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    substantive (n.) — sufficiency (n.)

    substantive (n.)

    late 14c., substantif, in grammatical use, "noun, part of speech that can be the subject or object of a verb," from Old French substantif and Latin substantivus, noun use of adjective, etymologically "self-existent, of substance or being" (see substantive (adj.)).ETD substantive (n.).2

    The adjective was used as a noun in Late Latin, short for nomen substantivum, "name or word of substance" (opposed to nomen adjectivum, name of an attribute, "that which is added"). It translates the Greek grammarians' hyparktikon.ETD substantive (n.).3

    substantial (adj.)

    mid-14c., substancial, "ample, sizeable," from Old French substantiel (13c.) and directly from Latin substantialis "having substance or reality, material," in Late Latin "pertaining to the substance or essence," from substantia "being, essence, material" (see substance).ETD substantial (adj.).2

    The meaning "existing, being a substance, having real existence" is from late 14c. Also from late 14c. in philosophy and theology, "pertaining to the very nature of a thing," hence "central, basic, involving an essential part or point. Also by late 14c. of solid material, "firm, hard."ETD substantial (adj.).3

    Related: Substantially; substantialist; substantialism; substantiality. Alternative adjective substantious (1610s) and the noun substantiousness did not stick.ETD substantial (adj.).4

    substantiation (n.)

    1760, "embodiment, act of giving substance to;" 1832, "the making good of a statement, the act of proving," noun of action from substantiate. An earlier noun was substantiality (late 15c., substancialite), "quality of being essential," from Latin substantialitas.ETD substantiation (n.).2

    substantiate (v.)

    1650s, "make real, to give substance to," from Modern Latin substantiatus, past participle of substantiare, from Latin substantia "being, essence, material" (see substance). The meaning "verify, demonstrate or prove by evidence" is attested from 1803. Related: Substantiated; substantiating.ETD substantiate (v.).2

    substation (n.)

    also sub-station, "building, office, or facility subordinate to another," 1864 in the police-station sense, from sub- + station (n.). The power-grid sense is attested from 1889.ETD substation (n.).2

    substitution (n.)

    late 14c., substitucion, "appointment of a subordinate or successor" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French substitucion, substitution or directly from Late Latin substitutionem (nominative substitutio) "a putting in place of (another)," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin substituere "put in place of another, place under or next to, present, submit," from sub "under" (see sub-) + statuere "set up" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm").ETD substitution (n.).2

    By 1888 in the general sense of "act of substituting." In algebra by 1710. In grammar, by 1728 as "use of one word for another," a sense now obsolete; by 1876 in reference to vowel sounds. Related: Substitutial; substitutiary; substitutive; substitutory; substitutivity.ETD substitution (n.).3

    substitute (n.)

    "one who acts in place of another," early 15c., from Old French substitut (noun use) and directly from Latin substitutus, past participle of substituere "put in place of another" (see substitution).ETD substitute (n.).2

    The military sense of "one who for a consideration serves in place of a conscript" is by 1777, American English; the team-sports sense of "player who replaces another after the game has begun" is by 1849 (cricket). In reference to foodstuffs, "artificial ingredient in place of a natural one," by 1879. As an adjective from early 15c.ETD substitute (n.).3

    substitute (v.)

    early 15c., substituten, transitive, "appoint (someone) to a position (in place of another)," a sense now obsolete, from Latin substitutus, past participle of substituere "put in place of another" (see substitution). The general sense of "put in place of another" in English is by 1580s.ETD substitute (v.).2

    The intransitive meaning "act as a substitute" is by 1888. Related: Substituted; substituting.ETD substitute (v.).3

    substract (v.)

    "to subtract" in any sense, 1540s, "Now illiterate" [OED], "An erroneous form of subtract, common in vulgar use" [Century Dictionary], from Modern Latin substractus, past participle of substrahere, an alternative form of subtrahere "take away" (see subtraction). The form probably is suggested by abstract (v.) from Latin abstrahere. Related: Subtracted; subtracting; substrahend.ETD substract (v.).2

    substrate (n.)

    1810, "a substratum, that which is laid or spread under" in any sense, from Modern Latin substratum, noun use of neuter singular past participle of Latin substernere "to spread underneath," from sub "under, below, beneath" (see sub-) + sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out" (from nasalized form of PIE root *stere- "to spread"). For linguistics use, see substratum.ETD substrate (n.).2

    substratum (n.)

    "that which is laid or spread under," originally in theology and metaphysics, 1630s, from Modern Latin substratum (plural substrata), noun use of neuter singular past participle of Latin substernere "to spread underneath," from sub "under, below, beneath" (see sub-) + sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out" (from nasalized form of PIE root *stere- "to spread").ETD substratum (n.).2

    Of material situations, "anything that underlays" (1670s); in agriculture, "subsoil." In linguistics by 1922 in reference to elements of a mother tongue carried into a different language by people who adopt one in place of the other. Compare stratum.ETD substratum (n.).3

    substructure (n.)

    1726, "foundation, part of a building which supports another part," from sub- + structure (n.). Earlier in this sense was substruction (1620s). Related: Substructural. Emerson (1847) used substruct (v.) "place beneath as a foundation."ETD substructure (n.).2

    subsume (v.)

    1580s, in logic, intransitive, "state a minor premise," from Modern Latin subsumere "to take under," from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + sumere "to take, obtain, buy," from sus‑, variant of sub‑ "up from under" + emere "to take" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute").ETD subsume (v.).2

    Hence generally "state (a case) under a general rule," by 1825. Related: Subsumed; subsuming; subsumptive; subsumption.ETD subsume (v.).3

    subsurface (n.)

    an under-surface, 1778, from sub- "under, beneath" + surface (n.). As an adjective, "being or occurring under the surface," by 1875.ETD subsurface (n.).2

    subtenant (n.)

    "one who rents a house or land from a tenant," mid-15c., from sub- "subordinate" + tenant (n.). Related: Subtenancy.ETD subtenant (n.).2

    subtend (v.)

    1560s, "extend under or be opposite to," a term in geometry, from Latin subtendere "to stretch underneath," from sub "under" (see sub-) + tendere "to stretch" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Related: Subtended; subtending; subtense.ETD subtend (v.).2

    subtentacular (adj.)

    "situated under the tentacle or tentacles," 1841, from sub- "under, beneath" + tentacle (n.).ETD subtentacular (adj.).2

    subterfuge (n.)

    "that to which one resorts for an escape or concealment; an artifice to escape," 1570s, from French subterfuge (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin subterfugium "an evasion," from Latin subterfugere "to evade, escape, flee by stealth," from subter "beneath, below;" in compounds "secretly" (from PIE *sup-ter-, comparative form of *(s)up-; see sub-) + fugere "flee" (see fugitive (adj.)).ETD subterfuge (n.).2

    In English subter- sometimes is a word-forming element, "under, below, less than," in opposition to super-. Compare subterfluous "running under water" (1650s); subterconscious (adj.), 1856; subternatural "subnormal" (1870); subterhuman (1833).ETD subterfuge (n.).3

    subterranean (adj.)

    "situated or occurring below the ground," c. 1600, with -an + Latin subterraneus "underground," from sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + terra "earth, the ground" (see terra). Alternative adjectives include subterraneal (1590s); subterraneous; subterrene.ETD subterranean (adj.).2

    subtext (n.)

    also sub-text, in theater, "underlying theme of a work of literature," 1950, from sub- + text (n.). A term in Konstantin Stanislavsky's theory of acting. Earlier it had been used in a literal sense of "text appearing below other text on a page" (1726). Latin subtextere meant "to weave under, work in below."ETD subtext (n.).2

    subtile (adj.)

    c. 1300, sotil; the modern form is attested from late 14c., "clever, dexterous, crafty;" of fluids, "not dense, thin, rarefied;" of fabrics, "of fine or delicate texture;" from Old French subtil (14c.), a learned Latinized reformation of earlier sotil (12c.), source of subtle (q.v.).ETD subtile (adj.).2

    It is a doublet or variant of subtle, originally used in all the same senses. Some lines of Chaucer that have the word alternate between the two spellings in different transcriptions. And compare subtilty, a late 14c. variant of subtlety altered by influence of this word.ETD subtile (adj.).3

    Subtile still is used in some Bible translations in Genesis iii.1, and it survived past 17c. in some material senses ("fine, delicately constituted, thin") as a parallel formation to subtle. Related: Subtilly; subtilely.ETD subtile (adj.).4

    subtility (n.)

    late 14c., "acuteness, skill, cunning," an alteration of subtlety (q.v.) on model of subtile, or else from Old French subtilite, from Latin subtilitas "fineness, simplicity." It had formerly all the senses of subtlety, but now is used in the material senses associated with subtile.ETD subtility (n.).2

    subtilize (v.)

    1590s, "render thin or rare; refine, make less gross," also "split hairs;" from Medieval Latin subtilizare, from Latin subtilis (see subtle). It is attested from 1640s in reference to the mind or senses, "render acute or penetrating." Related: Subtilized; subtilizing; subtilization.ETD subtilize (v.).2

    subtitle (n.)

    also sub-title, 1825, in reference to literary works, "secondary, subordinate, or additional title," usually explanatory, from sub- "under, subordinate" + title (n.). Applied by 1908 to captions on motion pictures. As a verb from 1858 in the literary sense. Related: Subtitled.ETD subtitle (n.).2

    subtle (adj.)

    c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), sotil, "penetrating; ingenious; refined" (of the mind); "sophisticated, intricate, abstruse" (of arguments), from Old French sotil, soutil, subtil "adept, adroit; cunning, wise; detailed; well-crafted" (12c., Modern French subtil), from Latin subtilis "fine, thin, delicate, finely woven;" figuratively "precise, exact, accurate," in taste or judgment, "fine, keen," of style, "plain, simple, direct."ETD subtle (adj.).2

    This is from sub "under" (see sub-) + -tilis, from tela "web, net, warp of a fabric" (from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate"). According to Watkins, the notion is of the "thread passing under the warp" as the finest thread. The English word has been partially re-Latinized in spelling, and altered by confusion with subtile.ETD subtle (adj.).3

    It is attested from early 14c. in English in reference to things, "of thin consistency;" in reference to craftsmen, "artful, skilled, clever." The depreciative sense of "insidious, treacherously cunning; deceitful" is attested from mid-14c.ETD subtle (adj.).4

    The material senses of "not dense or viscous, light; pure; delicate, thin, slender; fine, consisting of small particles" are from late 14c. Sotil wares were goods sold in powdered form or finely ground.ETD subtle (adj.).5

    subtlety (n.)

    c. 1300, sotilte, "skill, ingenuity," from Old French sotilte "skillfulness, cunning" (Modern French subtilité), from Latin subtilitatem (nominative subtilitas) "fineness; simplicity, slenderness," noun of quality from subtilis "fine, thin, delicate" (see subtle). From late 14c. as "cleverness, shrewdness; trickery, guile, craftiness," also "thinness, slenderness, smallness; rarity." The -b- begins to appear late 14c. in English, in imitation of Latin.ETD subtlety (n.).2

    A noun subtiliation is attested by late 14c. (subtiliacioun) as "the thinning of a substance," from Medieval LatinETD subtlety (n.).3

    subtly (adv.)

    early 14c., solilli, sotylleche "ingeniously, cleverly, intelligently;" see subtle + -ly (2). From mid-14c. as "skillfully, carefully," also "with insidious cunning, slyly." By late 14c. as "secretly, furtively."ETD subtly (adv.).2

    subtotal (n.)

    also sub-total, "an intermediate total," 1906, from sub- + total (n.). The verb is attested from 1916. Related: Subtotaled; subtotaling.ETD subtotal (n.).2

    subtraction (n.)

    c. 1400, subtracioun, "withdrawal, removal" (a sense now obsolete), from Late Latin subtractionem (nominative subtractio) "a drawing back, taking away," from past participle stem of Latin subtrahere "take away, draw off, draw from below," from sub "from under" (see sub-) + trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).ETD subtraction (n.).2

    The arithmetical sense of "the taking of one quantity or number from another" is attested from early 15c.ETD subtraction (n.).3

    subtract (v.)

    1530s, "withdraw, withhold, take away" (transitive), a back-formation from subtraction (q.v.), or else from Latin subtractus, past participle of subtrahere "take away, draw off." Related: Subtracted; subtracting. Mathematical calculation sense is from 1550s. Earlier verb form was subtraien (early 15c. in the mathematical sense), which is directly from the Latin verb.ETD subtract (v.).2

    subtrahend (n.)

    in mathematics, "the number to be taken from another," 1670s, from Latin subtrahendus (numerus) "(number) to be subtracted," from gerundive of subtrahere "take away, draw off" (see subtraction).ETD subtrahend (n.).2

    subtreasury (n.)

    also sub-treasury, "a subordinate treasury, a branch of a national treasury," 1837, American-English, from sub- "subordinate" + treasury (n.).ETD subtreasury (n.).2

    subtropical (adj.)

    also sub-tropical, 1830, "between tropical and temperate," in reference to climate, natural life, etc., from sub- "near, next below" + tropical. More generally, "bordering on the tropics," by 1865. A noun subtropic is attested from 1886.ETD subtropical (adj.).2

    suburb (n.)

    early 14c., "outlying area of a town or city, area just outside the walls," whether agricultural or residential but frequently residential, from Old French suburbe "suburb of a town," from Latin suburbium "an outlying part of a city" (especially Rome), from sub "below, near" (see sub-) + urbs (genitive urbis) "city" (see urban).ETD suburb (n.).2

    Usually plural. Glossed in Old English as underburg. Lying just beyond the reach of municipal jurisdiction, suburbs had a bad reputation in 17c. England, especially those of London, and suburban had a sense of "inferior, debased, licentious" (as in suburban sinner, slang for "loose woman, prostitute"). By 1817, the tinge had shifted to "of inferior manners and narrow views." Compare also French equivalent faubourg.ETD suburb (n.).3

    suburbanize (v.)

    "render suburban," 1888 (implied in suburbanized), from suburban + -ize. Related: Suburbanizing. Also suburbanise.ETD suburbanize (v.).2

    suburbanization (n.)

    "act or condition of suburbanizing," 1898, noun of action from suburbanize. Also suburbanisation.ETD suburbanization (n.).2

    suburban (adj.)

    "pertaining to or inhabiting the suburbs," 1620s, from suburb + -an. Somewhat earlier were suburbian (from Old French), suburbial (c. 1600). Latin had suburbanus "near the city" (of Rome), and in Church Latin suburbicarian was applied to the six diocese near Rome. Suburban sprawl is attested by 1939.ETD suburban (adj.).2

    suburbanite (n.)

    "resident of the suburbs," 1862, from suburban + -ite (1). Middle English used suburban (n.) in this sense (mid-14c.). An Old English word for "suburbanites" was underburhware.ETD suburbanite (n.).2

    suburbia (n.)

    "the suburbs," 1874, British English, at first generally in reference to London; from suburb + -ia, perhaps on the model of utopia.ETD suburbia (n.).2

    It is attested by 1890s in a U.S. context:ETD suburbia (n.).3

    The word was associated by 1921 with U.S. sociologist Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), who shaped the image of it.ETD suburbia (n.).4

    subvention (n.)

    early 15c., subvencioun, "a special tax levied by the state" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French subvencion "support, assistance, taxation" (14c.), from Late Latin subventionem (nominative subventio) "assistance," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin subvenire "come to one's aid, assist, reinforce." This is from sub "up to" (see sub-) + venire "to come" (from suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- "to go, come").ETD subvention (n.).2

    It is attested by mid-15c. as "provision of relief," and by 1851 as "grant of money for the support of an institution." English also has used subvene (1756) "come under as a support or stay," from French, from Latin subvenire.ETD subvention (n.).3

    subversion (n.)

    late 14c., subversioun, "physical destruction, demolition, ruination; overthrow of a system or law," from Old French subversion "downfall, overthrow" (12c.), from Late Latin subversionem (nominative subversio) "an overthrow, ruin, destruction," noun of action from past-participle stem of subvertere "turn upside down, overturn, overthrow" (see subvert).ETD subversion (n.).2

    subversive (adj.)

    "tending to subvert," 1640s, from Latin subvers-, past-participle stem of subvertere "turn upside down, overturn, overthrow" (see subvert) + -ive. As a noun, by 1887, "one who seeks to overthrow a political regime." Related: Subversively; subversiveness.ETD subversive (adj.).2

    subvert (v.)

    late 14c., subverten, "to raze, destroy, overthrow, overturn" (senses now obsolete), also in a general sense, "disturb, overturn" (a condition, order, etc.), from Old French subvertir "overthrow, destroy" (13c.), or directly from Latin subvertere "to turn upside down, overturn, overthrow," from sub "under" (see sub-) + vertere "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). Related: Subverted; subverting.ETD subvert (v.).2

    sub voce

    "under a word specified," Latin, literally "under the word or heading." A common reference in dictionaries, and in them usually abbreviated s.v.ETD sub voce.2

    subway (n.)

    1825, "underground passage" (for water pipes or pedestrians, later for electrical wires), from sub- + way (n.). The sense of "underground railway in a city" is recorded by 1892, in reference to London.ETD subway (n.).2


    the usual form of sub- before -c-, an assimiliation from Latin.ETD suc-.2

    succeed (v.)

    late 14c., succeden, intransitive and transitive, "come next after, follow after another; take the place of another," especially "be heir to, be successor to" also "be elected or chosen for" a position, from Old French succeder "to follow on" (14c.) and directly from Latin succedere "come after, follow after; go near to; come under; take the place of," also "go from under, mount up, ascend," hence "get on well, prosper, be victorious." This is from sub "next to, after" (see sub-) + cedere "go, move" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield").ETD succeed (v.).2

    In reference to deeds or dealings, the sense of "turn out well, arrive at a happy issue, have a favorable result, terminate according to desire" in English is by early 15c., with ellipsis of adverb (succeed well). Of persons, "to be successful," from c. 1500. Related: Succeeded; succeeder; succeeding; succedent "following, consequent."ETD succeed (v.).3

    succedaneous (adj.)

    "supplying the place of something else," 1640s, with -ous + Latin succedaneus "succeeding, acting as substitute" (see succeed).ETD succedaneous (adj.).2

    The noun succedaneum (the Latin neuter form) is attested by 1660s, earlier Englished as succedane (c. 1600), succedany (1650s), "a substitute, one who or that which supplies the place of another," especially of inferior drugs substituted for better ones. Related: Succedaneal.ETD succedaneous (adj.).3

    success (n.)

    1530s, "result, outcome, termination of an affair," from Latin successus "an advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome," noun use of past participle of succedere "come after, follow after; go near to; come under; take the place of," also "go from under, mount up, ascend," hence "get on well, prosper, be victorious." This is from sub "next to, after" (see sub-) + cedere "go, move" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield").ETD success (n.).2

    The meaning "accomplishment of desired end, favorable or propitious termination of anything attempted" is by 1580s, with ellipsis of adjective (as in good success), which is attested by 1540s. The original neutral sense was obsolete from 18c. In 16c.-17c. also "succession, order of sequence." The meaning "thing or person which succeeds," especially in public, is from 1882.ETD success (n.).3

    Success story "an account of a success" is attested from 1902. Among the French phrases reported by OED as in use in English late 19c. were succès d'estime "cordial reception given to a literary work out of respect rather than admiration" and succès de scandale "success (especially of a work of art) dependent upon its scandalous character."ETD success (n.).4

    succession (n.)

    early 14c., successioun, "fact or right of succeeding someone by inheritance," from Old French succession "inheritance; a following on" (13c.) and directly from Latin successionem (nominative successio) "a following after, a coming into another's place, result," noun of action from successus, past participle of succedere (see succeed).ETD succession (n.).2

    The meaning "fact of being later in time" is late 14c. The meaning "a regular sequence, a following of things in order" is from mid-15c.ETD succession (n.).3

    successful (adj.)

    1580s, of persons or actions, "achieving or resulting in the accomplishment of what is intended or desired," from success (n.) + -ful.ETD successful (adj.).2

    Originally having or resulting in any kind of success; by 1870 it was being used to mean "wealthy, resulting in financial prosperity" and soon was generally so unless otherwise indicated. Related: Successfully; successfulness.ETD successful (adj.).3

    successive (adj.)

    early 15c., successif, "following one after another in time or order; having successive stages or parts," from Old French successif and directly from Medieval Latin successivus "successive," from success-, stem of Latin succedere "to come after" (see succeed). Related: Successively; successiveness.ETD successive (adj.).2

    successlessness (n.)

    "want of success," 1640s, from success + -less + -ness. At 15 characters it seems to be the shortest current English word with four double letters.ETD successlessness (n.).2

    successor (n.)

    "one who or that which comes after and replaces another," c. 1300, successour, from Anglo-French successor and Old French successour "successor, heir" (12c., Modern French successeur), from Latin successor "follower, successor," agent noun from past-participle stem of succedere "to come after" (see succeed). Related: Successory.ETD successor (n.).2

    succinct (adj.)

    early 15c., succincte, "engirdled, having one's waist encircled," from Latin succinctus "contracted, short, concise," also "prepared, ready," past participle of succingere "tuck up; gird from below," also, in transferred use, "surround; furnish, provide, equip." This is from assimilated form of sub "up from under" (see sub-) + cingere "to gird" (see cinch (n.)). The Latin sense development is perhaps "tuck up," hence "gird about (with armor and arms)," hence "be armed, be prepared;" or perhaps the notion is "tuck up loose clothes or tighten one's belt for action."ETD succinct (adj.).2

    The sense of "characterized by brevity, concise, compressed into a small compass or few words" is recorded in English by 1530s (implied in succinctly). Also of garments, "girdled" (c. 1600). Related: Succinctness.ETD succinct (adj.).3

    succinctly (adv.)

    1530s, "briefly, concisely," from succinct + -ly (2).ETD succinctly (adv.).2

    succinite (n.)

    amber-colored mineral, a variety of garnet, 1816, with -ite (1) + Latin succinum "amber," which Klein calls a loan word from a Northern European language that has been assimilated in form to Latin succus, sucus "juice, sap." Related: Succinic (from French succinique); succineous "resembling amber" (1650s, Blount); succinous "pertaining to or resembling amber" (Century Dictionary).ETD succinite (n.).2

    succor (n.)

    c. 1200, socour, earlier socours "aid, help," from Anglo-French succors "help, aid," Old French socors, sucurres "aid, help, assistance" (Modern French secours), from Medieval Latin succursus "help, assistance," from past participle of Latin succurrere "run to help, hasten to the aid of." This is from assimilated form of sub "up to" (see sub-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run").ETD succor (n.).2

    The final -s was mistaken in English as a plural inflection and dropped late 13c. The meaning "one who aids or helps" is from c. 1300. Stanyhurst's "Aeneid" has succoress "a female helper."ETD succor (n.).3

    succor (v.)

    late 13c., socouren, "to help or relieve when in difficulty," from Old French secorer, succurre "to help, assist" (Modern French secourir), from Latin succurrere "to help, assist" (see succor (n.)). Related: Succored; succoring; succorable.ETD succor (v.).2

    succotash (n.)

    1751, suckatash, name of a native dish, from a word in a Southern New England Algonquian language, such as Narragansett misckquatash "boiled whole kernels of corn." Used by 1793 in New England in reference to a dish of boiled corn and green beans (especially lima beans).ETD succotash (n.).2


    chiefly British English spelling of succor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.ETD succour.2

    succubus (n.)

    "demon fabled to have sexual intercourse with humans in their sleep," late 14c., an alteration of Late Latin succuba "strumpet," also applied to a fiend (generally in female form) having sexual connection with men in their sleep. This is from succubare "to lie under," from assimilated form of sub "under" (see sub-) + cubare "to lie down" (see cubicle).ETD succubus (n.).2

    The altered form in English appears to be after incubus, and it gives a Latin masculine form to a word for a demon generally felt as female. Succuba is attested in English in this sense from 1580s. Related: Succubine (adj.); succubate (v.) "have carnal knowledge of a man" (as a succuba), from the Latin past participle. The transferred sense of succuba in classical Latin was "a supplanter, a rival."ETD succubus (n.).3

    succulent (adj.)

    "full of juice," especially of plants or their parts, c. 1600, from French succulent (16c.), from Latin succulentus "having juice, juicy," from succus "juice, sap;" related to sugere "to suck," and possibly cognate with Old English socian "to soak," sucan "to suck" (see sup (v.2)). The noun meaning "plant with juicy tissues" is by 1825. Related: Succulently.ETD succulent (adj.).2

    succulence (n.)

    "juiciness," 1787, from succulent + -ence. Related: Succulency (1610s).ETD succulence (n.).2

    succumb (v.)

    late 15c. (Caxton), transitive, "bring down, bring low," a rare sense now obsolete; from Old French succomber "succumb, die, lose one's (legal) case," and directly from Latin succumbere "submit, surrender, yield, be overcome; sink down; lie under; cohabit with," from assimilated form of sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + -cumbere "take a reclining position," related to cubare "lie down" (see cubicle).ETD succumb (v.).2

    The usual sense of "sink or give way under pressure or superior force" is recorded by c. 1600. As a euphemism for "to die," from 1849 on the notion of succumb to disease, injury, etc. Related: Succumbed; succumbing; succumbent; succumbence.ETD succumb (v.).3

    such (adj., pron.)

    "of that kind, of the like kind or degree," as a pronoun, "such a person or thing," c. 1200, swich, from Old English swylc, swilc "just as, as, in like manner; as if, as though; such a one, he" (pronoun and adjective), from a Proto-Germanic compound *swalikaz "so formed," from *swa "so" (see so) + *likan "form," source of Old English gelic "similar" (see like (adj.)).ETD such (adj., pron.).2

    The prehistoric compound also is the source of Old Saxon sulik, Old Norse slikr, Old Frisian selik, Middle Dutch selc, Dutch zulk, Old High German sulih, German solch, Gothic swaleiks.ETD such (adj., pron.).3

    Colloquial suchlike "of the sort previously mentioned; so forth" (early 15c., swich-lik) is pleonastic. Middle English also had an adjective-pronoun suchkin and suchwise "of such a kind" (both late 14c.). No such thing "not at all, nothing at all" is by 1530s.ETD such (adj., pron.).4

    suck (n.)

    c. 1300, "suction by the mouth; nourishment from the breast," from suck (v.). By 1620s as "small drink of liquid;" by 1660s in reference to the drawing of air in a vent, etc.; by 1778 in reference to the sucking action of a whirlpool or eddy.ETD suck (n.).2

    suck (v.)

    Middle English souken, from Old English sucan "draw liquid into the mouth by action of the tongue and lips," especially "draw milk from the breast or udder," from Proto-Germanic *suk- (source also of Old Saxon sugan, Old High German sugan, Old Norse suga, Danish suge, Swedish suga, Middle Dutch sughen, Dutch zuigen, German saugen "to suck"), from PIE root seue- "to take liquid," perhaps imitative, the source also of Latin sugere "to suck," succus "juice, sap;" Old Irish sugim, Welsh sugno "to suck." Compare sup (v.2). Related: Sucked; sucking.ETD suck (v.).2

    In reference to blood by mid-14c., of biting flies, etc. To suck the blood of figuratively as "to exhaust" is by 1580s. The disdainful slang expression suck eggs is attested by 1906; a suck-egg (c. 1600) was "a young fellow," also "silly person," but also an avaricious one, the last from the image of animals (especially the weasel) reputed to suck eggs. Sucks (n.) as an expression of contempt (sucks to you) is by 1913.ETD suck (v.).3

    The meaning "do fellatio" is recorded by 1928. The slang sense of "be contemptible" is attested by 1971 (the underlying notion is felt as fellatio).ETD suck (v.).4

    To suck hind tit "be inferior" is American English slang recorded by 1940.ETD suck (v.).5

    sucker (n.)

    late 14c., souker, "one who feeds from the breast; young mammal before it is weaned," agent noun from suck (v.).ETD sucker (n.).2

    The slang meaning "person who is easily deceived" is attested by 1836, American English, on notion of naivete; but another theory traces the slang meaning to the fish called a sucker (so called by 1753), on the notion of being easy to catch in their annual migrations (the fish is so called from the shape of its mouth). Sucker is attested around the same time (1838) as "a parasite, sponger," and the "easily deceived person" sense might be influenced by this ("likely victim of a swindle").ETD sucker (n.).3

    As a type of candy from 1823; especially "lollipop" by 1907. The meaning "shoot from a subterranean stem of a tree or plant" is from 1570s. Also the old name of inhabitants of Illinois.ETD sucker (n.).4

    sucker (v.)

    "to deceive, to make a dupe of," by 1939, American English, from sucker (n.) in the related sense. Earlier "strip the suckers or shoots from" (a plant), 1660s. Related: Suckered; suckering.ETD sucker (v.).2

    suckerpunch (n.)

    also sucker-punch, 1926, from sucker in the "dupe" sense + punch (n.3). Figurative use by 1929. As a verb by 1942. Related: Sucker-punched.ETD suckerpunch (n.).2

    suckling (n.)

    mid-15c., sukeling, "infant at the breast," from suck + diminutive suffix -ling. Similar formation in Middle Dutch sogeling, Dutch zuigeling, German Säugling.ETD suckling (n.).2

    The meaning "calf or other young mammal not yet weaned" is from 1520s. The meaning "act of breast-feeding" is attested from 1799. The adjectival sense of "not yet weaned" is from 1688.ETD suckling (n.).3

    suckle (v.)

    "give suck to, nurse at the breast," c. 1400, perhaps a causative or frequentative form of Middle English suken "to suck" (see suck), with frequentative -le (see -el (3)), but OED suggests instead a back-formation from suckling (though this word is attested only from mid-15c.). Related: Suckled; suckling.ETD suckle (v.).2

    sucre (n.)

    monetary unit of Ecuador, 1886, named for Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), Venezuelan general and liberator of Ecuador.ETD sucre (n.).2


    before vowels sucr-, scientific word-forming element meaning "sugar," from Latinized combining form of French sucre "sugar" (see sugar (n.)).ETD sucro-.2

    sucrose (n.)

    "cane-sugar, white crystalline sugar used as a sweetener," 1857, from French sucre "sugar" (see sugar (n.)) + chemical suffix -ose (2).ETD sucrose (n.).2

    suction (n.)

    1620s, "act or process of sucking," from Late Latin suctionem (nominative suctio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin sugere "to suck" (see sup (v.2)). As "action produced by a vacuum," it is attested by 1650s.ETD suction (n.).2

    suctorial (adj.)

    1826, "pertaining to or adapted for sucking," from Modern Latin suctorius, from suct-, past-participle stem of Latin sugere "to suck" (see sup (v.2)). The meaning "having a sucking organ" is from 1829. Earlier suctorious (1815) in the same sense is rare. Related: Suctorian "a suctorial animal" (1842).ETD suctorial (adj.).2

    suds (n.)

    1540s, "dregs, leavings, muck" (a sense now obsolete), a word of uncertain etymology. By 1590s it is used among writers from East Anglia as "ooze left by flood," and according to OED this might be the original English sense. The word is perhaps borrowed from Middle Dutch sudse "marsh, bog," or related words in Frisian and Low German that are related to Old English soden "boiled," from Proto-Germanic *suth-, from PIE *seut- "to seethe, boil" (see seethe).ETD suds (n.).2

    The meaning "soapy water" dates from 1580s; the slang meaning "beer" is attested by 1904. The verb, "cover with suds," is by 1834. Related: Sudsy (1866). Sudser for "soap opera" is by 1968 in the New Yorker.ETD suds (n.).3


    1842, from Arabic Bilad-al-sudan, "country of the Blacks," a term used vaguely for Africa between the Sahara and the Equator, from sud, plural of aswad (fem. sauda) "black." In English use gradually restricted to the country south of Egypt. In early use also in French spelling, Soudan. Related: Sudanese.ETD Sudan.2

    sudarium (n.)

    "handkerchief for perspiration, napkin for wiping the face," especially in reference to the cloth of St. Veronica, on which an image of Christ's face was believed to be imprinted, c. 1600, from Latin sudare "to sweat," from sudor "sweat" (see sweat (n.)). Middle English had the word in nativized form sudary (mid-14c.).ETD sudarium (n.).2

    sudatory (adj.)

    "producing sweat, accompanied by or connected with sweating," 1590s, from Latin sudatorius, from past-participle stem of sudare "to sweat," from sudor "sweat" (see sweat (v.)).ETD sudatory (adj.).2

    sudatorium (n.)

    "room in a bath for sweating, hot-air bath for producing perspiration" (plural sudatoria), 1756, from Latin, from sudatus, past participle of sudare "to sweat," from sudor "sweat" (see sweat (v.)) + -orium (see -ory). Earlier in an Engished form as sudatory (1610s).ETD sudatorium (n.).2

    sudden (adj.)

    late 13c., sodein, sodaine, of actions, events, conditions, "unexpected, unforeseen;" also "happening all at once and without notice;" from Anglo-French sudein, sodein or directly from Old French sodain, subdain "immediate, sudden" (Modern French soudain). This is from Vulgar Latin *subitanus, a variant of Latin subitaneus "sudden," from subitus past participle of subire "go under; occur secretly, come or go up stealthily," from sub "up to" (see sub-) + ire "come, go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go").ETD sudden (adj.).2

    The noun meaning "that which is sudden, a sudden need or emergency" is attested by 1550s, from the adjective, but is obsolete save for all of a sudden "sooner than expected," a phrase attested by 1680s (earlier of a sudayn, 1590s; upon the soden, 1550s).ETD sudden (adj.).3

    Sudden death is from c. 1400 in a literal sense, "summary death." In sports, with reference to tie-breakers, it is attested by 1927, probably from earlier use in reference to coin tosses (1834), as opposed to two-out-of-three, etc. Related: Suddenness.ETD sudden (adj.).4

    suddenly (adv.)

    "all at once, in an instant; unexpectedly, without warning," late 13c., sodeinli; see sudden + -ly (2).ETD suddenly (adv.).2

    suddenty (n.)

    late 14c., sodeinte, "fact of happening all at once, instantaneousness; an unexpected event," from Old French soudainete, from sodain (see sudden (adj.)).ETD suddenty (n.).2

    Preserved or re-formed in Scottish English; Scott uses it as "suddenness." The later version of Wycliffe, in Wisdom of Solomon v.2 has Thei schulen wondre in the sudeynte of heelthe vnhopid where KJV has [They] shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for.ETD suddenty (n.).3

    Sudeten (adj.)

    1937, from German, named for the Sudeten Mountains; mentioned by Ptolemy (2c.) but the name is of unknown origin, perhaps Illyrian. Earlier was Sudetic (1907).ETD Sudeten (adj.).2

    sudorific (adj.)

    "causing sweat, promoting perspiration," 1620s, from Latin sudor "perspiration" (see sweat (n.)) + -ficus "making, doing," from combining form of facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD sudorific (adj.).2

    Distinguished from sudoriparous "secreting sweat" (1851), from Modern Latin (see -parous); and sudoriferous "producing sweat" (1590s). Chauliac (early 15c.) used sudor for "sweat" in Middle English and sudatory "medicinal drug which induces sweating." Sudoral "of or pertaining to sweat" is by 1876.ETD sudorific (adj.).3


    fem. proper name, a shortened or familiar form of Susan.ETD Sue.2

    sue (v.)

    late 13c., seuen, "follow after, walk behind," a sense now obsolete, from Anglo-French suer "follow after, continue," Old French suir, sivre "pursue, follow after; sue in court" (Modern French suivre), from Vulgar Latin *sequere "follow," from Latin sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").ETD sue (v.).2

    It is attested from c. 1300 as "strive, endeavor, try to get;" also "continue, persevere."ETD sue (v.).3

    The sense of "start a lawsuit against, seek justice or right from by legal process" is from c. 1300, on the notion of "following" a matter legally in court. The meaning "plead for love; make entreaty, petition, plead" (usually with for) is from late 14c.ETD sue (v.).4

    Sometimes in early use it is short for ensue or pursue. In 14c. the Wise Men sued the Star of Bethlehem (Mirk's Festival), using the word in its older sense. Middle English senses, now obsolete, included "chase or follow after," of hounds tracking game; "be a companion to or disciple of." Related: Sued; suing.ETD sue (v.).5

    suede (n.)

    "undressed kid skin," 1884 (as an adjective, "of undressed kid," from 1874), a trade word, from French gants de Suède (used in English by 1859), literally "gloves of Sweden," from French Suède "Sweden" (see Swede). The imitation form was suedette (1915). Suede shoes attested from 1885.ETD suede (n.).2

    suet (n.)

    early 14c., seuet, swete, "solid fat formed in the torsos of cattle and sheep," probably from an Anglo-French diminutive of Old French siu "fat, lard, grease, tallow" (Modern French suif), which is from Latin sebum "tallow, grease" (see sebum). Related: Suety.ETD suet (n.).2


    Red Sea port, from Arabic as-suways, from Egyptian suan "beginning," in reference to its position as the port at the head of the Red Sea. The modern Suez Canal opened in 1869. The Cold War's Suez Crisis was in 1956.ETD Suez.2


    assimilated form of sub- before -f-.ETD suf-.2

    sufferable (adj.)

    c. 1300, "patient, long-suffering;" mid-14c., "allowed, permissible;" late 14c., "able to be endured;" from Anglo-French, Old French sofrable "tolerable, acceptable; able to bear or endure," from Medieval Latin sufferabilis; , from Latin sufferre "to bear, undergo, endure" (see suffer (v.)). Also see -able. By 1702 in the sense of "tolerably, so as to be tolerable." Related: Sufferably.ETD sufferable (adj.).2

    suffering (n.)

    mid-14c., "the patient enduring of pain, inconvenience, loss, etc.;" late 14c.; "undergoing of punishment, affliction, etc; verbal noun from suffer (v.). The meaning "a painful condition, pain felt" is from late 14c. Compare sufferance, also suffraite (mid-15c.) "want, lack, hardship, privation," from Old French sofraite.ETD suffering (n.).2

    suffer (v.)

    mid-13c., sufferen, "allow to occur or continue, refrain from hindering, fail to prevent or suppress," also "be made to undergo, endure, be subjected to" (pain, death, punishment, grief, injury, humiliation); from Anglo-French suffrir, Old French sofrir "bear, endure, resist; permit, tolerate, allow" (Modern French souffrir), from Vulgar Latin *sufferire, variant of Latin sufferre "to bear, undergo, endure, carry or put under." This is a compound of sub "up, under" (see sub-) + ferre "to carry, bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."ETD suffer (v.).2

    It replaced Old English þolian, þrowian. Its use and sense development in English are entwined with the story of Christ's Passion and martyrs' tales. The meaning "submit meekly to" is from early 14c. The intransitive meaning "undergo or submit to stress, affliction, pain, death" is from early 14c.; especially "undergo without succumbing, endure bravely or unflinchingly" (mid-14c.).ETD suffer (v.).3

    The general meaning "undergo, be subject to, be affected by, experience; be acted on by an agent" is from late 14c. Related: Suffered; sufferer; suffering. Suffering ______! as an exclamation is attested from 1859; perhaps influenced by phrases in Puritan literature, such as suffering saint.ETD suffer (v.).4

    sufferance (n.)

    c. 1300, sufferaunce, "enduring of hardship, affliction, etc.," also "allowance of wrongdoing, consent by not forbidding," from Old French suffrance and directly from Late Latin sufferentia, from sufferens, present participle of sufferre "to bear, undergo, endure" (see suffer). Related: Sufferant (adj.) "tolerant, patient" (c. 1300, now obsolete), also as a noun.ETD sufferance (n.).2

    suffice (v.)

    early 14c., suffisen (intransitive) "be enough for a purpose in view;" late 14c. (transitive) "be adequate for the desires or needs of," from present-participle stem of Old French sofire "be sufficient, satisfy" (Modern French suffire), from Latin sufficere "put under, lay a foundation under; supply as a substitute; be enough, be adequate," from sub "up to" (see sub-) + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD suffice (v.).2

    Related: Sufficed; sufficing; sufficable. The phrase suffice it to say (1690s) is a rare surviving English subjunctive.ETD suffice (v.).3

    sufficient (adj.)

    "adequate for a purpose, enough," early 14c., from Old French soficient "satisfactory," or directly from Latin sufficientem (nominative sufficiens) "adequate," present participle of sufficere "to supply as a substitute," from sub "up to" (see sub-) + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). It has been used in specialized legal and technical senses since Middle English.ETD sufficient (adj.).2

    sufficiency (n.)

    late 15c., "sufficient means or wealth," from Late Latin sufficientia, from Latin sufficiens "adequate" (see sufficient) + -cy. By 1530s as "a sufficient number or quantity."ETD sufficiency (n.).2

    The general sense of "state or character of being adequate for the purpose" is by 1560s; that of "a sufficient supply" is from c. 1600. In Modern English sometimes the notion is "self-sufficiency." Sufficience is attested from late 14c. as "capability, ability."ETD sufficiency (n.).3

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