Calvin Look up Calvin at
surname, especially in reference to John Calvin (1509-1564), French Protestant leader and theologian, born Jean Caulvin. The surname is related to French Chauvin (compare chauvinism), from Latin Calvinus, a Roman cognomen, literally "bald," from calvus "bald," from PIE *kle-wo- "bald."
Calvinism (n.) Look up Calvinism at
1560s, "religious doctrines and theology of John Calvin" (1509-1564), French Protestant reformer and theologian. With -ism. Alternative form Calvinian was in use in 1566. Later extended broadly to positions he did not hold. Generalized association with stern moral codes and predestination is attested at least since 1853. Related: Calvinist; Calvinistic.
Calypso Look up Calypso at
sea nymph in the "Odyssey," literally "hidden, hider" (perhaps originally a death goddess) from Greek kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save," which also is the source of English Hell. The type of West Indian song is so called from 1934, but the origin of the name is obscure.
calypto- Look up calypto- at
word-forming element meaning "hidden, covered," from Latinized form of Greek kalyptos "covered," from kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."
calyx (n.) Look up calyx at
"outer part of the perianth of a flower," 1680s, from Latin calyx, from Greek kalyx "seed pod, husk, outer covering" (of a fruit, flower bud, etc.), from stem of kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save." The Latin plural is calyces. Some sources connect the word rather with Greek kylix "drinking cup."
cam (n.2) Look up cam at
abbreviation of camera, by 1990.
cam (n.1) Look up cam at
1777, "a projecting part of a rotating machinery used to impart motion to another part," from Dutch cam "cog of a wheel," originally "comb;" cognate of English comb (n.). This might have combined with English camber "having a slight arch;" or the whole thing could be from camber. It converts regular rotary motion into irregular, fast-and-slow rotary or reciprocal motion. "The original method was by cogs or teeth fixed or cut at certain points in the circumference or disc of a wheel ..." [OED]. Cam-shaft attested from 1877.
camaraderie (n.) Look up camaraderie at
"companionship, good-fellowship," 1840, from French camaraderie, from camarade "comrade" (see comrade).
camber (n.) Look up camber at
"convexity on an upper surface," 1610s, nautical term, from Old French cambre, chambre "bent," from Latin camurum (nominative camur) "crooked, arched;" related to camera. As a verb from 1620s. Related: Cambered; cambering.
cambium (n.) Look up cambium at
1670s in botany, "layer of tissue between the wood and the bark," from Late Latin cambium "exchange," from Latin cambiare "change" (see change (v.)).
Cambodia Look up Cambodia at
Southeast Asian nation, the name is said to be from Kambu, legendary ancestor of the people. Related: Cambodian.
Cambrian (adj.) Look up Cambrian at
1650s, "from or of Wales or the Welsh," from Cambria, variant of Cumbria, Latinized derivation of Cymry, the name of the Welsh for themselves, from Old Celtic Combroges "compatriots." Geological sense (of rocks first studied in Wales and Cumberland) is from 1836.
cambric (n.) Look up cambric at
type of thin, fine linen, late 14c., from Kamerijk, Dutch form of Flemish Kameryk, French Cambrai, name of the city in northern France where the cloth was said to have been first manufactured, from Latin Camaracum. The modern form of the English word has elements from both versions of the name.
Cambridge Look up Cambridge at
Old English Grontabricc (c.745) "Bridge on the River Granta" (a Celtic river name, of obscure origin). The change to Cante- and later Cam- was due to Norman influence. The river name Cam is a back-formation in this case, but Cam also was a legitimate Celtic river name, meaning "crooked."
camcorder (n.) Look up camcorder at
1982, from camera and recorder.
came Look up came at
past tense of come.
camel (n.) Look up camel at
"large ruminant quadruped used in Asia and Africa as a beast of burden," Old English camel, perhaps via Old North French camel (Old French chamel, Modern French chameau), from Latin camelus, from Greek kamelos, from Hebrew or Phoenician gamal, perhaps related to Arabic jamala "to bear."

Another Old English word for the beast was olfend, apparently based on confusion of camels with elephants in a place and time when both were known only from travelers' vague descriptions. The confusion was general in the older Germanic languages (Gothic ulbandus, Old High German olbenta, Old Saxon olbhunt, Old Norse ulfaldi). Of the two distinct species, the Arabian has one hump (the lighter, thoroughbred variety is the dromedary); the Bactrian has two.
cameleon (n.) Look up cameleon at
obsolete form of chameleon.
camellia (n.) Look up camellia at
genus of shrubs and small trees native to eastern Asia and Indonesia, 1753, named by Linnæus from Latinized form of Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706), Moravian-born Jesuit who described the flora of the island of Luzon, + abstract noun ending -ia.
camelopard (n.) Look up camelopard at
an old name for "giraffe," from Late Latin camelopardus, shortened from Latin camelopardalis, from Greek kamelopardalis "a giraffe," a compound of kamelos "camel" (see camel, for the long neck) and pardos "leopard, panther" (see pard (n.1), for the spots).
Camelot (n.) Look up Camelot at
legendary castle of King Arthur, a name first found in medieval French romances; the name corresponds to Latin Camuladonum, the Roman forerunner of Colchester, which was an impressive ruin in the Middle Ages. But Malory identifies it with Winchester and Elizabethans tended to see it as Cadbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort near Glastonbury.
Camembert (n.) Look up Camembert at
type of soft, rich cheese, 1878, from name of village near Argentan, Normandy, where it originally was made. The place name is Medieval Latin Campus Maimberti "field of Maimbert" (a West Germanic personal name).
cameo (n.) Look up cameo at
early 15c., kaadmaheu, camew, chamehieux and many other spellings (from early 13c. in Anglo-Latin), "engraving in relief upon a precious stone with two layers of colors" (such as onyx, agate, or shell) and done to utilize the effect of the colors, from Old French camaieu and directly from Medieval Latin cammaeus, which is of unknown origin, perhaps ultimately from Arabic qamaa'il "flower buds," or Persian chumahan "agate."

Later of other raised, carved work on a miniature scale. Transferred sense of "small character or part that stands out from other minor parts" in a play, etc., is from 1928, from earlier meaning "short literary sketch or portrait" (1851), a transferred sense from cameo silhouettes. A cameotype was a small, vignette daguerreotype mounted in a jeweled setting.
camera (n.) Look up camera at
1708, "vaulted building; arched roof or ceiling," from Latin camera "a vault, vaulted room" (source of Italian camera, Spanish camara, French chambre), from Greek kamara "vaulted chamber, anything with an arched cover," which is of uncertain origin. A doublet of chamber.

The word also was used early 18c. as a short form of Modern Latin camera obscura "dark chamber" (a black box with a lens that could project images of external objects), contrasted with camera lucida (Latin for "light chamber"), which uses prisms to produce on paper beneath the instrument an image which can be traced of a distant object. It became the word for "picture-taking device used by photographers" when modern photography began c. 1840. The word was extended to television filming devices from 1928.

Camera-shy is attested from 1890. Old Church Slavonic komora, Lithuanian kamara, Old Irish camra all are borrowings from Latin.
camera obscura (n.) Look up camera obscura at
1725, "a darkened room;" c. 1730, "a device for project pictures;" see camera.
cameral (adj.) Look up cameral at
"of or pertaining to a chamber," from Medieval Latin camera "a chamber, public office, treasury" (see camera, and compare chamber) + -al (1).
camerlengo (n.) Look up camerlengo at
also camerlingo, "papal chamberlain," having charge of the secular interests of the papacy, from Italian camerlingo "chamberlain" (see chamberlain).
Cameron Look up Cameron at
Highland clan name, from Gaelic camshron "wry or hooked nose." The Cameronians were followers of Richard Cameron in Scotland who refused to accept the indulgence of Charles II during the prosecution of the Presbyterians.
Camilla Look up Camilla at
fem. proper name, from Latin, fem. of Camillus, cognomen of several members of the gens Furia, from camillus "noble youth attending at sacrifices," perhaps from Etruscan.
camisole (n.) Look up camisole at
1816, "short, light garment with sleeves," formerly worn by women as morning-dress, from French camisole (16c.), from Provençal camisola "mantle," diminutive of camisa "shirt," from Late Latin camisia "shirt, nightgown" (see chemise). In modern use a sleeveless undergarment for women.
camomile (n.) Look up camomile at
common name of a strong-scented European plant long cultivated as an herb, mid-13c., from Old French camemile, from Late Latin camomilla, from Latin chamomilla, from Greek chamaimelon, literally "earth apple," from chamai "on the ground" (also "dwarf;" akin to chthon "earth," from PIE root *dhghem- "earth") + melon "apple" (see malic). So called for its scent. Old English had it as camemalon.
camouflage Look up camouflage at
1917, noun, verb, and adjective, from French camoufler, Parisian slang, "to disguise," from Italian camuffare "to disguise," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps a contraction of capo muffare "to muffle the head." Probably altered by influence of French camouflet "puff of smoke, smoke puffed into a sleeper's face" (itself of unknown origin) on the notion of "blow smoke in someone's face." The British navy in World War I called it dazzle-painting.
Since the war started the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY has published photographs of big British and French field pieces covered with shrubbery, railway trains "painted out" of the landscape, and all kinds of devices to hide the guns, trains, and the roads from the eyes of enemy aircraft.

Until recently there was no one word in any language to explain this war trick. Sometimes a whole paragraph was required to explain this military practice. Hereafter one word, a French word, will save all this needless writing and reading. Camouflage is the new word, and it means "fooling the enemy." ["Popular Science Monthly," August 1917]
camp (adj.) Look up camp at
"tasteless," 1909, homosexual slang, of uncertain origin, perhaps from mid-17c. French camper "to portray, pose" (as in se camper "put oneself in a bold, provocative pose"); popularized 1964 by Susan Sontag's essay "Notes on Camp." Campy is attested from 1959.
camp (v.) Look up camp at
"to encamp, establish or make a camp," 1540s, from camp (n.). Related: Camped; camping. Later "to live temporarily in tents or rude places of shelter for health or pleasure." Camping out is attested from 1834, American English.
camp (n.) Look up camp at
1520s, "place where an army lodges temporarily," from French camp "a camp," in this sense from Italian campo, from Latin campus "open field, level space," especially "open space for military exercise" (see campus).

The direct descendant of Latin campus in French is champ "a field." The Latin word had been taken up in early West Germanic as *kampo-z and appeared originally in Old English as camp "contest, battle, fight, war." This was obsolete by mid-15c.

Transferred to non-military senses 1550s. Meaning "body of adherents of a doctrine or cause" is from 1871. Camp-follower "one who follows an army without being officially connected to it," such as sutlers, washer-women, etc., first attested 1810. Camp-meeting "religious meeting for prayer, etc., held in an outdoor camp" is from 1809, American English, originally and especially in reference to Methodists. Camp-fever (1758) is any epidemic fever incident to life in a camp, especially typhus or typhoid. A camp-stool has a flexible seat and cross-legs and is made to be folded up and packed away when not in use.
Camp David Look up Camp David at
U.S. presidential retreat near Thurmont, Maryland, built 1939 as Hi-Catoctin, in reference to the name of the mountains around it; called Shangri-La by F.D. Roosevelt, after the mythical hard-to-get-to land in the novel "Lost Horizon;" named Camp David by Eisenhower in 1953 for his grandson, born 1947. The Camp David Accords were signed there Sept. 17, 1978.
campagne (n.) Look up campagne at
obsolete form of campaign.
campaign (n.) Look up campaign at
1640s, "operation of an army in the field," during a single season, in a particular region, or in a definite enterprise; from French campagne "campaign," literally "open country," from Old French champagne "countryside, open country" (suited to military maneuvers), from Late Latin campania "level country" (source of Italian campagna, Spanish campaña, Portuguese campanha), from Latin campus "a field" (see campus).

Old armies spent winters in quarters and took to the "open field" to seek battle in summer. Generalized to "continued or sustained aggressive operations for the accomplishment of some purpose;" in U.S., especially "political activity before an election, marked by organized action in influencing the voters" [DAE], attested from 1809.
campaign (v.) Look up campaign at
"to serve in a campaign," 1701, from campaign (n.). Political sense is from 1801. Related: Campaigned; campaigning; campaigner.
campanile (n.) Look up campanile at
"bell-tower," especially a detached high building erected for containing bells, 1630s, from Italian, from campana "bell," from Late Latin campana, originally "metal vessel made in Campania," region of southern Italy, including the Neapolitan plain, from Latin Campania, literally "level country" (see campaign (n.)).
Campbell Look up Campbell at
family name, from Gaelic caimbeul "wry or crooked mouth," from cam "crooked, deformed, one-eyed, cross-eyed." Also in surname Cameron, from Gaelic camshron "wry or hooked nose" (in the Highland clan; the Lowland name is for a locality in Fife). The Campbell Soup Company was started in 1869 by Joseph A. Campbell; Warhol began painting their cans in 1962.
Campbellite (n.) Look up Campbellite at
1830, in U.S., a follower of Alexander Campbell, preacher from Virginia. They called themselves Disciples of Christ and also were called New Lights. In Scotland, a follower of the Rev. John McLeod Campbell, deposed in 1831 for teaching the universality of the atonement.
camper (n.) Look up camper at
1630s, "soldier," agent noun from camp (v.). Meaning "attendee at a camp meeting" is from 1806; meaning "one who sleeps in temporary quarters outdoors" is from 1856; that of "motor vehicle with sleeping quarters" is from 1960. Extended use of happy camper is from c. 1987.
campfire (n.) Look up campfire at
also camp-fire, "fire in a camp for warmth or cooking," 1835, from camp (n.) + fire (n.). In the GAR (Civil War Northern veterans' society), "a meeting or reunion of members of a post."
camphor (n.) Look up camphor at
whitish, translucent, volatile substance with a penetrating odor, the product of trees in east Asia and Indonesia, extensively used in medicine, early 14c., caumfre, from Old French camphre, from Medieval Latin camfora, from Arabic kafur, perhaps via Sanskrit karpuram, from Malay (Austronesian) kapur "camphor tree." Related: Camphorated.
campus (n.) Look up campus at
"college grounds," 1774, from Latin campus "flat land, field," from Proto-Italic *kampo- "field," of uncertain origin. De Vaan finds cognates in Greek kampe "a bending, bow, curvature;" Lithuanian kampas "corner," kumpti "to bend," kumpas "curved;" Gothic hamfs "mutilated, lame," Old High German hamf, and concludes the source "could well be a European substratum word from agricultural terminology." First used in college sense at Princeton.
can (n.) Look up can at
Old English canne "a cup, container," from Proto-Germanic *kanna (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Swedish kanna, Middle Dutch kanne, Dutch kan, Old High German channa, German Kanne). Probably an early borrowing from Late Latin canna "container, vessel," from Latin canna "reed," also "reed pipe, small boat;" but the sense evolution is difficult.

Modern "air-tight vessel of tinned iron" is from 1867 (can-opener is from 1877). Slang meaning "toilet" is c. 1900, said to be a shortening of piss-can. Meaning "buttocks" is from c. 1910.
can (v.2) Look up can at
"to put up in cans," 1860, from can (n.1). Sense of "to fire an employee" is from 1905. Related: Canned; canning.
can (v.1) Look up can at
Old English 1st & 3rd person singular present indicative of cunnan "know, have power to, be able," (also "to have carnal knowledge"), from Proto-Germanic *kunnan "to be mentally able, to have learned" (source also of Old Norse kenna "to know, make known," Old Frisian kanna "to recognize, admit," German kennen "to know," Gothic kannjan "to make known"), from PIE root *gno- "to know."

Absorbing the third sense of "to know," that of "to know how to do something" (in addition to "to know as a fact" and "to be acquainted with" something or someone). An Old English preterite-present verb, its original past participle, couth, survived only in its negation (see uncouth), but see also could. The present participle has spun off as cunning.
can't (v.) Look up can't at
1706, contraction of cannot.