fortunate (adj.) Look up fortunate at
late 14c., "having good fortune; bringing good fortune," from Latin fortunatus "prospered, prosperous; lucky, happy," past participle of fortunare "to make prosperous," from fortuna (see fortune). Fortunate Islands "mythical abode of the blessed dead, in the Western Ocean" (early 15c.; late 14c. as Ilondes of fortune) translates Latin Fortunatae Insulae.
fortunately (adv.) Look up fortunately at
"by (good) fortune," 1540s, from fortunate + -ly (2).
fortune (n.) Look up fortune at
c. 1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly ultimately from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry" (see infer). If so, the sense might be "that which is brought."

Sense of "owned wealth" is first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth, large estate" itself. Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Soldier of fortune first attested 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine. Fortune-hunter "one who seeks to marry for wealth" is from 1680s.
fortune cookie (n.) Look up fortune cookie at
by 1955, said to have been invented in 1918 by David Jung, Chinese immigrant to America who established Hong Kong Noodle Co., who handed out cookies that contained uplifting messages as a promotional gimmick.
fortune-teller (n.) Look up fortune-teller at
also fortuneteller, 1580s, from fortune + teller. Verbal phrase tellen fortune is from early 15c.; verbal noun fortune-telling is by 1570s.
forty (n.) Look up forty at
early 12c., feowerti, from Old English feowertig, Northumbrian feuortig "forty," from feower "four" (see four) + tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Compare Old Saxon fiwartig, Old Frisian fiuwertich, Dutch veertig, Old High German fiorzug, German vierzig, Old Norse fjorir tigir, Gothic fidwor tigjus.
[T]he number 40 must have been used very frequently by Mesha's scribe as a round number. It is probably often used in that way in the Bible where it is remarkably frequent, esp. in reference to periods of days or years. ... How it came to be so used is not quite certain, but it may have originated, partly at any rate, in the idea that 40 years constituted a generation or the period at the end of which a man attains maturity, an idea common, it would seem, to the Greeks, the Israelites, and the Arabs. ["The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," James Orr, ed., Chicago, 1915]
Forty winks "short sleep" is attested from 1821; in early use associated with, and perhaps coined by, English eccentric and lifestyle reformer William Kitchiner M.D. (1775-1827). Forty-niner in U.S. history was an adventurer to California (usually from one of the eastern states) in search of fortune during the gold rush of 1849.
forum (n.) Look up forum at
mid-15c., "place of assembly in ancient Rome," from Latin forum "marketplace, open space, public place," apparently akin to foris, foras "out of doors, outside," from PIE root *dhwer- "door, doorway" (see door). Sense of "assembly, place for public discussion" first recorded 1680s.
forward (adv.) Look up forward at
Old English forewearde "toward the front, in front; toward the future; at the beginning;" see fore + -ward. Adjectival sense of "early" is from 1520s; that of "presumptuous" is attested from 1560s. The Old English adjective meant "inclined to the front; early; former."
forward (v.) Look up forward at
1590s, "to help push forward," from forward (adv.). Meaning "to send (a letter, etc.) on to another destination" is from 1757; later of e-mail. Related: Forwarded; forwarding.
forward (n.) Look up forward at
Old English foreweard, "the fore or front part" of something, "outpost; scout;" see forward (adv.). The position in football so called since 1879.
forwardness (n.) Look up forwardness at
1520s, "condition of being in advance," from forward + -ness. Meaning "presumptuousness" is from c. 1600. Old English foreweardness meant "a beginning."
forwards (adv.) Look up forwards at
c. 1400, from forward (adv.) + adverbial genitive -s. British English until mid-20c. preserved the distinction between forward and forwards, the latter expressing "a definite direction viewed in contrast with other directions." In American English, however, forward prevails in all senses since Webster (1832) damned forwards as "a corruption."
fosse (n.) Look up fosse at
"ditch, trench," early 14c. (late 13c. in place names), from Old French fosse "ditch, grave, dungeon" (12c.), from Latin fossa "ditch, trench, furrow," in full fossa terra, literally "dug earth," from fem. past participle of fodere "to dig" (see fossil). The Fosse-way (early 12c.), one of the four great Roman roads of Britain, probably was so named from the ditch on either side of it.
fossil (n.) Look up fossil at
1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging" (of coal, salt, etc.), from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig," from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce."

Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736 (the adjective in the sense "pertaining to fossils" is from 1660s); slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1833) preserves the earlier, broader sense.
fossiliferous (adj.) Look up fossiliferous at
by 1830, from fossil + -ferous "producing, containing," from ferre "to bear" (see infer).
fossilization (n.) Look up fossilization at
noun of action from fossilize.
fossilize (v.) Look up fossilize at
1794 (transitive), from fossil + -ize. Intransitive use from 1828. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Fossilized; fossilizing.
foster (v.) Look up foster at
Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostra-, from extended form of PIE root *pa- "to protect; feed" (see food).

Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c. 1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the word as an adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, fostorcild, fostormodoretc. Related: Fostered; fostering.
fosterage (n.) Look up fosterage at
1610s, "the rearing of another's child as one's own," from foster (v.) + -age.
fought Look up fought at
past tense and past participle of fight (v.). The past participle form foughten (Old English fohten) has been archaic since 18c. but occasionally appears in the phrase foughten field.
foul (adj.) Look up foul at
Old English ful "rotten, unclean, vile, corrupt, offensive to the senses," from Proto-Germanic *fulaz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Frisian ful, Middle Dutch voul, Dutch vuil, Old High German fül, German faul, Gothic füls), from PIE *pu- (2) "to rot, decay," perhaps from the sound made in reaction to smelling something bad (see pus).

Old English ful occasionally meant "ugly" (as contrasted with fæger (adj.), modern fair (adj.)), and this sense became frequent in Middle English. The cognate in Swedish is the usual word for "ugly." Of weather from mid-14c. In the sporting sense of "irregular, unfair, contrary to established rule or practice" it is first attested 1797, though foul play is recorded from mid-15c. Baseball sense of "out of play" attested by 1860.
foul (v.) Look up foul at
Old English fulian "to become foul, rot, decay," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Transitive meaning "make foul, pollute" is from c. 1200. Meaning "become entangled" (chiefly nautical) is from 1832, probably from foul (adj.) in the sense "obstructed by anything fixed or attached" (late 15c.). "A term generally used in contrast to clear, and implies entangled, embarrassed or contrary to: e.g. to foul the helm, to find steerage impracticable owing to the rudder becoming entangled with rope or other gear" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]. Related: Fouled; fouling. Hence also foul anchor (1769), one with the slack of the cable twisted round the stock or a fluke; noted by 1832 as naval insignia.
foul-mouthed (adj.) Look up foul-mouthed at
also foulmouthed, 1590s, apparently first in Shakespeare ["Henry IV," 1596]. Earlier were foul-tongued (1540s); foul-spoken (1580s).
foully (adv.) Look up foully at
Old English fullice; see foul (adj.) + -ly (2).
foulmart (n.) Look up foulmart at
"polecat," Middle English, from foul (adj.) + Old English mearþ "marten" (see marten).
foulness (n.) Look up foulness at
Old English fulness "foulness, filthy smell;" see foul (adj.) + -ness. Similar formation in Old Frisian fulnisse, Dutch vuilnis, German fäulniss.
found (v.1) Look up found at
"lay the basis of, establish," late 13c., from Old French fonder "found, establish; set, place; fashion, make" (12c.), from Latin fundare "to lay the bottom or foundation" of something, from fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Related: Founded; founding. Phrase founding fathers with reference to the creators of the American republic is attested from 1916.
found (v.2) Look up found at
"to cast metal," late 14c., originally "to mix, mingle," from Old French fondre "pour out, melt, smelt" (12c.), from Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "melt, cast, pour out," from PIE root *gheu- "to pour" (cognates: Greek khein "to pour," khoane "funnel," khymos "juice;" Gothic giutan, German gießen, Old English geotan "to pour;" Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails;" Old Norse geysa "to gush;" German Gosse "gutter, drain"). Meaning "to cast metal" is from 1560s. Related: Founded; founding.
found (adj.) Look up found at
"discovered," late 14c., past participle adjective from find (v.). Expression and found attached to the wages or charges in old advertisements for job openings, travelling berths, etc., indicates that meals are provided. It comes from the expression to find one's self "to provide for one's self." "When a laborer engages to provide himself with victuals, he is said to find himself, or to receive day wages" [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. Hence, so much and found for "wages + meals provided."
foundation (n.) Look up foundation at
late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion "foundation" (14c.) or directly from Late Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin fundare "to lay a bottom or foundation" (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol.

Specialized sense of "establishment of an institution with an endowment to pay for it" is from late 14c.; meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; meaning "funds endowed for benevolent or charitable purposes" is from early 15c. Sense of "solid base of a structure" is from early 15c.
foundational (adj.) Look up foundational at
1680s, from foundation + -al (1). Related: Foundationally.
founder (v.) Look up founder at
early 14c. "to send to the bottom" (transitive); late 14c., "to sink or fall" (intransitive), from Old French fondrer "collapse; submerge, sink, fall to the bottom" (Modern French fondrier), from fond "bottom" (12c.), from Latin fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Not especially of ships in Middle English, where it typically meant "fall to the ground." Figurative use from 1580s. Related: Foundered; foundering.
founder (n.1) Look up founder at
"one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes (something)," mid-14c., from Anglo-French fundur, Old French fondeor "founder, originator" (Modern French fondateur), from Latin fundator, agent noun from fundare "to lay a foundation" (see found (v.1)). Fem. form foundress is from early 15c.; also fundatrix (1540s).
founder (n.2) Look up founder at
"one who casts metal," c. 1400, agent noun from found (v.2).
foundling (n.) Look up foundling at
"deserted infant," c. 1300, from Middle English founden "found," past participle of finden (see find (v.)) + diminutive suffix -ling. Compare Dutch vondeling, German Findling. Middle English also had finding in this sense (late 14c.).
foundry (n.) Look up foundry at
c. 1600, "art of casting metal," from French fonderei, from fondre "to cast" (see found (v.2)). Meaning "establishment for the founding of metallic articles" is from 1640s. Related: Foundryman.
fount (n.) Look up fount at
"spring of water," 1590s, probably a shortening of fountain influenced by Middle French font "fount." Figurative use also is from 1590s.
fountain (n.) Look up fountain at
early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Medieval Latin fontana "fountain, a spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from post-classical noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water)," from PIE root *dhen- (1) "to run, flow" (cognates: Sanskrit dhanayati, Old Persian danuvatiy "flows, runs").

The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c. 1500. Hence also fountain-pen (by 1823), so called for the reservoir that supplies a continuous flow of ink. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley]. Fountain of youth, and the story of Ponce de Leon's quest for it, seem to have been introduced in American English by Hawthorne's "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (January 1837).
"Did you never hear of the 'Fountain of Youth'?" asked Dr. Heidegger, "which Ponce de Leon, the Spanish adventurer, went in search of two or three centuries ago?"
fountainhead (n.) Look up fountainhead at
also fountain-head, "spring from which a stream flows," 1580s, from fountain + head (n.). Figurative use is from c. 1600.
four (n., adj.) Look up four at
Old English feower "four; four times," from Proto-Germanic *fedwor- (cognates: Old Saxon fiuwar, Old Frisian fiower, fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch vier, Old High German fior, German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor "four"), from PIE *kwetwer- "four" (cognates: Sanskrit catvarah, Avestan čathwaro, Persian čatvar, Greek tessares, Latin quattuor, Oscan petora, Old Church Slavonic četyre, Lithuanian keturi, Old Irish cethir, Welsh pedwar). The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained; Watkins explains the -f- as being from the following number (Modern English five).

To be on all fours is from 1719; earlier on all four (14c.). Four-letter word as a euphemism for one of the short words generally regarded as offensive or objectionable is attested from 1923; four-letter man is recorded from 1920 (apparently as a euphemism for a shit). Compare Latin homo trium litterarum, literally "three-letter man," a euphemism for fur "a thief." A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage drawn by four horses driven by one person; in the sense of "loosely tied necktie" it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, compare French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains an old euphemistic slang phrase for "a pack of cards," from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 "essential information" (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information. The four-color problem so called from 1879. The four-minute mile was attained 1954.
four-corners (n.) Look up four-corners at
old form of bowling, 1801, from four + corner (n.). So called because the four pins in it were set at the corners of a square.
four-door (adj.) Look up four-door at
of cars, 1957, from four + door.
four-eyes (n.) Look up four-eyes at
"person who wears glasses," slang, 1874; see four + eye (n.).
four-flusher (n.) Look up four-flusher at
"cheat, dishonest person," 1900, from verb four-flush "to bluff a poker hand, claim a flush (n.) while holding only four cards in the suit" (1896).
four-footed (adj.) Look up four-footed at
c. 1300, fourefoted; see four + foot (n.). Replacing forms from Old English feowerfote.
four-poster (n.) Look up four-poster at
bedstead with high corner posts, 1836, from four + post (n.).
four-square (adj.) Look up four-square at
c. 1300, "having four equal sides," from four + square (adj.). As an adverb, in figurative use, "forthrightly, honestly" from 1845.
four-wheeled (adj.) Look up four-wheeled at
Old English feowerhweolod; see four + wheel (n.).
fourchette (n.) Look up fourchette at
1754, in reference to anatomical structures, from French fourchette, diminutive of fourche "a fork" (see fork (n.)).
fourfold (adj.) Look up fourfold at
Old English feowerfeald; see four + -fold. As an adverb from 1530s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fiuwerfald, Dutch viervoudig, Old High German fiervalt, German vierfältig, Danish firfold, Gothic fidurfalþs.