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    federalist (n.) — ferial (adj.)

    federalist (n.)

    1787, American English, "member or supporter of the Federal party in U.S. politics" (originally of supporters of the Philadelphia constitution), from federal + -ist. General sense of "one who supports federal union" is from 1792. The party expired c. 1824. As an adjective by 1801.ETD federalist (n.).2

    fedora (n.)

    type of hat, 1887, American English, from "Fédora," a popular play by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908) that opened 1882, in which the heroine, a Russian princess named Fédora Romanoff, originally was performed by Sarah Bernhardt. During the play, Bernhardt, a notorious cross-dresser, wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. Women's-rights activists adopted the fashion. The proper name is Russian fem. of Fedor, from Greek Theodoros, literally "gift of god," from theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + dōron "gift" (from PIE root *do- "to give").ETD fedora (n.).2

    fee (n.)

    Middle English, representing the merger or mutual influence of two words, one from Old English, one from an Old French form of the same Germanic word, and both ultimately from a PIE root meaning "cattle."ETD fee (n.).2

    The Old English word is feoh "livestock, cattle; movable property; possessions in livestock, goods, or money; riches, treasure, wealth; money as a medium of exchange or payment," from Proto-Germanic *fehu (source also of Old Saxon fehu, Old High German fihu, German Vieh "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune"). This is from PIE *peku- "cattle" (source also of Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus "cattle;" Latin pecu "cattle," pecunia "money, property").ETD fee (n.).3

    The other word is Anglo-French fee, from Old French fieu, a variant of fief "possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment" (see fief), which apparently is a Germanic compound in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh.ETD fee (n.).4

    Via Anglo-French come the legal senses "estate in land or tenements held on condition of feudal homage; land, property, possession" (c. 1300). Hence fee-simple (late 14c.) "absolute ownership," as opposed to fee-tail (early 15c.) "entailed ownership," inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir "to cut, to limit").ETD fee (n.).5

    The feudal sense was extended from landholdings to inheritable offices of service to a feudal lord (late 14c.; in Anglo-French late 13c.), for example forester of fe "a forester by heritable right." As these often were offices of profit, the word came to be used for "remuneration for service in office" (late 14c.), hence, "payment for (any kind of) work or services" (late 14c.). From late 14c. as "a sum paid for a privilege" (originally admission to a guild); early 15c. as "money payment or charge exacted for a licence, etc."ETD fee (n.).6

    feeb (n.)

    slang for "feeble-minded person," by 1914, American English, from feeble. Other words used in the same sense were feeble (n.), mid-14c.; feebling (1887).ETD feeb (n.).2

    feeble (adj.)

    late 12c., "lacking strength or vigor" (physical, moral, or intellectual), from Old French feble "weak, feeble" (12c., Modern French faible), a dissimilation of Latin flebilis "lamentable," literally "that is to be wept over," from flere "weep, cry, shed tears, lament" (from PIE *bhle- "to howl;" see bleat (v.)). The first -l- was lost in Old French. The noun meaning "feeble person" is recorded from mid-14c.ETD feeble (adj.).2

    feebleness (n.)

    c. 1300, from feeble + -ness.ETD feebleness (n.).2

    feeble-minded (adj.)

    also feebleminded, 1530s; see feeble + -minded. Related: Feeble-mindedness.ETD feeble-minded (adj.).2

    feebly (adv.)

    late 13c., from feeble + -ly (2).ETD feebly (adv.).2

    feed (n.)

    "action of feeding," 1570s, from feed (v.). Meaning "food for animals" is first attested 1580s. Meaning "a sumptuous meal" is from 1808. Of machinery, "action of or system for providing raw material" from 1892.ETD feed (n.).2

    feeding (n.)

    "act of taking food," Old English feding, verbal noun from feed (v.). Feeding frenzy is from 1989, metaphoric extension of a phrase that had been used of sharks since 1950s.ETD feeding (n.).2

    feed (v.)

    Old English fedan "nourish, give food to, sustain, foster" (transitive), from Proto-Germanic *fodjan (source also of Old Saxon fodjan, Old Frisian feda, Dutch voeden, Old High German fuotan, Old Norse foeða, Gothic fodjan "to feed"), from PIE root *pa- "to feed." Intransitive sense "take food, eat" is from late 14c. Meaning "to supply to as food" is from 1818.ETD feed (v.).2

    feedback (n.)

    1920, in the electronics sense, "the return of a fraction of an output signal to the input of an earlier stage," from verbal phrase, from feed (v.) + back (adv.). Transferred use, "information about the results of a process" is attested by 1955.ETD feedback (n.).2

    feeder (n.)

    early 15c., "one who feeds (an animal);" 1560s, "one who eats;" agent noun from feed (v.). As a mechanical apparatus for conveying materials, from 1660s. Of cattle and streams, by 1790s; of roads and railroads, by 1850s.ETD feeder (n.).2

    fee-faw-fum (interj.)

    exclamation of the giant in "Jack the Giant-Killer," c. 1600.ETD fee-faw-fum (interj.).2

    feel (v.)

    Old English felan "to touch or have a sensory experience of; perceive, sense (something)," in late Old English "have a mental perception," from Proto-Germanic *foljanan (source also of Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), which is of uncertain origin, possibly from a PIE *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (source also of Greek psallein "to pluck" the harp), or from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive."ETD feel (v.).2

    In Germanic languages, the specific word for "perceive by sense of touch" has tended to evolve to apply to the emotions. The connecting notion might be "perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a tactile sensation, sense pain, pleasure, illness, etc.; have an emotional experience or reaction," developed by c. 1200, also "have an opinion or conviction;" that of "to react with sympathy or compassion" is from mid-14c. Meaning "to try by touch" is from early 14c. From late 14c. as "know (something) beforehand, to have foreknowledge of." To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.ETD feel (v.).3

    feelings (n.)

    "tender or sensitive side of one's nature," 1771, from plural of feeling.ETD feelings (n.).2

    feeling (n.)

    late 12c., "act of touching, sense of touch," verbal noun from feel (v.). Meaning "a conscious emotion" is mid-14c. Meaning "what one feels (about something), opinion" is from mid-15c. Meaning "capacity to feel" is from 1580s.ETD feeling (n.).2

    feeling (adj.)

    c. 1400, "pertaining to the physical senses, sensory," present-participle adjective from feel (v.). Related: Feelingly.ETD feeling (adj.).2

    feel (n.)

    early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. That of "sensation produced (by an object, surface, etc.)" is from 1739. Slang sense of "a sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).ETD feel (n.).2

    feeler (n.)

    early 15c., "one who feels," agent noun from feel (v.). Of animal organs, 1660s. Transferred sense of "proposal put forth to observe the reaction it gets" is from 1830. Related: Feelers.ETD feeler (n.).2

    feet (n.)

    plural of foot (n.).ETD feet (n.).2

    fey (adj.)

    "of excitement that presages death," from Old English fæge "doomed to die, fated, destined," also "timid, feeble;" and/or from Old Norse feigr, both from Proto-Germanic *faigjo- (source also of Old Saxon fegi, Old Frisian fai, Middle Dutch vege, Middle High German veige "doomed," also "timid," German feige "cowardly"), from the same source as foe. Preserved in Scottish. Sense of "displaying unearthly qualities" and "disordered in the mind (like one about to die)" led to modern ironic sense of "affected."ETD fey (adj.).2

    feign (v.)

    A 17c. respelling of fain, fein, from Middle English feinen, feynen "disguise or conceal (deceit, falsehood, one's real meaning); dissemble, make false pretenses, lie; pretend to be" (c. 1300), from Old French feindre "hesitate, falter; be indolent; lack courage; show weakness," also transitive, "to shape, fashion; depict, represent; feign, pretend; imitate" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build").ETD feign (v.).2

    From late 14c. as "simulate (an action, an emotion, etc.)." Related: Feigned; feigning. The older spelling is that of faint, feint, but this word acquired a -g- in imitation of the French present participle stem feign- and the Latin verb.ETD feign (v.).3

    feint (n.)

    1670s, "a false show, assumed appearance;" 1680s as "a pretended blow, movement made to deceive an opponent as to the object of an attack," from French feinte "a feint, sham, fabrication, pretense," abstract noun from Old French feint "false, deceitful; sham, artificial; weak, faint, lazy, indolent" (13c.), originally fem. past participle of feindre "pretend, shirk," from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build").ETD feint (n.).2

    Borrowed c. 1300 as adjective ("deceitful," also "enfeebled; lacking in courage;" see feint (v.)), but long obsolete in that sense except as a trade spelling of faint among stationers and paper-makers. Also as a noun in Middle English with senses "false-heartedness" (early 14c.), "bodily weakness" (c. 1400).ETD feint (n.).3

    feint (v.)

    c. 1300, feinten, "to deceive, pretend" (obsolete), also "become feeble or exhausted; to lack spirit or courage," from Middle English feint (adj.) "feigned, false, counterfeit" and directly from Old French feint "false, deceitful; weak, lazy," past participle of feindre "to hesitate, falter; lack courage; feign, pretend, simulate," from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build"). Sense of "make a sham attack, make a pretended blow" is attested by 1833, from the noun (1680s as "a feigned attack"). Related: Feinted; feinting.ETD feint (v.).2

    feist (n.)

    also fist, "a breaking wind, foul smell, fart," mid-15c. (Old English had present participle fisting, glossing Latin festiculatio), a general West Germanic word with cognates in Middle Dutch veest, Dutch vijst; see feisty.ETD feist (n.).2

    feisty (adj.)

    1896, "aggressive, exuberant, touchy," American English, with -y (2) + feist "small dog," earlier fice, fist (American English, 1805); short for fysting curre "stinking cur," attested from 1520s, with present participle of now-obsolete Middle English fysten, fisten "break wind" (mid-15c.), from Proto-Germanic *fistiz "a fart," said to be from PIE *pezd- (see fart), but there are difficulties.ETD feisty (adj.).2

    The 1811 slang dictionary defines fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Compare also Danish fise "to blow, to fart," and obsolete English aske-fise, "fire-tender," literally "ash-blower" (early 15c.), from an unrecorded Norse source, used in Middle English for a kind of bellows, but originally "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [OED].ETD feisty (adj.).3

    feldspar (n.)

    type of mineral common in crystalline rocks, 1785, earlier feldspath (1757), from older German Feldspath (Modern German Feldspat), from Feld "field" (see field (n.)) + spath "spar, non-metallic mineral, gypsum" (see spar (n.2)); spelling influenced by English spar "mineral." Related: Feldspathic.ETD feldspar (n.).2

    fele (adv.)

    Old English feola, fela (West Saxon), feolo, feolu (Mercian, Northumbrian), "much, many, in large amounts, very," from a common Germanic adjective from Proto-Germanic *felu (source also of Old Saxon filo, Dutch veel, German viel, Old Norse fiol, Gothic filu), from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill." Obsolete; OED's last entry for it is Hakluyt (1598).ETD fele (adv.).2

    Hence felefold "manifold," from late Old English felefeald.ETD fele (adv.).3

    felicity (n.)

    late 14c., "happiness; that which is a source of happiness," from Old French felicite "happiness" (14c.), from Latin felicitatem (nominative felicitas) "happiness, fertility," from felix (genitive felicis) "happy, fortunate, fruitful, fertile" (from suffixed form of PIE *dhe(i)- "to suck," with derivatives meaning "to suckle, produce, yield").ETD felicity (n.).2

    A relic of Rome's origins as an agricultural community: that which brings happiness is that which produces crops. Compare pauper (see poor (adj.)) "poor, not wealthy," literally "producing little." The meaning "skillful adroitness, admirable propriety" is attested from c. 1600.ETD felicity (n.).3


    fem. proper name, from Latin felix (genitive felicis) "happy" (see felicity).ETD Felicia.2

    felicide (n.)

    "killing of a cat," 1832, from Latin feles "cat" (see feline) + -cide "a killing."ETD felicide (n.).2

    felicitate (v.)

    1620s, "to render happy" (obsolete); 1630s, "to reckon happy;" from Late Latin felicitatus, past participle of felicitare "to make happy," from Latin felicitas "fruitfulness, happiness," from felix "fruitful, fertile; lucky, happy" (see felicity). Meaning "congratulate, compliment upon a happy event" is from 1630s. Related: Felicitated; felicitating. Little-used alternative verb form felicify (1680s) yielded adjective felicific (1865).ETD felicitate (v.).2

    felicitous (adj.)

    1726, "blissful, very happy," from felicity + -ous. There is an isolated use of felicitously from 1530s.ETD felicitous (adj.).2

    felicitation (n.)

    "complimentary expression of belief in another's happiness or good fortune," 1709, noun of action from felicitate. Related: Felicitations.ETD felicitation (n.).2

    feline (adj.)

    "cat-like," 1680s, from Late Latin felinus "of or belonging to a cat," from Latin feles (genitive felis) "cat, wild cat, marten," which is of uncertain origin. Hence Modern Latin Felis, the cat genus. As a noun, "a feline animal" (popularly "a domestic cat") from 1861.ETD feline (adj.).2

    felinity (n.)

    "quality of being cat-like," 1848; see feline + -ity.ETD felinity (n.).2


    masc. proper name, from Latin felix "happy" (see felicity).ETD Felix.2

    fell (v.2)

    past tense of fall (v.), Old English feoll.ETD fell (v.2).2

    fell (v.1)

    Old English fællan (Mercian), fyllan (West Saxon) "make fall, cause to fall," also "strike down, demolish, kill," from Proto-Germanic *falljanan "strike down, cause to fall" (source also of Old Frisian falla, Old Saxon fellian, Dutch fellen, Old High German fellen, German fällen, Old Norse fella, Danish fælde), causative of *fallanan (source of Old English feallan; see fall (v.)), showing i-mutation. Related: Felled; feller; felling.ETD fell (v.1).2

    fell (adj.)

    "cruel," late 13c., possibly late Old English, perhaps from Old French fel "cruel, fierce, vicious," from Medieval Latin fello "villain" (see felon). Phrase at one fell swoop is from "Macbeth." Related: Fellness.ETD fell (adj.).2

    fell (n.1)

    "rocky hill," c. 1300, from Old Norse fiall "mountain," from Proto-Germanic *felzam- "rock" (source also of Old High German felisa, German Fels "stone, rock"), from PIE root *pel(i)s- "rock, cliff." Old High German felisa "a rock" is the source of French falaise (formerly falize) "cliff." Now mostly in place-names, such as Scafell Pike, highest mountain in England.ETD fell (n.1).2

    fell (n.2)

    "skin or hide of an animal," Old English fel "skin, hide, garment of skin," from Proto-Germanic *fella- (source also of Old Frisian fel, Old Saxon fel, Dutch vel, Old High German fel, German fell, Old Norse fiall, Gothic fill "skin, hide"), from PIE *pel-no-, suffixed form of root *pel- (3) "skin, hide." Related: Fellmonger.ETD fell (n.2).2

    fella (n.)

    an attempt at a phonological spelling of a casual pronunciation of fellow (n.), attested by 1864 (as fellah). Feller, along the same lines, is recorded by 1825. Earlier, Pope rhymes fellow with prunella ("Essay on Man," epistle IV).ETD fella (n.).2

    fellah (n.)

    "Egyptian peasant," 1743, from Arabic fallah "plowman," from falaha "to plow, till (the soil)."ETD fellah (n.).2

    fellahin (n.)

    1743, plural of Arabic fallah (see fellah).ETD fellahin (n.).2

    fellation (n.)

    1887, noun of action formed classically from the past-participle stem of Latin fellare "to suck" (see fellatio + -ion).ETD fellation (n.).2

    fellate (v.)

    1968, verbal derivative of fellatio. Related: Fellated; fellating.ETD fellate (v.).2

    fellatio (n.)

    1894 (Havelock Ellis), from Latin fellatio, noun of action from fellatus, past participle of fellare "to suck," from suffixed form of PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck." The sexual partner performing fellatio is a fellator; if female, a fellatrice or fellatrix. L.C. Smithers' 1884 translation from German of Forberg's "Manual of Classical Erotology" has fellator, fellatrix, and fellation, but not fellatio.ETD fellatio (n.).2

    feller (n.)

    "one who fells (trees, etc.)," c. 1400, agent noun from fell (v.1). For the casual pronunciation of "fellow," see fella.ETD feller (n.).2

    felloe (n.)

    "rim of a spoked wheel," early 15c., variant of felie (c. 1200), from Old English felga, plural of felg "rim of a wheel," from Proto-Germanic *felz- (source also of Old Saxon felga, Middle Dutch velge, Dutch velg, Old High German felga, German Felge).ETD felloe (n.).2

    fellow (n.)

    "companion, comrade," c. 1200, from Old English feolaga "partner, one who shares with another," from Old Norse felagi, from fe "money" (see fee) + lag, from Proto-Germanic *lagam, from PIE root *legh- "to lie down, lay." The etymological sense of fellow seems to be "one who puts down money with another in a joint venture."ETD fellow (n.).2

    Meaning "one of the same kind" is from early 13c.; that of "one of a pair" is from c. 1300. Used familiarly since mid-15c. for "any man, male person," but not etymologically masculine (it is used of women, for example, in Judges xi.37 in the King James version: "And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows").ETD fellow (n.).3

    Its use can be contemptuous or dignified in English and American English, and at different times in its history, depending on who used it to whom, it has carried a tinge of condescension or insult.ETD fellow (n.).4

    University senses (mid-15c., corresponding to Latin socius) evolved from notion of "one of the corporation who constitute a college" and who are paid from its revenues. Fellow well-met "boon companion" is from 1580s, hence hail-fellow-well-met as a figurative phrase for "on intimate terms."ETD fellow (n.).5

    In compounds, with a sense of "co-, joint-," from 16c., and by 19c. also denoting "association with another." Hence fellow-traveler, 1610s in a literal sense but in 20c. with a specific extended sense of "one who sympathizes with the Communist movement but is not a party member" (1936, translating Russian poputchik).ETD fellow (n.).6

    Fellow-countrymen formerly was one of the phrases the British held up to mock the Americans for their ignorance, as it is redundant to say both, until they discovered it dates from the 1580s and was used by Byron and others.ETD fellow (n.).7

    fellow-feeling (n.)

    1610s, an attempt to translate the sense of Latin compassio and Greek sympatheia. See fellow (n.) + feeling (n.). It yielded a back-formed verb, fellow-feel in 17c., mercifully short-lived.ETD fellow-feeling (n.).2

    fellowship (n.)

    c. 1200, feolahschipe "companionship," from fellow + -ship. The sense of "a body of companions" is from late 13c. The meaning "spirit of comradeship, friendliness" is from late 14c. As a state of privilege in English colleges, from 1530s. In Middle English it was at times a euphemism for "sexual intercourse" (carnal fellowship).ETD fellowship (n.).2

    But Chaucer and Wycliffe used it as a verb in Middle English, "to have fellowship with."ETD fellowship (n.).3

    felo-de-se (n.)

    in old law use, "one who commits the felony of suicide," whether deliberately or in maliciously attempting to kill another, Latin, literally "one guilty concerning himself." See felon.ETD felo-de-se (n.).2

    felon (n.)

    c. 1300, "one who deceives or commits treason; one who is wicked or evil; evil-doer," used of Lucifer and Herod, from Old French felon "evil-doer, scoundrel, traitor, rebel, oath-breaker, the Devil" (9c.), from Medieval Latin fellonem (nominative fello) "evil-doer," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from Frankish *fillo, *filljo "person who whips or beats, scourger" (source of Old High German fillen "to whip"); or from Latin fel "gall, poison," on the notion of "one full of bitterness." Celtic origins also have been proposed.ETD felon (n.).2

    Another theory (advanced by Professor R. Atkinson of Dublin) traces it to Latin fellare "to suck" (see fecund), which had an obscene secondary meaning in classical Latin (well-known to readers of Martial and Catullus), which would make a felon etymologically a "cock-sucker." OED inclines toward the "gall" explanation, but finds Atkinson's "most plausible" of the others.ETD felon (n.).3

    Also by c. 1300 in English in a general legal sense "criminal; one who has committed a felony," however that was defined. Century Dictionary notes, "the term is not applicable after legal punishment has been completed." In Middle English it also was an adjective, "traitorous, wicked, malignant." Australian official James Mudie (1837), coined felonry "as the appellative of an order or class of persons in New South Wales,—an order which happily exists in no other country in the world."ETD felon (n.).4

    felony (n.)

    c. 1300, "treachery, betrayal; deceit; villainy, wickedness, sin, crime; violent temper, wrath; ruthlessness; evil intention," from Old French felonie (12c.) "wickedness, evil, treachery, perfidy, crime, cruelty, sin," from Gallo-Roman *fellonia, from fellonem "evil-doer" (see felon).ETD felony (n.).2

    As a class of crime in common law, also from c. 1300, from Anglo-French. The exact definition changed over time and place, and even the distinction from misdemeanor or trespass is not always observed. In old use often a crime involving forfeiture of lands, goods, or a fee or a crime punishable by death. Variously used in the U.S.; often the sense is "crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary."ETD felony (n.).3

    felonious (adj.)

    mid-15c., "wicked, criminal" (implied in feloniously), from felony + -ous. Replaced felonous (mid-14c.) by c. 1600. Felonly (c. 1300) was another variation.ETD felonious (adj.).2

    felsic (adj.)

    1912, from feldspar + silica + -ic.ETD felsic (adj.).2

    felt (v.2)

    past tense and past participle of feel (v.).ETD felt (v.2).2

    felt (n.)

    unwoven fabric matted together by rolling or beating while wet, Old English felt "felt," from West Germanic *feltaz "something beaten, compressed wool" (source also of Old Saxon filt, Middle Dutch vilt, Old High German filz, German Filz, Danish filt), from Proto-Germanic *felt- "to beat," from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive," with a sense of "beating." Compare filter (n.). Felt-tipped pen (or -tip) is from 1953.ETD felt (n.).2

    felt (v.1)

    "to make into felt," early 14c. (implied in felted); see felt (n.).ETD felt (v.1).2


    abbreviation of feminine (adj.).ETD fem..2

    fem (n.)

    slang for "woman," by 1936, from female.ETD fem (n.).2

    femaleness (n.)

    "quality of being female," 1886, from female + -ness. From 1892 as "qualities appropriate to a female."ETD femaleness (n.).2

    female (n.)

    early 14c., female, femele, "woman, human being of the sex which brings forth young," from Old French femelle "woman, female" (12c.), from Medieval Latin femella "a female," from Latin femella "young female, girl," diminutive of femina "woman, a female" ("woman, female," literally "she who suckles," from PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck").ETD female (n.).2

    The sense in Vulgar Latin was extended from young humans to female of other animals, then to females generally. Compare Latin masculus, also a diminutive (see masculine). The spelling femele is etymological but in Middle English the word was altered in erroneous imitation of unrelated male.ETD female (n.).3

    In modern use usually an adjective (in which use it is attested from early 14c.). In reference to implements with sockets and corresponding parts from 1660s.ETD female (n.).4

    femalist (n.)

    "a courter of women, a gallant," 1610s, from female + -ist.ETD femalist (n.).2

    feme covert (n.)

    "married woman" (legalese), c. 1600, French, from Old French feme coverte, second element fem. of covert "covered" (see covert). Contrasted to feme sole. Also compare coverture.ETD feme covert (n.).2

    feminization (n.)

    1844, noun of action from feminize.ETD feminization (n.).2

    feminism (n.)

    1851, "qualities of females;" 1895, "advocacy of women's rights;" from French féminisme (1837); see feminine + -ism. Also, in biology, "development of female secondary sexual characteristics in a male" (1875).ETD feminism (n.).2

    feminity (n.)

    "quality or state of being feminine," late 14c., from Old French feminité, from Latin femina "woman, a female," literally "she who suckles," from PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck." From early 15c. as "women collectively."ETD feminity (n.).2

    feminize (v.)

    1650s, "make feminine or womanish," from Latin femina "woman, a female" (literally "she who suckles," from PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck") + -ize. Related: Feminized; feminizing. Femalize (1670s, intransitive, 1709, transitive) and femininize (1868) are more rare.ETD feminize (v.).2

    feminine (adj.)

    mid-14c., "of the female sex," from Old French femenin (12c.) "feminine, female; with feminine qualities, effeminate," from Latin femininus "feminine" (in the grammatical sense at first), from femina "woman, female," literally "she who suckles" (from PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck"). The usual modern sense of "woman-like, proper to or characteristic of women" is recorded from mid-15c. Related: Femininely.ETD feminine (adj.).2

    The interplay of meanings now represented roughly in female "characteristic of the sex that bears children," feminine "having qualities considered appropriate to a woman," and effeminate "having female qualities in a bad sense, unmanly," and the attempt to keep them clear of each other, has led to many coinages. Among nouns, in addition to feminity "womanishness," femininity, femaleness, feminineness (1810, "female qualities"), there is feminitude (1878); feminility "womanliness" (1824); feminie "womankind" (late 14c.); femality (17c., "effeminacy;" 1754 "female nature"); feminacy "female nature" (1829); feminicity "quality or condition of being a woman" (1843). Also feminality (1640s, "quality or state of being female"), from rare adjective feminal "female, belonging to a woman" (late 14c.), from Old French feminal. And femineity "quality or state of being feminine," also "effeminate; womanly," from Latin femineus "of a woman, pertaining to a woman." feminile "feminine" (1640s) seems not to have survived.ETD feminine (adj.).3

    femininity (n.)

    late 14c., "feminine quality, womanliness, female nature," femynynytee, from feminine + -ity. From 1832 as "women collectively;" from 1853 as "character or state of being state of being a woman."ETD femininity (n.).2

    feminist (n.)

    1892, from French féministe (1872); also see feminism. As an adjective by 1894. Womanist sometimes was tried as a native alternative. Femalist already had been taken as "courter of woman, a gallant" (1610s). Shaw coined hominist for "one who advocates for men the rights and privileges conventionally accorded to women."ETD feminist (n.).2

    femme (n.)

    French, literally "woman," from Old French feme, from Latin femina "woman, a female," literally "she who suckles," from PIE root *dhe(i)- "to suck." Slang for "young woman" from 1928; meaning "passive and more feminine partner in a lesbian couple" attested by 1961.ETD femme (n.).2

    femme fatale (n.)

    "attractive and dangerous woman," 1895, from French femme fatale, attested by 1844, from French femme "woman," from Latin femina "woman, a female" (see feminine) + fatale (see fatal).ETD femme fatale (n.).2

    Earlier, such a woman might be called a Circe.ETD femme fatale (n.).3

    femoral (adj.)

    1782, from Medieval Latin femoralis, from stem of Latin femur "thigh" (see femur).ETD femoral (adj.).2

    femur (n.)

    1560s, at first in English as an architectural term; 1799 as "thighbone;" from Latin femur "thigh, upper part of the thigh," which is of unknown origin.ETD femur (n.).2

    fen (n.)

    "low land covered wholly or partly by water, a marsh abounding in coarse vegetation," Old English fenn "mud, mire, dirt; fen, marsh, moor," from Proto-Germanic *fanja- "swamp, marsh" (source also of Old Saxon feni, Old Frisian fenne, Middle Dutch venne, Dutch veen, Old High German fenna, German Fenn "marsh," Old Norse fen, Gothic fani "mud"), from PIE *poino-, from root *pen- "swamp" (source also of Gaulish anam "water," Sanskrit pankah "bog, marsh, mud," Old Prussian pannean "swampland"). Italian and Spanish fango, Old French fanc, French fange "mud" are loan-words from Germanic. The native Latin word was limus or lutum.ETD fen (n.).2

    fence (v.)

    early 15c., "defend" (oneself); mid-15c. as "protect with a hedge or fence;" from fence (n.). From 1590s as "fight with swords," from the noun in this sense (1530s); see fencing. From 1610s as "knowingly buy or sell stolen goods." Related: Fenced.ETD fence (v.).2

    fence (n.)

    early 14c., "action of defending, resistance; means of protection, fortification," shortening of defens (see defense). The same pattern also yielded fend, fender; and obsolete fensive "defensive" (late 16c.). Spelling alternated between -c- and -s- in Middle English. Sense of "enclosure" is first recorded mid-15c. on notion of "that which serves as a defense." Sense of "dealer in stolen goods" is thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from notion of such transactions taking place under defense of secrecy.ETD fence (n.).2

    To be figuratively on the fence "uncommitted" is from 1828, perhaps from the notion of spectators at a fight, or a simple literal image: "A man sitting on the top of a fence, can jump down on either side with equal facility." [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848].ETD fence (n.).3

    fencing (n.)

    mid-15c., "defending, act of protecting or keeping (something) in proper condition" (short for defencing); 1580s in the sense "art of using a sword or foil in attack and defense" (also fence-play); verbal noun from fence (v.). Meaning "putting up of fences" is from 1620s; that of "an enclosure" is from 1580s; meaning "receiving stolen goods" is from 1851 (see fence (n.)); meaning "materials for an enclosure" is from 1856.ETD fencing (n.).2

    Despite the re-enactment in 1285 of the Assize of Arms of 1181, fencing was regarded as unlawful in England. The keeping of fencing schools was forbidden in the City of London, "as fools who delight in mischief do learn to fence with buckler, and thereby are encouraged in their follies."ETD fencing (n.).3

    fencer (n.)

    "swordsman," 1570s, agent noun from fence (v.).ETD fencer (n.).2

    fencible (adj.)

    early 15c., "capable of making a defense," short for defensible; also see fence (n.). As a noun, "soldier enlisted to defend against invasion and not liable to serve abroad" (1796).ETD fencible (adj.).2

    fend (v.)

    c. 1300, "defend, guard; protect; put up a fight; excuse or justify; forbid, bar," shortening of defend. From mid-14c. as "make a defense" and (usually with off (adv.)) "ward off, beat off, keep at a distance." Developed a meaning "make provision, give care" in Scottish English (16c.); hence to fend for oneself (1620s) "see to one's own defense." Related: Fended; fending.ETD fend (v.).2

    fender (n.)

    late 13c., shortening of defender. Originally something hung over the side to protect the hull of a ship at a wharf, pier, etc. Of fireplaces since 1680s; of automobiles from 1919. Fender-bender "minor automobile accident" is from 1958.ETD fender (n.).2

    fenestration (n.)

    1870 in the anatomical sense, noun of action from Latin fenestrare, from fenestra "window, opening for light," a word perhaps from Etruscan (see defenestration). Meaning "arrangement of windows" as a design element in architecture is from 1846. Related: Fenestrated.ETD fenestration (n.).2

    fenestral (adj.)

    late 14c., "pertaining to windows," from Old French fenestral, from fenestre "window," from Latin fenestra (see fenestration).ETD fenestral (adj.).2

    feng shui (n.)

    also feng-shui, fung-shui, 1797, from Chinese, from feng "wind" + shui "water." A system of spiritual influences in natural landscapes and a means of regulating them; "A kind of geomancy practiced by the Chinese for determining the luckiness or unluckiness of sites for graves, houses, cities, etc." [Century Dictionary].ETD feng shui (n.).2

    Fenian (n.)

    1816, a modern Irish blend of Old Irish feinne, plural of Fiann, name of a band of semi-legendary Irish warriors + Old Irish Fene, name of the ancient inhabitants of Ireland. In reference to Irish-American brotherhood of that name (founded 1857), attested by 1864.ETD Fenian (n.).2

    fennec (n.)

    fox-like animal of Africa, 1790, from Arabic fenek, fanak "a name vaguely applied to various fur-bearing animals" [OED].ETD fennec (n.).2

    fennel (n.)

    Old English fenol, finul, finol "fennel," perhaps via (or influenced by) Old French fenoil (13c.) or directly from Vulgar Latin *fenuculum, from Latin feniculum/faeniculum, diminutive of fenum/faenum "hay," probably literally "produce" (see fecund). Apparently so called from the hay-like appearance of its feathery green leaves and its sweet odor.ETD fennel (n.).2

    fenugreek (n.)

    leguminous plant in western Asia and North Africa, Old English fenograecum, from Latin faenugraecum, literally "Greek hay," from faenum (see fennel) + Graecum (see Greek). The modern form in English is from French fenugrec.ETD fenugreek (n.).2

    feral (adj.)

    c. 1600, "wild, undomesticated," from French feral "wild," from Latin fera, in phrase fera bestia "wild animal," from ferus "wild" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast"). Since 19c. commonly "run wild, having escaped from domestication."ETD feral (adj.).2

    fer de lance (n.)

    large venomous snake of American tropics, 1817, from French, "lance-head," literally "iron of a lance." So called for its shape.ETD fer de lance (n.).2


    masc. proper name, Germanic, perhaps from Proto-Germanic *fardi-nanth- and meaning literally "adventurer," with first element perhaps Proto-Germanic *fardiz "journey," abstract noun related to or from *far- "to fare, travel" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over"); second element is Proto-Germanic *nanthiz "risk," related to Old English neðan, Old High German nendan "to risk, venture."ETD Ferdinand.2

    fere (n.)

    "companion" (obsolete), from Middle English fere, a shortening of Old English gefera "associate, comrade, fellow-disciple; wife, man, servant," from Proto-Germanic *forjanan, from the causative of *faranan (source of Old English faran "to go, travel"), from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over." Literally "one who goes with another." Compare German Gefährte "companion," from the same root; also, from causative *forjan-, Old High German fuoren. "to lead," modern German Fuhrer.ETD fere (n.).2


    masc. proper name, from Gaelic Fearghus or Old Irish Fergus "man-ability," first element cognate with Latin vir "man" (from PIE root *wi-ro- "man"); second from Old Irish gus "ability, excellence, strength, inclination," from Celtic root *gustu- "choice," from PIE root *geus- "to taste; to choose."ETD Fergus.2

    ferhoodle (v.)

    "to confuse, perplex," by 1956, from Pennsylvania German verhuddle "to confuse, tangle," related to German verhudeln "to bungle, botch." Related: Ferhoodled; ferhoodling.ETD ferhoodle (v.).2

    ferial (adj.)

    "pertaining to holidays," late 14c., from Old French ferial or directly from Medieval Latin ferialis, from Latin feriae "holidays," during which work and business were suspended and devotions were made (see feast (n.)).ETD ferial (adj.).2

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