Larger font
Smaller font
Etymology dictionary - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    in-itselfness (n.) — insectivore (n.)

    in-itselfness (n.)

    1879, in philosophy; see in (adv.) + itself + -ness.ETD in-itselfness (n.).2

    inject (v.)

    c. 1600, in medicine, from specialized sense of Latin iniectus "a casting on, a throwing over," past participle of inicere "to throw in or on; insert, bring into," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + -icere, combining form of iacere "to throw" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). Related: Injectable; injected; injecting.ETD inject (v.).2

    injection (n.)

    "a forcing of a fluid into a body" (with a syringe, etc.), early 15c., from Old French iniection (14c.) or directly from Latin iniectionem (nominative iniectio) "a throwing in," noun of action from past participle stem of inicere "to throw in or on" (see inject).ETD injection (n.).2

    injector (n.)

    1727, agent noun from inject (v.).ETD injector (n.).2

    in-joke (n.)

    1964, from in (adj.) + joke (n.).ETD in-joke (n.).2

    injudicious (adj.)

    1640s, "incapable of judging aright, wanting good judgment," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + judicious. Meaning "ill-advised" is from 1711. In the older sense the earlier English word was injudicial (c. 1600). Related: Injudiciously; injudiciousness.ETD injudicious (adj.).2

    Injun (n.)

    1812 (from 1683 as Ingin), a spelling representing the early American English colloquial pronunciation of Indian (q.v.). Honest Injun as an asseveration of truthfuless is first recorded 1868, from the notion of assurance extracted from Indians of their lack of duplicity in a particular situation.ETD Injun (n.).2

    The noun phrase honest Indian itself is attested from 1676 in Massachusetts.ETD Injun (n.).3

    injunction (n.)

    early 15c., from Late Latin iniunctionem (nominative iniunctio) "a command," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin iniungere "impose, inflict, bring upon," literally "attach to," from in- "on" (from PIE root *en "in") + iungere "to join together," from nasalized form of PIE root *yeug- "to join."ETD injunction (n.).2


    1620s, from Latin iniunct-, past participle stem of iniungere "impose; attach to" (see injunction) + -ive. As a term in grammar, from 1910.ETD injunctive.2

    injure (v.)

    mid-15c., "do an injustice to, dishonor," probably a back-formation from injury, or else from Old French injuriier "to damage; offend," from Latin iniuriari "do an injury," from iniuria. Injury itself also served as a verb meaning "to injure, hurt, harm" (late 15c.). Related: Injured; injuring.ETD injure (v.).2

    injury (n.)

    late 14c., "harm, damage, loss; a specific injury," from Anglo-French injurie "wrongful action" (Old French injure, 13c.), from Latin iniuria "wrong, an injustice, insult, unlawful violence, assault, damage, harm," noun use of fem. of iniurius "wrongful, unjust, unlawful," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + ius (genitive iuris) "right, law" (see jurist).ETD injury (n.).2

    injurious (adj.)

    early 15c., "abusive," from Old French injurios "unjust; harmful" (14c., Modern French injurieux) and directly from Latin iniuriosus "unlawful, acting unjustly, wrongful, harmful," from iniuria "injustice, unlawful violence, insult" (see injury). Related: Injuriously; injuriousness.ETD injurious (adj.).2

    injustice (n.)

    late 14c., from Old French injustice "unfairness, injustice" (14c.), from Latin iniustitia "unfairness, injustice," from iniustus "unjust, wrongful, unreasonable, improper, oppressive," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + iustus "just" (see just (adj.)). Injust (adj.) is attested from late 15c., from French, but unjust is the usual English word.ETD injustice (n.).2

    ink (v.)

    "to mark or stain in ink," 1560s, from ink (n.). Meaning "to cover (a printing plate, etc.) with ink" is from 1727. Related: Inked; inks; inking.ETD ink (v.).2

    ink (n.)

    "the black liquor with which men write" [Johnson], mid-13c., inke, from Old French enche, encre "dark writing fluid" (12c.), earlier enque (11c.), originally enca, from a shortening of Late Latin encaustum, from Late Greek enkauston. This is the neuter of the past-participle adjective enkaustos "burned in," from the stem of enkaiein "to burn in," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + kaiein "to burn" (see caustic).ETD ink (n.).2

    In Pliny the word is the name of a kind of painting method involving fire or heat.ETD ink (n.).3

    Later it was the special name of the purple-red ink, the sacrum encaustum, used by the Roman emperors to sign their documents; this was said to have been obtained from the ground remains of certain shellfish, formed into writing fluid by the application of fire or heat, which explained the name. In the Code of Justinian, the making of it for common uses, or by common persons, was prohibited under penalty of death and confiscation of goods.ETD ink (n.).4

    The usual word for "ink" in Latin was atramentum (source of Old French arrement), literally "anything that serves to dye black," from ater "black;" the Greek word was melan, neuter of melas "black." The Old English word for it was blæc, literally "black," and compare Swedish bläck, Danish blæk "ink." Spanish and Portuguese (tinta) and German (tinte) get their "ink" words from Latin tinctus "a dyeing."ETD ink (n.).5

    Donkin credits a Greek pronunciation, with the accent at the front of the word, for the French evolution; the same Latin word, behaving regularly, became inchiostro (with unetymological -r-) in Italian, encausto in Spanish.ETD ink (n.).6

    As an adjective, inken (c. 1600) occasionally has been used. Ink-slinger, contemptuous for "journalist," is from 1870. The psychologist's ink-blot test attested from 1915.ETD ink (n.).7

    inkhorn (n.)

    late 14c., "small portable vessel (originally made of horn) for holding ink," from ink (n.) + horn (n.). Used attributively from 1540s ("Soche are your Ynkehorne termes," John Bale) as an adjective for things (especially vocabulary) supposed to be beloved by scribblers, pedants, and bookworms. An Old English word for the thing was blæchorn.ETD inkhorn (n.).2

    inky (adj.)

    "as black as ink," 1590s, from ink (n.) + -y (2). Related: Inkily; inkiness.ETD inky (adj.).2

    inkling (n.)

    c. 1400, apparently from the gerund of the Middle English verb inclen "utter in an undertone, hint at, hint" (mid-14c.), which is of unknown origin; perhaps it is related to Old English inca "doubt, suspicion, question, scruple." However the earliest record of the word is as a nyngkiling; and The Middle English Compendium offers that this is not a misdivision of an inkling but rather suggests the word is a nasalized variant of nikking "a hint, slight indication," gerundive of the Middle English verb nikken "to mark (a text) for correction" (mid-15c.), from nik (n.) "a notch, tally" (see nick (n.)).ETD inkling (n.).2

    ink-well (n.)

    also inkwell, 1854, from ink (n.) + well (n.). A schoolroom implement, so called because it sat down in the surface of a desk in contrast to an ink-stand.ETD ink-well (n.).2

    inlay (v.)

    1590s, "insert in or into," from in (adv.) + lay (v.). As a noun, "that which is inlaid" (especially for ornamental effect), from 1650s. Related: Inlaid.ETD inlay (v.).2

    inlaid (adj.)

    1590s, "embedded in (something)," from in + laid, past participle of lay (v.). In old slang (c. 1700) it meant "full of money, living at ease."ETD inlaid (adj.).2

    inland (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to interior parts of a country," 1550s, from in + land (n.). The noun meaning "interior parts of a country (remote from the sea or borders)" is attested from 1570s. Meaning "confined to a country" (as opposed to foreign) is from 1540s. In Middle English and Old English the same compound meant "land immediately around the mansion of an estate, land in the lord's own occupation (as opposed to land occupied by tenants)." Related: Inlander.ETD inland (adj.).2

    inlandish (adj.)

    1650s, "produced at home, domestic, native," from inland in the "domestic, not foreign" sense + -ish. Also "characteristic of inland regions" (1849). Old English had inlendisc, inlende "native, indigenous."ETD inlandish (adj.).2

    inlapidate (v.)

    "turn to stone" (trans.), 1620s, from in- (2) "in, into" + verb from Latin lapis (genitive lapidis) "stone" (see lapideous). Related: Inlapidated; inlapidating.ETD inlapidate (v.).2

    in-law (n.)

    1894, "anyone of a relationship not natural," abstracted from father-in-law, etc.ETD in-law (n.).2

    The earliest recorded use of the formation is in brother-in-law (13c.); the law is Canon Law, which defines degrees of relationship within which marriage is prohibited. Thus the word originally had a more narrow application; its general extension to more distant relatives of one's spouse is, according to OED "recent colloquial or journalistic phraseology." Middle English inlaue (13c.) meant "one within or restored to the protection and benefit of the law" (opposite of an outlaw), from a verb inlauen, from Old English inlagian "reverse sentence of outlawry."ETD in-law (n.).3

    inlet (n.)

    "narrow opening into a coast, arm of the sea," 1570s, said by old sources to be originally a Kentish term; a special use of Middle English inlate "passage or opening by which an enclosed place may be entered" (c. 1300), from inleten "to let in" (early 13c.), from in + let (v.).ETD inlet (n.).2

    inly (adv.)

    Old English inlice "internally, inwardly; sincerely, heartily;" see in + -ly (2).ETD inly (adv.).2

    inlier (n.)

    1859, from in (adv.) on model of outlier.ETD inlier (n.).2

    inlighten (v.)

    former alternative form of enlighten (q.v.). Related: Inlightened; inlightening.ETD inlighten (v.).2

    inline (adj.)

    also in-line, 1913 of printing, 1921 of engines, 1958 of computers, by 1989 of roller skates; from in + line (n.).ETD inline (adj.).2

    in loco parentis

    legal Latin, 1640s in English, literally "in the place of a parent," from loco, ablative of locus "a place" (see locus (n.)) + parentis, genitive of parens "parent" (see parent (n.)).ETD in loco parentis.2

    inmate (n.)

    1580s, "one allowed to live in a house rented by another" (usually for a consideration), from in (adj.) "inside" + mate (n.) "companion." OED suggests the first element is perhaps originally inn. Sense of "one confined to an institution" is first attested 1834.ETD inmate (n.).2

    in medias res

    Latin, literally "in the midst of things," from medias, accusative fem. plural of medius "middle" (see medial (adj.)) + accusative plural of res "a thing" (see re). From Horace, in reference to narrative technique:ETD in medias res.2

    in memoriam

    Latin, literally "in memory of," from accusative of memoria "memory" (from PIE root *(s)mer- (1) "to remember"). The phrase was much-used in Latin writing; Tennyson's poem of that name (published in 1850) seems to have introduced the phrase to English.ETD in memoriam.2

    in-migration (n.)

    1942, American English, in reference to movement within the same country (as distinguished from immigration), from in (prep.) + migration.ETD in-migration (n.).2

    inmost (adj.)

    16c. respelling of Middle English innemest, from Old English innemest "furthest within, remotest from the boundary;" see in + -most.ETD inmost (adj.).2

    inn (n.)

    Old English inn "lodging, dwelling, house," probably from inne (adv.) "inside, within" (see in). Meaning "public house with lodging" is perhaps by c. 1200, certainly by c. 1400. Meaning "lodging house or residence for students" is attested from early 13c. in Anglo-Latin, now obsolete except in names of buildings that were so used (such as Inns of Court, mid-15c.).ETD inn (n.).2

    innards (n.)

    "entrails of an animal," 1825, innerds, dialectal variant of inwards "the bowels" (c. 1300); see inward. Compare inmeat "edible entrails of animals" (c. 1400); Old English innoð "entrails, stomach."ETD innards (n.).2

    innate (adj.)

    early 15c., "existing from birth," from Late Latin innatus "inborn, native, natural" (source also of French inné, Spanish and Italian innato), past participle of innasci "to be born in, originate in," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + nasci "to be born" (Old Latin gnasci), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Opposed to acquired. Related: Innately; innateness.ETD innate (adj.).2

    inner (adj.)

    c. 1400, from Old English inra, comparative of inne (adv.) "inside" (see in (adv.)). Similar formation in Old High German innaro, German inner. The original order of comparison was in/inner/inmost; the evolution has been unusual for a comparative, and inner has not been used with than since Middle English.ETD inner (adj.).2

    Inner man "the soul" is from late Old English; as "the spiritual part of man" by late 14c. The Quaker inner light is attested by that name from 1833. Inner tube in the pneumatic tire sense is from 1894. Inner city is attested from 1690s; as a euphemism for "urban poverty and crime," from 1963.ETD inner (adj.).3

    innermost (adj.)

    mid-14c., from inner + -most. In the same sense innerest is from c. 1200. The older word is inmost. Innermore also existed in Middle English.ETD innermost (adj.).2

    innervate (v.)

    "stimulate through the nerves," 1870, a back-formation from innervation "sending of a stimulus through the nerves" (1828), which is perhaps modeled on French innervation; see in- (2) "in" + nerve (n.) + -ate. Related: Innervated. Earlier in English the same word (but from the other in-) meant "to lose feeling or sensation" (1848), and, as an adjective, "without feeling" (1737). Innervation in psychology is from 1880, translated from German Innervationsgefühl.ETD innervate (v.).2

    innie (n.)

    in reference to navels, by 1972, from in (adj.) + -ie.ETD innie (n.).2

    innkeeper (n.)

    1540s, from inn + keeper.ETD innkeeper (n.).2

    innocent (adj.)

    mid-14c., "doing no evil; free from sin, guilt, or moral wrong," from Old French inocent "harmless; not guilty; pure" (12c.), from Latin innocentem (nominative innocens) "not guilty, blameless; harmless; disinterested," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocentem (nominative nocens), present participle of nocere "to harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- (1) "death."ETD innocent (adj.).2

    Meaning "free from guilt of a specific crime or charge" is from late 14c., as is the meaning "with childlike simplicity or artlessness." Humorous sense "free, devoid of" is from 1706. The noun meaning "person who is innocent of sin or evil, artless or simple person" is from c. 1200, especially a young child (who presumably has not yet sinned actively). The Holy Innocents (early 14c.) were the young children slain by Herod after the birth of Jesus (Matthew ii.16), hence Innocents day (Dec. 28).ETD innocent (adj.).3

    Indo-European words for "innocent" are generally negative compound of the word for "guilty." An exception is the Germanic group represented by Gothic swikns (also "pure, chaste"), Old Norse sykn "free from guilt, innocent" (especially as a law term), Old English swicn "clearance from a charge," also "cleansing," but these are of uncertain origin.ETD innocent (adj.).4

    innocence (n.)

    mid-14c., "freedom from guilt or moral wrong," from Old French inocence "innocence; purity, chastity" (12c., Modern French innocence), from Latin innocentia "blamelessness, uprightness, integrity," from innocens "harmless; blameless; disinterested" (see innocent). Meaning "lacking in guile or artifice," as of childhood, is from late 14c. Meaning "freedom from legal wrong" is from 1550s.ETD innocence (n.).2

    innocently (adv.)

    c. 1400, from innocent (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD innocently (adv.).2

    innocense (n.)

    alternative spelling of innocence.ETD innocense (n.).2

    innocuous (adj.)

    "harmless, producing no ill effect, incapable of harm or mischief,"ETD innocuous (adj.).2

    1590s, from Latin innocuus "harmless; innocent; inoffensive," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocuus "hurtful," from root of nocere "to injure, harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- (1) "death." Related: Innocuously; innocuousness.ETD innocuous (adj.).3

    innominable (adj.)

    "unnameable," late 14c., from Old French innominable, from Late Latin innominabilis "that cannot be named," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + *nominabilis, from Latin nominalis "pertaining to a name or names," from nomen (genitive nominis) "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). In jocular use, innominables = "trousers" (1827; see inexpressible).ETD innominable (adj.).2

    innovative (adj.)

    "tending to bring in something new; introducing or tending to introduce innovations; characterized by innovations," 1796 (with an isolated use from c. 1600); see innovate + -ive. Related: Innovatively; innovativeness.ETD innovative (adj.).2

    innovator (n.)

    "an introducer of changes," 1590s, from Late Latin innovator, agent noun from innovare "to change" (see innovate).ETD innovator (n.).2

    innovate (v.)

    1540s, "introduce as new" (transitive), from Latin innovatus, past participle of innovare "to renew, restore;" also "to change," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + novus "new" (see new). Intransitive meaning "bring in new things, alter established practices" is from 1590s. Related: Innovated; innovating.ETD innovate (v.).2

    innovation (n.)

    mid-15c., innovacion, "restoration, renewal," from Late Latin innovationem (nominative innovatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of innovare "to change; to renew," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + novus "new" (see new). Meaning "a novel change, experimental variation, new thing introduced in an established arrangement" is from 1540s.ETD innovation (n.).2

    innovatory (adj.)

    1802; see innovate (v.) + -ory.ETD innovatory (adj.).2

    innuendo (n.)

    "oblique hint, indiscreet suggestion," usually a deprecatory one, 1670s, from Latin innuendo "by meaning, pointing to," literally "giving a nod to," ablative of gerund of innuere "to mean, signify," literally "to nod to," from in- "at" (from PIE root *en "in") + nuere "to nod" (see numinous).ETD innuendo (n.).2

    Originally in English a legal phrase (1560s) from Medieval Latin, with the sense of "to wit," introducing an explanatory or parenthetical clause, it also introduced the derogatory meaning alleged in libel cases, which led to broader meaning. As a verb, from 1706.ETD innuendo (n.).3


    1765, from Inupiaq Eskimo inuit "the people," plural of inuk "man, person."ETD Innuit.2

    innumerable (adj.)

    mid-14c., from Latin innumerabilis "countless, immeasurable," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + numerabilis "able to be numbered," from numerare "to count, number," from numerus "a number" (see number (n.)). Related: Innumerability.ETD innumerable (adj.).2

    innumerate (adj.)

    "unacquainted with the basic principles of mathematics," 1959, based on illiterate, with Latin numerus "a number" (see number (n.)). Related: Innumeracy.ETD innumerate (adj.).2


    Greek sea-goddess, daughter of Cadmus and Hermione.ETD Ino.2


    word-ending in some English words from Spanish and Portuguese (albino, casino, etc.), the Spanish and Portuguese form of -ine (1), from Latin -inus/-inum.ETD -ino.2

    inobservant (adj.)

    "not taking notice, not quick or keen in observation, unobservant," 1660s, from Late Latin inobservantem (nominative inobservans) "inattentive, negligent," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Latin observans (see observance). Related: Inobservance (1610s).ETD inobservant (adj.).2

    inoculate (v.)

    mid-15c., "implant a bud into a plant," from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare "graft in, implant a bud or eye of one plant into another," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + oculus "bud," originally "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). Meaning "implant germs of a disease to produce immunity" is from inoculation, originally in reference to smallpox, after 1799, often used in sense of "to inoculate with a vaccine." Related: Inoculated; inoculating.ETD inoculate (v.).2

    inoculation (n.)

    mid-15c. in horticulture, "act or practice of grafting buds;" 1714 in pathology, "insertion of a form of a virus in order to prevent a more serious attack of it," from Latin inoculationem (nominative inoculatio) "an engrafting, budding," noun of action from past-participle stem of inoculare (see inoculate).ETD inoculation (n.).2

    inoffensive (adj.)

    "giving no offense, doing no harm, not causing disturbance, free from anything displeasing or disturbing," 1590s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + offensive (adj.). Related: Inoffensively; inoffensiveness.ETD inoffensive (adj.).2

    inofficious (adj.)

    c. 1600, "neglecting one's duty;" in law, "not in accord with one's moral duty," 1660s, from Medieval Latin inofficiosus "contrary to duty; harmful," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1) + Latin officiosus "dutiful, obliging" (see officious).ETD inofficious (adj.).2

    inoperative (adj.)

    "not working," 1630s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + operative (adj.).ETD inoperative (adj.).2

    inoperable (adj.)

    "incapable of being treated by surgical operation," 1856, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + operable.ETD inoperable (adj.).2

    inopportune (adj.)

    "inconvenient, unseasonable, unsuitable, inappropriate, unfit," 1530s, from Late Latin inopportunus "unfitting," from in- "not" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + opportunus "favorable, convenient" (see opportune). Rare or obsolete in 18c. Related: Inopportunely; inopportuneness; inopportunity.ETD inopportune (adj.).2

    inordinate (adj.)

    late 14c., "not ordered, lacking order or regularity," from Latin inordinatus "unordered, not arranged," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + ordinatus, past participle of ordinare "to set in order" (see order (n.)). Sense of "immoderate, excessive" is from notion of "not kept within orderly limits." Related: Inordinately; inordinateness.ETD inordinate (adj.).2

    inorganic (adj.)

    1727, "without the organized structure which characterizes living things," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + organic (adj.). Inorganical in this sense is from 1670s. Meaning "not arriving by natural growth" is recorded from 1862.ETD inorganic (adj.).2

    in-patient (n.)

    also inpatient, "person lodged and fed, as well as treated, at a hospital or infirmary," 1760, from in (adj.) + patient (n.). As an adjective by 1890.ETD in-patient (n.).2

    input (n.)

    1753, "a sum (of cash) put in, a sharing, contribution," from verbal phrase; see in (adv.) + put (v.). Meaning "energy supplied to a device or machine" is from 1902, later of electronic devices; computing sense of "data fed into a machine" is from 1948, though this is perhaps from the verb in the computing sense.ETD input (n.).2

    input (v.)

    late 14c., "put on, impose," from in (adv.) + put (v.). Modern sense "feed data into a machine" is from 1946, a new formation from the same elements.ETD input (v.).2

    inquest (n.)

    late 13c., enquest, an-queste "legal or judicial inquiry," especially one before a jury, from Old French enqueste "inquiry" (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin *inquaestia (source also of Italian inchiesta), from Latin inquisita (res) "(a thing) looked into; an inquiry," from fem. past participle of Latin inquirere "to seek after, search for" (see inquire). The form with in- prevailed from 18c.ETD inquest (n.).2

    inquiline (n.)

    1640s, "a lodger," from Latin inquilinus "an inhabitant of a place not his own," from *incolinus, from incola "an inhabitant," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + colere "inhabit, dwell" (see colony). Zoological sense of "animal living in the abode of another, a commensal" is from 1865.ETD inquiline (n.).2

    inquirer (n.)

    1560s, "one who inquires, a seeker, an investigator," agent noun from inquire.ETD inquirer (n.).2

    inquiring (adj.)

    "given to inquiry or investigation," 1590s, present-participle adjective from inquire (v.). Related: Inquiringly.ETD inquiring (adj.).2

    inquire (v.)

    c. 1300, enqueren, anqueren, "to ask (a question), ask about, ask for (specific information); learn or find out by asking, seek information or knowledge; to conduct a legal or official investigation (into an alleged offense)," from Old French enquerre "ask, inquire about" (Modern French enquérir) and directly from Medieval Latin inquerere, from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)), in place of classical Latin inquirere "seek after, search for, examine, scrutinize." The English word was respelled 14c. on the Latin model, but half-Latinized enquire persists. Related: Inquired; inquiring.ETD inquire (v.).2

    inquiry (n.)

    early 15c., enquery, "a judicial examination of facts to determine truth;" mid-15c. in general sense "attempt to learn something, act or fact of inquiring," probably an Anglo-French noun developed from enqueren "to inquire" (see inquire). Respelled from mid-16c. to conform to Latin.ETD inquiry (n.).2

    inquisition (n.)

    late 14c., "judicial investigation, act or process of inquiring," from Old French inquisicion "inquiry, investigation" (12c., Modern French inquisition), from Latin inquisitionem (nominative inquisitio) "a searching into, a seeking; legal examination, a seeking of grounds for accusation," noun of action from past participle stem of inquirere (see inquire).ETD inquisition (n.).2

    In Church history, inquisitors were appointed from 382 C.E. to root out heretics; the ecclesiastical court appointed 13c. by Innocent III to suppress heresy never operated in Britain. The English word began to be used in this sense (and with a capital initial letter) after c. 1500, and usually refers to the office's reorganization 1478-1483 in Spain, where it fell under the control of the state as what is commonly called the Spanish Inquisition, noted especially for its severity, secrecy, and the number of its victims.ETD inquisition (n.).3

    inquisitive (adj.)

    late 14c., from Old French inquisitif, from Late Latin inquisitivus "making inquiry," from Latin inquisit-, past participle stem of inquirere "seek after, search for; examine, investigate" (see inquire).ETD inquisitive (adj.).2

    Related: Inquisitively; inquisitiveness.ETD inquisitive (adj.).3

    inquisitor (n.)

    c. 1400, "an inspector, one who makes inquiries," from Anglo-French inquisitour, Old French inquisiteur, or directly from Latin inquisitor "searcher, examiner; a legal investigator, collector of evidence," agent noun from Latin inquirere (see inquire). As the title of an officer of the Inquisition, from 1540s. Related: Inquisitorial. Of the fem. forms, inquisitress (1727) is senior to inquisitrix (1825).ETD inquisitor (n.).2

    in re (prep.)

    "in the matter of, in the (legal) case of," c. 1600, probably from Duns Scotus; Latin, from re, ablative of res "property, goods; matter, thing, affair," from Proto-Italic *re-, from PIE *reh-i- "wealth, goods" (source also of Sanskrit rayi- "property, goods," Avestan raii-i- "wealth").ETD in re (prep.).2


    ecclesiastical inscription, it stands for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum ("Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews," John xix.19).ETD i.n.r.i..2


    1610s, from Japanese, from Chinese yin "seal" + lung "basket." The small ornamental baskets originally held seals, among other small items.ETD inro.2

    inroad (n.)

    1540s, "hostile incursion, raid, foray," from in- (2) "in;" second element is road (n.) in the obsolete sense of "riding;" related to raid (v.). Related: Inroads.ETD inroad (n.).2

    insalubrious (adj.)

    1630s, from Latin insalubris "unhealthy, unwholesome," or else a native formation from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + salubrious. Related: Insalubriety.ETD insalubrious (adj.).2

    insane (adj.)

    1550s, of persons, "mentally damaged," from Latin insanus "mad, insane, of unsound mind; outrageous, excessive, extravagant," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + sanus "well, healthy, sane" (see sane). In reference to actions, "irrational, evidencing madness," from 1842 in English. The noun meaning "insane person" is attested from 1786. For the notion of insanity as sickness, compare lunatic; and Italian pazzo "insane," originally a euphemism, from Latin patiens "suffering." German verrückt, literally past participle of verrücken "to displace," "applied to the brain as to a clock that is 'out of order' " [Buck].ETD insane (adj.).2

    insanity (n.)

    1580s, "state of being insane, seriously impaired state of mental functioning," from Latin insanitatem (nominative insanitas) "unhealthfulness, unsoundness, disease," noun of quality from insanus "mad, insane; outrageous, excessive" (see insane). Meaning "extreme folly" is from 1844. The Latin abstract noun was insania ""unsoundness of mind, madness, frenzy."ETD insanity (n.).2

    insatiable (adj.)

    "incapable of being satisfied or appeased; inordinately greedy," early 15c., insaciable, from Old French insaciable "ravenous" (15c., Modern French insatiable), or directly from Latin insatiabilis "not to be satisfied," from in- "not, opposite of" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + satiabilis, from satiare "fill full, satisfy," from satis "enough" (from PIE root *sa- "to satisfy"). Related: Insatiably; insatiableness.ETD insatiable (adj.).2

    insatiability (n.)

    1650s, from Late Latin insatiabilitas, from Latin insatiabilis "not to be satisfied" (see insatiable). Possibly via French insatiabilité (16c.).ETD insatiability (n.).2

    insatiate (adj.)

    "not to be satisfied," mid-15c., insaciate, from Latin insatiatus "unsatisfied," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + satiatus, past participle of satiare "to fill, satisfy" (see satiate).ETD insatiate (adj.).2

    inscribe (v.)

    1550s, "to write on or in" (something durable and conspicuous), from Latin inscribere "to write on or in (something)," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). Meaning "to dedicate (by means of an inscription)" is from 1640s. Form inscriven is from late 14c. Related: Inscribed; inscribing.ETD inscribe (v.).2

    inscription (n.)

    late 14c., from Latin inscriptionem (nominative inscriptio) "a writing upon, inscription," noun of action from past-participle stem of inscribere "inscribe, to write on or in (something)," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). Related: Inscriptional.ETD inscription (n.).2

    inscrutability (n.)

    1650s, from inscrutable + -ity.ETD inscrutability (n.).2

    inscrutable (adj.)

    "that cannot be discovered by searching, mysterious," c. 1500, from Late Latin inscrutabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + *scrutabilis, from scrutari "examine, ransack" (see scrutiny). Related: Inscrutably; inscrutableness.ETD inscrutable (adj.).2

    insect (n.)

    c. 1600, from Latin (animal) insectum "(animal) with a notched or divided body," literally "cut into," noun use of neuter past participle of insectare "to cut into, to cut up," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + secare "to cut" (from PIE root *sek- "to cut"). The Latin word is Pliny's loan-translation of Greek entomon "insect" (see entomology), which was Aristotle's term for this class of life, in reference to their "notched" bodies.ETD insect (n.).2

    First in English in 1601 in Holland's translation of Pliny. In zoology, in reference to a class of animals, 1753. Translations of Aristotle's term also form the usual word for "insect" in Welsh (trychfil, from trychu "cut" + mil "animal"), Serbo-Croatian (zareznik, from rezati "cut"), Russian (nasekomoe, from sekat "cut"), etc. Insectarian "one who eats insects" is attested from 1893.ETD insect (n.).3

    Among the adjectival forms that have been tried in English (and mostly rejected by disuse) are insectile (1620s), insectic (1767), insective (1834), insectual (1849), insectine (1853), insecty (1859), insectan (1888).ETD insect (n.).4

    insectarium (n.)

    1872, from insect + -arium, abstracted from aquarium, etc.ETD insectarium (n.).2

    insecticide (n.)

    "substance which kills insects," 1866 (from 1865 as an adjective), from insect + -cide "killing." Earlier as a type of machine (1856). Related: Insecticidal (1857).ETD insecticide (n.).2

    insectivore (n.)

    1863, from French insectivore (1817), from Latin insectivorus, from combining form of insectum (see insect) + vorare "devour, swallow" (from PIE root *gwora- "food, devouring").ETD insectivore (n.).2

    Larger font
    Smaller font