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    P — painter (n.2)


    sixteenth letter of the English alphabet, descended from the Greek pi; the form of it is a pi with the second limb curved around to meet the first. A rare letter in the initial position in Germanic, in part because by Grimm's Law PIE p- became Germanic f-; even including the early Latin borrowings in Old English, "P" has only a little over 4 pages in J.R. Clark Hall's "Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary," compared to 31 pages for B and more than 36 for F. But it now is the third-most-common initial letter in the English vocabulary, and with C and S comprises nearly a third of the dictionary, a testimony to the flood of words that have entered the language since 1066 from Latin, Greek, and French, especially those in pre- and pro-.ETD P.2

    Between -m- and another consonant, an unetymological -p- sometimes is inserted (Hampstead, Thompson) to indicate that the -m- is sounded as in words such as Simpson. To mind one's Ps and Qs (1779), possibly is from confusion of these letters among children learning to write. Another theory traces it to old-time tavern-keepers tracking their patrons' bar tabs in pints and quarts. But see also to be P and Q (1610s), "to be excellent," a slang or provincial phrase said to derive from prime quality.ETD P.3

    P-wave is from 1908 in geology, the p representing primary (adj.). The U.S. Navy World War II PT boat (1942) stands for patrol torpedo.ETD P.4


    1804, colloquial shortening of papa (q.v.).ETD pa.2

    pas (n.)

    "a step in dancing," a French word in English, 1775, from French pas "a step, track, passage," from Latin passus "step, pace" (from PIE root *pete- "to spread"). Used in forming names for types of dances, such as pas de deux "dance for two persons" (1762).ETD pas (n.).2

    p.a. (n.)

    abbreviation of public address (system), attested from 1936.ETD p.a. (n.).2


    *pā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to protect, feed."ETD *pa-.2

    It forms all or part of: antipasto; appanage; bannock; bezoar; companion; company; feed; fodder; food; forage; foray; foster; fur; furrier; impanate; pabulum; panatela; panic (n.2) "type of grass;" pannier; panocha; pantry; pastern; pastor; pasture; pester; repast; satrap.ETD *pa-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pateisthai "to feed;" Latin pabulum "food, fodder," panis "bread," pasci "to feed," pascare "to graze, pasture, feed," pastor "shepherd," literally "feeder;" Avestan pitu- "food;" Old Church Slavonic pasti "feed cattle, pasture;" Russian pishcha "food;" Old English foda, Gothic fodeins "food, nourishment."ETD *pa-.4


    proprietary name of a children's breakfast cereal, 1932; see pabulum.ETD Pablum.2

    pabulum (n.)

    "food" for anything, "food" in its widest sense, "that which nourishes an animal or vegetable," 1670s, from Latin pabulum "fodder, food, nourishment," from PIE root *pa- "to feed" + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom. Related Pabular; pabulary. Blount's "Glossographia" (1656) has pabulous "pertaining to Fodder, Provender, Forrage, or meat for Beasts."ETD pabulum (n.).2

    Pablum (1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for infants and weak and invalid persons, hence its figurative use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in reference to "mushy" political prose.ETD pabulum (n.).3

    paca (n.)

    large rodent of Central and South America, 1650s, from Spanish, from Tupi (Brazil) paca, the native name for it.ETD paca (n.).2

    pace (prep.)

    "with the leave of, by the permission of," 1863, from Latin pace, ablative of pax "peace," as in pace tua "with all deference to you;" from PIE root *pag- "to fasten." "Used chiefly as a courteous or ironical apology for a contradiction or difference of opinion" [OED]. It is sometimes misused as though it means "according to" instead of the opposite.ETD pace (prep.).2

    pace (n.)

    late 13c., "a step in walking," also "rate of motion; the space traveled by the foot in one completed movement in walking," from Old French pas "a step, pace, trace," and directly from Latin passus, passum "a step, pace, stride," noun use of past participle of pandere "to stretch (the leg), spread out," probably from PIE *pat-no-, nasalized variant form of root *pete- "to spread."ETD pace (n.).2

    It also was, from late 14c., a lineal measurement of vague and variable extent, representing the space naturally traversed by the adult human foot in walking. In some places and situations it was reckoned as the distance from the place where either foot is taken up, in walking, to that where the same foot is set down again (a great pace), usually 5 feet or a little less. The pace of a single step (military pace) is about 2.5 feet.ETD pace (n.).3

    To keep pace (with) "maintain the same speed, advance at an equal rate" is from 1580s. Pace-setter "one who establishes trends in fashion," is by 1895; it also had literal meanings.ETD pace (n.).4

    pace (v.)

    1510s, "to walk at a steady rate," from pace (n.). Meaning "to measure by pacing" is from 1570s. That of "to set the pace for" (another) is from 1886. Related: Paced; pacing.ETD pace (v.).2

    pacemaker (n.)

    also pace-maker, 1884, "one who sets the pace for others," originally a rider or boat that sets the pace for others in training. Meaning "the node of the heart which determines the beat rate" is from 1910; sense of "man-made device for stimulating and regulating heartbeat" (short for artificial pacemaker) is from 1951. From pace (n.) + maker.ETD pacemaker (n.).2

    pacer (n.)

    1660s, "a horse whose natural gait is a pace," agent noun from pace (v.). As "one who measures by pacing," by 1835.ETD pacer (n.).2


    word-forming element in science meaning "thick, large, massive," from Latinized form of Greek pakhys "thick, fat, well-fed, dense, stout," from PIE *bhengh- "thick, fat" (source also of Sanskrit bahu- "much, numerous;" Avestan bazah- "height, depth;" Armenian bazum "much;" Hittite pankush "large," panku- (adj.) "total;" Old Norse bingr "heap," Old High German bungo "a bulb;" Latvian biezs "thick").ETD pachy-.2

    pachinko (n.)

    1953, from Japanese, "pinball machine," also "slingshot, handgun," from pachin, of echoic origin, + diminutive suffix -ko.ETD pachinko (n.).2

    pachycephalic (adj.)

    in zoology, "thick-headed," by 1862, from pachy- "thick, large" + -cephalic. Related: Pachycephalous (1890).ETD pachycephalic (adj.).2

    pachyderm (n.)

    1838, from French pachyderme (c. 1600), adopted as a biological term for non-ruminant hoofed quadrupeds 1797 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832), from Greek pakhydermos "thick-skinned," from pakhys "thick, large, massive" (see pachy-) + derma "skin" (from PIE root *der- "to split, flay, peel," with derivatives referring to skin and leather). Cuvier's order of Pachydermata is now disused in zoology, but pachyderm remains in common use to describe elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, etc. Related: Pachydermal; pachydermic; pachydermatous.ETD pachyderm (n.).2

    pachysandra (n.)

    genus of small, evergreen plants, 1813, from Modern Latin (Andre Michaux, 1803), from Greek pakhys "thick" (see pachy-) + anēr (genitive andros) "man" (from PIE root *ner- (2) "man"), which is used in botany to mean "stamen, having stamens" (the plant is notable for its four stamens).ETD pachysandra (n.).2

    pacifism (n.)

    "policy or doctrine of rejecting war and violence in solving disputes," especially in international affairs, 1902, from French pacifisme (1901), which was apparently coined by French anti-war writer Émile Arnaud (1864-1921), from pacifique (see pacific).ETD pacifism (n.).2

    pacific (adj.)

    1540s, "tending to make peace, concillatory," from French pacifique, from Latin pacificus "peaceful, peace-making," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace) + combining form of facere "to make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Meaning "peaceful, characterized by peace or calm" is recorded from 1630s. Related: Pacifical (mid-15c., "of a peaceful nature"); pacifically.ETD pacific (adj.).2

    The Pacific Ocean (1660 in English) was famously so called in 1519 by Magellan when he sailed into it and found it calmer than the stormy Atlantic, or at least calmer than he expected it to be. According to an original account of the voyage by an Italian named Pigafetta, who was among the adventurers, Magellan gave the entrance to what Pigafetta calls "the South Sea" the Latin name Mare Pacificum. The U.S. Pacific Northwest is so called by 1889.ETD pacific (adj.).3

    pacification (n.)

    "a setting at peace," mid-15c., pacificacioun, from Old French pacification "act of making peaceful" (15c.) and directly from Latin pacificationem (nominative pacificatio) "a peace-making," noun of action from past-participle stem of pacificare "to pacify" (see pacify). As "military operation designed to secure local cooperation in an area where enemy forces are thought to be active," by 1946.ETD pacification (n.).2

    pacify (v.)

    late 15c., pacifien, "appease, allay the anger of (someone)," from Old French pacifier, paciifier, "make peace," from Latin pacificare "to make peace; pacify," from pacificus "peaceful, peace-making," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace). Of countries or regions, "to bring to a condition of calm, to restore peace to," late 15c., from the start with suggestions of forced submission and terrorization. Related: Pacified; pacifying.ETD pacify (v.).2

    pacifier (n.)

    1530s, "one who pacifies or appeases," agent noun from pacify. The meaning "nipple-shaped device for babies" is recorded by 1904. Pacificator "a peacemaker" (1530s) is directly from Latin.ETD pacifier (n.).2

    pacificism (n.)

    1904, "pacifism, rejection of war and violence as a matter of principle," 1904, from pacific + -ism. Fowler, in 1926, wrote that the longer form was better, "but its chances of ousting the wrong form are small."ETD pacificism (n.).2

    But pacificism gradually evolved a sense distinct from pacifism, "advocacy of a peaceful policy as a first resort or in a particular instance." Since the 19th century the international peace movement has included absolutists (who believe war can be totally and immediately repudiated) and moderates who see the abolition of war as a gradual process of promoting international systems and reforming nations and who believe that, until then, defensive military force may be needed to protect reforms. The use of pacificist for the latter was suggested in 1957 by British historian and nuclear-disarmament activist A.J.P. Taylor. Related: Pacificist.ETD pacificism (n.).3

    pacifist (n.)

    "proponent or advocate of pacifism," 1903, from French pacifiste (see pacifism). Related: Pacifistic (1902).ETD pacifist (n.).2

    pack (n.)

    early 13c., pak, pake, "a bundle or package (of cloth, merchandise, etc.)," also "a bag or purse for carrying things," probably from a Low German word (compare Middle Dutch pac, pack "bundle," Middle Low German pak, Middle Flemish pac, attested from late 12c.) and taken into English from the wool traders in Flanders; or possibly from Old Norse pakki. All are of unknown origin. Italian pacco is a Dutch loan word; French pacque probably is from Flemish.ETD pack (n.).2

    Especially a bundle enclosed in a wrapping and bound fast with cords. Meaning "set of persons" (usually of a low character) is from late 14c. and is older than sense of "group of instinctively herding hunting animals" (mid-15c.). Extended to "complete set of playing cards" (1590s), floating ice (1791), bundled cigarettes (1865), and submarines (1943).ETD pack (n.).3

    Meaning "knapsack on a frame" is attested from 1916. Pack of lies is attested from 1763. Meaning "a person of low character" (usually with naughty) is by 1520s.ETD pack (n.).4

    pack (v.)

    late 14c., pakken, "to put together in a pack, bundle (something) up," from pack (n.), possibly influenced by Anglo-French empaker (late 13c.) and Medieval Latin paccare "pack," both of which are from Germanic (compare Middle Dutch packen).ETD pack (v.).2

    Meaning "pack compactly, cram or crowd together" is from mid-15c. Sense of "to fill (a container) with things arranged more or less methodically" is from late 15c. Meaning "to go away, leave" is from mid-15c. Meaning "to force or press down or together firmly" (of dirt, snow, etc.) is by 1850.ETD pack (v.).3

    Some senses suggesting "make secret arrangement, manipulate so as to serve one's purposes" are from an Elizabethan mispronunciation of pact, as in pack the cards (1590s) "arrange the deck so as to give one undue advantage." The sense of "to carry or convey in a pack" (1805) led to the general sense of "to carry in any manner;" hence "to be capable of delivering" (a punch, etc.), attested from 1921, and pack heat "carry a gun," 1940s underworld slang. To pack it up "give up, finish" is by 1942. Related: Packed; packing.ETD pack (v.).4

    packing (n.)

    "any material used for filling an empty space," 1824, from pack (v.).ETD packing (n.).2

    package (n.)

    1530s, "the act of packing," from pack (n.) + -age; or from cognate Dutch pakkage "baggage." The main modern sense of "a bundle, a parcel, a quantity pressed or packed together" is attested from 1722. Package deal "transaction agreed to as a whole" is from 1952.ETD package (n.).2

    package (v.)

    "to bundle up into a pack or package," 1915, from package (n.). Related: Packaged; packaging.ETD package (v.).2

    packaging (n.)

    1875, "act of making into a package or packages," from package (n.).ETD packaging (n.).2

    packer (n.)

    mid-14c., pakker (mid-13c. as a surname), "one who packs goods in bundles for transportation," agent noun from pack (v.). As "a machine used for packing," by 1890. The Wisconsin U.S. football team was named at its founding in 1919 for the Indian Packing Company (a meat-canning operation where one of the founders worked as a shipping clerk), which gave the team organizers $500 for uniforms and equipment and let it use the company's field on condition that the team be named for its sponsor.ETD packer (n.).2

    packet (n.)

    mid-15c., paket, "a little package or parcel" (late 12c. as a surname), "in earliest use applied to a parcel of letters or dispatches, and esp. to the State parcel or 'mail' of dispatches to and from foreign countries" [OED], from Middle English pak "bundle" (see pack (n.)) + diminutive suffix -et; perhaps modeled on Anglo-French pacquet (Old French pacquet), which ultimately is a diminutive of Middle Dutch pak or some other continental Germanic word cognate with the English one. A packet boat (1640s) originally was one that carried mails from country to country or port to port, then generally a vessel starting at regular dates and appointed times. In data transmission, packet-switching is attested from 1971.ETD packet (n.).2

    pack-horse (n.)

    "horse used in carrying burdens," c. 1500, from pack (n.) + horse (n.).ETD pack-horse (n.).2

    pack-rat (n.)

    common name for the North American bushytailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea) 1885, from pack (v.); so called from the rodents' habit of dragging objects off to their holes. Used figuratively or allusively from c. 1850 of persons who won't discard anything, which means either the rat's name is older than the record or the human sense is the original one.ETD pack-rat (n.).2

    packsaddle (n.)

    also pack-saddle, "saddle for supporting packs on the back of a mount," late 14c., pakke sadil; from pack (n.) + saddle (n.).ETD packsaddle (n.).2

    packstaff (n.)

    "a staff on which a peddler rests the weight of his pack when he stops," 1540s, from pack (n.) + staff (n.).ETD packstaff (n.).2

    pact (n.)

    "an agreement between persons or parties," early 15c., from Old French pacte "agreement, treaty, compact" (14c.) and directly from Latin pactum "agreement, contract, covenant," noun use of neuter past participle of pacisci "to covenant, to agree, make a treaty," from PIE root *pag- "to fasten." Related: Paction "act of making a pact."ETD pact (n.).2

    pad (v.1)

    "to walk, travel on foot, tramp slowly or wearily along," 1550s, probably from Middle Dutch paden "walk along a path, make a path," from pad, pat "path" (compare path). Originally a cant word among criminals and vagabonds, perhaps of imitative origin (sound of feet trudging on a dirt road). Related: Padded; padding. English also formerly had the noun pad meaning "path, foot path" (1560s), which might be from this verb, or from the Dutch noun, or a variant of path.ETD pad (v.1).2

    pad (v.2)

    "to stuff with pads or padding, increase the amount of," 1827, from pad (n.). Of writing, "expand by insertion of extraneous matter," 1831; transferred to expense accounts, etc. by 1890. Related: Padded; padding. The idea of a padded cell in an asylum or prison (1862, padded room) is to prevent those inside from injuring themselves by dashing against the walls.ETD pad (v.2).2

    padding (n.)

    "material used in stuffing, stuffing used to keep a garment in the desired shape," 1828, verbal noun from pad (v.2).ETD padding (n.).2

    pad (n.)

    1550s, "bundle of straw to lie on," a word of obscure origin (perhaps a merger of several separate words), possibly from or related to Low German or obsolete Flemish pad "sole of the foot," which is perhaps from PIE *pent- "to tread, go" (see find (v.)), but see path (n.).ETD pad (n.).2

    Sense of "soft cushion" is from 1560s, originally a soft saddle. Generalized sense of "something soft" is from c. 1700. Meaning "cushion-like part on the sole of an animal foot" in English is from 1790. The sense of "a number of sheets fastened or glued together at the edge" (in writing-pad, drawing-pad, etc.) is from 1865.ETD pad (n.).3

    Sense of "takeoff or landing place for a helicopter or missile" is from 1949; the notion is of something to prevent friction or jarring. The word persisted in underworld slang from early 18c. in the sense "sleeping place," and this was popularized again c. 1959, originally in beatnik speech (later hippie slang) in its original English sense of "place to sleep temporarily," also "a room to use drugs."ETD pad (n.).4

    paddy (n.1)

    1620s, "rice plant," from Malay (Austronesian) padi "rice in the straw." Main modern meaning "rice field, ground where rice is growing" (1948) is a shortening of paddy field.ETD paddy (n.1).2

    Paddy (n.2)

    "an Irishman," 1780, slang, from the pet form of the common Irish proper name Patrick (Irish Padraig). It was in use in African-American vernacular by 1946 for any "white person." Paddy-wagon is attested by 1930, perhaps so called because many police officers were Irish. Paddywhack (1811) originally meant "an Irishman;" with the second element apparently added vaguely for emphasis.ETD Paddy (n.2).2

    paddle (v.2)

    "to beat with a paddle, spank with the open hand or with some flat object," by 1856, from paddle (n.). Related: Paddled; paddling.ETD paddle (v.2).2

    paddle (v.3)

    "to move in water by means of paddles," 1670s, from paddle (n.). To paddle one's (own) canoe "do for oneself make one's way by one's own exertions," is from 1828, American English.ETD paddle (v.3).2

    paddle (n.)

    c. 1400, padell "small, long-handled spade used to remove earth adhering to a plow," probably from Medieval Latin padela, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin patella "small pan, little dish, plate," diminutive of patina (see pan (n.)). Meaning "short oar with a wide blade" (or two, one at each end) is from 1620s. As an instrument used for beating clothes (and slaves, and schoolboys), it is recorded from 1828, American English. As "fin-like forelimb of a sea creature," by 1835. Paddle-ball is attested from 1935.ETD paddle (n.).2

    paddle (v.1)

    "to dabble, wade in water," 1520s, probably cognate with Low German paddeln "tramp about," frequentative of padjen "to tramp, to run in short steps," from the source of pad (v.). Related: Paddled; paddling. Meaning "to move in water by means of paddles" is a different word (see paddle (v.3)).ETD paddle (v.1).2

    paddle-wheel (n.)

    also paddlewheel, "wheel provided with boards or floats around its circumference, for use in moving water," 1680s, so called by its inventor, but the word was not in common use until 1805 and the rise of the steamboat with a side-mounted paddle-wheel turned by steam power for the propulsion of the vessel, from paddle (n.) + wheel (n.).ETD paddle-wheel (n.).2

    paddock (n.1)

    "a toad, a frog," late 14c., paddok (late 12c. as a surname), probably a diminutive of pad "toad," from Old Norse padda; from Proto-Germanic *pado- "toad" (source also of Swedish padda, Danish padde, Old Frisian and Middle Dutch padde "frog, toad," also Dutch schildpad "tortoise"), of unknown origin and with no certain cognates outside Germanic. Paddock-stool was an old name for a toadstool (mid-15c.). Pad in the straw was a 16c.-17c. expression meaning "something wrong, hidden danger."ETD paddock (n.1).2

    paddock (n.2)

    "a small field or enclosure," 1620s, apparently an alteration of Middle English parrock, from Old English pearroc "enclosed space, fence" (see park (n.)). Or possibly from Medieval Latin parricus (8c.), which ultimately is from Germanic. Especially a small pastured enclosure near a stable.ETD paddock (n.2).2

    padlock (v.)

    "to fasten by or as if by a padlock," 1640s, from padlock (n.). Related: Padlocked; padlocking.ETD padlock (v.).2

    padlock (n.)

    "removable lock with a pivoted bow or hasp," late 15c., pad-lok, from lock (n.1), but the first element is of obscure origin; perhaps originally, as some sources suggest, "a lock for a pannier."ETD padlock (n.).2

    padre (n.)

    "priest, chaplain," used in reference to priests in Spain, Italy, and Mexico and South America, or the southwest of the U.S., 1580s, from Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese padre, from Latin patrem (nominative pater) "father" (see father (n.)). The title of the regular clergy in those languages. Papar was the name the Norse arriving in Iceland gave to Irish monks whom they found there.ETD padre (n.).2


    Italian city, Italian Padova, from Latin Patavium, probably from Gaulish *padi "pine," in reference to the pine forests thereabouts. Related: Paduan.ETD Padua.2

    paean (n.)

    "hymn of praise, song of triumph;" in general use, "a loud and joyous song," 1590s, from Latin paean "hymn of deliverance, hymn to a help-giving god," from Greek paian "hymn, chant, hymn to Apollo," from Paian, Paiōn, a name of the god of healing; originally the physician of the gods (in Homer), later merged with Apollo; literally "one who touches" (i.e. "one who heals by a touch"), probably taken from a phrase or word at the beginning of the hymn, from paio "to touch, strike." The notion seems to be either a cry asking for aid in war or other trouble, or a giving thanks for aid received.ETD paean (n.).2

    paedagogy (n.)

    see pedagogy; also see pedo-, æ (1). Related: Paedagogic; paedagogical; paedagogue.ETD paedagogy (n.).2

    paederasty (n.)

    see pederasty; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paederasty (n.).2

    paedeutics (n.)

    "the science of teaching or education," 1838, from Latinized form of Greek paideutikos "of or pertaining to teaching," from combining form of pais "boy, child," especially a son, from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little." Also see -ics.ETD paedeutics (n.).2

    paediatrics (n.)

    see pediatrics; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paediatrics (n.).2

    paediatric (adj.)

    see pediatric; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paediatric (adj.).2

    paediatrician (n.)

    see pediatrician; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paediatrician (n.).2


    see pedo-; also see æ (1).ETD paedo-.2

    paedophile (n.)

    see pedophile; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paedophile (n.).2

    paedophilia (n.)

    see pedophilia; also see pedo-, æ (1).ETD paedophilia (n.).2

    Paedophryne (n.)

    frog genus, 2010, literally "child toad," from Greek paedo- "child" (see pedo-) + phrynē typically "toad," but occasionally "frog" (the usual Greek for "frog" was batrakhos), which is perhaps from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown," or else from a local pre-Greek word. It includes Paedophryne amauensis, which was formally named 2012 and is considered the world's smallest vertebrate. The amauensis is from Amau village in Papua New Guinea, near which it was first found.ETD Paedophryne (n.).2

    paella (n.)

    Spanish dish of rice with chicken and other meat, seafood, vegetables, etc., cooked together in a large, flat pan, 1892, from Catalan paella, from Old French paele "cooking or frying pan" (Modern French poêle), from Latin patella "small pan, little dish, platter," diminutive of patina "broad shallow pan, stew-pan" (see pan (n.)). So called for the pan in which it is cooked.ETD paella (n.).2

    paeon (n.)

    metrical foot of one long and three short syllables (in any order), c. 1600, from Latin paeon, from Greek paiōn (see paean). Related: Paeonic.ETD paeon (n.).2

    paesan (n.)

    1930s, "fellow countryman, native of one's own country," from Italian dialect, from Late Latin pagensis "peasant, rustic" (see peasant). Spanish form paisano attested in English (New Mexico) from 1844.ETD paesan (n.).2


    *paəwr-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "fire."ETD *paewr-.2

    It forms all or part of: antipyretic; burro; empyreal; empyrean; fire; pyracanth; pyre; pyretic; pyrexia; pyrite; pyro-; pyrolusite; pyromania; pyrrhic; sbirro.ETD *paewr-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pu, Hittite pahhur "fire;" Armenian hur "fire, torch;" Czech pyr "hot ashes;" Greek pyr, Umbrian pir "fire;" Old English fyr, German Feuer "fire."ETD *paewr-.4


    also *pak-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to fasten."ETD *pag-.2

    It forms all or part of: Areopagus; appease; appeasement; compact (adj.) "concentrated;" compact (n.1) "agreement;" fang; impact; impale; impinge; newfangled; pace (prep.) "with the leave of;" pacific; pacify; pact; pagan; page (n.1) "sheet of paper;" pageant; pale (n.) "limit, boundary, restriction;" palette; palisade; patio; pawl; pax; pay; peace; peasant; pectin; peel (n.2) "shovel-shaped instrument;" pole (n.1) "stake;" propagate; propagation; travail; travel.ETD *pag-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pasa- "cord, rope," pajra- "solid, firm;" Avestan pas- "to fetter;" Greek pegnynai "to fix, make firm, fast or solid," pagos "pinnacle, cliff, rocky hill;" Latin pangere "to fix, to fasten," pagina "column," pagus "district;" Slavonic paž "wooden partition;" Old English fegan "to join," fon "to catch seize."ETD *pag-.4

    pagan (n.)

    c. 1400, perhaps mid-14c., "person of non-Christian or non-Jewish faith," from Late Latin paganus "pagan," in classical Latin "villager, rustic; civilian, non-combatant" noun use of adjective meaning "of the country, of a village," from pagus "country people; province, rural district," originally "district limited by markers," thus related to pangere "to fix, fasten" (from PIE root *pag- "to fasten"). As an adjective from early 15c.ETD pagan (n.).2

    The religious sense often was said in 19c. [e.g. Trench] to derive from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the Latin word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for "civilian, incompetent soldier," which Christians (Tertullian, c. 202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (such as milites "soldier of Christ," etc.).ETD pagan (n.).3

    The English word was used later in a narrower sense of "one not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim." As "person of heathenish character or habits," by 1841. Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.ETD pagan (n.).4

    The English surname Paine, Payne, etc., appears by old records to be from Latin paganus, but whether in the sense "villager," "rustic," or "heathen" is disputed. It also was a common Christian name in 13c., "and was, no doubt, given without any thought of its meaning" ["Dictionary of English Surnames"].ETD pagan (n.).5

    paganism (n.)

    "religious beliefs and practices of pagans," early 15c., paganisme, from Church Latin paganismus, from paganus (see pagan). Alternative paganity is from 1540s; pagandom is from 1739.ETD paganism (n.).2

    page (v.1)

    "to summon or call by name," 1904, from page (n.2), on the notion of "to send a page after" someone. Related: Paged; paging.ETD page (v.1).2

    page (n.1)

    "sheet of paper, one side of a printed or written leaf of a book or pamphlet," 1580s, from French page, from Old French pagene "page, text" (12c.), from Latin pagina "page, leaf of paper, strip of papyrus fastened to others," related to pagella "small page," from pangere "to fasten" (from PIE root *pag- "to fasten").ETD page (n.1).2

    Earlier pagine (c. 1200), directly from Old French or Latin. The word is usually said to be from the notion of individual sheets of paper "fastened" into a book. Ayto and Watkins offer an alternative theory: vines fastened by stakes and formed into a trellis, which led to sense of "columns of writing on a scroll." When books replaced scrolls, the word continued to be used. Related: Paginal.ETD page (n.1).3

    Page-turner "book that one can't put down" is from 1974; earlier (by 1959) an apparatus or person who turns the pages of an open book, as for a performing musician.ETD page (n.1).4

    page (n.2)

    "youth, lad; boy of the lower orders; personal servant," c. 1300 (early 13c. as a surname), originally also "youth preparing to be a knight" (beneath the rank of a squire), from Old French page "a youth, page, servant" (13c.), possibly via Italian paggio (Barnhart), from Medieval Latin pagius "servant," perhaps ultimately from Greek paidion "boy, lad," diminutive of pais (genitive paidos) "child."ETD page (n.2).2

    But OED considers this unlikely and, with Century Dictionary, points instead to Littré's suggestion of a source in Latin pagus "countryside," in sense of "boy from the rural regions" (see pagan). Meaning "youth employed as a personal attendant to a person of rank" is first recorded mid-15c.; this was transferred from late 18c. to boys who did personal errands in hotels, clubs, etc., also in U.S. legislatures.ETD page (n.2).3

    page (v.2)

    "to turn pages, look through the pages of" by 1943, from page (n.1). Earlier it meant "put numbers on the pages of" a book, etc. (1620s). Related: Paged; paging.ETD page (v.2).2

    pageant (n.)

    late 14c., pagent, "a play in a cycle of mystery plays," from Medieval Latin pagina, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin pagina "page of a book" (see page (n.1)) on notion of "manuscript" of a play.ETD pageant (n.).2

    But an early sense in Middle English also was "wheeled stage or scene of a play" (late 14c.) and Klein, Century Dictionary, etc., say a sense of Medieval Latin pagina was "movable scaffold" (probably from the etymological sense of "stake"). The sense might have been extended from the platform to the play presented on it.ETD pageant (n.).3

    With unetymological -t as in ancient (adj.). In Middle English also "a scene in a royal welcome or a Roman triumph" (mid-15c.); "a story, a tale" (early 15c.); "an ornamental hanging for a room" (mid-15c.). The generalized sense of "showy parade, spectacle" is attested by 1805, though this notion is found in pageantry (1650s).ETD pageant (n.).4

    pageantry (n.)

    "splendid display," 1650s; see pageant + -ry.ETD pageantry (n.).2

    pager (n.)

    "device that emits a signal when activated by a telephone call," 1968, agent noun from page (v.1).ETD pager (n.).2

    pagination (n.)

    "action of marking page numbers; figures or marks on pages by which their order is indicated," by 1823, probably from French pagination (by 1799), from Latin pagina "page of a book" (see page (n.1)). In printing, page also meant "types and cuts properly arranged for printing a leaf of a book or pamphlet."ETD pagination (n.).2

    paginate (v.)

    "to mark or number the pages of a publication," 1858 (implied in paginated), back-formation from pagination. Medieval Latin had paginare, but it had another sense. Related: Paginating.ETD paginate (v.).2

    pagoda (n.)

    1580s, in Burma, India, Siam, China, etc., "a sacred tower, richly adorned," pagode, pagody (modern form from 1630s), from Portuguese pagode (early 16c.), perhaps from a corruption of Persian butkada, from but "idol" + kada "dwelling." Or perhaps from or influenced by Tamil pagavadi "house belonging to a deity," from Sanskrit bhagavati "goddess," fem. of bhagavat "blessed, adorable," from *bhagah "good fortune," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share."ETD pagoda (n.).2

    Pahlavi (n.)

    1773, Iranian language spoken in Persia 3c.-10c., the language of the sacred books of the Zoroastrians, from Persian Pahlavi, from Old Persian Parthava "Parthia" (see Parthian).ETD Pahlavi (n.).2

    pahoehoe (n.)

    "compacy, ropy lava," 1859, from Hawaiian, literally "smooth, polished."ETD pahoehoe (n.).2

    pay (n.)

    c. 1300, paie, "satisfaction, liking; reward, reprisal," from pay (v.), or else from Old French paie "payment, recompense," from paier. Meaning "money or other compensation given for labor or services performed, wages" is from late 14c. In Middle English the usual sense was "satisfaction": My pay meant "my liking;" God's pay was "God's good will."ETD pay (n.).2

    pay (v.)

    c. 1200, paien, "to appease, pacify, satisfy, be to the liking of," from Old French paier "to pay, pay up" (12c., Modern French payer), from Latin pacare "to please, pacify, satisfy" (in Medieval Latin especially "satisfy a creditor"), literally "make peaceful," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace).ETD pay (v.).2

    The meaning "to give what is due for goods or services" arose in Medieval Latin and was attested in English by early 13c.; the sense of "please, pacify" died out in English by 1500. Figurative sense of "suffer, endure" (a punishment, etc.) is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "to give or render" with little or no sense of obligation (pay attention, pay respects, pay a compliment) is by 1580s. Meaning "be remunerative, be profitable, yield a suitable return or reward" is by 1812. Related: Paid; paying. To pay up was originally (mid-15c.) "make up the difference between two sums of money;" the sense of "pay fully or promptly" is by 1911. Pay television is attested by 1957.ETD pay (v.).3


    fem. proper name, also a family name, variant of page (n.2) "young servant."ETD Paige.2

    pail (n.)

    "cylindrical bucket," mid-14c., paile, probably from Old French paele, paelle "cooking or frying pan, warming pan;" also a liquid measure, from Latin patella "small pan, little dish, platter," diminutive of patina "broad shallow pan, stew-pan" (see pan (n.)).ETD pail (n.).2

    The sense evolution might have been affected by Old English pægel "wine vessel," but etymology does not support a direct connection. This Old English word possibly is from Medieval Latin pagella "a measure," from Latin pagella "column," diminutive of pagina "page, leaf of paper, strip of papyrus fastened to others" (see page (n.1)).ETD pail (n.).3

    paillard (n.)

    variant of palliard.ETD paillard (n.).2

    pain (n.)

    late 13c., peine, "the agony suffered by Christ;" c. 1300, "punishment," especially for a crime, "legal punishment of any sort" (including fines and monetary penalties); also "condition one feels when hurt, opposite of pleasure," including mental or emotional suffering, grief, distress; from Old French peine "difficulty, woe, suffering, punishment, Hell's torments" (11c.), from Latin poena "punishment, penalty, retribution, indemnification" (in Late Latin also "torment, hardship, suffering"), from Greek poinē "retribution, penalty, quit-money for spilled blood," from PIE *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (see penal).ETD pain (n.).2

    The early "punishment" sense in English survives in phrase on pain of death. Also c. 1300 the word was used for the torments of eternal damnation after death. The sense of "exertion, effort" is from late 14c.; pains "great care taken (for some purpose), exertion or trouble taken in doing something" is recorded from 1520s.ETD pain (n.).3

    Phrase give (someone) a pain "be annoying and irritating" is by 1895; as a noun, localized as pain in the neck (1924) and pain in the ass (1934), though this last might have gone long unrecorded and be the original sense and the others euphemisms. First record of pain-killer "drug or herb that reduces pain" is by 1845.ETD pain (n.).4

    painful (adj.)

    mid-14c., peineful, "characterized by or attended by pain" (originally of the Crucifixion), from pain (n.) + -ful. Meaning "causing physical pain" is from c. 1400; that of "inflicting pain" (of punishments, etc.) is by mid-15c. Related: Painfully; painfulness.ETD painful (adj.).2

    pain (v.)

    c. 1300, peinen, "to exert or strain oneself, strive; endeavor," from Old French pener (v.) "to hurt, cause pain," from peine, and from Middle English peine (n.); see pain (n.). Transitive meaning "cause pain; inflict pain" is from late 14c. That of "to cause sorrow, grief, or unhappiness" also is from late 14c. In Middle English also "to punish for an offense or fault; to torture, to torment." Related: Pained; paining.ETD pain (v.).2

    painless (adj.)

    mid-15c., peineles (adj. and adv.) "suffering no pain; in a painless manner," from pain (n.) + -less. Related: Painlessly; painlessness.ETD painless (adj.).2


    1550s, paynes taking, "assiduous and careful labor" (n.), 1690s, "characterized by close or conscientious application, laborious and careful" (adj.), from plural of pain (n.) in the "exertion, effort" sense + present participle of take (v.). To take the peyn of laboure "do hard work" is attested from mid-15c. Related: Painstakingly.ETD painstaking.2

    paint (n.)

    late 13c. (in compounds), "that with which something is painted, a substance used in painting," from paint (v.) or from the derived noun in Old French. Of rouge, makeup, etc., from 1650s. Paint-brush "brush for applying paints" is attested from 1827. Paint-box "box with compartments for holding different paints" is by 1725.ETD paint (n.).2

    painted (adj.)

    c. 1300, "depicted in a picture;" early 15c., "coated with paint," past-participle adjective from paint (v.). In zoology, used of bright or highly colored creatures; painted-lady is from 1829 as a type of butterfly.ETD painted (adj.).2

    painting (n.)

    c. 1200, "that which is painted, a picture depicted with paint," verbal noun from paint (v.). From late 14c. as "art of depicting by means of paint."ETD painting (n.).2

    paint (v.)

    mid-13c., peinten, "represent (someone or something) in paint;" c. 1300, "decorate (something or someone) with drawings or pictures;" early 14c., "put color or stain on the surface of; coat or cover with a color or colors;" from Old French peintier "to paint," from peint, past participle of peindre "to paint," from Latin pingere "to paint, represent in a picture, stain; embroider, tattoo," from a nasalized form of PIE root *peig- "to cut, mark by incision."ETD paint (v.).2

    The sense evolution between PIE and Latin was, presumably, "decorate with cut marks" to "decorate" to "decorate with color." Compare Sanskrit pingah "reddish," pesalah "adorned, decorated, lovely;" Old Church Slavonic pegu "variegated;" Greek poikilos "variegated;" Old High German fehjan "to adorn;" Old Church Slavonic pisati, Lithuanian piešiu, piešti "to write." Probably also representing the "cutting" branch of the family is Old English feol (see file (n.2)).ETD paint (v.).3

    From late 14c. as "represent persons and things in pictures or drawing, portray." To paint the town (red) "go on a boisterous or disorderly spree" is by 1884; to paint (someone or something) black "represent it as wicked or evil" is from 1590s. Adjective paint-by-numbers "simple" is attested by 1970; the art-for-beginners kits themselves date to c. 1953.ETD paint (v.).4

    painter (n.1)

    early 14c., peintour, "artist who paints pictures," from Old French peintor, from Latin pictor "a painter," from pingere (see paint (v.)). Sense of "workman who colors surfaces with paint" is from c. 1400. As a surname, Painter is attested from mid-13c. but it is difficult to say which sense is meant. Related: Painterly.ETD painter (n.1).2

    painter (n.2)

    mid-14c., "rope or chain that holds an anchor to a ship's side," probably from Old French peintor, ultimately from Latin pendere "to hang, cause to hang" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). Extended generally to "rope attached to the bow of a boat."ETD painter (n.2).2

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