er Look up er at
as a sound of hesitation or uncertainty, attested from mid-19c.
ER Look up ER at
abbreviation of emergency room, by 1965.
era (n.) Look up era at
1716, earlier aera (1610s), from Late Latin aera, era "an era or epoch from which time is reckoned" (7c.), probably identical with Latin aera "counters used for calculation," plural of aes (genitive aeris) "brass, copper, money" (see ore, also compare copper). The Latin word's use in chronology said to have begun in 5c. Spain (where the local era, aera Hispanica, began 38 B.C.E.; some say because of a tax levied that year). Other ancient eras included the Chaldean (autumn of 311 B.C.E.), the Era of Actium (31 B.C.E.), of Antioch (49 B.C.E.), of Tyre (126 B.C.E.), the Olympiadic (July 1, 776 B.C.E.) and the Seleucidan (autumn 312 B.C.E.). In English it originally meant "the starting point of an age" (compare epoch); meaning "system of chronological notation" is from 1640s; that of "historical period" is from 1741, as in the U.S. Era of Good Feeling (1817) was anything but.
eradicate (v.) Look up eradicate at
early 15c., "destroy utterly," literally "pull up by the roots," from Latin eradicatus, past participle of eradicare "to root out, annihilate" (see eradication). Related: Eradicated; eradicating; eradicable.
eradication (n.) Look up eradication at
early 15c., from Latin eradicationem (nominative eradicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of eradicare "root out, extirpate, annihilate," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + radix (genitive radicis) "root" (see radish).
erasable (adj.) Look up erasable at
1829, from erase + -able.
erase (v.) Look up erase at
c. 1600, from Latin erasus, past participle of eradere "scrape out, scrape off, shave; abolish, remove," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + radere "to scrape" (see raze). Of magnetic tape, from 1945. Related: Erased; erasing.
eraser (n.) Look up eraser at
"thing that erases writing," 1790, American English, agent noun from erase. Originally a knife for scraping off the ink. As a rubber product for removing pencil marks, from 1858.
Erasmus Look up Erasmus at
masc. proper name, Latin, literally "beloved;" related to Greek erasmios "lovely, pleasant," from eran "to love" (see Eros). Related: Erasmian.
Erastus Look up Erastus at
masc. proper name, Latin, literally "beloved," from Greek erastos, verbal adjective of eran "to love" (see Eros).
erasure (n.) Look up erasure at
"an erasing, an obliterating," 1734, from erase + -ure.
Erato Look up Erato at
muse who presided over lyric poetry, literally "the Lovely," from Greek erastos "loved, beloved; lovely, charming," verbal adjective of eran "to love, to be in love with" (see Eros).
erbium (n.) Look up erbium at
1843, coined in Modern Latin with metallic element name -ium + erbia, name given by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858), who discovered it, from second element in Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found (see Ytterbium).
ere (prep.) Look up ere at
c. 1200, from Old English ær (adv., conj., & prep.) "soon, before (in time)," from Proto-Germanic *airiz, comparative of *air "early" (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German er, Dutch eer; German eher "earlier;" Old Norse ar "early;" Gothic air "early," airis "earlier"), from PIE *ayer- "day, morning" (cognates: Avestan ayar "day;" Greek eerios "at daybreak," ariston "breakfast"). The adverb erstwhile retains the Old English superlative ærest "earliest."
Erebus Look up Erebus at
in Homer, etc., the place of darkness between Earth and Hades, from Latin Erebus, from Greek Erebos, which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Semitic (compare Hebrew erebh "sunset, evening"), or from PIE *regw-es- "darkness" (cognates: Sanskrit rajas "the atmosphere, thick air, mist, darkness;" Gothic rikwis "darkness"). Used figuratively of darkness from 1590s.
Erechtheus Look up Erechtheus at
legendary first king and founder of Athens, from Latin Erechtheus, from Greek Erekhtheos, literally "render, shaker" (of the earth), from erekhthein "to rend, break, shatter, shake." Hence Erechtheum, the name of a temple on the Athenian acropolis.
erect (adj.) Look up erect at
late 14c., "upright, not bending," from Latin erectus "upright, elevated, lofty; eager, alert, aroused; resolute; arrogant," past participle of erigere "raise or set up," from e- "up, out of" + regere "to direct, keep straight, guide" (see regal).
erect (v.) Look up erect at
c. 1400, a back-formation from erect (adj.) or else from Latin erectus. Related: Erected; erecting.
erectile (adj.) Look up erectile at
1822, "pertaining to muscular erection," from French érectile, from Latin erect-, past participle stem of erigere "to raise or set up" (see erect (adj.)).
erection (n.) Look up erection at
mid-15c., "establishment; advancement," from Late Latin erectionem (nominative erectio), noun of action from past participle stem of erigere "to set up, erect" (see erect (adj.)). Meanings "the putting up" (of a building, etc.), "stiffening of the penis" (also sometimes of the turgidity and rigidity of the clitoris) are both from 1590s.
erector (n.) Look up erector at
1530s, "one who builds," agent noun in Latin form from erect (v.). In reference to muscles from 1831. The children's buildig kit Erector (commonly known as an Erector set) was sold from 1913.
eremite (n.) Look up eremite at
c. 1200, learned form of hermit (q.v.) based on Church Latin eremita. Since mid-17c. in poetic or rhetorical use only, except in reference to specific persons in early Church history. Related: Eremitic; eremitical.
Erewhon (n.) Look up Erewhon at
"utopia," from title of a book published 1872 by British author Samuel Butler (1835-1902), a partial reversal of nowhere.
erg (n.1) Look up erg at
unit of energy in the C.G.S. system, coined 1873 by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, from Greek ergon "work" (see organ).
erg (n.2) Look up erg at
"region of drifting sand dunes," 1875, from French erg (1854), from North African Arabic 'irj, from a Berber word.
ergative (adj.) Look up ergative at
1943, in reference to grammatical case used for the subjects of transitive verbs (in Eskimo, Basque, Caucasian languages), from Greek ergatos "workman," from comb. form of ergos "work" (see organ) + -ive.
ergo (conj.) Look up ergo at
c. 1400, from Latin ergo "therefore, in consequence of," possibly from *ex rogo "from the direction," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + root of regere "to guide" (see regal). Used in logic to introduce the conclusion of a complete and necessary syllogism.
ergonomics (n.) Look up ergonomics at
"scientific study of the efficiency of people in the workplace," coined 1950 from Greek ergon "work" (see organ) + second element of economics.
ergophobia (n.) Look up ergophobia at
"fear of work," 1905, coined by British medical man Dr. William Dunnett Spanton, from comb. form of Greek ergos "work" (see organ) + -phobia "fear."
Mr. W.D. Spanton (Leeds) considered that the most prominent causes of physical degeneration were--efforts to rear premature and diseased infants, absurd educational high pressure, cigarette smoking in the younger generation, and late hours at night; in fact, the love of pleasure and ergophobia in all classes of society. He considered that there was too much cheap philanthropy, that life was made too easy for the young poor, and that by modern educational methods proper parental discipline was rendered almost impossible. [report on the 73rd annual meeting of the British Medical Association, "Nature," Aug. 3, 1905]
ergot (n.) Look up ergot at
fungal disease of rye and other grasses, 1680s, from French ergot "ergot," also "a spur, the extremity of a dead branch," from Old French argot "cock's spur" (12c.), which is of unknown origin. The blight so called from the shape the fungus forms on the diseased grain. Related: Ergotic. An alkaloid from the fungus, ergotamine (1921) is used to treat migraines.
ergotism (n.) Look up ergotism at
"disease caused by eating ergot-infected breadstuffs," 1816; see ergot + -ism.
Eric Look up Eric at
masc. proper name, from Old Norse Eirikr, literally "honored ruler," from Proto-Germanic *aiza- "honor" + *rik- "ruler" (see regal). The German form is Erich.
Erica Look up Erica at
fem. proper name, feminine form of Eric. The plant genus is Modern Latin, from Greek ereike "heath."
Erie Look up Erie at
one of the Great Lakes, named for a native Iroquoian people who lived nearby, from French Erie, shortening of Rhiienhonons, said to mean "raccoon nation," perhaps in reference to a totemic animal. Related: Erian.
erigible (adj.) Look up erigible at
"capable of being erected," 1785, from stem of Latin erigere (see erect (adj.)).
Erin Look up Erin at
ancient name of Ireland, from Old English Erinn, dative of Eriu "Ireland" (see Irish). As a girl's name in U.S., rare before 1954, popular 1976-1985.
Erinys (n.) Look up Erinys at
(plural Erinyes), one of the three avenging spirits (Alecto, Tisiphone, Megaera) in Greek religion, identified with the Furies, of unknown origin, perhaps "the angry spirit" (compare Arcadian erinein "to be angry," Greek orinein "to raise, stir, excite," eris "strife, discord"). Related: Erinnic; Erinnical (1610s).
Eris Look up Eris at
goddess of discord in Greek mythology, from Greek eris "strife, discord," which is of uncertain origin. Watkins suggests PIE root *ere- (3) "to separate, adjoin." Related: Eristic.
Eritrea Look up Eritrea at
named 1890 when it was an Italian colony, ultimately from Mare Erythreum, Roman name of the Red Sea, from Greek Erythre Thalassa, literally "Red Sea" (which to the Greeks also included the Gulf of Arabia and the Indian Ocean), from erythros "red" (see red (1)).
Erl-king (n.) Look up Erl-king at
1797, in Scott's translation of Goethe, from German Erl-könig, fiend who haunts the depths of forests in German and Scandinavian poetic mythology, literally "alder-king;" according to OED, Herder's erroneous translation of Danish ellerkonge "king of the elves." Compare German Eller, Erle "alder" (see alder).
Ermentrude Look up Ermentrude at
fem. proper name, from Old High German Ermentrudis, from ermin "whole, universal" + trut "beloved, dear."
ermine (n.) Look up ermine at
late 12c., from Old French ermine (12c., Modern French hermine), used in reference to both the animal and the fur. Apparently the word is a convergence of Latin (mus) Armenius "Armenian (mouse)" -- ermines being abundant in Asia Minor -- and an unrelated Germanic word for "weasel" (represented by Old High German harmo "ermine, stoat, weasel," adj. harmin; Old Saxon harmo, Old English hearma "shrew," etc.) that happened to sound like it. OED splits the difference between competing theories. The fur, especially with the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals in the pure white of the winter coat, was used for the lining of official and ceremonial garments, in England especially judicial robes, hence figurative use from 18c. for "the judiciary." Related: Ermined.
erne (n.) Look up erne at
"sea eagle," from Old English earn "eagle," from Proto-Germanic *aron-, *arnuz "eagle" (cognates: Old High German arn, German Aar, Middle Dutch arent, Old Norse örn, Gothic ara "eagle"), from PIE root *or- "great bird" (cognates: Greek ornis "bird," Old Church Slavonic orilu, Lithuanian erelis, Welsh eryr "eagle"). The Germanic word also survives in the first element of names such as Arnold and Arthur.
Ernest Look up Ernest at
masc. proper name, from French Ernest, which is of German origin (compare Old High German Ernust, German Ernst), literally "earnestness" (see earnest). Among the top 50 names for boys born in U.S. from 1880 through 1933.
Ernestine Look up Ernestine at
fem. form of Ernest. As an adjective, in German history, "pertaining to the elder branch of the Saxon house," who descend from Ernest, Elector of Saxony 15c.
erode (v.) Look up erode at
1610s, "gnaw or eat away" (transitive), a back-formation from erosion, or else from French éroder, from Latin erodere "to gnaw away, consume," from assimilated form of ex- "away" (see ex-) + rodere "gnaw" (see rodent). Intransitive sense "become worn away" is by 1905. Related: Eroded; eroding. Originally of acids, ulcers, etc.; geological sense is from 1830.
erogenous (adj.) Look up erogenous at
"inducing erotic sensation or sexual desire," 1889, from Greek eros "sexual love" (see Eros) + -genous "producing." A slightly earlier variant was erogenic (1887), from French érogénique. Both, as OED laments, are improperly formed. Erogenous zone attested by 1905.
In this connection reference may be made to the well-known fact that in some hysterical subjects there are so-called "erogenous zones" simple pressure on which suffices to evoke the complete orgasm. There is, perhaps, some significance, from our present point of view, in the fact that, as emphasized by Savill ("Hysterical Skin Symptoms," Lancet, January 30 1904) the skin is one of the very best places to study hysteria. [Havelock Ellis, "Studies in the Psychology of Sex," 1914]
Eros (n.) Look up Eros at
god of love, late 14c., from Greek eros (plural erotes), "god or personification of love," literally "love," from eran "to love," erasthai "to love, desire," which is of uncertain origin.

Freudian sense of "urge to self-preservation and sexual pleasure" is from 1922. Ancient Greek distinguished four ways of love: erao "to be in love with, to desire passionately or sexually;" phileo "have affection for;" agapao "have regard for, be contented with;" and stergo, used especially of the love of parents and children or a ruler and his subjects.
erose (adj.) Look up erose at
of a leaf, an insect wing, etc., "with indented edges that appear as if gnawed," 1793, from Latin erosus, past participle of erodere "gnaw away" (see erode).
erosion (n.) Look up erosion at
1540s, from Middle French erosion (16c.), from Latin erosionem (nominative erosio) "a gnawing away," noun of action from past participle stem of erodere "gnaw away" (see erosion). Related: Erosional.