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    convolute (adj.) — coquetry (n.)

    convolute (adj.)

    "rolled up together," 1794, from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere "to roll together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." The noun meaning "something convoluted" is from 1846.ETD convolute (adj.).2

    convolution (n.)

    1540s, "state of being rolled upon itself; a turning, winding, fold, or gyration," noun of state from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere "to roll together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + volvere "to roll" (from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve"). Meaning "act of rolling or winding together" is from 1590s. Related: Convolutions.ETD convolution (n.).2

    convoluted (adj.)

    1752, past-participle adjective from verb convolute (1690s), from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere "to roll together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Or perhaps a back-formation from convolution. French has convoluté (18c.), in form a past-participle adjective, but without the verb.ETD convoluted (adj.).2

    convolve (v.)

    "to roll or wind together," 1640s, from Latin convolvere (past participle convolutus) "to roll together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Related: Convolvement; convolvent.ETD convolve (v.).2

    convulsive (adj.)

    1610s, "of the nature of or characterized by convulsion," from French convulsif, from Medieval Latin *convulsivus, from convuls-, past-participle stem of convellere "to pull away, to pull this way and that, wrench," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently" (see svelte). Meaning "producing or attended by convulsions" is from 1700. Related: Convulsively.ETD convulsive (adj.).2

    convulsion (n.)

    1580s, "a violent and involuntary contraction of the muscular parts of the body," from Latin convulsionem (nominative convulsio) "cramp, convulsion," noun of action from past-participle stem of convellere "to tear loose," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently" (see svelte).ETD convulsion (n.).2

    Meaning "any violent or irregular (social, political, etc.) motion, turmoil" is from 1640s. Of laughter, 1735. Related: Convulsions; convulsional.ETD convulsion (n.).3

    convulse (v.)

    1640s, "to shake or disturb by violent, irregular action" (transitive); 1680s, "to draw or contract spasmodically or involuntarily" (intransitive); from Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere (transitive only) "to pull away, to pull this way and that, wrench," hence "to weaken, overthrow, destroy," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently" (see svelte). Related: Convulsed (1630s); convulsing.ETD convulse (v.).2

    coo (v.)

    1660s, "to utter a low, plaintive, murmuring sound," echoic of doves. Compare, in the same sense, Danish kurre, German girren; also Hindi kuku "the cooing of a dove," Persian huhu "a dove," and see cuckoo.ETD coo (v.).2

    Meaning "to utter by cooing" is from 1798. Meaning "to converse affectionately, make love in murmuring endearments" is from 1816. Related: Cooing. The noun is recorded from 1729.ETD coo (v.).3

    cooch (n.)

    "vagina," slang, c. 2003, short for coochie.ETD cooch (n.).2

    coochie (n.)

    "vagina," slang, by 1991, perhaps from hoochie-coochie, especially in the blues song "Hoochie Coochie Man" by Willie Dixon (1954), featuring a sexually suggestive phrase that traces at least to the 1893 World's Fair (see hoochy koochy).ETD coochie (n.).2

    cook (n.)

    "one whose occupation is the preparing and cooking of food," Old English coc, from Vulgar Latin *cocus "cook," from Latin coquus, from coquere "to cook, prepare food, ripen, digest, turn over in the mind" from PIE root *pekw- "to cook, ripen."ETD cook (n.).2

    Germanic languages had no one native term for all types of cooking, and borrowed the Latin word (Old Saxon kok, Old High German choh, German Koch, Swedish kock).ETD cook (n.).3

    cook (v.)

    late 14c., in the most basic sense, "to make fit for eating by the action of heat," but especially "to prepare in an appetizing way by various combinations of material and flavoring," from cook (n.).ETD cook (v.).2

    Old English had gecocnian, cognate with Old High German cochon, German kochen, all verbs from nouns, but the Middle English word seems to be a fresh formation from the noun in English. The figurative sense of "to manipulate, falsify, alter, doctor" is from 1630s (phrase cook the books is attested by 1954). Related: Cooked, cooking. Phrase what's cooking? "what's up, what's going on" is attested by 1942. To cook with gas "do well, act or think correctly" is 1930s jive talk.ETD cook (v.).3

    cookbook (n.)

    also cook-book, "book containing recipes for cooking," 1809, from cook (n.) + book (n.). Earlier was cookery book (1630s).ETD cookbook (n.).2

    cookee (n.)

    "male assistant to a (male) cook in a lumber camp, etc.," 1846, American English, from cook (n.) + diminutive ending.ETD cookee (n.).2

    cooker (n.)

    type of stove, 1868, from cook (v.) + -er (1).ETD cooker (n.).2

    cookery (n.)

    "art or practice of cooking and dressing food for the table," late 14c.; see cook (n.) + -ery.ETD cookery (n.).2

    cooky (n.)

    variant of cookie.ETD cooky (n.).2

    cookie (n.)

    1730, Scottish, but the sense is "plain bun," and it is debatable whether it is the same word; in the sense of "small, flat, sweet cake" by 1808 (American English); this use is from Dutch koekje "little cake," diminutive of koek "cake," from Middle Dutch koke (see cake (n.)). "Dutch influence is no doubt responsible also for the parallel use of the word in South African English" [Ayto, "Diner's Dictionary"].ETD cookie (n.).2

    Slang application to persons (especially an attractive woman) attested since 1920. Phrase that's the way the cookie crumbles "that's the way things happen" is attested by 1955.ETD cookie (n.).3

    cookout (n.)

    also cook-out, "outdoor gathering at which food is cooked," 1930, American English, from the verbal phrase, from cook (v.) + out (adv.).ETD cookout (n.).2

    cool (adj.)

    Old English col "not warm" (but usually not as severe as cold), "moderately cold, neither warm nor very cold," also, figuratively, of persons, "unperturbed, undemonstrative, not excited or heated by passions," from Proto-Germanic *koluz (source also of Middle Dutch coel, Dutch koel, Old High German chuoli, German kühl "cool," Old Norse kala "be cold"), from PIE root *gel- "cold; to freeze."ETD cool (adj.).2

    Attested in a figurative sense from early 14c. as "manifesting coldness, apathy, or dislike." Applied since 1728 to large sums of money to give emphasis to amount. Meaning "calmly audacious" is from 1825.ETD cool (adj.).3

    Slang use of cool for "fashionable" is by 1933, originally African-American vernacular; its modern use as a general term of approval is from the late 1940s, probably via bop talk and originally in reference to a style of jazz; the word is said to have been popularized in jazz circles by tenor saxophonist Lester Young (1909-1959). Cool-headed "not easily excited or confused" is from 1742.ETD cool (adj.).4

    cool (n.)

    c. 1400, "moderate state of cold, coolness," from cool (adj.). Meaning "one's self-control, composure" (the thing you either keep or lose) is from 1966.ETD cool (n.).2

    cool (v.)

    Old English colian, "to lose warmth," also figuratively, "to lose ardor;" cognate with Old Saxon kolon, Dutch koelen, Old High German chuolan, German kühlen, all from the root of cool (adj.). Transitive meaning "to cause to lose warmth, reduce the temperature of" is from late 14c. Related: Cooled; cooling.ETD cool (v.).2

    Figurative meaning "abate the intensity of" is from c. 1300. To cool (one's) heels" wait in attendance, "generally applied to detention at a great man's door" [Century Dictionary] is attested from 1630s; probably the notion is "to rest one's feet after walking."ETD cool (v.).3

    coolness (n.)

    Old English colnesse "a moderate degree of cold, somewhat low temperature;" see cool (adj.) + -ness. Figurative sense of "absence of mental confusion or excitement" is from 1650s; that of "absence of warm affection" is from 1670s; that of "quiet, unabashed impudence" is by 1751.ETD coolness (n.).2

    coolant (n.)

    "radiator fluid," 1915, from cool (adj.) + -ant.ETD coolant (n.).2

    cooler (n.)

    1570s, "a vessel in which liquids or other things are set to cool," agent noun from cool (v.). Meaning "portable insulated box to keep things cool" is from 1944. Slang meaning "jail" is attested from 1884. Meaning "long, cold drink," especially a mildly alcoholic one based mainly on fruit juice or a soft drink, is by 1953.ETD cooler (n.).2

    coolie (n.)

    name given by Europeans to hired native laborers employed in menial work in India and China, c. 1600, according to OED from Hindi quli "hired servant," probably from kuli, name of an aboriginal tribe or caste in Gujarat. The name was picked up by the Portuguese, who used it in southern India (where by coincidence kuli in Tamil meant "hire") and in China.ETD coolie (n.).2

    coolly (adv.)

    1570s, "without haste or passion," from cool (adj.) + -ly (2). From 1610s as "without heat;" 1620s as "in an indifferent manner;" 1844 as "with quiet presumption or impudence."ETD coolly (adv.).2

    coolth (n.)

    1540s, from cool on the model of warmth. It persists, and was used by Pound, Kipling, etc., but it never has shaken its odor of facetiousness and become standard.ETD coolth (n.).2

    coomb (n.)

    also combe, "deep hollow or valley, especially on flank of a hill," mainly surviving in place names, from Old English cumb, probably a British word, from Celtic base *kumbos (compare Welsh cwm in same sense). Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names says, "This is usually taken to be a Celtic loan ... but there was also OE cumb 'vessel, cup, bowl,'" which was "probably used in a transferred topographical sense reinforced in western districts by cwm."ETD coomb (n.).2

    coon (n.)

    popular abbreviation of raccoon, 1742, American English. It was the nickname of Whig Party members in U.S. c. 1848-60, as the raccoon was the party's symbol, and it also had associations with frontiersmen (who stereotypically wore raccoon-skin caps), which probably ultimately was the source of the Whig Party sense (the party's 1840 campaign was built on a false image of wealthy William Henry Harrison as a rustic frontiersman).ETD coon (n.).2

    The now-insulting U.S. meaning "black person" was in use by 1837, said to be from barracoon (by 1837), from Portuguese barraca "slave depot, pen or rough enclosure for black slaves in transit in West Africa, Brazil, Cuba." If so, no doubt this was boosted by the enormously popular blackface minstrel act Zip Coon (George Washington Dixon) which debuted in New York City in 1834. But it is perhaps older (one of the lead characters in the 1767 colonial comic opera "The Disappointment" is a black man named Raccoon).ETD coon (n.).3

    Also, in Western U.S., "a person" generally, especially a sly, knowing person (1832). Coon's age is 1843, American English, probably an alteration of British a crow's age. (Crows are famously long-lived. Compare Greek tri-koronos "long-lived," literally "having three times the age of a crow." But raccoons are not.) Gone coon (1839) was used of a person who is in a very bad way or a hopeless condition.ETD coon (n.).4

    coonskin (n.)

    "the skin of the raccoon, dressed with the fur on," 1818, American English, from coon + skin (n.).ETD coonskin (n.).2

    coop (v.)

    "put into a coop, confine in a narrow compass" (usually with up), 1560s, from coop (n.). Related: Cooped; cooping.ETD coop (v.).2

    co-op (n.)

    1861, abbreviation of cooperative. The hyphen is needed to avoid confusion with coop (n.).ETD co-op (n.).2

    coop (n.)

    "small cage for poultry," mid-14c., coupe, from Old English cype, cypa "large wicker basket, cask," akin to Middle Dutch kupe, Swedish kupa, and all probably from Latin cupa "tub, cask," from PIE *keup- "hollow mound" (see cup (n.)).ETD coop (n.).2

    cooperation (n.)

    "the act of working together to one end," 1620s, from French coopération, or directly from Late Latin cooperationem (nominative cooperatio) "a working together," noun of action from past-participle stem of cooperari "to work together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + operari "to work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance."ETD cooperation (n.).2

    cooperative (adj.)

    also co-operative, "operating or striving jointly for the attaining of certain ends," c. 1600, from Late Latin cooperat-, past participle stem of cooperari "to work together" (see cooperation) + -ive. Political economy sense is from 1808, from the pre-Marx communist movement. The noun meaning "a cooperative store" is from 1883; meaning "a cooperative society" is from 1921.ETD cooperative (adj.).2

    cooperate (v.)

    also co-operate, "to act or operate jointly with another or others to the same end," c. 1600, from Late Latin cooperatus, past participle of cooperari "to work together with," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + operari "to work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance." Cooperator "fellow worker, associate" is attested from early 15c. Related: Cooperated; cooperating.ETD cooperate (v.).2

    cooper (n.)

    "craftsman who makes barrels, tubs, and other vessels from wooden staves and metal hoops," late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), either from Old English (but the word is unattested) or from a Low German source akin to Middle Dutch cuper, East Frisian kuper, from Low German kupe (German Kufe) "cask, tub, vat," which is from or cognate with Medieval Latin cupa (see coop (n.)).ETD cooper (n.).2

    As a verb, "to make barrels, casks, etc.," 1746. The surname Cowper (pronounced "cooper") preserves a 15c. spelling.ETD cooper (n.).3

    co-opt (v.)

    1650s, "to select (someone) for a group or club by a vote of members," from Latin cooptare "to elect, to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + optare "choose" (see option (n.)). For some reason this defied the usual pattern of Latin-to-English adaptation, which should have yielded co-optate (which is attested from 1620s but now is rare or obsolete). Sense of "take over" is first recorded c. 1953. Related: Co-opted; co-opting.ETD co-opt (v.).2

    coopt (v.)

    see co-opt.ETD coopt (v.).2

    cooptation (n.)

    also co-optation, 1530s, "choice, selection, mutual choice, election to fill a vacancy" on a committee, board, or society, from Latin cooptationem (nominative cooptatio) "election," noun of action from past-participle stem of cooptare "to elect, to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + optare "choose" (see option (n.)). Related: Cooptative.ETD cooptation (n.).2

    coordinate (adj.)

    1640s, "of the same order, belonging to the same rank or degree," from Medieval Latin coordinatus, past participle of coordinare "to set in order, arrange," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + ordinatio "arrangement," from ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)). Meaning "involving coordination" is from 1769. Related: Coordinance.ETD coordinate (adj.).2

    coordination (n.)

    also co-ordination, c. 1600, "orderly combination," from French coordination (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin coordinationem (nominative coordinatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin coordinare "to set in order, arrange," from co- "with, together" (see com-) + ordinatio "arrangement," from ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)). Meaning "action of setting in order" is from 1640s; that of "harmonious adjustment or action," especially of muscles and bodily movements, is from 1855.ETD coordination (n.).2

    coordinator (n.)

    also co-ordinator, "person or thing that coordinates," 1849, agent noun in Latin form from coordinate (v.).ETD coordinator (n.).2

    coordinate (v.)

    also co-ordinate, 1660s, "to place in the same rank," from Latin coordinare "to set in order, arrange," from co- "with, together" (see com-) + ordinatio "arrangement," from ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)).ETD coordinate (v.).2

    Meaning "to arrange in proper position relative to each other" (transitive) is from 1847; that of "to work together in order" (intransitive) is from 1863. Related: Coordinated; coordinating.ETD coordinate (v.).3


    see coordinate.ETD co-ordinate.2

    coordinate (n.)

    also co-ordinate, 1823, in the mathematical sense ("each of two or more magnitudes used to define the position of a point, line, or plane"), especially with reference to the system invented by Descartes; from coordinate (adj.).ETD coordinate (n.).2

    Hence, coordinates as a means of determining a location on the earth's surface (especially for aircraft), attested by 1960. The meaning "something of the same order, degree, or rank with another or others" is from 1850. In women's fashion, coordinates "set of matched clothing" is attested by 1959.ETD coordinate (n.).3

    coordinal (adj.)

    also co-ordinal, 1849, in mathematics and geometry, "having (a certain number) of coordinates;" see co- + ordinal.ETD coordinal (adj.).2

    coot (n.)

    late 14c., cote, used for various diving water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from an unrecorded Old English word, or perhaps from Low German (compare Dutch meercoet "lake coot"). Meaning "silly person, fool" is attested from 1766.ETD coot (n.).2

    cooter (n.)

    name for some types of freshwater terrapin in southern U.S., especially the common box-turtle, 1835 (first attested 1827 in phrase drunk as a cooter, but this perhaps is a colloquial form of unrelated coot), of uncertain origin, perhaps from obsolete verb coot "to copulate" (1660s), which is of unknown origin. The turtles are said to copulate for two weeks at a stretch.ETD cooter (n.).2

    cootie (n.)

    "body louse," 1917, British World War I slang, earlier in nautical use, said to be from Malay (Austronesian) kutu, the name of some parasitic, biting insect.ETD cootie (n.).2

    cooties (n.)

    originally "body lice," 1917, see cootie.ETD cooties (n.).2

    co-owner (n.)

    "one who owns (something) with another," 1836, from co- + owner. Related: Co-ownership.ETD co-owner (n.).2

    cop (n.)

    "policeman," 1859, abbreviation (said to be originally thieves' slang) of earlier copper (n.2), which is attested from 1846, agent noun from cop (v.) "to capture or arrest as a prisoner." Cop-shop "police station" is attested from 1941. The children's game of cops and robbers is attested from 1900.ETD cop (n.).2

    English has many nouns cop, some archaic or obsolete, many connected more or less obscurely to Old English cop "top, summit," which is related to the source of cup (n.).ETD cop (n.).3

    cop (v.)

    "to seize, to catch, capture or arrest as a prisoner," 1704, northern British dialect, of uncertain origin; perhaps ultimately from French caper "seize, to take," from Latin capere "to take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"); or from Dutch kapen "to take," from Old Frisian capia "to buy," which is related to Old English ceapian (see cheap). Related: Copped; copping.ETD cop (v.).2

    copacetic (adj.)

    "fine, excellent, going well," 1919, but it may have origins in 19c. U.S. Southern Black speech. Origin unknown; suspects include Latin, Yiddish (Hebrew kol b'seder), Italian, Louisiana French (coupe-sétique), and Native American. Among the linguists, none of these is considered especially convincing. The popularization, and sometimes the invention, of the word often is attributed to U.S. entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (1878-1949).ETD copacetic (adj.).2


    see copacetic.ETD copasetic.2

    coping (n.)

    c. 1600 as an architectural term, "the top or cover of a wall, usually sloped to shed water," a specialized use of cope (n.), the cape-like vestment worn by priests, which is a a variant of cape (n.1). Cope (v.) "to provide (someone) with a cope or cloak" is attested from late 14c., and in the architectural sense of "to form a cope, bend as an arch or vault" it is recorded from 1660s. Coping saw, used for cutting curved patterns, is attested by 1887.ETD coping (n.).2

    cope (n.)

    c. 1200, "large outer garment, cloak, mantle," late 13c. in the specific ecclesiastical sense of "large mantle of silk or other material worn by priests or bishops over the alb on special occasions," from Medieval Latin capa "cloak," from Late Latin cappa (see cap (n.)). It was used figuratively for the "cloak" of night's darkness, from which it was extended to "vault of the sky" in the once-common poetic phrase cope of heaven (late 14c.).ETD cope (n.).2

    cope (v.)

    late 14c., coupen, "to quarrel;" c. 1400, "come to blows, deliver blows, engage in combat," from Old French couper, earlier colper "hit, punch," from colp "a blow" (see coup).ETD cope (v.).2

    The meaning evolved by 18c. into "handle (successfully), deal with," perhaps influenced by now-obsolete cope "to traffic, bargain for, buy" (15c.-17c.), a word in North Sea trade, from the Flemish version of the Germanic source of English cheap, and compare Copenhagen. Related: Coped; coping.ETD cope (v.).3

    copeck (n.)

    see kopeck.ETD copeck (n.).2


    capital of Denmark, Danish København, literally "merchant's port," from Danish køber "merchant," literally "buyer" (see cheap (adj.)), + havn "port" (see haven). English picked up cope 15c.-17c. from Low German in the sense of "to buy, barter, make a bargain," but it has become obsolete.ETD Copenhagen.2


    Latinized form of name of Mikolaj Koppernigk (1473-1543), Prussian Polish physician and canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg who promulgated the theory that the Earth and the planets revolve about the sun. His great work was "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium." Related: Copernican (1660s).ETD Copernicus.2

    copesetic (adj.)

    see copacetic.ETD copesetic (adj.).2

    copy (v.)

    late 14c., "make a copy of, duplicate" (a text or document), from Old French copier (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin copiare "to transcribe," originally "to write in plenty," from Latin copia "plenty" (see copy (n.)). Hence, "to write an original text many times."ETD copy (v.).2

    Figurative sense of "to imitate, to follow as an example" is attested from 1640s. Of computer data, by 1953. Meaning "send a copy (of a letter, later e-mail, etc.) to a third party" is attested by 1983. Related: Copied; copying.ETD copy (v.).3

    copy (n.)

    mid-14c., "written account or record," from Old French copie (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin copia "reproduction, transcript," from Latin copia "an abundance, ample supply, profusion, plenty," from assimilated form of com "with" (see com-) + ops (genitive opis) "power, wealth, resources," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance."ETD copy (n.).2

    Sense extended 15c. to any specimen of writing, especially MS given to a printer to be reproduced in type (Caxton, late 15c.). Meaning "a duplication, imitation, or reproduction" written or otherwise is from late 14c. Meaning "one of a set of reproductions containing the same matter" is from 1530s.ETD copy (n.).3

    Copy-boy, one who takes copy from the writer to the printer, is from 1888. The newspaper copy-desk, where copy is edited for printing, is from 1887; copy-editor is attested from 1889.ETD copy (n.).4

    copier (n.)

    1590s, "one who writes or transcribes from an original or form," agent noun from copy (v.). By 1889 as "device for making copies of documents."ETD copier (n.).2

    copilot (n.)

    also co-pilot, "a second pilot of an airplane," 1927, from co- + pilot (n.). As a verb from 1933. Related: Copiloted; co-piloted.ETD copilot (n.).2

    copious (adj.)

    "abundant, plentiful," mid-14c., from Latin copiosus "plentiful," from copia "an abundance, ample supply, profusion, plenty; riches, prosperity; ability, power, might," also the name of the Roman goddess of abundance," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + ops (genitive opis) "power, wealth, resources," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance." Related: Copiously; copiousness.ETD copious (adj.).2

    coplanar (adj.)

    also co-planar, "situated or operating in the same plane," 1849, from co- + planar.ETD coplanar (adj.).2

    copout (n.)

    "a cowardly escape, an evasion," 1942; see cop out.ETD copout (n.).2

    cop out

    by 1942, noun ("a cowardly escape, an evasion") and verb ("sneak off, escape, give up without trying"), American English slang, perhaps from cop a plea (c. 1925) "plead guilty to lesser charges," which is probably from northern British slang cop "to catch" (a scolding, etc.); as in cop a feel "grope someone" (1930s); see cop (v.). Sense of "evade an issue or problem" is from 1960s.ETD cop out.2

    copper (n.2)

    "policeman," 1846; probably an agent noun from the verb cop "to seize, to catch, capture or arrest as a prisoner" (see cop (v.)).ETD copper (n.2).2

    copper (n.1)

    malleable metallic element, noted for its peculiar red color, tenacity, malleability, and electric conductivity, late Old English coper, from Proto-Germanic *kupar (source also of Middle Dutch koper, Old Norse koparr, Old High German kupfar), from Late Latin cuprum, contraction of Latin Cyprium (aes) "Cyprian (metal)," after Greek Kyprios "Cyprus" (see Cyprus).ETD copper (n.1).2

    Ancient Greek had khalkos "ore, copper, bronze;" an old IE word for "ore, copper, bronze" is retained in Sanskrit ayah, Latin aes. Latin aes originally was "copper," but this was extended to its alloy with tin (see bronze), and as this was far more extensively used than pure copper, the word's primary sense shifted to the alloy and a new word evolved for "copper," from the Latin form of the name of the island of Cyprus, where copper was mined (the alchemists associated copper with Venus).ETD copper (n.1).3

    Aes passed into Germanic (which originally did not distinguish copper from its alloys) and became English ore. In Latin, aes was the common word for "cash, coin, debt, wages" in many figurative expressions. Chemical symbol Cu is from cuprum.ETD copper (n.1).4

    As "a copper coin," from 1580s; as "a vessel made of copper," 1660s. The adjective, "of or resembling copper," is from 1570s; the verb, "to cover with copper" is from 1520s.ETD copper (n.1).5

    copperhead (n.)

    Trigonocephalus contortrix, common venomous serpent of the U.S., 1775, American English, so called for the copper-colored markings between its eyes; see copper (n.1) + head (n.).ETD copperhead (n.).2

    Dangerous "sneak snakes" (because unlike the rattlesnake they strike without previous movement or warning), hence the figurative use in reference to hidden danger or secret hostility.ETD copperhead (n.).3

    Specifically in reference to Northerners suspected of sympathizing with the Southern rebellion, the name is said to have been first used in Greeley's New York "Tribune," July 20, 1861. Charles H. Coleman, "The Use of the Term 'Copperhead' During the Civil War" ["Mississippi Valley Historical Review" 25 (1938), p.263] traces it to an anonymous letter against Ohio anti-war Democrats in the Cincinnati "Commercial" newspaper in the summer of 1861. The Woodsfield, Ohio, "Spirit of Democracy" for Sept. 18, 1861, quotes "The last Guernsey Times" as calling Democrats "disunion copperheads." It seems not to have been in widespread use until summer 1862. Before the war it was a colloquial name for the old U.S. copper penny. Related: Copperheadism.ETD copperhead (n.).4

    copper-nickel (n.)

    alloy of copper that contains nickel, used in coinage, etc., 1728; see copper (n.1) + nickel.ETD copper-nickel (n.).2

    copperplate (n.)

    also copper-plate, "plate of polished copper, engraved and etched," 1660s, from copper (n.1) + plate (n.).ETD copperplate (n.).2

    coppersmith (n.)

    also copper-smith, "artisan who works in copper," early 14c., c. 1300 as a surname, from copper (n.1) + smith.ETD coppersmith (n.).2

    coppice (n.)

    late 14c., coppes, "small thicket of trees and brushes grown for periodic cutting for fuel," from Old French copeiz, coupeiz "a cut-over forest," from Vulgar Latin *colpaticium "having been cut," ultimately from Latin colaphus "a blow with the fist," from Greek kolaphos "blow, cuff" (see coup).ETD coppice (n.).2

    copra (n.)

    dried kernel of coconut (exported as a source of coconut oil), 1580s, from Portuguese copra (16c.), from Malayalam (Dravidian) koppara (cognate with Hindi khopra) "coconut;" related to Hindi khopri "skull," from Sanskrit kharparah "skull."ETD copra (n.).2

    copremesis (n.)

    in pathology, the vomiting of fecal matter, 1851, earlier in German, a Modern Latin formation from assimilated form of Greek kopros "dung" (see copro-) + emesis "a vomiting," from emein "to vomit" (see emetic). Related: Copremetic.ETD copremesis (n.).2

    co-presence (n.)

    also copresence, "act or fact of being present with (another)," 1802, from co- + presence. Related: Copresent.ETD co-presence (n.).2


    word-forming element indicating "dung, filth, excrement," before vowels copr-, from Latinized form of Greek kopros "dung," from PIE root *kekw- "excrement." Hence, coprology "study of obscene literature" (1856).ETD copro-.2

    coprolalia (n.)

    "obsessive use of obscene language, either through mental illness or perversion," 1886, from French coprolalie, coined 1885 by de la Tourette, from copro- "dung, filth" + Greek lalia "talk, prattle, a speaking," from lalein "to speak, prattle," which is of echoic origin.ETD coprolalia (n.).2

    coprolite (n.)

    "fossil dung, hard, roundish stony mass consisting of petrified fecal matter," 1829, from copro- + -lite, from French, for -lithe, from Greek lithos "stone" (see litho-). Related: Coprolitic.ETD coprolite (n.).2

    coprophagy (n.)

    "the eating of feces," 1875, originally in reference to insane persons or animals, from Modern Latin coprophagus, from Greek koprophagos "dung-eating," from kopros "dung" (see copro-) + -phagos "eating" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share"). Related: Coprophagous "feeding upon dung or filth" (1826, in reference to beetles); coprophagic (1876); coprophagist (1887).ETD coprophagy (n.).2

    coprophagia (n.)

    "the consumption of feces," 1885; Latinized from earlier coprophagy (q.v.), from Latinized form of Greek koprophagos "dung-eating," from kopros "dung" (see copro-) + -phagos "eating" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share").ETD coprophagia (n.).2

    coprophilia (n.)

    "attraction, usually sexual, to defecation and feces," 1914, from copro- + -philia. Related: Coprophilic (1910, in Brill's translation of Freud). French coprophile is attested from 1903 in reference to fungi that grow on dung, and coprophilious is attested in English from 1953 in a fungal sense.ETD coprophilia (n.).2

    copse (n.)

    1570s, "small wood grown for purposes of periodic cutting," contraction of coppice.ETD copse (n.).2

    Copt (n.)

    "native Monophysite Christian of Egypt," 1610s, from Modern Latin Coptus, from Arabic quft, which is of uncertain origin, probably from Coptic gyptios, from Greek Agyptios "Egyptian." Arabic has no -p- and often substitutes -f- or -b- for it. The majority of the Egyptian churches separated from the Orthodox Church after the Council of Chalcedon (451 C.E.). As an adjective, 1630s. Related: Coptic (1670s as an adjective; 1711 as the name of the language of the Copts).ETD Copt (n.).2

    copulate (v.)

    early 15c., copulaten, "to join" (transitive), from Latin copulatus, past participle of copulare "join together, couple, bind, link, unite," from copula "band, tie, link," from PIE *ko-ap-, from *ko(m)- "together" (see com-) + *ap- (1) "to take, reach" (see apt). The intransitive sense of "unite sexually" is attested from 1630s. Related: Copulated; copulating.ETD copulate (v.).2

    copulative (adj.)

    "uniting, serving to couple," late 14c., from Late Latin copulativus, from copulat-, past-participle stem of Latin copulare "to join together, link, unite," from copula "a band, tie, link" (see copulate). Related: Copulatively.ETD copulative (adj.).2

    copulation (n.)

    late 14c., copulacioun, "a coupling, joining, uniting," from Latin copulationem (nominative copulatio) "a coupling, joining, connecting," noun of action from past-participle stem of copulare "join together, couple, bind, link, unite," from copula "band, tie, link" (see copulate). Specific sense of "sexual intercourse, coition" is from late 15c., and this became the main sense from 16c.ETD copulation (n.).2

    copula (n.)

    linking or connecting verb (especially "be"), word which expresses relation between subject and predicate, 1640s, from Latin copula "that which binds, rope, band, bond" (see copulate). Related: Copular.ETD copula (n.).2

    copy-book (n.)

    "book in which things are written or printed for learners to imitate," 1580s, from copy (v.) + book (n.).ETD copy-book (n.).2

    copycat (n.)

    also copy-cat, derogatory term for one who copies another or another's work, by 1884, American English, probably at least a generation older, from copy (v.) + cat (n.). Domestic cats sometimes will imitate each other's behaviors. As a verb, "to slavishly imitate," from 1932. Related: Copycatted; copycatting.ETD copycat (n.).2

    copyist (n.)

    "one whose occupation is to transcribe documents," 1690s, from copy (n.) + -ist. Earlier was copist (1580s).ETD copyist (n.).2

    copyright (n.)

    "the exclusive right to make and sell copies of an intellectual production," 1729, from copy (v.) + right (n.). As a verb, "to secure a copyright of," from 1806 (implied in past-participle adjective copyrighted).ETD copyright (n.).2

    copywriter (n.)

    "writer of copy for advertisements," 1911, from copy (n.) in the sense of "the text of an advertisement" (1905) + writer. Related: Copywriting.ETD copywriter (n.).2

    coquet (n.)

    "amorous, flirtatious person, one who seeks to be romantically attractive out of vanity," 1690s, originally of both sexes (as it was in French), from French coquet "a beau," literally "a little cock" (17c.), diminutive of coq "cock" (see cock (n.1)). A figurative reference to its strut or its lust. The distinction from fem. coquette began c. 1700, and use of the earlier word in reference to males has since faded. As a verb, "to act the lover," from 1701. Related: Coqueting.ETD coquet (n.).2

    coquetry (n.)

    "effort to attract love from a motive of vanity or amusement, trifling in love," 1650s, from French coquetterie, from coqueter (v.) "to flirt," originally "to swagger or strut like a cock," from coquet (see coquet).ETD coquetry (n.).2

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