bibliomaniac (n.) Look up bibliomaniac at
1816; see bibliomania.
A bibliomaniac must be carefully distinguished from a bibliophile. The latter has not yet freed himself from the idea that books are meant to be read. [Walsh]
bibliophile (n.) Look up bibliophile at
also bibliophil, 1824, from French bibliophile, from biblio- + -phile.
bibliopole (n.) Look up bibliopole at
"bookseller," 1775, from Latin bibliopola, from Greek bibliopoles "bookseller," from biblion "book" (see bible) + poles "merchant, seller" (see monopoly).
bibliotheca (n.) Look up bibliotheca at
see bibliothek.
bibliothecary (n.) Look up bibliothecary at
"librarian," 1610s, from Latin bibliothecarius, from bibliotheca (see bibliothek). An earlier form in English was bibliothecar (1580s).
bibliothek (n.) Look up bibliothek at
Old English biblioðece "the Scriptures," from Latin bibliotheka "library, room for books; collection of books," from Greek bibliotheke, literally "book-repository" (from biblion, see Bible, + theke "case, chest, sheath," from root of tithenai "to put, place;" see theme), used of the Bible by Jerome and serving as the common Latin word for it until Biblia began to displace it 9c.
bibulous (adj.) Look up bibulous at
1670s, "spongy, absorbent," from Latin bibulus "drinking readily, given to drink;" of things, "absorbent; moistened," from bibere "to drink" (see imbibe). Meaning "fond of drink" attested in English by 1861.
Bic (n.) Look up Bic at
popular type of plastic ball-point pen, designed c. 1950 in France, named 1953 as a shortened form of company co-founder Marcel Bich (1914-1994).
bicameral (adj.) Look up bicameral at
"having two chambers," 1832, from bi- "two" (see bi-) + Late Latin camera "chamber" (see camera) + -al (1).
bicarbonate (n.) Look up bicarbonate at
1814, bi-carbonate of potash, apparently coined by English chemist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), from bi- + carbonate.
bice (n.) Look up bice at
"pale blue color," early 15c., shortened from blew bis "blue bice," from French bis "swarthy, brownish-gray" (12c.), cognate with Italian bigio; of unknown origin. Via French combinations azur bis, vert bis the word came into English with a sense of "blue" or "green."
bicentenary (adj.) Look up bicentenary at
"pertaining to a 200-year period," 1843; see bi- + centenary. Also see bicentennial. As a noun, "a bicentennial anniversary or celebration," also from 1843.
bicentennial Look up bicentennial at
also bi-centennial, 1843 (adj.), 1871 (noun), American English, from bi- + centennial (q.v.). In rivalry with bicentenary (1831) which seems to have been the more common word in Britain.
bicep (n.) Look up bicep at
false singular of biceps (q.v.).
bicephalous (adj.) Look up bicephalous at
1803, a hybrid from bi- + Latinized adjectival form of Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-).
biceps Look up biceps at
1630s (adj.), from Latin biceps "having two parts," literally "two-headed," from bis "double" (see bis-) + -ceps comb. form of caput "head" (see capitulum). As a noun meaning "biceps muscle," from 1640s, so called for its structure. Despite the -s, it is singular, and classicists insist there is no such word as bicep.
bicipital (adj.) Look up bicipital at
"having two heads," 1640s, from Latin biceps (genitive bicipitis); see biceps + -al (1).
bicker (v.) Look up bicker at
early 14c., bikere, "to skirmish, fight," perhaps from Middle Dutch bicken "to slash, stab, attack," + -er, Middle English frequentative suffix. Meaning "to quarrel" is from mid-15c. Related: Bickered; bickering.
bicker (n.) Look up bicker at
c. 1300, skirmish, battle; from the same source as bicker (v.). In modern use, often to describe the sound of a flight of an arrow or other repeated, loud, rapid sounds, in which sense it is perhaps at least partly echoic.
bickering (n.) Look up bickering at
c. 1300, "a skirmish," from bicker (v.). Meaning "a verbal wrangle" is from 1570s.
bickering (adj.) Look up bickering at
1808 in the sense of "contentious," present participle adjective from bicker (v.). Earlier it was used to mean "flashing, quivering" (1660s).
bicoastal (adj.) Look up bicoastal at
also bi-coastal, by 1977 in reference to the East and West coasts of the U.S. (or, specifically, New York and Los Angeles); from bi- + coastal.
bicuspid (adj.) Look up bicuspid at
1826, "having two parts," from bi- + Latin cuspidem "cusp, point." As a noun, short for bicuspid molar, attested from 1837.
bicycle (n.) Look up bicycle at
1868, coined from bi- "two" + Greek kyklos "circle, wheel" (see cycle (n.)), on the pattern of tricycle; both the word and the vehicle superseding earlier velocipede. The English word probably is not from French, though often said to be (many French sources say the French word is from English). The assumption apparently is because Pierre Lallement, employee of a French carriage works, improved Macmillan's 1839 pedal velocipede in 1865 and took the invention to America. See also pennyfarthing. As a verb, from 1869.
That ne plus ultra of snobbishness -- bicyclism. [1876]
bicyclist (n.) Look up bicyclist at
1869, from bicycle + -ist.
bid (v.) Look up bid at
probably an early Middle English mutual influence or confusion of two old words: The sense in bid farewell is from Old English biddan "to ask, entreat, beg, pray, beseech; order" (class V strong verb, past tense bæd, past participle beden), from Proto-Germanic *bidjan "to pray, entreat" (source also of German bitten "to ask," attested in Old High German from 8c., also Old Saxon bidjan, Old Frisian bidda, Old Norse biðja, Gothic bidjan). This, according to Kluge and Watkins, is from a PIE root *gwhedh- "to ask, pray" (see bead (n.)).

To bid at an auction, meanwhile, is from Old English beodan "offer, proclaim" (class II strong verb; past tense bead, past participle boden), from Proto-Germanic *beudan "to stretch out, reach out, offer, present," (source also of German bieten "to offer," Old High German biatan, also Old Saxon biodan, Old Frisian biada, Old Norse bjoða, Gothic anabiudan "to command"). This is from PIE root *bheudh- "to be aware, make aware" (see bode (v.)). As a noun, 1788, from the verb.
bidden Look up bidden at
past participle of bid and bide.
biddy (n.) Look up biddy at
"old woman," 1785; meaning "Irish maid-servant" (1861) is American English; both from Biddy, pet form of common Irish proper name Bridget.
bide (v.) Look up bide at
Old English bidan "to stay, continue, live, remain," also "to trust, rely," from Proto-Germanic *bidan "to await" (cognates: Old Norse biða, Old Saxon bidan, Old Frisian bidia, Middle Dutch biden, Old High German bitan, Gothic beidan "to wait"), which is of uncertain origin. Possibly from PIE *bheidh- "to trust" (via notion of "to await trustingly"). Preserved in Scotland and northern England, replaced elsewhere by abide in all senses except to bide one's time. Related: Bided; biding.
bidet (n.) Look up bidet at
1620s, "small horse," from French bidet (16c.), of unknown etymology. Originally in French "a small horse, a pony," thus "a vessel on a low narrow stand, which can be bestridden for bathing purposes," a sense attested in English from 1766.
bidirectional (adj.) Look up bidirectional at
also bi-directional, 1941, from bi- + direction + -al (1). Originally of microphones. Related: Bidirectionally.
Biedermeier Look up Biedermeier at
1854, from German, from Gottlieb Biedermeier, name of a fictitious writer of stodgy poems (invented by Ludwig Eichrodt as a satire on bourgeois taste); the name applied to styles prevalent in Germany 1815-48; also "conventional, bourgeois."
biennial (adj.) Look up biennial at
"lasting for two years" (1620s); "occurring every two years" (1750), from Latin biennium "two-year period," from bi- (see bi-) + annus "year" (see annual). The vowel change is "due to the Latin phonetic law according to which the unaccented and closed radical syllable of the second element of compounds, original -ă- becomes -ĕ-" [Klein]. The noun meaning "a biennial plant" is attested by 1770.
biennium (n.) Look up biennium at
"space of two years," by 1851, from Latin biennium "two years, a period of two years," from bi- + annus "year" (see annual). For vowel change, see biennial.
bier (n.) Look up bier at
Old English bær (West Saxon), ber (Anglian) "handbarrow, litter, bed," from West Germanic *bero (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German bara, Old Frisian bere, Middle Dutch bare, Dutch baar, German Bahre "bier"), from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children," and thus related to the Old English verb beran "to bear" (see bear (v.)), making a bier etymologically anything used for carrying, only later limited to funerary sense. Since c. 1600, spelling influenced by French bière, from Old French biere, from Frankish *bera, from the same Germanic root.
bifarious (adj.) Look up bifarious at
1650s, from Latin bifarius "twofold, double," probably originally "that which can be expressed in two ways" [Klein], from bi- (see bi-) + fari "to speak, say," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)). Related: Bifariously.
biff (v.) Look up biff at
"to hit," 1877, imitative (as a sound effect, from 1847). Related: Biffed; biffing. As a noun, attested from 1881.
bifid (adj.) Look up bifid at
"split in two equal parts," 1660s, from Latin bifidus "split into two parts," from bi- (see bi-) + stem of findere "to split" (see fissure).
bifocal (adj.) Look up bifocal at
"having two foci," 1844, from bi- + focal.
bifocals (n.) Look up bifocals at
"bifocal spectacles," 1899, see bifocal. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin, but called by him double spectacles.
bifoliate (adj.) Look up bifoliate at
"having two leaves," 1817, from bi- + foliate.
bifurcate (v.) Look up bifurcate at
1610s, from Medieval Latin bifurcatus, from Latin bi- (see bi-) + furca, the root of fork. Related: Bifurcated; bifurcating.
bifurcate (adj.) Look up bifurcate at
1835, from Medieval Latin bifurcatus, from Latin bi- (see bi-) + furca, the root of fork (n.).
bifurcation (n.) Look up bifurcation at
1610s, "the point at which something splits in two," noun of action from bifurcate (v.). Meaning "division into two forks" is from 1640s.
big (adj.) Look up big at
c. 1300, northern England dialect, "powerful, strong," of obscure origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian dialectal bugge "great man"). Old English used micel in many of the same senses. Meaning "of great size" is late 14c.; that of "grown up" is attested from 1550s. Sense of "important" is from 1570s. Meaning "generous" is U.S. colloquial by 1913.

Big band as a musical style is from 1926. Slang big head "conceit" is first recorded 1850. Big business "large commercial firms collectively" is 1905; big house "penitentiary" is U.S. underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, "a workhouse," 1851). In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956. Big lie is from Hitler's grosse Lüge.
Big Apple Look up Big Apple at
"New York," 1909 (but popularized by 1970s tourism promotion campaign), apparently from jazz musicians' use of apple for any city, especially a Northern one.
big bang Look up big bang at
hypothetical explosive beginning of the universe, developed from the work of Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître and George Gamow, the name first attested 1950 (said to have been used orally in 1949) by British astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) in an attempt to explain the idea in laymen's terms.
Big Ben Look up Big Ben at
clock in the Parliament tower in London, generally said to have been named for Sir Benjamin Hall (1802-1867), first Chief Commissioner of Works, under whose supervision the bell was cast.
Big Brother Look up Big Brother at
"ubiquitous and repressive but apparently benevolent authority" first recorded 1949, from George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
big deal (n.) Look up big deal at
from mid-19c. in poker or business; as an ironic expression, popular in American English from c. 1965, perhaps a translated Yiddishism (such as a groyser kunst).