E pluribus unum
motto of the United States, being one nation formed by uniting several states, 1782, Latin, from e "out of" (see ex-); ablative plural of plus "more" (see plus (n.)); neuter of unus "one" (from PIE root *oi-no- "one, unique"). Not found in classical Latin, though a variant of the phrase appears in Virgil (color est e pluribus unum); the full phrase was the motto of the popular "Gentleman's Magazine" from 1731 into the 1750s.
e'en
variant spelling of even, now archaic or poetic. E'enamost "even almost" is recorded from 1735 in Kentish speech.
e'er
variant spelling of ever, now archaic or poetic.
e-
the later Romans evidently found words beginning in sc-, sp-, st- difficult or unpleasant to pronounce; in Late Latin forms begin to emerge in i- (such as ispatium, ispiritu), and from 5c. this shifted to e-. The development was carried into the Romanic languages, especially Old French, and the French words were modified further after 15c. by natural loss of -s- (the suppression being marked by an acute accent on the e-), while in other cases the word was formally corrected back to the Latin spelling (for example spécial). Hence French état for Old French estat for Latin status, etc. It also affected Romanic borrowings from Germanic (such as espy, eschew).
e-commerce (n.)
by 1998, from electronic (compare e-mail) + commerce.
e-mail
1982, short for electronic mail (1977; see electronic + mail (n.1)); this led to the contemptuous application of snail mail (1983) to the old system.
Even aerial navigation in 1999 was found too slow to convey and deliver the mails. The pneumatic tube system was even swifter, and with such facilities at hand it is not surprising that people in San Francisco received four daily editions of the Manhattan journals, although the distance between Sandy Hook and the Golden Gate is a matter of 3,600 miles. ["Looking Forward," Arthur Bird, 1899]
Associated Press style guide collapsed it to email 2011.
E. coli (n.)
bacteria inhabiting the gut of man and animals, by 1921, short for Escherichia coli (1911), named for German physician Theodor Escherich (1857-1911), + Latin genitive of colon "colon" (see colon (n.2)).
e.g.
1680s, abbreviation of Latin exempli gratia "for the sake of example."
e.r.a. (n.)
1949 in baseball as initialism (acronym) for earned run average. From 1971 in U.S. politics for Equal Rights Amendment.
e.s.l.
1967, initialism (acronym) for English as a second language.
e.t.a.
abbreviation of estimated time (of) arrival, first attested 1939.
ea (n.)
the usual Old English word for "river, running water" (still in use in Lancashire, according to OED); see aqua-. "The standard word in place-names for river denoting a watercourse of greater size than a broc or a burna" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names].
each
Old English ælc (n., pron., adj.) "any, all, every, each (one)," short for a-gelic "ever alike," from a "ever" (see aye (2)) + gelic "alike" (see like (adj.)). From a common West Germanic expression *aiwo galika (source also of Dutch elk, Old Frisian ellik, Old High German iogilih, German jeglich "each, every"). Originally used as we now use every (which is a compound of each) or all; modern use is by influence of Latin quisque. Modern spelling appeared late 1500s. Also see ilk, such, which.
each other
reciprocal pronoun, originally in late Old English a phrase, with each as the subject and other inflected (as it were "each to other," "each from other," etc.).
eager (adj.)
late 13c., "strenuous, ardent, fierce, angry," from Old French aigre "sour, acid; harsh, bitter, rough; eager greedy; lively, active, forceful," from Vulgar Latin *acrus (source also of Italian agro, Spanish agrio), from Latin acer "keen, sharp, pointed, piercing; acute, ardent, zealous" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").

Meaning "full of keen desire" (early 14c.) seems to be peculiar to English. The English word kept a secondary meaning of "pungent, sharp-edged" till 19c. (as in Shakespeare's "The bitter clamour of two eager tongues," in "Richard II"). Related: Eagerly; eagerness. Eager beaver "glutton for work" [OED] is from 1943, U.S. armed forces slang.
eagle (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French egle, from Old Provençal aigla, from Latin aquila "black eagle," fem. of aquilus "eagle," often explained as "the dark colored" (bird); see aquiline. The native term was erne. Golf score sense is by 1908 (according to old golf sources, because it "soars higher" than a birdie). As the name of a U.S. $10 coin minted from 1792 to 1933, established in the 1786 resolution for a new monetary system (but at first only the desperately needed small copper coins were minted). The figurative eagle-eyed is attested from c. 1600.
eaglet (n.)
1570s, from French aiglette, diminutive of aigle (see eagle).
Eames
type of modern office chair, 1946, named for U.S. architect and designer Charles Eames (1907-1978). The surname is from Old English eam "uncle," cognate with German Ohm.
ear (n.1)
"organ of hearing," Old English eare "ear," from Proto-Germanic *auzon (source also of Old Norse eyra, Danish øre, Old Frisian are, Old Saxon ore, Middle Dutch ore, Dutch oor, Old High German ora, German Ohr, Gothic auso), from PIE *ous- "ear" (source also of Greek aus, Latin auris, Lithuanian ausis, Old Church Slavonic ucho, Old Irish au "ear," Avestan usi "the two ears").
þe harde harte of man, þat lat in godis word atte ton ere & vt atte toþir. [sermon, c. 1250]
In music, "capability to learn and reproduce by hearing," 1520s, hence play by ear (1670s). The belief that itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you is mentioned in Pliny's "Natural History" (77 C.E.). Until at least the 1880s, even some medical men still believed piercing the ear lobes improved one's eyesight. Meaning "handle of a pitcher" is mid-15c. (but compare Old English earde "having a handle"). To be wet behind the ears "naive" is from 1902, American English. Phrase walls have ears attested from 1610s. French orielle, Spanish oreja are from Latin auricula (Medieval Latin oricula), diminutive of auris.
ear (n.2)
"grain part of corn," from Old English ear (West Saxon), æher (Northumbrian) "spike, ear of grain," from Proto-Germanic *akhuz (source also of Dutch aar, Old High German ehir, German Ähre, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs "ear of corn"), from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce" (source of Latin acus "chaff, husk of corn," Greek akoste "barley").
ear-muff (n.)
also earplug, 1859, from ear (n.1) + muff (n.).
ear-plug (n.)
also earplug, 1841, from ear (n.1) + plug (n.).
ear-worm (n.)
1880, "boll-worm, corn parasite" (corn-ear-worm attested from 1855), from ear (n.2) + worm (n.). Also an old alternative name for "earwig" (from ear (n.1)); from 1881 as "secret counselor." From 1989 as "annoyingly unforgettable pop song or part of a song."
earache (n.)
also ear-ache, 1789, from ear (n.1) + ache (n.).
eardrum (n.)
also ear-drum, 1640s, from ear (n.1) + drum (n.).
earful (n.)
"a piece of one's mind," 1915, from ear (n.1) + -ful. Ear-bash (v.) is Australian slang (1944) for "talk inordinately" (to someone).
earl (n.)
Old English eorl "brave man, warrior, leader, chief" (contrasted with ceorl "churl"), from Proto-Germanic *erlaz, which is of uncertain origin. In Anglo-Saxon poetry, "a warrior, a brave man;" in later Old English, "nobleman," especially a Danish under-king (equivalent of cognate Old Norse jarl), then one of the viceroys under the Danish dynasty in England. After 1066 adopted as the equivalent of Latin comes (see count (n.1)).
earldom (n.)
Old English eorldom; see earl + -dom.
earlobe (n.)
also ear-lobe, by 1786, from ear (n.1) + lobe. Earlier was ear lap (Old English had earlæppa "external ear").
early (adv.)
Old English ærlice "early," from ær "soon, ere" (see ere) + -lice, adverbial suffix (see -ly (2)). Compare Old Norse arliga "early." The adjective is Old English ærlic. The early bird of the proverb is from 1670s. Related: Earlier; earliest.
earmark (n.)
mid-15c., from ear (n.1) + mark (n.1). Originally a cut or mark in the ear of sheep and cattle, serving as a sign of ownership (also a punishment of certain criminals); first recorded 1570s in figurative sense "stamp of ownership."
earmark (v.)
1590s, "to identify by an earmark," from earmark (n.). Meaning "to set aside money for a special purpose" is attested by 1868. Related: Earmarked; earmarking.
earn (v.)
Old English earnian "deserve, earn, merit, labor for, win, get a reward for labor," from Proto-Germanic *aznon "do harvest work, serve" (source also of Old Frisian esna "reward, pay"), denominative verb from *azno "labor" especially "field labor" (source of Old Norse önn "work in the field," Old High German arnon "to reap"), from PIE root *es-en- "harvest, fall" (source also of Old High German aren "harvest, crop," German Ernte "harvest," Old English ern "harvest," Gothic asans "harvest, summer," Old Church Slavonic jeseni, Russian osen, Old Prussian assanis "autumn"). Also from the same root are Gothic asneis, Old High German esni "hired laborer, day laborer," Old English esne "serf, laborer, man." Related: Earned; earning.
earner (n.)
1610s, agent noun from earn.
earnest (adj.1)
from Old English eornoste (adj.) "zealous, serious," or from Old English noun eornost "seriousness, serious intent" (surviving only in the phrase in earnest), from Proto-Germanic *er-n-os-ti- (source also of Old Saxon ernust, Old Frisian ernst, Old High German arnust "seriousness, firmness, struggle," German Ernst "seriousness;" Gothic arniba "safely, securely;" Old Norse ern "able, vigorous," jarna "fight, combat"), perhaps from PIE root *er- (1) "to move, set in motion." The proper name Ernest (literally "resolute") is from the same root. Related: Earnestness.
earnest (adj.2)
"portion of something given or done in advance as a pledge," early 15c., with unetymological -t- (perhaps from influence of the other earnest), from Middle English ernes (c. 1200), "a pledge or promise;" often "a foretaste of what is to follow;" also (early 13c.) "sum of money as a pledge to secure a purchase or bind a bargain (earnest-money); from Old French erres and directly from Latin arra, probably from Phoenician or another Semitic language (compare Hebrew 'eravon "a pledge"). Sometimes in Middle English as erness, suggesting it was perceived as er "early" + -ness.
earnestly (adv.)
Old English eornostlice; see earnest (adj.) + -ly (2).
earning (n.)
see earnings.
earnings (n.)
amount of money one makes (from labor or investment), 1732, from plural of verbal noun earning, from earn (v.). Old English had earnung in sense "fact of deserving; what one deserves; merit, reward, consideration, pay," but the modern word seems to be a new formation.
earring (n.)
also ear-ring, Old English earhring, from ear (n.1) + hring (see ring (n.)). Another Old English word was earspinl. Now including any sort of ornament in the ear; the pendant sort originally were ear-drops (1720). Worn by Romanized Britons and Anglo-Saxons alike; their use declined in the Middle Ages and was reintroduced in England 16c., but after 17c. were worn there almost exclusively by women.
The two groups which had formerly a near monopoly on male earrings were Gypsies and sailors. Both has the usual traditions about eyesight, but it was also said that sailors' earrings would save them from drowning, while others argued that should a sailor be drowned and washed up on some foreign shore, his gold earrings would pay for a proper Christian burial. ["Dictionary of English Folklore"]
earshot (n.)
also ear-shot, c. 1600, from ear (n.1) + shot (n.) in the sense of "range" (as in bowshot).
earth (v.)
"to commit (a corpse) to earth," late 14c., from earth (n.). Related: Earthed; earthing.
earth (n.)
Old English eorþe "ground, soil, dirt, dry land; country, district," also used (along with middangeard) for "the (material) world, the abode of man" (as opposed to the heavens or the underworld), from Proto-Germanic *ertho (source also of Old Frisian erthe "earth," Old Saxon ertha, Old Norse jörð, Middle Dutch eerde, Dutch aarde, Old High German erda, German Erde, Gothic airþa), from extended form of PIE root *er- (2) "earth, ground." The earth considered as a planet was so called from c. 1400. Use in old chemistry is from 1728. Earth-mover "large digging machine" is from 1940.
Earth Day
as an annual ecological awareness event on April 22, dates to 1970; the idea and the name formed in 1969.
earth-bound (adj.)
c. 1600, from earth (n.) + bound (adj.). Figurative sense is from 1869.
earth-mother (n.)
1870, folkloric spirit of the earth, conceived as sensual, maternal; often a translation of German erdmutter. Earth-goddess is from 1837.
earthen (adj.)
early 13c., "made of earth;" see earth (n.) + -en (2). Not attested in Old English (where eorðen meant "of or in the earth"). Cognate of Old High German irdin, Dutch aarden, Gothic airþeins. Meaning "made of clay" is attested from late 14c.
earthenware (n.)
vessels or other objects of baked or dried clay, 1670s, from earthen + ware (n.). Old English eorðwaran meant "earth-dwellers."
earthlight (n.)
1810, from earth (n.) + light (n.). Earthshine in same sense is from 1814.
earthling (n.)
Old English yrþling "plowman" (see earth (n.) + -ling); the sense of "inhabitant of the earth" is from 1590s and might be a re-formation, as the word seems to be missing in Middle English. Compare earthman. Earlier in this sense was earthite (1825).