electrocute (v.) Look up electrocute at Dictionary.com
"execute by electricity," 1889, American English, from electro- + back half of execute. The method first was used Aug. 6, 1890, in New York state, on William Kemmler, convicted of the murder of his common-law wife. In reference to accidental death by 1909. Electric chair is also first recorded 1889, the year the one used on Kemmler was introduced in New York as a humane alternative to hanging. Related: Electrocuted; electrocuting.
electrocution (n.) Look up electrocution at Dictionary.com
"execution by electricity," 1889, American English; noun of action from electrocute. Meaning "any death by electricity" is from 1897.
Electrocution, unless better performed than in the first instance, is a retrograde step rather than the contrary. The preliminary arrangements: the shaving of the head, the cutting of the clothing, the strapping in a chair, add much to the horror of the occasion. It is safe to say that electrocution is not the coming method of execution. ["The Medical Era," vol. vii, no. 9, Sept. 1890]
electrode (n.) Look up electrode at Dictionary.com
"one of the two ends of an open electrical circuit," 1834, coined by English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) from electro- + Greek hodos "way" (see cede) on the same pattern as anode, cathode.
electroencephalogram (n.) Look up electroencephalogram at Dictionary.com
1934, from electro- + encephalo-, comb. form of Modern Latin encephalon "brain" (see encephalitis) + -gram.
electrolysis (n.) Look up electrolysis at Dictionary.com
1834; the name was introduced by Faraday on the suggestion of the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, from electro- + Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to loosen, set free" (see lose). Originally of tumors, later (1879) of hair removal. Related: electrolytic.
electrolyte (n.) Look up electrolyte at Dictionary.com
"substance decomposed by electrolysis," 1834, from electro- + Greek lytos "loosed," from lyein "to loose" (see lose).
electromagnet (n.) Look up electromagnet at Dictionary.com
also electro-magnet, "magnet which owes its magnetic properties to electric current," 1822; see electro- + magnet.
electromagnetic (adj.) Look up electromagnetic at Dictionary.com
also electro-magnetic, 1821; see electro- + magnetic.
electromagnetism (n.) Look up electromagnetism at Dictionary.com
also electro-magnetism, 1821; see electro- + magnetism.
electron (n.) Look up electron at Dictionary.com
coined 1891 by Irish physicist George J. Stoney (1826-1911) from electric + -on, as in ion (q.v.). Electron microscope (1932) translates German Elektronenmikroskop.
electronic (adj.) Look up electronic at Dictionary.com
1901, "pertaining to electrons;" see electron + -ic; 1930 as "pertaining to electronics." Related: Electronically.
electronic mail (n.) Look up electronic mail at Dictionary.com
1977; see e-mail.
electronics (n.) Look up electronics at Dictionary.com
1910, from electronic; also see -ics. The science of how electrons behave in vacuums, gas, semi-conductors, etc.
electroplate (n.) Look up electroplate at Dictionary.com
1844, from electro- + plate (n.).
electrotype (n.) Look up electrotype at Dictionary.com
"copy in metal made by electric action," 1840, from electro- + type (n.).
electrum (n.) Look up electrum at Dictionary.com
"alloy of gold and up to 40% silver," late 14c. (in Old English elehtre), from Latin electrum "alloy of gold and silver," also "amber" (see electric). So called probably for its pale yellow color. "A word used by Greek and Latin authors in various meanings at various times" [Century Dictionary"]. In Greek, usually of amber but also of pure gold. The Romans used it of amber but also of the alloy. The sense of "amber" also occasionally is found in English. "At all times, and especially among the Latin writers, there is more or less uncertainty in regard to the meaning of this word" ["Century Dictionary"].
eleemosynary (adj.) Look up eleemosynary at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Medieval Latin eleemosynarius "pertaining to alms," from Late Latin eleemosyna "alms," from Greek eleemosyne "pity" (see alms).
elegance (n.) Look up elegance at Dictionary.com
c.1500, "tastefulness, correctness, harmoniousness, refinement," of speech or prose, from Middle French élégance, from Latin elegantia "taste, propriety, refinement," from elegantem (see elegant). Earlier form was elegancy (early 15c.). Meaning "refined luxury" is from 1797. Via French come German Eleganz, Swedish elegans, etc.
elegant (adj.) Look up elegant at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "tastefully ornate," from Middle French élégant (15c.), from Latin elegantem (nominative elegans) "choice, fine, tasteful," collateral form of present participle of eligere "select with care, choose." Meaning "characterized by refined grace" is from 1520s. Latin elegans originally was a term of reproach, "dainty, fastidious;" the notion of "tastefully refined" emerged in classical Latin. Related: Elegantly.
Elegant implies that anything of an artificial character to which it is applied is the result of training and cultivation through the study of models or ideals of grace; graceful implies less of consciousness, and suggests often a natural gift. A rustic, uneducated girl may be naturally graceful, but not elegant.
elegiac (adj.) Look up elegiac at Dictionary.com
1580s, in reference to lines of verse of a particular construction, from Middle French élégiaque, from Latin elegiacus, from Greek elegeiakos, from eleigeia (see elegy). In ancient Greece the verse form was used especially with mournful music. Meaning "pertaining to an elegy or elegies" is from 1640s in English; loosened sense "expressing sorrow, lamenting" is from c.1800. Related: Elegiacal (1540s, of meter); elegiacally.
elegize (v.) Look up elegize at Dictionary.com
1702, "write an elegy," from elegy + -ize. Transitive sense is from 1809. Related: Elegized; elegizing.
elegy (n.) Look up elegy at Dictionary.com
1510s, from Middle French elegie, from Latin elegia, from Greek elegeia ode "an elegaic song," from elegeia, fem. of elegeios "elegaic," from elegos "poem or song of lament," later "poem written in elegiac verse," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Phrygian word. Related: Elegiast.
element (n.) Look up element at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "earth, air, fire, or water; one of the four things regarded by the ancients as the constituents of all things," from Old French element (10c.), from Latin elementem "rudiment, first principle, matter in its most basic form" (translating Greek stoikheion), origin and original sense unknown. Meaning "simplest component of a complex substance" is late 14c. Modern sense in chemistry is from 1813, but is not essentially different from the ancient one. Meaning "proper or natural environment of anything" is from 1590s, from the old notion that each class of living beings had its natural abode in one of the four elements. Elements "atmospheric force" is 1550s.
elemental (adj.) Look up elemental at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "pertaining to the four elements," from Medieval Latin elementalis, from Latin elementum (see element). Meaning "pertaining to the powers of nature" is from 1823. The noun in the occult sense "a spirit of the elements" is from 1877. Related: Elementally.
elementary (adj.) Look up elementary at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "having the nature of one of the four elements," from Middle French elementaire and directly from Latin elementarius "belonging to the elements or rudiments," from elementum (see element). Meaning "rudimentary, involving first principles" is from 1540s; meaning "simple" is from 1620s. In elementary school (1841) it has the "rudimentary" sense.
elephant (n.) Look up elephant at Dictionary.com
c.1300, olyfaunt, from Old French olifant (12c., Modern French éléphant), from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephas (genitive elephantos) "elephant; ivory," probably from a non-Indo-European language, likely via Phoenician (compare Hamitic elu "elephant," source of the word for it in many Semitic languages, or possibly from Sanskrit ibhah "elephant").

Re-spelled after 1550 on Latin model. Cognate with the common term for the animal in Romanic and Germanic; Slavic words (for example Polish slon', Russian slonu are from a different word. Old English had it as elpend, and compare elpendban, elpentoð "ivory," but a confusion of exotic animals led to olfend "camel."

As an emblem of the Republican Party in U.S. politics, 1860. To see the elephant "be acquainted with life, gain knowledge by experience" is an American English colloquialism from 1835. The elephant joke was popular 1960s-70s.
elephantiasis (n.) Look up elephantiasis at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Greek elephantos, genitive of elephas "elephant" (see elephant) + -iasis "pathological or morbid condition." It refers to two diseases, one characterized by thickening of a body part (E. Arabum), the other, older meaning is "disease characterized by skin resembling an elephant's" (E. Græcorum, also called Egyptian leprosy). In Middle English, elephancy (late 14c.).
elephantine (adj.) Look up elephantine at Dictionary.com
1620s, "huge," from Latin elephantinus "pertaining to the elephant," from elephantus (see elephant). Meaning "pertaining to elephants" is from 1670s. Earlier adjective was elephantic (1590s).
Eleusinian (adj.) Look up Eleusinian at Dictionary.com
1640s, "pertaining to Eleusis," town outside Athens, site of the mystery associated with the cult of Demeter, goddess of harvests, and her daughter.
eleutherian (adj.) Look up eleutherian at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Greek eleutherios "like a free man, noble-minded, frank, liberal," literally "freeing, delivering, releaser," also the title of Zeus as protector of political freedom, from eleutheria "freedom," from PIE *leu-dheros.
elevate (v.) Look up elevate at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "to raise above the usual position," from Latin elevatus, past participle of elevare "lift up, raise," figuratively, "to lighten, alleviate," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + levare "lighten, raise," from levis "light" in weight (see lever). Sense of "raise in rank or status" is from c.1500. Moral or intellectual sense is from 1620s. Related: Elevated (which also was old slang for "drunk"); elevating.
elevation (n.) Look up elevation at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "a rising, height of something, height to which something is elevated," from Old French elevation and directly from Latin elevationem (nominative elevatio) "a lifting up," noun of action from past participle stem of elevare "lift up, raise" (see elevate). Meaning "act of elevating" is from 1520s.
elevator (n.) Look up elevator at Dictionary.com
1640s, originally of muscles which raise a part of the body, from Latin elevator "one who raises up," agent noun from past participle stem of elevare (see elevate). As a name for a mechanical lift (originally for grain) attested from 1787. Elevator music is attested by 1963. Elevator as a lift for shoes is from 1940.
eleven (n.) Look up eleven at Dictionary.com
c.1200, elleovene, from Old English enleofan, endleofan, literally "one left" (over ten), from Proto-Germanic *ainlif- (compare Old Saxon elleban, Old Frisian andlova, Dutch elf, Old High German einlif, German elf, Old Norse ellifu, Gothic ainlif), a compound of *ain "one" (see one) + PIE *leikw- "leave, remain" (source of Greek leipein "to leave behind;" see relinquish).
FIREFLY: Give me a number from 1 to 10.
CHICOLINI: eleven!
FIREFLY: Right!
Viking survivors who escaped an Anglo-Saxon victory were daroþa laf "the leavings of spears," while hamora laf "the leavings of hammers" was an Old English kenning for "swords" (both from "The Battle of Brunanburgh"). Twelve reflects the same formation. Outside Germanic the only instance of this formation is in Lithuanian, which uses -lika "left over" and continues the series to 19 (vienio-lika "eleven," dvy-lika "twelve," try-lika "thirteen," keturio-lika "fourteen," etc.). Meaning "a team or side" in cricket or football is from 1743.
eleventh (adj.) Look up eleventh at Dictionary.com
late 14c., eleventhe, superseding earlier ellefte (c.1300), enlefte (early 13c.), from Old English endleofta; see eleven + -th (1). Eleventh hour "last moment, just before it is too late" is in Old English, from the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. xx:1-16); as an adjective by 1829.
elevon (n.) Look up elevon at Dictionary.com
1945, from elevator + aileron.
elf (n.) Look up elf at Dictionary.com
"one of a race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore," Old English elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ylfe (plural, West Saxon) "sprite, fairy, goblin, incubus," from Proto-Germanic *albiz (cognates: Old Saxon alf, Old Norse alfr, German alp "evil spirit, goblin, incubus"), origin unknown; according to Watkins, possibly from PIE *albho- "white." Used figuratively for "mischievous person" from 1550s.

In addition to elf/ælf (masc.), Old English had parallel form *elfen (fem.), the plural of which was *elfenna, -elfen, from Proto-Germanic *albinjo-. Both words survived into Middle English and were active there, the former as elf (with the vowel of the plural), plural elves, the latter as elven, West Midlands dialect alven (plural elvene).

The Germanic elf originally was dwarfish and malicious (compare elf-lock "knot in hair," Old English ælfadl "nightmare," ælfsogoða "hiccup," thought to be caused by elves); in the Middle Ages they were confused to some degree with faeries; the more noble version begins with Spenser. Nonetheless a popular component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given names and surnames, such as Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine "Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women's names such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty." Elf Lock hair tangled, especially by Queen Mab, "which it was not fortunate to disentangle" [according to Robert Nares' glossary of Shakespeare] is from 1592.
elfin (adj.) Look up elfin at Dictionary.com
"of or pertaining to elves," 1590s, from elf; first found in Spenser, who also used it as a noun and might have been thinking of elven but the word also is a proper name in the Arthurian romances (Elphin).
elfish (adj.) Look up elfish at Dictionary.com
c.1200, alvisc; see elf + -ish. Compare elvish. Related: Elfishly; elfishness.
Elgin Marbles (n.) Look up Elgin Marbles at Dictionary.com
1809, sculptures and marbles (especially from the frieze of the Parthenon) brought from Greece to England and sold to the British government by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841). The place is in Scotland, literally "little Ireland," from Ealg, an early Gaelic name for Ireland, with diminutive suffix -in. "The name would have denoted a colony of Scots who had emigrated here from Ireland ..." [Room].
Eli Look up Eli at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, in Old Testament, the name of a high priest of Israel, teacher of Samuel, from Hebrew, literally "high."
Eliac (adj.) Look up Eliac at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to Elis," city in the Peloponnesus. The place name is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Greek helos "marsh."
elicit (v.) Look up elicit at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Latin elicitus, past participle of elicere "draw out, draw forth," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + -licere, comb. form of lacere "to entice, lure, deceive" (related to laqueus "noose, snare;" see lace (n.)). Related: Elicited; eliciting; elicits; elicitation.
elide (v.) Look up elide at Dictionary.com
1590s, a legal term, "to annul, do away with," from Middle French elider (16c.), from Latin elidere "strike out, force out," in grammar "suppress (a vowel)" from ex- "out" (see ex-) + -lidere, comb. form of laedere "to strike" (see collide). The Latin word in grammatical use translates Greek ekthlibein. Phonological sense "slurring over a sound or part of a word" in English is first recorded 1796. Related: Elided; eliding.
eligibility (n.) Look up eligibility at Dictionary.com
1640s, "worthiness to be chosen," from eligible + -ity. From 1715 as "legal qualification to be chosen."
eligible (adj.) Look up eligible at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "fit or proper to be chosen," from Old French eligible "fit to be chosen" (14c.), from Late Latin eligibilis "that may be chosen," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Related: Eligibly.
Elihu Look up Elihu at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, Hebrew, literally "he is my God."
Elijah Look up Elijah at Dictionary.com
name of the great Old Testament prophet, from Hebrew Elijjah, literally "the Lord is God." The Greek form is Elias.
eliminate (v.) Look up eliminate at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Latin eliminatus, past participle of eliminare "thrust out of doors, expel," from ex limine "off the threshold," from ex "off, out" (see ex-) + limine, ablative of limen "threshold" (see limit (n.)).

Used literally at first; sense of "exclude" first attested 1714; sense of "expel waste from the body" is c.1795. Related: Eliminated; eliminating; eliminative; eliminatory.
elimination (n.) Look up elimination at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "a casting out," noun of action from eliminate. Meaning "expulsion of waste matter" is from 1855.