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    solely (adv.) — somniculous (adj.)

    solely (adv.)

    late 15c., "singly, alone, only," from sole (adj.) + -ly (2). Hence "exclusively" but also "entirely."ETD solely (adv.).2

    sole (v.)

    "furnish (a shoe or boot) with a sole," 1560s, from sole (n.1). Related: Soled; soling.ETD sole (v.).2

    sole (n.2)

    common European flatfish, mid-13c., from Old French sole, from Latin solea, a kind of flatfish, originally "sandal" (see sole (n.1)). So called from resemblance of the fish to a flat shoe.ETD sole (n.2).2

    sole (adj.)

    "single, alone in its kind; one and only, singular, unique; having no husband or wife, in an unmarried state; celibate," late 14c., from Old French soul "only, alone, just," from Latin solus "alone, only, single, sole; forsaken; extraordinary," a word of unknown origin, perhaps related to se "oneself," from PIE reflexive root *swo- (for which see so).ETD sole (adj.).2

    solecism (n.)

    "gross grammatical error" (as I done it for I did it); loosely "a small blunder in speech; any absurdity or incongruity, a violation of the conventional rules of society," 1570s, from French solécisme (16c.), from Latin soloecismus "mistake in speaking or writing," from Greek soloikismos "a speaking (Greek) incorrectly," from soloikos "speaking incorrectly, using provincialisms," also "awkward or rude in manners," anciently said to have originally meant "speaking like the people of Soloi," a Greek colony in Cilicia (modern Mezitli in Turkey), whose dialect the Athenians considered barbarous. Sometimes also solœcism. Related: Solecize; solecist; solecistic; solecistical.ETD solecism (n.).2

    solemnize (v.)

    late 14c., solempnisen, "celebrate (a saint's day, etc.) religiously, honor by ceremonies," from Old French solemnisier, solempnizer, from Medieval Latin solemnizare, from Latin solemnis "established, religiously fixed; formal, ceremonial" (see solemn). The meaning "render solemn" is from 1726. The verb solemn (Middle English solempnen, mid-14c.) seems to have been extinct from 16c. Related: Solemnized; solemnizing.ETD solemnize (v.).2

    solemnity (n.)

    c. 1300, solempnite, "religious rite; observance of ceremony, pomp, formality on important occasions," from Old French solemnite, solempnete "celebration, high festival, church ceremony" and directly from Latin solemnitatem (nominative solemnitas) "a solemnity," in Medieval Latin also sollempnitas, solennitas, from Latin sollemnis, sollempnis "established, religiously fixed; formal, ceremonial" (see solemn). The meaning "state of being solemn" is from 1712. Related: Solemnities.ETD solemnity (n.).2

    solemn (adj.)

    mid-14c., solemne, solempne, "performed with due religious ceremony or reverence; sacred, devoted to religious observances," also, of a vow, etc., "made under religious sanction, binding," from Old French solempne, solemne (12c., Modern French solennel) and directly from Latin sollemnis, sollempnis "annual, established, religiously fixed, formal, ceremonial, traditional," a derivative of sollus "whole, unbroken, complete" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept"), though the etymology is uncertain for the -emnis.ETD solemn (adj.).2

    "The explanation that Latin sollemnis was formed from sollus whole + annus year is not considered valid" [Barnhart], but some assimilation via folk-etymology is possible. One of de Vaan's sources offers *soll-epli- "with all (due) religious performances, with all due rites" and dissimilation on the last -l-.ETD solemn (adj.).3

    For the tendency to unetymological (euphonic?) -p- between -m- and -n-, compare Middle English sompnearie "book of dreams," from Medieval Latin somnarius; sumpnour, a Middle English variant of sumnour "summoner."ETD solemn (adj.).4

    In Middle English also "famous, important; imposing, grand," hence Chaucer's friar, a ful solempne man but a religious hypocrite. Without reference to religion, "marked by seriousness or earnestness," from late 14c. The sense of "fitted to inspire devout reflection" is from c. 1400. Related: Solemnly; solemness.ETD solemn (adj.).5

    solemnization (n.)

    also solemnisation, mid-15c., "act of celebrating," from Old French solemnisation, solempnisation, or directly from Medieval Latin solempnizationem (nominative solempnizatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of solemnizare, from Latin sollemnis "established, religiously fixed; formal, ceremonial" (see solemn).ETD solemnization (n.).2

    solenoid (n.)

    "coil of insulated wire carrying an electrical current and having magnetic properties," 1827, from French solénoïde, from Greek sōlēnoeidēs "pipe-shaped," from sōlēno-, combining form of sōlēn "pipe, channel" (a word of uncertain etymology according to Beekes) + eidos "form, shape" (see -oid). Related: Solenoidal.ETD solenoid (n.).2

    soleus (n.)

    muscle of the calf of the leg, 1670s, Modern Latin, from Latin solea "sole" (see sole (n.1)). Like the bottom of the human foot, so called for its flatness.ETD soleus (n.).2

    sol-fa (n.)

    "syllables used in solmization (do, re, mi, etc.) taken collectively," in early music, 1540s, from Italian, a noun made from Medieval Latin sol and fa, two of the syllables used to represent notes of the musical scale in the Guidonian system (see gamut). As a verb from 1560s; compare solfeggio (n.) "use the sol-fa system" (1774 in English), from Italian solfeggiare (compare solfege).ETD sol-fa (n.).2

    solfege (adj.)

    in reference to vocal exercises consisting of tone singing to simple vowels or arbitrary syllables to develop the voice, 1912, an Englishing of solfeggio (1774), from Italian solfeggio, formed from sol-fa and ultimately representing musical notes (compare sol-fa) to which the syllables were assigned.ETD solfege (adj.).2

    solicit (v.)

    early 15c., soliciten, "to disturb, trouble, arouse, excite," from Old French soliciter, solliciter (14c.) and directly from Latin solicitare, sollicitare "to disturb, rouse, trouble, harass; stimulate, provoke," from sollicitus "agitated," from sollus "whole, entire" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept") + citus "aroused," past participle of ciere "shake, excite, set in motion" (from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion"). Related: Solicited; soliciting.ETD solicit (v.).2

    The meaning "to further (business affairs)" evolved mid-15c. from a French sense of "manage affairs." The meaning "entreat, petition" (someone, to do something) is attested from 1520s.ETD solicit (v.).3

    The sense in reference to women, "entice or lure to immorality," especially in reference to prostitutes seeking clients in public, is attested by 1710 but implied a century earlier (in solicitrix), perhaps with awareness of the business sense of the word, but it also had an earlier sense, in reference to men, of "to court or beg the favor of" (a woman) for immoral purposes, which is attested from 1590s.ETD solicit (v.).4

    solicitous (adj.)

    "anxious, concerned, apprehensive," 1560s, also "very desirous" (1640s), from Latin sollicitus "restless, uneasy, careful, full of anxiety" (see solicit). Related: Solicitously; solicitousness.ETD solicitous (adj.).2

    solicitation (n.)

    late 15c., solicitacioun, "management," from French solicitation and directly from Latin solicitationem (nominative solicitatio) "vexation, disturbance, instigation," noun of action from past-participle stem of solicitare "to disturb, rouse, stimulate, provoke" (see solicit).ETD solicitation (n.).2

    The meaning "action of soliciting" is from 1520s. The specific sense of "enticing of a man by a prostitute in a public place" is from c. 1600.ETD solicitation (n.).3

    solicitate (v.)

    1540s, "to manage, conduct;" 1560s, "request, entreat," also "excite, stimulate," also "incite to lawlessness," from Latin solicitatus, past participle of sollicitare "to disturb, rouse, stimulate, provoke" (see solicit). As an adjective, "anxious, concerned," it is attested from early 15c. Related: Solicitated; solicitating.ETD solicitate (v.).2

    solicitor (n.)

    early 15c., solicitour, "one who urges, a prime mover," also "one who conducts matters on behalf of another" and "a royal officer representing crown interests," from Old French soliciteor. soliciteur, from soliciter (see solicit).ETD solicitor (n.).2

    As a name for a specific class of legal practitioners in Britain, it is attested from 1570s. Both the fem. forms, solicitress (1630s) and solicitrix (1610s), have been in reference to women who lure to immorality, but the latter seems more common in non-pejorative use. Related: Solicitorship.ETD solicitor (n.).3

    solicitude (n.)

    early 15c., "diligence, industry, activity; anxiety, care, concern," from Old French solicitude (Modern French sollicitude) and directly from Latin sollicitudinem (nominative solicitudo) "anxiety, uneasiness of mind," noun of state from past-participle stem of solicitare "disturb, rouse, stimulate, provoke" (see solicit). Related: Solicitudinous.ETD solicitude (n.).2

    solidity (n.)

    late 14c., solidite, "firmness, hardness," from Old French solidite (Modern French solidité) or directly from Latin soliditatem (nominative soliditas) "solidness, firmness, a solid mass," from solidus "firm, whole, undivided" (see solid (adj.)). The meaning "state or quality of being materially solid" is from c. 1600.ETD solidity (n.).2

    solid (n.)

    late 14c., "three-dimensional figure or body," from solid (adj.). In Middle English also "a number which is the product of three others." The meaning "a solid substance" (as opposed to a fluid) is from 1690s. Compare also solidus. Latin solidus (adj.) also was used as a noun meaning "an entire sum; a solid body."ETD solid (n.).2

    solid (adj.)

    late 14c., "not empty or hollow, hardened;" of figures or bodies, "having three dimensions," from Old French solide "firm, dense, compact," from Latin solidus "firm, whole, undivided, entire," figuratively "sound, trustworthy, genuine," from suffixed form of PIE root *sol- "whole."ETD solid (adj.).2

    The meaning "firm, hard, compact" is from 1530s. Of arguments, etc., "substantial" (opposed to frivolous or flimsy). The meaning "entirely of the same stuff" is from 1710. Of qualities, "well-established, considerable" c. 1600. Of food from c. 1700.ETD solid (adj.).3

    As a mere intensifier, "thoroughly, downright," by 1830. The slang sense of "wonderful, remarkable" is attested by 1920 among jazz musicians.ETD solid (adj.).4

    As an adverb, "solidly, completely," 1650s. Solid South in U.S. political history is attested from 1858 on the notion of unanimity in voting; solid in this sense (in reference to New York) is by 1855. Solid state as a term in physics is recorded from 1953; the meaning "employing printed circuits and solid transistors" (as opposed to wires and vacuum tubes) is from 1959.ETD solid (adj.).5

    solidarity (n.)

    1829, "communion of interests and responsibilities, mutual responsibility between two or more persons, quality in a community of being perfectly united on some question," from French solidarité, "communion of interests and responsibilities, mutual responsibility," a coinage of the "Encyclopédie" (1765), from solidaire "interdependent, complete, entire," from solide (see solid (adj.)).ETD solidarity (n.).2

    Often regarded at first as a French word in English for a French idea, and italicized. With a capital S-, the name of an independent trade union movement in communist Poland, formed September 1980, from Polish Solidarność.ETD solidarity (n.).3

    solidary (adj.)

    1818, "joint and several;" 1841, "characterized by solidarity;" from French solidaire (16c.), from solide "firm, dense, compact" (see solid (adj.), also see -ary). Sometimes in English in the French form. Related: Solidarist; solidarily.ETD solidary (adj.).2

    solidification (n.)

    "act or process of making solid," 1800; noun of action from solidify; perhaps from French solidification. Earlier was solidation (1540s).ETD solidification (n.).2

    solidify (v.)

    1799 (transitive) "convert to a solid state;" 1837 (intransitive), "become solid or compact," from French solidifier, from Old French solide "firm, dense, compact" (see solid (adj.)) + -fier (see -fy). Related: Solidified; solidifying; solidifiable.ETD solidify (v.).2

    solidly (adv.)

    1610s, "firmly, securely," from solid (adj.) + -ly (2). The meaning "unanimously" is from 1865, American English.ETD solidly (adv.).2

    solidus (n.)

    gold coin, late 14c., plural solidi, used of the English shilling as well as the Roman gold coin, from Late Latin solidus, name of an imperial Roman coin (worth about 25 denarii, introduced by Constantine the Great), in full nummus solidus, literally "solid coin," properly a coin of thick or solid metal, not of thin plate. See solid (adj.).ETD solidus (n.).2

    As the name of the oblique slash or dash separating shillings from pence in English prices (sometimes called a shilling mark and said to be a modified long -S- to denote "shillings") by 1891. It is also known as a virgule and is conventionally used as a substitute for the horizontal line in fractions or the division sign.ETD solidus (n.).3

    solidungulate (adj.)

    "solid-hoofed," by 1833, Modern Latin, from Latin solidus (see solid (adj.) ) + ungulatus (see ungulate (adj.)). Native solid-hoofed in this sense is by 1777.ETD solidungulate (adj.).2

    solifidian (n.)

    "one who believes in justification by faith alone without reference to works" (based on Romans iii.28), 1590s, a coinage of the Reformation, from Latin solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)) + fides "faith" (see faith (n.)). As an adjective from c. 1600. Related: Solifidianism.ETD solifidian (n.).2

    soliloquize (v.)

    1759, intransitive, "utter a soliloquy, talk to oneself," from soliloquy + -ize. Transitive sense is by 1805. Related: Soliloquized; soliloquizing.ETD soliloquize (v.).2

    soliloquy (n.)

    c. 1600, soliloquie, from Late Latin soliloquium "a talking to oneself," from Latin solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)) + loqui "to speak" (from PIE root *tolkw- "to speak").ETD soliloquy (n.).2

    The word was in English in the Latin form in 1590s. Earlier it was used in translations of Latin "Liber Soliloquiorum" (bok soliloquies, mid-14c.), a treatise by Augustine, who is said to have coined the word on analogy of Greek monologia (see monologue). Latin soliloquium was glossed in Middle English as allon-speche (early 15c.). Related: Soliloquent; soliloqueity; soliloquacious.ETD soliloquy (n.).3

    solipsism (n.)

    by 1869 in translations from German of Kant's solipsismus "egoism," coined from Latin solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)) + ipse "self." The word is attested by 1817 in the German (Latin) form in English and De Quincey uses it (1827) in a footnote on Kant, but it seems not to have been picked up in English in that form.ETD solipsism (n.).2

    The modern use of it, "The view or theory that self is the only object of real knowledge or the only thing really existent" [OED] seems to date to 1874 and its use in the popular translation of Ueberweg's "History of Philosophy," in reference to the implications of Schopenhauer's reasoning (and indirectly Berkeley's):ETD solipsism (n.).3

    "The identification of one's self with the Absolute is not generally intended, but the denial of there being really anybody else. The doctrine appears to be nothing more than a man of straw set up by metaphysicians in their reasoning." [Century Dictionary]. Earlier was soliipsiism (1826).ETD solipsism (n.).4

    solipsistic (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to the belief in one's self as the only existence," 1882, from solipsism + -istic. Related: Solipsistical; solipsistically.ETD solipsistic (adj.).2

    solitaire (n.)

    c. 1500, "widow;" 1716, "person who lives in solitude, recluse," from French solitaire, from Latin adjective solitarius "alone, lonely, isolated" (see solitary). The sense of "a precious stone set by itself" is from 1727. The meaning "card game played by one person" (usually involving bringing shuffled cards into sequence) is attested by 1746.ETD solitaire (n.).2

    Solitarian "a recluse" is by 1650s; solitary (n.) was in Middle English as "hermit, religious recluse" (late 14c.), "person without companions" (early 15c.). Latin solitarius in Late Latin also was a noun, "anchorite."ETD solitaire (n.).3

    solitary (adj.)

    mid-14c., solitarie, "alone, by oneself or itself, living alone," from Anglo-French solitarye and Old French solitaire, from Latin solitarius "alone, lonely, isolated," from solitas "loneliness, solitude," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)).ETD solitary (adj.).2

    Of places, "remote from society, unfrequented," late 14c. The meaning "single, sole, only" is by 1742. Related: Solitarily; solitariness. Solitary confinement "separate confinement of a prisoner with limited access of other persons" is by 1690s; short form solitary for this is by 1854.ETD solitary (adj.).3

    solitude (n.)

    "state of being alone, remoteness from society," mid-14c., from Old French solitude "loneliness" (14c.) and directly from Latin solitudinem (nominative solitudo) "loneliness, a being alone; lonely place, desert, wilderness," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). "Not in common use in English until the 17th c." [OED]ETD solitude (n.).2

    Solitudinarian "recluse, unsocial person" is recorded from 1690s.ETD solitude (n.).3

    solmization (n.)

    "act of using certain syllables to name tones of a music scale," 1730, from French solmisation, from solmiser, from sol + mi, two of the syllables so used (see gamut and compare sol-fa).ETD solmization (n.).2

    solo (n.)

    1690s, "piece of music intended for one voice or instrument," also a performance of such, from Italian solo, literally "alone," from Latin solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). In reference to dance from 1794. As an adjective in English from 1712, originally in the non-musical sense of "alone, unassisted." Of musicians or instruments, "play a solo part," 1862. in reference to aircraft flights from 1909. The verb is attested by 1858 in music, 1886 in a non-musical sense. Related: Soloed; soloing.ETD solo (n.).2

    soloist (n.)

    "performer of solos" in vocal or instrumental music, 1839, from solo (n.) + -ist.ETD soloist (n.).2

    Solomonic (adj.)

    1722, "of or pertaining to Biblical Solomon," with -ic. Solomonical is attested from 1520s. Solomonian (1747) also is used.ETD Solomonic (adj.).2


    masc. proper name, Biblical name of David's son and successor as king of Judah and Israel and wisest of all men, from Greek Solomon, from Hebrew Sh'lomoh, from shelomo "peaceful," from shalom "peace." The Arabic form is Suleiman.ETD Solomon.2

    The common form formerly was Salomon (Vulgate, Tyndale, Douai); Solomon was used in Geneva Bible and KJV. Used allusively for "a wise ruler" since 1550s. The Solomon Islands were so named 1568 by Spanish explorers in hopeful expectation that they had found the source of the gold brought to King Solomon in I Kings ix.29.ETD Solomon.3

    solon (n.)

    "legislator," 1620s, from Greek Solōn, name of the early lawgiver of Athens, later known as one of the seven sages. Often, especially in U.S., applied (with more or less irony) in newspapers to congressmen, township road-masters, etc. It also is more likely to fit in a headline than those words are. Related: Solonian.ETD solon (n.).2

    so long (interj.)

    parting salutation, 1860, of unknown origin, perhaps from a German idiom (compare German parting salutation adieu so lange, the full sense of which probably is something like "farewell, whilst (we're apart)"); or perhaps from or influenced by Hebrew shalom (via Yiddish sholom). Some have noted a similarity to Scandinavian leave-taking phrases, such as Norwegian Adjø så lenge, Farvel så lenge, Mor'n så lenge, literally "bye so long, farewell so long, morning so long;" and Swedish Hej så länge "good-bye for now," with så länge "for now" attested since 1850 according to Swedish sources, with sense as in the German phrase. Etymology sources seem to lean toward the German origin. The adverbial so long "for such a long time" is from late Old English (swa lange); see so.ETD so long (interj.).2

    Earlier guesses that it was a sailors' corruption of a South Pacific form of Arabic salaam are not now convincing. "Dictionary of American Slang" also adds to the list of candidates Irish slán "safe," said to be used as a salutation in parting.ETD so long (interj.).3

    The phrase seems to have turned up simultaneously in America, Britain, and perhaps Canada, originally among lower classes. The first attested use is in title and text of the last poem in Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" in the 1860 edition.ETD so long (interj.).4

    Whitman's friend and fan William Sloane Kennedy wrote in 1923:ETD so long (interj.).5

    solstice (n.)

    "one of the two times of the year when the sun is at the greatest distance from the equator," mid-13c., from Old French solstice (13c.), from Latin solstitium "point at which the sun seems to stand still," especially the summer solstice, from sol "the sun" (from PIE root *sawel- "the sun") + past participle stem of sistere "stand still, take a stand; to set, place, cause to stand" (from reduplicated form of PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm"). In early use, Englished as sunstead (late Old English sunstede).ETD solstice (n.).2

    solstitial (adj.)

    "of, pertaining to, or happening at the solstices," 1550s, from Latin solstitialis, from solstitium (see solstice).ETD solstitial (adj.).2

    solus (adj.)

    the Latin word for "alone" (see sole (adj.)), used in English by 1590s, originally and used chiefly in stage directions. The word in this form is masculine; the fem. is sola, but in stage directions solus typically still serves for both.ETD solus (adj.).2

    It also is found in phrases such as solus cum sola (the name of an old popular song) "alone with an unchaperoned woman," and solus cum solo "all on one's own," both literally meaning "alone with alone."ETD solus (adj.).3

    soluble (adj.)

    late 14c., "unconstipated;" early 15c., "capable of being dissolved," from Old French soluble "expungable, eradicable" (13c.), from Late Latin solubilis "that may be loosened or dissolved," from stem of Latin solvere "to loosen, dissolve," from PIE *se-lu-, a compound of reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (for which see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." The meaning "capable of being solved or explained" is attested from 1705 (Berkeley). Substances are soluble, but not solvable; problems can be either.ETD soluble (adj.).2

    solubility (n.)

    1670s, "property which renders a body susceptible of being dissolved in a fluid," from soluble + -ity. Figuratively, "capable of being solved or cleared up," as an algebraic equation, by 1882. Chemistry has coined solubilize (1926), solubilization.ETD solubility (n.).2

    solum (n.)

    Latin, "ground, soil," a word of unknown origin. Used in Scottish law and soil science.ETD solum (n.).2

    solute (adj.)

    1890, "dissolved," from Latin solutus, past participle of solvere "to loosen, dissolve," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." In botany, "free, not adhering" (1760). Earlier, of soil, "loose, not compacted" (mid-15c.).ETD solute (adj.).2

    solute (n.)

    in chemistry, "a substance dissolved in a solution," by 1893, from Latin solutus, past participle of solvere (see solve (v.)).ETD solute (n.).2

    solution (n.)

    late 14c., solucioun, "explanation, answer; interpretation of a dream; the dissolving of a substance in a liquid, transformation of matter to a liquid state," from Old French solucion "division, dissolving; explanation; payment" and directly from Latin solutionem (nominative solutio) "a loosening or unfastening," noun of action from past-participle stem of solvere "to loosen, untie, dissolve," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."ETD solution (n.).2

    The meaning "liquid containing a dissolved substance" is recorded by 1590s.ETD solution (n.).3

    solve (v.)

    late 14c., solven, "to disperse, dissipate, loosen," from Latin solvere "to loosen, dissolve; untie, release, detach; depart; unlock; scatter; dismiss; accomplish, fulfill; explain; remove," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."ETD solve (v.).2

    In Middle English especially in medicine, "dissolve a substance in a liquid" (early 15c.). The meaning "explain, clear up, answer" is attested from 1530s. The mathematical sense of "work out the answer to a problem" is attested by 1737. Related: Solved; solving.ETD solve (v.).3

    solvable (adj.)

    1640s, "payable," a sense now obsolete, from solve + -able. The meaning "capable of being dissolved" is from 1660s; that of "capable of being explained or resolved" is from 1670s. Compare soluble. Related: Solvability.ETD solvable (adj.).2

    solvation (n.)

    1909, noun of action from solvate, a verb used in chemistry, "to form a solvate with" (1909); see solvent + -ate (2).ETD solvation (n.).2

    solvency (n.)

    "state of being solvent, ability to pay all one's just debts and claims," 1727, from solvent + abstract noun suffix -cy.ETD solvency (n.).2

    solvent (n.)

    "substance able to dissolve other substances, fluid that renders other bodies liquid," 1670s (Boyle), from Latin solventem (see solvent (adj.)).ETD solvent (n.).2

    solvent (adj.)

    1650s, "able to pay all one owes," from French solvent, from Latin solventem (nominative solvens), present participle of solvere "to loosen, release, accomplish, fulfill," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." The chemical meaning "having the power of dissolving" is by 1680s.ETD solvent (adj.).2

    solvitur ambulando

    an appeal to practical experience for a solution or proof, Latin, literally "(the problem) is solved by walking," originally in reference to Diogenes the Cynic and his proof of the possibility of motion.ETD solvitur ambulando.2

    soma (n.)

    name of an intoxicant prepared from the juice of some East Indian plant and used in ancient Vedic ritual, 1785, in Wilkins's Bhagavad-Gita, from Sanskrit soma, from PIE *seu- "juice," from root *seue- (2) "to take liquid" (see sup (v.2)). In Huxley's "Brave New World" (1932), the name of a state-dispensed narcotic producing euphoria and hallucination and social control.ETD soma (n.).2


    country named for the indigenous Somali people, whose name (attested in English by 1814) is of unknown origin. Related: Somalian.ETD Somalia.2

    somatic (adj.)

    "pertaining to the material body" (as distinct from the soul, spirit, or mind), 1753, from Latinized form of Greek sōmatikos "of the body," from sōma (genitive sōmatos) "the body" (see somato-).ETD somatic (adj.).2

    somatization (n.)

    1909 in biology, in reference to bodily symptoms indicating mental disorder; 1920 in psychology, "conversion of emotional states into physical symptoms;" from somato- "body" + -ization.ETD somatization (n.).2


    before vowels somat-, word-forming element used in the sciences from mid-19c. and meaning "the body of an organism," from combining form of Greek sōma (genitive sōmatos) "the body, a human body dead or living, body as opposed to spirit; material substance; mass; a person, human being; the whole body or mass of anything," a word of uncertain origin.ETD somato-.2

    According to Watkins perhaps originally "compactness, swelling," and from PIE root *teue- "to swell," but Beekes finds for it "no convincing etymology." In Homer sōma is typically "dead body," as opposed to demas "living body, bodily shape, outward appearance;" in philosophy it is opposed to psykhē "the soul, mind, spirit." The Greek word also was used generally of material substances and physical masses.ETD somato-.3

    somatoform (n.)

    of bodily symptoms caused by psychological conditions, "lacking a physical or organic cause," by 1978, in somatoform disorder; see somato- + -form.ETD somatoform (n.).2

    somatosensory (adj.)

    in reference to sensations that can occur anywhere on the body, by 1945, from somato- "body" + sensory. An earlier word in a similar sense was somaesthetic (1897).ETD somatosensory (adj.).2

    somber (adj.)

    1760, of places or landscapes, "gloomy, shadowy" (earlier this was sombrous, 1701), from French sombre "dark, gloomy" (14c.), an adjective formed from Late Latin subumbrare "to shadow," from sub "under" (see sub-) + umbra "shade, shadow" (see umbrage). Of feelings, "dismal, melancholy, dull," by 1821. Related: Somberly; somberness.ETD somber (adj.).2

    sombre (adj.)

    chiefly British English spelling of somber (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.ETD sombre (adj.).2

    sombrero (n.)

    type of broad-brimmed felt hat of Spanish origin, widely used in Mexico and South America, 1770, from Spanish sombrero "broad-brimmed hat," originally "umbrella, parasol" (a sense found in English 1590s), from sombra "shade," from Late Latin subumbrare (see somber).ETD sombrero (n.).2

    -some (1)

    word-forming element used in making adjectives from nouns or adjectives (and sometimes verbs) and meaning "tending to; causing; to a considerable degree," from Old English -sum, identical with some, from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with." Cognate with Old Frisian -sum, German -sam, Old Norse -samr; also related to same.ETD -some (1).2

    "It usually indicates the possession of a considerable degree of the quality named: as mettlesome, full of mettle or spirit; gladsome, very glad or joyous" [Century Dictionary]. It is also, disguised, the ending in buxom. For the -some used with numbers (twosome, foursome, etc.), see -some (2).ETD -some (1).3

    -some (2)

    suffix added to numerals meaning "a group of (that number)," as in twosome, from pronoun use of Old English sum "some" (see some). Originally a separate word used with the genitive plural (as in sixa sum "six-some"); the inflection disappeared in Middle English and the pronoun was absorbed. Use of some with a number meaning "approximately" also was in Old English.ETD -some (2).2

    -some (3)

    word-forming element meaning "the body," Modern Latin, from Greek sōma "the body" (see somato-).ETD -some (3).2

    some (adj., pron.)

    Middle English som, "someone, somebody, a certain person; a certain indefinite portion of something, some part," from Old English sum "some, a, a certain one, something, a certain quantity; a certain indefinite number" (as in some say). This is from Proto-Germanic *sumaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German sum, Old Norse sumr, Gothic sums), from a suffixed form of PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with."ETD some (adj., pron.).2

    For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come. As a pronoun from c. 1100, "a certain quantity or number." A possessive form is attested from 1560s but remains rare. Use as a quasi-adverb before numerals began in Old English, originally "out of" (as in sum feowra "one of four").ETD some (adj., pron.).3

    The sense of "in some degree, to some extent" is American English, by 1745. The meaning "remarkable, quite a" is attested from 1808, American English colloquial.ETD some (adj., pron.).4

    Many combination forms (somewhat, sometime, somewhere) were in Middle English but often written as two words before 17-19c. Somewhen is rare and since 19c. used almost exclusively in combination with the more common compounds; somewho "someone" is attested from late 14c. but did not endure. Somewhy appeared occasionally in 19c. Scott (1816) has somegate "somewhere, in some way, somehow," and somekins or somskinnes "some kind of a" is recorded from c. 1200.ETD some (adj., pron.).5

    Get some "have sexual intercourse" is attested 1899 in an anecdote of Abe Lincoln from c. 1840.ETD some (adj., pron.).6

    somebody (n.)

    c. 1300 as two words, from 16c. as one word, "indeterminate person, person unnamed or unknown," from some + body. Used in place of the name of a person whose name is to be unspoken, by c. 1600. The meaning "important person, person of consequence" is from 1560s. Related: Somebodies. Somebody else is from 1640s as "some other person;" in the sense of "romantic rival" it is from 1911.ETD somebody (n.).2

    somedeal (adv.)

    "to some degree (usually smaller or lesser), some degree or amount of, somewhat," Middle English som-del, obsolete in Modern English or reverting to two words, but very common in Old English as sume dæle "some portion; somewhat," probably adverbial use of a noun phrase, from some + deal (n.1).ETD somedeal (adv.).2

    someday (adv.)

    "at some indefinite future date," 1768, from some + day. As two words, in the same sense, from late 14c.; Old English sum dæge was "on a day in the past."ETD someday (adv.).2

    somehow (adv.)

    1660s, "in some way not yet known," from some + how. First attested in phrase somehow or other. Earlier as "in some manner, by some means or other" was someway, someways, from Middle English somes-weies (c. 1200).ETD somehow (adv.).2

    someone (pron.)

    "a certain but unknown person, a person indefinitely considered," by 1848 as one word, as two from c. 1300, sum on; from some + one. Someone else "romantic rival" is from 1914 (somebody else in the same sense is by 1911).ETD someone (pron.).2

    someplace (adv.)

    "at or in a particular unspecified place, somewhere," by 1853 as one word, as two from late 14c., from some + place (n.).ETD someplace (adv.).2

    somersault (n.)

    "a spring or fling in which a person turns heels over head" [Century Dictionary], 1520s, from French sombresault, from Old Provençal sobresaut, from sobre "over" (from Latin supra "over;" see supra-) + saut "a jump," from Latin saltus, from the root of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sometimes it was further corrupted in English to somerset (1590s), sobersault, etc.ETD somersault (n.).2

    somersault (v.)

    "turn heels over head, do a somersault," 1845, from somersault (n.). Related: Somersaulted; somersaulting.ETD somersault (v.).2


    9c., Sumor sæton, from Old English sumorsæta, short for *sumorton sæte "the people who live at (or depend upon) Somerton," a settlement attested from 8c. (Sumertone), and meaning "summer settlement." In 12c. it begins to be unmistakably a place-name (Sumersetescir) not a collective name for a people.ETD Somerset.2

    something (n., pron.)

    Middle English som-thing, from Old English sum þinge "a certain but unknown thing, a thing indefinitely considered;" see some + thing. Hyphenated from c. 1300; one word from 17c.ETD something (n., pron.).2

    From c. 1200 as "a part or portion more or less," also "unspecified act or deed." Formerly also common as an adverb, "in some measure or degree, rather, a little" (as in something like).ETD something (n., pron.).3

    The sense of "some liquor, food, etc." is from 1570s. The sense of "an actual thing, an entity" (opposed to nothing) is from 1580s. The meaning "a thing worthy of consideration, a person of importance" is from 1580s. The emphatic form something else is from 1909. Phrase something for nothing is from 1816. To make something of is from 1778. Phrase or something, indicating indistinctness, is by 1814.ETD something (n., pron.).4

    sometime (adv., adj.)

    late Old English, sumtime, "at one time or another;" see some + time (n.). The sense of "at an indefinite future time" is from late 14c. As an adjective, "former, late, at one time, for a certain time in the past," late 15c. Also in Middle English sumtide (early 14c.). Compare sometimes.ETD sometime (adv., adj.).2

    sometimes (adv.)

    "now and then, at times but not all times," 1520s, from sometime + adverbial genitive -s.ETD sometimes (adv.).2

    someway (adv.)

    also someways, "in some manner, by some means or other," c. 1200, somes-weies ; see some + way (n.).ETD someway (adv.).2

    somewhat (adv.)

    c. 1200, "in a certain amount, to some measure or degree," from some + what. As a noun, early 13c. as "something that is not specified;" late 13c. as "more or less, a little." Replaced Old English sumdæl, sume dæle "somewhat, some portion," literally "some deal" (see somedeal).ETD somewhat (adv.).2

    somewhere (adv.)

    late 12c., "in an unspecified or undetermined place," from some + where. The meaning "elsewhere, in some other place" is from c. 1300; somewhere else is attested from late 14c. A dateline of somewhere in ____ making reference to some locality without identifying it for security or censorship purposes dates from World War I (somewhere in France).ETD somewhere (adv.).2

    somewhile (adv.)

    "at one time or another, from time to time," late Old English, sum wile "some time;" see some + while (n.). Also somewhiles, Middle English som-whiles (c. 1200). Now rare in either form.ETD somewhile (adv.).2

    somewhither (adv.)

    late 14c., som-whider, "in some direction, to some place or other," from some + whither. By mid-15c. as "to some place or other."ETD somewhither (adv.).2

    somewise (adv.)

    "in some way or manner," mid-15c., from some + wise (n.).ETD somewise (adv.).2

    sommelier (n.)

    wine waiter, 1889, a French word in English, from French sommelier "a butler," originally an officer who had charge of provisions (13c.), from somme "pack" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *salma, corruption of sagma "a pack-saddle," later the pack on the saddle (Isidore of Seville). Also borrowed in 16c.ETD sommelier (n.).2

    somnambulation (n.)

    "act of walking in sleep," 1789, noun of action; see somnambulism.ETD somnambulation (n.).2

    somnambulism (n.)

    1786, "walking in one's sleep or under hypnosis," from French somnambulisme, from Modern Latin somnambulus "sleepwalker," from Latin somnus "sleep" (from PIE root *swep- "to sleep") + ambulare "to walk" (see amble (v.)). The word emerged during the excitement over "animal magnetism" and won out over noctambulation.ETD somnambulism (n.).2

    A stack of related words came into English use early 19c.: somnambulance, somnambulation, etc. As a noun for "sleepwalker, one who walks in sleep," somnambulist (1783, Beilby Porteus, "Sermons on Several Subjects"); somnambule (1837, from French somnambule, 1690s); somnambulator (1803); somnambulant (1819). As adjectives, "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of sleepwalking," somnambulic (1819); somnambulistic (1817); somnambulous (1799); somnambulary (1827), somnambular (1820).ETD somnambulism (n.).3

    somnambulate (v.)

    "walk in one's sleep," 1821, probably a back-formation from somnambulism, from French somnambulisme, from Modern Latin somnambulus "sleepwalker," from Latin somnus "sleep" (from PIE root *swep- "to sleep") + ambulare "to walk" (see amble (v.)). Also sometimes transitive, "walk on or over in sleep." Related: Somnambulated; somnambulator; somnambulating. Alternative verb somnambulize, somnambulise is by 1832.ETD somnambulate (v.).2

    somnambulance (n.)

    "act of walking about and performing apparently purposive acts while in a state between sleeping and waking," 1825; see somnambulism + -ance.ETD somnambulance (n.).2

    somnambulant (adj.)

    "walking in sleep," 1832; see somnambulism + -ant. Earlier as a noun, "a sleepwalker," 1819.ETD somnambulant (adj.).2


    before vowels somn-, word-forming element meaning "sleep," from combining form of Latin somnus "sleep, slumber," from PIE root *swep- "to sleep."ETD somni-.2

    somnial (adj.)

    "pertaining to or involving sleep," 1690s; see somni- + -al (1).ETD somnial (adj.).2

    somniculous (adj.)

    "inclined to sleep, drowsy," 1650s, from a Latin diminutive of somnus "sleep, drowsiness," from PIE *swep-no-, suffixed form of root *swep- "to sleep."ETD somniculous (adj.).2

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