cerumen (n.)
"earwax," 1741, medical Latin cerumen, coined by Swiss anatomist Gaspard Bauhin (1560-1624) from Latin cera "wax" (see cere (n.)) on model of albumen; or else from Greek keroumenos "formed of wax."
cerveza (n.)
Spanish for "beer," from Latin cervisia "beer" (related to Latin cerea "a Spanish beer"), from a Celtic *kerb- (compare Gaulish curmi, Old Irish cuirm, Middle Irish coirm, Welsh cwrwf, Old Cornish coref "beer"), from Proto-Celtic *kormi-, perhaps from PIE root *krem-, also source of Latin cremare "to burn" (see cremation). "Connection with ceres (as a drink from grain) is very dubious" [Tucker].
cervical (adj.)
1680s, "of the neck," from French cervical, from Latin cervix (see cervix). Meaning "of the neck of the womb" attested by 1860. Related: Cervically.
cervix (n.)
early 15c., "ligament in the neck," from Latin cervix "the neck, nape of the neck," from PIE *kerw-o-, from root *ker- (1) "horn; head." Applied to various neck-like structures of the body, especially that of the uterus (by 1702), where it is shortened from medical Latin cervix uteri (17c.). Sometimes in medical writing 18c.-19c. cervix of the uterus to distinguish it from the neck sense.
Cesar
Spanish form of masc. proper name Caesar.
cesarean
alternative spelling of caesarian (see also æ (1)).
cesarian
alternative spelling of caesarian.
cesium (n.)
also caesium, rare alkaline metal, 1861, coined by Bunsen and Kirchhoff in 1860 in Modern Latin (caesium), from Latin caesius "blue-gray" (especially of eyes), in reference to the two prominent blue lines in its spectrum, by which it was first identified. With metallic element ending -ium.
cess (n.)
"tax, levy," 1530s, short for assess (q.v.).
cessation (n.)
mid-15c., cessacyoun "interruption, abdication," from Latin cessationem (nominative cessatio) "a delaying, ceasing, tarrying," noun of action from past participle stem of cessare "delay" (see cease (n.)).
cession (n.)
late 14c., "a relinquishing," from Old French cession "cession; death" (13c.), from Latin cessionem (nominative cessio) "a giving up, surrendering," noun of action from past participle stem of cedere "to go away, yield" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Related: Cessionary.
cesspit (n.)
1864, from cess (see cesspool) + pit (n.).
cesspool (n.)
also cess-pool, 1670s, the first element perhaps an alteration of cistern, perhaps a shortened form of recess [Klein]; or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c. 1400), "drainpipe," from Old French sospiral "a vent, air hole," from sospirer "breathe," from Latin suspirare "breathe deep" [Barnhart]. Meaning extended to "tank at the end of the pipe," which would account for a possible folk-etymology change in final syllable.

Other possible etymologies: Italian cesso "privy," from Latin secessus "place of retirement" (in Late Latin "privy, drain"); dialectal suspool, from suss, soss "puddle;" or cess "a bog on the banks of a tidal river."
Cestrian
1703, from Cester, Old English form of Chester, + -ian.
Cetacea (n.)
order of marine mammals containing whales, 1830, Modern Latin, from Latin cetus "any large sea creature" (whales, seals, dolphins), from Greek ketos "a whale, a sea monster," which is of unknown origin, + -acea. Hence cetology "the study of whales," first attested 1851 in "Moby Dick."
cetacean (n.)
1836, from Cetacea, name of the order of marine mammals, + -an. As an adjective from 1839.
ceteris paribus
Modern Latin, "other things being equal."
cetyl (n.)
univalent alcohol radical found in spermaceti, beeswax, etc., 1842, from Latin cetus "whale" (see Cetacea) + -yl.
Ceylon
Portuguese form of Sri Lanka (q.v.). Related: Ceylonese.
cf
see cf.
cf.
abbreviation of Latin confer "compare" (see confer).
cgi
by 2004, initialism (acronym) for computer-generated imagery.
ch
digraph used in Old French for the "tsh" sound. In some French dialects, including that of Paris (but not that of Picardy), Latin ca- became French "tsha." This was introduced to English after the Norman Conquest, in words borrowed from Old French such as chaste, charity, chief (adj.). Under French influence, -ch- also was inserted into Anglo-Saxon words that had the same sound (such as bleach, chest, church) which in Old English still was written with a simple -c-, and into those that had formerly been spelled with a -c- and pronounced "k" such as chin and much.

As French evolved, the "t" sound dropped out of it, so in later loan-words from France ch- has only the sound "sh-" (chauffeur, machine (n.), chivalry, etc.).

It turns up as well in words from classical languages (chaos, echo, etc.). Most uses of -ch- in Roman Latin were in words from Greek, which would be pronounced correctly as "k" + "h," as in blockhead, but most Romans would have said merely "k." Sometimes ch- is written to keep -c- hard before a front vowel, as still in modern Italian.

In some languages (Welsh, Spanish, Czech) ch- can be treated as a separate letter and words in it are alphabetized after -c- (or, in Czech and Slovak, after -h-). The sound also is heard in more distant languages (as in cheetah, chintz), and the digraph also is used to represent the sound in Scottish loch.
cha (n.)
"tea," 1590s, also chaw, ultimately from the Mandarin ch'a "tea;" used in English alongside tea when the beverage was introduced.
cha-cha (n.)
also cha-cha-cha, type of Latin-American 3-beat ballroom dance, 1954, echoic of the music.
Chablis (n.)
light, white Burgundy wine, 1660s, named for town of Chablis southeast of Paris. Made only of Chardonnay grapes. The French word chablis (16c.) is literally "deadwood," fallen from a tree through age or brought down by wind, short for bois chablis, from Old French *chableiz.
chad (n.1)
also Mr. Chad, graffiti drawing of a head peering over a fence or wall, with the caption, "Wot, no ______?" (the U.S. version usually had "Kilroy was here"), in reaction to shortages and rationing, 1945, British, of unknown origin.
Chad (n.2)
African nation, former French colony (Tchad), independent since 1960, named for Lake Chad, which is from a local word meaning "lake, large expanse of water." An ironic name for such a desert country.
chad (n.3)
"hanging flap or piece after a hole is punched in paper," a word unknown to most people until the 2000 U.S. presidential election (when the outcome hinged on partially punched paper ballots in some Florida counties), attested by 1930, of unknown origin.
chador (n.)
"cloth worn as a shawl by Muslim women," from Persian chadar "tent, mantle, scarf, veil, sheet, table-cloth."
chaeto-
before vowels chaet-, word-forming element meaning "hair," also, in scientific use, "spine, bristle," from Latinized form of Greek khaite "long, flowing hair" (of persons, also of horses, lions), related to Avestan gaesa- "curly hair."
chaetophobia (n.)
"fear of hair," from chaeto- "hair; bristle" + -phobia "fear."
chafe (v.)
early 14c., chaufen, c. 1300, "be provoked;" late 14c. in literal sense "to make warm, to heat," also intransitive, "to grow warm or hot," especially (early 15c.) "to warm by rubbing," from Old French chaufer "heat, warm up, become warm" (12c., Modern French chauffer), from Vulgar Latin *calefare, from Latin calefacere "to make hot, make warm," from calere "be warm" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm") + facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").

Figurative sense from late 14c. include now-obsolete "kindle (joy), inspire, make passionate" as well as "provoke, vex, anger." Sense of "make sore by rubbing" first recorded 1520s. Related: Chafed; chafing.
chafer (n.)
kind of beetle, Old English ceafor "beetle, cock-chafer," from Proto-Germanic *kabraz- (source also of Old Saxon kevera, Dutch kever, Old High German chevar, German Käfer), literally "gnawer," from PIE *gep(h)- "jaw, mouth" (see jowl (n.1)).
chaff (n.)
"husks," Old English ceaf "chaff," probably from Proto-Germanic *kaf- "to gnaw, chew" (source also of Middle Dutch and Dutch kaf, German Kaff), from PIE root *gep(h)- "jaw, mouth" (see jowl (n.1)). Used figuratively for "worthless material" from late 14c.
chaffer (n.)
"a bargain," early 13c., cheffare "buying and selling," also (14c.) cheapfare, probably from Old English ceap "bargain, traffic, gain, sale" (see cheap) + faru "faring, going" (see fare (n.)). In later use, "haggling." The verb is recorded from mid-14c.
chaffinch (n.)
Fringilla cælebs, Old English ceaffinc, literally "chaff-finch," so called for its habit of eating waste grain among the chaff on farms. See chaff + finch.
chagrin (n.)
1650s, "melancholy," from French chagrin "melancholy, anxiety, vexation" (14c.), from Old North French chagreiner or Angevin dialect chagraigner "sadden," which is of unknown origin, perhaps [Gamillscheg] from Old French graignier "grieve over, be angry," from graigne "sadness, resentment, grief, vexation," from graim "sorrowful," which is of unknown origin, perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German gram "angry, fierce"). But OED and other sources trace it to an identical Old French word, borrowed into English phonetically as shagreen, meaning "rough skin or hide," which is of uncertain origin, the connecting notion being "roughness, harshness." Modern sense of "feeling of irritation from disappointment" is 1716.
chagrin (v.)
1660s (implied in chagrined), from chagrin (n.). Related: Chagrined; chagrining.
chai (n.)
"tea," 1919, from the Russian or Arabic word for "tea" (see tea, and compare cha). Now used especially of spiced teas.
chain (n.)
c. 1300, from Old French chaeine "chain" (12c., Modern French chaîne), from Latin catena "chain" (source also of Spanish cadena, Italian catena), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *kat- "to twist, twine" (source also of Latin cassis "hunting net, snare").

Figurative use from c. 1600. As a type of ornament worn about the neck, from late 14c. Chain of stores is American English, 1846. Chain gang is from 1834; chain reaction is from 1916 in physics, specific nuclear physics sense is from 1938; chain mail first recorded 1822, in Scott, from mail (n.2). Before that, mail alone sufficed. Chain letter recorded from 1892; usually to raise money at first; decried from the start as a nuisance.
Nine out of every ten givers are reluctant and unwilling, and are coerced into giving through the awful fear of "breaking the chain," so that the spirit of charity is woefully absent. ["St. Nicholas" magazine, vol. xxvi, April 1899]
Chain smoker is attested from 1886, originally of Bismarck (who smoked cigars), thus probably a loan-translation of German Kettenraucher. Chain-smoking is from 1930.
chain (v.)
late 14c., "to bar with a chain; to put (someone) in chains," also "to link things together," from chain (n.). Related: Chained; chaining.
chainsaw (n.)
also chain saw, chain-saw; 1818 as a surgical apparatus; 1835 in the saw mill sense, from chain (n.) + saw (n.).
chair (n.)
early 13c., chaere, from Old French chaiere "chair, seat, throne" (12c.; Modern French chaire "pulpit, throne;" the more modest sense having gone since 16c. with variant form chaise), from Latin cathedra "seat" (see cathedral).

Figurative sense of "authority" was in Middle English, of bishops and professors. Meaning "office of a professor" (1816) is extended from the seat from which a professor lectures (mid-15c.). Meaning "seat of a person presiding at meeting" is from 1640s. As short for electric chair from 1900.
chair (v.)
mid-15c., "install in a chair or seat" (implied in chairing), from chair (n.); meaning "preside over" (a meeting, etc.) is attested by 1921. Related: Chaired.
chairman (n.)
1650s, "occupier of a chair of authority," from chair (n.) + man (n.). Meaning "member of a corporate body chosen to preside at meetings" is from c. 1730. Chairwoman in this sense first attested 1752; chairperson 1971.
chairperson (n.)
1971, American English, from chair (n.) + person.
chairwoman (n.)
"woman who leads a formal meeting," 1752, from chair (n.) + woman.
chaise (n.)
1701, "pleasure carriage," from French chaise "chair" (15c.), dialectal variant of chaire (see chair (n.)) due to 15c.-16c. Parisian accent swapping of -r- and -s-, a habit often satirized by French writers. French chair and chaise then took respectively the senses of "high seat, throne, pulpit" and "chair, seat." Chaise lounge (1800) is corruption of French chaise longue "long chair," the second word confused in English with lounge.
chakra (n.)
1888 in yoga sense, from Sanskrit cakra "circle, wheel," from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round."