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    positively (adv.) — potation (n.)

    positively (adv.)

    mid-15c., "in a definite way, expressly," from positive (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "absolutely" is from 1777.ETD positively (adv.).2

    positive (n.)

    1520s, originally in grammar, from positive (adj.). Sense of "that which can be affirmed, reality" is from 1610s. Sense in photography (opposite of negative (n.)) is by 1853.ETD positive (n.).2

    posit (v.)

    "to assert, lay down as a position or principle," 1690s, from Latin positus "placed, situated, standing, planted," past participle of ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)). Earlier in a literal sense of "dispose, range, place in relation to other objects" (1640s). Related: Posited; positing.ETD posit (v.).2

    positive (adj.)

    early 14c., originally a legal term meaning "formally laid down, decreed or legislated by authority" (opposed to natural), from Old French positif (13c.) and directly from Latin positivus "settled by agreement, positive" (opposed to naturalis "natural"), from positus, past participle of ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)).ETD positive (adj.).2

    The sense of "absolute" is from mid-15c. Meaning in philosophy of "dealing only with facts" is from 1590s. Sense broadened to "expressed without qualification" (1590s), then, of persons, "confident in opinion" (1660s). The meaning "possessing definite characters of its own" is by 1610s. The mathematical use for "greater than zero" is by 1704. Psychological sense of "concentrating on what is constructive and good" is recorded from 1916. Positive thinking is attested from 1953. The sense in electricity is from 1755.ETD positive (adj.).3

    position (n.)

    late 14c., posicioun, as a term in logic and philosophy, "statement of belief, the laying down of a proposition or thesis," from Old French posicion "position, supposition" (Modern French position) and directly from Latin positionem (nominative positio) "act or fact of placing, situation, position, affirmation," noun of state from past-participle stem of ponere "put, place." Watkins tentatively identifies this as from PIE *po-s(i)nere, from *apo- "off, away" (see apo-) + *sinere "to leave, let" (see site). But de Vaan identifies it as from Proto-Italic *posine-, from PIE *tkine- "to build, live," from root *tkei- "to settle, dwell, be home" (see home (n.)).ETD position (n.).2

    The meaning "place occupied by a person or thing" especially a proper or appropriate place, is from 1540s; hence "status, standing, social rank" (1832); "official station, employment" (1890). The meaning "manner in which some physical thing is arranged or posed, aggregate of the spatial relations of a body or figure to other such bodies or figures" is recorded by 1703; specifically in reference to dance steps, 1778, to sexual intercourse, 1883. Military sense of "place occupied or to be occupied" is by 1781.ETD position (n.).3

    positiveness (n.)

    1670s, "undoubting assurance," from positive (adj.) + -ness.ETD positiveness (n.).2

    positivism (n.)

    1847, the philosophy, based on actual or absolute knowledge, of Auguste Comte (1798-1857), who published "Philosophie positive" in 1830; see positive (adj.) in the "just the facts" sense + -ism. A philosophy based on positive facts and observable phenomena and abandoning inquiry into causes or ultimate origins. Related: Positivist; Positivistic.ETD positivism (n.).2

    positron (n.)

    "anti-particle of the electron," 1933, coined from positive electron.ETD positron (n.).2

    posse (n.)

    1640s (in Anglo-Latin from early 14c.), shortening of posse comitatus "the force of the county" (1620s, in Anglo-Latin from late 13c.), from Medieval Latin posse "body of men; power," from Latin posse "have power, be able" (see potent) + comitatus "of the county," genitive of Late Latin word for "court palace" (see comitatus). General sense of "an armed force" is from 1640s; the modern slang meaning "small gang" probably is from Western movies.ETD posse (n.).2

    possessed (adj.)

    "controlled by an indwelling demon or evil spirit," 1530s, past-participle adjective from possess (v.). An Old English and Middle English phrase for it was devel seoc.ETD possessed (adj.).2

    possess (v.)

    late 14c., possessen, "to hold, occupy, inhabit" (without regard to ownership), a back formation from possession and in part from Old French possesser "to have and hold, take, be in possession of" (mid-13c.), from Latin possessus, past participle of possidere "to have and hold, hold in one's control, be master of, own," probably a compound of potis "having power, powerful, able" (from PIE root *poti- "powerful; lord") + sedere, from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit."ETD possess (v.).2

    According to Buck, Latin possidere was a legal term first used in connection with real estate. The meaning "to hold as property" in English is recorded from c. 1500. That of "to seize, take possession of" is from 1520s; the demonic sense of "have complete power or mastery over, control" is recorded from 1530s (implied in possessed); the weakened sense of "fascinate, enthrall, affect or influence intensely" is by 1590s. Related: Possessed; possessing. The other usual Latin verb for "to possess," tenere, originally was "to hold," then "occupy, possess" (see tenet).ETD possess (v.).3

    possession (n.)

    mid-14c., possessioun, "act or fact of holding, occupying, or owning; a taking possession, occupation," also "thing possessed, that which is possessed, material or landed property" (in plural, goods, lands, or rights owned), from Old French possession "fact of having and holding; what is possessed;" also "demonic possession," and directly from Latin possessionem (nominative possessio) "a seizing, possession," noun of action from past-participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess).ETD possession (n.).2

    The legal property sense is earliest; the demonic sense in English, "state of being under the control of evil spirits or of madness," first is recorded 1580s. Phrase possession is nine (or eleven) points of the law is out of a supposed 10 (or 12). With eleven from 1640s; with nine from 1690s.ETD possession (n.).3

    possessive (adj.)

    mid-15c., possessif, grammatical, "pertaining to or denoting possession," also as a noun, "pronoun or other word denoting possession," from Old French possessif (15c.) "relating to possession, possessive," and directly from Latin possessivus, from possess-, past participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess). From 1550s in general use. Related: Possessively; possessiveness. The possessive case is the genitive case.ETD possessive (adj.).2

    posset (n.)

    mid-15c. Originally a dish of milk curds and wine or ale; by 17c. it became a drink of thickened milk and wine, sack or ale (compare egg-nog.) Formerly much in favor as a luxury and as medicine. Posset-cup is from c. 1600.ETD posset (n.).2

    Etymology is obscure. Middle English Compendium speculates it may be a compound from an unattested Old French *posce, from Latin posca, "an acidulous drink of vinegar and water" + English hot.ETD posset (n.).3

    possibly (adv.)

    c. 1400, possibli, "by any existing power or means, in a possible manner," from possible (adj.) + -ly (2). By c. 1600 as "perhaps. perchance."ETD possibly (adv.).2

    possibility (n.)

    late 14c., "state, fact, or condition of being possible," from Old French possibilité (13c.) and directly from Latin possibilitatem (nominative possibilitas) "possibility," from possibilis (see possible (adj.)). Meaning "a possible thing or substance; that which may take place or come into being" is from c. 1400. Related: Possibilities.ETD possibility (n.).2

    possible (n.)

    "that which may take place or come into being," 1640s, from possible (adj.).ETD possible (n.).2

    possible (adj.)

    "that may be, capable of existing, occurring, or being done," mid-14c., from Old French possible and directly from Latin possibilis "that can be done," from posse "be able" (see potent).ETD possible (adj.).2


    1979, acronym from person of opposite sex sharing living quarters; it never was an official category.ETD POSSLQ.2

    possum (n.)

    American marsupial mammal, 1610s, shortened form of opossum (q.v.). It is nocturnal, omnivorous, and when caught or threatened with danger feigns death; hence the phrase play possum "feign death when threatened," attested by 1822.ETD possum (n.).2

    post (n.3)

    [mail system] c. 1500, "riders and horses posted at intervals," to provide direct and rapid communication of messages and letters from one place to another by relays, from post (n.2) on notion of riders and horses "posted" at intervals along a route. Probably formed on model of French poste in this sense (late 15c.).ETD post (n.3).2

    The meaning "system for the conveyance of letters" is from 1660s; it is attested from 1590s in the sense of "vehicle used to convey mails;" 1670s as "a dispatch of letters from or to a place." As a newspaper name from 1680s.ETD post (n.3).3


    word-forming element meaning "after," from Latin post "behind, after, afterward," from *pos-ti (source also of Arcadian pos, Doric poti "toward, to, near, close by;" Old Church Slavonic po "behind, after," pozdu "late;" Lithuanian pas "at, by"), from PIE *apo- (source also of Greek apo "from," Latin ab "away from" see apo-).ETD post-.2

    post (adv.)

    1540s, "with post horses," hence, "rapidly;" especially in the phrase to ride post "go rapidly," from post (n.3) "riders and horses posted at intervals."ETD post (adv.).2

    post (v.1)

    "to affix (a paper notice, advertisement, etc.) to a post" (in a public place), hence, "to make known, to bring before the public," 1630s, from post (n.1). The meaning "to achieve" (a score, a victory) appears to have begin in U.S. newspaper sports-writing, by 1949. Related: Posted; posting.ETD post (v.1).2

    post (n.1)

    "a timber of considerable size set upright," from Old English post "pillar, doorpost," and from Old French post "post, upright beam," both from Latin postis "door, post, doorpost," in Medieval Latin "a beam, rod, pole," which is perhaps from Vulgar Latin *por- "forth," a variant of pro- (see pro-) + stare "to stand" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm").ETD post (n.1).2

    Similar compounds are Sanskrit prstham "back, roof, peak," Avestan parshti "back," Greek pastas "porch in front of a house, colonnade," Middle High German virst "ridgepole," Lithuanian pirštas, Old Church Slavonic pristu "finger" (PIE *por-st-i-).ETD post (n.1).3

    Later also of metal. As a type of hardness, lifelessness, deafness by early 15c.ETD post (n.1).4

    post (v.2)

    in bookkeeping, "to transfer from a day book to a formal account, make entries in a ledger," 1620s, from post (n.2) via a figurative sense of "carrying" by post horses. Related: Posted; posting.ETD post (v.2).2

    post (v.3)

    "to send through the postal system," 1837, from post (n.3). Earlier, "to travel with relays of horses" (1530s), hence "to ride rapidly" (1560s). Related: Posted; posting.ETD post (v.3).2

    post (v.5)

    "to station at a place," 1680s, from post (n.2) "place when on duty." Related: Posted; posting.ETD post (v.5).2

    post (n.2)

    "station when on duty, a fixed position or place," 1590s, from French poste "place where one is stationed," also, "station for post horses" (16c.), from Italian posto "post, station," from Vulgar Latin *postum, from Latin positum, neuter past participle of ponere "to place, to put" (see position (n.)). Earliest sense in English was military; the meaning "job, position, position" is attested by 1690s. The military meaning "fort, permanent quarters for troops" is by 1703.ETD post (n.2).2

    post (v.4)

    "to put up bail money," 1781, from one of the nouns post, but which one is uncertain. Related: Posted; posting.ETD post (v.4).2

    posted (adj.)

    "supplied with news or full information," 1828, American English, past-participle adjective from post (v.2).ETD posted (adj.).2

    postage (n.)

    1580s, "the sending of mail by post;" 1650s as "rate or charge on letters or other articles conveyed, cost of sending something by mail," from post (n.3) + -age. Postage stamp is attested from 1840 for "official mark or stamp affixed or embossed as evidence of payment of postage." The things themselves were noted as being collected in albums by 1862. As the type of something very small by 1962.ETD postage (n.).2

    postal (adj.)

    "pertaining to the mail system," 1843, on model of French postale (1836), from post (n.3). Noun meaning "state of irrational and violent anger" (usually in phrase going postal) is attested by 1997, in reference to a cluster of news-making workplace shootings in U.S. by what was commonly described as a "disgruntled postal worker" (the cliche itself, though not the phrase, goes back at least to 1994).ETD postal (adj.).2

    post-bellum (adj.)

    also postbellum, used in U.S. South from 1874 in reference to American Civil War; Latin; from post "after" (see post-) + bellum "war" (see bellicose).ETD post-bellum (adj.).2

    post-box (n.)

    "mail box," 1754, from post (n.3) + box (n.1).ETD post-box (n.).2

    postcard (n.)

    1870, "a stamped blank card provided by postal authorities for writing and mailing short messages at a less rate of postage than that charged for letters," from post (n.3) + card (n.1). By 1894 it was being used in reference to private, blank, or unofficial cards, unstamped, of the same size, often with a picture on one side.ETD postcard (n.).2

    post-chaise (n.)

    "travelling carriage drawn by horses in posts," 1712, from post (n.3) "communication from one place to another by relays" + chaise.ETD post-chaise (n.).2

    post-Christian (adj.)

    by 1807 as "after the lifetime of Christ," from post- + Christ + -ian; by 1929 as "after the decline or rejection of Christianity," from Christian.ETD post-Christian (adj.).2

    post-classical (adj.)

    "occurring or written after the times of the Greek or Latin writers considered classical, but before the literature classified as medieval," 1845, from post- + classical.ETD post-classical (adj.).2

    postdate (v.)

    also post-date, "to affix a later date to than the real one," 1620s, from post- + date (v.1) "to assign a date to, to mark a date on." Related: Postdated; postdating. Intransitive meaning "be of a later date than" is by 1909.ETD postdate (v.).2

    postdiluvial (adj.)

    also post-diluvial, "existing or occurring after the deluge," 1823, from post- + diluvial. Earlier was postdiluvian (1670s).ETD postdiluvial (adj.).2

    poster (n.)

    "bill, placard, thing posted," 1838, from post (v.1). Poster boy/girl/child "someone given prominence in certain causes" is attested by 1990, in reference to fund-raising drives for charities associated with disability, featuring child sufferers, a feature since 1930s.ETD poster (n.).2

    Earlier it meant "one who travels post" (c. 1600); "a post-horse" (1797). Sense of "one who posts bills" is by 1864.ETD poster (n.).3

    posterity (n.)

    "a person's offspring, descendants collectively," late 14c., posterite, from Old French posterité (14c.), from Latin posteritatem (nominative posteritas) "future, future time; after-generation, offspring;" literally "the condition of coming after," from posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Old English words for this included æftercneoreso, framcynn.ETD posterity (n.).2

    posterior (n.)

    "buttocks, the hinder parts of the body of a human or animal," euphemistic, 1610s, from posterior (adj.). Earlier it meant "those who come after, posterity" (1530s). Compare Lithuanian pasturas "the last, the hindmost," from pas "at, by." Middle English had partes posterialle "the buttocks" (early 15c.), from Latin posterioras with a change of suffix.ETD posterior (n.).2

    posterior (adj.)

    1530s, "later in time," from Latin posterior "after, later, behind," comparative of posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Meaning "situated behind, later in position than another or others" is from 1630s. Related: Posterial.ETD posterior (adj.).2

    posteriority (n.)

    late 14c., posteriorite, "condition of occurring later in time, state of being subsequent," from Old French posteriorite (Modern French postériorité), from Medieval Latin posterioritatem (nominative posterioritas), from Latin posterior "later" (see posterior (adj.)).ETD posteriority (n.).2

    postern (n.)

    c. 1300 (mid-13c. in surnames), "side door, small entranceway, private door," from Old French posterne "side or rear gate," earlier posterle, from Late Latin posterula (Medieval Latin posterna) "small back door or gate," diminutive of Latin posterus "that is behind, coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-).ETD postern (n.).2

    post factum

    Latin, literally "after the fact," from post "behind, after, afterward" + factum "deed, act" (see post- + fact).ETD post factum.2

    post-glacial (adj.)

    "subsequent to the Ice Age," 1855, from post- + glacial.ETD post-glacial (adj.).2

    post-graduate (adj.)

    also postgraduate, 1858, in reference to a course of study pursued after graduation, originally American English, from post- + graduate (adj.). As a noun, "one studying after graduation," attested from 1890. Abbreviation post-grad is recorded from 1950.ETD post-graduate (adj.).2

    post-haste (adv.)

    "with urgent speed, with all possible haste," 1590s, from a noun (1530s) meaning "great speed," usually said to be from "post haste," an instruction formerly written on letters (attested from 1530s), from post (adv.) + haste (n.). The phrase originated in the old system of relaying messages by post horses (see post (n.3)); the verb post "to ride or travel with great speed" is recorded from 1550s.ETD post-haste (adv.).2

    post hoc

    Latin, "after this." Especially in post hoc, ergo propter hoc, logical fallacy, literally "after this, therefore because of this."ETD post hoc.2

    post-hole (n.)

    "hole cut in the ground to receive the end of a fence-post," 1703, from post (n.1) + hole (n.).ETD post-hole (n.).2

    post-horse (n.)

    horse kept at an inn, post house, or other station for use by mail carriers or for rent to travelers, 1520s, from post (n.3) "communication from one place to another by relays" + horse (n.).ETD post-horse (n.).2

    posthumous (adj.)

    mid-15c., posthumus, "born after the death of the originator" (author or father), from Late Latin posthumus, from Latin postumus "last," especially "last-born," superlative of posterus "coming after, subsequent" (see posterior). Altered in Late Latin by association with Latin humare "to bury," suggesting death; the one born after the father is in the ground obviously being his last. An Old English word for this was æfterboren, literally "after-born." Related: Posthumously.ETD posthumous (adj.).2

    postillon (n.)

    also postilion, 1580s, "a forerunner," a figurative use, from French postillon (1530s), from Italian postiglione "forerunner, guide," especially for one carrying mail on horseback, from posta "mail" (see post (n.3)) + compound suffix from Latin -ilio. The sense of "one who rides the near horse of the leaders when four or more are used in a carriage or post-chaise" is from 1620s.ETD postillon (n.).2

    post-impressionism (n.)

    style of painting favored in the early 20c., emphasizing structural form of the subject over natural appearance, 1910, from post- + impressionism. Related: Post-impressionist.ETD post-impressionism (n.).2

    Post-it (n.)

    1975, proprietary name.ETD Post-it (n.).2

    postlude (n.)

    1821, in music, an organ piece at the end of a church service, from post- + ending abstracted from prelude. General sense of "afterword, conclusion" is by 1928.ETD postlude (n.).2

    postman (n.)

    1520s, "messenger or courier who rides post," from post (n.3) + man (n.). By 1758 as "a mailman."ETD postman (n.).2

    postmark (n.)

    "mark or stamp of a post office placed on a letter, etc., giving the place and date of sending," 1670s, from post (n.3) + mark (n.1). As a verb from 1716. Related: Postmarked; postmarking.ETD postmark (n.).2

    postmaster (n.)

    1510s, "officer who has charge of a post-station and provides post-horses," from post (n.3) + master (n.). Later "official who has superintendence of a post office." Postmaster general "chief of a postal system" is by 1620s.ETD postmaster (n.).2

    post meridiem

    "after noon, occurring after the sun has passed the meridian," applied to the time between noon and midnight, 1640s, Latin, from post "after" (see post-) + accusative of meridies "midday, noon" (see meridian).ETD post meridiem.2

    post-millennial (adj.)

    also postmillennial, "relating to what may occur in the period following the millennium," 1831, from post- "after" + millennial; chiefly in reference to the Protestant doctrine that the second coming of Christ will occur after, not at, the Christian millennium. Related: Post-millennialism; post-millennialist.ETD post-millennial (adj.).2

    postmistress (n.)

    "woman who has charge of a post office," 1690s, from post (n.3) + mistress. Compare postmaster.ETD postmistress (n.).2

    post-modern (adj.)

    also post-modern, post modern, by 1919, in frequent use from 1949, from post- + modern. Of architecture from 1940s; specific sense in the arts emerged 1960s (see postmodernism).ETD post-modern (adj.).2

    postmodernism (n.)

    also post-modernism, by 1977, from post- + modernism. Defined by Terry Eagleton as "the contemporary movement of thought which rejects ... the possibility of objective knowledge" and is therefore "skeptical of truth, unity, and progress" ["After Theory," 2003]. Related: post-modernist (1965).ETD postmodernism (n.).2


    also postmortem, 1734 as an adverb, "after death," from Latin post mortem, from post "after" (see post-) + mortem, accusative of mors "death" (from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm," also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death). From 1835 as an adjective, "subsequent to death." As a noun, shortening of post-mortem examination, it is recorded from 1850. The Latin phrase ante mortem "before death" is attested in English by 1823.ETD post-mortem.2

    postnatal (adj.)

    "subsequent to birth," 1831, from post- + natal.ETD postnatal (adj.).2

    post-nuptial (adj.)

    also postnuptial, "being or happening after marriage," 1715, from post- + nuptial.ETD post-nuptial (adj.).2

    post office (n.)

    1650s, "public department in charge of letter-carrying," from post (n.3) + office. Meaning "building where postal business is carried on, office or place where letters are received for transmission," is from 1650s. In slang or euphemistic sense of "a sexual game" it refers to an actual parlor game first attested early 1850s in which pretend "letters" were paid for by kisses.ETD post office (n.).2

    post-operative (adj.)

    also postoperative, "occurring after a surgical operation," 1869, from post- + operative. Short form post-op is attested from 1971.ETD post-operative (adj.).2

    post-partum (adj.)

    also postpartum, 1837, "occurring after the birth of a child," from Latin post partum "after birth," from post "after" (see post-) + accusative of partus "a bearing, a bringing forth," from partus, past participle of parire "to bring forth, bear, produce, create; bring about, accomplish" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, bring forth"). Phrase post-partum depression is attested by 1929.ETD post-partum (adj.).2

    postpone (v.)

    "put off, defer to a future or later time," c. 1500, from Latin postponere "put after; esteem less; neglect; postpone," from post "after" (see post-) + ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)). Related: Postponed; postponing.ETD postpone (v.).2

    postponement (n.)

    "act of deferring to a future time," 1770, from postpone + -ment. Johnson (1755) has postponence.ETD postponement (n.).2

    postposition (n.)

    "act of placing after," 1630s, noun of action from Latin postponere "put after; esteem less; postpone" from post "after" (see post-) + ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)). Perhaps modeled on French postposition. Related: Postposit (v., 1660s); postpositive; postpositional.ETD postposition (n.).2

    postprandial (adj.)

    also post-prandial, 1820 (Coleridge), "happening, said, done, etc. after dinner," from post- "after" + Latin prandium "luncheon" (usually bread, fish, or cold meat, taken around noon), from *pram "early" (from PIE *pre-, variant of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, first") + edere "to eat" (from PIE root *ed- "to eat") + -al (1). "Chiefly humorous" [OED].ETD postprandial (adj.).2

    post restante

    direction on mail that it be held at that post office until called for, French, literally "remaining post." Hence, place in a post office where letters so addressed are kept until the recipients call for them.ETD post restante.2

    post-road (n.)

    "road on which there are stations for relay by post-horses," 1650s, from post (n.3) + road.ETD post-road (n.).2

    postscribe (v.)

    "write after, write as a postscript," 1610s, a back-formation from postscript or else from Latin postscribere "write after."ETD postscribe (v.).2

    postscript (n.)

    "an addition made to a written or printed composition," especially a paragraph added to a letter which already has been concluded and signed by the writer, 1550s, from Latin post scriptum "written after" (compare postscribere "to write after"), from post "after" (see post-) + neuter past participle of scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut").ETD postscript (n.).2

    postulate (v.)

    1530s, "nominate to a church office," from Medieval Latin postulatus, past participle of postulare "to ask, demand; claim; require," probably formed from past participle of Latin poscere "ask urgently, demand," from *posk-to-, Italic inchoative of PIE root *prek- "to ask questions." The meaning in logic, "lay down as something which has to be assumed although it cannot be proved" dates from 1640s, from a sense in Medieval Latin.ETD postulate (v.).2

    postulate (n.)

    1580s, "a request, demand, petition," from Latin postulātum "demand, request," properly "that which is requested," noun use of neuter past participle of postulare "to ask, demand; claim; require" (see postulate (v.)).ETD postulate (n.).2

    The sense in logic, "proposition proposed for acceptance without proof, something taken for granted," is from 1640s, from a sense in Medieval Latin. The meaning "self-evident practical proposition" is by 1751. The earlier noun in English was postulation "a petition, request" (c. 1400). Middle English also had postulate (adj.) "nominated to a bishopric or archbishopric" (mid-15c.).ETD postulate (n.).3

    postulant (n.)

    1759, "one who or that which demands or asks; candidate for membership in a religious order during the probationary period," from French postulant "applicant, candidate," literally "one who asks," from Latin postulantem (nominative postulans), present participle of postulare "to ask, demand" (see postulate (v.)).ETD postulant (n.).2

    Postum (n.)

    proper name of a coffee substitute, 1895, from a Latinized form of the name of American manufactured foods pioneer Charles William Post (1854-1914), founder of the breakfast cereal company.ETD Postum (n.).2

    posture (v.)

    1620s, transitive, "to place, set," from posture (n.). Intransitive sense of "assume a particular posture of the body, dispose the body in a particular attitude" is by 1851 (at first in reference to contortionists). The figurative sense of "take up an artificial position of the mind or character" (hence "display affectation") is attested by 1877. Related: Postured; posturing.ETD posture (v.).2

    posture (n.)

    c. 1600, "position, situation; disposition of the several parts of anything with respect to one another or a particular purpose," especially of the body, "pose," from French posture (16c.), from Italian postura "position, posture," from Latin positura "position, station," from postulus from past participle stem of ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)). The figurative sense of "a state of being or attitude in relation to circumstances" is from 1640s. Related: Postural.ETD posture (n.).2

    Posturpedic (n.)

    trademark name (Sealy, Inc., Chicago, U.S.A.) for a brand of mattress, filed in 1951; from posture (n.) + second element from orthopedic.ETD Posturpedic (n.).2

    postwar (adj.)

    also post-war, "being or occurring after a (particular) war," 1906, in reference to the U.S. Civil War, a hybrid from post- + war (n.). Compare post-bellum.ETD postwar (adj.).2

    pot (n.2)

    "marijuana," 1938, probably a shortened form of Mexican Spanish potiguaya "marijuana leaves."ETD pot (n.2).2

    pot (n.1)

    "deep, circular vessel," from late Old English pott and Old French pot "pot, container, mortar" (also in erotic senses), both from a general Low Germanic (Old Frisian pott, Middle Dutch pot) and Romanic word from Vulgar Latin *pottus, which is of uncertain origin, said by Barnhart and OED to be unconnected to Late Latin potus "drinking cup." Similar Celtic words are said to be borrowed from English and French.ETD pot (n.1).2

    Specifically as a drinking vessel from Middle English. Slang meaning "large sum of money staked on a bet" is attested from 1823; that of "aggregate stakes in a card game" is from 1847, American English.ETD pot (n.1).3

    Pot roast "meat (generally beef) cooked in a pot with little water and allowed to become brown, as if roasted," is from 1881. Pot-plant is by 1816 as "plant grown in a pot." The phrase go to pot "be ruined or wasted" (16c.) suggests cooking, perhaps meat cut up for the pot. In phrases, the pot calls the kettle black-arse (said of one who blames another for what he himself is also guilty of) is from c. 1700; shit or get off the pot is traced by Partridge to Canadian armed forces in World War II. To keep the pot boiling "provide the necessities of life" is from 1650s.ETD pot (n.1).4

    potted (adj.)

    of meat, "preserved in a pot," 1640s, past-participle adjective from pot (v.). Of a plant, from 1718. In the figurative sense of "put into a short, condensed form," 1866.ETD potted (adj.).2

    pot (v.)

    "to put in a pot or pots," 1610s, from pot (n.1). Related: Potted; potting. Earlier it meant "to drink from a pot" (1590s). From 1860 as "shoot or kill game; shoot an enemy" (compare pot-hunter, potshot).ETD pot (v.).2

    potable (adj.)

    "drinkable, suitable for drinking," early 15c., from Old French potable (14c.) and directly from Late Latin potabilis "drinkable," from Latin potare "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").ETD potable (adj.).2

    potage (n.)

    "thick soup," 1560s, from French potage "soup, broth" (see pottage, which is an earlier English borrowing of the same French word and originally also was spelled with one -t-). Related: Potager.ETD potage (n.).2

    potamic (adj.)

    "of, pertaining to or connected with rivers," 1834; see potamo- + -ic.ETD potamic (adj.).2


    word-forming element meaning "river," from Greek potamos "river," perhaps literally "rushing water," from PIE root *pet- "to rush, to fly."ETD potamo-.2

    potamology (n.)

    "the study of rivers," 1829, in "POTAMOLOGY : a Tabular Description of the Principal Rivers throughout the World,—their Rise, Course, Cities, &c., Tributary Streams, Length and Outfall into Oceans, Seas, or Lakes," compiled and printed by George Smallfield, from potamo- + -logy. Related: Potamological.ETD potamology (n.).2

    potash (n.)

    "vegetable alkali; substance obtained originally by leaching wood-ashes and evaporating the solution obtained in a large iron pot or pan; one of the fixed alkalis," 1751, earlier pot-ash (1640s), a loan-translation of older Dutch potaschen, literally "pot ashes" (16c.); see pot (n.1) + ash (n.1).ETD potash (n.).2

    So called because it was originally obtained by soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. Compare German Pottasche, Danish potaske, Swedish pottaska, all also from Dutch. See also potassium. French potasse (1570s), Italian potassa are Germanic loan-words. The original plural was pot-ashes.ETD potash (n.).3

    potassium (n.)

    metallic element, 1807, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy from Modern Latin potassa, Latinized form of potash (q.v.). Davy first isolated it from potash. The chemical symbol K is from Latin kalium "potash," from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (see alkali). Related: Potassic.ETD potassium (n.).2

    potation (n.)

    "an occasion of drinking" (especially alcoholic beverages); "a liquor or potion drunk, concoction, medical drink," early 15c., potacioun, from Old French potacion, from Latin potationem (nom. potatio) "a drinking; poisonous drink, potion," noun of action from past participle stem of potare "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").ETD potation (n.).2

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