bicephalous (adj.) Look up bicephalous at Dictionary.com
1803, a hybrid from bi- + Latinized adjectival form of Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-).
biceps Look up biceps at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
"having two heads," 1640s, from Latin biceps (genitive bicipitis); see biceps + -al (1).
bicker (v.) Look up bicker at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "a skirmish," from bicker (v.). Meaning "a verbal wrangle" is from 1570s.
bickering (adj.) Look up bickering at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
1869, from bicycle + -ist.
bid (v.) Look up bid at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
past participle of bid and bide.
biddy (n.) Look up biddy at Dictionary.com
"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 Dictionary.com
Old English bidan "to stay, continue, live, remain," also "to trust, rely," from Proto-Germanic *bidan "to await" (source also of 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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
also bi-directional, 1941, from bi- + direction + -al (1). Originally of microphones. Related: Bidirectionally.
Biedermeier Look up Biedermeier at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
"lasting for two years" (1620s); "occurring every two years" (1750), from Latin biennium "two-year period," from bi- (see bi-) + annus "year" (see annual (adj.)). 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 Dictionary.com
"space of two years," by 1851, from Latin biennium "two years, a period of two years," from bi- + annus "year" (see annual (adj.)). For vowel change, see biennial.
bier (n.) Look up bier at Dictionary.com
Old English bær (West Saxon), ber (Anglian) "handbarrow, litter, bed," from West Germanic *bero (source also of 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 Dictionary.com
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 *bhā- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)). Related: Bifariously.
biff (v.) Look up biff at Dictionary.com
"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 Dictionary.com
"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 Dictionary.com
"having two foci," 1844, from bi- + focal.
bifocals (n.) Look up bifocals at Dictionary.com
"bifocal spectacles," 1899, see bifocal. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin, but called by him double spectacles.
bifoliate (adj.) Look up bifoliate at Dictionary.com
"having two leaves," 1817, from bi- + foliate.
bifurcate (v.) Look up bifurcate at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Medieval Latin bifurcatus, from Latin bi- (see bi-) + furca, the root of fork. Related: Bifurcated; bifurcating.
bifurcate (adj.) Look up bifurcate at Dictionary.com
1835, from Medieval Latin bifurcatus, from Latin bi- (see bi-) + furca, the root of fork (n.).
bifurcation (n.) Look up bifurcation at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
"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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
"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 Dictionary.com
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).
Big Dipper (n.) Look up Big Dipper at Dictionary.com
American English name for the seven-star asterism (known in England as the plough; see Charles's Wain) in the constellation Ursa Major, first attested 1833 as simply the Dipper (sometimes Great Dipper, its companion constellation always being the Little Dipper). See dipper.
Big Mac Look up Big Mac at Dictionary.com
trademark name (McDonald's Corp.) of a type of hamburger sandwich, patented 1974 but alleged to have been in use from 1957.
big mouth (n.) Look up big mouth at Dictionary.com
also bigmouth "person who talks too much," 1889, American English, from big + mouth (n.).
big shot (n.) Look up big shot at Dictionary.com
"important person," 1929, American English, from Prohibition-era gangster slang; earlier in the same sense was great shot (1861). Ultimately a reference to large type of gunshot.
big time (n.) Look up big time at Dictionary.com
"upper reaches of a profession or pursuit," c. 1910 from vaudeville slang; the phrase was common in colloquial use late 19c.-early 20c. in a broad range of senses: "party, shindig, fun, frolic."
big-tent (adj.) Look up big-tent at Dictionary.com
in reference to welcoming all sorts and not being ideologically narrow, American English, 1982 with reference to religion, by 1987 with reference to politics.
bigamist (n.) Look up bigamist at Dictionary.com
1630s; see bigamy + -ist. Earlier in the same sense was bigame (mid-15c.), from Old French bigame, from Medival Latin bigamus.
bigamous (adj.) Look up bigamous at Dictionary.com
1690s; see bigamy + -ous.
bigamy (n.) Look up bigamy at Dictionary.com
"state of having two wives or husbands at the same time," mid-13c., from Old French bigamie (13c.), from Church Latin bigamia, from Late Latin bigamus "twice married," a hybrid from bi- "double" (see bi-) + Greek gamos "marrying" (see gamete). The Greek word was digamos "twice married."
Bigamie is unkinde ðing, On engleis tale, twie-wifing. [c. 1250]
In Middle English, also of two successive marriages or marrying a widow.
bigass (adj.) Look up bigass at Dictionary.com
also big-ass, big-assed, by 1945, U.S. military slang, from big + ass (2).
bigfoot (n.) Look up bigfoot at Dictionary.com
supposed elusive man-like creature of the Pacific Northwest, 1963, from big (adj.) + foot (n.).
bigger (adj.) Look up bigger at Dictionary.com
comparative of big.
biggest (adj.) Look up biggest at Dictionary.com
superlative of big.
biggie (n.) Look up biggie at Dictionary.com
1931, from big + -ie.