automate (v.) Look up automate at
"to convert to automatic operation," 1954, back-formation from automated (q.v.). Ancient Greek verb automatizein meant "to act of oneself, to act unadvisedly." Related: Automating.
automated (adj.) Look up automated at
1952, American English, adjective based on automation.
automatic (n.) Look up automatic at
"automatic weapon," 1902, from automatic (adj.). Meaning "motorized vehicle with automatic transmission" is from 1949.
automatic (adj.) Look up automatic at
"self-acting, moving or acting on its own," 1812 (automatical is from 1580s; automatous from 1640s), from Greek automatos of persons "acting of one's own will;" of things "self-moving, self-acting," used of the gates of Olympus and the tripods of Hephaestus (also "without apparent cause, by accident"), from autos "self" (see auto-) + matos "thinking, animated," *men- (1) "to think."

Of involuntary animal or human actions, from 1748, first used in this sense by English physician and philosopher David Hartley (1705-1757). Meaning "done by self-acting machinery" is by 1872. In reference to a type of firearm, from 1877; specifically of machinery that imitates human-directed action from 1940.
automatically (adv.) Look up automatically at
1834, "involuntarily, unconsciously," from automatical (see automatic (adj.)) + -ly (2).
automation (n.) Look up automation at
1948, in the manufacturing sense, coined by Ford Motor Co. Vice President Delmar S. Harder, from automatic (adj.) + -ion. Earlier (1838) was automatism, which meant "quality of being automatic" in the classical sense.
automatism (n.) Look up automatism at
1838, "the doctrine that animals below man are devoid of consciousness;" see automaton + -ism. From 1884 as "automatic or involuntary action."
automatization (n.) Look up automatization at
1924, noun of action from automatize.
automatize (v.) Look up automatize at
1837, "to make into an automaton;" see automaton + -ize. Meaning "to make automatic" attested by 1952. Related: Automatized; automatizing.
automaton (n.) Look up automaton at
1610s, "a self-acting machine;" 1670s, "a living being acting mechanically," from Latin automaton (Suetonius), from noun use of Greek automaton, neuter of automatos "self-acting," from autos "self" (see auto-) + matos "thinking, animated, willing," from PIE *mn-to-, from root *men- (1) "to think."
automobile (n.) Look up automobile at
"self-propelled motor vehicle," 1895, from French automobile, short for véhicule automobile (see automobile (adj.)). The modern Greek calls it autokineto "moved of itself." The French word had competition in the early years from locomobile; in English other early forms were motorcar and autocar. An electrical car was an electromobile (1899).
automobile (adj.) Look up automobile at
"self-moving, self-movable," 1883, in reference to electric traction cars, from French automobile (adj.), 1861, a hybrid from Greek autos "self" (see auto-) + French mobile "moving," from Latin mobilis "movable" (see mobile (adj.)).
automotive (adj.) Look up automotive at
"pertaining to automobiles," 1898, a hybrid from auto- "self," from Greek, and motive (adj.), from Latin. Used earlier as a noun (1865) in reference to some sort of helicopter-like device.
autonomic (adj.) Look up autonomic at
1832 (autonomical is recorded from 1650s), "self-governing;" see autonomy + -ic. Since late 19c. used mostly in physiology.
autonomous (adj.) Look up autonomous at
1800, "pertaining to autonomy;" 1804, "subject to its own laws," from Greek autonomos "having one's own laws," of animals, "feeding or ranging at will," from autos "self" (see auto-) + nomos "law" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). Compare privilege. Used mostly in metaphysics and politics; see autonomic. Related: Autonomously.
autonomy (n.) Look up autonomy at
"autonomous condition, power or right of self-government," 1620s, of states, from Greek autonomia "independence," abstract noun from autonomos "independent, living by one's own laws," from autos "self" (see auto-) + nomos "custom, law" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). Of persons, from 1803. In Kantian metaphysics, "doctrine of the Will giving itself its own law, based on conscience."
autopathy (n.) Look up autopathy at
"egotistic sentiment or feeling, exclusive self-consideration," 1640s; see auto- "self" + -pathy "feeling." Related: Autopath; autopathic.
autophobia (n.) Look up autophobia at
"fear of referring to oneself," 1845 (as autophoby), from Greek autos "self" (see auto-) + -phobia "fear." Related: Autophobic; autophobe.
autopilot (n.) Look up autopilot at
also auto-pilot, 1935, from auto- + pilot (n.).
autopsy (n.) Look up autopsy at
1650s, "an eye-witnessing, a seeing for oneself," from Modern Latin autopsia, from Greek autopsia "a seeing with one's own eyes," from autos- "self" (see auto-) + opsis "a sight" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). Sense of "dissection of a body to determine cause of death" is first recorded 1670s, probably from the same sense in French autopsie (1570s). Related: Autopsic; autoptic. As a verb by 1900.
autosome (n.) Look up autosome at
"an ordinary (non-sex) chromosome," 1906, coined by U.S. cytologist T.H. Montgomery (1873-1912), from auto- + -some (3)). Related: Autosomal.
autosuggestion (n.) Look up autosuggestion at
also auto-suggestion, 1879, a hybrid from auto- + suggestion. The idea, and probably the model for the word, are from French.
autotheism (n.) Look up autotheism at
"self-deification," 1610s, from auto- + -theism. The religion of one who mistakes his own inner voices for God's voice in him. Also used in a theological sense (1580s) for "the regarding of the second person of the Trinity as God entire." Related: Autotheist; autotheistic.
autumn (n.) Look up autumn at
late 14c., autumpne (modern form from 16c.), from Old French autumpne, automne (13c.), from Latin autumnus (also auctumnus, perhaps influenced by auctus "increase"), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps from Etruscan, but Tucker suggests a meaning "drying-up season" and a root in *auq- (which would suggest the form in -c- was the original) and compares archaic English sere-month "August."

Harvest (n.) was the English name for the season until autumn began to displace it 16c. Astronomically, from the descending equinox to the winter solstice; in Britain, the season is popularly August through October; in U.S., September through November. Compare Italian autunno, Spanish otoño, Portuguese outono, all from the Latin word.

Autumn's names across the Indo-European languages leave no evidence that there ever was a common word for it as there likely was for the other three seasons. Many "autumn" words mean "end, end of summer," or "harvest." Compare Greek phthinoporon "waning of summer;" Lithuanian ruduo "autumn," from rudas "reddish," in reference to leaves; Old Irish fogamar, literally "under-winter."
autumnal (adj.) Look up autumnal at
1570s, "maturing or blooming in autumn;" 1630s, "belonging to autumn," from Latin autumnalis "pertaining to autumn," from autumnus (see autumn). From 1650s in figurative sense "past the prime."
auxiliary (adj.) Look up auxiliary at
"assisting, giving support," hence "subsidiary, additional," c. 1600, from Latin auxiliaris "helpful, aiding," from auxilium "aid, help, support," related to auctus, past participle of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase."
auxiliary (n.) Look up auxiliary at
c. 1600, "foreign troops in service of a nation at war," from auxiliary (adj.). The Latin adjective also was used as a noun in this sense. In grammar, "a verb used in forming phrases with other verbs and indicating mode or tense," 1762, from the adjective in this sense (1670s). Related: Auxiliaries.
auxin (n.) Look up auxin at
plant growth hormone, 1934, from German (1931), from Greek auxein "to increase" (from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase") + chemical suffix -in (2).
avail (v.) Look up avail at
c. 1300, availen, "to help (someone), assist; benefit, be profitable to; be for the advantage of; have force or efficacy, serve for a purpose," apparently an Anglo-French compound of Old French a- "to" (see ad-) + vaill-, present stem of valoir "be worth," from Latin valere "be strong, be worth" (from PIE root *wal- "to be strong"). Related: Availed; availing. As a noun, from c. 1400.
availability (n.) Look up availability at
"capability of advantageous use," 1803, from available + -ity.
available (adj.) Look up available at
mid-15c., "beneficial," also "valid, effective, capable of producing the desired effect," from avail + -able. Meaning "at one's disposal, capable of being made use of" is recorded from 1827. Related: Availably.
availing (adj.) Look up availing at
"advantageous," early 15c., present participle adjective from avail (v.). Related: Availingly.
availment (n.) Look up availment at
"successful issue; fact of being effective," 1690s, from avail (v.) + -ment.
avalanche (n.) Look up avalanche at
"fall or slide of a mass of snow on a mountain slope," 1763, from French avalanche (17c.), from Romansch (Swiss) avalantze "descent," altered (by metathesis of -l- and -v-, probably influenced by Old French avaler "to descend, go down," avalage "descent, waterfall, avalanche") from Savoy dialect lavantse, from Provençal lavanca "avalanche," perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language (the suffix -anca suggests Ligurian). Extended to falls of rock, landslides. As a verb, from 1872.
avant Look up avant at
French, literally "before," in various terms borrowed into English; cognate with Italian avanti, both from Late Latin abante, a compound of ab "from" (see ab-) and ante "before, in front of" (from PIE root *ant- "front, forehead," with derivatives meaning "in front of, before") which meant "from in front of," but in Vulgar Latin came to mean simply "before."
avant-garde (n.) Look up avant-garde at
(also avant garde, avantgarde); French, literally "advance guard" (see avant + guard (n.)). Used in English 15c.-18c. in a literal, military sense; borrowed again 1910 as an artistic term for "pioneers or innovators of a particular period." Also used around the same time in a political sense in communist and anarchist publications. As an adjective, by 1925.
The avant-garde générale, avant-garde stratégique, or avant-garde d'armée is a strong force (one, two, or three army corps) pushed out a day's march to the front, immediately behind the cavalry screen. Its mission is, vigorously to engage the enemy wherever he is found, and, by binding him, to ensure liberty of action in time and space for the main army. ["Sadowa," Gen. Henri Bonnal, transl. C.F. Atkinson, 1907]
Avar Look up Avar at
one of a Turkic people who made incursions in southeastern Europe 6c.-9c. Related: Avars.
avarice (n.) Look up avarice at
c. 1300, "inordinate desire of gaining and possessing wealth," fifth of the seven deadly sins, from Old French avarice "greed, covetousness" (12c.), from Latin avaritia "greed, inordinate desire," from avarus "greedy, grasping," adjectival form of avere "crave, long for, be eager," from Proto-Italic *awe- "to be eager," from PIE *heu-eh- "to enjoy, consume" (source also of Sanskrit avasa- "refreshment, food," avisya- "gluttony;" Welsh ewyllys "will;" Armenian aviwn "lust"). In Middle English also of immoderate desire for knowledge, glory, power, etc.; it "has become limited, except in figurative uses, so as to express only a sordid and mastering desire to get wealth" [Century Dictionary].
avaricious (adj.) Look up avaricious at
late 14c., "miserly, stingy;" early 15c., "greedy, covetous," from Old French avaricios "greedy, covetous" (Modern French avaricieux), from avarice "greed" (see avarice). An Old English word for it was feoh-georn. Related: Avariciously; avariciousness.
avast (interj.) Look up avast at
1680s, a nautical interjection, "hold! stop!" probably worn down from Dutch houd vast "hold fast." See hold (v.) + fast (adv.).
AVAST. -- The order to stop, or pause, in any exercise or operation; as Avast heaving -- that is to say, desist, or stop, from drawing in the cable or hawser, by means of the capstan &c. [George Biddlecombe, "The Art of Rigging," 1848]
avatar (n.) Look up avatar at
1784, "descent of a Hindu deity to earth in an incarnate or tangible form," from Sanskrit avatarana "descent" (of a deity to the earth in incarnate form), from ava- "off, down" (from PIE root *au- (2) "off, away") + base of tarati "(he) crosses over," from PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome."

Meaning "concrete embodiment of something abstract" is from 1815. In computer use, it seems to trace to the novel "Snowcrash" (1992) by Neal Stephenson.
avaunt (interj.) Look up avaunt at
late 15c., "begone," literally "move on," from Old French avant "forward!" It is a variant of avant (q.v.).
ave Look up ave at
"hail," also "farewell," early 13c. (in reference to the Ave Maria), from Latin ave, second person singular imperative of avere "to be or fare well."
Ave Maria Look up Ave Maria at
modified form of the angelic salutation to the Virgin (Luke i.28) used as a devotional recitation, early 13c., from the opening words ("Ave [Maria] gratia plena"). See ave + Maria.
avenge (v.) Look up avenge at
"vindicate by inflicting pain or evil on the wrongdoer," late 14c., from Anglo-French avenger, Old French avengier, from a- "to" (see ad-) + vengier "take revenge" (Modern French venger), from Latin vindicare "to claim, avenge, punish" (see vindication). See revenge (v.) for distinction of use. Related: Avenged; avenging. As a noun to go with it, 16c. English tried avenge, avengeance, avengement, avenging.
avenger (n.) Look up avenger at
1530s, agent noun from avenge (v.). Spenser (1596) has fem. form avengeress.
avenue (n.) Look up avenue at
c. 1600, "a way of approach" (originally a military word), from Middle French avenue "way of access" (16c.), from Old French avenue "act of approaching, arrival," noun use of fem. of avenu, past participle of avenir "to come to, arrive," from Latin advenire "to come to, reach, arrive at," from ad "to" (see ad-) + venire "to come," from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- "to go, come."

The meaning was extended to "a way of approach to a country-house," usually a straight path bordered by trees, hence, "a broad, tree-lined roadway" (1650s), then to "wide, main street" (by 1846, especially in U.S.). By late 19c. in U.S. cities it was used to form the names of streets without reference to character.
aver (v.) Look up aver at
late 14c., "assert the truth of," from Old French averer "verify, confirm, prove" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *adverare "make true, prove to be true," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + verus "true" (from PIE root *were-o- "true, trustworthy"). From 1580s as "affirm with confidence." Related: Averred; averring.
average (v.) Look up average at
1769, "to amount to," from average (n.). By 1831 as "find the arithmetical mean of unequal quantities;" 1914 as "divide among a number proportionately" (usually with out). Related: Averaged; averaging.
average (adj.) Look up average at
1770, "estimated by averaging," from average (n.). By 1803 as "equal in amount to the sum of all particular quantities divided by the number of them," hence "of medium character."