alienation (n.) Look up alienation at
"transfer of ownership," late 14c., from Old French alienacion and directly from Latin alienationem (nominative alienatio) "a transfer, surrender," noun of action from past participle stem of alienare (see alienate). It also meant "loss or derangement of mental faculties, insanity" (late 15c.), hence alienist. Phrase alienation of affection as a U.S. legal term in divorce cases for "falling in love with someone else" dates to 1861.
alienist (n.) Look up alienist at
"one who treats mental illness, 'mad doctor,' " 1864, from French aliéniste, from alienation in the sense of "insanity, loss of mental faculty," a sense attested in English from late 15c. (see alienate).
alight (v.) Look up alight at
"to descend, dismount," Old English alihtan, originally "to lighten, take off, take away," from a- "down, aside" (see a- (1)) + lihtan "get off, make light" (see light (v.)). The notion is of getting down off a horse or vehicle, thus lightening it. Of aircraft (originally balloons) from 1786. Related: Alighted; alighting.
alight (adj.) Look up alight at
"on fire," early 15c., apparently from Middle English aliht, past participle of alihton (Old English on-lihtan) "to light up," also "to shine upon" (see light (n.)).
align (v.) Look up align at
early 15c., "to copulate" (of wolves, dogs), literally "to range (things) in a line," from Middle French aligner, from Old French alignier "set, lay in line," from à "to" (see ad-) + lignier "to line," from Latin lineare, from linea (see line (n.)). Transitive or reflexive sense of "to fall into line" is from 1853. International political sense is attested from 1934. No justification for the French spelling, and aline was an early native form. Related: Aligned; aligning.
alignment (n.) Look up alignment at
1790, "arrangement in a line," from French alignement, from aligner (see align). Political sense is from 1933.
alike (adj.) Look up alike at
c. 1300, aliche, from Old English gelic and/or onlice "similar," from Proto-Germanic *galikam "associated form" (source also of Old Frisian gelik, German gleich, Gothic galeiks, Old Norse glikr; see like (adj.)).
aliment (n.) Look up aliment at
"food," late 15c., from Latin alimentum "nourishment," in plural, "food, provisions," from alere "to nourish" (see alimentary).
alimentary (adj.) Look up alimentary at
1610s, from Medieval Latin alimentarius "pertaining to food," from Latin alimentum "nourishment," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain," from PIE root *al- "to grow, nourish" (see old).
alimony (n.) Look up alimony at
1650s, "nourishment," also "allowance to a wife from a husband's estate, or in certain cases of separation," from Latin alimonia "food, support, nourishment, sustenance," from alere "to nourish" (see old) + -monia suffix signifying action, state, condition (cognate with Greek -men). Derived form palimony coined 1979.
Aline Look up Aline at
fem. proper name, French, short for Adeline.
Alison Look up Alison at
fem. proper name, from French Alison, a diminutive of Alice.
alit Look up alit at
poetic past tense and past participle of alight (v.).
alive (adj.) Look up alive at
c. 1200, from Old English on life "in living." The fuller form on live was still current 17c. Used emphatically, especially with man; as in:
[A]bout a thousand gentlemen having bought his almanacks for this year, merely to find what he said against me, at every line they read they would lift up their eyes, and cry out betwixt rage and laughter, "they were sure no man alive ever writ such damned stuff as this." [Jonathan Swift, Bickerstaff's Vindication, 1709]
Thus abstracted as an expletive, man alive! (1845). Alive and kicking "alert, vigorous," attested from 1823; Farmer says "The allusion is to a child in the womb after quickening," but kicking in the sense "lively and active" is recorded from 1550s (e.g. "the wanton or kicking flesh of yong maydes," "Lives of Women Saints," c. 1610).
aliveness (n.) Look up aliveness at
1853, from alive + -ness.
alkahest (n.) Look up alkahest at
"universal solvent sought by alchemists," 1640s, from French alcahest, from Medieval Latin alcahest, a pseudo-Arabic word coined by Paracelsus (see alchemy).
alkali (n.) Look up alkali at
late 14c., "soda ash," from Medieval Latin alkali, from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (of saltwort, a plant growing in alkaline soils), from qala "to roast in a pan." The modern chemistry sense is from 1813.
alkaline (adj.) Look up alkaline at
1670s, "pertaining to alkalis," from alkali + -ine (1). Of soils, attested from 1850.
alkaloid (n.) Look up alkaloid at
1831, from alkali (q.v.) + -oid. "A general term applied to basic compounds of vegetable origin, bitter in taste, and having powerful effects on the animal system" [Flood]. As an adjective by 1859.
alkanet (n.) Look up alkanet at
"dye material from bugloss plant roots," early 14c., from Spanish alcaneta, diminutive of alcana, from Arabic al-hinna (see henna). As the name of the plant itself, from 1560s.
all Look up all at
Old English eall "all, every, entire," from Proto-Germanic *alnaz (source also of Old Frisian, Old High German al, Old Norse allr, Gothic alls), with no certain connection outside Germanic.

Combinations with all meaning "wholly, without limit" were common in Old English (such as eall-halig "all-holy," eall-mihtig "all-mighty") and the method continued to form new compound words throughout the history of English. First record of all out "to one's full powers" is 1880. All-terrain vehicle first recorded 1968. All clear as a signal of "no danger" is recorded from 1902. All right, indicative of approval, is attested from 1953.

The use of a, a' as an abbreviation of all (as in Burns' "A Man's a Man for A' that") is a modern Scottishism but has history in English to 13c.
all-American Look up all-American at
1888, as the name of a barnstorming baseball team composed of players from various teams across the United States. From all + American.
all-fired (adj.) Look up all-fired at
1837, U.S. slang euphemism for hell-fired.
all-inclusive (adj.) Look up all-inclusive at
1813, from all + inclusive. Related: All-inclusively; all-inclusiveness.
all-over (adj.) Look up all-over at
"covering every part," 1859, from all + over. All-overish "generally, indefinitely indisposed" is from 1820.
all-purpose (adj.) Look up all-purpose at
1877, from all + purpose (n.).
all-round (adj.) Look up all-round at
1728, from all + round (adj.). All-rounder is from 1855 as a type of men's collar; 1875 as a person who is good at everything.
all-star (adj.) Look up all-star at
1893, originally of theatrical casts, from all + star (n.) in the "celebrated person" sense. From 1898 in reference to sports teams.
all-time (adj.) Look up all-time at
"during recorded time," 1910, American English, from all + time (n.). Earlier it had been used in a sense "full-time," of employment, or in opposition to one-time (1883).
Allah Look up Allah at
1702, Arabic name for the Supreme Being, from Arabic Allahu, contraction of al-Ilahu, from al "the" + Ilah "God;" related to Hebrew Elohim.
allative (n.) Look up allative at
grammatical case expressing "motion towards," 1860, from Latin allatus "brought to," used as past participle of adferre, affere "to bring to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + latus "borne, carried" (see oblate (n.)).
allay (v.) Look up allay at
Old English alecgan "to put down, remit, give up," a Germanic compound (cognates: Gothic uslagjan, Old High German irleccan, German erlegen), from a- "down, aside" + lecgan "to lay" (see lay (v.)).

Early Middle English pronunciations of -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in Middle English with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy and allege, especially the latter in an obsolete sense of "to lighten," from Latin ad- "to" + levis (see lever).
Amid the overlapping of meanings that thus arose, there was developed a perplexing network of uses of allay and allege, that belong entirely to no one of the original vbs., but combine the senses of two or more of them. [OED]
The double -l- is 17c., a mistaken Latinism. Related: Allayed; allaying.
allegation (n.) Look up allegation at
early 15c., "action of alleging," from Middle French allégation, from Latin allegationem (nominative allegatio) "a sending, despatching," noun of action from past participle stem of allegare (see allege).
allege (v.) Look up allege at
c. 1300. It has the form of one French verb and the meaning of another. The form is Anglo-French aleger, Old French eslegier "to clear at law," from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-) and litigare "bring suit" (see litigate); however eslegier meant "acquit, clear of charges in a lawsuit." It somehow acquired the meaning of French alléguer, from Latin allegare "send for, bring forth, name, produce in evidence," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + legare "to depute, send" (see legate). Related: Alleged; alleging.
alleged (adj.) Look up alleged at
mid-15c., "quoted," past participle adjective from allege. Attested from 1610s in sense of "brought forth in court;" 1670s as "asserted but not proved."
allegedly (adv.) Look up allegedly at
1828, from alleged + -ly (2).
alleger (n.) Look up alleger at
1570s, agent noun from allege. The Latinate form, allegator (1680s) rarely was used, for some reason.
allegiance (n.) Look up allegiance at
late 14c., from Anglo-French legaunce "loyalty of a liege-man to his lord," from Old French legeance, from liege (see liege); erroneously associated with Latin ligare "to bind;" corrupted in spelling by confusion with the now-obsolete legal term allegeance "alleviation." General figurative sense of "recognition of claims to respect or duty" is attested from 1732.
allegorical (adj.) Look up allegorical at
1520s, from French allégorique, from Latin allegoricus, from Greek allegorikos (see allegory). Earlier form was allegoric (late 14c.). Related: Allegorically.
allegory (n.) Look up allegory at
late 14c., from Old French allegorie (12c.), from Latin allegoria, from Greek allegoria "figurative language, description of one thing under the image of another," literally "a speaking about something else," from allos "another, different" (see alias (adv.)) + agoreuein "speak openly, speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly" (see agora).
allegretto Look up allegretto at
1740, from Italian allegretto, diminutive of allegro (q.v.).
allegro Look up allegro at
1680s as a musical term, from Italian allegro "cheerful, gay," from Latin alacrem (nominative alacer) "lively, cheerful, brisk" (see alacrity).
allele (n.) Look up allele at
1931, from German allel, abbreviation of allelomorph (1902), coined from Greek allel- "one another" (from allos "other;" see alias (adv.)) + morphe "form" (see Morpheus).
alleluia Look up alleluia at
late 14c., from Latin alleluja, from Greek allelouia, from Hebrew hallelu-yah "praise Jehovah" (see hallelujah).
allemande (n.) Look up allemande at
a German dance, 1775, from French Allemande, fem. of allemand "German" (see Alemanni). As a move in country or square dancing, from 1808.
Allen Look up Allen at
masc. proper name, variant of Alan (q.v.). In reference to wrench, key, screw, etc. with hexagonal socket or head, 1913, from the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
allergen (n.) Look up allergen at
substance causing allergy, 1912, from allergy on model of antigen.
allergic (adj.) Look up allergic at
1911, from allergy + -ic; perhaps modeled on French allergique (1906). Figurative use, "antipathetic, repulsed" is from 1936.
allergy (n.) Look up allergy at
1911, from German Allergie, coined 1906 by Austrian pediatrician Clemens E. von Pirquet (1874-1929) from Greek allos "other, different, strange" (see alias (adv.)) + ergon "activity" (see organ).
alleviate (v.) Look up alleviate at
late 15c., from Middle French allevier or directly from Late Latin alleviatus, past participle of alleviare "to lighten," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + levis "light" in weight (see lever). Related: Alleviated; alleviating.