- falsetto (n.)
- "artificially high voice," 1774, from Italian falsetto, diminutive of falso "false," from Latin falsus (see false). Earlier in an Englished form as falset (1707). One who sings thus is a falsettist.
- falsies (n.)
- "padded brassiere," 1943, from false + -ie.
- falsifiable (adj.)
- 1610s, from falsify + -able or from French falsifiable. Related: Falsifiability.
- falsification (n.)
- 1560s, from Late Latin falsificationem (nominative falsificatio), noun of action from past participle stem of falsificare "to falsify" (see falsify).
- falsify (v.)
- mid-15c., "to prove false," from Middle French falsifier (15c.), from Late Latin falsificare "make false, corrupt," from Latin falsus "erroneous, mistaken" (see false). Meaning "to make false" is from c. 1500. Earlier verb was simply falsen (c. 1200). Related: Falsified; falsifying.
- falsity (n.)
- c. 1300, "deceitfulness, treachery, dishonesty," from Old French fauseté "falsehood" (12c., Modern French fausseté), from Late Latin falsitatem (nominative falsitas), from Latin falsus "erroneous, mistaken" (see false). From late 14c. as "untrue statement or doctrine;" from 1570s as "character of being not true."
- Falstaffian (adj.)
- "fat, humorous, jovial," 1782, from Shakespeare's character.
- falter (v.)
- late 14c., "to stagger, totter," of unknown origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse faltrask "be burdened, hesitate, be troubled"), or else a frequentative of Middle English falden "to fold," influenced by fault (but OED rejects any direct connection to that word). Of the tongue, "to stammer," mid-15c. Related: Faltered; faltering.
- fame (n.)
- early 13c., "character attributed to someone;" late 13c., "celebrity, renown," from Old French fame "fame, reputation, renown, rumor" (12c.), from Latin fama "talk, rumor, report; reputation, public opinion; renown, good reputation," but also "ill-fame, scandal, reproach," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (cognates: Sanskrit bhanati "speaks;" Latin fari "to say," fabula "narrative, account, tale, story;" Armenian ban, bay "word, term;" Old Church Slavonic bajati "to talk, tell;" Old English boian "to boast," ben "prayer, request;" Greek pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking, talk," phone "voice, sound," phanai "to speak;" Old Irish bann "law").
The goddess Fama was the personification of rumor in Roman mythology. The Latin derivative fabulare was the colloquial word for "speak, talk" since the time of Plautus, whence Spanish hablar.
I've always been afraid I was going to tap the world on the shoulder for 20 years, and when it finally turned around I was going to forget what I had to say. [Tom Waits, "Playboy" magazine interview, March, 1988]
- famed (adj.)
- "much talked about," 1530s, past participle adjective from fame "spread abroad, report" (v.), c. 1300, from Old French famer, from fame "reputation, renown" (see fame (n.)). To fame (someone) foul meant "to slander" (late 14c.).
- familial (adj.)
- 1888, "pertaining to the family," from French familial, from Latin familia (see family). Meaning "hereditary" is from 1895; from 1903 as "family-like." Earlier familiar also had been used in the sense "of or pertaining to one's family" (late 14c.).
- familiar (adj.)
- mid-14c., "intimate, very friendly, on a family footing," from Old French famelier "related; friendly," from Latin familiaris "domestic, private, belonging to a family, of a household;" also "familiar, intimate, friendly," dissimilated from *familialis, from familia (see family). From late 14c. as "of or pertaining to one's family." Of things, "known from long association," from late 15c. Meaning "ordinary, usual" is from 1590s.
The noun meaning "demon, evil spirit that answers one's call" is from 1580s (familiar spirit is attested from 1560s); earlier as a noun it meant "a familiar friend" (late 14c.). The Latin plural, used as a noun, meant "the slaves," also "a friend, intimate acquaintance, companion."
- familiarise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of familiarize; for spelling, see -ize. Related: Familiarised; familiarising.
- familiarity (n.)
- c. 1200, "closeness of personal association, intimacy," from Old French familiarite and directly from Latin familiaritatem (nominative familiaritas) "intimacy, friendship, close acquaintance," from familiaris "friendly, intimate" (see familiar). Meaning "undue intimacy" is from late 14c. That of "state of being habitually acquainted" is from c. 1600.
- familiarization (n.)
- 1755, noun of action from familiarize.
- familiarize (v.)
- c. 1600, "to make well known," from familiar + -ize or from French familiariser. Meaning "to make acquainted with" is from 1680s. Related: Familiarized; familiarizing.
- familiarly (adv.)
- late 14c., "commonly;" early 15c., "intimately;" from familiar + -ly (2).
- family (n.)
- early 15c., "servants of a household," from Latin familia "family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household," thus also "members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants," abstract noun formed from famulus "servant, slave," which is of unknown origin.
The Latin word rarely appears in the sense "parents with their children," for which domus (see domestic (adj.)) was used. Derivatives of famulus include famula "serving woman, maid," famulanter "in the manner of a servant," famulitas "servitude," familiaris "of one's household, private," familiaricus "of household slaves," familiaritas "close friendship."
In English, sense of "collective body of persons who form one household under one head and one domestic government, including parents, children, and servants, and as sometimes used even lodgers or boarders" [Century Dictionary] is from 1540s. From 1660s as "parents with their children, whether they dwell together or not," also in a more general sense, "persons closely related by blood, including aunts, uncles, cousins;" earlier "those who descend from a common progenitor, a house, a lineage" (1580s). Hence, "any group of things classed as kindred based on common distinguishing characteristics" (1620s); as a scientific classification, between genus and order, from 1753.
I have certainly known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots. [William Butler Yeats, "Autobiography"]
Replaced Old English hiwscipe, hiwan "family," cognate with Old Norse hjon "one of the household; married couple, man and wife; domestic servant," and with Old High German hiwo "husband," hiwa "wife," also with Lithuanian šeimyna "family," Gothic haims "village," Old English ham "village, home" (see home (n.)).
As an adjective from c. 1600; with the meaning "suitable for a family," by 1807. Family values first recorded 1966. Phrase in a family way "pregnant" is from 1796. Family circle is 1809; family man "man devoted to wife and children, man inclined to lead a domestic life" is 1856 (earlier it meant "thief," 1788, from family in a slang sense of "the fraternity of thieves"). Family-tree "graph of ancestral relations" attested from 1752:
He was dressed in his best Coat, which had served him in the same Capacity before my Birth, and possibly, might be but little short in Antiquity, to the Root of his third Family Tree; and indeed, he made a venerable Figure in it. ["A Genuine Account of the Life and Transactions of Howell ap David Price, Gentleman of Wales," London, 1752]
The phrase is attested from 1844.
Happy family an assemblage of animals of diverse habits and propensities living amicably, or at least quietly, together in one cage. [Century Dictionary, 1902]
- family-room (n.)
- 1797, from family + room (n.).
- famine (n.)
- mid-14c., from Old French famine "famine, starvation" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *famina, from Latin fames "hunger, starvation, famine," which is of unknown origin.
- famish (v.)
- "cause to hunger," c. 1400, famyschen, "alteration of famen (late 14c.), a shortening of Old French afamer (12c., Modern French affamer), from Vulgar Latin *affamare "to bring to hunger," from ad famem, from Latin fames "hunger" (see famine).
Ending changed mid-14c. to -ish under influence of ravish, anguish, etc. It also once had an intransitive sense and was so used by Shakespeare and Milton. Related: Famished; famishing.
- famous (adj.)
- late 14c., "celebrated in public report, renowned, well-known" also "notorious, infamous," from Anglo-French famous, Old French fameus (Modern French fameux), from Latin famosus "much talked of, renowned," often "infamous, notorious, of ill repute," from fama (see fame (n.)). A native word for this was Old English namcuð, literally "name-known." Catch phrase famous last words in the humorous sense "remark likely to prove fatally wrong" is attested from 1921 (early lists of them include "Let's see if it's loaded ... We'll get across before the train comes ... Which one is the third rail? ... Light up, it can't explode").
- famously (adv.)
- mid-15c., "commonly," from famous + -ly (2). From 1570s as "with celebrity;" from c. 1600 in colloquial sense "remarkably well."
- fan (n.1)
- device to make an air current, Old English fann (West Saxon) "a basket or shovel for winnowing grain" (by tossing it in the air), from Latin vannus, perhaps related to ventus "wind" (see wind (n.1)), or from PIE root *wet- (1) "to blow" (also "to inspire, spiritually arouse;" see wood (adj.)).
The chaff, being lighter, would blow off. Sense of "device for moving air" first recorded late 14c.; the hand-held version is first attested 1550s. A fan-light (1819) was shaped like a lady's fan. The automobile's fan-belt is from 1909. Fan-dance is from 1872 in a Japanese context; by 1937 as a type of burlesque performance.
- fan (n.2)
- "devotee," 1889, American English, originally of baseball enthusiasts, probably a shortening of fanatic, but it may be influenced by the fancy, a collective term for followers of a certain hobby or sport (especially boxing); see fancy (n.). There is an isolated use from 1682, but the modern word likely is a late 19c. formation. Fan mail attested from 1920, in a Hollywood context; Fan club attested by 1930.
Before the close of the republic, an enthusiastic partisan of one of the factions in the chariot races flung himself upon the pile on which the body of a favourite coachman was consumed, and perished in the flames. [Lecky, "European Morals"]
- fan (v.)
- late Old English fannian "to winnow (grain)," from the noun (see fan (n.1)). Meaning "to stir up air" is from early 15c. Baseball sense of "strike out (a batter)" is by 1909. Related: Fanned; fanning. To fan out "spread out like a hand-held fan," is from 1590s.
- fanatic (n.)
- 1520s, "insane person," from Latin fanaticus "mad, enthusiastic, inspired by a god," also "furious, mad," originally, "pertaining to a temple," from fanum "temple, shrine, consecrated place," related to festus "festive" (see feast (n.)). Meaning "zealous person, person affected by enthusiasm" is from 1640s. As an adjective, in English, 1530s, "furious;" meaning "characterized by excessive enthusiasm," especially in religion (of Nonconformists), is from 1640s.
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. [attributed to Winston Churchill]
- fanatical (adj.)
- 1540s, from fanatic + -al (1). Related: Fanatically.
- fanaticism (n.)
- 1650s, from fanatic + -ism.
- fanboy (n.)
- "young male enthusiast," by 1988, from fan (n.2) + boy. Fangirl attested from 1989.
- fancied (adj.)
- "imaginary, formed by the fancy," 1560s, past participle adjective from fancy (v.).
- fancier (n.)
- "one with a special taste or aptitude (for something)," 1765, agent noun from fancy (v.).
- fanciful (adj.)
- 1620s, from fancy (n.) + -ful. Related: Fancifully.
- fancy (n.)
- mid-15c., fantsy "inclination, liking," contraction of fantasy. It took the older and longer word's sense of "inclination, whim, desire." Meaning "the productive imagination" is from 1580s. That of "a fanciful image or conception" is from 1660s. Meaning "fans of an amusement or sport, collectively" is attested by 1735, especially (though not originally) of the prize ring. The adjective is recorded from 1751 in the sense "fine, elegant, ornamental" (opposed to plain); later as "involving fancy, of a fanciful nature" (1800). Fancy man attested by 1811.
- fancy (v.)
- "take a liking to," 1540s, a contraction of fantasien "to fantasize (about)," from fantasy (n.). Meaning "imagine" is from 1550s. Related: Fancied; fancies; fancying. Colloquial use in fancy that, etc. is recorded by 1813.
- fancy-free (adj.)
- "free from the trammels of love, having the 'fancy' or affection free," 1580s, from fancy (n.) + free (adj.).
- fandangle (n.)
- 1835, "useless ornamentation," Southern U.S., perhaps an alteration of fandango.
- fandango (n.)
- mid-18c., lively Spanish dance, the word of unknown etymology [OED says "alleged to be of negro origin"], of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to fado (Watkins traces both to Latin fari "to speak"); fado is lovely but not lively, so perhaps the link, if any, is thematic. By extension in American English, "any noisy entertainment."
- fandom (n.)
- "the realm of avid enthusiasts," 1903, from fan (n.2) + -dom.
- fane (n.)
- "weathercock," late 14c., from Old English fana "flag, banner," from Proto-Germanic *fanon (cognates: Old Frisian fana, Gothic fana "piece of cloth," Old High German fano, German Fahne "flag, standard"); possibly cognate with Latin pannus "piece of cloth" (see pane).
- fanfare (n.)
- c. 1600, "a flourish sounded on a trumpet or bugle," from French fanfare "a sounding of trumpets" (16c.), from fanfarer "blow a fanfare" (16c.), perhaps echoic, or perhaps borrowed (with Spanish fanfarron "braggart," and Italian fanfano "babbler") from Arabic farfar "chatterer," of imitative origin. French fanfaron also came into English 1670s with a sense "boastful."
- fang (n.)
- Old English fang "prey, spoils, plunder, booty; a seizing or taking," from gefangen, strong past participle of fon "seize, take, capture," from Proto-Germanic *fango- (cognates: Old Frisian fangia, Middle Dutch and Dutch vangen, Old Norse fanga, German fangen, Gothic fahan), from PIE root *pag- "to make firm, fix;" connected to Latin pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see pact).
The sense of "canine tooth" (1550s) was not in Middle English and probably developed from Old English fengtoð, literally "catching- or grasping-tooth." Compare German Fangzahn. Transferred to the venom tooth of a serpent, etc., by 1800.
- fangled (adj.)
- 1580s, "new-made," with implications of "foppish," from fangle (n.) "a new fancy, a novelty," based on newfangle "fond of novelty" (see newfangled).
- Fannie Mae (n.)
- 1948, from FNMA, acronym of "Federal National Mortgage Association," established 1938.
- fanny (n.)
- "buttocks," 1920, American English, from earlier British meaning "vulva" (1879), perhaps from the name of John Cleland's heroine in the scandalous novel "Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" (1748). The fem. proper name is a diminutive of Frances. The genital sense is still the primary one outside U.S., but is not current in American English, a difference which can have consequences when U.S. TV programs and movies air in Britain.
- fantabulous (adj.)
- 1957, creative merger of fantastic and fabulous.
- fantail (n.)
- 1728, "a tail shaped like a fan," from fan (n.1) + tail (n.1). Specifically of birds from 1848.
- fantasia (n.)
- "musical composition that sounds extemporaneous," 1724, from Italian fantasia, from Latin phantasia (see fantasy).
- fantasise (v.)
- artificial British English spelling of fantasize, not much attested before 1970s. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Fantasised; fantasising.
- fantasize (v.)
- 1926, from fantasy + -ize. Related: Fantasized; fantasizing. An earlier verb was fantasticate (c. 1600).