escalade (n.) Look up escalade at Dictionary.com
1590s, "action of using ladders to scale the walls of a fortified place," from Middle French escalade (16c.) "an assault with ladders on a fortification," from Italian scalata, fem. past participle of scalare "to climb by means of a ladder," from scala "ladder," related to Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan). For initial e-, see e-.
escalate (v.) Look up escalate at Dictionary.com
1922, back-formation from escalator, replacing earlier verb escalade (1801), from the noun escalade. Escalate came into general use with a figurative sense of "raise" after 1959 in reference to the possibility of nuclear war. Related: Escalated; escalating.
escalation (n.) Look up escalation at Dictionary.com
derived noun from escalate; in the figurative sense it is from 1938, in reference to the battleship arms race among global military powers.
escalator (n.) Look up escalator at Dictionary.com
1900, American English, trade name of an Otis Elevator Co. moving staircase, coined from escalade + -ator in elevator. Figurative use is from 1927.
escallop (n., v.) Look up escallop at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Middle French escalope "shell," from a Germanic source (see scallop). For initial e-, see e-.
escapade (n.) Look up escapade at Dictionary.com
1650s, "an escape from confinement," from French escapade (16c.) "a prank or trick," from Spanish escapada "a prank, flight, an escape," noun use of fem. past participle of escapar "to escape," from Vulgar Latin *excappare (see escape). Or perhaps the French word is via Italian scappata, from scappare, from the same Vulgar Latin source. Figurative sense (1814) is of "breaking loose" from rules or restraints on behavior.
escape (v.) Look up escape at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old North French escaper, Old French eschaper (12c., Modern French échapper), from Vulgar Latin *excappare, literally "get out of one's cape, leave a pursuer with just one's cape," from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-) + Late Latin cappa "mantle" (see cap (n.)). Related: Escaped; escaping.
escape (n.) Look up escape at Dictionary.com
c.1400, from escape (v.); earlier eschap (c.1300). Mental/emotional sense is from 1853. Escape clause in the legal sense first recorded 1945.
escapee (n.) Look up escapee at Dictionary.com
1865, American English, from escape (v.) + -ee.
escapism (n.) Look up escapism at Dictionary.com
1933, American English, from escape (v.) + -ism.
escapist Look up escapist at Dictionary.com
in the figurative sense, 1930 (adj.); 1933 (n.), from escape + -ist.
escapologist (n.) Look up escapologist at Dictionary.com
performer who specializes in getting out of confinement, 1926; see escape + -ology.
escargot (n.) Look up escargot at Dictionary.com
"edible snail," 1892, from French escargot, from Old French escargole (14c.), from Provençal escaragol, ultimately from Vulgar Latin *coculium, from classical Latin conchylium "edible shellfish" (see cockle). The form of the word in Provençal and French seems to have been influenced by words related to scarab.
escarole (n.) Look up escarole at Dictionary.com
1897, from French escarole, from Italian scariola, from Late Latin escariola.
escarp (n.) Look up escarp at Dictionary.com
"steep slope," 1680s, from French escarpe (16c.), from Italian scarpa (see scarp).
escarpment (n.) Look up escarpment at Dictionary.com
1802, from French escarpment, from escarper "make into a steep slope," from escarpe "slope," from Italian scarpa (see scarp). Earlier in same sense was escarp.
eschatology (n.) Look up eschatology at Dictionary.com
1844, from Greek eskhatos "last, furthest, uttermost, extreme, most remote" (from ex "out of," Boeotian es-; see ex-) + -ology. Originally in theology, the study of the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, hell. Related: Eschatological; eschatologically.
eschaton (n.) Look up eschaton at Dictionary.com
"divinely ordained climax of history," 1935, coined by Protestant theologian Charles Harold Dodd (1884-1973) from Greek eskhaton, neuter of eskhatos (see eschatology).
escheat (n.) Look up escheat at Dictionary.com
the reverting of land to a king or lord in certain cases, early 14c., from Anglo-French eschete (late 13c.), from Old French eschete "succession, inheritance," originally fem. past participle of escheoir, from Late Latin *excadere "to fall out," from Latin ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). As a verb, from late 14c. Related: Escheated; escheating.
eschew (v.) Look up eschew at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French eschiver "shun, eschew, avoid, dispense with," from Frankish *skiuhan "dread, avoid, shun," from Proto-Germanic *skeukhwaz (cognates: Old High German sciuhen "to avoid, escape," German scheuen "to fear, shun, shrink from," scheu "shy, timid"); see shy (v.). Related: Eschewed; eschewing. Italian schivare "to avoid, shun, protect from," schivo "shy, bashful" also are loan words from West Germanic.
esclavage (n.) Look up esclavage at Dictionary.com
chain or bead necklace, 1758, from French esclavage, literally "slavery," from esclave (13c.) "slave" (see slave (n.)). So called from resemblance to a slave's neck chains.
escort (n.) Look up escort at Dictionary.com
1570s, in military sense, from Middle French escorte (16c.), from Italian scorta, literally "a guiding," from scorgere "to guide," from Vulgar Latin *excorrigere, from ex- "out" (see ex-) + corrigere "set right" (see correct). The sense of "person accompanying another to a social occasion" is 1936.
escort (v.) Look up escort at Dictionary.com
1708, from escort (n.); social sense is from 1890. Related: Escorted; escorting.
escritoire (n.) Look up escritoire at Dictionary.com
1706, from French écritoire (12c.), from Late Latin scriptorium (see scriptorium).
escrow (n.) Look up escrow at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Anglo-French escrowe, from Old French escroue "scrap, roll of parchment," from a Germanic source akin to Old High German scrot "a scrap, shred, a piece cut off" (see shred (n.)). Originally "a deed delivered to a third person until a future condition is satisfied;" sense of "deposit held in trust or security" is from 1888.
escudo (n.) Look up escudo at Dictionary.com
Spanish and Portuguese coin, 1821, from Spanish/Portuguese escudo, from Latin scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)). Also see ecu.
esculent (adj.) Look up esculent at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Latin esculentus "good to eat, eatable," from esca "food," from PIE *eds-qa- (cognates: Lithuanian eska "appetite"), from root *ed- "to eat" (see edible).
escutcheon (n.) Look up escutcheon at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Old North French escuchon, variant of Old French escusson, from Vulgar Latin *scutionem, from Latin scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)).
esker (n.) Look up esker at Dictionary.com
"deposit left by a glacial stream," 1852, from Irish eiscir "ridge of gravel."
Eskimo (n.) Look up Eskimo at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Danish Eskimo or Middle French Esquimaux (plural), both probably from an Algonquian word, such as Abenaki askimo (plural askimoak), Ojibwa ashkimeq, traditionally said to mean literally "eaters of raw meat," from Proto-Algonquian *ask- "raw" + *-imo "eat." Research from 1980s in linguistics of the region suggests this derivation, though widely credited there, might be inaccurate or incomplete, and the word might mean "snowshoe-netter." See also Innuit. Eskimo pie "chocolate-coated ice cream bar" introduced 1921.
Esmerelda Look up Esmerelda at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Spanish, literally "emerald."
esne (n.) Look up esne at Dictionary.com
Old English esne "domestic slave," from Proto-Germanic *asnjoz- "harvestman" (cognates: Gothic asneis), from *asanoz- "harvest" (see earn).
esophagus (n.) Look up esophagus at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Greek oisophagos "gullet," literally "what carries and eats," from oisein, future infinitive of pherein "to carry" (see infer) + -phagos, from phagein "to eat" (see -phagous). Related: Esophageal.
esoteric (adj.) Look up esoteric at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Greek esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle," from esotero "more within," comparative adverb of eso "within," related to eis "into," en "in" (see en- (2)).

In English, originally of Pythagorean doctrines. According to Lucian, the division of teachings into exoteric and esoteric originated with Aristotle.
esoterica (n.) Look up esoterica at Dictionary.com
by 1807, Modern Latin, from plural of Greek esoterikos "pertaining to those within" (see esoteric).
ESP (n.) Look up ESP at Dictionary.com
1934, initialism (acronym) for extra-sensory perception.
espadrille (n.) Look up espadrille at Dictionary.com
shoe with soles of hemp-rope (originally worn in the Pyrenees), 1892, from French espadrille (17c.), from Provençal espardillo, from Latin spartum, from Greek sparton "a rope made of spartos," an imported fiber known as "Spanish broom," from PIE *spr-to-, from root *sper- (2) "to turn, twist" (see Sparta). For initial e- see e-.
espalier (n.) Look up espalier at Dictionary.com
1660s, from French espalier (16c.), from Italian spalliera "stake-works shoulder-high," from spalla "shoulder," from Latin spatula (see spatula).
especial (adj.) Look up especial at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French especial "pre-eminent, important," from Latin specialis "belonging to a particular kind or species," from species "kind" (see species). Latin words with initial sp-, st-, sc- usually acquired an e- in Old French (see e-). Modern French has restored the word to spécial. Originally with the same sense as special, later restricted to feelings, qualities, etc.
especially (adv.) Look up especially at Dictionary.com
c.1400, from especial + -ly (2).
Esperanto (n.) Look up Esperanto at Dictionary.com
1892, from Doktoro Esperanto, whose name means in Esperanto, "one who hopes," pen name used on the title page of a book about the artificial would-be universal language published 1887 by its inventor, Lazarus Ludwig Zamenhof (1859-1917). Compare Spanish esperanza "hope," from esperar, from Latin sperare (see sperate). For initial e- see e-.
espionage (n.) Look up espionage at Dictionary.com
1793, from French espionnage "spying," from Middle French espionner "to spy," from Old French espion "spy," probably via Old Italian spione from a Germanic source akin to Old High German spehon "spy" (see spy (v.)). For initial e- see e-.
esplanade (n.) Look up esplanade at Dictionary.com
1590s, from French esplanade (15c.), from Spanish esplanada "large level area," noun use of fem. past participle of esplanar "make level," from Latin explanare "to level" (see explain). Or perhaps the French word is from or influenced by Italian spianata, from spianare
espousal (n.) Look up espousal at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French esposailles (plural) "act of betrothal" (12c., Modern French époussailles), from Latin sponsalia "betrothal, espousal," noun use of neuter plural of sponsalis "of a betrothal," from sponsa "spouse" (see espouse). For the -e- see e-.
espouse (v.) Look up espouse at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to take as spouse, marry," from Old French espouser "marry, take in marriage, join in marriage" (11c., Modern French épouser), from Latin sponsare, past participle of spondere "make an offering, perform a rite," hence "to engage oneself by ritual act" (see spondee).

Extended sense of "adopt, embrace" a cause, party, etc., is from 1620s. Related: Espoused; espouses; espousing. For initial e-, see e-.
espresso (n.) Look up espresso at Dictionary.com
1945, from Italian caffe espresso, from espresso "pressed out," from past participle of esprimere, from Latin exprimere "press out" (see express). In reference to the steam pressure.
esprit (n.) Look up esprit at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French esprit "spirit, mind," from Old French espirit, from Latin spiritus "spirit" (see spirit (n.)). For initial e-, see e-. Esprit de corps first recorded 1780. French also has the excellent phrase esprit de l'escalier, literally "spirit of the staircase," defined in OED as, "a retort or remark that occurs to a person after the opportunity to make it has passed." It also has espirit fort, a "strong-minded" person, one independent of current prejudices, especially a freethinker in religion.
espy (v.) Look up espy at Dictionary.com
early 13c., aspy, from Old French espier (12c., Modern French épier), from Vulgar Latin *spiare, from a Germanic source (compare Old High German spehon "to spy;" see spy (v.)). Related: Espied. For initial e-, see e-.
esquire (n.) Look up esquire at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Middle French esquier "squire," literally "shield-bearer" (for a knight), from Old French escuyer, from Vulgar Latin scutarius "shield-bearer, guardsman" (in classical Latin, "shield-maker"), from scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)).

For initial e-, see e-. Compare squire. Originally the feudal rank below knight, sense broadened 16c. to a general title of courtesy or respect for the educated class, especially, later, in U.S., for lawyers.
essay (n.) Look up essay at Dictionary.com
1590s, "short non-fiction literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from Middle French essai "trial, attempt, essay," from Late Latin exagium "a weighing, weight," from Latin exigere "test," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere (see act) apparently meaning here "to weigh." The suggestion is of unpolished writing.