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    Formica (1) — four-wheeled (adj.)

    Formica (1)

    proprietary name (1922) of a product manufactured originally by Formica Insulation Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. (founded 1913). According to the company, the material (originally marketed as an industrial insulator) was so called because it could be used for mica, i.e., in place of mica, a more expensive natural insulator. Primarily used in consumer goods since c. 1945.ETD Formica (1).2

    Formica (2)

    ant genus, 1843, from Latin formica "an ant," a dissimilation from PIE *morwi- "ant" (source also of Sanskrit vamrah "ant," Greek myrmex, Old Church Slavonic mraviji, Old Irish moirb, Old Norse maurr, Welsh myrion; and compare second element in pismire).ETD Formica (2).2

    formicary (n.)

    "ant nest," 1816, from Medieval Latin formicarium, from Latin formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)).ETD formicary (n.).2

    formidable (adj.)

    mid-15c., "causing fear," from Old French formidable (15c.), from Latin formidabilis "causing fear, terrible," from formidare "to fear," from formido "fearfulness, fear, terror, dread." Sense has softened somewhat over time, in the direction of "so great (in strength, size, etc.) as to discourage effort." Related: Formidably.ETD formidable (adj.).2

    formless (adj.)

    1590s, from form (n.) + -less. Related: Formlessly; formlessness.ETD formless (adj.).2


    old name of Taiwan, given by the Portuguese, from Portuguese Formosa insula "beautiful island." The adjective is from the fem. of Latin formosus "beautiful, handsome, finely formed," from forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)). Related: Formosan (1640s).ETD Formosa.2

    formulation (n.)

    1848, noun of action from formulate (v.).ETD formulation (n.).2

    formulate (v.)

    "to express in a formula," 1837, from formula + -ate (2). Won out over formulize (1842); formularize (1845). Related: Formulated; formulating.ETD formulate (v.).2

    formulaic (adj.)

    1845, from formula + -ic.ETD formulaic (adj.).2

    formula (n.)

    1630s, "words used in a ceremony or ritual" (earlier as a Latin word in English), from Latin formula "form, draft, contract, regulation;" in law, "a rule, method;" literally "small form," diminutive of forma "form" (see form (n.)). Modern sense is colored by Carlyle's use (1837) of the word in a sense of "rule slavishly followed without understanding" [OED]. From 1706 as "a prescription, a recipe;" mathematical use is from 1796; chemistry sense is from 1842. In motor racing, "class or specification of a car" (usually by engine size), 1927.ETD formula (n.).2

    formulae (n.)

    classically correct plural of formula; also see -a (1).ETD formulae (n.).2

    formular (n.)

    1560s, "a model, exemplar," from Latin formula (see formula) + -ar. As an adjective, from 1773 as "formal, correct;" 1880 as "of or pertaining to a formula."ETD formular (n.).2

    formulary (n.)

    1540s, "collection of set forms," from French formulaire "collection of formulae," from noun use of Latin adjective formularius, from formula "a form" (see formula). As an adjective in English, "of the nature of a formula," 1728. The Latin adjective also was used as a noun meaning "a lawyer skilled in composing writs."ETD formulary (n.).2

    Fornax (n.)

    goddess of ovens in ancient Rome, from Latin fornax "furnace, oven, kiln" (from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm"). The dim constellation (representing a chemical furnace) was created by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de La Caille in 1752.ETD Fornax (n.).2

    fornicate (v.)

    1550s, "have illicit sexual intercourse" (said of an unmarried person), from Late Latin fornicatus, past participle of fornicari "to fornicate," from Latin fornix (genitive fornicis) "brothel" (Juvenal, Horace), originally "arch, vaulted chamber, a vaulted opening, a covered way," probably an extension, based on appearance, from a source akin to fornus "brick oven of arched or domed shape" (from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm"). Perhaps in some cases a back-formation from fornication. Related: Fornicated; fornicating.ETD fornicate (v.).2

    fornicator (n.)

    late 14c., from Late Latin fornicator, agent noun from fornicat-, stem of fornicari "to fornicate" (see fornication). Of the fem. forms, fornicatrice is c. 1500, fornicatrix 1580s, fornicatress 1590s.ETD fornicator (n.).2

    fornication (n.)

    c. 1300, from Old French fornicacion "fornication, lewdness; prostitution; idolatry" (12c.), from Late Latin fornicationem (nominative fornicatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of fornicari "to fornicate," from Latin fornix (genitive fornicis) "brothel" (Juvenal, Horace), originally "arch, vaulted chamber, a vaulted opening, a covered way," probably an extension, based on appearance, from a source akin to fornus "brick oven of arched or domed shape" (from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm"). Strictly, "voluntary sex between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman;" extended in the Bible to adultery. The sense extension in Latin is perhaps because Roman prostitutes commonly solicited from under the arches of certain buildings.ETD fornication (n.).2

    fornix (n.)

    from 1680s in reference to various arched formations (especially in anatomy), from Latin fornix "arch, vaulted chamber, cellar, vaulted opening," probably an extension, based on appearance, from a source akin to fornus "brick oven of arched or domed shape" (from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm").ETD fornix (n.).2

    forsake (v.)

    Old English forsacan "object to, oppose, refuse, deny; give up, renounce" (past tense forsoc, past participle forsacen), from for- "completely" + sacan "to struggle, dispute, wrangle; accuse, blame" (see sake (n.1)). Related: Forsaking. Similar formation in Old Saxon farsakan, Dutch verzaken, Old High German farsahhan "deny, repudiate," Danish forsage "give up, refuse."ETD forsake (v.).2

    forsaken (adj.)

    mid-13c., past-participle adjective from forsake. Related: Forsakenly.ETD forsaken (adj.).2


    past tense of forsake.ETD forsook.2

    forsooth (adv.)

    Old English forsoð "indeed, in truth, verily," from for-, perhaps here with intensive force (or else the whole might be "for a truth"), + soð "truth" (see sooth). Regarded as affected in speech by c. 1600.ETD forsooth (adv.).2

    forswear (v.)

    Old English forswerian "swear falsely" (intransitive), also "abandon or renounce on oath" (transitive), from for- "completely" + swerian "to swear" (see swear (v.)). Related: Forswore; forsworn; forswearing.ETD forswear (v.).2

    forsworn (adj.)

    from Old English forsworen, "perjured," past participle of forswerian "to swear falsely" (see forswear).ETD forsworn (adj.).2

    forsythia (n.)

    1814, coined 1805 in Modern Latin as a genus name in honor of William Forsyth (1737-1804), Scottish horticulturalist who brought the shrub from China. The family name is from Gaelic Fearsithe "man of peace."ETD forsythia (n.).2

    forte (adj.)

    music instruction, "loud, loudly," from Italian forte, literally "strong," from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort). Opposed to piano.ETD forte (adj.).2

    fort (n.)

    mid-15c., "fortified place, stronghold," from Old French fort "fort, fortress; strong man," noun use of adjective meaning "strong, stout, sturdy; hard, severe, difficult; hard to understand; dreadful, terrible; fortified" (10c.), from Latin fortis "strong, mighty; firm, steadfast; brave, spirited," from Old Latin forctus, which is of unknown etymology. Possibly from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high, elevated," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts, or possibly from *dher- "to hold firmly, support." Figurative use of hold the fort attested from 1590s.ETD fort (n.).2

    forte (n.)

    1640s, fort, from French fort "strong point (of a sword blade)," earlier "fort, fortress" (see fort). Meaning "strong point of a person, that in which one excels," is from 1680s. Final -e- added 18c. in imitation of Italian forte "strong."ETD forte (n.).2

    forth (adv.)

    Old English forð "forward, onward, farther; continually;" as a preposition, "during," perfective of fore, from Proto-Germanic *furtha- "forward" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon forth "forward, onward," Old Norse forð, Dutch voort, German fort), from extended form of PIE root *per- (1) "forward." The construction in and so forth was in Old English.ETD forth (adv.).2

    forthcoming (adj.)

    late 15c., "about to happen or appear," present-participle adjective from Middle English forthcomen, from Old English forðcuman "to come forth, come to pass;" see forth + come (v.). Meaning "informative, responsive" is from 1835, via the notion of "in such a position or condition, as a person or a thing, that his or its presence when needed can be counted on." A once-common verb formation; English also had forthbring, forthcall, forthdo, forthgo, forthpass, forthset, all now obsolete.ETD forthcoming (adj.).2

    forthright (adj.)

    Old English forðriht "direct, plain;" see forth + -right. Compare downright. Related: Forthrightly; forthrightness. As an adverb, from Old English forðrihte "straightway, at once; plainly."ETD forthright (adj.).2

    forthwith (prep.)

    c. 1200, from forth + with. The Old English equivalent was forð mid. As an adverb, early 14c.ETD forthwith (prep.).2

    forty (adj., n.)

    "1 more than thirty-nine, twice twenty; the number which is one more than thirty-nine; a symbol representing this number;" early 12c., feowerti, from Old English feowertig, Northumbrian feuortig "forty," from feower "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four") + tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Compare Old Saxon fiwartig, Old Frisian fiuwertich, Dutch veertig, Old High German fiorzug, German vierzig, Old Norse fjorir tigir, Gothic fidwor tigjus.ETD forty (adj., n.).2

    Forty winks "short sleep" is attested from 1821; in early use associated with, and perhaps coined by, English eccentric and lifestyle reformer William Kitchiner M.D. (1775-1827). Forty-niner in U.S. history was an adventurer to California (usually from one of the eastern states) in search of fortune during the gold rush of 1849.ETD forty (adj., n.).3

    forties (n.)

    1843 as the years of someone's life between 40 and 49; from 1840 as the fifth decade of years in a given century. See forty. Also a designation applied in various places and times to certain oligarchies, ruling classes, or governing bodies.ETD forties (n.).2

    Roaring Forties are rough parts of the ocean between 40 and 50 degrees latitude.ETD forties (n.).3

    fortieth (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the thirty-ninth; an ordinal numeral; being one of forty equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" c. 1200, fowertiþe, from Old English feowertigoða, from feowertig (see forty) + -th (1). Compare Old Norse fertugonde, Swedish fyrationde, Danish fyrretyvende.ETD fortieth (adj., n.).2

    fortification (n.)

    early 15c., "a strengthening," also "defensive earthworks; a tower" (mid-15c.), from Old French fortification "strengthening, fortification," from Late Latin fortificationem (nominative fortificatio) "a strengthening, fortifying," noun of action from past-participle stem of fortificare "to make strong" (see fortify).ETD fortification (n.).2

    fortify (v.)

    early 15c., "increase efficacy" (of medicine); mid-15c., "provide (a town) with walls and defenses," from Old French fortifiier (14c.) "to fortify, strengthen," from Late Latin fortificare "to strengthen, make strong," from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort) + combining form of facere "to make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Sense of "to strengthen mentally or morally" is from late 15c. Meaning "add liquor or alcohol" is from 1880; meaning "add nutrients to food" is from 1939. Related: Fortified; fortifying.ETD fortify (v.).2

    fortissimo (adj.)

    1724, from Italian fortissimo, superlative of forte "loud, strong," from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).ETD fortissimo (adj.).2

    fortitude (n.)

    late 14c., "moral strength (as a cardinal virtue); courage," from Latin fortitudo "strength, force, firmness, manliness," from fortis "strong, brave" (see fort). From early 15c. as "physical strength."ETD fortitude (n.).2

    fortitudinous (adj.)

    "capable of endurance," 1752, from Latin fortitudinem (nominative fortitudo) "strength, firmness" (see fortitude) + -ous. Related: Fortitudinously.ETD fortitudinous (adj.).2

    fortnight (n.)

    "period of two weeks," 17c. contraction of Middle English fourteniht, from Old English feowertyne niht, literally "fourteen nights" (see fourteen + night). It preserves the ancient Germanic custom of reckoning by nights (mentioned by Tacitus in "Germania" xi). Related: Fortnightly.ETD fortnight (n.).2

    Fortran (n.)

    computer programming language, 1956, from combination of elements from formula + translation.ETD Fortran (n.).2

    fortress (n.)

    early 14c., from Old French forteresse, forterece "strong place, fortification" (12c.), variant of fortelesse, from Medieval Latin fortalitia, from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort) + -itia, added to adjectives to form nouns of quality or condition. French -ess from Latin -itia also is in duress, largesse, riches, also obsolete rudesse, "lack of cultivation" (early 15c.).ETD fortress (n.).2

    For change of medial -l- to -r- in Old French, compare orme "elm" from Latin ulmus; chartre from cartula; chapitre from capitulum.ETD fortress (n.).3

    Fort Sumter

    military installation in South Carolina, U.S., begun in 1827, named for U.S. Revolutionary War officer and Congressman Thomas Sumter (1734-1832), "The Carolina Gamecock." The family name is attested from 1206, from Old French sommetier "driver of a pack horse" (see sumpter). The U.S. Civil War is held to have begun with the firing of rebel batteries on the government-held fort on April 12, 1861.ETD Fort Sumter.2

    fortuitous (adj.)

    1650s, from Latin fortuitus "happening by chance, casual, accidental," from forte "by chance," ablative of fors "chance" (related to fortuna; see fortune). It means "accidental, undesigned" not "fortunate." Earlier in this sense was fortuit (late 14c.), from French. Related: Fortuitously; fortuitousness.ETD fortuitous (adj.).2

    fortuity (n.)

    1747, from stem of fortuitous + -ity.ETD fortuity (n.).2

    fortunately (adv.)

    "by (good) fortune," 1540s, from fortunate + -ly (2).ETD fortunately (adv.).2

    fortunate (adj.)

    late 14c., "having good fortune; bringing good fortune," from Latin fortunatus "prospered, prosperous; lucky, happy," past participle of fortunare "to make prosperous," from fortuna (see fortune). Fortunate Islands "mythical abode of the blessed dead, in the Western Ocean" (early 15c.; late 14c. as Ilondes of fortune) translates Latin Fortunatae Insulae.ETD fortunate (adj.).2

    fortune (n.)

    c. 1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly ultimately from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children," which is supported by de Vaan even though "The semantic shift from 'load' or 'the carrying' to 'chance, luck' is not obvious ...." The sense might be "that which is brought."ETD fortune (n.).2

    Sense of "owned wealth" is first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth, large estate" itself. Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Soldier of fortune is attested by 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine. Fortune-hunter "one who seeks to marry for wealth" is from 1680s.ETD fortune (n.).3

    fortune cookie (n.)

    by 1955, said to have been invented in 1918 by David Jung, Chinese immigrant to America who established Hong Kong Noodle Co., who handed out cookies that contained uplifting messages as a promotional gimmick.ETD fortune cookie (n.).2

    fortune-teller (n.)

    also fortuneteller, 1580s, from fortune + teller. Verbal phrase tellen fortune is from early 15c.; verbal noun fortune-telling is by 1570s. Lot-teller is from 1570s.ETD fortune-teller (n.).2

    forum (n.)

    mid-15c., "place of assembly in ancient Rome," from Latin forum "marketplace, open space, public place," apparently akin to foris, foras "out of doors, outside" (from PIE root *dhwer- "door, doorway"). The sense of "assembly, place for public discussion" is recorded by 1680s.ETD forum (n.).2

    forward (adv.)

    Old English forewearde "toward the front, in front; toward the future; at the beginning;" see fore + -ward. Adjectival sense of "early" is from 1520s; that of "presumptuous" is attested from 1560s. The Old English adjective meant "inclined to the front; early; former."ETD forward (adv.).2

    forward (v.)

    1590s, "to help push forward," from forward (adv.). Meaning "to send (a letter, etc.) on to another destination" is from 1757; later of e-mail. Related: Forwarded; forwarding.ETD forward (v.).2

    forward (n.)

    Old English foreweard, "the fore or front part" of something, "outpost; scout;" see forward (adv.). The position in football so called since 1879.ETD forward (n.).2

    forwardness (n.)

    1520s, "condition of being in advance," from forward + -ness. Meaning "presumptuousness" is from c. 1600. Old English foreweardness meant "a beginning."ETD forwardness (n.).2

    fosse (n.)

    "ditch, trench," early 14c. (late 13c. in place names), from Old French fosse "ditch, grave, dungeon" (12c.), from Latin fossa "ditch, trench, furrow," in full fossa terra, literally "dug earth," from fem. past participle of fodere "to dig" (see fossil). The Fosse-way (early 12c.), one of the four great Roman roads of Britain, probably was so named from the ditch on either side of it.ETD fosse (n.).2

    fossil (n.)

    1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging" (of coal, salt, etc.), from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig," from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce."ETD fossil (n.).2

    Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736 (the adjective in the sense "pertaining to fossils" is from 1660s); slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1833) preserves the earlier, broader sense.ETD fossil (n.).3

    Ikhthes oryktoi "fossil fishes" were known to the Greeks, along with fossil shells on mountaintops and fossil "seaweed" in Sicilian quarries. They sometimes were taken as evidence of changing sea levels.ETD fossil (n.).4

    fossilize (v.)

    1794 (transitive), from fossil + -ize. Intransitive use from 1828. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Fossilized; fossilizing.ETD fossilize (v.).2

    fossilization (n.)

    noun of action from fossilize.ETD fossilization (n.).2

    fossiliferous (adj.)

    by 1830, from fossil + -ferous "producing, containing," from Latin ferre "to bear, carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry").ETD fossiliferous (adj.).2

    foster (v.)

    Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostra-, from extended form of PIE root *pa- "to feed."ETD foster (v.).2

    Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c. 1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the word as an adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, fostorcild, fostormodoretc. Related: Fostered; fostering.ETD foster (v.).3

    fosterage (n.)

    1610s, "the rearing of another's child as one's own," from foster (v.) + -age.ETD fosterage (n.).2


    past tense and past participle of fight (v.). The past participle form foughten (Old English fohten) has been archaic since 18c. but occasionally appears in the phrase foughten field.ETD fought.2

    foul (adj.)

    Old English ful "rotten, unclean, vile, corrupt, offensive to the senses," from Proto-Germanic *fulaz (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian ful, Middle Dutch voul, Dutch vuil, Old High German fül, German faul, Gothic füls), from PIE *pu- (2) "to rot, decay," perhaps from the sound made in reaction to smelling something bad (see pus).ETD foul (adj.).2

    Old English ful occasionally meant "ugly" (as contrasted with fæger (adj.), modern fair (adj.)), and this sense became frequent in Middle English. The cognate in Swedish is the usual word for "ugly." Of weather from mid-14c. In the sporting sense of "irregular, unfair, contrary to established rule or practice" it is first attested 1797, though foul play is recorded from mid-15c. Baseball sense of "out of play" attested by 1860.ETD foul (adj.).3

    foul (v.)

    Old English fulian "to become foul, rot, decay," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Transitive meaning "make foul, pollute" is from c. 1200. Meaning "become entangled" (chiefly nautical) is from 1832, probably from foul (adj.) in the sense "obstructed by anything fixed or attached" (late 15c.). "A term generally used in contrast to clear, and implies entangled, embarrassed or contrary to: e.g. to foul the helm, to find steerage impracticable owing to the rudder becoming entangled with rope or other gear" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]. Related: Fouled; fouling. Hence also foul anchor (1769), one with the slack of the cable twisted round the stock or a fluke; noted by 1832 as naval insignia.ETD foul (v.).2

    foulness (n.)

    Old English fulness "foulness, filthy smell;" see foul (adj.) + -ness. Similar formation in Old Frisian fulnisse, Dutch vuilnis, German fäulniss.ETD foulness (n.).2

    foully (adv.)

    Old English fullice; see foul (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD foully (adv.).2

    foulmart (n.)

    "polecat," Middle English, from foul (adj.) + Old English mearþ "marten" (see marten).ETD foulmart (n.).2

    foul-mouthed (adj.)

    also foulmouthed, 1590s, apparently first in Shakespeare ["Henry IV," 1596]. Earlier were foul-tongued (1540s); foul-spoken (1580s).ETD foul-mouthed (adj.).2

    found (v.1)

    "lay the basis of, establish," late 13c., from Old French fonder "found, establish; set, place; fashion, make" (12c.), from Latin fundare "to lay the bottom or foundation" of something, from fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Related: Founded; founding. Phrase founding fathers with reference to the creators of the American republic is attested from 1916.ETD found (v.1).2

    found (adj.)

    "discovered," late 14c., past-participle adjective from find (v.). Expression and found attached to the wages or charges in old advertisements for job openings, traveling berths, etc., indicates that meals are provided. It comes from the expression to find one's self "to provide for one's self." "When a laborer engages to provide himself with victuals, he is said to find himself, or to receive day wages" [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. Hence, so much and found for "wages + meals provided."ETD found (adj.).2

    found (v.2)

    "to cast metal," late 14c., originally "to mix, mingle," from Old French fondre "pour out, melt, smelt" (12c.), from Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "to melt, cast, pour out," from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour." Meaning "to cast metal" is from 1560s. Related: Founded; founding.ETD found (v.2).2

    foundational (adj.)

    1680s, from foundation + -al (1). Related: Foundationally.ETD foundational (adj.).2

    foundation (n.)

    late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion "foundation" (14c.) or directly from Late Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin fundare "to lay a bottom or foundation" (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol.ETD foundation (n.).2

    The specialized sense of "establishment of an institution with an endowment to pay for it" is from late 14c.; the meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; the meaning "funds endowed for benevolent or charitable purposes" is from early 15c.ETD foundation (n.).3

    The sense of "solid base of a structure" is from early 15c. The cosmetics sense of "colored cream applied to the face to alter or normalize the skin color" is by 1910, probably short for foundation makeup.ETD foundation (n.).4

    founder (v.)

    early 14c. "to send to the bottom" (transitive); late 14c., "to sink or fall" (intransitive), from Old French fondrer "collapse; submerge, sink, fall to the bottom" (Modern French fondrier), from fond "bottom" (12c.), from Latin fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Not especially of ships in Middle English, where it typically meant "fall to the ground." Figurative use from 1580s. Related: Foundered; foundering.ETD founder (v.).2

    founder (n.1)

    "one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes (something)," mid-14c., from Anglo-French fundur, Old French fondeor "founder, originator" (Modern French fondateur), from Latin fundator, agent noun from fundare "to lay a foundation" (see found (v.1)). Fem. form foundress is from early 15c.; also fundatrix (1540s).ETD founder (n.1).2

    founder (n.2)

    "one who casts metal," c. 1400, agent noun from found (v.2).ETD founder (n.2).2

    foundling (n.)

    "deserted infant," c. 1300, from Middle English founden "found," past participle of finden (see find (v.)) + diminutive suffix -ling. Compare Dutch vondeling, German Findling. Middle English had also finding in this sense (late 14c.).ETD foundling (n.).2

    foundry (n.)

    c. 1600, "art of casting metal," from French fonderei, from fondre "to cast," from Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "to melt, cast, pour out," from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour." Meaning "establishment for the founding of metallic articles" is from 1640s. Related: Foundryman.ETD foundry (n.).2

    fount (n.)

    "spring of water," 1590s, probably a shortening of fountain influenced by French font "fount." Figurative use also is from 1590s.ETD fount (n.).2

    fountain (n.)

    early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Medieval Latin fontana "fountain, a spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from post-classical noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water)," from PIE root *dhen- (1) "to run, flow" (source also of Sanskrit dhanayati, Old Persian danuvatiy "flows, runs").ETD fountain (n.).2

    The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c. 1500. Hence also fountain-pen (by 1823), so called for the reservoir that supplies a continuous flow of ink. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley]. Fountain of youth, and the story of Ponce de Leon's quest for it, seem to have been introduced in American English by Hawthorne's "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (January 1837).ETD fountain (n.).3

    fountainhead (n.)

    also fountain-head, "spring from which a stream flows," 1580s, from fountain + head (n.). Figurative use is from c. 1600.ETD fountainhead (n.).2

    four (num.)

    "1 more than three, twice two; the number which is one more than three; a symbol representing this number;" Old English feower "four; four times," from Proto-Germanic *fedwores (source also of Old Saxon fiuwar, Old Frisian fiower, fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch vier, Old High German fior, German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor "four"), from PIE root *kwetwer- "four." The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained; Watkins explains the -f- as being from the following number (Modern English five).ETD four (num.).2

    To be on all fours is from 1719; earlier on all four (14c.). Four-letter word as a euphemism for one of the short words generally regarded as offensive or objectionable is attested from 1923; four-letter man is recorded from 1920 (apparently as a euphemism for a shit). Compare Latin homo trium litterarum, literally "three-letter man," a euphemism for fur "a thief." A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage drawn by four horses driven by one person; in the sense of "loosely tied necktie" it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, compare French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains an old euphemistic slang phrase for "a pack of cards," from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 "essential information" (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information. The four-color problem so called from 1879. The four-minute mile was attained 1954.ETD four (num.).3

    fourchette (n.)

    1754, in reference to anatomical structures, from French fourchette, diminutive of fourche "a fork" (see fork (n.)).ETD fourchette (n.).2

    four-corners (n.)

    old form of bowling, 1801, from four + corner (n.). So called because the four pins in it were set at the corners of a square.ETD four-corners (n.).2

    four-door (adj.)

    of cars, 1957, from four + door.ETD four-door (adj.).2

    four-eyes (n.)

    "person who wears glasses," slang, 1874; see four + eye (n.).ETD four-eyes (n.).2

    four-flusher (n.)

    "cheat, dishonest person," 1900, from verb four-flush "to bluff a poker hand, claim a flush (n.) while holding only four cards in the suit" (1896).ETD four-flusher (n.).2

    fourfold (adj.)

    Old English feowerfeald; see four + -fold. As an adverb from 1530s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fiuwerfald, Dutch viervoudig, Old High German fiervalt, German vierfältig, Danish firfold, Gothic fidurfalþs.ETD fourfold (adj.).2

    four-footed (adj.)

    c. 1300, fourefoted; see four + foot (n.). Replacing forms from Old English feowerfote.ETD four-footed (adj.).2

    Fourierism (n.)

    1841, in reference to ideas of French socialist François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), whose plan also was called phalansterianism. Related: Fourierist. In scientific use, Fourier refers to French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830).ETD Fourierism (n.).2

    four-poster (n.)

    bedstead with high corner posts, 1836, from four + post (n.).ETD four-poster (n.).2

    fourscore (n.)

    "eighty, four times twenty," mid-13c., "formerly current as an ordinary numeral" [OED], from four + score (n.). Archaic by the time Lincoln used it at Gettysburg in 1863. Related: Fourscorth "eightieth."ETD fourscore (n.).2

    foursome (n.)

    "four in company," early 14c., from four + -some (2). Specific golf sense is from 1858.ETD foursome (n.).2

    four-square (adj.)

    also foursquare, c. 1300, "having four equal sides," from four + square (adj.). As an adverb, in figurative use, "forthrightly, honestly" from 1845.ETD four-square (adj.).2

    fourteen (adj., n.)

    "1 more than thirteen; the number which is one more than thirteen; a symbol representing this number;" c. 1300, from Old English feowertyne; see four + -teen. Compare Old Saxon fiertein, Old Frisian fiuwertine, Dutch veertien, Old High German fiorzehan, German vierzehn, Danish fjorten, Gothic fidwortaihun.ETD fourteen (adj., n.).2

    fourteenth (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the thirteenth; an ordinal numeral; being one of fourteen equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" c. 1300, fourtenethe; see fourteen + -th (1). By influence of fourteen, replacing or modifying fourtende, fowrtethe, from Old English feowerteoða, Old Norse *feowertandi "fourteenth." Compare Dutch veertiende, German vierzehnte.ETD fourteenth (adj., n.).2

    fourth (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the third; an ordinal numeral; being one of four equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" mid-15c., alteration (by influence of four), of ferthe, from Old English feorða "fourth," from Proto-Germanic *feurthan (source also of Old Saxon fiortho, Old Norse fiorðe, Dutch vierde, Old High German fiordo, German vierte); see four + -th (1). As a noun from 1590s, both of fractions and in music.ETD fourth (adj., n.).2

    Among the old Quakers, who rejected the pagan weekday names, fourth day was Wednesday, often a secondary day of meeting for worship. Fourth-dimension attested from 1844. The theatrical fourth wall is from 1807. The celebration of the Fourth of July as the epoch of American independence is attested from 1777.ETD fourth (adj., n.).3

    fourth estate (n.)

    "the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.ETD fourth estate (n.).2

    four-wheeled (adj.)

    Old English feowerhweolod; see four + wheel (n.).ETD four-wheeled (adj.).2

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