attributive (adj.) Look up attributive at
c. 1600, from French attributif, from stem of Latin attributus (see attribute (v.)). As a noun in grammar, "a word expressing an attribute," from 1750. Related: Attributively; attributiveness.
attrit (v.) Look up attrit at
1956, U.S. Air Force back-formation from attrition in the military sense. It attained currency during the Vietnam War. Related: Attritted; attritting.
attrite (adj.) Look up attrite at
"worn down, worn by rubbing or friction" (obsolete), 1620s, from Latin attritus, past participle of atterere (see attrition). Related: Attriteness.
attrition (n.) Look up attrition at
early 15c., "a breaking;" 1540s, "abrasion, scraping, the rubbing of one thing against another," from Latin attritionem (nominative attritio), literally "a rubbing against," noun of action from past participle stem of atterere "to wear, rub away," figuratively "to destroy, waste," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + terere "to rub" (from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn").

The earliest sense in English is from Scholastic theology (late 14c.), "sorrow for sin merely out of fear of punishment or a sense of shame," an imperfect condition, less than contrition or repentance. The sense of "wearing down of military strength" is from World War I (1914). Figurative use by 1930.
attune (v.) Look up attune at
"put in tune, adjust to harmony of sound," also figurative, 1590s, from tune (v.), "probably suggested by ATONE" [OED]. Related: Attuned; attuning.
attunement (n.) Look up attunement at
"a bringing into harmony," 1820, from attune + -ment.
ATV (n.) Look up ATV at
1969, acronym of all-terrain vehicle, which is first recorded 1968.
atween (adv.) Look up atween at
"between," c. 1400, from a- (1) + tween. Now obsolete or only Scottish.
atwirl (adv.) Look up atwirl at
1864, from a- (1) + twirl (v.).
atwist (adv.) Look up atwist at
1754, from a- (1) + twist (v.).
atwitter (adv.) Look up atwitter at
1833, from a- (1) + twitter.
atwixt (adv.) Look up atwixt at
late 14c., from a- (1) + Middle English twixt (see betwixt).
atypical (adj.) Look up atypical at
"having no distinct or typical character," 1847, from a- (3) "not" + typical. Related: Atypically.
au Look up au at
French, "at the, to the," dative of the French definite article, from Old French al, contraction of a le, with -l- softened to -u-, as also poudre from pulverem, chaud from calidus, etc. This is from Latin ad illum, from ad "to" (see ad-) + accusative of ille "that."

It figures in expressions in cookery, etc., which have crossed the Channel since 18c., such as au revoir; au contraire, literally "on the contrary;" au gratin, literally "with scrapings;" au jus, literally "with the juice." The corresponding fem. is a la.
Au Look up Au at
chemical symbol for the element gold, from Latin aurum "gold" (see aureate).
au courant (adj.) Look up au courant at
"aware of current events," 1762, French, "with the current, in the current (of events);" see au + current (n.).
au fait (adj.) Look up au fait at
1743, French, "to the point, to the matter under discussion," literally "to the fact," from au "to the" (see au) + fait "fact" (see feat). Used in French with sense of "acquainted with the facts, expert, fully skilled."
au naturel (adj.) Look up au naturel at
1817, "uncooked," French, literally "in the natural state;" originally meaning "uncooked." Used euphemistically in English for "undressed" by 1860. See au + natural (adj.).
au pair (n.) Look up au pair at
1897 of the arrangement, 1960 of the girl; French, literally "on an equal footing" (see au + pair (n.)).
au revoir (interj.) Look up au revoir at
1690s, French, "good-bye for now," literally "to the seeing again." From au "to the" (see au) + revoir "see again, see in turn" (Old French reveoir, 12c.), from Latin revidere, from re- "back, again" (see re-) + videre "to see" (see vision).
aubade (n.) Look up aubade at
"song to be performed in open air in the early morning, musical announcement of dawn," 1670s, from French aubade "dawn" (15c.), from Provençal aubada, from auba "dawn," from Latin alba, fem. of albus "white" (see alb).
aubaine (n.) Look up aubaine at
"right of French kings to claim the property of a non-naturalized stranger who dies in their realm," 1727, from French (droit d'aubaine), from aubain "stranger, non-naturalized foreigner" (12c.), which is of unknown origin; perhaps from Medieval Latin Albanus, but the sense is obscure. Klein suggests Frankish *alibanus, literally "belonging to another ban." Abolished 1819.
auberge (n.) Look up auberge at
"an inn," 1610s, from French auberge, from Old French alberge, earlier herberge "military station," from Frankish *heriberga or some other Germanic source (see harbinger). Related: aubergiste.
aubergine (n.) Look up aubergine at
"fruit of the eggplant" (Solanum esculentum), 1794, from French aubergine, diminutive of auberge, a kind of peach, variant of alberge, from Spanish alberchigo "apricot" [OED]. Klein derives the French word from Catalan alberginera, from Arabic al-badinjan "the eggplant," from Persian badin-gan, from Sanskrit vatigagama. As a color like that of the eggplant fruit, it is attested from 1895.
Aubrey Look up Aubrey at
masc. personal name, from Old French Auberi, from Old High German Alberich "ruler of elves," or *Alb(e)rada "elf-counsel" (fem.); see elf (n.). In U.S., it began to be used as a girl's name c. 1973 and was among the top 100 given names for girls born 2006-2008, eclipsing its use for boys, which faded in proportion.
auburn (adj.) Look up auburn at
early 15c., "whitish, yellowish-white, flaxen-colored," from Old French auborne, from Medieval Latin alburnus "off-white, whitish," from Latin albus "white" (see alb). Meaning shifted 16c. to "reddish-brown" under influence of Middle English brun "brown" (see brown (adj.)) which also changed the spelling. Since the sense-shift it has generally been limited to hair. As a noun by 1852.
auction (v.) Look up auction at
"sell by auction," 1807, from auction (n.). Commonly with off. Related: Auctioned; auctioning.
auction (n.) Look up auction at
"public sale in which each bidder offers more than the previous bid," 1590s, from Latin auctionem (nominative auctio) "a sale by increasing bids, public sale," noun of action from past participle stem of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase." In northern England and Scotland, called a roup. In the U.S., something is sold at auction; in England, by auction.
auctioneer (n.) Look up auctioneer at
1708, "one whose business is to offer goods or property for sale by auction," from auction (n.) + -eer. From 1733 as a verb, "to sell by auction." Related: Auctioneering.
audacious (adj.) Look up audacious at
1540s, "confident, intrepid, daring," from Middle French audacieux, from audace "boldness," from Latin audacia "daring, boldness, courage," from audax "brave, bold, daring," but more often "bold" in a bad sense, "rash, foolhardy," from audere "to dare, be bold." In English, the bad sense of "shameless, unrestrained by propriety" is attested from 1590s. Related: Audaciously; audaciousness.
audacity (n.) Look up audacity at
early 15c., "boldness, courage, daring; vigor, animation," from Medieval Latin audacitas "boldness," from Latin audacis genitive of audax "bold, daring; rash, foolhardy" (see audacious). In English, the meaning "presumptuous impudence," implying contempt of moral restraint, is from 1530s.
audible (adj.) Look up audible at
"able to be heard," 1520s, from Middle French audible and directly from Medieval Latin audibilis "that may be heard," from Latin audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). Related: Audibly; audibility; audibleness. As a noun, "thing capable of being heard," from 1610s.
audience (n.) Look up audience at
late 14c., "the act or state of hearing, action or condition of listening," from Old French audience, from Latin audentia "a hearing, listening," from audientum (nominative audiens), present participle of audire "to hear," from PIE compound *au-dh- "to perceive physically, grasp," from root *au- "to perceive."

Meaning "formal hearing or reception, opportunity of being heard" also is from late 14c.; that of "persons within hearing range, assembly of listeners" is from early 15c. (a member of one might be an audient, 1610s). French audience retains only the older senses. Sense transferred by 1855 to "readers of a book," by 1952 to "viewers of a television program." Audience-participation (adj.) first recorded 1940 in reference to radio.
audio (n.) Look up audio at
"sound," especially recorded or transmitted sound signals, 1934, abstracted from word-forming element audio- (q.v.), which is from Latin audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive").
audio- Look up audio- at
word-forming element meaning "sound, hearing," from combining form of Latin audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"); used in English word formation by 1890s.
audiology (n.) Look up audiology at
science of hearing and treatment of deafness, 1946, from audio- + -ology. Related: Audiologist.
audiophile (n.) Look up audiophile at
1951, originally in "High Fidelity" magazine, from audio- + -phile.
audiotape (n.) Look up audiotape at
1957, from audio- + tape (n.). As a verb by 1974. Related: Audio-taped.
audiovisual (adj.) Look up audiovisual at
also audio-visual, 1937, from audio- + visual.
audit (v.) Look up audit at
mid-15c., "examine and verify (accounts)," from audit (n.). Meaning "attend (a course, etc.) without intending to earn credit by doing course-work" is from 1933. Related: Audited; auditing.
audit (n.) Look up audit at
early 15c., "official examination of accounts," from Latin auditus "a hearing, a listening," past participle of audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). Official examination of accounts originally was an oral procedure. Also formerly used in a sense "official audience, judicial hearing or examination" (1590s).
audition (v.) Look up audition at
1935 (transitive) "give (an applicant for a performance part) a trial or test," from audition (n.). Intransitive sense "try out for a performance part" is from 1938. Related: Auditioned; auditioning.
audition (n.) Look up audition at
1590s, "power of hearing;" 1650s, "act of hearing, a listening," from Middle French audicion "hearing (in a court of law)" and directly from Latin auditionem (nominative auditio) "a hearing, listening to," noun of action from past participle stem of audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). Meaning "trial for a performer" first recorded 1881.
auditor (n.) Look up auditor at
early 14c., "official who receives and examines accounts;" late 14c., "a hearer, one who listens," from Anglo-French auditour (Old French oieor "listener, court clerk," 13c.; Modern French auditeur), from Latin auditor "a hearer, a pupil, scholar, disciple," in Medieval Latin "a judge, examiner of accounts," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). The process of receiving and examining accounts formerly was done, and vouched for, orally. Related: Auditorial.
auditorium (n.) Look up auditorium at
"part of a public building where people gather to hear speeches, etc.," 1727, from Latin auditorium "a lecture-room," literally "place where something is heard," in Medieval Latin especially "a reception room in a monastery," noun use of neuter of auditorius (adj.) "of or for hearing," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"); also see -ory. Earlier in English in the same sense was auditory (late 14c.).
auditory (adj.) Look up auditory at
1570s, from Latin auditorius "pertaining to hearing," from auditor "hearer," from audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). The word was used in Middle English as a noun, "assembly of hearers, audience" (late 14c.), from Latin auditorium.
Audrey Look up Audrey at
fem. proper name, 13c., from earlier Aldreda (11c.), contracted from Etheldreda, a Latinized form of Old English Æðelðryð, literally "noble might," from æðele "noble" (see atheling) + ðryð "strength, might." Popularized by the reputation of Saint Etheldreda, queen of Northumbria and foundress of the convent at Ely.
Audubon Look up Audubon at
with reference to birds or pictures of them, from U.S. naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851), who published "The Birds of America" 1827-38.
Aufklarung (n.) Look up Aufklarung at
"the Enlightenment," 1801, from German Aufklärung (18c.), literally "enlightenment," from aufklären "to enlighten" (17c.), from auf "up" (from PIE root *upo "under," also "up from under") + klären "to clear," from Latin clarus (see clear (adj.)).
Augean (adj.) Look up Augean at
"very filthy," 1590s, in reference to Augean stable, the cleansing of which was one of the labors of Herakles, from Greek Augeias, from Augeas, king of Elis, whose proverbially filthy stable contained 3,000 oxen and had gone uncleansed for 30 years. Herakles purified it in one day by turning the river Alpheus through it. The name probably is from auge "splendor, sunlight."