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    floc (n.) — flurry (v.)

    floc (n.)

    1921, "mass of fine particles," diminutive of flocculus (see flocculate).ETD floc (n.).2

    floccinaucinihilipilification (n.)

    "action or habit of estimating as worthless," in popular smarty-pants use from c. 1963; attested 1741 (in a letter by William Shenstone, published 1769), a combination of four Latin words (flocci, nauci, nihili, pili) all signifying "at a small price" or "for nothing," which appeared together in a rule of the well-known Eton Latin Grammar + Latin-derived suffix -fication "making, causing."ETD floccinaucinihilipilification (n.).2

    The kind of jocular formation that was possible among educated men in Britain in those days. Just so, as in praesenti, the opening words of the mnemonic lines on conjugation in Lilley's 16c. Latin grammar, could stand alone as late as 19c. and be understood to mean "rudiments of Latin."ETD floccinaucinihilipilification (n.).3

    flocculent (adj.)

    "resembling wool, fleecy," 1800, from Latin floccus "lock of hair, tuft of wool," a word of unknown origin, + -ulent. Related: Flocculence.ETD flocculent (adj.).2

    flocculation (n.)

    "the union of small particles into granular aggregates," 1875, from flocculate + -ion.ETD flocculation (n.).2

    flocculate (v.)

    "gather in flocculent masses," 1845 (flocculated), from flocculus (1799), from Modern Latin, a diminutive of Latin floccus "tuft of wool," a word of unknown origin, + -ate (2). Related: Flocculating.ETD flocculate (v.).2

    flock (n.2)

    "tuft of wool," mid-13c., also found in continental Germanic and Scandinavian, all probably from Old French floc, from Latin floccus "tuft of wool, lock of hair," a word of unknown origin.ETD flock (n.2).2

    flock (n.1)

    Old English flocc "a group of persons, company, troop," related to Old Norse flokkr "crowd, troop, band," Middle Low German vlocke "crowd, flock (of sheep);" of unknown origin, not found in other Germanic languages; perhaps related to folc "people," but the metathesis would have been unusual for Old English.ETD flock (n.1).2

    In Old English of humans only; extended c. 1200 to "a number of animals of one kind moving or feeding together;" of domestic animals c. 1300. The special reference to birds is recent (19c.). Transferred to bodies of Christians, in relation to Christ or their pastor, from mid-14c.ETD flock (n.1).3

    flock (v.)

    c. 1300 "gather, congregate" (intransitive), from flock (n.1). Related: Flocked; flocking.ETD flock (v.).2

    floe (n.)

    1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, from Proto-Germanic *floho-, from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." Related to first element in flagstone. Earlier explorers used flake. Floe-rat was a seal-hunter's name for the ringed seal (1862).ETD floe (n.).2

    flog (v.)

    1670s, slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps a schoolboy shortening of Latin flagellare "flagellate" (see flagellum); Century Dictionary suggests perhaps from a Low German word "of homely use, of which the early traces have disappeared." OED finds it presumably onomatopoeic. Figurative use from 1800. Related: Flogged; flogging.ETD flog (v.).2

    flogging (n.)

    1793, verbal noun from flog (v.). Earlier in the same sense was floggation (1680s).ETD flogging (n.).2

    flood (n.)

    Old English flōd "a flowing of water, tide, an overflowing of land by water, a deluge, Noah's Flood; mass of water, river, sea, wave," from Proto-Germanic *floduz "flowing water, deluge" (source also of Old Frisian flod, Old Norse floð, Middle Dutch vloet, Dutch vloed, German Flut, Gothic flodus), from suffixed form of PIE verbal root *pleu- "to flow" (also the source of flow). In early modern English often floud. Figurative use, "a great quantity, a sudden abundance," by mid-14c.ETD flood (n.).2

    flood (v.)

    1660s, "to overflow" (transitive), from flood (n.). Intransitive sense "to rise in a flood" is from 1755. Related: Flooded; flooding.ETD flood (v.).2

    flood-gate (n.)

    early 13c. in the figurative sense "opportunity for a great venting" (especially with reference to tears or rain); literal sense is mid-15c. (gate designed to let water in or keep it out as desired, especially the lower gate of a lock); from flood (n.) + gate (n.).ETD flood-gate (n.).2

    floodlight (n.)

    also flood-light, 1924, from flood (n.) + light (n.). Related: Floodlit.ETD floodlight (n.).2

    flood-plain (n.)

    1844, from flood (n.) + plain (n.).ETD flood-plain (n.).2

    flood-tide (n.)

    1719, from flood (n.) + tide (n.).ETD flood-tide (n.).2

    flooring (n.)

    "materials of a floor," 1620s, verbal noun from floor (v.).ETD flooring (n.).2

    floor (v.)

    early 15c., "to furnish with a floor," from floor (n.). Sense of "puzzle, confound" is from 1830, a figurative use, from earlier sense of "knock down to the floor" (1640s). Colloquial floor it "press down hard on the accelerator pedal of a motor vehicle" is by 1986 (compare earlier step on it in the same sense). In mid-19c. English university slang, it meant "do thoroughly and successfully" (1852). Related: Floored; flooring.ETD floor (v.).2

    floor (n.)

    Old English flor "floor, pavement, ground, bottom (of a lake, etc.)," from Proto-Germanic *floruz "floor" (source also of Middle Dutch and Dutch vloer, Old Norse flor "floor," Middle High German vluor "floor, flooring," German Flur "field, meadow"), from PIE *plaros "flat surface" (source also of Welsh llawr "ground"), enlarged from root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread."ETD floor (n.).2

    Meaning "level of a house" is from 1580s. The figurative sense in legislative assemblies (1774) is in reference to the "floor" where members sit and from which they speak (as opposed to the platform). Spanish suelo "floor" is from Latin solum "bottom, ground, soil;" German Boden is cognate with English bottom (n.). Floor-plan is attested from 1794; floor-board from 1787, floor-lamp from 1886, floor-length (adj.) of dresses is from 1910. The retail store's floor-walker is attested from 1862.ETD floor (n.).3

    floozie (n.)

    also floozy, "woman of disreputable character," 1902, perhaps a variation of flossy "fancy, frilly" (1890s slang), with the notion of "fluffiness." The c. 1700 "Dictionary of the Canting Crew" defines Florence as a slang word for "a Wench that is touz'd and ruffled."ETD floozie (n.).2

    flop (n.)

    1823, "act of flopping; any action that produces the sound 'flop;' the sound itself," from flop (v.). Figurative sense of "a failure; that which is a failure" is by 1893, from the notion of a sudden break-down or collapse. Extended form flopperoo is attested by 1936. The Fosbury flop high-jumping technique (1968) is so called in reference to U.S. athlete Dick Fosbury (b. 1947), who used it to win the 1968 Olympic gold medal.ETD flop (n.).2

    flop (v.)

    c. 1600, "to flap," probably a variant of flap with a duller, heavier sound. Sense of "fall or drop heavily" is 1836; that of "collapse, fail" is 1919; though the figurative noun sense of "a failure" is recorded from 1893. Related: Flopped; flopping.ETD flop (v.).2

    flophouse (n.)

    "cheap hotel," hobo slang, 1904, probably related to slang flop (v.) "lie down for sleep" (1907); see flop (v.) + house (n.). The explanation below is not found in other early references.ETD flophouse (n.).2

    floppy (adj.)

    1858, "inclined to flop" [OED], from flop + -y (2). Floppy disc attested from 1971 (short form floppy is by 1974).ETD floppy (adj.).2

    flora (n.)

    c. 1500, "Roman goddess of flowers;" 1777, "the plant life of a region or epoch," from Latin Flora, "goddess of flowers," from flos (accusative florem, genitive floris) "flower," from *flo-s-, Italic suffixed form of PIE *bhle- "to blossom, flourish" (source also of Middle Irish blath, Welsh blawd "blossom, flower," Old English blowan "to flower, bloom"), extended form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom."ETD flora (n.).2

    Her festival, the Floralia, was April 28 to May 2 and featured "comic theatrical representations" and "excessive drinking" [Century Dictionary]. The French Revolutionary calendar had a month Floréal (April 20-May 20). Used as the title of systematically descriptive plant catalogues since 1640s, but popularized by Linnaeus in his landmark 1745 study of Swedish plants, "Flora Suecica."ETD flora (n.).3

    floral (adj.)

    1640s, "pertaining to Flora," from French floral (16c.), from Latin floralis "pertaining to Flora; of flowers" (see flora). Meaning "pertaining to flowers" in English is from 1753. Related: Florally.ETD floral (adj.).2


    chief city of Tuscany, also a fem. proper name, both from Latin Florentia, fem. of Florentius, literally "blooming," from florens (genitive florentis), present participle of florere "to flower" (see flourish). The city name is from Roman Colonia Florentia, "flowering colony," either literal or figurative, and became Old Italian Fiorenze, modern Italian Firenze.ETD Florence.2

    Florentine (adj.)

    1540s, literally "of or pertaining to the Italian city of Florence," from Latin Florentinus, from Florentia, the Roman name of the city (see Florence). Earliest reference in English is to a type of textile fabric. As a noun from 1590s.ETD Florentine (adj.).2

    florescent (adj.)

    "bursting into bloom," 1784, from Latin florescentem, present participle of florescere "to begin to bloom" (see florescence).ETD florescent (adj.).2

    florescence (n.)

    "process of flowering," 1764, from Modern Latin florescentia, from Latin florescentem (nominative florescens) "blooming," present participle of florescere "to begin to bloom," inceptive of florere "to blossom" (see flourish (v.)).ETD florescence (n.).2

    floret (n.)

    c. 1400, flourette, "a little flower, a bud," from Old French florete "little flower," also the name of a cheap silk material, diminutive of flor "flower, blossom" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). Botany sense "small flower in a cluster" is from 1670s.ETD floret (n.).2

    floricide (n.)

    "one who destroys flowers," 1841, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (see flora) + -cide "killer."ETD floricide (n.).2

    floriculture (n.)

    1822, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (see flora) + -culture on analogy of agriculture. Related: Floricultural; floriculturist.ETD floriculture (n.).2

    florid (adj.)

    1640s, "strikingly beautiful," from French floride "flourishing," from Latin floridus "flowery, in bloom," from flos "flower" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). The sense of "ruddy" is recorded by 1640s. The meaning "highly decorated, profusely adorned (as with flowers)" is from 1650s. Related: Floridly.ETD florid (adj.).2


    U.S. state, formerly a Spanish colony, probably from Spanish Pascua florida, literally "flowering Easter," a Spanish name for Palm Sunday, and so named because the peninsula was discovered on that day (March 20, 1513) by the expedition of Spanish explorer Ponce de León. From Latin floridus "flowery, in bloom" (see florid). Related: Floridian (1580s as a noun, in reference to the natives; 1819 as an adjective).ETD Florida.2

    florin (n.)

    type of coin, c. 1300, from Old French florin, from Italian fiorino, from fiore "flower," from Latin florem "flower" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). The 13c. gold Florentine coin was stamped on the obverse with the image of a lily, the symbol of the city. As the name of an English gold coin, from late 15c.ETD florin (n.).2

    florist (n.)

    "one who cultivates flowers," especially "one who raises flowers for sale," 1620s, formed on analogy of French fleuriste, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom") + -ist. Related: Floristry.ETD florist (n.).2


    "period during which a historical person's life work was done," 1843, Latin, literally "he flourished," third person singular perfect indicative of florere "to flourish, to bloom" (see flourish (v.)). Usually in abbreviation fl. The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb, floreat, sometimes is attached to proper names "to indicate the hope that the named person, institution, etc., may prosper" [OED].ETD floruit.2

    florulent (adj.)

    "flowery," 1590s, from Latin florentulus, from flor-, stem of flos "flower" (see flower (n.)).ETD florulent (adj.).2

    floss (n.)

    "rough silk," 1759, of uncertain origin, perhaps from French floche "tuft of wool" (16c.), from Old French floc "tuft, lock," from Latin floccus "tuft of wool," a word of unknown origin. Or from a dialectal survival of an unrecorded Old English or Old Norse word from the root of fleece (n.). Compare the surname Flossmonger, attested 1314, which might represent a direct borrowing from Scandinavian or Low German. In "The Mill on the Floss" the word is the proper name of a fictitious river in the English Midlands. Meaning "fine silk thread" is from 1871, short for floss silk (1759). Dental floss is from 1872; the verb floss in reference to use of it is from 1909. Related: Flossed; flossing.ETD floss (n.).2

    flossy (adj.)

    "resembling floss," 1817, from floss (n.) + -y (2).ETD flossy (adj.).2

    flotation (n.)

    1765, from float (v.) + -ation. Spelling influenced by French flotaison (compare floatation).ETD flotation (n.).2

    flotilla (n.)

    "a small fleet," 1711, from Spanish flotilla, diminutive of flota "a fleet," from flotar "to float," which is said to be from Old French floter "to float, set afloat," which is from a word in Frankish or some other Germanic language (such as Old Norse floti "raft, fleet"), from PIE *plud-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow." Sometimes also "a fleet of small ships."ETD flotilla (n.).2

    flotsam (n.)

    c. 1600, from Anglo-French floteson, from Old French flotaison "a floating" (Modern French flottaison), from floter "to float, set afloat" (of Germanic origin and cognate with float) + -aison, from Latin -ation(em). Spelled flotsen in English till mid-19c. when it altered, perhaps under influence of many English words in -some. Folk-etymologized in dialect as floatsome.ETD flotsam (n.).2

    In British law, flotsam are goods found floating on the sea as a consequence of a shipwreck or action of wind or waves; jetsam are things cast out of a ship in danger of being wrecked, and afterward washed ashore, or things cast ashore by the sailors. Whatever sinks is lagan. Flotsam and jetsam figuratively for "odds and ends" is attested by 1861.ETD flotsam (n.).3

    flounce (n.)

    "deep ruffle on the skirt of a dress," 1713, from Middle English frounce "pleat, wrinkle, fold" (late 14c.), from Old French fronce "line, wrinkle; pucker, crease, fold," from Frankish *hrunkjan "to wrinkle," from Proto-Germanic *hrunk-, from PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend." Influenced in form by flounce (v.). The verb meaning "arrange in flounces" is from 1711.ETD flounce (n.).2

    flounce (v.)

    1540s, "to dash, plunge, flop," perhaps from Scandinavian (compare dialectal Swedish flunsa "to plunge," Norwegian flunsa "to hurry, work hurriedly," but first record of these is 200 years later than the English word), said to be of imitative origin. Spelling likely influenced by bounce. Notions of "anger, impatience" began to adhere to the word 18c. Related: Flounced; flouncing. As a noun from 1580s in reference to a sudden fling or turn of the body; by mid-18c. especially as expressing impatience or disdain.ETD flounce (v.).2

    flounder (v.)

    "struggle awkwardly and impotently," especially when hampered somehow, 1590s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from an alteration of founder (n.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun, "act of struggling," by 1867.ETD flounder (v.).2

    flounder (n.)

    "flatfish," c. 1300, from Anglo-French floundre, Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra, from Proto-Germanic *flunthrjo (source also of Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder, Old Swedish flundra "flatfish"), suffixed and nasalized form of PIE root *plat- "to spread."ETD flounder (n.).2

    flour (v.)

    "to sprinkle with flour," 1650s, from flour (n.). Meaning "convert (wheat) into flour" is from 1828. Related: Floured; flouring.ETD flour (v.).2

    flour (n.)

    "finer portion of ground grain," mid-13c., from flower (n.), and maintaining its older spelling, on the notion of flour as the "finest part" of meal, perhaps as the flower is the finest part of the plant or the fairest plant of the field (compare French fleur de farine), as distinguished from the coarser parts (meal (n.2)). Old French flor also meant both "a flower, blossom" and "meal, fine flour." The English word also was spelled flower until flour became the accepted form c. 1830 to end confusion. Flour-knave "miller's helper" is from c. 1300.ETD flour (n.).2

    flourish (v.)

    c. 1300, "to blossom, grow" (intransitive), from Old French floriss-, stem of florir "to blossom, flower, bloom; prosper, flourish," from Latin florere "to bloom, blossom, flower," figuratively "to flourish, be prosperous," from flos "a flower" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). Metaphoric sense of "thrive" is mid-14c. in English. Transitive meaning "brandish (a weapon), hold in the hand and wave about" is from late 14c. Related: Flourished; flourishing.ETD flourish (v.).2

    flourishing (adj.)

    late 14c., "prospering, thriving;" c. 1400, "full of flowers," present-participle adjective from flourish (v.). Related: Flourishingly.ETD flourishing (adj.).2

    flourish (n.)

    c. 1500, "a blossom," from flourish (v.). Meaning "an ostentatious waving of a weapon" is from 1550s; that of "excessive literary or rhetorical embellishment" is from c. 1600; in reference to decorative curves in penmanship, 1650s; as "a fanfare of trumpets," 1590s.ETD flourish (n.).2

    flout (v.)

    "treat with disdain or contempt" (transitive), 1550s, intransitive sense "mock, jeer, scoff" is from 1570s; of uncertain origin; perhaps a special use of Middle English flowten "to play the flute" (compare Middle Dutch fluyten "to play the flute," also "to jeer"). Related: Flouted; flouting.ETD flout (v.).2

    flow (n.)

    mid-15c., "action of flowing," from flow (v.). Meaning "amount that flows" is from 1807. Sense of "any strong, progressive movement comparable to the flow of a river" is from 1640s. Flow chart attested from 1920 (flow-sheet in same sense from 1912). To go with the flow is by 1977, apparently originally in skiing jargon.ETD flow (n.).2

    flow (v.)

    Old English flowan "to flow, stream, issue; become liquid, melt; abound, overflow" (class VII strong verb; past tense fleow, past participle flowen), from Proto-Germanic *flowan "to flow" (source also of Middle Dutch vloyen, Dutch vloeien, vloeijen "to flow," Old Norse floa "to deluge," Old High German flouwen "to rinse, wash"), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow." The weak form predominated from 14c., but strong past participle flown is occasionally attested through 18c. Related: Flowed; flowing.ETD flow (v.).2

    flower (n.)

    c. 1200, flour, also flur, flor, floer, floyer, flowre, "the blossom of a plant; a flowering plant," from Old French flor "flower, blossom; heyday, prime; fine flour; elite; innocence, virginity" (12c., Modern French fleur), from Latin florem (nominative flos) "flower" (source of Italian fiore, Spanish flor), from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom."ETD flower (n.).2

    From late 14c. in English as "blossoming time," also, figuratively, "prime of life, height of one's glory or prosperity, state of anything that may be likened to the flowering state of a plant." As "the best, the most excellent; the best of its class or kind; embodiment of an ideal," early 13c. (of persons, mid-13c. of things); for example flour of milk "cream" (early 14c.); especially "wheat meal after bran and other coarse elements have been removed, the best part of wheat" (mid-13c.). Modern spelling and full differentiation from flour (n.) is from late 14c.ETD flower (n.).3

    In the "blossom of a plant" sense it ousted its Old English cognate blostm (see blossom (n.)). Also used from Middle English as a symbol of transitoriness (early 14c.); "a beautiful woman" (c. 1300); "virginity" (early 14c.). Flower-box is from 1818. Flower-arrangement is from 1873. Flower child "gentle hippie" is from 1967.ETD flower (n.).4

    flower (v.)

    c. 1200, "be vigorous, prosper, thrive," from flower (n.). Of a plant or bud, "to blossom," c. 1300. Meaning "adorn or cover with flowers" is from 1570s. Related: Flowered; flowering.ETD flower (v.).2

    flowery (adj.)

    mid-14c., from flower (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense "richly embellished," in reference to language, is from c. 1600. Related: Floweriness.ETD flowery (adj.).2

    flower-pot (n.)

    also flowerpot, 1590s, from flower (n.) + pot (n.1).ETD flower-pot (n.).2


    past participle of fly (v.), from Middle English flogen, flowen. Also formerly the past participle of flow (v.).ETD flown.2


    masc. proper name, variant of Lloyd.ETD Floyd.2

    flu (n.)

    1839, flue, shortening of influenza. Spelling flu attested from 1893. The abstraction of the middle syllable is an uncommon method of shortening words in English; Weekley compares tec for detective, scrip for subscription.ETD flu (n.).2

    flub (v.)

    "botch, bungle," 1924, American English, of uncertain origin, perhaps suggested by fluff, flop, etc. Related: Flubbed; flubbing. As a noun, by 1952.ETD flub (v.).2

    fluctuant (adj.)

    "moving like a wave," 1550s, from Latin fluctuantem (nominative fluctuans), present participle of fluctuare "to move in waves" (see fluctuation).ETD fluctuant (adj.).2

    fluctuation (n.)

    mid-15c., from Old French fluctuacion (12c.) or directly from Latin fluctuationem (nominative fluctuatio) "a wavering, vacillation," noun of action from past-participle stem of fluctuare "to undulate, to move in waves," from fluctus "a wave, billow, surge, a flowing," from past participle of fluere "to flow" (see fluent).ETD fluctuation (n.).2

    fluctuate (v.)

    1630s, from Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare "to undulate, to move in waves," from fluctus "a wave, billow, surge, a flowing," from past participle of fluere "to flow" (see fluent). Related: Fluctuated; fluctuates; fluctuating.ETD fluctuate (v.).2

    flue (n.)

    "smoke channel in a chimney," 1580s, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Middle English flue, flewe "mouthpiece of a hunting horn" (early 15c.), which is perhaps from Old French fluie "stream;" or the modern word is perhaps from Middle Dutch vluwe, from Germanic *flowan "to flow" (see flow (v.)). Originally a small chimney in a furnace connected to the main chimney.ETD flue (n.).2

    fluency (n.)

    1620s, "abundance;" 1630s, "smooth and easy flow," from fluent + abstract noun suffix -cy. Replaced earlier fluence (c. 1600).ETD fluency (n.).2

    fluent (adj.)

    1580s, "flowing freely" (of water), also, of speakers, "able and nimble in the use of words," from Latin fluentem (nominative fluens) "lax, relaxed," figuratively "flowing, fluent," present participle of fluere "to flow, stream, run, melt," from extended form of PIE *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow" (source also of Latin flumen "river;" Greek phluein "to boil over, bubble up," phlein "to abound"), an extended form of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell." Used interchangeably with fluid (adj.) in 17c. in the sense "changeable, not rigid." Related: Fluently.ETD fluent (adj.).2

    fluff (v.)

    "to shake into a soft mass," 1875, from fluff (n.). Meaning "make a mistake" is from 1884, originally in theater slang. Related: Fluffed; fluffing.ETD fluff (v.).2

    fluff (n.)

    "light, feathery stuff," 1790, apparently a variant of floow "wooly substance, down, nap" (1580s), perhaps from Flemish vluwe, from French velu "shaggy, hairy," from Latin vellus "fleece," or Latin villus "tuft of hair" (see velvet). OED suggests fluff as "an imitative modification" of floow, "imitating the action of puffing away some light substance." Slang bit of fluff "young woman" is from 1903. The marshmallow confection Fluff dates to c. 1920 in Massachusetts, U.S.ETD fluff (n.).2

    fluffy (adj.)

    "containing or resembling fluff," 1825, from fluff (n.) + -y (2). Related: Fluffiness.ETD fluffy (adj.).2

    flugelhorn (n.)

    1854, from German flügelhorn, from flügel "wing," (from Middle High German vlügel, from Proto-Germanic *flugilaz, suffixed form of PIE root *pleu- "to flow") + horn "horn" (from PIE root *ker- (1) "horn; head").ETD flugelhorn (n.).2

    fluid (n.)

    "substance capable of flowing," 1660s, from fluid (adj.). Related: Fluidal (1869), fluidic (1821, Marmaduke Tulket).ETD fluid (n.).2

    fluid (adj.)

    early 15c., "liquid, capable of flowing," from Old French fluide (14c.) and directly from Latin fluidus "fluid, flowing, moist," from fluere "to flow" (see fluent). Figurative use, of non-material things, "not fixed or rigid," from 1640s. Related: Fluidly.ETD fluid (adj.).2

    fluidity (n.)

    c. 1600, from French fluidité, from fluide (see fluid (adj.)), or else formed in English from fluid.ETD fluidity (n.).2

    fluke (n.2)

    "lucky stroke, chance hit," 1857, also flook, said to be originally a lucky shot at billiards, of uncertain origin. Century Dictionary connects it with fluke (n.1) in reference to the whale's use of flukes to get along rapidly (to go a-fluking or some variant of it, "go very fast," is in Dana, Smyth, and other sailors' books of the era). OED (2nd ed. print) allows only that it is "Possibly of Eng. dialectal origin."ETD fluke (n.2).2

    fluke (n.3)

    "flatfish," Old English floc "flatfish," related to Old Norse floke "flatfish," flak "disk, floe," from Proto-Germanic *flok-, from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." The parasite worm (1660s) so called from resemblance of shape.ETD fluke (n.3).2

    fluke (n.1)

    "flat end of an arm of an anchor," 1560s, perhaps from fluke (n.3) "flatfish," on resemblance of shape, or from Low German flügel "wing." Transferred meaning "whale's tail" (in plural, flukes) is by 1725, so called from resemblance.ETD fluke (n.1).2

    fluky (adj.)

    "depending on chance rather than skill," 1867, from fluke (n.2) + -y (2).ETD fluky (adj.).2

    flume (n.)

    late 12c., "stream," from Old French flum "running water, stream, river; dysentery," from Latin flumen "flood, stream, running water," from fluere "to flow" (see fluent). In U.S., used especially of artificial streams channeled for some industrial purpose.ETD flume (n.).2

    flummery (n.)

    1620s, a type of coagulated food, from Welsh llymru "sour oatmeal jelly boiled with the husks," of uncertain origin. Later of a sweet dish in cookery (1747). Figurative use, of flattery, empty talk, is from 1740s.ETD flummery (n.).2

    flummox (v.)

    1837, cant word, also flummux, of uncertain origin, probably risen out of a British dialect (OED finds candidate words in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, southern Cheshire, and Sheffield). "The formation seems to be onomatopœic, expressive of the notion of throwing down roughly and untidily" [OED]. Related: Flummoxed; flummoxing.ETD flummox (v.).2


    past participle of fling (v.).ETD flung.2

    flunk (v.)

    1823, American English college slang, original meaning "to back out, give up, fail," of obscure origin, traditionally said to be an alteration of British university slang funk "to be frightened, shrink from" (see funk (n.1)). Meaning "cause to fail, give a failing mark to" is from 1843. Related: Flunked; flunking.ETD flunk (v.).2

    flunky (n.)

    also flunkey, 1782, Scottish dialect, "footman, liveried servant," of uncertain origin, perhaps a diminutive variant of flanker (in reference to servants running alongside coaches; compare footman). Sense of "flatterer, toady" first recorded 1855. "Recent in literature, but prob. much older in colloquial speech" [Century Dictionary].ETD flunky (n.).2

    fluonomist (n.)

    said to be a humorous title for a chimney-sweep, 1947 according to OED, from flue + ending from economist, etc.ETD fluonomist (n.).2

    fluor (n.)

    1660s, an old chemistry term for "minerals which were readily fusible and useful as fluxes in smelting" [Flood], from Latin fluor, originally meaning "a flowing, flow," from fluere "to flow, stream, run, melt" (see fluent). Said to be from a translation of the German miners' name, flusse. Since 1771 applied to minerals containing fluorine, especially calcium fluoride (fluorspar or fluorite).ETD fluor (n.).2

    fluorescent (adj.)

    1853 (Stokes), from fluor- (see fluoro-) + -escent. Also see fluorescence. The electric fluorescent lamp was invented by Edison in 1896, but such lights were rare in homes before improved bulbs became available in the mid-1930s.ETD fluorescent (adj.).2

    fluoresce (v.)

    1866 (implied in fluoresced), back-formation from fluorescence. Related: Fluorescing.ETD fluoresce (v.).2

    fluorescence (n.)

    1852, "property of glowing in ultraviolet light," coined by English mathematician and physicist Sir George G. Stokes (1819-1903) from fluorspar (see fluorine), because in it he first noticed the phenomenon, + -escence, on analogy of phosphorescence.ETD fluorescence (n.).2

    fluoride (n.)

    "compound of fluorine with another element," 1826, from fluorine + -ide.ETD fluoride (n.).2

    fluoridate (v.)

    1949, back-formation from fluoridation. Related: Fluoridated; fluoridating.ETD fluoridate (v.).2

    fluoridation (n.)

    1904, "process of absorbing fluoride," from fluoride + -ation. In reference to adding traces of fluoride to drinking water as a public health policy, from 1949.ETD fluoridation (n.).2

    fluorine (n.)

    non-metallic element, 1813, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy from fluorspar ("calcium fluoride," modern fluorite), the late 18c. name of the mineral where it was first found (see fluor) + chemical suffix -ine (2). Not isolated until 1886. Related: Fluorinate; fluorination.ETD fluorine (n.).2


    before vowels fluor-, combining form of fluorine; also see fluorescence.ETD fluoro-.2

    fluorocarbon (n.)

    1937, from fluoro- + carbon.ETD fluorocarbon (n.).2

    fluoroscopy (n.)

    1896, from fluoroscope (1896) "device for observing x-rays by means of action in fluorescent substances," from fluoro- + -scope. Related: Fluoroscopic.ETD fluoroscopy (n.).2

    flurry (v.)

    1757, "produce agitation of feeling in, confuse by excitement," from flurry (n.). From 1883 of snow. Related: Flurried; flurries; flurrying.ETD flurry (v.).2

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