cinch (n.)
1859, American English, "saddle-girth," from Spanish cincha "girdle," from Latin cingulum "a girdle, a swordbelt," from cingere "to surround, encircle," from PIE root *kenk- (1) "to gird, encircle" (source also of Sanskrit kankate "binds," kanci "girdle;" Lithuanian kinkau "to harness horses"). Replaced earlier surcingle. Sense of "an easy thing" is 1895 (in lead-pipe cinch), via notion of "a sure hold" (1888).
Cincinnati
city on the Ohio River in Ohio, U.S., founded 1789 and first called Losantiville, name changed 1790 by territorial Gov. Arthur St. Clair, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal veterans' organization founded 1783 by former Revolutionary War officers (St. Clair was a member) and named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, 5c. B.C.E. Roman hero who saved the city from crisis and then retired to his farm rather than rule. His name is a cognomen in the gens Quinctia, literally "with curly hair," from Latin cincinnus "curl, curly hair." Related: Cincinnatian.
cincture (n.)
1580s, from Latin cinctura "a girdle," from cinctus, past participle of cingere "to surround, encircle" (see cinch (n.)). The verb is recorded from 1757 (implied in Cinctured).
cinder (n.)
Old English sinder "dross of iron, slag," from Proto-Germanic *sendra- "slag" (source also of Old Saxon sinder "slag, dross," Old Norse sindr, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch sinder, Dutch sintel, Old High German sintar, German Sinter), from PIE root *sendhro- "coagulating fluid" (source also of Old Church Slavonic sedra "cinder").

Initial s- changed to c- under influence of unrelated French cendre "ashes," from Latin cinerem (nominative cinis) "ashes," from or related to Greek konis "dust" (see incinerate). The Latin word was contracted to *cin'rem and the -d- inserted for ease of pronunciation (compare peindre from pingere). The French word also apparently shifted the sense of the English one to "small piece of burnt coal" (16c.). Volcanic cinder cone is recorded from 1849.
Cinderella (n.)
pseudo-translation of French Cendrillon, from cendre "ashes" (see cinder). Used figuratively for something unappreciated or something that ends at midnight. A widespread Eurasian folk tale, the oldest known version is Chinese (c.850 C.E.); the English version is based on Perrault's "Cendrillon" (1697), translated from French 1729 by Robert Sambler, but native versions probably existed (such as Scottish "Rashin Coatie"). The German form is Aschenbrödel, literally "scullion," from asche "ash" (see ash (n.1)) + brodeln "bubble up, to brew."
Cindy
fem. proper name, often a familiar or diminutive form of Cynthia, but as a name in its own right among the top 100 for girls born in the U.S. c. 1953-1973.
cine
abbreviation of cinema used in compounds or as a stand-alone, 1928, perhaps partly from French ciné (1917).
cinema (n.)
1899, "a movie hall," from French cinéma, shortened from cinématographe "motion picture projector and camera," coined 1890s by Lumiere brothers, who invented it, from Latinized form of Greek kinemat-, comb. form of kinema "movement," from kinein "to move" (see cite) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Meaning "movies collectively, especially as an art form" recorded by 1914. Cinéma vérité is 1963, from French.
cinematic (adj.)
1914, in the movies sense, from French cinématique (by 1902), from cinéma (see cinema). Related: Cinematically.
cinematographer (n.)
1897, agent noun from cinematograph (see cinematography).
cinematography (n.)
1896, from cinematograph (1896), which has been displaced in English by its shortened form, cinema; from French cínématographe + -graphy.
Cinerama (n.)
proprietary name, 1951, from cinema + -rama. Purists point out that the proper formation would be *Cinorama.
cinnabar (n.)
mid-15c., "red or crystalline form of mercuric sulphide," also applied to other ores of mercury, originally with reference to its use as a pigment; from Old French cinabre (13c.), from Late Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, of oriental origin (compare Persian zanjifrah in the same sense). Also used 14c.-17c. of red resinous juice of a certain Eastern tree, which was believed to be a mixture of dragon's and elephant's blood.
cinnamon (n.)
late 14c., from Old French cinnamone (13c.), from Latin cinnamum, cinnamomum "cinnamon" (also used as a term of endearment), from Greek kinnamomon, from a Phoenician word akin to Hebrew qinnamon. Stripped from the bark of a tree in the avocado family. Ceylon cinnamon, the true cinnamon, is used in Britain, but American cinnamon is almost always from the related cassia tree of Southeast Asia and is stronger and sweeter.
cinquain (n.)
"collection of five," 1711, from French cinquain "bundle of five objects," from cinq "five" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five"). Originally in English of military orders of battle; of five-lined stanzas of verse from 1882 (give a more specific form in English than usual in French).
cinque (n.)
used for "five" in English in some situations, especially at cards or dice, late 14c., from French cinq, dissimilated from Latin quinque "five," in Late Latin also cinque (from PIE root *penkwe- "five").
Cinque Ports (n.)
late 12c. (in Anglo-Latin), late 13c. (in English), from Latin quinque portus (see cinque + port (n.1)). Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney, and Hythe, granted special privileges from the crown in return for defense of the Channel in the days before England had a navy.
cinquecento (n.)
"sixteenth century" (in Italian art and literature), from Italian cinquecento, short for mil cinquecento "one thousand five hundred." See cinque + hundred.
cinquefoil (n.)
from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + folium "leaf" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom").
cipher (v.)
"to do arithmetic" (with Arabic numerals), 1520s, from cipher (n.). Meaning "to write in code" is from 1560s. Related: Ciphered; ciphering.
cipher (n.)
late 14c., "arithmetical symbol for zero," from Old French cifre "nought, zero," Medieval Latin cifra, with Spanish and Italian cifra, ultimately from Arabic sifr "zero," literally "empty, nothing," from safara "to be empty;" loan-translation of Sanskrit sunya-s "empty." The word came to Europe with Arabic numerals. Originally in English "zero," then "any numeral" (early 15c.), then (first in French and Italian) "secret way of writing; coded message" (a sense first attested in English 1520s), because early codes often substituted numbers for letters. Klein says Modern French chiffre is from Italian cifra.
circa (prep.)
1856, from Latin circa "around, round about, near; in the region of; about the time of," alternative form of circum "round about" (see circum-).
circadian (adj.)
coined 1959 from Latin circa "about" (alternative form of circum "round about;" see circum-) + diem, accusative singular of dies "day" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine"). The original use is in circadian rhythm.
Circe (n.)
enchantress of the isle of Aea who transformed into swine those who drank from her cup ("Odyssey"), late 14c., from Latin Circe, from Greek Kirke. Related: Circean.
circle (v.)
late 14c., cerclen, "to shape like a globe," also "to encompass or surround," from circle (n.). From c. 1400 as "to set in a circular pattern;" mid-15c. as "to move in a circle." Related: Circled; circling. To circle the wagons, figuratively, "assume an alert defensive stance" is from 1969, from old Western movies.
circle (n.)
c. 1300, "figure of a circle," from Old French cercle "circle, ring (for the finger); hoop of a helmet or barrel" (12c.), from Latin circulus "circular figure; small ring, hoop; circular orbit" (also source of Italian cerchio), diminutive of circus "ring" (see circus).

Replaced Old English trendel and hring. Late Old English used circul, from Latin, but only in an astronomical sense. Meaning "group of persons surrounding a center of interest" is from 1714 (it also was a secondary sense of Latin circulus); that of "coterie" is from 1640s (a sense also found in Latin circulus). To come full circle is in Shakespeare.
circlet (n.)
late 15c., from Middle French cerclet, diminutive of cercle (see circle (n.)).
circuit (v.)
"to go around," early 15c., from circuit (n.). Related: Circuited; circuiting.
circuit (n.)
late 14c., "a going around; a line going around," from Old French circuit (14c.) "a circuit; a journey (around something)," from Latin circuitus "a going around," from stem of circuire, circumire "go around," from circum "round" (see circum-) + ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go"). Electrical sense is from 1746. Of judicial assignments, from 1570s; of venues for itinerant entertainers, from 1834. Circuit breaker is recorded from 1874. Related: Circuital.
circuitous (adj.)
1660s, from Medieval Latin circuitous "full of roundabout ways," from Latin circuitus "a going round" (see circuit (n.)). Related: Circuitously; circuitousness.
circuitry (n.)
1946, from circuit (n.)+ -ry.
circular (n.)
1550s, "circular figure," from circular (adj.). Meaning "a notice circulated" is from 1818.
circular (adj.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French circuler, Old French circuler "circular" (14c., Modern French circulaire), from Latin circularis, from circulus (see circle (n.)). The metaphoric circular firing squad is attested by 1990.
circularity (n.)
1580s, from circular (adj.) + -ity.
circulate (v.)
1540s (late 15c. as a past participle adjective), as a chemical term for alternating vaporization and condensation, from Latin circulatus, past participle of circulare "to form a circle," from circulus (see circle (n.)). Meaning "to move around, revolve" is from 1670s; of blood, from 1650s; of persons, "to mingle in a social gathering," from 1863. Sense of "to pass about freely" is from 1660s; of newspapers from 1885. Related: Circulated; circulating.
circulation (n.)
mid-15c., from Middle French circulation or directly from Latin circulationem (nominative circulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of circulare "to form a circle," from circulus "small ring" (see circle (n.)). Used of blood first by William Harvey, 1620s.
circulator (n.)
"one who puts (something) in circulation," 1755, agent noun in Latin form from circulate (v.). Classical Latin circulator meant "peddler, hawker," a sense attested occasionally in English 17c. and after.
circulatory (adj.)
c. 1600, of blood, from French circulatoire or directly from Latin circulatorius, from circulator, agent noun from circulare (see circulate). Circulatory system is recorded from 1862.
circum-
word-forming element meaning "around, all around, on all sides," from Latin adverb and preposition circum "around, round about," literally "in a circle," probably accusative form of circus "ring" (see circus). The Latin word was commonly used in word-formation. In French, the element became circon-; Kitchin points out that con for cum is common even in classical Latin.
circumambient (adj.)
1630s, from circum- + ambient.
circumambulate (v.)
1650s, from Latin circumambulatus, past participle of circumambulare "to walk around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ambulare "to walk, go about" (see amble (v.)). Related: Circumambulated; circumambulating; circumambulation.
circumcise (v.)
mid-13c., "to cut off the foreskin," from Old French circoncisier "circumcise" (12c., Modern French circoncire), from Latin circumcisus, past participle of circumcidere "to cut round, to cut, trim, prune off," from circum "around" (see circum-) + caedere "to cut" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike."). Related: Circumcised; circumcising.
circumcision (n.)
late 12c., from Latin circumcisionem (nominative circumcisio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumcidere "to cut around; cut, clip, trim, prune off," from circum "around" (see circum-) + caedere "to cut" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike.").
circumduction (n.)
1570s, from Latin circumductionem (nominative circumductio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumducere "to lead around, move or drive around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ducere "to lead," from PIE root *deuk- "to lead." Related: Circumduce.
circumference (n.)
late 14c., from Latin circumferentia, neuter plural of circumferens, present participle of circumferre "to lead around, take around, carry around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ferre "to carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children." A loan-translation of Greek periphereia "periphery, the line round a circular body," literally "a carrying round" (see periphery). Related: Circumferential.
circumflex (n.)
1570s, from Latin (accentus) circumflexus, "bent around," past participle of circumflectere "to bend around," of a charioteer, "turn around" (from circum "around;" see circum-, + flectere "to bend;" see flexible); used as a loan-translation of Greek (prosodia) perispomenos (Dionysius of Halicarnassus), literally "drawn-around," with reference to shape.
circumfluent (adj.)
1570s, from Latin circumfluentem (nominative circumfluens), present participle of circumfluere "to flow around," from circum "around, round about" (see circum-) + fluere (see fluent).
circumjacent (adj.)
late 15c., from Latin circumiacens, present participle of circumiacere "to border upon, to lie round about, enjoin," from circum "around, round about" (see circum-) + iacere "to throw, cast, hurl" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). Related: Circumjacence; circumjacency.
circumlocution (n.)
c. 1400, from Latin circumlocutionem (nominative circumlocutio) "a speaking around" (the topic), from circum "around, round about" (see circum-) + locutionem (nominative locutio) "a speaking," noun of action from past participle stem of loqui "to speak" (from PIE root *tolkw- "to speak"). A loan-translation of Greek periphrasis (see periphrasis).
circumnavigate (v.)
1630s, from Latin circumnavigatus, past participle of circumnavigare "to sail round," from circum "around" (see circum-) + navigare (see navigation). Related: Circumnavigated; circumnavigating; circumnavigable.