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    Michelson-Morley (adj.) — miffed (adj.)

    Michelson-Morley (adj.)

    in reference to the famous 1887 experiment which disproved the existence of scientific "ether," it is from the names of the physicists who conducted it, Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley.ETD Michelson-Morley (adj.).2


    a name originally applied to the lake, perhaps from Old Ojibwa (Algonquian) *meshi-gami "big lake." The spelling is French. Organized as a U.S. territory 1805, admitted as a state 1837.ETD Michigan.2

    Michigania also figures as one of the names proposed by committee in 1784 for states formed from the Northwest Territory, but it was situated in the heart of what is now Wisconsin; the peninsula that makes the bulk of modern Michigan under this long-forgotten proposal, attributed to Jefferson, was to have been called Cherronesus, with the lower part, modern Detroit and west, to be Metropotamia.ETD Michigan.3

    A resident is a Michiganian (1813); Michigander is attested by 1838, a humorous coinage based on gander, popularized nationally in reference to Lewis Cass of Michigan in the 1848 presidential campaign.ETD Michigan.4

    mick (n.)

    also Mick, derogatory slang for "an Irishman," by 1856, from the nickname form of the common Irish given name Michael (q.v.). Micky is attested in U.S. slang for "an Irish boy or man" by 1858.ETD mick (n.).2

    mickey (n.)

    short for Mickey Finn, 1938.ETD mickey (n.).2

    Mickey Finn

    "drink laced with chloral hydrate," by 1918. Mickey Finn was used from the 1880s as the name of the main character in a series of popular humorous Irish-American stories published by New York Sun staff writer Ernest Jarrold (1848-1912), who sometimes also used it as his pen-name. Perhaps there is a connection.ETD Mickey Finn.2

    Mickey Mouse

    cartoon mouse character created 1928 by U.S. animator Walt Disney (1901-1966). As an adjective meaning "small and worthless, petty, inconsequential" it was in use by 1951, perhaps from the popularity of the cheaply made Mickey Mouse wristwatch; it was used by 1935 in reference to mediocre dance-band music, based on the type of tunes played as background in cartoon films.ETD Mickey Mouse.2

    mickle (adj., n.)

    "great, large; much, abundant; a great deal," a dialectal survival of Old English micel, mycel "great, intense, big, long, much, many," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz (source also of Old Saxon mikil, Old Norse mikill, Old High German mihhil, Gothic mikils), from PIE root *meg- "great." Its main modern form is much (q.v.); the common Middle English form was muchel. The phonetic development of the dialectal survival is obscure and might reflect Old Norse influence. Related: Mickleness. Middle English had muchel-what (pron.) "many various things."ETD mickle (adj., n.).2


    Algonquian tribe of the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland, by 1776, from mi:kemaw, a native name said to mean literally "allies."ETD Micmac.2


    word-forming element meaning "small in size or extent, microscopic; magnifying;" in science indicating a unit one millionth of the unit it is prefixed to; from Latinized form of mikros, Attic form of Greek smikros "small, little, petty, trivial, slight," perhaps from PIE *smika, from root *smik- "small" (source also of Old High German smahi "littleness"), but Beekes thinks it a Pre-Greek word.ETD micro-.2

    microbe (n.)

    popular name for a bacterium or other extremely small living being, 1878, from French microbe, "badly coined ... by Sédillot" [Weekley] in 1878 from Latinized form of Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live"). Intended to mean literally "a small living being," the use of bios is incorrect, as in modern science generally (see bio-); in Greek the compound would mean "short-lived."ETD microbe (n.).2

    microbial (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to microbes," 1879, from Modern Latin microbion (see microbe) + -al (1).ETD microbial (adj.).2

    microbiology (n.)

    "the science of micro-organisms," 1880, coined in English from micro- + biology. Related: Microbiological.ETD microbiology (n.).2

    microbiologist (n.)

    "one who studies or is versed in the knowledge of microbes," 1882, from microbiology + -ist.ETD microbiologist (n.).2

    microcephalic (adj.)

    "small-headed, having an unusually small cranium," either as measured against a certain standard or through disease or faulty development, 1845, from French microcéphalique, from Modern Latin microcephalus, from Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + kephalē "head" (see cephalo-). Related: Microcephalism; microcephalous (1840); microcephaly (n.).ETD microcephalic (adj.).2

    microchip (n.)

    in computing, "integrated circuit," 1975, from micro- + chip (n.1) in the computing sense.ETD microchip (n.).2

    microcircuit (n.)

    also micro-circuit, in electronics, "integrated circuit," 1959, from micro- + circuit (n.). Related: Microcircuitry.ETD microcircuit (n.).2

    microclimate (n.)

    "climate of a very small or restricted area," 1918, from micro- + climate. Related: Microclimatology; microclimatological.ETD microclimate (n.).2

    microcomputer (n.)

    "small computer built around a single microprocessor," 1971, from micro- + computer. A name for what later generally would be called a personal or home computer.ETD microcomputer (n.).2

    microcosm (n.)

    late 12c., mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world" (applied metaphorically to the human frame by philosophers, hence a favorite word with medieval writers to signify "a man"), from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos).ETD microcosm (n.).2

    General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself, a little society" is attested from 1560s, perhaps from French microcosme. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c. 1600).ETD microcosm (n.).3

    And the Anglo-Saxon glossaries have læsse middaneard.ETD microcosm (n.).4

    microcosmic (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to a little world, of the nature of a microcosm," by 1816, from microcosm + -ic. Related: Microcosmical (1560s); microcosmal (1640s).ETD microcosmic (adj.).2

    microdot (n.)

    "tiny capsule of LSD," by 1971, from micro- + dot (n.). Earlier it was a term in espionage for an extremely reduced photograph that could be disguised as a period dot on a typewritten manuscript (by 1946).ETD microdot (n.).2

    microeconomics (n.)

    also micro-economics, "the branch of economics concerned with single factors and individual decisions," 1948, from micro- + economics. Related: Microeconomic (adj.).ETD microeconomics (n.).2

    microelectronics (n.)

    "branch of technology concerned with microcircuits," by 1958, from micro- + electronics.ETD microelectronics (n.).2

    microfiche (n.)

    "flat piece of film containing micrographs of the pages of a book, etc.," 1950, from French microfiche, from micro- + French fiche "slip of paper" (see fiche).ETD microfiche (n.).2

    microfilm (n.)

    "photographic film containing microphotographs of the pages of a book, etc.," 1927, coined from micro- + film (n.). The verb is by 1940, from the noun. Related: Microfilmed; microfilming.ETD microfilm (n.).2

    micrography (n.)

    1650s, "description of microscopic objects;" see micro- + -graphy. Related: Micrograph; micrographic; micrographist. From 1899 as "art of writing in very small letters." Also "abnormally small handwriting as a symptom of a nervous disorder."ETD micrography (n.).2

    microinstruction (n.)

    "computer instruction corresponding to one of the most elementary operations," 1959, from micro- + instruction.ETD microinstruction (n.).2

    micrology (n.)

    1650s, "hair splitting, exaggerated attention to petty things," from Latinized form of Greek mikrologia "pettiness, care for trifles," from mikros (see micro-) + -logia (see -logy). By 1849 as "the part of science devoted to microscopic investigation," a separate coinage from microscope. Related: Micrological.ETD micrology (n.).2

    micromanage (v.)

    "closely control and supervise the work of a subordinate, etc.; pay excessive attention to details in managing," by 1978, from micro- + manage (v.). Related: Micromanagement; micromanaged; micromanaging.ETD micromanage (v.).2

    micromania (n.)

    1879, "A form of mania in which the patient thinks himself, or some part of himself, to be reduced in size" ["Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences"], from Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + mania. Also used in reference to insane self-belittling (by 1899).ETD micromania (n.).2

    micrometer (n.)

    1660s, from micro- + -meter. Originally a telescope attachment for measuring small angular distances; from 1884 as a craftsman's tool for extreme accuracy in fine measurements. Related: Micrometry; micrometric.ETD micrometer (n.).2

    micron (n.)

    "one millionth of a meter," by 1883, coined in French from Greek mikron, neuter of mikros "small" (see micro-) and formally adopted Oct. 2, 1879, by the Comité International des Poids et Mesures. It was replaced 1968 by the micrometre.ETD micron (n.).2


    collective name for the islands and island groups in the western Pacific north of the equator, 1840, from Italian, literally "the region of small islands," Modern Latin, formed on model of Polynesia from micro- "small" (see micro-) + Greek nēsos "island" (see Chersonese). Related: Micronesian.ETD Micronesia.2

    micro-organism (n.)

    also microorganism, "a microscopic organism," 1855, from micro- + organism.ETD micro-organism (n.).2

    microphone (n.)

    1680s, "ear trumpet for the hard-of-hearing," coined from Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + phōnē "sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." The notion is "instrument for augmenting small sounds." Modern sense of "transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal" is by 1924 in radio broadcasting and movie recording, from the earlier sense "amplifying telephone transmitter" (1878). Of the two spellings of the short form of the word, mike (1924) is older than mic (1961). Related: Microphonic; microphony.ETD microphone (n.).2

    microprocessor (n.)

    "miniaturized processor capable of serving as the central processing unit of a computer," by 1970, from micro- + processor.ETD microprocessor (n.).2

    microscope (n.)

    "optical instrument which by means of a lens or lenses magnifies and renders visible minute objects or details of visible bodies," 1650s, from Modern Latin microscopium, literally "an instrument for viewing what is small;" see micro- + -scope. The dim southern constellation Microscopium was among those introduced by La Caille in 1752.ETD microscope (n.).2

    microscopic (adj.)

    1732, "pertaining to or functioning as a microscope;" see microscope + -ic. Meaning "of minute size" is from 1742. Related: Microscopical (1660s as "pertaining to a microscope"); microscopically.ETD microscopic (adj.).2

    microscopy (n.)

    "act or art of using a microscope; investigation with a microscope," 1660s, from microscope + -y (4).ETD microscopy (n.).2

    microsecond (n.)

    "one millionth of a second," by 1905, from micro- + second (n.).ETD microsecond (n.).2


    computer software company, founded 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.ETD Microsoft.2

    microspore (n.)

    a smaller-than-usual spore in a plant, or a type of fungus with small spores, 1856, from micro- + spore. Related: Microsporous; microsporidian.ETD microspore (n.).2

    microsurgery (n.)

    "surgery so delicate as to require the use of a microscope," 1912, from micro- + surgery. Related: Microsurgical.ETD microsurgery (n.).2

    microtia (n.)

    "abnormal smallness of the ear," 1881, Medical Latin, from micro- + Greek ous (genitive otos) "ear" (see ear (n.)) + abstract noun ending -ia.ETD microtia (n.).2

    microwave (n.)

    type of electromagnetic wave, 1931, coined in English from micro- + wave (n.). First record of microwave oven is from 1961 (micro-oven also was used); microwave as short for this is attested from 1974; as a verb, from 1976. For a verb, "Better Homes and Gardens: magazine tried micro-cook (1976).ETD microwave (n.).2

    microwavable (adj.)

    by 1982, from microwave + -able.ETD microwavable (adj.).2

    micturate (v.)

    "urinate," by 1835, from micturition; malformed and with an erroneous sense; condemned from its birth.ETD micturate (v.).2

    micturition (n.)

    1725, "the need very badly to urinate," from Latin micturitum, from past participle of micturire "to desire to urinate," desiderative of mingere "to urinate," from PIE root *meigh- "to urinate." As during the final 20 minutes of a 4-hour film after drinking a 32-ounce Mountain Dew from the snack bar and the movie ends with a drawn-out farewell scene while Frodo is standing on the pier and wavelets lap audibly on the dock the whole time as if the director was a sadist set on compounding your torment. Also used, incorrectly, for "act of urinating."ETD micturition (n.).2

    mid (adj.)

    "middle; being the middle part or midst; being between, intermediate," Old English mid, midd from Proto-Germanic *medja- (source also of Old Norse miðr, Old Saxon middi, Old Frisian midde, Middle Dutch mydde, Old High German mitti, German mitte, Gothic midjis "mid, middle"), from PIE root *medhyo- "middle."ETD mid (adj.).2

    By late Middle English probably felt as a prefix only, and now surviving in English only as a prefix (mid-air, midstream, etc.). Prefixed to months, seasons, etc. from late Old English. As a preposition, "in the middle of, amid" (c. 1400) it is from in midde or a shortened form of amid (compare midshipman) and sometimes is written 'mid.ETD mid (adj.).3

    mid (prep.)

    "with," a preposition formerly in common use but now entirely superseded by with (except in the compound midwife) from Old English mid "with, in conjunction with, in company with, together with, among, at the same time as," and in part from cognate Old Norse mið, from Proto-Germanic *medthi- (source also of Old Saxon mid, Old Frisian mith "together with, with the help of," Dutch met, Old High German and German mit, Danish med, Gothic miþ "with"), from PIE *meti-, suffixed form of root *me- "in the middle" (compare meta-).ETD mid (prep.).2


    ancient king of Phrygia, 1560s; the name is of Phrygian origin. He was given by the gods the gift of turning all he touched to gold, but as this included his food he had to beg them to take it back again. Hence Midas touch (1883). But the oldest references to him in English are to the unrelated story of the ass's ears given him by Apollo for being dull to the charms of his lyre.ETD Midas.2

    mid-afternoon (n.)

    "the middle of the afternoon," c. 1400, from mid (adj.) + afternoon. Earlier in the same sense was mid-overnoon (late 13c.).ETD mid-afternoon (n.).2

    mid-air (n.)

    also midair, "the part of the air between the clouds and the air near the ground," from mid (adj.) + air (n.1).ETD mid-air (n.).2

    mid-Atlantic (n.)

    by 1804, "the middle of the Atlantic Ocean," from mid (adj.) + Atlantic. In U.S. history, Mid-Atlantic states in reference to the middle states on the Atlantic coast is by 1842.ETD mid-Atlantic (n.).2


    "in the middle of one's course," 1560s, from mid (adj.) + course (n.).ETD mid-course.2

    midday (n.)

    also mid-day, "the middle of the day," from Old English middæg "midday, noon," contracted from midne dæg; see mid (adj.) + day. Similar formation in Old Frisian middei, Dutch middag, Old High German mittitag, German Mittag, Old Norse miðdagr. As an adjective, "of or pertaining to midday," from early 14c.ETD midday (n.).2

    midden (n.)

    mid-14c., midding, "dunghill, muck heap," a word of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish mødding, from møg "muck" (see muck (n.)) + dynge "heap of dung" (see dung). Modern archaeological sense of "prehistoric place for disposing of kitchen refuse, ashes, etc." is 19c., from Danish excavations.ETD midden (n.).2

    middy (n.)

    colloquial abbreviation of midshipman, by 1818. As "loose, long type of women's blouse," 1911, from resemblance to shirts worn by midshipmen.ETD middy (n.).2

    middling (adj.)

    "medium in rank, condition, or degree; intermediate," 1540s, from Middle English medlinge "intermediate between two things" (late 14c.), from middle (adj.) + present-participle suffix -ing (2). Used in trade to designate the second of three grades of goods. Hence "only medium, neither good nor bad" (1650s). As an adverb, "tolerably, passably," by 1719.ETD middling (adj.).2

    middle (adj.)

    Old English middel, "equally distant from extremes or limits; intermediate," from Proto-West Germanic *midla- (source also of Old Frisian middel, Old Saxon middil, Middle Low German, Dutch middel, Old High German mittil, German mittel), from Proto-Germanic *medj, from PIE root *medhyo- "middle."ETD middle (adj.).2

    Middle finger "the third finger" (counting the thumb as the first) so called from late Old English. Middle school is attested from 1838, originally "middle-class school, school for middle-class children;" the sense in reference to a school for grades between elementary and high school is from 1960. Middle management, the level below senior management, is by 1941.ETD middle (adj.).3

    Middle-of-the-road in the figurative sense is attested from 1894, originally political; edges of a dirt road can be washed out and thus are less safe, but the notion here probably is of the middle as "less exposed to ambush." Middle way in the figurative sense of "path of moderation" is from c. 1200. Middle ground as "place of moderation or compromise between extremes" is by 1961. Middle-sized "of medium size" is by 1620s.ETD middle (adj.).4

    In U.S. history, the Middle States (1784) were those between New England and the South (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware). Middle America for "the 'silent majority,' the generally conservative middle class regarded as a homogeneous group" is by 1968.ETD middle (adj.).5

    middle (n.)

    "point or part equally distant from the extremes, limits, or extremities," Old English middel, from middle (adj.). As "middle part of the human body" in Old English. From c. 1300 as "the second of three."ETD middle (n.).2

    Middle Ages (n.)

    "period between ancient and modern times" (formerly roughly 500-1500 C.E., now more usually 1000-1500), attested from 1610s, translating Latin medium aevum (compare German mittelalter, French moyen âge).ETD Middle Ages (n.).2

    middle age (n.)

    "period between youth and old age," formerly generally understood as 40 to 50, late 14c., from middle (adj.) + age (n.). The adjective middle-aged "having lived to the middle of the ordinary human lifespan, neither old nor young" is by c. 1600.ETD middle age (n.).2


    1911 (adj.) "having average or moderate cultural interest;" 1912 (n.) "person of average or moderate cultural interests," from middle (adj.) + brow (compare highbrow, lowbrow).ETD middlebrow.2

    middle class (n.)

    1766, in a British sense, "class of people socially intermediate between the aristocratic and the laboring classes, the community of untitled but well-bred or wealthy people," from middle (adj.) + class (n.). As an adjective, "pertaining to the middle class," by 1857, with reference to education. Nares reports menalty as an early word for "the middle class" (1540s).ETD middle class (n.).2

    Middle Earth (n.)

    "the earth regarded as placed midway between heaven and hell or the abode of the gods and the underworld," late 13c., from middle (adj.) + earth. Altered from earlier middel-erd (late 12c.), midden-erd, itself an alteration (by association with Middle English eard "dwelling") of Old English middangeard (see Midgard).ETD Middle Earth (n.).2

    Middle East (n.)

    1899; never defined in a generally accepted way. Early use with reference to British India; later often of everything between Egypt and Iran. Hence Middle-Eastern (1903).ETD Middle East (n.).2

    Middle English (n.)

    "the middle period in the history of the English language," 1830; see middle (adj.) + English (n.).ETD Middle English (n.).2

    The term comes from Jakob Grimm's division of Germanic languages into Old, Middle and New in "Deutsche Grammatik" (1819). But for English he retained Anglo-Saxon, then already established, for what we call Old English, and used Old English for what we call early Middle English. Thus his Mittelenglisch, and the Middle English of mid-19th century English writers, tends to refer to the period c. 1400 to c. 1550. The confusion was sorted out, and the modern terminology established (with Middle English for the language from c. 1100 to c. 1500), mostly in the 1870.ETD Middle English (n.).3

    middleman (n.)

    in the trading sense, "contractor, negotiator, broker," especially "one who buys merchandise in bulk and sells it in smaller quantities to retailers or other traders," 1795, from middle (adj.) + man (n.). From mid-15c. as the name of some type of workman in wire-making. From 1741 as "one who takes a middle course." In minstrel shows, "the man who sits in the middle of the semicircle of performers and leads the dialogue between songs," by 1870.ETD middleman (n.).2

    middlemost (adj.)

    early 14c., "being in or nearest the middle; being the middle one of three," from middle (adj.) + -most.ETD middlemost (adj.).2

    middle name (n.)

    "portion of a personal name between the given name and the surname," 1815, from middle (adj.) + name (n.). As "one's outstanding characteristic," colloquial, from 1911, American English.ETD middle name (n.).2

    middle passage (n.)

    "part of the Atlantic Ocean which lies between the West Indies and the west coast of Africa," 1788, in the agitation against the trans-Atlantic slave trade, from middle (adj.) + passage.ETD middle passage (n.).2


    literally "(land of the) Middle Saxons" (those between Essex and Wessex); originally a much larger region. See middle (adj.) + Saxon.ETD Middlesex.2


    "typical U.S. middle class community," 1929, from the title of a book published that year ("Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture") by New York sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd, based on information collected 1924-25 in Muncie, Indiana. The U.S. Geological Survey lists 40 towns by that name, not counting variant spellings; see middle (adj.) + town.ETD Middletown.2

    middleweight (n.)

    also middle-weight, "boxer or jockey of intermediate weight" (between a lightweight and a heavyweight), 1842, from middle (adj.) + weight (n.).ETD middleweight (n.).2

    Mideast (n.)

    "Middle East," attested from 1944 in reference to western Asia. Loosely defined (compare Middle East).ETD Mideast (n.).2

    midge (n.)

    a popular name for a tiny two-winged fly, applied indiscriminately to many small insects, Old English mygg, mycg "gnat," from Proto-Germanic *mugjon (source also of Swedish mygga, Old Saxon muggia, Middle Dutch mugghe, Dutch mug, Old High German mucka, German Mücke "midge, gnat"). No certain cognates beyond Germanic, unless doubtful Armenian mun "gnat" and Albanian mize "gnat" are counted. Watkins, Klein and others suggest an imitative root used for various humming insects and a relationship to Latin musca "fly" (see mosquito). Meaning "diminutive person" is from 1796.ETD midge (n.).2


    in Germanic cosmology, "the abode of the human race, the world inhabited by men" (opposed to Asgard, the abode of the gods), by 1770, from Old Norse miðgarðr, from mið "mid" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + Proto-Germanic *gardoz "enclosure, tract" (from PIE root *gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose;" compare yard (n.1)). The Old English cognate was middangeard, which later was folk-etymologized as Middle Earth.ETD Midgard.2

    midget (n.)

    as a type of tiny biting insect, 1839, American English, from midge, perhaps with diminutive suffix -et.ETD midget (n.).2

    Transferred sense of "very small person" is attested by 1854. It is also noted mid-19c. as a pet form of Margaret.ETD midget (n.).3


    "southern France," 1883, from French midi "south," literally "midday" (12c.), from mi "middle" (from Latin medius "middle;" see medial (adj.)) + di "day" (from Latin dies, from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine"). At midday in the northern hemisphere the sun is in the south of the sky. Compare Latin meridianus "of midday, of noon;" also "southerly, to the south" (see meridian), and Middle English mid-dai in its secondary sense "south, to the south" (late 14c.).ETD Midi.2

    midland (adj.)

    early 15c., mydlonde, "in the interior of a country," from mid (adj.) + land (n.). As a noun from 1550s; especially of the inland central part of England. The earlier noun form was middel lond (c. 1300). Related: Midlands.ETD midland (adj.).2

    midlife (n.)

    also mid-life, 1837, from mid (adj.) + life. Middle-life is from early 14c. Midlife crisis "transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals" is attested by 1965 (crisis of mid-life is by 1963).ETD midlife (n.).2

    midmost (adj.)

    "being in the very middle," Old English midmest; see mid (adj.) + -most.ETD midmost (adj.).2

    midnight (n.)

    "the middle of the night, 12 o'clock at night," Old English mid-niht, or middre niht (with dative of adjective). See mid (adj.) + night. Compare similar formation in Old High German mittinaht, German Mitternacht. Midnight oil symbolizing "late night work" is attested from 1630s.ETD midnight (n.).2

    midpoint (n.)

    "center," late 14c., from mid (adj.) + point (n.).ETD midpoint (n.).2

    Midrash (n.)

    "exposition or interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures," 1610s, from Hebrew (Semitic) midhrash, from darash "tread, frequent, seek, search, apply oneself to."ETD Midrash (n.).2

    midriff (n.)

    Old English midhrif "diaphragm of a human or animal," from mid "mid" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + hrif "belly," from Proto-Germanic *hrefin (source also of Old High German href, Old Frisian hrif, -rith, -rede "belly"). Compare Old Frisian midrede "diaphragm." Watkins has this from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance;" Boutkan has it from *sker- (1) "to cut."ETD midriff (n.).2

    More or less obsolete after 18c. except in phrase to tickle (one's) midriff "to cause laughter;" the word revived 1941 in fashion usage for "portion of a woman's garment that covers the belly," as a euphemistic avoidance of belly; sense inverted and extended 1970 to a belly-baring style of women's top.ETD midriff (n.).3

    midsection (n.)

    also mid-section, "middle of the human body, midriff, belly," by 1939, an advertiser's word, from mid (adj.) + section (n.).ETD midsection (n.).2

    midshipman (n.)

    naval officer, c. 1600, originally so called because he was stationed amidships when on duty (see amid). Midships as short for amidships is by 1620s. Midship as "the middle of a ship or boat" is from 1550s.ETD midshipman (n.).2

    midst (n.)

    "the middle; an interior or central part, point, or position," c. 1400, from Middle English middes (mid-14c.), from mid (adj.) + adverbial genitive -s. The unetymological -t is perhaps on model of superlatives (compare against).ETD midst (n.).2

    midstream (n.)

    also mid-stream, "the middle of the stream," Old English midstream; see mid (adj.) + stream (n.).ETD midstream (n.).2

    midsummer (n.)

    "the middle of summer, the period of the summer solstice," Old English midsumor, from mid (adj.) + sumor "summer" (see summer (n.1)). Midsummer Day, an English quarter-day, was June 24 (Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist). Astronomically, midsummer falls on June 21, but the event traditionally was reckoned in northern Europe on the night of June 23-24 (with summer beginning at the start of May). Midsummer night was an occasion of superstitious practices and wild festivities.ETD midsummer (n.).2

    midterm (adj.)

    also mid-term, "in the middle of a term" in any sense, from mid (adj.) + term (n.). By 1879 in reference to gestation; 1888 of college semesters (midterm examination is by 1900; student slang shortening midterms for these is by 1903). By 1891 in reference to U.S. congressional elections held in the middle of a four-year presidential term.ETD midterm (adj.).2

    midtown (n.)

    "the middle or central part of a town or city," by 1930, from mid (adj.) + town.ETD midtown (n.).2

    midway (n.)

    Old English mid-weg "the middle of a way or distance;" see mid (adj.) + way (n.). Meaning "central avenue of a fairground" is first recorded 1893, American English, in reference to the Midway Plaisance of the Worlds Columbian Exposition held that year in Chicago. The Pacific island group is so called for being midway between America and Asia. The great naval battle there was fought June 4-7, 1942. As an adverb from late Old English.ETD midway (n.).2

    Midwest (n.)

    1926 in the U.S. geographical sense, from earlier Midwestern (1889) in reference to a group of states originally listed as West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas; it now generally refers to states somewhat north and west of these (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Related: Midwesterner.ETD Midwest (n.).2

    midwife (n.)

    "a woman who assists women in childbirth," c. 1300, literally "woman who is 'with' " (the mother at birth), from Middle English mid "with" (see mid (prep.)) + wif "woman" (see wife). Cognate with German Beifrau.ETD midwife (n.).2

    midwifery (n.)

    "the practice of obstetrics," late 15c., mede-wifri, "the craft or service of a midwife;" a hybrid from midwife + -ery.ETD midwifery (n.).2

    midwinter (n.)

    also mid-winter, "the middle or depth of winter," Old English midwinter, also midde winter; see mid (adj.) + winter (n.). The middle of winter, traditionally the period around the winter solstice (Dec. 21, winter being reckoned from the first of November). As an adjective from mid-12c.ETD midwinter (n.).2

    mien (n.)

    "a person's facial expression," 1510s, probably a shortening of Middle English demean "bearing, demeanor" (see demeanor) and influenced by French mine "appearance, facial expression," which is of unknown origin, possibly Celtic (compare Breton min "beak, muzzle, nose," Irish men "mouth").ETD mien (n.).2

    miffed (adj.)

    "displeased, slightly offended," by 1824, past-participle adjective from miff (v.). Sir Walter Scott calls it "a women's phrase."ETD miffed (adj.).2

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