Afghan Look up Afghan at
name of the people of Afghanistan, technically only correctly applied to the Durani Afghans; Old Afghan chronicles trace the name to an Afghana, son of Jeremiah, son of Israelite King Saul, from whom they claimed descent, but this is a legend. The name is first attested in Arabic in al-'Utbi's "History of Sultan Mahmud" written c.1030 C.E. and was in use in India from 13c. Attested from 1833 as a type of blanket or wrap (in full, Afghan shawl); 1973 as a style of sheepskin coat; 1877 as a type of carpet; 1895 as a breed of hunting dog.
aficionado (n.) Look up aficionado at
1845, from Spanish aficionado "amateur," specifically "devotee of bullfighting," literally "fond of," from afición "affection," from Latin affectionem (see affection). "Most sources derive this word from the Spanish verb aficionar but the verb does not appear in Spanish before 1555, and the word aficionado is recorded in the 1400's" [Barnhart]. In English, originally of devotees of bullfighting; in general use by 1882.
afield (adv.) Look up afield at
1590s, contraction of Middle English in felde, from Old English on felda "in the field" (especially of battle), from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + field (n.). Meaning "away from home" is attested by early 15c.
afire (adj.) Look up afire at
c. 1200, afure, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + fire (n.). Figurative use by late 14c.
aflame (adj.) Look up aflame at
1550s, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + flame (n.). Figurative use by 1856.
afloat (adj.) Look up afloat at
Old English aflote, on flot, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + flot "body of water" (see float (n.)).
aflush (adj.) Look up aflush at
"blushing," 1880, from a- (1) + flush (n.) "redness in the face."
aflutter (adj.) Look up aflutter at
1830, from a- (1) + flutter (n.).
afoot (adj.) Look up afoot at
c. 1200, afote, from a- "on" (see a- (1)) + foot (n.). Figurative sense of "in active operation" is from 1601 ("Julius Caesar").
afore (adv.) Look up afore at
Old English onforan "before, at the beginning of, in front of," from phrase on foran, from on (prep.) + foran (adv.) "in front," dative of for.

In some cases probably it represents Old English ætforan "at-fore." Once the literary equivalent of before, it now has been replaced by that word except in nautical use and in combinations such as aforesaid, aforethought.
aforementioned (adj.) Look up aforementioned at
1580s, from afore + past participle of mention (v.). Afore-written is from mid-15c.
aforesaid (adj.) Look up aforesaid at
late 14c., from afore + said.
aforethought (adj.) Look up aforethought at
1580s, from afore + past tense of think. Apparently an English loan-translation of Old French legalese word prepense (see prepense) in malice prepense "malice aforethought" (Coke).
aforetime (adv.) Look up aforetime at
early 15c., "before the present, in the past," from afore + time (n.).
afoul (adv.) Look up afoul at
1809, originally nautical, "in collision or entanglement," from a- (1) + foul (adj.). From 1833 in general sense of "in violent or hostile conflict," mainly in phrases such as run afoul of.
afraid (adj.) Look up afraid at
early 14c., originally past participle of verb afray "frighten," from Anglo-French afrayer, Old French esfreer "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb" (see affray (n.)). A rare case of an English adjective that never stands before a noun. Because it was used in A.V. Bible, it acquired independent standing and thrived while affray faded, and it chased off the once more common afeared. Sense in I'm afraid "I regret to say, I suspect" (without implication of fear) is first recorded 1590s.
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone [Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes," 1820]
afresh (adv.) Look up afresh at
c. 1500, perhaps on analogy of anew [see note in OED], from a- (1) + fresh (adj.).
Afric (adj.) Look up Afric at
1580s, from Latin Africus (see Africa).
Africa (n.) Look up Africa at
Latin Africa (terra) "African land, Libya, the Carthaginian territory," fem. of adjective Africus, from Afer "an African," a word of uncertain origin. The Latin word originally was used only in reference to the region around modern Tunisia; it gradually was extended to the whole continent. Derivation from Arabic afar "dust, earth" is tempting, but the early date seems to argue against it. The Middle English word was Affrike.
African (n.) Look up African at
Old English Africanas (plural), from Latin Africanus (adj.), from Africa (see Africa). Used of white residents of Africa from 1815. Used of black residents of the U.S. from late 18c., when it especially meant "one brought from Africa" and sometimes was contrasted to native-born Negro. As an adjective by 1560s, "pertaining to Africa or Africans" (Old English had Africanisc); from 1789 as "of or pertaining to black Americans."
African-American (adj.) Look up African-American at
there are isolated instances from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the modern use is a re-invention first attested 1969 (in reference to the African-American Teachers Association) which became the preferred term in some circles for "U.S. black" (noun or adjective) by the late 1980s. Mencken, 1921, reports Aframerican "is now very commonly used in the Negro press." Afro-American is attested in 1853, in freemen's publications in Canada. Africo-American (1817 as a noun, 1826 as an adjective) was common in abolitionist and colonization society writings.
Afrikaans (n.) Look up Afrikaans at
Germanic language of South Africa, the Dutch language as spoken in South Africa, 1892, from Dutch Afrikaansch "Africanish" (see Afrikander). Also known as South African Dutch.
Afrikander (n.) Look up Afrikander at
1822, "South African native of Dutch descent," from Dutch Afrikaner "African," with intrusive -d- on analogy of Hollander, Englander, etc. (Afrikaner is attested from 1824).
Afro (n.) Look up Afro at
"full, bushy hairstyle as worn by some blacks," 1938, from Afro-. As a general adjective for black styles of clothing, music, etc., it is attested from 1966.
Afro- Look up Afro- at
word-forming element meaning "African," from Latin Afr-, stem of Afer, Afri "African" (see Africa), or directly from African.
aft (adv.) Look up aft at
Old English æftan "from behind, behind, farthest back," from superlative of Old English æf, af, of "away, away from, off" (see of). The Germanic superlative suffix *-ta corresponds to PIE *-to (compare Greek protos "first," superlative of pro "before"). Now purely nautical.
after (prep.) Look up after at
Old English æfter "after, next, throughout, following in time, later," from Old English of "off" (see of) + -ter, a comparative suffix; thus the original meaning was "more away, farther off." Compare Old Norse eptir "after," Old High German aftar, Gothic aftra "behind." Cognate with Greek apotero "farther off."

After hours "after regular working hours" is from 1861. Afterwit "wisdom that comes too late" is attested from c. 1500 but seems to have fallen from use, despite being more needed now than ever. After you as an expression in yielding precedence is recorded by 1650.
after-dinner (adj.) Look up after-dinner at
1730, from after + dinner.
afterbirth (n.) Look up afterbirth at
also after-birth, 1580s, from after + birth.
afterglow (n.) Look up afterglow at
also after-glow, 1829, from after + glow (n.).
afterlife (n.) Look up afterlife at
1590s, "a future life" (especially after resurrection), from after + life.
aftermarket (adj.) Look up aftermarket at
1940, American English, of automobile parts, from after + market.
aftermath (n.) Look up aftermath at
1520s, originally a second crop of grass grown after the first had been harvested, from after + -math, a dialectal word, from Old English mæð "a mowing, cutting of grass" (see math (n.2)). Figurative sense by 1650s. Compare French regain "aftermath," from re- + Old French gain, gaain "grass which grows in meadows that have been mown," from Frankish or some other Germanic source similar to Old High German weida "grass, pasture"
afternoon (n.) Look up afternoon at
c. 1300, from after + noon. In 15c.-16c., the form was at afternoon; from c. 1600 it has been in the afternoon. Middle English also had aftermete "afternoon, part of the day following the noon meal," mid-14c.
aftershock (n.) Look up aftershock at
also after-shock, 1894, from after + shock (n.1).
afterthought (n.) Look up afterthought at
1660s, from after + thought.
afterward (adv.) Look up afterward at
Old English æftanweard, from æftan "after" (see aft) + -weard suffix indicating direction (see -ward); nautical use as aftward, then expanded by influence of after; variant afterwards shows adverbial genitive.
afterwards (adv.) Look up afterwards at
c. 1300, from afterward (q.v.) + adverbial genitive -s; originally a Northern form.
afterword (n.) Look up afterword at
1890, a Saxonist subsitute for epilogue; from after + word (n.).
ag (n.) Look up ag at
abbreviation of agriculture, attested from 1918, American English.
aga (n.) Look up aga at
title of rank, especially in Turkey, c. 1600, from Turkish agha "chief, master, lord," related to East Turk. agha "elder brother."
again (adv.) Look up again at
late Old English agan, from earlier ongean "toward, opposite, against, in exchange for," from on "on" (see on) + -gegn "against, toward," compounded for a sense of "lined up facing, opposite," and "in the opposite direction, returning." For -gegn, compare Old Norse gegn "straight, direct;" Danish igen "against;" Old Frisian jen, Old High German gegin, German gegen "against, toward," entgegen "against, in opposition to."

In Old English, eft was the main word for "again" (see eftsoons), but this often was strengthened by ongean, which became the principal word by 13c. Norse influence is responsible for the hard -g-. Differentiated from against 16c. in southern writers, again becoming an adverb only, and against taking over as preposition and conjunction, but again clung to all senses in northern and Scottish dialect (where against was not adopted).
against (adv.) Look up against at
early 12c., agenes "in opposition to," a southern variant of agen "again" (see again), with adverbial genitive. The parasitic -t turned up mid-14c. and was standard by early 16c., perhaps from influence of superlatives.
Agamemnon Look up Agamemnon at
king of Mycenae, leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, his name perhaps represents Greek Aga-medmon, literally "ruling mightily," from agan "very much" + medon "ruler" (see meditation).
agape (n.) Look up agape at
c. 1600, from Greek agape "brotherly love, charity," from agapan "greet with affection, love," which is of unknown origin. Agape was used by early Christians for their "love feast" held in connection with the Lord's Supper. In modern use, often in simpler sense of "Christian love" (1856, frequently opposed to eros as "carnal or sensual love").
agape (adv.) Look up agape at
1660s, from a- (1) + gape (v.).
agate (n.) Look up agate at
1560s, from Middle French agathe (16c.), from Latin achates, from Greek akhates, the name of a river in Sicily where the stones were found (Pliny). But the river could as easily be named for the stone.

The earlier English form of the word, achate (early 13c.), was directly from Latin. Figurative sense of "a diminutive person" (c. 1600) is from the now-obsolete meaning "small figures cut in agates for seals," preserved in typographer's agate (1838), the U.S. name of the 5.5-point font called in Great Britain ruby. Meaning "toy marble made of glass resembling agate" is from 1843 (colloquially called an aggie).
Agatha Look up Agatha at
fem. proper name, from Latin, from Greek Agathe, fem. of agathos "good," which is of unknown origin. Never a popular name in U.S., and all but unused there since 1940.
agathism (n.) Look up agathism at
the doctrine that all things tend toward the good, 1830, from agathist + -ism.
agathist (n.) Look up agathist at
1816, from Greek agathos "good" (see Agatha) + -ist.
Doctor Kearney, who formerly, with so much reputation, delivered lectures in this place on the history of Rome, observed to me once, that he was not an optimist, but an "agathist"; that he believed that every thing tended to good, but did not think himself competent to determine what was absolutely the best. The distinction is important, and seems to be fatal to the system of Optimism. [George Miller, "Lectures on the Philosophy of Modern History," Dublin, 1816]