.)

    alternative name for coriander, by 1907, from Spanish cilantro, variant of culantro, from Latin coriandrum "coriander" (see coriander).ETD cilantro (n.).2

    cilia (n.)

    "the eyelashes, hairs which grow from the margins of the eyelid," 1715, from Latin cilia, plural of cilium "eyelid, eyelash," perhaps related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save," but words for this part of the face can be tricky (see brow). Later extended to one of the minute hair-like processes projecting from a cell or organism (1835). It sometimes is pluralized in English, which is an error. Related: Ciliary; ciliate.ETD cilia (n.).2

    ciliated (adj.)

    "fringed with fine hairs," 1794, from cilia (q.v.).ETD ciliated (adj.).2

    cilice (n.)

    "haircloth shirt worn next to the skin by monks and others to mortify the flesh," Old English cilic, from Latin cilicium "a covering," a type of coarse garment (used especially by soldiers and sailors), originally one of Cilician goat hair, from Greek kilikion "coarse cloth," from Kilikia "Cilicia" in Asia Minor. By tradition in Greek mythology the place was named for Cilix, a son of the Phoenician king Agenor.ETD cilice (n.).2


    ancient country on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor, from Latinized form of Greek Kilikia. At its east end was the pass through Mount Amanus into Syria known as the Cilician Gates.ETD Cilicia.2


    alternative spelling of sill.ETD cill.2

    cimarron (n.)

    "bighorn, Rocky Mountain sheep," 1850, from American Spanish, from an adjective, literally "wild, unruly;" see maroon (v.).ETD cimarron (n.).2

    cimex (n.)

    1580s, Latin, "bug, bedbug," also a term of reproach, of uncertain origin. Related: Cimicic; cimiceous "buggy;" cimicine "smelling of bugs" (1849).ETD cimex (n.).2

    Cimmerian (adj.)

    late 16c., "pertaining to the Cimmerii," an ancient nomadic people who, according to Herodotus, inhabited the region around the Crimea, and who, according to Assyrian sources, overran Asia Minor 7c. B.C.E.; from Latin Cimmerius, from Greek Kimmerios. Homer described their land as a place of perpetual mist and darkness beyond the ocean, but whether he had in mind the same people Herodotus did, or any real place, is unclear.ETD Cimmerian (adj.).2

    cinch (n.)

    1859, American English, "saddle-girth," from Spanish cincha "girdle," from Latin cingulum "a girdle, a swordbelt," from cingere "to surround, encircle," from PIE root *kenk- (1) "to gird, encircle" (source also of Sanskrit kankate "binds," kanci "girdle;" Lithuanian kinkau, kinkyti "to harness horses"). Replaced earlier surcingle. Sense of "an easy thing" is 1895 (in lead-pipe cinch), via notion of "a firm or sure hold" (1888).ETD cinch (n.).2

    cinch (v.)

    1866, "to pull in, gird with or as with a cinch," from cinch (n.). Figurative meaning "make certain" is from 1891, American English slang, via Western U.S. colloquial sense "bind or subdue by force" (1875). Related: Cinched; cinching.ETD cinch (v.).2


    city on the Ohio River in Ohio, U.S., founded 1789 and first called Losantiville; the name was changed 1790 by territorial Gov. Arthur St. Clair, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal veterans' organization founded 1783 by former Revolutionary War officers (St. Clair was a member) and named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, 5c. B.C.E. Roman hero who saved the city from crisis and then retired to his farm rather than rule. His name is a cognomen in the gens Quinctia, meaning literally "with curly hair," from Latin cincinnus "curl, curly hair." Related: Cincinnatian.ETD Cincinnati.2

    cincture (n.)

    "belt, girdle, or band worn round the body," 1580s, from Latin cinctura "a girdle," from cinctus, past participle of cingere "to surround, encircle" (see cinch (n.)). Especially the girdle used to confine a clergyman's cassock. The verb is recorded from 1757 (implied in cinctured).ETD cincture (n.).2

    cinder (n.)

    Old English sinder "dross of iron, slag," from Proto-Germanic *sendra- "slag" (source also of Old Saxon sinder "slag, dross," Old Norse sindr, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch sinder, Dutch sintel, Old High German sintar, German Sinter), from PIE root *sendhro- "coagulating fluid" (source also of Old Church Slavonic sedra "cinder").ETD cinder (n.).2

    Initial s- changed to c- under influence of unrelated French cendre "ashes," from Latin cinerem (nominative cinis) "ashes," from or related to Greek konis "dust" (see incinerate). The Latin word was contracted to *cin'rem and the -d- inserted for ease of pronunciation (compare peindre from pingere). The French word also apparently shifted the sense of the English one to "small piece of burnt coal after a fire has gone out" (16c.).ETD cinder (n.).3

    Geological sense "coarse ash thrown out by volcanoes" is from 1774; cinder cone, formed around a volcano by successive eruptions of ash, is recorded from 1849. Related: Cinders.ETD cinder (n.).4

    Cinderella (n.)

    pseudo-translation of French Cendrillon, from cendre "ashes" (see cinder). Used figuratively for something unappreciated or something that ends at midnight. A widespread Eurasian folk tale, the oldest known version is Chinese (c. 850 C.E.); the English version is based on Perrault's "Cendrillon" (1697), translated from French 1729 by Robert Sambler, but native versions probably existed (such as Scottish "Rashin Coatie").ETD Cinderella (n.).2

    The German form is Aschenbrödel, literally "scullion," from asche "ash" (see ash (n.1)) + brodeln "bubble up, to brew." Native words, wisely passed over by Sambler, for "woman whose occupation is to rake ciders into heaps" were cinder-woman (17c.); cinder-wench (1712). Used figuratively for "neglected family member" or in reference to something that ends at midnight.ETD Cinderella (n.).3


    fem. proper name, often a familiar or diminutive form of Cynthia, but as a name in its own right among the top 100 for girls born in the U.S. c. 1953-1973.ETD Cindy.2


    abbreviation of cinema used in compounds or as a stand-alone, 1928, perhaps partly from French ciné (1917).ETD cine.2

    cinema (n.)

    1899, "movie hall," from French cinéma, shortened from cinématographe "device for projecting a series of photographs in rapid succession so as to produce the illusion of movement," coined 1890s by Lumiere brothers, who invented the technology, from Latinized form of Greek kinēmat-, combining form of kinēma "movement," from kinein "to move" (from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion"). For the second element in the French compound, see -graphy.ETD cinema (n.).2

    The word was earlier in English in its fuller form, cinematograph (1896), but this has been displaced by the short form. Other old words for such a system were vitascope (Edison, 1895), animatograph (1898). The meaning "movies collectively, especially as an art form" recorded by 1914. Cinéma vérité is 1963, from French.ETD cinema (n.).3

    CinemaScope (n.)

    1953, proprietary name for wide-screen movie technology; see cinema + scope (n.2).ETD CinemaScope (n.).2

    cinematic (adj.)

    1914, "of or pertaining to movies," from French cinématique (by 1902), from cinéma (see cinema). Earlier (1883) it was a variant form of kinematic (see kinematics). Related: Cinematically.ETD cinematic (adj.).2

    cinematographer (n.)

    1897, "one who takes cinematic pictures," agent noun from cinematograph "motion picture projector" (see cinema).ETD cinematographer (n.).2

    cinematography (n.)

    1896, with -y (4) + cinematograph "device for projecting a series of photographs in rapid succession so as to produce the illusion of movement" (1896), which has been displaced in English by its shortened form, cinema (q.v.). Related: Cinematographic.ETD cinematography (n.).2

    cineration (n.)

    "reduction of anything to ashes," 1708, from Latin ciner-, stem of cinis "ashes"(see incinerate).ETD cineration (n.).2

    Cinerama (n.)

    proprietary name for a form of cinema film projected on a wide, curved screen, 1951, from cinema + -rama. Purists point out that the proper formation would be *Cinorama.ETD Cinerama (n.).2

    cinerary (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to ashes," 1750, from Latin cinerarius "pertaining to ashes," from cinerat-, stem of cinis "ashes" (see incinerate). The neuter form, cinerarium, was used as a noun for "a receptacle for the ashes of the dead."ETD cinerary (adj.).2

    cinnabar (n.)

    mid-15c., "red or crystalline form of mercuric sulphide," also applied to other ores of mercury, originally with reference to its use as a pigment; from Old French cinabre (13c.), from Late Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, a foreign word, probably of Oriental origin (compare Persian zanjifrah in the same sense). Also used 14c.-17c. of red resinous juice of a certain Eastern tree, which was believed to be a mixture of dragon's and elephant's blood. Related: Cinnabaric.ETD cinnabar (n.).2

    cinnamon (n.)

    spice obtained from the dried inner bark of a tree in the avocado family, late 14c., from Old French cinnamone (13c.), from Latin cinnamum, cinnamomum "cinnamon" (also used as a term of endearment), from Greek kinnamomon, from a Phoenician word akin to Hebrew qinnamon (with ending altered in Greek by folk-etymology). Ceylon cinnamon, the true cinnamon, is used in Britain, but American cinnamon is almost always from the related cassia tree of Southeast Asia and is stronger and sweeter. As an adjective, "of the color of cinnamon, light reddish-brown," 1680s. Related: Cinnamic.ETD cinnamon (n.).2

    cinque (n.)

    "a group of five, five units treated as one," especially at cards or dice, late 14c., from French cinq, a dissimilation from Latin quinque "five," in Late Latin also cinque (from PIE root *penkwe- "five").ETD cinque (n.).2

    The Cinque Ports (late 12c. in Anglo-Latin, late 13c. in English) were Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney, and Hythe, granted special privileges from the crown in return for defense of the Channel in the days before England had a navy. Cinque outposts (1640s) was an old term for the five senses.ETD cinque (n.).3

    cinquain (n.)

    "collection of five," 1711, from French cinquain "bundle of five objects," from cinq "five" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five"). Originally in English of military orders of battle (five battalions drawn up in three lines); of five-lined stanzas of verse from 1882 (give a more specific form in English than usual in French).ETD cinquain (n.).2

    cinquecento (n.)

    also cinque-cento, "the sixteenth century" (in reference to Italian art and literature), 1760, from Italian cinquecento, literally "500," short for mil cinquecento "1500." See cinque + hundred, and compare quattrocento. Also as an adjective.ETD cinquecento (n.).2

    cinquefoil (n.)

    in architecture, an ornament consisting of five cuspidated divisions, late 15c., from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + folium "leaf" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). As the name of a plant with compound leaves of five leaflets, 1540s.ETD cinquefoil (n.).2

    cipher (v.)

    also cypher, 1520s, "to do arithmetic" (with Arabic numerals), from cipher (n.). Transitive sense "reckon in figures, cast up" is from 1860. Meaning "to write in code or occult characters" is from 1560s. Related: Ciphered; ciphering.ETD cipher (v.).2

    ciphering (n.)

    1530s, "writing in secret code or occult characters," verbal noun from cipher (v.). Meaning "action of using figures in arithmetic" is from 1610s.ETD ciphering (n.).2

    cipher (n.)

    late 14c., "arithmetical symbol for zero," from Old French cifre "nought, zero," Medieval Latin cifra, which, with Spanish and Italian cifra, ultimately is from Arabic sifr "zero," literally "empty, nothing," from safara "to be empty;" a loan-translation of Sanskrit sunya-s "empty." Klein says Modern French chiffre is from Italian cifra.ETD cipher (n.).2

    The word came to Europe with Arabic numerals. From "zero," it came to mean "any numeral" (early 15c.), then (first in French and Italian) "secret way of writing; coded message" (a sense first attested in English 1520s), because early codes often substituted numbers for letters. Meaning "the key to a cipher or secret writing" is by 1885, short for cipher key (by 1835).ETD cipher (n.).3

    Figurative sense of "something or someone of no value, consequence, or power" is from 1570s.ETD cipher (n.).4

    Circe (n.)

    beautiful enchantress of the isle of Aea who transformed into swine those who drank from her cup ("Odyssey"), late 14c., from Latin Circe, from Greek Kirke. Related: Circean "fascinating but depraving" (1640s).ETD Circe (n.).2

    circa (adv.)

    "about, at or near (a given date)" when the exact time is unknown, 1856, from Latin circa (adv., prep.) "around, round about, near; in the region of; about the time of," alternative form of circum "round about" (see circum-).ETD circa (adv.).2

    circadian (adj.)

    coined 1959 by German-born biologist Franz Halberg, from Latin circa "about" (alternative form of circum "round about;" see circum-) + diem, accusative singular of dies "day" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine"). The original use is in circadian rhythm.ETD circadian (adj.).2

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