anxious (adj.) Look up anxious at
1620s, from Latin anxius "solicitous, uneasy, troubled in mind" (also "causing anxiety, troublesome"), from angere, anguere "choke, squeeze," figuratively "torment, cause distress" (see anger (v.)). The same image is in Serbo-Croatian tjeskoba "anxiety," literally "tightness, narrowness." Related: Anxiously; anxiousness.
any (adj.) Look up any at
Old English ænig "any, anyone," literally "one-y," from Proto-Germanic *ainagas (cognates: Old Saxon enig, Old Norse einigr, Old Frisian enich, Dutch enig, German einig), from PIE *oi-no- "one, unique" (see one). The -y may have diminutive force here.

Emphatic form any old ______ (British variant: any bloody ______) is recorded from 1896. At any rate is recorded from 1847. Among the large family of compounds beginning with any-, anykyn "any kind" (c. 1300) did not survive, and Anywhen (1831) is rarely used, but OED calls it "common in Southern [British] dialects."
anybody (n.) Look up anybody at
c. 1300, ani-bodi, from any + body. One-word form is attested by 1826. Phrase anybody's game (or race, etc.) is from 1840.
anyhow (adv.) Look up anyhow at
1740, from any + how (adv.). Unlike the cases of most other any + (interrogative) compounds, there is no record of it in Old or Middle English. Emphatic form any old how is recorded from 1900, American English.
anymore (adv.) Look up anymore at
one-word form by 1865, from any + more.
anyone (n.) Look up anyone at
Old English, two words, from any + one. Old English also used ænigmon in this sense. One-word form from 1844.
anyplace (n.) Look up anyplace at
1911, from any + place.
anything (n.) Look up anything at
late Old English aniþing, from any + thing. But Old English ænig þinga apparently also meant "somehow, anyhow" (glossing Latin quoquo modo).
anythingarian (n.) Look up anythingarian at
"one indifferent to religious creeds," c. 1704, originally dismissive, from anything on model of trinitarian, unitarian, etc.
anytime (adv.) Look up anytime at
one-word form by 1854, from any + time (n.).
anyway (adv.) Look up anyway at
1560s, any way "in any manner;" variant any ways (with adverbial genitive) attested from c. 1560, prepositional phrase by any way is from late 14c.; see any + way (n.). One-word form predominated from 1830s. As an adverbial conjunction, from 1859. Middle English in this sense had ani-gates "in any way, somehow" (c. 1400).
anyways (adv.) Look up anyways at
see anyway.
anywhere (adv.) Look up anywhere at
late 14c., from any + where. Earlier words in this sense were owhere, oughwhere, aywhere, literally "aught where" (see aught (1)).
anywise (adv.) Look up anywise at
Old English ænige wisan, from any + wise (n.). One-word form from c. 1200.
Anzac Look up Anzac at
1915, acronym of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. First used in reference to the Gallipoli campaign.
AOL Look up AOL at
dominant online service of the late 1990s, initialism (acronym) of America Online, company name from late 1989.
aorist (n.) Look up aorist at
1580s, the simple past tense of Greek verbs, from Greek aoristos (khronos) "indefinite (tense)," from privative prefix a- "not" (see a- (3)) + horistos "limited, defined," verbal adjective from horizein "to limit, define," from horos "boundary, limit, border" (see horizon).
aorta (n.) Look up aorta at
1570s, from Medieval Latin aorta, from Greek aorte, term applied by Aristotle to the great artery of the heart, literally "what is hung up," from aeirein "to lift, heave, raise," which is of uncertain origin; related to the second element in meteor. Used earlier by Hippocrates of the bronchial tubes. Related: Aortal; aortic.
AP Look up AP at
abbreviation of Associated Press, first recorded 1879; the organization was founded May 1848 as co-operative news gathering effort among New York City newspaper publishers covering the war with Mexico.
ap- (2) Look up ap- at
patronymic prefix in Welsh names, earlier map "son," cognate with Gaelic mac. Since 17c. merged into surnames (Ap Rhys = Price, Ap Evan = Bevan, etc.).
It is said that a Welshman who evidently was not willing to be surpassed in length of pedigree, when making out his genealogical tree, wrote near the middle of his long array of 'aps' -- "about this time Adam was born." ["Origin and Significance of our Names," "The Chautauquan," Oct. 1887-July 1888]
ap- (1) Look up ap- at
form of Latin ad- before words beginning in -p-; see ad-.
apace (adv.) Look up apace at
mid-14c., from a pace, literally "at a pace," but usually with a sense of "at a good pace," from a- (1) "on" + pace (n.).
Apache Look up Apache at
1745, from American Spanish (1598), probably from Yavapai (a Yuman language) 'epache "people." Sometimes derived from Zuni apachu "enemy" (see F.W. Hodge, "American Indians," 1907), but this seems to have been the Zuni name for the Navajo.

French journalistic sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" first attested 1902. Apache dance was the World War I-era equivalent of 1990s' brutal "slam dancing." Fenimore Cooper's Indian novels were enormously popular in Europe throughout the 19c., and comparisons of Cooper's fictional Indian ways in the wilderness and underworld life in European cities go back to Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by German author Karl May (1842-1912) that Apaches replaced Mohicans in popular imagination. Also compare Mohawk.
apanage (n.) Look up apanage at
see appanage.
apart (adv.) Look up apart at
late 14c., from Old French à part "to the side," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + partem, accusative of pars "a side" (see part (n.)).
apartheid (n.) Look up apartheid at
1947 (policy begun 1948), from Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally "separateness," from Dutch apart "separate" (from French àpart; see apart) + suffix -heid, cognate of English -hood. The official English synonym was separate development (1955).
"Segregation" is such an active word that it suggests someone is trying to segregate someone else. So the word "apartheid" was introduced. Now it has such a stench in the nostrils of the world, they are referring to "autogenous development." [Alan Paton, "New York Times," Oct. 24, 1960]
apartment (n.) Look up apartment at
1640s, "private rooms for the use of one person within a house," from French appartement (16c.), from Italian appartimento, literally "a separated place," from appartere "to separate," from a "to" (see ad-) + parte "side, place," from Latin partem (see part (n.)). Sense of "set of private rooms in a building entirely of these" (the U.S. equivalent of British flat) is first attested 1874.
apathetic (adj.) Look up apathetic at
1744, from apathy + -ic, on model of pathetic.
apathy (n.) Look up apathy at
c. 1600, "freedom from suffering," from French apathie (16c.), from Latin apathia, from Greek apatheia "freedom from suffering, impassability, want of sensation," from apathes "without feeling, without suffering or having suffered," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + pathos "emotion, feeling, suffering" (see pathos). Originally a positive quality; sense of "indolence of mind, indifference to what should excite" is from c. 1733.
APB Look up APB at
also a.p.b., 1960, police jargon initialism (acronym) for all-points bulletin, itself attested by 1953 (perhaps more in the jargon of detective novels than in actual police use).
ape (n.) Look up ape at
Old English apa "ape, monkey," from Proto-Germanic *apan (cognates: Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Dutch aap, German affe), perhaps borrowed in Proto-Germanic from Celtic (compare Old Irish apa) or Slavic (compare Old Bohemian op, Slovak opitza), perhaps ultimately from a non-Indo-European language.

Apes were noted in medieval times for mimicry of human action, hence, perhaps, the other figurative use of the word, to mean "a fool." To go ape (in emphatic form, go apeshit) "go crazy" is 1955, U.S. slang. To lead apes in hell (1570s) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid.
ape (v.) Look up ape at
"to imitate," 1630s, but the notion is implied earlier, as in the phrase play the ape (1570s), Middle English apeshipe "ape-like behavior, simulation" (mid-15c.); and the noun sense of "one who mimics" may date from early 13c. Related: Aped; aping.
ape-man (n.) Look up ape-man at
hypothetical "missing link," 1879, in a translation of Haeckel, from ape (n.) + man (n.). Man-ape is attested from 1878. The name Martin Halfape appears in an English roll from 1227.
apercu (n.) Look up apercu at
"quick impression, sketch, brief survey," 1820s, from French aperçu (18c. in this sense), noun use of past participle of apercevoir "to perceive" (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *adpercipere, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + percipere "to perceive" (see perceive).
aperiodic (adj.) Look up aperiodic at
1874, from a- (2), privative prefix, + periodic.
aperitif (n.) Look up aperitif at
1894, "alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite," from French apéritif "laxative, laxative liqueur," literally "opening," from Latin aperitivus, from aperire "to open" (see overt). Compare Middle English apertive (adj.), a medical word meaning "capable of opening or dilating" (pores, etc.), early 15c.
apert (adj.) Look up apert at
c. 1300, from Old French apert and directly from Latin apertus "open," past participle of aperire "to open, uncover" (see overt).
aperture (n.) Look up aperture at
early 15c., from Latin apertura "an opening," from apertus, past participle of aperire "to open" (see overt).
apex (n.) Look up apex at
c. 1600, from Latin apex "summit, peak, tip, top, extreme end;" probably related to apere "to fasten, fix," hence "the tip of anything" (one of the meanings in Latin was "small rod at the top of the flamen's cap"), from PIE *ap- "to take, reach." Proper plural is apices.
aphasia (n.) Look up aphasia at
"loss of ability to speak," especially as result of brain injury or disorder, 1867, from Modern Latin aphasia, from Greek aphasia "speechlessness," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + phasis "utterance," from phanai "to speak," related to pheme "voice, report, rumor" (see fame (n.)).
APHASIA is the term which has recently been given to the loss of the faculty of articulate language, the organs of phonation and of articulation, as well as the intelligence, being unimpaired. The pathology of this affection is at the present time the subject of much discussion in the scientific world; the French Academy devoted several of their séances during the year 1865 to its special elucidation, and the Medical Journals of France and of our own country have lately contained a good deal of original matter bearing upon this obscure feature in cerebral pathology. [Frederic Bateman, M.D., "Aphasia," London, 1868]
aphasic Look up aphasic at
1868 (n.); 1892 (adj.), from aphasia + -ic.
aphelion (n.) Look up aphelion at
"point farthest from the sun" (of a celestial body's orbit), 1670s, a Grecianized form of Modern Latin aphelium, altered by Johannes Kepler based on Greek apo heliou "away from the sun," from apo "away from" (see apo-) + heliou, genitive of helios "sun" (see sol). The whole was formed on the model of Ptolemaic apogaeum (see apogee) to reflect the new helio-centric model of the universe.
aphetic (adj.) Look up aphetic at
1880, from aphesis (1880), coined by OED editor Sir James A.H. Murray (1837-1915) for "gradual and unintentional loss of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word" (as squire from esquire), from Greek aphienai "to let go, to send forth," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + hienai "to send" (see jet (v.)).
aphid (n.) Look up aphid at
1884, anglicized from Modern Latin aphides, plural of aphis, coined by Linnaeus (1758), though where he got it and why he applied it to the plant louse are mysteries. The theory favored by OED as "least improbable" is that it derives from the plural of Greek apheides "unsparing, lavishly bestowed," in reference either to the "prodigious rate of production" of the insects or their voracity. They also are known as ant-cows.
aphonia (n.) Look up aphonia at
"want of voice, loss of voice, having no sound," 1719, from Modern Latin aphonia, from Greek aphonia "speechlessness," noun of quality from aphonos "voiceless," from a-, privative prefix (see a- (3)), + phone "voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)) + abstract noun ending -ia. Less-common anglicized form aphony is attested from 1827.
aphorism (n.) Look up aphorism at
1520s (especially in reference to the "Aphorisms of Hippocrates"), from Middle French aphorisme (14c., aufforisme), from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos "definition, pithy sentence," from aphorizein "to mark off, divide," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + horizein "to bound" (see horizon).

An aphorism is a short, pithy statement containing a truth of general import; an axiom is a statement of self-evident truth; a theorem is a demonstrable proposition in science or mathematics; an epigram is like an aphorism, but lacking in general import. Maxim and saying can be used as synonyms for aphorism.
aphoristic (adj.) Look up aphoristic at
1753, from Greek aphoristikos (see aphorism). Aphoristically is from 1650s.
aphotic (adj.) Look up aphotic at
"untouched by sunlight, lightless" (in reference to deep-sea regions), 1903, Modern Latin, from Greek a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + phos (genitive photos) "light," related to phainein "to show, to bring to light" (see phantasm) + -ic. Aphotic zone is recorded from 1913.
Aphra Look up Aphra at
fem. proper name, apparently from a misunderstanding of Hebrew bebheth 'Aphrah "in the house of Aphrah" (Mi. i:10), in which Aphrah probably is the name of a town, not a person. [Klein]
aphrodisiac (n.) Look up aphrodisiac at
1719, from Greek aphrodisiakos "inducing sexual desire," from aphrodisios, "pertaining to Aphrodite; sexual pleasure; a temple of Aphrodite," Greek goddess of love and beauty. As an adjective from 1830 (earlier was aphrodisical, 1719)