- f-hole (n.)
- "one of the two openings in the upper plate of the body of a violin," so called from resemblance to the italic letter f.
- F.F.V. (n.)
- abbreviation of First Family of Virginia, attested by 1847 (simple F.F., for first family but meaning Virginia, is from 1813).
- 1922, abbreviation of frequency modulation.
- fa (n.)
- fourth note in Guidonian scale; see gamut. Used from 13c. in Old French. It represents the first syllable in Latin famulus.
- fab (adj.)
- 1957, slang shortening of fabulous.
- Faberge (adj.)
- 1902 from Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920), Russian jeweler.
- Fabian (n.)
- "socialist," 1884, from Fabian Society, founded in Britain 1884, named for Quintus Fabius Maximus (surnamed Cunctator "the Delayer"), the cautious tactician who opposed Hannibal in the Second Punic War. The Fabians chose the name to draw a distinction between their slow-going tactics and those of anarchists and communists. The Latin gens name possibly is from faba "a bean."
- fable (n.)
- c. 1300, "falsehood, fictitious narrative; a lie, pretense," from Old French fable "story, fable, tale; drama, play, fiction; lie, falsehood" (12c.), from Latin fabula "story, story with a lesson, tale, narrative, account; the common talk, news," literally "that which is told," from fari "speak, tell," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." Restricted sense of "animal story" (early 14c.) comes from Aesop. In modern folklore terms, defined as "a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways" ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore"].
- fable-monger (n.)
- also fablemonger, 1670s, from fable (n.) + monger (n.).
- fabled (adj.)
- c. 1600, "unreal, invented," past participle adjective from fable (v.) "to tell tales" (late 14c.), from Old French fabler "tell, narrate; chatter, boast," from Latin fabulari, from fabula (see fable). Meaning "celebrated in fable" is from 1706.
- fabric (n.)
- late 15c., "building; thing made; a structure of any kind," from Middle French fabrique (14c.), verbal noun from fabriquer (13c.), from Latin fabricare "to make, construct, fashion, build," from fabrica "workshop," also "an art, trade; a skillful production, structure, fabric," from faber "artisan who works in hard materials," from Proto-Italic *fafro-, from PIE *dhabh- "to fit together" (source also of Armenian darbin "smith;" also see daft).
The noun fabrica suggests the earlier existence of a feminine noun to which an adj. *fabriko- referred; maybe ars "art, craft." [de Vaan]
Sense in English evolved via "manufactured material" (1753) to "textile, woven or felted cloth" (1791). Compare forge (n.)) which is a doublet.
- fabricate (v.)
- mid-15c., "to fashion, make, build," from Latin fabricatus, past participle of fabricare "to make, construct, fashion, build," from fabrica (see fabric). In bad sense of "tell a lie (etc.)," it is recorded by 1779. Related: Fabricated; fabricating.
- fabrication (n.)
- c. 1500, "manufacturing, construction," from Middle French fabrication and directly from Latin fabricationem (nominative fabricatio) "a structure, construction, a making," noun of action from past participle stem of fabricare "to make, construct" (see fabricate). Meaning "lying, falsehood, forgery" is from 1790.
- fabulist (n.)
- 1590s, "inventor or writer of fables," from French fabuliste, from Latin fabula "story, tale" (see fable (n.)). The earlier word in English was fabler (late 14c.); the Latin term was fabulator.
- fabulous (adj.)
- early 15c., "mythical, legendary," from Latin fabulosus "celebrated in fable;" also "rich in myths," from fabula "story, tale" (see fable (n.)). Meaning "pertaining to fable" is from 1550s. Sense of "incredible" first recorded c. 1600, hence "enormous, immense, amazing," which was trivialized by 1950s to "marvelous, terrific." Slang shortening fab first recorded 1957; popularized in reference to The Beatles, c. 1963.
Fabulous (often contracted to fab(s)) and fantastic are also in that long list of words which boys and girls use for a time to express high commendation and then get tired of, such as, to go no farther back than the present century, topping, spiffing, ripping, wizard, super, posh, smashing. [Gower's 1965 revision of Fowler's "Modern English Usage"]
Related: Fabulously; fabulousness.
- facade (n.)
- 1650s, "front of a building," from French façade (16c.), from Italian facciata "the front of a building," from faccia "face," from Vulgar Latin *facia (see face (n.)). Figurative use by 1845.
- face (n.)
- c. 1300, "the human face, a face; facial appearance or expression; likeness, image," from Old French face "face, countenance, look, appearance" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *facia (source also of Italian faccia), from Latin facies "appearance, form, figure," and secondarily "visage, countenance," which probably is literally "form imposed on something" and related to facere "to make" (see factitious).
Replaced Old English andwlita "face, countenance" (from root of wlitan "to see, look") and ansyn, ansien, the usual word (from the root of seon "see"). Words for "face" in Indo-European commonly are based on the notion of "appearance, look," and are mostly derivatives from verbs for "to see, look" (as with the Old English words, Greek prosopon, literally "toward-look," Lithuanian veidas, from root *weid- "to see," etc.). But in some cases, as here, the word for "face" means "form, shape." In French, the use of face for "front of the head" was given up 17c. and replaced by visage (older vis), from Latin visus "sight."
From late 14c. as "outward appearance (as contrasted to some other reality);" also from late 14c. as "forward part or front of anything;" also "surface (of the earth or sea), extent (of a city)." Typographical sense of "part of the type which forms the letter" is from 1680s.
Whan she cometh hoom, she raumpeth in my face And crieth 'false coward.' [Chaucer, "Monk's Tale"]
Face to face is from mid-14c. Face time is attested from 1990. To lose face (1876), is said to be from Chinese tu lien; hence also save face (1915). To show (one's) face "make or put in an appearance" is from mid-14c. (shewen the face). To make a face "change the appearance of the face in disgust, mockery, etc." is from 1560s. Two faces under one hood as a figure of duplicity is attested from mid-15c.
Two fases in a hode is neuer to tryst. ["Awake lordes," 1460]
- face (v.)
- "confront with assurance; show a bold face," mid-15c., from face (n.). From c. 1400 as "deface, disfigure." Meaning "to cover with something in front" is from 1560s; that of "turn the face toward" is from 1630s; meaning "be on the opposite page to" is from 1766. Intransitive sense "to turn the face" (especially in military tactics) is from 1630s. Related: Faced; facing. To face the music (1850, in U.S. Congressional debates) probably is theatrical rather than a reference to cavalry horses.
- face-card (n.)
- "court card," 1826, from face (n.) + card (n.1). So called for the portaits on them.
- face-lift (n.)
- also facelift, 1934, from face-lifting (1922); see face (n.) + lift (n.).
- face-off (n.)
- also faceoff, 1886 in sports (hockey, etc., originally lacrosse), from verbal phrase in a sports sense, attested from 1867 (see face (v.) + off (adv.)); the off perhaps is based on stand-off or similar constructions.
- face-painting (n.)
- 1706, "portrait-painting," from face (n.) + painting (n.). In reference to applying color to the face, by 1778. Related: Face-painter; face-paint.
- face-plate (n.)
- "protective cover, shield," 1874, from face (n.) + plate (n.).
- face-value (n.)
- 1842, from face (n.) + value (n.). Originally of stock shares, banknotes, etc.
- facebook (n.)
- directory listing names and headshots, by 1983, originally among U.S. college students, from face (n.) + book (n.). The social networking Web site of that name (with capital F-) dates from 2004.
- faceless (adj.)
- 1560s, from face (n.) + -less. Related: Facelessly; facelessness.
- facet (n.)
- 1620s, "one side of a multi-sided body," from French facette (12c., Old French facete), diminutive of face "face, appearance" (see face (n.)). The diamond-cutting sense is the original one. Transferred and figurative use by 1820. Related: Faceted; facets.
- facetious (adj.)
- 1590s, from French facétieux (16c.), from facétie "a joke" (15c.), from Latin facetiae "jests, witticisms" (singular facetia), from facetus "witty, elegant, fine, courteous," which is of unknown origin, perhaps related to facis "torch."
Formerly often in a good sense, "witty, amusing," but later implying a desire to be amusing that is often intrusive or ill-timed. Related: Facetiously; facetiousness. "Facetiæ in booksellers' catalogues, is, like curious, a euphemism for erotica." [Fowler]
- facia (n.)
- variant of fascia.
- facial (adj.)
- c. 1600, "face to face," from French facial, from Medieval Latin facialis "of the face," from facies (see face (n.)). Meaning "pertaining to the face" in English is from 1786. The noun meaning "beauty treatment for the face" is from 1914, American English. Middle English had faciale (n.) "face-cloth for a corpse" (early 14c.).
- facile (adj.)
- late 15c., "easy to do," from Middle French facile "easy," from Latin facilis "easy to do" and, of persons, "pliant, courteous, yielding," from facere "to do" (see factitious). Usually now with depreciatory implication. Of persons, "easily led," from 1510s.
- facile princeps
- Latin, literally "easily first." An acknowledged leader or chief. See facile, prince.
- facilis descensus Averni
- Latin, literally "the descent of Avernus (is) easy" ["Aeneid," VI.126], in reference to Avernus, a deep lake near Puteoli and a reputed entrance to the underworld; hence, "it is easy to slip into moral ruin."
- facilitate (v.)
- 1610s, "make easy, render less difficult," from French faciliter "to render easy," from stem of Latin facilis "easy" (see facile). Related: Facilitated; facilitates; facilitating.
- facilitation (n.)
- 1610s, noun of action from facilitate.
- facilitative (adj.)
- 1845, from facilitate + -ive.
- facilitator (n.)
- 1806, agent noun in Latin form from facilitate.
- facilities (n.)
- "opportunities," 1809, plural of facility. Sense of "physical means of doing something" is from 1872.
- facility (n.)
- early 15c., "gentleness, lightness," from Middle French facilité "easiness, ease," from Latin facilitatem (nominative facilitas) "easiness, ease, fluency, willingness," from facilis "easy" (see facile). First in a medical book:
If it be nede forto smyte [the head] wiþ a malle, be it done with esynez or facilite [transl. Guy de Chauliac's "Grande Chirurgie"]
Its sense in English expanded to "opportunity" (1510s), to "aptitude, ease, quality of being easily done" (1530s). Meaning "place for doing something" which makes the word so beloved of journalists and fuzzy writers, first recorded 1872, via notion of "physical means by which (something) can be easily done."
- facing (n.)
- "defiance," 1520s, verbal noun from face (v.). Meaning "action of turning the face toward" is from 1540s; that of "covering in front of a garment" is from 1560s; that of "a coating" is from 1580s; that of "front or outer part of a wall, building, etc.," is from 1823. Earliest use is as "disfiguring, defacing" (c. 1400).
- facing (adj.)
- 1560s, "audacious," present participle adjective from face (v.). From 1849 as "that is opposite to."
- facinorous (adj.)
- "extremely wicked," 1540s, from Latin facinorosus, from stem of facinus "a deed," especially a bad one, from facere "to do" (see factitious). "Very common in 17th c." [OED].
- facsimile (n.)
- "exact copy," 1690s, two words, from Latin fac simile "make similar," from fac imperative of facere "to make" (see factitious) + simile, neuter of similis "like, resembling, of the same kind" (see similar). One-word form predominated in 20c. As an adjective from 1877
- fact (n.)
- 1530s, "action, anything done," especially "evil deed," from Latin factum "an event, occurrence, deed, achievement," in Medieval Latin also "state, condition, circumstance," literally "thing done" (source also of Old French fait, Spanish hecho, Italian fatto), noun use of neuter of factus, past participle of facere "to do" (see factitious). Main modern sense of "thing known to be true" is from 1630s, from notion of "something that has actually occurred."
Compare feat, which is an earlier adoption of the same word via French. Facts "real state of things (as distinguished from a statement of belief)" is from 1630s. In fact "in reality" is from 1707. Facts of life "harsh realities" is from 1854; euphemistic sense of "human sexual functions" first recorded 1913. Alliterative pairing of facts and figures is from 1727.
Facts and Figures are the most stubborn Evidences; they neither yield to the most persuasive Eloquence, nor bend to the most imperious Authority. [Abel Boyer, "The Political State of Great Britain," 1727]
- fact-finding (adj.)
- 1909, from fact + present participle of find (v.). Related: Fact-finder.
- faction (n.1)
- c. 1500, from Middle French faction (14c.) and directly from Latin factionem (nominative factio) "political party, class of persons," literally "a making or doing," noun of action from past participle stem of facere "to do" (see factitious). In ancient Rome, originally "one of the four teams of contenders for the chariot races in the circus," distinguished by the color of their dress. Later "oligarchy, usurping faction, party seeking by irregular means to bring about a change in government."
A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses for which they would blush in a private capacity. [Hamilton, "The Federalist," No. 15]
- faction (n.2)
- "fictional narrative based on real characters or events, 1967, a blend of fact and fiction.
- factional (adj.)
- 1640s, from faction (n.1) + -al (1). Shakespeare used factionary (c. 1600).
- factionalism (n.)
- 1860, American English, from factional + -ism. Prominent up 1930s-1950s in communist jargon.
- factious (adj.)
- "given to faction, turbulently partisan, dissentious," 1530s, from Middle French factieux and directly from Latin factiosus "partisan, seditious, inclined to form parties," from factionem "political party" (see faction (n.1)). Related: Factiously; factiousness.