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    topography (n.) — tour (v.)

    topography (n.)

    early 15c., "description of a place," from Late Latin topographia, from Greek topographia "a description of a place," from topos "place" (see topos) + -graphia (see -graphy). Meaning "collective features of a region" is from 1847. Related: Topographic; topographical; topographically.ETD topography (n.).2

    topology (n.)

    1650s, "study of the locations where plants are found," from Greek topos "place" (see topos) + -logy. Related: Topological.ETD topology (n.).2

    toponym (n.)

    1939, "place name," from Greek topos "place" (see topos) + -onym "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). Toponymy "study of place names" is from 1876. Related: Toponymic; toponymics.ETD toponym (n.).2

    topper (n.)

    "the best (of anything)," 1709, originally slang, agent noun from top (v.).ETD topper (n.).2

    topple (v.)

    1580s, "tumble down, fall headfirst," earlier "tumble or roll about" (1540s), from top (v.) "to tip" + frequentative suffix -le. Transitive sense also is from 1590s. Related: Toppled; toppling.ETD topple (v.).2


    slave-girl character in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852), immortal in cliche for her response to a question about her origin put to her by the pious Northern abolitionist Miss Ophelia:ETD Topsy.2

    In addition to being often misquoted by the addition of a "just" (or "jes'"), the line is sometimes used inappropriately in 20c. writing to indicate something that got large without anyone intending it to.ETD Topsy.3

    top-sider (n.)

    kind of casual shoe, 1937, from topside in nautical sense of "upper deck of a ship," where the rubber soles would provide good grip; from top (n.1) + side (n.).ETD top-sider (n.).2

    topsoil (n.)

    also top-soil, 1789, from top (adj.) + soil (n.).ETD topsoil (n.).2

    topsy-turvy (adv.)

    1520s, "but prob. in popular use from an earlier period" [OED]; compare top over terve "to fall over" (mid-15c.); likely from tops, plural of top (n.1) "highest point" + obsolete terve "turn upside down, topple over," from Old English tearflian "to roll over, overturn," from Proto-Germanic *terbanan (source also of Old High German zerben "to turn round"). Century Dictionary calls it "A word which, owing to its popular nature, its alliterative type, and to ignorance of its origin, leading to various perversions made to suggest some plausible origin, has undergone, besides the usual variations of spelling, extraordinary modifications of form." It lists 31 variations. As an adjective from 1610s.ETD topsy-turvy (adv.).2

    toque (n.)

    kind of round hat, c. 1500, from French toque (15c.), from Spanish toca "woman's headdress," possibly from Arabic *taqa, from Old Persian taq "veil, shawl."ETD toque (n.).2

    tor (n.)

    "high, rocky hill," Old English torr "rock, crag;" said to be a different word than torr "tower." Obviously cognate with Gaelic torr "lofty hill, mound," Old Welsh twrr "heap, pile;" and perhaps ultimately with Latin turris "high structure" (see tower (n.)). But sources disagree on whether the Celts borrowed it from the Anglo-Saxons or the other way round.ETD tor (n.).2

    Torah (n.)

    "the Pentateuch," 1570s, from Hebrew torah, literally "instruction, law," verbal noun from horah "he taught, showed."ETD Torah (n.).2

    torch (n.)

    mid-13c., from Old French torche "torch," also "handful of straw" (for wiping or cleaning, hence French torcher "to wipe, wipe down"), originally "twisted thing," then "torch formed of twisted tow dipped in wax," probably from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Late Latin torqua, from Latin torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").ETD torch (n.).2

    In Britain, also applied to the battery-driven version (in U.S., a flashlight). To pass the torch is an ancient metaphor from the Greek torch-races (lampadedromia) where the goal was to reach the finish line with the torch still burning. Torch-bearer "leader of a cause" is from 1530s. Torch song is 1927 ("My Melancholy Baby," performed by Tommy Lyman, is said to have been the first so called), from carry a torch "suffer an unrequited love" (also 1927), Broadway slang, but the sense is obscure.ETD torch (n.).3

    torch (v.)

    1819, "illuminate with a torch," from torch (n.). Meaning "set fire to" is from 1931. Related: Torched; torching.ETD torch (v.).2

    torcher (n.)

    "torch-carrier," c. 1600; see torch (n.). Meaning "torch singer" attested by 1940.ETD torcher (n.).2

    torchiere (n.)

    also torchere, "large, decorated candelabrum," 1910, from French torchère, from torche (see torch (n.)).ETD torchiere (n.).2

    torchlight (n.)

    early 15c., from torch (n.) + light (n.).ETD torchlight (n.).2

    toreador (n.)

    "bullfighter on horseback" (as opposed to a torero, who kills on foot), 1610s, from Spanish toreador, from torear "to participate in a bullfight," from toro "bull," from Latin taurus (see Taurus).ETD toreador (n.).2


    fem. proper name, originally short for Victoria.ETD Tori.2

    Tory (n.)

    1566, "an outlaw," specifically "one of a class of Irish robbers noted for outrages and savage cruelty," from Irish toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from Old Irish toirighim "I pursue," from toir "pursuit," from Celtic *to-wo-ret- "a running up to," from PIE root *ret- "to run, roll" (see rotary).ETD Tory (n.).2

    About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c. 1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c. 1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. As an adjective from 1680s. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to the crown; it represents their relative position in the pre-revolutionary English political order in the colonies.ETD Tory (n.).3

    toric (adj.)

    1888, from torus + -ic.ETD toric (adj.).2

    torii (n.)

    singular and plural, "gateway to a Shinto temple," Japanese, according to OED from tori "bird" + i "to sit, to perch."ETD torii (n.).2

    torment (n.)

    c. 1300, "the inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering, pain, distress," from Old French torment "torture, pain, anguish, suffering distress" (11c., Modern French tourment), from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").ETD torment (n.).2

    torment (v.)

    c. 1300, "inflict torture on, distress," from Old French tormenter "torture, torment, oppress, agitate" (12c.), from Medieval Latin tormentare "to torment, to twist," from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Related: Tormented; tormenting.ETD torment (v.).2

    tormentor (n.)

    c. 1300, from Anglo-French tormentour, Old French tormenteor "torturer," agent noun from tormenter "to torture" (see torment (v.)).ETD tormentor (n.).2


    past participle of tear (v.); from Old English getoren.ETD torn.2

    tornado (n.)

    1550s, ternado, navigator's word for violent windy thunderstorm in the tropical Atlantic, probably a mangled borrowing from Spanish tronada "thunderstorm," from tronar "to thunder," from Latin tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)). Also in 17c. spelled tornatho, tornathe, turnado; modern spelling by 1620s. Metathesis of -o- and -r- in modern spelling influenced by Spanish tornar "to twist, turn," from Latin tornare "to turn." Meaning "extremely violent whirlwind" is first found 1620s; specifically "destructive rotary funnel cloud" (especially in the U.S. Midwest) from 1849. Related: Tornadic.ETD tornado (n.).2

    toro (n.)

    "bull," 1650s, from Spanish toro "bull," from Latin taurus (see steer (n.)).ETD toro (n.).2


    city in Ontario, Canada, founded 1793 as York, renamed 1834 for a native village that appears on a 1656 map as Tarantou, from an Iroquoian source, original form and sense unknown; perhaps taron-to-hen "wood in the water," or Huron deondo "meeting place."ETD Toronto.2

    torpedo (v.)

    "destroy or sink (a ship) by a torpedo," 1874, from torpedo (n.). Also used late 19c. of blowing open oil wells. Figurative sense attested from 1895. Related: Torpedoed; torpedoing.ETD torpedo (v.).2

    torpedo (n.)

    1520s, "electric ray" (flat fish that produces an electric charge to stun prey or for defense), from Latin torpedo "electric ray," originally "numbness, sluggishness" (the fish so called from the effect of being jolted by the ray's electric discharges), from torpere "be numb" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff"). The sense of "explosive device used to blow up enemy ships" is first recorded 1776, as a floating mine; the self-propelled version is from c. 1900. Related: Torpedic.ETD torpedo (n.).2

    torpidity (n.)

    1610s; see torpid + -ity.ETD torpidity (n.).2

    torpid (adj.)

    1610s, "benumbed, without feeling or power," from Latin torpidus "benumbed, stupefied," from torpere "be numb or stiff" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff"). Figurative sense of "sluggish, dull, apathetic" is from 1650s. Related: Torpidly; torpidness.ETD torpid (adj.).2

    torpor (n.)

    "lethargy, listlessness," c. 1600, from Latin torpor "numbness, sluggishness," from torpere "be numb, be inactive, be dull" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff").ETD torpor (n.).2

    torque (v.)

    1570s (implied in torqued "twisted"), from torque (n.).ETD torque (v.).2

    torque (n.)

    "rotating force," 1882, from Latin torquere "to twist, turn, turn about, twist awry, distort, torture," from PIE *torkw-eyo-, causative of root *terkw- "to twist." The word also is used (since 1834) by antiquarians and others as a term for the twisted metal necklace worn anciently by Gauls, Britons, Germans, etc., from Latin torques "collar of twisted metal," from torquere. Earlier it had been called in English torques (1690s). Torque-wrench is from 1941.ETD torque (n.).2

    torr (n.)

    unit of pressure, 1949, named for Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647), inventor of the barometer.ETD torr (n.).2

    torrent (n.)

    c. 1600, "rapid stream," from French torrent (16c.) and directly from Latin torrentem (nominative torrens) "rushing, roaring" (of streams), also "a rushing stream," originally as an adjective "roaring, boiling, burning, parching, hot, inflamed," present participle of torrere "to parch" (from PIE root *ters- "to dry"). The extension to any onrush (of words, feelings, etc.) first recorded 1640s.ETD torrent (n.).2

    torrential (adj.)

    "pertaining to or resembling a torrent," 1849; see torrent + -ial. Perhaps by influence of French torrentiel. Related: Torrentially.ETD torrential (adj.).2

    torrid (adj.)

    1580s, in torrid zone "region of the earth between the tropics," from Medieval Latin torrida zona, from fem. of torridus "dried with heat, scorching hot," from torrere "to parch," from PIE root *ters- "to dry." Sense of "very hot" is first attested 1610s. Figurative sense from 1630s.ETD torrid (adj.).2

    torsion (n.)

    early 15c., "wringing pain in the bowels," from Old French torsion "colic" (early 14c.), from Late Latin torsionem (nominative torsio) "a wringing or gripping," from Latin tortionem (nominative tortio) "torture, torment," noun of action from past-participle stem of torquere "to twist, distort, torture" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Meaning "act or effect of twisting as by opposing forces" is first recorded 1540s.ETD torsion (n.).2

    torso (n.)

    1797, "trunk of a statue," from Italian torso "trunk of a statue," originally "stalk, stump," from Vulgar Latin *tursus, from Latin thyrsus "stalk, stem," from Greek thyrsos (see thyrsus). As "trunk of a person" by 1865. Earlier, in the statuary sense, in French form torse (1620s).ETD torso (n.).2

    torte (n.)

    "sweet cake, tart," 1748, from German Torte; earlier sense of "round cake, round bread" (1550s) is from French torte; both are from Late Latin torta "flat cake," also "round loaf of bread" (also source of Italian torte, Spanish torta), probably related to tart (n.1). Not considered to be from the source of tort.ETD torte (n.).2

    tort (n.)

    mid-13c., "injury, wrong," from Old French tort "wrong, injustice, crime" (11c.), from Medieval Latin tortum "injustice," noun use of neuter of tortus "wrung, twisted," past participle of Latin torquere "turn, turn awry, twist, wring, distort" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Legal sense of "breach of a duty, whereby someone acquires a right of action for damages" is first recorded 1580s.ETD tort (n.).2

    tortellini (n.)

    1937, from Italian, plural of tortellino, diminutive of tortello "cake, fritter," itself a diminutive of torta (see torte).ETD tortellini (n.).2

    tortfeasor (n.)

    1650s, from Old French tortfesor, from tort "wrong, evil" (see tort) + -fesor "doer," from Latin facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD tortfeasor (n.).2

    torticollis (n.)

    wryneck, 1811, Modern Latin, from Latin tortus "crooked, twisted," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist") + collum "neck" (see collar (n.)), from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round."ETD torticollis (n.).2

    tortilla (n.)

    1690s, from American Spanish tortilla, from Spanish, "a tart," literally "a little cake," diminutive of torta "cake," from Late Latin torta "flat cake" (see torte).ETD tortilla (n.).2

    tortious (adj.)

    late 14c., "wrongful, illegal," from Anglo-French torcious (14c.), from stem of torcion, literally "a twisting," from Late Latin tortionem (see torsion, and compare tort). Meaning "pertaining to a tort" is from 1540s.ETD tortious (adj.).2

    tortoise (n.)

    1550s, altered (perhaps by influence of porpoise) from Middle English tortuse (late 15c.), tortuce (mid-15c.), tortuge (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin tortuca (mid-13c.), perhaps from Late Latin tartaruchus "of the underworld" (see Tartarus). Others propose a source in Latin tortus "twisted," based on the shape of the feet. The classical Latin word was testudo, from testa "shell." First record of tortoise shell as a pattern of markings is from 1782.ETD tortoise (n.).2

    tortuous (adj.)

    late 14c., "full of twists and turns," from Anglo-French tortuous (12c.), Old French tortuos, from Latin tortuosus "full of twists, winding," from tortus "a twisting, winding," from stem of torquere "to twist, wring, distort" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Related: Tortuously; tortuousness.ETD tortuous (adj.).2

    torturous (adj.)

    "pertaining to or characterized by torture," late 15c., from Anglo-French torturous, from Old French tortureus, from Latin tortura (see torture (n.)).ETD torturous (adj.).2

    torture (v.)

    1580s, from torture (n.). Related: Tortured; torturing.ETD torture (v.).2

    torture (n.)

    early 15c., "contortion, twisting, distortion; a disorder characterized by contortion," from Old French torture "infliction of great pain; great pain, agony" (12c.), and directly from Late Latin tortura "a twisting, writhing," in Medieval Latin "pain inflicted by judicial or ecclesiastical authority as a means of punishment or persuasion," from stem of Latin torquere "to twist, turn, wind, wring, distort" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").ETD torture (n.).2

    The meaning "infliction of severe bodily pain as a means of punishment or persuasion" in English is from 1550s. The theory behind judicial torture was that a guilty person could be made to confess, but an innocent one could not, by this means. Macaulay writes that it was last inflicted in England in May 1640.ETD torture (n.).3

    torus (n.)

    1560s, in architecture, "large, rounded molding at the base of a column," from Latin torus "a swelling, bulge, knot; cushion, couch."ETD torus (n.).2

    tosh (n.)

    "valuables collected from drains," 1852, London slang, of unknown origin.ETD tosh (n.).2

    tosh (adj.)

    "neat, clean, trim," 1776, Scottish, of unknown origin.ETD tosh (adj.).2

    toss (v.)

    mid-15c., "to lift or throw with a sudden movement," of uncertain origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian tossa "to strew, spread"). Food preparation sense (with reference to salad, etc.) is recorded from 1723. Intransitive sense "be restless; throw oneself about" is from 1550s. Related: Tossed; tossing.ETD toss (v.).2

    toss (n.)

    "an act of throwing," 1630s, from toss (v.). Meaning "a coin toss" is from 1798.ETD toss (n.).2

    tosser (n.)

    term of contempt in British slang, by 1977, probably from slang toss off "act of masturbation" (1735). Agent noun from toss (v.). Compare jerk (n.).ETD tosser (n.).2

    tosspot (n.)

    "heavy drinker," 1560s, from toss (v.) + pot (n.1).ETD tosspot (n.).2

    toss-up (n.)

    "even matter," 1809, from earlier sense of "a flipping of a coin to arrive at a decision" (c. 1700), from verbal phrase, from toss (v.) + up (adv.).ETD toss-up (n.).2

    tostada (n.)

    1945, from Mexican Spanish, from past participle of Spanish tostar "to toast" (see toast (v.1)).ETD tostada (n.).2

    tot (n.)

    "little child," 1725, Scottish, of uncertain origin, perhaps a shortened form of totter, or related to Old Norse tottr, nickname of a dwarf (compare Swedish tutte "little child," Danish tommel-tot "little child," in which the first element means "thumb"). Tot-lot "play ground for young children" is recorded from 1944.ETD tot (n.).2

    tot (v.)

    "to reckon up," 1760, from tot (n.) "total of an addition," first recorded 1680s, short for total (n.). Hence, "to mark (an account or a name) with the word 'tot.'"ETD tot (v.).2

    total (v.)

    1716, "bring to a total," from total (n.). Intransitive sense "reach a total of" is from 1859. Meaning "to destroy one's car" first recorded 1954. Related: Totaled; totaling.ETD total (v.).2

    totality (n.)

    1590s, from total (adj.) + -ity, or from or based on French totalité, Medieval Latin totalitas. In the eclipse sense, "time of total obscuration," from 1842.ETD totality (n.).2

    total (n.)

    "whole amount, sum," 1550s, from total (adj.).ETD total (n.).2

    total (adj.)

    late 14c., from Old French total (14c.), from Medieval Latin totalis "entire, total" (as in summa totalis "sum total"), from Latin totus "all, all at once, the whole, entire, altogether," a word of unknown origin. Total war is attested from 1937 (William Shirer), in reference to a concept developed in Germany.ETD total (adj.).2

    totally (adv.)

    c. 1500, from total (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD totally (adv.).2

    totalitarian (adj.)

    1926, first in reference to Italian fascism, formed in English on model of Italian totalitario "complete, absolute, totalitarian," from total (adj.) + ending from authoritarian. The noun is recorded from 1938.ETD totalitarian (adj.).2

    totalitarianism (n.)

    1926, first in reference to Italian fascism, from totalitarian + -ism.ETD totalitarianism (n.).2

    tote (v.)

    "to carry," 1670s, of unknown origin; originally attested in Virginia, but OED discounts the popular theory of its origin in a West African language (such as Kikongo tota "pick up," Kimbundu tuta "carry, load," related to Swahili tuta "pile up, carry"). Related: Toted; toting. Tote bag is first recorded 1900.ETD tote (v.).2

    totem (n.)

    animal or natural object considered as the emblem of a family or clan, 1760, from Algonquian (probably Ojibwa) -doodem, in odoodeman "his sibling kin, his group or family," hence, "his family mark;" also attested in French c. 1600 in form aoutem among the Micmacs or other Indians of Nova Scotia. Totem pole is 1808, in reference to west coast Canadian Indians.ETD totem (n.).2

    totemic (adj.)

    1846, from totem + -ic.ETD totemic (adj.).2

    tother (prep.)

    "the other," early 13c., þe toþer, from faulty separation of þet oþer "that other;" simple use of tother in place of the other is attested by 1580s. Often written t'other as though a contraction of the other.ETD tother (prep.).2

    totipotent (adj.)

    1896, from Latin toti-, combining form of totus "whole" (see total (adj.)) + potent. Perhaps immediately from German totipotent, which is attested by 1893. Related: Totipotency.ETD totipotent (adj.).2


    Latin ablative singular (masc. and neuter) of totus "whole, entire" (see total (adj.)).ETD toto.2

    toto caelo

    Latin, "by the whole heaven."ETD toto caelo.2

    totter (v.)

    c. 1200, "swing to and fro," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian totra "to quiver, shake"). Meaning "stand or walk with shaky, unsteady steps" is from c. 1600. Related: Tottered; tottering.ETD totter (v.).2

    tottery (adj.)

    "trembling, unsteady," 1861, from totter + -y (2).ETD tottery (adj.).2

    toucan (n.)

    bright-colored bird of South America, 1560s, from French toucan (1550s) and Spanish tucan; from Tupi (Brazil) tuka, tukana, said to be probably imitative of its call. The constellation Tucana was one of the 11 added to Ptolemy's list in the 1610s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) after Europeans began to explore the Southern Hemisphere.ETD toucan (n.).2

    touch (v.)

    late 13c., "make deliberate physical contact with," from Old French tochier "to touch, hit, knock; mention, deal with" (11c., Modern French toucher), from Vulgar Latin *toccare "to knock, strike" as a bell (source also of Spanish tocar, Italian toccare), perhaps of imitative origin. Related: Touched; touching.ETD touch (v.).2

    From c. 1300 in the transitive sense "bring into physical contact," also "pertain to." Other senses attested from 14c. are "perceive by physical contact, examine by sense of touch," also "be or come into physical contact with; come to rest on; border on, be contiguous with;" also "use the sense of touch," and "mention, describe." From early 14c. as "affect or move mentally or emotionally," with notion of to "touch" the heart or mind. Also from early 14c. as "have sexual contact with." Meaning "to get or borrow money" first recorded 1760.ETD touch (v.).3

    Touch-and-go (adj.) is recorded from 1812, apparently from the name of a tag-like game, first recorded 1650s (however, despite the coincidence, this in no way suggests an acronym origin for tag). Touch football is first attested 1933. Touch-me-not (1590s) translates Latin noli-me-tangere.ETD touch (v.).4

    touch (n.)

    c. 1300, from Old French toche "touch, a touching; a blow, attack; a test" (Modern French touche), from tocher "to touch" (see touch (v.)). Meaning "slight attack" (of an illness, etc.) is recorded from 1660s. Sense of "communication" (to be in or out of touch) is from 1884. Sense of "skill or aptitude in some topic" is first recorded 1927, probably from music or the arts. Soft touch "person easily manipulated" is recorded from 1940.ETD touch (n.).2

    touched (adj.)

    "stirred emotionally," mid-14c., past-participle adjective from touch (v.).ETD touched (adj.).2

    touching (prep.)

    "concerning, regarding," late 14c., from touch (v.), on model of French touchant.ETD touching (prep.).2


    exclamation acknowledging a hit in fencing, 1902, from French touché, past participle of toucher "to hit," from Old French touchier "to hit" (see touch (v.)). Extended (non-fencing) use by 1907.ETD touche.2

    touching (adj.)

    "affecting the emotions," c. 1600, present-participle adjective from touch (v.).ETD touching (adj.).2

    touchdown (n.)

    1864, originally in rugby, where the ball is literally touched down on the other side of the goal, from verbal phrase (by 1859 in sports), from touch (v.) + down (adv.). As "landing of an aircraft" from 1935.ETD touchdown (n.).2

    touchy (adj.)

    "apt to take offense at slight provocation," c. 1600, perhaps an alteration of tetchy (q.v.) influenced by touch (v.). Related: Touchiness.ETD touchy (adj.).2

    touchpoint (n.)

    c. 1600, from touch + point (n.).ETD touchpoint (n.).2

    touch-screen (n.)

    1974, from touch + screen (n.).ETD touch-screen (n.).2

    touchstone (n.)

    late 15c., from touch (v.) in the Middle English sense "to test" (metal) + stone (n.). Fine-grained black quartz, used for testing the quality of gold and silver alloys by the color of the streak made by rubbing them on it. Also see basalt. Figurative sense is from 1530s.ETD touchstone (n.).2

    touch-up (n.)

    "act of improvement requiring modest effort," 1872, from verbal phrase touch up "improve or finish (as a painting or drawing) with light strokes" (1715), from touch (v.) + up (adv.).ETD touch-up (n.).2

    touchwood (n.)

    1570s, from touch (v.) + wood, probably from the notion of being set alight at the touch of a spark.ETD touchwood (n.).2

    toughness (n.)

    mid-15c., from tough (adj.) + -ness.ETD toughness (n.).2

    tough (adj.)

    Old English toh "strong and firm in texture, tenacious, sticky," from Proto-Germanic *tanhu- (source also of Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh), which Watkins suggests is from PIE *denk- "to bite," from the notion of "holding fast." See rough for spelling change.ETD tough (adj.).2

    From c. 1200 as "strong, powerful;" c. 1300 as "not tender or fragile;" early 14c. as "difficult to chew," also "hard to endure." The figurative sense of "steadfast" is mid-14c.; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s.ETD tough (adj.).3

    The verbal phrase tough it "endure the experience" is by 1830, American English. Tough guy attested from 1901. Tough-minded is recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck is attested by 1912; tough shit, dismissive retort to a complaint, is from 1946.ETD tough (adj.).4

    tough (n.)

    "street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).ETD tough (n.).2

    toughen (v.)

    1580s, from tough (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Toughened; toughening.ETD toughen (v.).2

    toupee (n.)

    1727, from French toupet "tuft of hair, forelock," diminutive formed from Old French top "tuft, forelock, topknot" (12c.), from Frankish *top or another Germanic source related to top (n.1) "highest point." Originally an artificial curl or lock on the top of the head; a style, not necessarily a compensation for baldness. In 18c., also sometimes used of a person who wears a toupee. Slang short form toup is recorded from 1959.ETD toupee (n.).2

    tour (v.)

    1746, "make a tour, travel about," from tour (n.). Related: Toured; touring.ETD tour (v.).2

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