accoucheur (n.) Look up accoucheur at
1759, "midwife (properly, "man-midwife," but in English used without regard to gender), medical practitioner who attends women in childbirth," from French accoucheur (Jules Clément, later 17c.), agent noun from accoucher "to go to childbed, be delivered," from Old French acouchier "deliver" (trans.), "be delivered, give birth" (intrans.), originally simply "to lie down" in one's bed, "go to bed" (12c.), from a- "to" (from Latin ad-; see ad-) + Old French culcher "to lie," from Latin collocare, from com- "with" (see com-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus). The fem. form, accoucheuse, is attested in English from 1842.
account (n.) Look up account at
c. 1300, "counting," especially "reckoning of money received and paid, detailed statement of funds owed or spent or property held," from Old French acont "(financial) account, reckoning, terminal payment," from a "to" (see ad-) + cont "counting, reckoning of money to be paid," from Late Latin computus "a calculation," from Latin computare "calculate" (see compute).

From the first often in plural form; sometimes in late Middle English accompt (see account (v.)). Meaning "course of business dealings requiring records" is from 1640s; hence "arrangement to keep money in a business, bank, etc." (1833), also "customer or client having an account" (1937). Money of account (1690s), that used in reckoning but not circulating as coin or paper, preserves the "counting" sense of the word.

From the notion of "rendering an account" comes the sense "statement answering for conduct" (mid-14c.) and the general sense "narration, recital of facts," attested by 1610s. Phrase by all accounts is attested from 1798. From the notion of "statement of reasons" comes on no account "under no circumstances" (1704). Also from c. 1300 in reference to answering for one's conduct, especially at the Last Judgment. Meaning "estimation, consideration," especially in the eyes of others, is from late 14c.

On account in the financial sense "as an item to be accounted for at the final settlement" is from 1610s, hence on account of in the general sense "for the sake of, in regard to, in consideration of" (1640s, originally upon account of). Also on (my, your, etc.) account "on (one's) behalf." To give accounts "prepare or present a statement of funds and property" is from mid-15c; the older term was cast accounts (mid-14c.); to take account of originally was to make an inventory; take into account "take account of" is from 1680s.
The spellings accompt, accomptable, etc. are artificial forms used, not prevailingly, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They are now obsolete, or nearly so, though accompt and accomptant may still be used in the formal or legal style. The pronunciation has always conformed to the regular spelling, account, accountable, etc. [Century Dictionary]
account (v.) Look up account at
c. 1300, "to count, enumerate," from Old French aconter "to enumerate; reckon up, render account" (Modern French conter), from a "to" (see ad-) + conter "to count, tell" (see count (v.)).

Meaning "to reckon for money given or received, render a reckoning," is from late 14c. Sense of "to explain, justify" (c. 1300) is from notion of "present a detailed explanation of money, etc. held in trust." Transferred sense of "to value, to estimate" (to account as belonging to a certain class of quality) is from late 14c. Intransitive sense of "to render an account of particulars" is from late 14c.; hence transitive sense "give an explanation" (1670s, usually with to before a person and for before a thing).

In later Old French partly re-Latinized as acompter (Modern French accompter), hence late Middle English accompten. Related: Accounted; accounting.
accountability (n.) Look up accountability at
"state of being answerable," 1770, from accountable + -ity. Earlier was accountableness (1660s).
accountable (adj.) Look up accountable at
"answerable," literally "liable to be called to account," c. 1400 (mid-14c. in Anglo-French), from Old French acontable; see account (v.) + -able. Related: Accountably.
accountancy (n.) Look up accountancy at
"the art of the accountant," by 1854, from accountant + -cy. Accountantship is attested by 1818.
accountant (n.) Look up accountant at
mid-15c., "accounting officer, one who renders accounts," from Old French acontant (Modern French accomptant), from present participle of aconter "to count, enumerate" (see account (v.)). Sense of "professional maker of accounts" is recorded from 1530s. The word also was an adjective in Middle English, "accountable; liable to render accounts" (early 15c.).
accounting (n.) Look up accounting at
"reckoning of numbers," late 14c., verbal noun from account (v.). From 1855 as "management of financial affairs." Phrase no accounting for tastes (1823) translates Latin de gustibus non est disputandum, from account (v.) in the "give an explanation" sense.
accouter (v.) Look up accouter at
also accoutre, "to dress or equip" (especially in military clothing and gear), 1590s, from French acoutrer, earlier acostrer (13c.) "arrange, dispose, put on (clothing)," probably originally "sew up," from Vulgar Latin *accosturare "to sew together, sew up," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + *consutura "a sewing together," from Latin consutus, past participle of consuere "to sew together," from con- (see com-) + suere "to sew," from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew" (see sew). The English spelling reflects the 16c. French pronunciation. Related: Accoutered; accoutred; accoutering; accoutring.
accoutrement (n.) Look up accoutrement at
usually plural, accoutrements, "personal clothing and equipment," 1540s, from Middle French accoustrement (Modern French accoutrement), from accoustrer, from Old French acostrer "arrange, dispose, put on (clothing)," probably originally "sew up" (see accouter).
accredit (v.) Look up accredit at
1610s, "vouch for, bring into credit," from French accréditer, earlier acrediter, from à "to" (see ad-) + créditer "to credit" (someone with a sum), from crédit "credit" (see credit (n.)). Falsely Latinized in French. The word was rare in English in the original sense but became common in the meaning "confer credit or authority on" (1794). Related: Accredited; accrediting.
accreditation (n.) Look up accreditation at
1806, noun of action from accredit.
accredited (adj.) Look up accredited at
"furnished with credentials," 1630s, past participle adjective from accredit (v.).
accretion (n.) Look up accretion at
1610s, "act of growing by organic enlargement;" 1650s as "that which is formed by continued growth from without," from Latin accretionem (nominative accretio) "an increasing, a growing larger" (as of the waxing moon), noun of action from past participle stem of accrescere "grow progressively, increase, become greater," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + crescere "grow" (see crescent). It goes with the verb accrue. Related: Accretional; accretionary.
accrual (n.) Look up accrual at
"act or process of accruing," 1782, from accrue + -al (2). Compare accretion. Another older noun was accruement (c. 1600).
accrue (v.) Look up accrue at
formerly also accrew, mid-15c., "to fall to someone as an addition or increment," of property, etc., from Old French acreue "growth, increase, what has grown," fem. of acreu, past participle of acreistre (Modern French accroître) "to increase," from Latin accrescere "grow progressively, increase, become greater," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + crescere "grow" (see crescent). Related: Accrued; accruing.

Apparently an English verb from a French noun because there is no English noun to go with it until much later (the earliest seems to be now-obsolete accrue, 1570s), unless the record is defective. From late 15c. as "happen or result as a natural growth;" from 1881 as "gain by increment, accumulate." Alternative verb accrete "grow by adhesion" (1784) is rare, as is accresce (1630s), from Latin accrescere.
acculturate (v.) Look up acculturate at
1925 (implied in acculturated), back-formation from acculturation (q.v.). Acculturize was used from 1895. Related: Acculturating.
acculturation (n.) Look up acculturation at
"the adoption and assimilation of an alien culture" [OED], 1880, from assimilated form of ad- "to" + culture (n.) + noun ending -ation.
accumulate (v.) Look up accumulate at
1520s, "to heap up" (transitive), from Latin accumulatus, past participle of accumulare "to heap up, amass," from ad- "in addition" (see ad-) + cumulare "heap up," from cumulus "heap" (see cumulus). From 1759 in intransitive sense of "grow in size or number." Related: Accumulated; accumulating.
accumulated (adj.) Look up accumulated at
1690s, past participle adjective from accumulate (v.). The earlier adjective was accumulate (1530s, from Latin past participle accumulatus).
accumulation (n.) Look up accumulation at
late 15c., "that which is heaped up, an accumulated mass," from Latin accumulationem (nominative accumulatio) "a heaping up," noun of action from past participle stem of accumulare "to heap up, amass," from ad- "in addition" (see ad-) + cumulare "heap up," from cumulus "heap" (see cumulus). Meaning "act of heaping up" is from c. 1600.
accumulative (adj.) Look up accumulative at
1650s, from Latin stem accumulat- (see accumulate) + -ive. Related: Accumulatively; accumulativeness.
accuracy (n.) Look up accuracy at
"state of being extremely precise or exact; conformity to truth," 1660s, from accurate + -cy.
accurate (adj.) Look up accurate at
1610s, "done with care," from Latin accuratus "prepared with care, exact, elaborate," past participle of accurare "take care of," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + curare "take care of" (see cure (n.1)). The notion of doing something carefully led to that of being precise (1650s). A stronger word than correct (adj.), weaker than exact (adj.). Related: Accurately; accurateness.
accursed (adj.) Look up accursed at
also accurst, early 13c., acursede "being under a curse," past participle adjective from obsolete verb acursen "pronounce a curse upon, excommunicate" (late 12c.), from a- intensive prefix (see a- (1)) + cursein "to curse" (see curse (v.)). The unetymological -c- is 15c., a mistaken Latinism in imitation of words in acc-. Weakened sense of "worthy of a curse, damnable" is from 1590s. Related: Accursedly; accursedness.
accusation (n.) Look up accusation at
late 14c., "charge of wrongdoing," from Old French acusacion "charge, indictment" (Modern French accusation) or directly from Latin accusationem (nominative accusatio) "formal complaint, indictment," noun of action from past participle stem of accusare "call to account, make complaint against" (see accuse). Meaning "that which is charged (against someone)" is from early 15c.
accusative (n.) Look up accusative at
grammatical case whose primary function is to express destination or goal of motion, mid-15c., from Anglo-French accusatif, Old French acusatif, or directly from Latin (casus) accusativus "(case) of accusing," from accusatus, past participle of accusare "to call to account, make complaint against" (see accuse).

The Latin word was chosen somewhat inaccurately to translate Greek (ptosis) aitiatike "(case) of that which is caused" based on the similarity of the Greek word to the Greek verb aitiasthai "to accuse." Greek aitia is the root of both, and means "cause" as well as "accusation," hence the confusion of the Romans. A more correct translation would have been casus causativus. Typically it is the case of the direct object, but also sometimes denoting "motion towards." Nouns and adjectives in French, Spanish, and Italian, languages from which English has borrowed heavily, generally were formed from the accusative case of a Latin word. Related: Accusatival; accusatively.
accusatory (adj.) Look up accusatory at
c. 1600, "containing an accusation," from Latin accusatorius "of a prosecutor, relating to prosecution; making a complaint," from accusare "call to account, make complaint against" (see accuse). Related: Accusatorial (1801).
accuse (v.) Look up accuse at
c. 1300, "charge (with an offense, fault, error, etc.), impugn, blame," from Old French acuser "to accuse, indict, reproach, blame" (13c., Modern French accuser), earlier "announce, report, disclose" (12c.), or directly from Latin accusare "to call to account, make complaint against, reproach, blame; bring to trial, prosecute, arraign indict," from ad causa, from ad "with regard to" (see ad-) + causa "a cause; a lawsuit" (see cause (n.)). "Accuse commonly, though not invariably, expresses something more formal and grave than charge" [Century Dictionary, 1902]. Related: Accused; accusing; accusingly.
accused (n.) Look up accused at
"person charged with a crime," 1590s, from past participle of accuse (v.).
accuser (n.) Look up accuser at
mid-14c., from Anglo-French accusour, Old French accusor, from Latin accusator, agent-noun from past participle stem of accusare (see accuse).
accustom (v.) Look up accustom at
"familiarize by custom or use," early 15c., from Old French acostumer "become accustomed; accustom, bring into use" (12c., Modern French accoutumer), from à "to" (see ad-) + verb from costume "habit, practice" (see custom (n.)). Related: Accustomed; accustoming.
accustomed (adj.) Look up accustomed at
late 15c., "made customary, habitual, often practiced or used," past participle adjective from accustom (v.).
ace (n.) Look up ace at
c. 1300, "one at dice," from Old French as "one at dice" (12c.), from Latin as "a unit, one, a whole, unity;" also the name of a small Roman coin ("originally one pound of copper; reduced by depreciation to half an ounce" [Lewis]; source also of Spanish as, Italian asso, German ass, Dutch aas, Danish es), perhaps originally Etruscan and related to Greek eis "one" (from PIE *sem- "one, as one"), or directly into Latin from the Greek word.

In English, it meant the side of the die with only one mark before it meant the playing card with one pip (1530s). Because this was the lowest roll at dice, ace was used metaphorically in Middle English for "bad luck" or "something of no value;" but as the ace often is the highest playing card, the extended senses based on "excellence, good quality" arose 18c. as card-playing became popular. Ace in the hole in the figurative sense of "concealed advantage" is attested from 1904, from crooked stud poker deals.

Meaning "outstanding pilot" dates from 1917 (technically, in World War I aviators' jargon, one who has brought down 10 enemy planes, though originally in reference to 5 shot down), from French l'ace (1915), which, according to Bruce Robertson (ed.) "Air Aces of the 1914-1918 War" was used in prewar French sporting publications for "top of the deck" boxers, cyclists, etc. Sports meaning "point scored" (1819) led to sense of "unreturnable serve" (by 1889).
ace (v.) Look up ace at
"to score" (in sports), 1923, from ace (n.). This probably is the source of the student slang sense of "get high marks" (1959). Related: Aced; acing.
Aceldama Look up Aceldama at
late 14c., potter's field near Jerusalem purchased with the money Judas Iscariot took to betray Jesus, literally "place of bloodshed," from Greek Akeldama, rendering an Aramaic (Semitic) name akin to Syriac haqal dema "the field of blood." So called for being purchased with blood-money.
acentric (adj.) Look up acentric at
"having no center," 1852; see a- (3) "not" + centric.
acephalous (adj.) Look up acephalous at
"headless," 1731, from French acéphale + -ous or directly from Late Latin acephalus, from Greek akephalos. See a- (3) "not" + cephalo-. Principally in botany and zoology, but also "without a leader" (1751). The Acephali "fabulous men with no heads" is from c. 1600, from Late Latin plural of acephalus, from Greek akephalos; also in Church history in reference to sects that refused to have priests or bishops (1620s). Related: Acephalian (1580s); acephalic (1650s).
acer (n.) Look up acer at
maple tree genus, from Latin acer, of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-) and so called for its pointed leaves. There seem to have been two roots for "maple" in Indo-European; cognates of this one are said to include Old High German ahorn "maple," and there is a similar form in Greek akastos "maple," perhaps also Hittite hiqqar- "maple." De Vaan writes, "This may well be a non-PIE tree name which was borrowed into Greek and Latin."
acerbic (adj.) Look up acerbic at
1865, originally, and usually, figurative: "sour, harsh, severe" (of speech, manners, etc.), from Latin acerbus "harsh to the taste, sharp, bitter, sour," especially of unripe fruits, etc., also figuratively, of character, conduct, etc. (see acerbity) + -ic. The earlier adjective was simply acerb (1650s), from French acerbe, from Latin acerbus.
acerbity (n.) Look up acerbity at
1570s, from Middle French acerbité, from Latin acerbitatem (nominative acerbitas) "harshness, sharpness, bitterness, sourness," literal and figurative (as in virus acerbitatis "the poison of malice"), from acerbus "bitter to taste, sharp, sour, tart," from Proto-Italic *akro-po- "sharp," from PIE root *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-). Earliest use in English is figurative, of "sharp and bitter" persons. Of tastes, from 1610s. Latin acerbus is related to acer "sharp" as superbus "haughty" to super "above."
acervate (v.) Look up acervate at
"to heap up," 1610s, from Latin acervatus, past participle of acervare "to heap up," from acervus "heap," which is akin to acer "sharp," from PIE *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-). Related: Acervated; acervating; acerval; acervative; acervuline "occurring in clusters."
acervulus (n.) Look up acervulus at
"brain-sand" (anatomical), 1806, medical Latin, literally "little heap," diminutive of Latin acervus "heap," which is akin to acer "sharp," from PIE *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-).
acescent (adj.) Look up acescent at
"becoming sour," 1731, from French acescent, from Latin acescentem (nominative acescens), present participle of acescere "become sour," from acer "sharp," from PIE *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-).
acetaminophen (n.) Look up acetaminophen at
U.S. name for "para-acetylaminophenol," 1960, composed of syllables from the chemical name: acetyl, a derivative of acetic (q.v.; also see acetylene) + amino- + phenol. In Britain, the same substance is paracetamol.
acetate (n.) Look up acetate at
1827, "salt formed by combining acetic acid with a base," from Latin acetum "vinegar" (see acetic) + chemical suffix -ate (3). As a type of synthetic material, it is attested from 1920, short for acetate silk, etc.
acetic (adj.) Look up acetic at
1808 (in acetic acid), from French acétique "pertaining to vinegar, sour, having the properties of vinegar," from Latin acetum "vinegar" (properly vinum acetum "wine turned sour;" see vinegar), originally past participle of acere "be sharp; be sour" (related to acer "sharp"), from PIE *ak-eto-, suffixed form of root *ak- "be sharp" (see acro-).
acetification (adj.) Look up acetification at
"process of turning to vinegar," 1753, from Latin acetum "vinegar" (see acetic) + -fication, indicating "making or causing."
aceto- Look up aceto- at
before vowels acet-, word-forming element from acetic and generally indicating compounds from or related to acetic acid, thus from Latin acetum "vinegar."
acetone (n.) Look up acetone at
colorless volatile liquid, 1839, literally "a derivative of acetic acid," from Latin acetum "vinegar" (see acetic) + Greek-based chemical suffix -one, which owes its use in chemistry to this word.