absolutely (adv.) Look up absolutely at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "unconditionally, completely," from absolute (adj.) + -ly (2). From mid-15c. as "without reference to anything else, not relatively;" meaning "to the utmost degree" emerged by mid-16c. As a colloquial emphatic in American English, it is attested from 1892.
absolution (n.) Look up absolution at Dictionary.com
"remission, forgiveness," c.1200, from Old French absolucion, earlier assolucion, from Latin absolutionem (nominative absolutio) "completion, acquittal," noun of action from past participle stem of absolvere "to absolve" (see absolve). Originally of sins; in general use from c.1400.
absolutism (n.) Look up absolutism at Dictionary.com
1753 in theology; 1830 in politics, in which sense it was first used by British reformer and parliamentarian Maj. Gen. Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869). See absolute and -ism.
absolutist (n.) Look up absolutist at Dictionary.com
1830, from absolute + -ist. From 1837 as an adjective.
absolve (v.) Look up absolve at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin absolvere "set free, loosen, acquit," from ab- "from" (see ab-) + solvere "loosen" (see solve). Related: Absolved; absolving.
absorb (v.) Look up absorb at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French absorber (Old French assorbir, 13c.), from Latin absorbere "to swallow up," from ab- "from" (see ab-) + sorbere "suck in," from PIE root *srebh- "to suck, absorb" (cognates: Armenian arbi "I drank," Greek rhopheo "to sup greedily up, gulp down," Lithuanian srebiu "to drink greedily"). Figurative meaning "to completely grip (one's) attention" is from 1763. Related: Absorbed; absorbing.
absorbency (n.) Look up absorbency at Dictionary.com
1762, noun of state from absorbent; see -cy.
absorbent Look up absorbent at Dictionary.com
1718, adjective and noun, from Latin absorbentem (nominative absorbens), present participle of absorbere (see absorb).
absorption (n.) Look up absorption at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Latin absorptionem (nominative absorptio), noun of action from past participle stem of absorbere (see absorb).
absquatulate (v.) Look up absquatulate at Dictionary.com
1837, "Facetious U.S. coinage" [Weekley], perhaps based on a mock-Latin negation of squat "to settle." Said to have been used by the U.S. Western character "Nimrod Wildfire" in the play "The Kentuckian," as re-written by British author William B. Bernard and staged in London in 1833. Related: Absquatulated; absquatulating.
abstain (v.) Look up abstain at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain, abstain (from), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from ab(s)- "from, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Specifically of liquor, late 14c. Of voting, 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.
abstainer (n.) Look up abstainer at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "one who practices self-denial," agent noun from abstain.
abstemious (adj.) Look up abstemious at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Latin abstemius "sober, temperate," from ab(s)- "from" (see ab-) + stem of temetum "strong drink," related to temulentus "drunken." Technically, of liquor, but extended in Latin to temperance in living generally. Related: Abstemiously; abstemiousness.
abstention (n.) Look up abstention at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Middle French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin abstinere "keep back, keep off, hold off" (see abstain).
abstinence (n.) Look up abstinence at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "forbearance in indulgence of the appetites," from Old French abstinence (earlier astenance), from Latin abstinentia "abstinence, starvation; self-restraint, integrity," noun of quality from abstinentem (nominative abstinens), present participle of abstinere (see abstain). Specifically of sexual appetites from mid-14c., but also in Middle English of food, fighting, luxury.
abstinent (adj.) Look up abstinent at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French abstinent (earlier astenant) "moderate, abstemious, modest," from Latin abstinentem (nominative abstinens) "temperate, moderate," present participle of abstinere "to refrain from" (see abstain).
abstract (adj.) Look up abstract at Dictionary.com
late 14c., originally in grammar (of nouns), from Latin abstractus "drawn away," past participle of abstrahere "to drag away, detach, pull away, divert;" also figuratively, from ab(s)- "away" (see ab-) + trahere "draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Meaning "withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters" is from mid-15c. That of "difficult to understand, abstruse" is from c.1400. Specifically in reference to modern art, it dates from 1914; abstract expressionism as an American-based uninhibited approach to art exemplified by Jackson Pollock is from 1952, but the term itself had been used in the 1920s of Kandinsky and others.
Oswald Herzog, in an article on "Der Abstrakte Expressionismus" (Sturm, heft 50, 1919) gives us a statement which with equal felicity may be applied to the artistic attitude of the Dadaists. "Abstract Expressionism is perfect Expressionism," he writes. "It is pure creation. It casts spiritual processes into a corporeal mould. It does not borrow objects from the real world; it creates its own objects .... The abstract reveals the will of the artist; it becomes expression. ..." [William A. Drake, "The Life and Deeds of Dada," 1922]



Then, that art we have called "abstract" for want of any possible descriptive term, with which we have been patient, and, even, appreciative, getting high stimulation by the new Guggenheim "non-objective" Art Museum, is reflected in our examples of "surrealism," "dadaism," and what-not, to assert our acquaintance in every art, fine or other. [Report of the Art Reference Department of Pratt Institute Free Library for year ending June 30, 1937]
abstract (n.) Look up abstract at Dictionary.com
"abridgement or summary of a document," mid-15c., from abstract (adj.). The general sense of "a smaller quantity containing the virtue or power of a greater" [Johnson] is recorded from 1560s.
abstract (v.) Look up abstract at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Latin abstractus or else from the adjective abstract. Related: Abstracted; abstracting, abstractedly.
abstraction (n.) Look up abstraction at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "a withdrawal from worldly affairs, asceticism," from Old French abstraction (14c.), from Latin abstractionem (nominative abstractio), noun of action from past participle stem of abstrahere (see abstract (adj.)). Meaning "idea of something that has no actual existence" is from 1640s.
abstractly (adv.) Look up abstractly at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "by itself, absolutely," from abstract (adj.) + -ly (2).
abstruse (adj.) Look up abstruse at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French abstrus (16c.) or directly from Latin abstrusus "hidden, concealed, secret," past participle of abstrudere "conceal," literally "to thrust away," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + trudere "to thrust, push" (see extrusion). Related: Abstrusely; abstruseness.
absurd (adj.) Look up absurd at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Middle French absurde (16c.), from Latin absurdus "out of tune; foolish" (see absurdity). The main modern sense (also present in Latin) is a figurative one, "out of harmony with reason or propriety." Related: Absurdly; absurdness.
absurdity (n.) Look up absurdity at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Middle French absurdité, from Late Latin absurditatem (nominative absurditas) "dissonance, incongruity," noun of state from Latin absurdus "out of tune;" figuratively "incongruous, silly, senseless," from ab-, intensive prefix, + surdus "dull, deaf, mute" (see susurration).
abundance (n.) Look up abundance at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French abondance and directly from Latin abundantia "fullness, plenty," noun of state from abundantem (nominative abundans), present participle of abundare "to overflow" (see abound).
abundant (adj.) Look up abundant at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French abundant and directly from Latin abundantem (nominative abundans) "overflowing," present participle of abundare "to overflow" (see abound). Related: Abundantly.
abuse (v.) Look up abuse at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to misuse, misapply," from Middle French abuser, from Vulgar Latin *abusare, from Latin abusus "an abusing, using up," past participle of abuti "use up," also "misuse," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + uti "use" (see use). Of sexual situations from early 15c., but originally incest, homosexuality, prostitution, etc.; meaning "to misuse sexually, ravish" is from 1550s. Specifically of drugs, from 1968. Related: Abused; abusing.
abuse (n.) Look up abuse at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "improper practice," from Old French abus (14c.), from Latin abusus (see abuse (v.)). Earlier in Middle English was abusion "wicked act or practice, shameful thing, violation of decency" (early 14c.), "an insult" (mid-14c.).
abuser (n.) Look up abuser at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., agent noun from abuse (v.).
abusive (adj.) Look up abusive at Dictionary.com
1530s (implied in abusively), originally "improper," from Middle French abusif, from Latin abusivus, from abus-, past participle stem of abuti (see abuse (v.)). Meaning "full of abuse" is from 1580s. Abuseful was used 17c., and Shakespeare has abusious ("Taming of the Shrew," 1594). Related: Abusiveness.
abut (v.) Look up abut at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "to end at, to border on," from Old French aboter "join end to end, touch upon" (13c.), from à "to" (see ad-) + bout "end" (see butt (n.3)). Related: Abutted; abutting.
abutment (n.) Look up abutment at Dictionary.com
1640s, from abut + -ment. Originally any "junction;" the architectural usage is attested from 1793 (the notion is of the meeting-place of the arches of a bridge, etc.).
abuzz (adv.) Look up abuzz at Dictionary.com
1859, from a- (1) + buzz. First recorded in Dickens.
abysm (n.) Look up abysm at Dictionary.com
"bottomless gulf, greatest depths," now chiefly poetic, c.1300, from Old French abisme (Modern French abîme), from Vulgar Latin *abyssimus (source of Spanish and Portuguese abismo), which represents either a superlative of Latin abyssus or a formation on analogy of Greek-derived words in -ismus; see abyss.
abysmal (adj.) Look up abysmal at Dictionary.com
1650s, formed in English from abysm + -al (1). Weakened sense of "extremely bad" is first recorded 1904, perhaps from abysmal ignorance (suggestive of its "depth"), an expression attested from 1847. Related: Abysmally.
abyss (n.) Look up abyss at Dictionary.com
late 14c., earlier abime (c.1300, from a form in Old French), from Late Latin abyssus "bottomless pit," from Greek abyssos (limne) "bottomless (pool)," from a- "without" (see a- (2)) + byssos "bottom," possibly related to bathos "depth."
abyssal (adj.) Look up abyssal at Dictionary.com
1690s, used especially of the zone of ocean water below 300 fathoms, from abyss + -al (1). Though the 19th century, abysmal was more common in oceanography.
Abyssinia (n.) Look up Abyssinia at Dictionary.com
old name for Ethiopia, 1630s, from Modern Latin Abyssinia, from Arabic Habasah, the name for the region, said to be from Amharic hbsh "mixed," in reference to the different races dwelling there. In 1920s-30s popular as a slang pun for "I'll be seeing you." Related: Abyssinian.
AC Look up AC at Dictionary.com
abbreviation of air conditioning, by 1966.
AC/DC (adj.) Look up AC/DC at Dictionary.com
electronics abbreviation of alternating current/direct current, by 1898. As slang for "bisexual," 1959, said to have been in use orally from c.1940; the notion is of working both ways.
acacia (n.) Look up acacia at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Latin acacia, from Greek akakia "thorny Egyptian tree," perhaps related to Greek ake "point, thorn," from PIE root *ak- "sharp" (see acrid). Or perhaps a Hellenization of some Egyptian word. From late 14c. in English as the name of a type of gum used as an astringent, etc.
Academe (n.) Look up Academe at Dictionary.com
"The Academy," 1580s, from phrase groves of Academe, translating Horace's silvas Academi (see academy); general sense of "the world of universities and scholarship" is attested from 1849. With lower-case letter, academia in the sense of "academic community" is from 1956.
Academe properly means Academus (a Greek hero); & its use as a poetic variant for academy, though sanctioned by Shakespeare, Tennyson & Lowell, is a mistake; the grove of A., however, (Milton) means rightly The Academy. [Fowler]
academic (adj.) Look up academic at Dictionary.com
1580s, "relating to an academy," also "collegiate, scholarly," from Latin academicus "of the Academy," from academia (see academy). Meaning "theoretical, not practical, not leading to a decision" (such as university debates or classroom legal exercises) is from 1886. Academic freedom is attested from 1901. Related: Academically.
academy (n.) Look up academy at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "the classical Academy," from French Académie, from Latin Academia, from Greek Akademeia "grove of Akademos," a legendary Athenian of the Trojan War tales (his name apparently means "of a silent district"), whose estate, six stadia from Athens, was the enclosure where Plato taught his school.
The A[cademy], the Garden, the Lyceum, the Porch, the Tub, are names used for the five chief schools of Greek philosophy, their founders, adherents, & doctrines: the A., Plato, the Platonists & Platonism; the Garden, Epicurus, the Epicureans, & Epicureanism; the Lyceum, Aristotle, the Aristotelians, & Aristotelianism; the Porch, Zeno, the Stoics, & Stoicism; the Tub, Antisthenes, the Cynics, & Cynicism. [Fowler]
Sense broadened 16c. into "any school or training place." Academy awards (1941) so called for their distributor, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Acadian Look up Acadian at Dictionary.com
1705, from Acadia, Latinized form of Acadie, French name of Nova Scotia, probably from Archadia, the name given to the region by Verrazano in 1520s, from Greek Arkadia, emblematic in pastoral poetry of a place of rural peace (see Arcadian); the name may have been suggested to Europeans by the native Micmac (Algonquian) word akadie "fertile land." The Acadians, expelled by the English in 1755, settled in large numbers in Louisiana (see Cajun, which is a corruption of Acadian).
acanthus (n.) Look up acanthus at Dictionary.com
1660s, from Latin acanthus, from Greek akanthos, from ake "point, thorn" (see acrid) + anthos "flower" (see anther). So called for its large spiny leaves. A conventionalized form of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals.
Acapulco Look up Acapulco at Dictionary.com
in full, Acapulco de Juarez, resort town in western Mexico, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) acapulco "place of the large canes," from aca(tl) "cane (plant)" + -pul "large" + -co "place." Acapulco gold as the name of a local grade of potent marijuana is attested from 1965.
accede (v.) Look up accede at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin accedere "approach, enter upon," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + cedere "go, move" (see cede). Latin ad- usually became ac- before "k" sounds. Related: Acceded; acceding.
accelerant (n.) Look up accelerant at Dictionary.com
1854, from Latin accelerantem (nominative accelerans), present participle of accelerare (see accelerate). As an adjective from 1890.
accelerate (v.) Look up accelerate at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Latin acceleratus, past participle of accelerare "to hasten, to quicken," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + celerare "hasten," from celer "swift" (see celerity). Related: Accelerated; accelerating.