ambulation (n.) Look up ambulation at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Latin ambulationem (nominative ambulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of ambulare (see amble).
ambulatory (adj.) Look up ambulatory at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to walking;" also "shifting, not permanent," 1620s, from Latin ambulatorius "of or pertaining to a walker; movable," from ambulator, agent noun from past participle stem of ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Middle English had ambulary "movable" (mid-15c.).
ambulatory (n.) Look up ambulatory at Dictionary.com
from Medieval Latin ambulatorium, from Latin ambulatorius "movable," from ambulare (see amble).
ambuscade (n.) Look up ambuscade at Dictionary.com
1580s, essentially a variant form of ambush (n.), representing a reborrowing of that French word after it had been Italianized. Ambuscade is from French embuscade (16c.), Gallicized from Italian imboscata, literally "a hiding in the bush," compounded from the same elements as Old French embuscher. Sometimes in English as ambuscado, with faux Spanish ending of the sort popular in 17c.
ambush (v.) Look up ambush at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French embuscher (13c., Modern French embûcher) "to lay an ambush," from en- "in" + busch "wood," apparently from Frankish *busk "bush, woods" (see bush (n.)). Related: Ambushed; ambushing.
ambush (n.) Look up ambush at Dictionary.com
late 15c., embushe, from the English verb or from Middle French embusche, from Old French embuscher (see ambush (v.)). Earlier was ambushment (late 14c.). Figurative use by 1590s.
ame damnee (n.) Look up ame damnee at Dictionary.com
"devoted adherent, toady," 1823, from French âme damnée "familiar spirit," literally "damned soul," originally a soul damned by compact with a controlling demon.
Amelia Look up Amelia at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, of Germanic origin, literally "laborious" (cognates: Old Norse ama "to trouble"), later assimilated with Roman gens name Aemilia.
ameliorate (v.) Look up ameliorate at Dictionary.com
1728, perhaps a back-formation from amelioration on pattern of French améliorer. The simpler form meliorate was used in Middle English. Related: Ameliorated; ameliorating.
amelioration (n.) Look up amelioration at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French amélioration, from Old French ameillorer (12c.), from a "to" (see ad-) + meillior (Modern French meìlleur) "to better," from Late Latin meliorare "improve," from Latin melior "better," perhaps originally "stronger," and related to Greek mala "very, very much," from PIE *mel- "strong, great" (see multi-).
ameliorative (adj.) Look up ameliorative at Dictionary.com
1796, from ameliorate + -ive.
amen Look up amen at Dictionary.com
Old English, from Late Latin amen, from Ecclesiastical Greek amen, from Hebrew amen "truth," used adverbially as an expression of agreement (as in Deut. xxvii:26, I Kings i:36; compare Modern English verily, surely, absolutely in the same sense), from Semitic root a-m-n "to be trustworthy, confirm, support." Used in Old English only at the end of Gospels, otherwise translated as Soðlic! or Swa hit ys, or Sy! As an expression of concurrence after prayers, it is recorded from early 13c.
amenability (n.) Look up amenability at Dictionary.com
1761; see amenable + -ity.
amenable (adj.) Look up amenable at Dictionary.com
1590s, "liable," from Anglo-French amenable, Middle French amener "answerable" (to the law), from à "to" (see ad-) + mener "to lead," from Latin minare "to drive (cattle) with shouts," variant of minari "threaten" (see menace (n.)). Sense of "tractable" is from 1803, from notion of disposed to answer or submit to influence. Related: Amenably.
amend (v.) Look up amend at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "to free from faults, rectify," from Old French amender (12c.), from Latin emendare "to correct, free from fault," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + menda "fault, blemish," from PIE *mend- "physical defect, fault" (cognates: Sanskrit minda "physical blemish," Old Irish mennar "stain, blemish," Welsh mann "sign, mark").

Supplanted in senses of "repair, cure" by its shortened offspring mend (v.). Meaning "to add to legislation" (ostensibly to correct or improve it) is recorded from 1777. Related: Amended; amending.
amendment (n.) Look up amendment at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "betterment, improvement;" c.1300, of persons, "correction, reformation," from Old French amendment, from amender (see amend). Sense expanded to include "correction of error in a legal process" (c.1600) and "alteration of a writ or bill" to remove its faults (1690s).
amends (n.) Look up amends at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "restitution," collective singular, from Old French amendes "fine, penalty," plural of amende "reparation," from amender "to amend" (see amend).
amenities (n.) Look up amenities at Dictionary.com
"creature comforts of a town, house, etc." 1908, plural of amenity. Latin amoena, plural of amoenus, also was used as a noun with a sense of "pleasant places."
amenity (n.) Look up amenity at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "quality of being pleasant or agreeable," from Old French amenite, from Latin amoenitatem (nominative amoenitas) "delightfulness, pleasantness," from amoenus "pleasant," perhaps related to amare "to love" (see Amy).
amenorrhea (n.) Look up amenorrhea at Dictionary.com
1804, Modern Latin, from Greek privative prefix a- "not" (see a- (3)) + men "month" (see moon (n.)) + rhein "to flow" (see rheum). Related: amenorrheal.
ament (n.) Look up ament at Dictionary.com
"person born an idiot," 1894, from Latin amentia "madness," from amentem "mad," from a- "away from" + mentem "mind" (see mind (n.)).
amentia (n.) Look up amentia at Dictionary.com
"mental deficiency," late 14c., from Latin amentia "madness," from amentem "mad," from a- "away from" + mentem "mind" (see mind (n.)) + abstract noun ending -ia.
Amerasian Look up Amerasian at Dictionary.com
1966, noun and adjective, from American + Asian; coined in reference to children fathered by U.S. servicemen stationed in Asia during the Cold War.
amerce (v.) Look up amerce at Dictionary.com
1215, earlier amercy, Anglo-French amercier "to fine," from merci "mercy, grace" (see mercy). The legal phrase estre a merci "to be at the mercy of" (a tribunal, etc.) was corrupted to estre amercié in an example of how a legalese adverbial phrase can become a verb (see abandon). The sense often was "to fine arbitrarily."
Frans hom ne seit amerciez pour petit forfet. [Magna Charta]
Related: Amercement; amerciable.
America Look up America at Dictionary.com
1507, in Cartographer Martin Waldseemüller's treatise "Cosmographiae Introductio," from Modern Latin Americanus, after Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) who made two trips to the New World as a navigator and claimed to have discovered it. His published works put forward the idea that it was a new continent, and he was first to call it Novus Mundus "New World." Amerigo is more easily Latinized than Vespucci.

The name Amerigo is Germanic, said to derive from Gothic Amalrich, literally "work-ruler." The Old English form of the name has come down as surnames Emmerich, Emery, etc. The Italian fem. form merged into Amelia.

Colloquial pronunciation "Ameri-kay," not uncommon 19c., goes back to at least 1643 and a poem that rhymed the word with away. Amerika "U.S. society viewed as racist, fascist, oppressive, etc." first attested 1969; the spelling is German, but may also suggest the KKK.
It is interesting to remember that the song which is essentially Southern -- "Dixie" -- and that which is essentially Northern -- "Yankee Doodle" -- never really had any serious words to them. ["The Bookman," June 1910]



FREDONIA, FREDONIAN, FREDE, FREDISH, &c. &c.
These extraordinary words, which have been deservedly ridiculed here as well as in England, were proposed sometime ago, and countenanced by two or three individuals, as names for the territory and people of the United States. The general term American is now commonly understood (at least in all places where the English language is spoken,) to mean an inhabitant of the United States; and is so employed, except where unusual precision of language is required. [Pickering, 1816]
American Look up American at Dictionary.com
1570s (n.); 1590s (adj.), from Modern Latin Americanus, from America (q.v.); originally in reference to what now are called Native Americans; the sense of "resident of North America of European (originally British) descent" is first recorded 1640s (adj.); 1765 (n.).
American dream Look up American dream at Dictionary.com
coined 1931 by James Truslow Adams (1878-1949), U.S. writer and popular historian (unrelated to the Massachusetts Adamses), in "Epic of America."
[The American Dream is] that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position. [Adams]
Others have used the term as they will.
Americanism (n.) Look up Americanism at Dictionary.com
1781, in reference to words or phrases distinct from British use, coined by John Witherspoon (1723-1794), president of Princeton College, from American + -ism. (American English "English language as spoken in the United States" is first recorded 1806, in Webster.) Americanism in the patriotic sense "attachment to the U.S." is attested from 1797, first found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.
I have been not a little disappointed, and made suspicious of my own judgment, on seeing the Edinburgh Reviews, the ablest critics of the age, set their faces against the introduction of new words into the English language; they are particularly apprehensive that the writers of the United States will adulterate it. Certainly so great growing a population, spread over such an extent of country, with such a variety of climates, of productions, of arts, must enlarge their language, to make it answer its purpose of expressing all ideas, the new as well as the old. [Jefferson to John Waldo, Aug. 16, 1813]
Americanization (n.) Look up Americanization at Dictionary.com
1816, noun of state or action from Americanize.
Americanize (v.) Look up Americanize at Dictionary.com
1797, from American + -ize. Related: Americanized; Americanizing.
Amerind Look up Amerind at Dictionary.com
1899, coined by Maj. John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) at the Bureau of American Ethnology, where he was director, from American + Indian.
Amerindian (adj.) Look up Amerindian at Dictionary.com
1900; see Amerind, of which it is the derived adjective.
Ameslan (n.) Look up Ameslan at Dictionary.com
1972, acronym of Ame(rican) S(ign) Lan(guage), known by that name since 1960, but its history goes back to 1817, evolving from French Sign Language (introduced at American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Conn.) and indigenous sign languages, especially that of Martha's Vineyard. [See "Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language," Nora Ellen Groce, Harvard University Press, 1985]
amethyst (n.) Look up amethyst at Dictionary.com
violet quartz, late 13c., ametist, from Old French ametiste (Modern French améthyste) and directly from Medieval Latin amatistus, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethystos "amethyst," literally "not intoxicating," from a- "not" + methyskein "make drunk," from methys "wine" (see mead (n.1)); based on the stone's ancient reputation for preventing drunkenness, which was perhaps sympathetic magic suggested by its wine-like color. People wore rings made of it before drinking. Spelling restored from Middle English ametist.
Amex Look up Amex at Dictionary.com
blend of American Express, trademark registered in U.S. 1950 by American Express Co., originally an express mail service. Its credit card dates from 1958.
Amharic Look up Amharic at Dictionary.com
principal language of Ethiopia, 1813, from Amhara, name of a central province in Ethiopia.
ami (n.) Look up ami at Dictionary.com
14c., "friend lover," from Old French amy, ami (see Amy).
amiability (n.) Look up amiability at Dictionary.com
1807; see amiable + -ity. Amiableness is recorded from 1530s.
amiable (adj.) Look up amiable at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French amiable, from Late Latin amicabilis "friendly," from amicus "friend," related to amare "to love" (see Amy). The form confused in Old French with amable "lovable," from Latin amare. Reborrowed later in proper Latin form as amicable.
amicability (n.) Look up amicability at Dictionary.com
1650s, see amicable + -ity.
amicable (adj.) Look up amicable at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Late Latin amicabilis "friendly," a word in Roman law, from Latin amicus "friend," related to amare "to love" (see Amy). Also see amiable.
amicably (adv.) Look up amicably at Dictionary.com
1630s, from amicable + -ly (2).
amicus curiae Look up amicus curiae at Dictionary.com
1610s, Latin, literally "friend of the court;" plural is amici curiae. From Latin amicus "friend," related to amare "to love" (see Amy) + curia "court" (see curia).
amid (prep.) Look up amid at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from amidde (c.1200), from Old English on middan "in the middle," from dative singular of midde "mid, middle" (see middle); the phrase evidently was felt as "in (the) middle" and thus followed by a genitive case, and if this had endured we would follow it today with of. (See amidst for further evolution along this line).

The same applies to equivalents in Latin (in medio) and Greek (en meso), both originally adjective phrases which evolved to take the genitive case. But in later Old English on middan also was treated as a preposition and followed by dative. Used in compounds from early 13c. (such as amidships, attested from 1690s and retaining the genitive, as the compounds usually did in early Middle English, suggesting this one is considerably older than the written record of it.)
amidst (prep.) Look up amidst at Dictionary.com
a variant of amid (q.v.) with adverbial genitive -s and parasitic -t. Amidde became amyddes (13c.) and acquired a -t by 1560s, probably by association with superlatives in -st.
There is a tendency to use amidst more distributively than amid, e.g. of things scattered about, or a thing moving, in the midst of others. [OED]
amigo (n.) Look up amigo at Dictionary.com
"friend, comrade," often a form of address, 1837, American English (first attested in the phrase adios, Amigo), from Spanish amigo, literally "friend," from Latin amicus "friend," related to amare "to love" (see Amy).
amine (n.) Look up amine at Dictionary.com
"compound in which one of the hydrogen atoms of ammonia is replaced by a hydrocarbon radical," 1863, from ammonia + chemical suffix -ine (2).
amino- Look up amino- at Dictionary.com
1887, as an element in compound words involving chemicals, from comb. form of amine. Amino acid is attested from 1898.
amir (n.) Look up amir at Dictionary.com
1610s; the same word as emir (q.v.), but generally used of contemporary Indian or Afghan rulers as opposed to historical ones.
Amish (adj.) Look up Amish at Dictionary.com
1844, American English, from the name of Jacob Amman, 17c. Swiss Mennonite preacher who founded the sect. Originally spelled Omish, which reflects the pronunciation in Pennsylvania German dialect. As a noun, by 1884.