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    odd (adj.) — ogress (n.)

    odd (adj.)

    c. 1300, odde, "constituting a unit in excess of an even number," from Old Norse oddi "third or additional number," as in odda-maðr "third man, odd man (who gives the casting vote)," odda-tala "odd number." The literal meaning of Old Norse oddi is "point of land, angle" (related via notion of "triangle" to oddr "point of a weapon"); from Proto-Germanic *uzdaz "pointed upward" (source also of Old English ord "point of a weapon, spear, source, beginning," Old Frisian ord "point, place," Dutch oord "place, region," Old High German ort "point, angle," German Ort "place"), from PIE *uzdho- (source also of Lithuanian us-nis "thistle"). None of the other languages, however, shows the Old Norse development from "point" to "third number." Used from late 14c. to indicate a surplus over any given sum.ETD odd (adj.).2

    Sense of "strange, peculiar" first attested 1580s from notion of "odd one out, unpaired one of three" (attested earlier, c. 1400, as "singular" in a positive sense of "renowned, rare, choice"). An odd job "casual, disconnected piece of work" (1728) is so called from notion of "not regular." Odd lot "incomplete or random set" is from 1897. The international order of Odd Fellows began as local social clubs in England, late 18c., with Masonic-type trappings; formally organized 1813 in Manchester, England.ETD odd (adj.).3

    oddball (n.)

    "eccentric or unconventional person," 1948, American English colloquial, from odd + ball (n.1). Earlier (1946) as an adjective, used by aviators. The phrase appears earlier in descriptions of modified pin-ball type games (1937) as an extra ball to be played as a bonus.ETD oddball (n.).2

    oddity (n.)

    1713, "odd characteristic or trait," a hybrid from odd + -ity. Meaning "odd person" is recorded by 1748; that of "something old or peculiar" is by 1834.ETD oddity (n.).2

    odditorium (n.)

    "shop that sells oddities," 1914, from oddity + -orium (see -ory).ETD odditorium (n.).2

    oddly (adv.)

    late 14c., "remarkably, exquisitely, extremely, very; completely," from odd + -ly (2). Meaning "strangely, in an odd manner" is from c. 1600.ETD oddly (adv.).2

    oddments (n.)

    "odd articles or remnants, things not reckoned or included, articles belonging to broken or incomplete sets," 1780, a hybrid with a Latin suffix on a Germanic word, from odd (q.v.), on model of fragments. Related: Oddment.ETD oddments (n.).2

    odeon (n.)

    1902, in the classical sense, from Greek ōideion "building for musical performance," from Greek ōidē "song, ode" (see ode). The chain of lavish cinema theaters operated under that name by 1930 (the name had been used earlier for cinema theaters in France and Italy).ETD odeon (n.).2

    odeum (n.)

    "classical concert hall," c. 1600, from Latin odeum, from Greek ōdeion, the name of a public building in Athens designed for musical performances, from ōidē "song" (see ode).ETD odeum (n.).2

    odiferous (adj.)

    c. 1500, odeferus, "fragrant," a shortened variant of odoriferous. Related: Odiferously; odiferousness.ETD odiferous (adj.).2


    chief Teutonic god, the All-Father, a 19c. revival in reference to Scandinavian neo-paganism, from Danish, from Old Norse Oðinn, from Proto-Germanic *Wodanaz, name of the chief Germanic god (source of Old English Woden, Old High German Wuotan), from PIE *wod-eno-, *wod-ono- "raging, mad, inspired." Related: Odinism (1796 in reference to the ancient religion; by 1855 in reference to a modern Germanic revival).ETD Odin.2

    odious (adj.)

    late 14c., "hateful, deserving of hatred; hated, regarded with aversion or repugnance," from Anglo-French odious, from Old French odieus (late 14c., Modern French odieux) or directly from Latin odiosus "hateful, offensive, unpleasant," from odium "hatred" (see odium). Related: Odiously; odiousness.ETD odious (adj.).2

    odium (n.)

    c. 1600, "fact of being hated," from Latin odium "ill-will, hatred, grudge, animosity; offense, offensive conduct," related to odi "I hate" (infinitive odisse), from PIE *eod-io- "hatred" (source also of Greek odyssasthai "to be angry, be grieved, grumble," Armenian ateam "I hate," Old Norse atall, Old English atol "evil, dire, horrid, loathsome"). Meaning "hatred, detestation" is from 1650s. Often in an extended form, such as odium theologicum "hatred which is proverbially characteristic of theological disputes" (1670s).ETD odium (n.).2

    odometer (n.)

    "instrument used for measuring the distance passed over by any wheeled vehicle," 1791, from French odomètre (1724), from Greek hodos "a way, path, track, road," a word of uncertain origin (see Exodus), + -meter. First recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson.ETD odometer (n.).2

    odor (n.)

    c. 1300, "sweet smell, scent, fragrance," from Anglo-French odour, from Old French odor "smell, perfume, fragrance" (12c., Modern French odeur) and directly from Latin odor "a smell, a scent" (pleasant or disagreeable), from PIE root *hed- "to smell" (source also of Latin olere "emit a smell, to smell of," with Sabine -l- for -d-; Greek ozein "to smell," odmē "odor, scent;" Armenian hotim "I smell;" Lithuanian uodžiu, uosti "to smell, sniff;" Old Czech jadati "to investigate, explore").ETD odor (n.).2

    Neutral sense of "smell as an inherent property of matter; scent or fragrance whether pleasant or not" is from late 14c. "[W]hen used without a qualifying adjunct, the word usually denotes an agreeable smell" [Century Dictionary, 1895]. Good or bad odor, in reference to repute or esteem, is from 1835. Odor of sanctity (1756) is from French odeur de sainteté (17c.) "sweet or balsamic scent said to be exhaled by the bodies of eminent saints at death or upon disinterment." In Middle English odor also had a figurative sense of "spiritual fragrance of Christ's sacrifice."ETD odor (n.).3

    odorous (adj.)

    "fragrant, emitting a smell or scent," early 15c., from Medieval Latin odorosus, from Latin odorus "having a smell," from odor "a smell, a scent" (see odor). Related: Odorously; odorousness.ETD odorous (adj.).2

    odoriferous (adj.)

    early 15c., "that has a scent," with -ous + Latin odorifer "spreading odor, fragrant," literally "bearing odor," from odor "a smell, a scent" (see odor) + ferre "to bear, carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children." Usually in a positive sense.ETD odoriferous (adj.).2

    odour (n.)

    chiefly British English spelling of odor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.ETD odour (n.).2

    odyssey (n.)

    c. 1600, "Odyssey," title given to one of the two great epic poems of ancient Greece, from Latin Odyssea, from Greek Odysseia, the ancient name of the Homeric poem telling tales of the ten-year wanderings of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, seeking home after the fall of Troy. Figurative sense of "long, adventurous journey" is recorded by 1889.ETD odyssey (n.).2


    king of Ithaca at the time of the Trojan War, son of Laertes and Anticleia, from Greek Odysseus, a name of unknown origin. Epic poets connected it with odyssasthai "to be angry, be grieved, grumble," but this now is regarded as folk-etymology. Beekes writes that "the name is typically Pre-Greek ... on account of the many variants." Among them are several by-forms with -l-: Olysseus, Olytteus, Oulixeus, etc., hence Latin Ulysses, Ulixes.ETD Odysseus.2


    a digraph written also as a ligature (œ) found in Latin words and Greek borrowings into Latin, representing Greek -oi-. Words with -oe- that came early into English from Old French or Medieval Latin usually already had been leveled to -e- (economic, penal, cemetery), but later borrowings directly from Latin or Greek tended to retain it at first (oestrus, diarrhoea, amoeba) as did proper names (Oedipus, Phoebe, Phoenix) and purely technical terms. British English tends to be more conservative with it than American, which has done away with it in all but a few instances.ETD oe.2

    It also occurred in some native Latin words (foedus "treaty, league," foetere "to stink," hence occasionally in English foetid, foederal, which last was the form in the original publications of the "Federalist" papers). In these it represents an ancient -oi- in Old Latin (for example Old Latin oino, Classical Latin unus), which apparently passed through an -oe- form before being leveled out but was preserved into Classical Latin in certain words, especially those belonging to the realms of law (such as foedus) and religion. These language demesnes, along with the vocabulary of sailors, are the most conservative branches of any language in any time, through a need for precision and immediate comprehension, demonstration of learning, or superstitious dread. But in foetus it was an unetymological spelling in Latin that was picked up in English and formed the predominant spelling of fetus into the early 20c.ETD oe.3

    The digraph in English also can represent a modified vowel, a mutation or umlaut of -o- in German or Scandinavian words (such as Goethe) and a similar vowel in French words (e.g. oeil "eye," from Latin oculus).ETD oe.4

    Oedipal (adj.)

    1939, "of or pertaining to desire felt for the opposite-sex parent," from Oedipus complex (1910), coined by Freud from Sophocles' play "Oedipus Tyrannus," in which the title character, the Theban hero, answers the Sphinx's riddle and unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother; from Greek Oidipous (see Oedipus). The name was used figuratively in English from 1550s for "one who is clever at guessing riddles," which had adjectival form Oedipean (1620s).ETD Oedipal (adj.).2


    son of Laius and Jocasta, the king and queen of Thebes, from Greek Oidipous, literally "swollen-foot," from oidan "to swell" (from PIE *oid-; see edema) + pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." Shelley titled his play based on Sophocles' work "Swellfoot the Tyrant." Oedipus complex (1910) was coined by Freud. In Latin, figurative references to Oedipus generally referred to solving riddles. Oedipus effect (1957) is Karl Popper's term for "the self-fulfilling nature of prophecies or predictions."ETD Oedipus.2

    oeillade (n.)

    "an oogling stare, an amorous gaze," 1590s, from French oeillide (15c.), from oeil "eye" (from Latin oculus, from PIE root *okw- "to see") + -ade.ETD oeillade (n.).2


    also oino-, word-forming element meaning "pertaining to wine," from Greek oinos "wine" (see wine (n.)).ETD oeno-.2

    oenology (n.)

    "the science of wines, the study of the nature, qualities, and varieties of wine," 1781, from oeno- "wine" + -logy. Related: Oenological; oenologist.ETD oenology (n.).2

    oenophile (n.)

    "a lover of wine," 1930 (as an adjective 1900), probably from French oenophile, from Greek oinos "wine" (see wine (n.)) + -phile. Earlier noun in English was oenophilist (by 1889).ETD oenophile (n.).2


    poetic contraction of over.ETD o'er.2

    oesophagus (n.)

    alternative spelling of esophagus. See oe. Related: Oesophageal.ETD oesophagus (n.).2

    oestrogen (n.)

    see estrogen.ETD oestrogen (n.).2

    oestrus (n.)

    see estrus.ETD oestrus (n.).2

    oeuvre (n.)

    "a work," especially a work of music or literature, also "the body of work produced by an artist," 1875, from French oeuvre "work" (12c.), from Latin opera "work, effort" (from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance.").ETD oeuvre (n.).2

    offing (n.)

    "the more distant part of the open sea as seen from the shore," 1620s, a nautical term, from off (q.v.) + noun suffix -ing (1). Outside sea-jargon, it survives in the phrase in the offing (1779) which originally meant "in the distant future;" the modern sense of "impending" developed by 1914.ETD offing (n.).2


    assimilated form of ob- before -f-.ETD of-.2

    of (prep.)

    Old English of, unstressed form of æf (prep., adv.) "away, away from," from Proto-Germanic *af (source also of Old Norse af, Old Frisian af, of "of," Dutch af "off, down," German ab "off, from, down"), from PIE root *apo- "off, away." Compare off (prep.).ETD of (prep.).2

    The primary sense in Old English still was "away," but it shifted in Middle English with use of the word to translate Latin de, ex, and especially Old French de, which had come to be the substitute for the genitive case. "Of shares with another word of the same length, as, the evil glory of being accessory to more crimes against grammar than any other." [Fowler]ETD of (prep.).3

    Also by 1837 of in print could be a non-standard or dialectal representation of have as pronounced in unstressed positions (could of, must of, etc.)ETD of (prep.).4

    ofay (n.)

    African-American vernacular, "white person," 1925, of unknown origin. If, as is sometimes claimed, it derives from an African word, none corresponding to it has been found. Perhaps the most plausible speculation is Yoruba ófé "to disappear" (as from a powerful enemy), with the sense transferred from the word of self-protection to the source of the threat. OED regards the main alternative theory, that it is pig Latin for foe, to be no more than an "implausible guess." Sometimes shortened to fay (1927).ETD ofay (n.).2

    off (prep., adv.)

    by c. 1200 as an emphatic form of Old English of (see of), employed in the adverbial use of that word. The prepositional meaning "away from" and the adjectival sense of "farther" were not firmly fixed in this variant until 17c., but once they were they left the original of with the transferred and weakened senses of the word. Meaning "not working" is from 1861.ETD off (prep., adv.).2

    Off the cuff "extemporaneously, without preparation" (1938) is from the notion of speaking from notes written in haste on one's shirt cuffs. In reference to clothing, off the rack (adj.) "not tailored, not made to individual requirements, ready-made" is by 1963, on the notion of buying it from the rack of a clothing store; off the record "not to be publicly disclosed" is from 1933; off the wall "crazy" is 1968, probably from the notion of a lunatic "bouncing off the walls" or else in reference to carom shots in squash, handball, etc.ETD off (prep., adv.).3

    off (v.)

    "to kill," 1930, from off (adv.). Earlier verbal senses were "to defer" (1640s), "to move off" (1882). Related: Offed.ETD off (v.).2

    offal (n.)

    late 14c., "waste parts, refuse," especially the waste meat and entrails of a bird or animal used as food, from off (prep.) + fall (v.). The notion is "that which is allowed to 'fall off' the butcher's block as being of little use. Compare Middle Dutch afval, German abfall "waste, rubbish." Also compare English offcorn (mid-14c.) "refuse left after winnowing grain," offcast (late 14c.) "parts of plants normally uneaten." As verbs, Middle English had offhew, offhurl, offshred, offsmite.ETD offal (n.).2

    off-and-on (adv.)

    "intermittently, occasionally," 1530s; see off (adv.) + on. As an adjective, "occasional," from 1580s.ETD off-and-on (adv.).2

    off-base (adv.)

    "unawares," by 1936, American English, from off (adv.) + base (n.); a figurative extension from baseball sense of a runner being "not in the right position" (1882) and vulnerable to being picked off.ETD off-base (adv.).2

    offbeat (adj.)

    also off-beat, "unusual," 1938, from off (adv.) + beat (n.). From earlier sense in reference to the second and fourth beats in a four-beat music rhythm (1927), where the stress typically fell on the first and third. Compare upbeat.ETD offbeat (adj.).2

    off-Broadway (adj.)

    1953 in reference to experimental theater productions in New York City, from off (prep.) + Broadway. Even more experimental off-off-Broadway is attested by 1958.ETD off-Broadway (adj.).2

    off-camera (adv.)

    "outside the range of a film or television camera," 1944, from off (prep.) + camera.ETD off-camera (adv.).2

    off-chance (n.)

    "a remote chance," 1861, from off (prep.) + chance (n.).ETD off-chance (n.).2

    off-color (adj.)

    1858, "defective or inferior because not of a natural or proper color," from off (prep.) + color (n.); originally used of gems; figurative extension to "not of the proper character, of questionable taste, risqué" is American English, 1867.ETD off-color (adj.).2

    off-colour (adj.)

    see off-color.ETD off-colour (adj.).2

    off-duty (adj.)

    "not employed or occupied with one's normal work," 1743, from off (prep.) + duty.ETD off-duty (adj.).2

    offence (n.)

    see offense.ETD offence (n.).2

    offend (v.)

    early 14c., offenden, "to disobey or sin against (a person, human or divine)," a sense now obsolete, from Old French ofendre "hit, attack, injure; sin against; antagonize, excite to anger" and directly from Latin offendere "to hit, thrust, or strike against," figuratively "to stumble, commit a fault, displease, trespass against, provoke," from assimilated form of ob "in front of against" (see ob-) + -fendere "to strike" (found only in compounds; see defend).ETD offend (v.).2

    Meaning "to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime" is from late 14c. Meaning "to wound the feelings of, displease, give displeasure to, excite personal annoyance or resentment in" is from late 14c. The literal sense of "to attack, assail" (late 14c.) is obsolete, but it is somewhat preserved in offense and offensive. Related: Offended; offending; offendedness.ETD offend (v.).3

    offender (n.)

    early 15c., offendour, "a lawbreaker; a sinner," agent noun from offend (v.). Earlier was offendour (early 15c.), from Anglo-French.ETD offender (n.).2

    offense (n.)

    late 14c., "hurt, harm, injury, pain;" also "breach of the law, wrongdoing; transgression against God, sin;" also "the causing of displeasure, act or fact of wounding the feelings of or displeasing another;" also "displeasure, annoyance, umbrage," from Old French ofense "offense, insult, wrong" (13c.) and directly from Latin offensa "an offense, injury, affront, crime," literally "a striking against," noun use of fem. past participle of offendere (see offend).ETD offense (n.).2

    Meaning "action of attacking" is from c. 1400. Sporting sense of "the team on the attack, at bat, with the ball," etc. is by 1894.ETD offense (n.).3

    offensive (n.)

    1720, the offensive, "condition of attacking, an aggressive action or course," from offensive (adj.). Military sense of "forceful action toward a particular end" is by 1918, from World War I.ETD offensive (n.).2

    offensive (adj.)

    1540s, "used in attack, attacking;" 1570s, "insulting, causing or giving displeasure," from French offensif (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin offensivus, from Latin offens-, past-participle stem of offendere "offend" (see offend). Sense of "disgusting, disagreeable" (of odors, taste, etc.) is from 1590s. Related: Offensively; offensiveness.ETD offensive (adj.).2

    offer (v.)

    Middle English offeren, from Old English ofrian "to bring or put forward, to make a presentation, to show, exhibit;" also "to sacrifice, present something solemnly or worshipfully as a religious sacrifice, bring an oblation," from Latin offerre "to present, bestow, bring before" (in Late Latin "to present in worship"), from assimilated form of ob "to" (see ob-) + ferre "to bring, to carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."ETD offer (v.).2

    From early 15c. as "to present (something) for acceptance or rejection." From 1530s as "to attempt to do." Commercial sense of "to expose for sale" is from 1630s. The Latin word was borrowed widely in Germanic languages in the religious sense via Christianity: Old Frisian offria, Middle Dutch offeren, Old Norse offra. The non-religious senses in English were from or reinforced by sense of Old French offrir "to offer," which is from Latin offerre. Related: Offered; offering.ETD offer (v.).3

    offering (n.)

    Middle English offring, from late Old English offrung "the presenting of something to a deity; a thing so presented," verbal noun from offrian "to show, exhibit; to bring an oblation" (see offer (v.)). Of presentations to a person, from mid-15c.; to the public (entertainment, a publication, items for sale, etc.), from 1834.ETD offering (n.).2

    offer (n.)

    early 15c., offre, "a proposal presented for acceptance or rejection," from Old French ofre "act of offering; offer, proposition" (12c.), verbal noun from offrir "to offer," from Latin offerre "to present, bestow, bring before" (see offer (v.)). The native noun formation is offering. Meaning "act of proposing a price to obtain or do something" is from 1540s.ETD offer (n.).2

    offertory (n.)

    mid-14c., offertorie, "antiphon said or sung after the Credo during the part of a Mass at which offerings are made," from Medieval Latin offertorium "place where offerings are brought," from Vulgar Latin offertus, corresponding to Latin oblatus, past participle of offerre (see offer (v.)). Meaning "part of a religious service beginning with an offering" is first recorded 1530s; sense of "the collection of money received as offerings" is from 1862. Related: Offertorial.ETD offertory (n.).2

    off-hand (adv.)

    also offhand, 1690s, "at once, straightway," from off (prep.) + hand (n.). Probably originally in reference to shooting "from the hand," without a rest or support. Hence, of speech or action, "without deliberation, unpremeditated" (1719). Related: Off-handed; off-handedly.ETD off-hand (adv.).2

    office (n.)

    mid-13c., "a post in government or administration, an employment to which certain duties are attached, secular position of authority or responsibility," from Anglo-French and Old French ofice "place or function; divine service" (12c. in Old French) and directly from Latin officium "a service, kindness, favor; an obligatory service, official duty, function, business; ceremonial observance" (in Medieval Latin, "church service").ETD office (n.).2

    The Latin word was contracted from opificium, literally "work-doing," from ops (genitive opis) "power, might, abundance, means" (related to opus "work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance") + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD office (n.).3

    Of ecclesiastical positions from late 14c. From c. 1300 as "official employment" in general, also "ecclesiastical service or mass; the prescribed order and form of church services." Meaning "building or room for conducting business" is from late 14c. Meaning "a government or civic department" is from mid-15c. From 1727 as "a privy."ETD office (n.).4

    Office hours "hours of work in an office" is attested from 1841. Office furniture, the type used or commonly found in offices, is by 1839. The political office-holder is by 1818. Office-party, one held for the members of a staff, is by 1950. Middle English had office of life "state of being alive" (late 14c.), translating Latin vite officio.ETD office (n.).5

    officer (n.)

    early 14c., "one who holds an official post, one entrusted with a responsibility or share of the management of some undertaking" (originally a high office), from Old French oficier "officer, official" (early 14c., Modern French officier), from Medieval Latin officiarius "an officer," from Latin officium "a service, a duty" (see office).ETD officer (n.).2

    In Middle English also "a servant, a retainer of a great household; an official at court" (late 14c.). From late 14c. as "a military retainer," but the modern military sense of "one who holds a commission in the army or navy" is from 1560s. Applied to petty officials of justice from 16c.; U.S. use in reference to policemen is from 1880s.ETD officer (n.).3

    The phrase officer and a gentleman in reference to one having the qualities of both is by 1762 and was standard language in British court-martial indictments ("behaviour infamous and scandalous such as is unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman").ETD officer (n.).4

    officeship (n.)

    early 15c., "performance of ecclesiastical duties," from office + -ship.ETD officeship (n.).2

    official (n.)

    early 14c., "minor ecclesiastical court officer" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French oficial "law officer; bishop's representative" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin officialis "attendant to a magistrate, public official," noun use of officialis (adj.) "of or belonging to duty, service, or office" (see official (adj.)). From mid-14c. as "a domestic retainer in a household;" the meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty, one holding a civil appointment" is recorded from 1550s.ETD official (n.).2

    official (adj.)

    late 14c., "performing a service" (a sense now obsolete); c. 1400, "required by duty," from Old French oficial "official; main, principal" (14c., Modern French officiel) and directly from Late Latin officialis "of or belonging to duty, service, or office," from Latin officium "service, kindness, favor; official duty, function, business; ceremonial observance," literally "work-doing," from ops (genitive opis) "power, might, abundance, means" (related to opus "work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance") + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD official (adj.).2

    Meaning "pertaining to an office or official position" is from c. 1600. That of "derived from the proper office or officer," hence "authorized," is by 1854.ETD official (adj.).3

    officiant (n.)

    "one who conducts a religious service, one who administers a sacrament," 1836, from noun use of Medieval Latin officiantem (nominative officians) "performing religious services," present participle of officiare "to perform religious services," from Latin officium "a service; an official duty; ceremonial observance" (in Medieval Latin, "church service"); see office.ETD officiant (n.).2

    officiate (v.)

    "to perform the duty of a priest," 1630s, from Medieval Latin officiatus, present participle of officiare "perform religious services," from Latin officium "a service" (in Medieval Latin, "church service"); see office. The earlier verb in English was simply office (mid-15c.). Related: Officiated; officiating.ETD officiate (v.).2

    officious (adj.)

    1560s, "zealous, attentive, eager to serve," from Latin officiosus "full of courtesy, dutiful, obliging," from officium "duty, service" (see office). Sense of "meddlesome, doing more than is asked or required" had emerged by 1600 (in officiously). An officious lie (1570s) is one told to do good to another person (from Latin mendacium officiosum or French mensonge officieux). Related: Officiousness.ETD officious (adj.).2

    officialdom (n.)

    "officials collectively or as a class," often disparaging, 1863, from official (n.) + -dom.ETD officialdom (n.).2

    officialese (n.)

    "the language of officialdom," 1881, from official + -ese. Usually disparaging.ETD officialese (n.).2

    officinal (adj.)

    of medicines, "kept in stock by a druggist," 1660s, from French officinal, from Medieval Latin officinalis, literally "of or belonging in an officina," a storeroom (of a monastery) for medicines and necessaries, in classical Latin "workshop, manufactory, laboratory," contraction of *opificina, from opifex (genitive opificis) "worker, workman, maker, doer" (from opus "work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance") + -fex, -ficis "maker, one who does," from facere "to do, make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Related: Officinally.ETD officinal (adj.).2

    off-key (adv.)

    by 1911, of music or singing, "not having the correct tone or pitch, out of tune," from off (prep.) + musical sense of key (n.1). Figurative sense "not in accordance with what is appropriate in the circumstances" is by 1943.ETD off-key (adv.).2

    off-limits (adj.)

    "forbidden, outside the limits within which a particular group or person must remain," by 1881, U.S. military academies jargon, from off (prep.) + limit (n.). Earlier (1857) it was applied to cadets, etc., who were in violation of the limitations on their movement and behavior.ETD off-limits (adj.).2

    off-line (adj.)

    1926, of railroads, "not done on a railway;" 1950, in computing, "not controlled by or connected to a computer or network;" from off (prep.) + line (n.).ETD off-line (adj.).2

    off-load (v.)

    "unload, relieve oneself of," 1850, from off (adv.) + load (v.). Originally South African, on the model of Dutch afladen.ETD off-load (v.).2

    off-peak (adj.)

    "that is not at the maximum," 1906, originally in reference to electrical systems, from off- (adj.) (see off (prep.)) + peak (n.).ETD off-peak (adj.).2

    off-putting (adj.)

    1570s, "procrastinating," from the verbal phrase; see off (adv.) + put (v.). Meaning "creating an unfavorable impression" is attested by 1894. To put off is attested from late 14c. as "defer, postpone, delay;" 1560s as "dismiss by an evasion;" 1610s as "divert from one's purpose." As a noun, put-off in the sense of "an excuse for evasion or delay" is attested from 1540s.ETD off-putting (adj.).2

    off-ramp (n.)

    "sloping one-way road leading off a main highway," 1954, from off- (adj.), from off (prep.), + ramp (n.).ETD off-ramp (n.).2

    off-rhyme (n.)

    "partial or near rhyme," 1938, from off (prep.) + rhyme (n.).ETD off-rhyme (n.).2

    off-road (adj.)

    "used, meant to be used, or taking place away from roads," 1949, from off- (adj.) (see off (prep.)) + road.ETD off-road (adj.).2

    off-scouring (n.)

    "rejected matter, that which is vile or despised," 1520s; literally "that which is scoured off;" from off (prep.) + verbal noun from scour (v.1) "cleanse by hard rubbing."ETD off-scouring (n.).2

    off-season (n.)

    1848, "a period when business is down," from off- (adj.) (see off (prep.)) + season (n.).ETD off-season (n.).2

    offset (n.)

    1550s, "act of setting off" (on a journey, etc.), from off + set (adj.). Meaning "something 'set off' against something else, a counterbalance" is from 1769; the verb in this sense is from 1792. As a type of printing, in which the inked impression is first made on a rubber roller then transferred to paper, it is recorded from 1906.ETD offset (n.).2

    offshoot (n.)

    1670s, in figurative sense, of family trees; 1801 in general sense of "a derivative;" 1814 in literal sense, in reference to plants. From off + shoot (n.).ETD offshoot (n.).2

    off-shore (adv., adj.)

    also offshore, 1720, "in a direction away from the shore," from off (prep.) + shore (n.). As an adjective in 19c., "carried on more than three miles from shore." American English use for "other than the U.S." is from 1948 and the Marshall Plan.ETD off-shore (adv., adj.).2

    offshoring (n.)

    in the economic sense, as a form of outsourcing, attested by 1988, from off-shore.ETD offshoring (n.).2

    offside (adj.)

    also off-side, offsides, "on the wrong side;" from off (prep.) + side (n.). From 1867 in various sporting senses, originally in English football, between the ball and the opponent's goal during play.ETD offside (adj.).2

    off-site (adj.)

    "occurring away from a site," 1956, from off (prep.) + site (n.).ETD off-site (adj.).2

    offspring (n.)

    Old English ofspring "children or young collectively, descendants," literally "those who spring off (someone)," from of "away, away from" (see off (prep.)) + springan "to spring" (see spring (v.)). Similar formation in Old Norse afspringr. The figurative sense "that which is produced by something" is recorded from c. 1600. In Middle English often oxspring, ospring. Spelled with one -f- (except by Orm) before c. 1500.ETD offspring (n.).2

    off-stage (adj.)

    also offstage, "occurring away from a (theatrical) stage," 1915, from off (prep.) + stage (n.).ETD off-stage (adj.).2

    off-street (adj.)

    1929, in reference to automobile parking, "not on a public street," from off (prep.) + street.ETD off-street (adj.).2

    off-target (adj.)

    "missing what was aimed at," 1947 (in reference to missiles), from off (prep.) + target (n.).ETD off-target (adj.).2

    offward (adv.)

    "in a direction or position away from (something)," c. 1600, from off (prep.) + -ward.ETD offward (adv.).2

    off-white (n.)

    "white with a tinge of gray or yellow;" as an adjective, "almost the same as white," 1927, from off (prep.) + white (n.).ETD off-white (n.).2

    oft (adv.)

    Old English oft "repeatedly, again and again, many times; frequently; under many circumstances," from Proto-Germanic *ufta- "frequently" (source also of Old Frisian ofta, Danish ofte, Old High German ofto, German oft, Old Norse opt, Gothic ufta "often"), a word of unknown origin, perhaps [Watkins] from a suffixed form of PIE root *upo "under."ETD oft (adv.).2

    Archaic or only poetic except in compounds (such as oft-told) and replaced by its derivative often. It also was an adjective in Middle English, "frequent, repeated." Related: Ofter; oftest.ETD oft (adv.).3

    often (adv.)

    "repeatedly, again and again, many times, under many circumstances," mid-13c., an extended form of oft, in Middle English typically before vowels and h-, probably by influence of its opposite, seldom (Middle English selden). In common use from 16c., replacing oft. Pronunciation "offen" recorded from 15c. Related: Oftener; oftenest.ETD often (adv.).2

    oftentimes (adv.)

    "many times, frequently," late 14c. as two words, early 15c. as one, an extended form of often, with adverbial genitive -s. Earlier was often-tide (mid-14c.); oft-times is from mid-14c. Middle English had also ofte-sithes, from Old English oft-siþas.ETD oftentimes (adv.).2

    ogee (n.)

    in architecture, "an S-shaped molding," 1670s, said to be from a corruption of French ogive "diagonal rib of a vault" of a type normal in 13c. French architecture, earlier augive, a word of unknown origin. According to Watkins, in part from Latin via "way, road" (see via). Related: ogival. Middle English had ogif (late 13c.) "a stone for the diagonal rib of a vault," from the French word and Medieval Latin ogiva.ETD ogee (n.).2

    ogham (n.)

    also ogam, name of an ancient Irish and Celtic form of writing using a 20-character alphabet, 1620s, from Irish ogham, from Old Irish ogam, said to be from name of its inventor, Ogma Mac Eladan. Tthis appears to be from Celtic *Ogmios, perhaps from PIE *hog-mo- "trajectory; furrow, track," thus metaphorically "incised line." The writing style looks like a series of cuts or incised lines. The inventor's name thus might be folk etymology. Lucian, writing in Greek, records Ogmios as the name of a Gaulish deity. The PIE word is perhaps also the source of Sanskrit ajma "course, road." Greek ogmos "a straight line," Related: Oghamic.ETD ogham (n.).2

    ogle (v.)

    "to view with amorous glances or with a design to attract notice," 1680s, a cant word, probably from Low German oeglen, frequentative of oegen "look at," from oege "eye," from Proto-Germanic *augon-, from PIE root *okw- "to see." Related to Dutch ogen "to look at," from oog "eye." Related: Ogled; ogling. The noun meaning "an amorous glance" is attested from 1711; earlier it meant "an eye" (1700).ETD ogle (v.).2


    name of the chief branch of the Teton Sioux people, 1837, from Lakhota (Siouan) oglala "he scatters his own."ETD Oglala.2

    ogre (n.)

    "man-eating giant of fairy tales and popular legends," 1713, hogre (in a translation of a French version of the Arabian Nights), from French ogre, first used in Perrault's "Contes," 1697, and perhaps formed by him from a dialectal variant of Italian orco "demon, monster," from Latin Orcus "Hades," which is of unknown origin. In English, more literary than colloquial. The conjecture that it is from Byzantine Ogur "Hungarian" or some other version of that people's name (perhaps via confusion with the bloodthirsty Huns), lacks historical evidence. Related: Ogrish; ogreish; ogrishness; ogreishness.ETD ogre (n.).2

    ogress (n.)

    "a female ogre," 1713; see ogre + -ess.ETD ogress (n.).2

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