abominate (v.) Look up abominate at Dictionary.com
1640s, back-formation from abomination or from Latin abominatus, past participle of abominari (see abomination). Related: Abominated; abominating.
abomination (n.) Look up abomination at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "abominable thing or action;" late 14c., "feeling of disgust, hatred, loathing," from Old French abominacion "abomination, horror, repugnance, disgust" (13c.), from Latin abominationem (nominative abominatio) "abomination," noun of action from past participle stem of abominari "shun as an ill omen," from ab- "off, away from" (see ab-) + omin-, stem of omen (see omen). Meaning intensified by folk etymology derivation from Latin ab homine "away from man," thus "beastly."
Doubtless, the life of an Irregular is hard; but the interests of the Greater Number require that it shall be hard. If a man with a triangular front and a polygonal back were allowed to exist and to propagate a still more Irregular posterity, what would become of the arts of life? Are the houses and doors and churches in Flatland to be altered in order to accommodate such monsters? [Edwin Abbot, "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions," 1885]
aboriginal (adj.) Look up aboriginal at Dictionary.com
1660s, "first, earliest," especially in reference to inhabitants of lands colonized by Europeans, from aborigines (see aborigine) + -al (1); specific Australian sense is from 1820. The noun is attested from 1767. Related: Aboriginally.
aborigine (n.) Look up aborigine at Dictionary.com
1858, mistaken singular of aborigines (1540s; the correct singular is aboriginal), from Latin Aborigines "the first ancestors of the Romans; the first inhabitants" (especially of Latium), possibly a tribal name, or from ab origine, literally "from the beginning." Extended 1789 to natives of other countries which Europeans have colonized. Australian slang shortening Abo attested from 1922.
aborning (adv.) Look up aborning at Dictionary.com
1893, American English, from a- (1) + born + -ing (2).
abort (v.) Look up abort at Dictionary.com
1570s, "to miscarry," from Latin abortus, past participle of aboriri "to miscarry" (see abortive); 1610s as "to deliberately terminate" anything, but especially a pregnancy, which seems to be the literal sense. Transitive meaning "to cause a woman to miscarry" is recorded from 1933. Related: Aborted; aborting.
abortifacient (n.) Look up abortifacient at Dictionary.com
1875, noun and adjective, from Latin abortus (see abortive) + facientem "making," related to facere "do" (see factitious). An earlier word for this in the noun sense was abortive (1640s).
abortion (n.) Look up abortion at Dictionary.com
1540s, originally of both deliberate and unintended miscarriages; from Latin abortionem (nominative abortio) "miscarriage; abortion," noun of action from past participle stem of aboriri (see abortive).

Earlier noun in English was simple abort (early 15c.) "miscarriage." In 19c. some effort was made to distinguish abortion "expulsion of the fetus between 6 weeks and 6 months" from miscarriage (the same within 6 weeks of conception) and premature labor (delivery after 6 months but before due time). The deliberate miscarriage was criminal abortion. This broke down late 19c. as abortion came to be used principally for intentional miscarriages, probably via phrases such as procure an abortion.

Foeticide (n.) appears 1823 as a forensic medical term for deliberate premature fatal expulsion of the fetus; also compare prolicide. Abortion was a taboo word for much of early 20c., disguised in print as criminal operation (U.S.) or illegal operation (U.K.), and replaced by miscarriage in film versions of novels.
abortionist (n.) Look up abortionist at Dictionary.com
1872, from abortion + -ist.
abortive (adj.) Look up abortive at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "born prematurely or dead," from Latin abortivus "pertaining to miscarriage; causing abortion," from abort-, past participle stem of aboriri "disappear, miscarry," from ab- "amiss" (see ab-) + oriri "appear, be born, arise" (see orchestra); the compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc. The Latin verb for "to produce an abortion" was abigo, literally "to drive away." Not originally used to imply forced or deliberate miscarriage; from 14c.-18c. stillborn children or domestic animals were said to be abortive. Also see abortion. Related: Abortiveness.
abound (v.) Look up abound at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from Old French abonder "to abound, be abundant, come together in great numbers" (12c.), from Latin abundare "overflow, run over," from Latin ab- "off" (see ab-) + undare "rise in a wave," from unda "water, wave" (see water (n.1)). Related: Abounded; abounding.
abounding (adj.) Look up abounding at Dictionary.com
1630s, present participle adjective from abound; originally "affluent;" sense of "overflowing" is recorded by 1680s.
about (adv.) Look up about at Dictionary.com
Old English abutan, earlier onbutan "on the outside of," from on (see on) + be "by" (see by) + utan "outside," from ut (see out (adv.)). By 13c. it had forced out Old English ymbe, ymbutan for meaning "in the neighborhood of." Abouts, with adverbial genitive, still found in hereabouts, etc., probably is a northern dialectal form. About face as a military command (short for right about face) is first attested 1861, American English.
above (adv.) Look up above at Dictionary.com
Old English abufan, earlier onbufan, from on (see on) + bufan "over," compound of be "by" (see by) + ufan "over/high," from Proto-Germanic *ufan- (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German oban, German oben), from PIE root *upo (see up (adv.)). Meaning "in addition" first corded 1590s.
aboveboard (adj.) Look up aboveboard at Dictionary.com
1610s, from above and board (n.1). "A figurative expression borrowed from gamesters, who, when they put their hands under the table, are changing their cards." [Johnson]
abovementioned (adj.) Look up abovementioned at Dictionary.com
1707, from above and past tense of mention. Above-named is recorded from c.1600.
abracadabra Look up abracadabra at Dictionary.com
magical formula, 1690s, from Latin (Q. Severus Sammonicus, 2c.), from Late Greek Abraxas, cabalistic or gnostic name for the supreme god, and thus a word of power. It was written out in a triangle shape and worn around the neck to ward off sickness, etc. Another magical word, from a mid-15c. writing, was ananizapta.
abrade (v.) Look up abrade at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Latin abradere "to scrape off" (see abrasion). Related: Abraded; abrading.
Abraham Look up Abraham at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, name of the first of the patriarchs in the Old Testament, from Hebrew Abraham "father of a multitude," from abh "father" + *raham (cognate with Arabic ruham "multitude"); the name he altered from Abram "high father," from second element ram "high, exalted." Related: Abrahamic.
abrasion (n.) Look up abrasion at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Medieval Latin abrasionem (nominative abrasio) "a scraping," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin abradere "to scrape away, shave off," from ab- "off" (see ab-) + radere "to scrape" (see raze).
abrasive (n.) Look up abrasive at Dictionary.com
"an abrasive substance," 1853, from abrasive (adj.).
abrasive (adj.) Look up abrasive at Dictionary.com
1805, from Latin abras-, past participle stem of abradere (see abrasion) + -ive. Figurative sense of "tending to provoke anger" is first recorded 1925. Related: Abrasively; abrasiveness.
abraxas Look up abraxas at Dictionary.com
Cabalistic word, 1738, of uncertain origin.
abreast (adv.) Look up abreast at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., on brest, from a- (1) + breast (n.); the notion is of "with breasts in line." To keep abreast in figurative sense of "stay up-to-date" is from 1650s.
abridge (v.) Look up abridge at Dictionary.com
c.1300, abreggen, "to make shorter, to condense," from Old French abregier "abridge, diminish, shorten," from Late Latin abbreviare "make short" (see abbreviate). The sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- is paralleled in assuage (from assuavidare) and deluge (from diluvium). Related: Abridged; abridging.
abridgement (n.) Look up abridgement at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Old French abregement "shortening, abbreviation," from abregier (see abridge).
abroad (adv.) Look up abroad at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "widely apart," from Old English on brede, which meant something like "at wide" (see broad (adj.)). The sense "out of doors, away from home" (late 14c.) led to the main modern sense of "out of one's country, overseas" (mid-15c.).
abrogate (v.) Look up abrogate at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Latin abrogatus, past participle of abrogare "to annul, repeal (a law)," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + rogare "propose a law, request" (see rogation). Form abrogen, from Old French abroger, is recorded from early 15c. Related: Abrogated; abrogating.
abrogation (n.) Look up abrogation at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Latin abrogationem (nominative abrogatio) "repeal of a law," noun of action from past participle stem of abrogare (see abrogate).
abrupt (adj.) Look up abrupt at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Latin abruptus "broken off, precipitous, disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab- "off" (see ab-) + rumpere "break" (see rupture (n.)). Related: Abruptly; abruptness.
abs (n.) Look up abs at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of abdominals, by 1992.
abs- Look up abs- at Dictionary.com
form of ab- before -c-, -q- or -t-.
Absalom Look up Absalom at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, King David's son in the Old Testament, often used figuratively for "favorite son," from Hebrew Abhshalom, literally "father is peace," from abh "father" + shalom "peace."
abscess (n.) Look up abscess at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Latin abscessus "an abscess" (Celsus), literally "a going away," from stem of abscedere "withdraw," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + cedere "to go" (see cede). The notion is that humors "go from" the body through the pus in the swelling.
abscessed (adj.) Look up abscessed at Dictionary.com
1846, in medicine, from abscess (n.).
abscind (v.) Look up abscind at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin abscindere "to cut off" (see abscissa). Related: Abscinded; abscinding.
abscissa (n.) Look up abscissa at Dictionary.com
1690s, from Latin abscissa (linea) "(a line) cut off," from fem. past participle of abscindere "to cut off," from ab- "off, away" (see ab-) + scindere "to cut" (see shed (v.)).
abscission (n.) Look up abscission at Dictionary.com
"removal or cutting away," early 15c., from Latin abscissionem (nominative abscissio) "a cutting off," noun of action from past participle stem of abscindere (see abscissa).
abscond (v.) Look up abscond at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Middle French abscondre and directly from Latin abscondere "to hide, conceal, put out of sight," from ab(s)- "away" (see ab-) + condere "put together, store," from com- "together" (see com-) + dere "put," from PIE *dhe- "to put, place, make" (see factitious). The notion is of "to hide oneself," especially to escape debt or the law. Related: Absconded; absconder; absconding.
absence (n.) Look up absence at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French absence (14c.), from Latin absentia, noun of state from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (see essence).
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
[Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) "Isle of Beauty"]
absent (adj.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Middle French absent (Old French ausent), from Latin absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent" (see absence). Related: Absently; absentness.
absent (v.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
"to keep away" (from), c.1400, from Middle French absenter, from Late Latin absentare "cause to be away," from Latin absentem (see absent (adj.)). Related: Absented; absenting.
absent (prep.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
"in the absence of," 1944, principally from U.S. legal use, from absent (v.).
absentee (n.) Look up absentee at Dictionary.com
1530s, from absent (v.) + -ee.
absenteeism (n.) Look up absenteeism at Dictionary.com
1829, from absentee + -ism; originally in reference to landlords, especially in Ireland (absentee in this sense is in Johnson's dictionary); reference to pupils or workers is from 1922.
absentminded (adj.) Look up absentminded at Dictionary.com
also absent-minded, "preoccupied," 1810, from absent + minded. Related: Absentmindedly; absentmindedness.
absinthe (n.) Look up absinthe at Dictionary.com
also absinth, alcoholic liqueur distilled from wine mixed with wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium), 1842, from French absinthe, "essence of wormwood," from Latin absinthum "wormwood," from Greek apsinthion, perhaps from Persian (compare Persian aspand, of the same meaning). The plant so called in English from c.1500 (Old English used the word in the Latin form).
absit omen Look up absit omen at Dictionary.com
Latin, literally "may this omen be absent."
absolute (adj.) Look up absolute at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "unrestricted; complete, perfect;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Middle French absolut (14c., Old French asolu, Modern French absolu), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, make separate" (see absolve).

Most of the current senses also were in the Latin word. Sense evolution was "detached, disengaged," thus "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position." Absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s); scientific absolute magnitude (1902), absolute value (1907) are from early 20c. In metaphysics, the absolute "that which is absolute" is from 1809.
absolute zero (n.) Look up absolute zero at Dictionary.com
the idea dates back to 1702 and its general value was guessed to within a few degrees soon thereafter, but not precisely discovered until Lord Kelvin's work in 1848. It was known by many names, such as infinite cold, absolute cold, natural zero of temperature; the term absolute zero was among them by 1806.