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    switch-hitter (n.) — synchrony (n.)

    switch-hitter (n.)

    by 1919 in baseball slang, "ambidextrous batter, one who bats right- or left-handed;" see switch (n.), used adjectivally, + hit (v.). It is attested by 1956 in the colloquial slang sense of "bisexual person." Related: Switch-hitting.ETD switch-hitter (n.).2

    switch-over (n.)

    "change from one state or condition to another," by 1928, from the verbal phrase; see switch (v.) + over (adv.).ETD switch-over (n.).2


    named for Schwyz, one of its original cantons. On postage stamps, etc., identified by the Roman name for the region, Helvetia, to avoid having to print the name in the country's four official languages: Suisse, Schweiz, Svizzera, Svizra.ETD Switzerland.2

    swivel (n.)

    "coupling device that allows independent rotation of the fastened object or part," c. 1300, from frequentative form of stem of Old English verb swifan "to move in a course, revolve, sweep" (a class I strong verb), from Proto-Germanic *swif-, swip- (source also of Old Frisian swiva "to be uncertain," Old Norse svifa "to rove, ramble, drift"), which is perhaps from a PIE root *swei- "to turn, bend, move in a sweeping manner," but see swing (v.).ETD swivel (n.).2

    swivel (v.)

    1794, transitive, "turn (something) on or as on a pivot," from swivel (n.). The intransitive sense of "turn or rotate on or as on a pivot" is by 1846. Related: Swiveled; swiveling; swivelled; swivelling.ETD swivel (v.).2

    Middle English swive, from the same root as the noun, was from c. 1300 the principal slang verb for "have sexual intercourse with" (e.g. smal-swivinge men "men who copulate infrequently"). This might explain swivel (v.) going unattested in Modern English until very late, though the root is verbal.ETD swivel (v.).3

    swivet (n.)

    "a fluster, state of agitation," 1867, U.S. dialect, of unknown origin.ETD swivet (n.).2

    swizzle (n.)

    1813, name for various kinds of liquor drinks, or for intoxicating drinks generally, possibly a variant of switchel, a drink of molasses and water, often mixed with rum. That word is attested by 1790 and is of uncertain origin. As a verb from 1843, "drink habitually and to excess." Related: Swizzled; swizzling. Swizzle-stick, used for stirring swizzles and other drinks, is attested by 1859.ETD swizzle (n.).2

    swollen (adj.)

    "swelled, marked by swelling in any sense," early 14c., originally "bloated, distended; suffering a morbid swelling," past-participle adjective from the strong conjugation of swell (v.); from Old English geswollen, past participle of swellan. More commonly used than swelled. Poetically sometimes swoln. Figurative swollen head for "excessive pride" is by 1889.ETD swollen (adj.).2

    swoon (n.)

    c. 1300, suowne, suun, "a fainting, temporary state of unconsciousness," probably from Old English geswogen "in a faint," past participle of a lost verb *swogan (see swoon (v.)).ETD swoon (n.).2

    swoon (v.)

    c. 1200, swounen, "become unconscious," probably from the noun or from a lost Old English verb *swogan (as in Old English aswogan "to choke"), of uncertain origin. Compare Low German swogen "to sigh." Related: Swooned; swooning. Swoony "inducing a swoon, distractingly delightful" is by 1934.ETD swoon (v.).2

    swoop (n.)

    "sudden pouncing of a rapacious bird on its prey," 1605, first and memorably in Shakespeare:ETD swoop (n.).2

    Perhaps it is from or connected with the same word in a sense of "a blow, stroke" (1540s); compare swoop (v.). This sense is archaic, but was preserved in fencing.ETD swoop (n.).3

    swoop (v.)

    1560s, "move or walk in a stately manner," apparently from a dialectal survival of Old English swapan "to sweep, brandish, dash," from Proto-Germanic *swaip-, which is perhaps from a PIE root *swei- "to bend, turn" (but see swing (v.)).ETD swoop (v.).2

    The meaning "pounce upon with a sweeping movement," in reference to a bird of prey, is by 1630s, from swoop (n.). The spelling with -oo- may have been influenced by Scottish and northern England dialectal soop "to sweep," from Old Norse sopa "to sweep." Related: Swooped; swooping.ETD swoop (v.).3

    swoosh (n.)

    1860, sound made by something (originally a fishing rod during a cast) moving rapidly through the air; imitative. As a verb from 1867. Related: Swooshed; swooshing. The Nike corporate logo so called from 1989.ETD swoosh (n.).2

    sword (n.)

    "offensive weapon consisting of an edged blade fitted to a hilt, used for cutting or thrusting," Middle English sword, from Old English sweord, swyrd (West Saxon), sword (Northumbrian) "sword," from Proto-Germanic *swerdam (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian swerd, Old Norse sverð, Swedish svärd, Middle Dutch swaert, Dutch zwaard, Old High German swert, German Schwert "a sword"). This is held to be related to Old High German sweran "to hurt," from *swertha-, literally "the cutting weapon," from PIE root *swer- "to cut, pierce."ETD sword (n.).2

    From late Old English figuratively as "military power; conflict, war." The contrastive pairing with plowshare is an image from the Old Testament (Isaiah ii.4, Micah iv.3). Phrase put (originally do) to the sword "kill, slaughter" is recorded from mid-14c.ETD sword (n.).3

    An older Germanic word for the weapon is found in Old Saxon heoru, Gothic hairus "a sword."ETD sword (n.).4

    Sword-arm "the arm with which a sword is wielded" is from 1690s; sword-fight "a combat with swords" is from 1620s. Sword-dance, one in which a naked sword forms some part, is by c. 1600.ETD sword (n.).5

    sword-belt (n.)

    "military belt from which a sword is suspended," early 14c., from sword + belt (n.). Old English had sweordfætels "sword-belt."ETD sword-belt (n.).2

    sword-cane (n.)

    "walking stick hollowed to form the sheath of a blade attached to the grip," 1786, from sword + cane (n.).ETD sword-cane (n.).2

    swordfish (n.)

    late 15c., swerdfysche (in a recipe), from sword + fish (n.). A common name of various fishes with elongated upper jaws. Related: Swordfishing.ETD swordfish (n.).2

    swordplay (n.)

    also sword-play, "fencing, the art or practice of attack and defense by means of a sword," Old English sweordplege; see sword + play (n.).ETD swordplay (n.).2

    swordsman (n.)

    "one skilled in using a sword, one who uses a sword professionally," 1670s, from sword + genitive -s- + man (n.). Earlier was swordman "sword-fighter, gladiator" (late 14c.); Old English had sweordfreca in the same sense. Related: Swordsmanship (1765) "skill and dexterity in the use of swords."ETD swordsman (n.).2


    mid-13c., "bound by or as if by oath," past-participle adjective from swear (v.). Phrase sworn enemies, of those who have taken a vow of mutual hatred, is attested from c. 1600.ETD sworn.2


    past participle and sometimes past tense of swim (v.).ETD swum.2


    past tense and past participle of swing (v.).ETD swung.2


    form of syn- before -s- or -z-.ETD sy-.2

    Sybarite (n.)

    "person devoted to pleasure," 1590s, literally "inhabitant of Sybaris," ancient Greek town in southern Italy (720-510 B.C.E.), whose people were noted for love of luxury. From Latin Sybarita, from Greek Sybaritēs.ETD Sybarite (n.).2

    sybaritic (adj.)

    1610s, "effeminately luxurious, devoted to pleasure," from Latin sybariticus, from Greek sybaritikos, from Sybaritēs (see Sybarite). With a capital S- and a literal sense, "of or pertaining to ancient Sybaris," by 1786.ETD sybaritic (adj.).2

    sybil (n.)

    erroneous form of sibyl (q.v.).ETD sybil (n.).2

    sycamore (n.)

    mid-14c., sicamour "the mulberry-leaved fig tree" (Ficus sycomorus), from Old French sicamor, sagremore, from Latin sycomorus, from Greek sykomoros, literally "fig-mulberry," from sykon "fig" (see fig) + moron (see mulberry). But according to many sources this is more likely a folk-etymology of Hebrew shiqmah "mulberry tree." Also in Middle English secomoure,ETD sycamore (n.).2

    A Biblical word originally used for a wide-spreading shade tree with fig-like fruit common in the lowlands of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry. The Holy Family took refuge under a sycamore on the flight to Egypt.ETD sycamore (n.).3

    The word was extended in English by 1580s to a large species of European maple (Platanus orientalis, also known as plane-tree; see plane (n.4)), earlier introduced in Britain from the continent as a shade and ornamental tree, perhaps given the name because both it and the Biblical tree were notable for shadiness.ETD sycamore (n.).4

    It was extended again by 1814 to the North American shade tree (Platanus occidentalis, also called buttonwood), which in turn was introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by John Tradescant the Younger. The name is applied to still other trees in Australia.ETD sycamore (n.).5

    The spelling with -a- apparently was by influence of Greek sykaminos, "black mulberry tree" (Morus nigra), also mentioned in the New Testament (Luke xvii.6), also likely a Semitic loan-word, and taken into English as sycamine. (Tyndale, 1526, followed by KJV, etc.). For clarity, some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in reference to the Biblical tree.ETD sycamore (n.).6

    sycophancy (n.)

    "obsequious flattery, mean tale-bearing and other characteristics of a sycophant," 1620s, from sycophant + abstract noun suffix -cy, or else from Latin sycophantia, from Greek sykophantia "false accusation, slander; conduct of a sycophant," from sykophantēs.ETD sycophancy (n.).2

    sycophant (n.)

    1530s (in Latin form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer" (a sense now obsolete), from French sycophante and directly from Latin sycophanta, from Greek sykophantēs "false accuser, slanderer," literally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig" (see fig (n.1)) + phainein "to show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine").ETD sycophant (n.).2

    "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made typically by sticking the thumb between two fingers. That it was considered obscene and insulting is all that is sure. A split fig was symbolic of a vagina (sykon also meant "vulva"). The thumb-poking-between-the-fingers gesture has been a sexual image in various times and places; see fig (n.1).ETD sycophant (n.).3

    The usual modern explanation of the use of the word in reference to certain persons in ancient Greece is that prominent politicians held aloof from scurrilous gestures but privately urged followers to taunt their opponents.ETD sycophant (n.).4

    That discarded explanation is as old as the word's use in English, and the phrase already was explained differently in antiquity. The general sense of "parasite; mean, servile flatterer" especially of princes or the great is recorded in English by 1570s.ETD sycophant (n.).5

    sycophantic (adj.)

    "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a sycophant," 1670s, from Greek sykophantikos, from sykophantēs (see sycophant). Related: Sycophantical (1560s).ETD sycophantic (adj.).2

    sycophantry (n.)

    "the arts of the sycophants," 1660s; see sycophant + -ry.ETD sycophantry (n.).2


    Australian city, founded 1788 and named for British Home Secretary Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney (1733-1800). The family name (also Sidney) is literally "dweller by the well-watered land," from Old English sid "side" + ieg "island."ETD Sydney.2


    assimilated form of Greek syn- before -l-.ETD syl-.2

    syllabic (adj.)

    1728, "of pertaining to, or consisting of syllables," from Modern Latin syllabicus, from Greek syllabikos "of or pertaining to a syllable," from syllabē "a syllable" (see syllable). As "representing a syllable" instead of a single sound, by 1804. Related: Syllabical (1520s).ETD syllabic (adj.).2

    syllabary (n.)

    "a catalogue of the syllables of a language," 1580s, from Modern Latin noun use of neuter of Medieval Latin syllibarius, from Latin syllaba (see syllable).ETD syllabary (n.).2

    syllabify (v.)

    "form or divide into syllables," by 1803; see syllable + -ify. Related: Syllabification (1813). Other verbs in a similar sense were syllable (1630s), syllabicate (1650s; syllabication is 1630s), syllabize (1650s).ETD syllabify (v.).2

    syllable (n.)

    "vocal sound uttered with a single effort of articulation," late 14c., sillable, from Anglo-French sillable, an alteration of Old French silabe "syllable" (12c., Modern French syllabe), from Latin syllaba, from Greek syllabē "that which is held together; a syllable, several sounds or letters taken together," etymologically "a taking together" of letters.ETD syllable (n.).2

    This is from syllambanein "take or put together, collect, gather," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + stem of lambanein "to take" (see lemma). The unetymological -le apparently is by analogy with participle and principle.ETD syllable (n.).3

    syllabus (n.)

    1650s, "abstract or table of contents of a series of lectures, etc.," from Late Latin syllabus "list," which corresponds to a Greek compound of assimilated syn "with" (see syn-) + lambanein "to take" (see lemma). But according to OED (2nd edition print, 1989) the word is ultimately a misreading of Greek sittybos "cauldron," also "skin, leather, leather straps, fringes," also "parchment label, table of contents," which is of unknown origin (Beekes writes "clearly Pre-Greek"). The misprint appeared in a 15c. edition of Cicero's "Ad Atticum" (see OED). Had it been a real word, the proper plural would be syllabi.ETD syllabus (n.).2

    syllepsis (n.)

    in rhetoric and grammar, use of a word at once in both a literal and metaphoric sense, 1570s, from Late Latin syllepsis, from assimilated form of Greek syn "together" (see syn-) + lepsis "a taking," related to lambanein "to take" (see lemma). Related: Sylleptic.ETD syllepsis (n.).2

    syllogism (n.)

    late 14c., silogisme, "logical formula consisting of two premises and a conclusion," from Old French silogisme "a syllogism, scholastic argument based on a formula or proof" (13c., Modern French syllogisme) and directly from Latin syllogismus, from Greek syllogismos "a syllogism," originally "inference, conclusion; computation, calculation." This is from syllogizesthai "bring together before the mind, compute, conclude," literally "think together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + logizesthai "to reason, count," from logos "a reckoning, reason" (see Logos).ETD syllogism (n.).2

    The classical spelling in -y- was restored from c. 1520. To syllogize "argue by syllogisms" is attested from early 15c., from Old French silogiser, Medieval Latin syllogizare. Related: Syllogized; syllogizing.ETD syllogism (n.).3

    syllogistic (adj.)

    "pertaining to or consisting of a syllogism," mid-15c., silogistik, from Latin syllogisticus or directly from Greek syllogistikos, from syllogizesthai (see syllogism). Related: Syllogistical; syllogistically.ETD syllogistic (adj.).2

    sylph (n.)

    1650s, "air-spirit," from Modern Latin sylphes (plural), coined 16c. by Paracelsus, originally referring to any race of spirits inhabiting the air, described as being mortal but lacking a soul. Paracelsus' word seems to be an arbitrary coinage, but perhaps it holds a suggestion of Latin silva and Greek nymph, or Greek silphe "a kind of beetle," but Littré and other French etymologists propose a Gaulish origin.ETD sylph (n.).2

    The Century Dictionary comments that, "to occultists and quacks like Paracelsus words spelled with -y- look more Greek and convincing." The idea itself seem to have come from the air-spirits of Cabbalism.ETD sylph (n.).3

    The meaning "graceful girl" is recorded by 1838, on the notion of "slender figure and light, airy movement" [OED, 2nd ed. print, 1989]. Related: Sylphic; sylphish.ETD sylph (n.).4

    sylphid (n.)

    younger or smaller variety of sylph, 1670s, from French sylphide (1670s), from sylphe (see sylph) + diminutive suffix.ETD sylphid (n.).2

    sylvan (adj.)

    also silvan, "of the woods, pertaining to a forest," hence also "rural, rustic," especially of deities and nymphs in old poetry and drama, 1570s, from French sylvain (1530s), from Latin silvanus "pertaining to wood or forest" (originally only in silvanae "goddesses of the woods"), from silva "wood, woodland, forest, orchard, grove," a word of unknown origin. De Vaan gives it no etymology.ETD sylvan (adj.).2

    The unetymological -y- is a misspelling in Latin from influence of Greek hylē "forest," from which the Latin word formerly was supposed to derive. As "wooded, woody," 1660s.ETD sylvan (adj.).3


    Roman deity, from Latin Silvanus, used by the Romans as the proper name of a god of woods and fields, identified with Pan, noun use of adjective, literally "pertaining to woods or forest" (see sylvan).ETD Sylvanus.2


    masc. proper name, from Latin silvestris, literally "of a wood, of a forest, woody, rural, pastoral," from silva "wood, forest" (see sylvan). St. Sylvester's Day is Dec. 31, hence German Sylvesterabend "New Year's Eve."ETD Sylvester.2


    fem. proper name, literally "inhabiting woods," from Latin silva "wood, forest" (see sylvan). Also the genus name of warblers, hence adjective Sylvian.ETD Sylvia.2

    sylviculture (n.)

    "forestry, cultivation of forest trees," by 1851, earlier in French, from combining form of Latin silva "woods, forest" (see sylvan) + -culture as in agriculture, etc. (see culture (n.)).ETD sylviculture (n.).2


    an assimilated form of syn-, from Greek form of syn- in compounds with words beginning in -b-, -m-, -p-, -ph-, -ps-.ETD sym-.2

    Symbionese (adj.)

    in Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), name adopted by a socialist revolutionary group active in U.S. 1972-76, coined with people-name ending -ese + simbion "an organism living in symbiosis," from Greek symbioun "live together with," from symbios "living together" (see symbiosis).ETD Symbionese (adj.).2

    symbiosis (n.)

    1876, as a biological term, "union for life of two different organisms based on mutually benefit," from Greek symbiosis "a living together," from symbioun "live together," from symbios "(one) living together (with another), partner, companion, husband or wife," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live").ETD symbiosis (n.).2

    Given a wider (non-biological) sense by 1921. An earlier sense of "communal or social life" is found in 1620s. A back-formed verb symbiose is recorded from 1960. Either of the two organisms is a symbiont (1887; earlier in German).ETD symbiosis (n.).3

    symbiotic (adj.)

    "pertaining to or resembling symbiosis," 1882, in biology, from stem of symbiosis + -ic. Of human activities from 1951. Related: Symbiotical; symbiotically.ETD symbiotic (adj.).2

    symbolic (adj.)

    "of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a symbol or symbols; serving as a symbol," 1650s, from symbol + -ic, or from Latinized form of Greek symbolikos. From 1650s as "involving the use of written symbols." Of literature, art by 1910. Symbolic logic is attested from 1856. Related: Symbolical (c. 1600); symbolically.ETD symbolic (adj.).2

    symbolize (v.)

    c. 1600, "represent by a symbol or symbols," also "be a symbol of," from French symboliser, from symbole (see symbol). Related: Symbolized; symbolizes; symbolizing.ETD symbolize (v.).2

    symbolization (n.)

    "act of symbolizing; symbolic signification," c. 1600, from French symbolisation, from symboliser (see symbolize).ETD symbolization (n.).2

    symbolism (n.)

    1650s, "practice of representing things by symbols, the investing of things with symbolic character," from symbol + -ism. Applied to the arts by 1866; attested from 1892 as a movement in French literature, from French symbolisme (see symbolist).ETD symbolism (n.).2

    symbol (n.)

    mid-15c., simbal, "creed, formal summary of religious belief," from Late Latin symbolum "creed, token, mark," from Greek symbolon "token, watchword, sign by which one infers; ticket, a permit, license," etymologically "that which is thrown or cast together." It is from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative stem of ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach").ETD symbol (n.).2

    The sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." The Greek word was applied c. 250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles' Creed, on the notion of the "mark" or "outward sign" that distinguishes Christians from pagans.ETD symbol (n.).3

    Hence also "something which stands for something else," especially "object standing for or representing something sacred, moral, or intellectual" (1580s); "a written character, mark, or sign which stands for something" (1610s).ETD symbol (n.).4

    symbolise (v.)

    chiefly British English spelling of symbolize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Symbolised; symbolising; symbolisation.ETD symbolise (v.).2

    symbolist (n.)

    1580s, "one who employs symbols," 1from symbol + -ist.ETD symbolist (n.).2

    It is attested from 1888 in reference to a literary movement that aimed at representing ideas and emotions by indirect suggestion rather than direct expression, from French symboliste, coined in this sense in 1885 by poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Rejecting realism and naturalism, they attached symbolic meaning to certain objects, words, etc. Related: Symbolistic; symbolistical.ETD symbolist (n.).3

    symbology (n.)

    "art of expressing by symbols," 1793, contracted from symbolology, from Greek symbolon "token" (see symbol) + -ology. Related: Symbologist; symbological.ETD symbology (n.).2

    symbololatry (n.)

    "worship of symbols," 1828, from combining form of symbol + -latry "worship of." Contracted form symbolatry is by 1849, perhaps based on idolatry.ETD symbololatry (n.).2

    symmetric (adj.)

    "having its parts in due proportion as to dimensions." 1796, from symmetry + -ic or from French symmétrique. Earlier was symmetrical (1751), symmetrial (1610s); symmetral (1650s) meant "agreeing in measurement," also "agreeing with divine order."ETD symmetric (adj.).2

    symmetrical (adj.)

    "having its parts in due proportion as to dimensions," 1751, from symmetry + -ical. In geometry by 1794. Related: Symmetrically (1570s).ETD symmetrical (adj.).2

    symmetrize (v.)

    "make proportional in its parts," 1749, from French symmétriser, from symmétrie (see symmetry). Related: Symmetrize; symmetrizer; symmetrizing.ETD symmetrize (v.).2

    symmetry (n.)

    1560s, "relation of parts, proportion," a sense now obsolete, from French symmétrie (16c.) and directly from Latin symmetria, from Greek symmetria "agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement," from symmetros "having a common measure, even, proportionate." This is from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + metron "measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure").ETD symmetry (n.).2

    The meaning "a due, just, or harmonic arrangement of parts" is attested by 1590s, especially in reference to the proper proportion and commensurability of the parts of the human body, according to a canon, hence "beauty of form."ETD symmetry (n.).3

    The scientific sense of "metrical correspondence and mirror image of parts in reference to a median plane" is by 1823 in botany, zoology, etc.ETD symmetry (n.).4

    symmetrophobia (n.)

    "dread or conscious avoidance of architectural or structural symmetry," 1809, from combining form of symmetry + -phobia. Supposed in the West to be evident in Egyptian temples and Japanese art.ETD symmetrophobia (n.).2

    sympathizer (n.)

    1815, "one who feels sympathy for another," agent noun from sympathize. In 20c., in reference to political parties, invaders, social movements, etc. Sympathist is by 1819; sympathizant is from 1610s.ETD sympathizer (n.).2

    sympathize (v.)

    c. 1600, "have fellow-feeling" with, "be affected as a result of the affection of someone else," c. 1600, from French sympathiser "suffer with or like another," from sympathie (see sympathy).ETD sympathize (v.).2

    It is attested earlier (1590s) in physiology and pathology, of body parts or organs, including the mind. As "express sympathy, condole," from 1748, originally colloquial. The weakened sense of "be inclined to favor or approve" by 1828. Related: Sympathized; sympathizing.ETD sympathize (v.).3

    sympathectomy (n.)

    "excision of a part of a sympathetic nerve," 1900; see sympathetic (nerve) + -ectomy "a cutting."ETD sympathectomy (n.).2

    sympathetic (adj.)

    1640s, "pertaining to or proceeding from 'sympathy,' as a healing quality," from Modern Latin sympatheticus, from late Greek sympathetikos "having sympathy," from sympathein, from sympathēs "having fellow-feeling, affected by like feelings" (see sympathy).ETD sympathetic (adj.).2

    By 1680s as "arising from or expressive of fellow-feeling;" the meaning "having fellow-feeling, susceptible of altruistic feelings" is recorded by 1718.ETD sympathetic (adj.).3

    In physiology and pathology, in reference to organs and body parts, "subject to a common nervous influence," by 1728. In anatomy and zoology, in reference to a major nervous system of vertebrates, the word is attested from 1769, from Modern Latin (nervus) sympathicus, coined by Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760), Danish anatomist living in Paris. In acoustics, in reference to vibrations.ETD sympathetic (adj.).4

    Sometimes shortened to sympathic. English in 19c.-20c. also uses the word in the French form (sympathetique), pseudo-German (sympatisch), Spanish/Italian (simpatico). As a noun, "person susceptible to hypnosis," by 1888. Related: Sympathetical (1630s); Sympathetically (1620s).ETD sympathetic (adj.).5

    sympathy (n.)

    1580s (1570s in Latin form), "affinity between certain things" (body and soul, persons and their garments), from French sympathie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin sympathia "community of feeling, sympathy," from Greek sympatheia "fellow-feeling, community of feeling," from sympathēs "having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + pathos "feeling," which is related to paskhein, pathein "suffer" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer").ETD sympathy (n.).2

    In Middle English in reference to an occult-like, almost magical influencing of one mind or body by another, especially in physiology and pathology: It was used in reference to medicines that heal wounds when applied to a cloth stained with blood from the wound.ETD sympathy (n.).3

    The meaning "conformity of feelings, agreement of affections or inclinations" is from 1590s; weakened sense of "favorable attitude of mind toward" is by 1823. The meaning "quality of commiserating with the sufferings of another" is from c. 1600; that of "a feeling identical with or resembling that which another feels" is from 1660s.ETD sympathy (n.).4

    An Old English loan-translation of sympathia was efensargung (even, that is "likewise," sorrying) and compare German Mitgefühl. Sympathy card is attested by 1937.ETD sympathy (n.).5

    sympathise (v.)

    chiefly British English spelling of sympathize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Sympathised; sympathiser; sympathising.ETD sympathise (v.).2

    sympatric (adj.)

    "occurring in the same geographic region," 1904, from assimilated form of syn- + Greek patra "one's fatherland, native country," from pater "father" (see father (n.)) + -ic. Opposite of allopatric. Related: Sympatrical.ETD sympatric (adj.).2

    symphonize (v.)

    late 15c. (Caxton), "agree, harmonize," a sense now obsolete or archaic; see symphony + -ize. By 1932 as "render symphonic."ETD symphonize (v.).2

    symphonic (adj.)

    1854 "involving or pertaining to similarity of sounds or harmony" (implied in symphonically); see symphony + -ic. The meaning "pertaining to a symphony" is from 1864. Perhaps in some instances from French symphonique; also compare Greek symphōnikos. Earlier in English was symphonious "characterized by harmony of sounds" (1650s).ETD symphonic (adj.).2

    symphony (n.)

    c. 1300, simphonie, a name given to various types of musical instruments, from Old French simphonie, sifonie, simfone "musical harmony; stringed instrument" (12c., Modern French symphonie) and directly from Latin symphonia "a unison of sounds, harmony," from Greek symphōnia "harmony, concord of sounds," from symphōnos "harmonious, agreeing in sound," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + phōnē "voice, sound" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").ETD symphony (n.).2

    The original sense is obsolete; it was applied to everything from a small hurdy-gurdy to a bagpipe to a drum; a player on one was a symphoner. The meaning "pleasing combination of sounds, consonance agreeable to the ear, harmonic singing" in English is attested from late 14c.ETD symphony (n.).3

    The sense of "music in parts" is from 1590s. The meaning "elaborate orchestral composition in three or more movements" is attested from 1789.ETD symphony (n.).4

    Elliptical for symphony orchestra from 1926. Diminutive symphonette is recorded from 1947.ETD symphony (n.).5

    symphonist (n.)

    "composer of symphonies," 1789, from symphony + -ist. Earlier "a chorister" (1650s); "orchestral performer" (1767).ETD symphonist (n.).2

    symphysis (n.)

    in anatomy, "union or connection of bones in the middle line of the body," 1570s, medical Latin, from Greek symphysis "a growing together, union," from assimilated form of assimilated form of syn "together" (see syn-) + physis "growth" (from PIE root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow"). Related: Symphytic; symphytism.ETD symphysis (n.).2

    symplectic (adj.)

    "placed in or among, put between as if woven in," by 1847, from Latinized form of Greek symplekein "twine or weave together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + plekein "to plait, braid, wind, twine" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait").ETD symplectic (adj.).2

    symposium (n.)

    "convivial meeting for drinking, conversation, and intellectual stimulation," 1711, from Latin symposium "drinking party, symposium," from Greek symposion "drinking party, convivial gathering of the educated" (related to sympotēs "drinking companion"), from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + posis "a drinking," from a stem of Aeolic ponen "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink")ETD symposium (n.).2

    Reflecting the Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion, the modern sense is especially from the word being used as a title for one of Plato's dialogues.ETD symposium (n.).3

    Earlier in English as "account of a gathering or party" (1580s, the title of Plato's work). The sense of "a meeting on some subject" is from 1784. The Greek plural is symposia, an attendee is a symposiast, and the leader of one is a symposiarch (c. 1600 in English). Related: Symposiac (adj.); symposial; sympotical.ETD symposium (n.).4

    symptom (n.)

    "a departure from normal function or form as an expression or evidence of a disease," late 14c., sinthoma, from Medieval Latin sinthoma "symptom of a disease," altered from Late Latin symptoma, from Greek symptoma "a happening, accident, disease," from stem of sympiptein "to befall, happen; coincide, fall together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + piptein "to fall" (from PIE *pi-pt-, reduplicated form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly").ETD symptom (n.).2

    The spelling was re-Latinized from c. 1540, perhaps in part by influence of French symptome (16c.). The general (non-medical) use, "any sign or indication of the existence of something else," is from 1610s.ETD symptom (n.).3

    symptomatic (adj.)

    "of the nature of a symptom, indicative," 1690s, from French symptomatique or directly from Late Latin symptomaticus, from symptomat-, stem of symptōma (see symptom). The general sense of "indicative (of)" is from 1751. Related: Symptomatical (1580s); symptomatically.ETD symptomatic (adj.).2

    symptomatology (n.)

    "the study of symptoms; the symptoms of a disease," 1737, from medical Latin symptomatologia, from symptomat-, stem of symptoma (see symptom) + -logia (see -logy). Related: Symptomatological.ETD symptomatology (n.).2

    symptomology (n.)

    1830, shortening of symptomatology.ETD symptomology (n.).2


    word-forming element of Greek origin (corresponding to Latin con-) meaning "together with, jointly; alike; at the same time," also sometimes completive or intensive, from Greek syn (prep.) "with, together with, along with, in the company of," from PIE *ksun- "with" (source also of Russian so- "with, together," from Old Russian su(n)-).ETD syn-.2

    The Greek prefix was assimilated to -l-, reduced to sy- before -s- and -z-, and altered to sym- before -b-, -m- and -p-. Very productive from c. 1860 in forming words for modern sciences. Since 1970s also with a sense of "synthetic."ETD syn-.3

    synaesthesia (n.)

    also synesthesia, "sensation in one part of the body produced by stimulus in another," 1881, in some cases via French, from Modern Latin, from Greek syn- "together" (see syn-) + aisthēsis "feeling" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive") + abstract noun ending -ia. Also psychologically, of the senses (specific colors that seem to the perceiver to have always a particular odor, etc.), from 1891. Related: Synaesthetic (adj.).ETD synaesthesia (n.).2

    synagogue (n.)

    late 12c., sinagog, "the regular public worship and religious instruction of the Jews," also a place or building for Hebrew worship, from Old French sinagoge "synagogue, mosque, pagan temple" (11c., Modern French synagogue), from Late Latin synagoga "congregation of Jews," from Greek synagōgē "place of assembly; meeting, assembly," in Septuagint and New Testament, "a synagogue." This is etymologically "a bringing together," from synagein "to gather, bring together, assemble," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + agein "put in motion, move" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move").ETD synagogue (n.).2

    It was used in the Greek version of the Old Testament as a loan-translation of late Hebrew keneseth "assembly" (as in beth keneseth "synagogue," literally "house of assembly;" compare Knesset). Related: Synagogical; synagogal.ETD synagogue (n.).3

    synalgia (n.)

    "sympathetic pain, pain in one part caused by injury to another," 1890, Modern Latin; see syn- "together" + -algia "pain." Related: Synalgic.ETD synalgia (n.).2

    synallagmatic (adj.)

    "expressing reciprocal obligations;" especially, in civil law, "pertaining to or of the nature of a contract," 1792, from Latinized form of Greek synallagmatikos "of or pertaining to a covenant," from synallagma "a covenant, contract," from syn- "together with" (see syn-) + allagma "thing taken in exchange," from stem of allassein "to exchange, barter," from allos "another" (from PIE root *al- "beyond").ETD synallagmatic (adj.).2

    synapse (n.)

    "junction between two nerve cells," 1897, Englished from synapsis (1895), a medical Latin word formed from Greek synapsis "conjunction," which is from or related to synaptein "to clasp, join together, tie or bind together, be connected with," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + haptein "to fasten" (see apse).ETD synapse (n.).2

    synapsis (n.)

    plural synapses, 1895 in cellular biology ("fusion of chromatine elements"), Modern Latin, from Greek synapsis "connection, junction" (see synapse).ETD synapsis (n.).2

    synaptic (adj.)

    1895, in anatomy, used as an adjective corresponding to synapsis, from the Greek stem of that word + -ic. Greek synaptikos meant "connective, copulative."ETD synaptic (adj.).2

    sync (n.)

    also synch, sink, 1929, shortened form of synchronization (see synchronize). Originally in phrases in sync, out of sync, in reference to soundtracks of motion pictures, The general sense of "synchronization, harmony, agreement" is by 1961 (in the phrase in sync). As a verb, short for synchronize, by 1930.ETD sync (n.).2

    synchoresis (n.)

    1670s, in rhetoric, "admission, concession," especially for the purpose of obviating an objection or retorting pointedly; from Latinized form of Greek synkhōrēsis "acquiescence, concession," from synkhōrein “come together, unite, concede," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + khōrein "give way, draw back," from khōros "place, space, free space, room" (from PIE root *ghē- "to release, let go; be released").ETD synchoresis (n.).2

    synchronization (n.)

    "process or act of making synchronous," especially in reference to to clocks, 1811, noun of action or state from synchronize.ETD synchronization (n.).2

    synchronize (v.)

    1620s, intransitive, "occur at the same time," from Latinized form of Greek synkhronizein "be of the same time," from synkhronos "happening at the same time" (see synchronous).ETD synchronize (v.).2

    The sense of "assign the same date to; belong to the same time, agree in time or occurrence" (of gospels, etc.) is by 1806. In reference to timepieces, by 1879 (transitive), "cause to indicate the same time as one another." Related: Synchronized; synchronizing. Synchronized swimming is by 1950.ETD synchronize (v.).3

    synchronous (adj.)

    1660s, "existing or happening at the same time, simultaneous," from Late Latin synchronus "simultaneous," from Greek synkhronos "happening at the same time," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + khronos "time" (see chrono-).ETD synchronous (adj.).2

    The meaning "recurring at the same successive instants of time" is attested from 1670s. Related: Synchronously; synchronousness.ETD synchronous (adj.).3

    synchronicity (n.)

    1953; from synchronic + -ity. Originally in Jung. Synchroneity, "quality of being synchronous," is from 1889, but it is equally malformed, and compare synchronism. Related: Synchronicitization.ETD synchronicity (n.).2

    synchronic (adj.)

    "occurring at the same time," 1775 (earlier synchronical (1650s), with -ic + Late Latin synchronus "simultaneous" (see synchronous). The linguistic sense is by 1922, probably from French synchronique (de Saussure, 1913). Synchronal "simultaneous" is attested from 1650s. Related: Synchronical; synchronically.ETD synchronic (adj.).2

    synchronism (n.)

    1580s, "quality of being synchronous, contemporary existence or occurrence, concurrence of two or more events in time," from Modern Latin synchronismus, from Greek synkhronismos, from synkhronos (see synchronous). The meaning "quality of recurring at the same successive instants of time" is from 1854.ETD synchronism (n.).2

    synchrony (n.)

    "occurrence or existence at the same time," 1848, from Latinized form of Greek synkhronos "happening at the same time" (see synchronous) + -y (2).ETD synchrony (n.).2

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