- fate (n.)
- late 14c., "one's lot or destiny; predetermined course of life;" also "one's guiding spirit," from Old French fatefata (source also of Spanish hado, Portuguese fado, Italian fato), neuter plural of fatum "prophetic declaration of what must be, oracle, prediction," thus the Latin word's usual sense, "that which is ordained, destiny, fate," literally "thing spoken (by the gods)," from neuter past participle of fari "to speak," from PIE *bha- (2) "speak" (see fame (n.)).
From early 15c. as "power that rules destinies, agency which predetermines events; supernatural predetermination;" also "destiny personified." Meaning "that which must be" is from 1660s; sense of "final event" is from 1768. The Latin sense evolution is from "sentence of the Gods" (Greek theosphaton) to "lot, portion" (Greek moira, personified as a goddess in Homer). The sense "one of the three goddesses (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) who determined the course of a human life" is in English by 1580s. Often in a bad sense in Latin: "bad luck, ill fortune; mishap, ruin; a pest or plague." The native word in English was wyrd (see weird).
- fate (v.)
- "to preordain as if by fate; to be destined by fate," c.1600, from fate (n.). Related: Fated; fating. Earlier it meant "to destroy" (c.1400).
- fateful (adj.)
- 1710s, "prophetic," from fate + -ful. Meaning "of momentous consequences" is from c.1800. Related: Fatefully.
- father (n.)
- Old English fæder "father, male ancestor," from Proto-Germanic *fader (cognates: Old Saxon fadar, Old Frisian feder, Dutch vader, Old Norse faðir, Old High German fater, German vater), from PIE *pəter (cognates: Sanskrit pitar-, Greek pater, Latin pater, Old Persian pita, Old Irish athir "father"), presumably from baby-speak sound like pa.
My heart leaps up when I behold
The classic example of Grimm's Law, where PIE "p-" becomes Germanic "f-." Spelling with -th- (15c.) reflects widespread phonetic shift in Middle English that turned -der to -ther in many words; spelling caught up to pronunciation in 1500s (compare burden, murder, mother, weather). Father-figure is from 1954. Fathers "leading men, elders" is from 1580s.
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
- father (v.)
- c.1400, from father (n.). Related: Fathered; fathering.
- Father's Day
- 1910, begun in Spokane, Washington, U.S., but not widespread until 1943; an imitation of Mother's Day.
- father-in-law (n.)
- late 14c., from father (n.) + in-law.
- fatherhood (n.)
- early 14c., faderhade; see father (n.) + -hood.
- fatherland (n.)
- 1620s, from father (n.) + land (n.). In modern use often a loan-translation of German Vaterland, itself a loan-translation of Latin patria (terra), literally "father's land." Late Old English/Middle English fæderland (c.1100) meant "parental land, inheritance."
- fatherless (adj.)
- Old English fæderleas; see father (n.) + -less.
- fatherly (adj.)
- Old English fæderlic; see father (n.) + -ly (1).
- fathom (n.)
- Old English fæðm "length of the outstretched arm" (a measure of about six feet), also "arms, grasp," and, figuratively "power," from Proto-Germanic *fathmaz "embrace" (cognates: Old Norse faðmr "embrace, bosom," Old Saxon fathmos "the outstretched arms," Dutch vadem "a measure of six feet"), from PIE *pot(e)-mo-, from root *pete- "to spread, stretch out" (see pace (n.)). There are apparent cognates in Old Frisian fethem, German faden "thread," which OED explains by reference to "spreading out."
- fathom (v.)
- Old English fæðmian "to embrace, surround, envelop;" see fathom (n.). The meaning "take soundings" is from c.1600; its figurative sense of "get to the bottom of, understand" is 1620s. Related: Fathomed; fathoming.
- fathomable (adj.)
- 1630s, figurative; 1690s, literal; from fathom (v.) + -able.
- fathomless (adj.)
- 1630s, literal; 1640s, figurative; from fathom + -less.
- fatigue (n.)
- 1660s, "that which causes weariness," from French fatigue "weariness," from fatiguer "to tire," from Latin fatigare, originally "to cause to break down," later, "to weary, fatigue, tire out," from pre-Latin adj. *fati-agos "driving to the point of breakdown," from Old Latin *fatis (of unknown origin, related to adv. affatim "sufficiently" and to fatisci "crack, split") + root of agere "to drive" (see act (n.)). Meaning "weariness from exertion" is from 1719.
- fatigue (v.)
- 1690s, from French fatiguer (15c.), from fatigue (see fatigue (n.)). Earlier in same sense was fatigate (1530s), from Latin fatigatus, past participle of fatigare. Related: Fatigued; fatiguing; fatigation (c.1500).
- fatigues (n.)
- "extra duties of a soldier," 1776, from fatigue. As a military clothing outfit, from 1836, short for fatigue dress (1833).
- Arab dynasty that ruled 908-1171 in North Africa and sometimes Egypt and Syria, from Fatima, daughter of Muhammad by his first wife, Khadija; Fatima married Ali, and from them the dynasty claimed descent.
- fatten (v.)
- 1550s, from fat + -en (1). Related: Fattened. The earlier verb was simply fat (v.).
- fattening (adj.)
- "that makes fat," 1690s, present participle adjective from fatten. Earlier word was fatting (1530s).
- fatty (adj.)
- late 14c., from fat + -y (2). As a name for a fat person, attested by 1797 (with -y (3)).
- fatuity (n.)
- 1530s, from Middle French fatuité (14c.), from Latin fatuitatem (nominative fatuitas) "foolishness," from fatuus "foolish, insipid," of uncertain origin.
- fatuous (adj.)
- c.1600, from Latin fatuus "foolish, insipid, silly;" of uncertain origin (Buck suggests originally "stricken" in the head). Related: Fatuously; fatuousness.
- fatwa (n.)
- 1620s, from Arabic fetwa "a decision given by a mufti," related to fata "to instruct by a legal decision." Popularized 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a ruling sentencing author Salman Rushdie to death for publishing "The Satanic Verses" (1988). It was lifted 1998.
- faubourg (n.)
- "suburb," late 15c., from Middle French faux bourg, said by French authorities to be from Old French forsbourc (12c.) "suburbs, outskirts," literally "that which is outside the town," from fors "outside" (from Latin foris) + bourc "town," of Frankish origin (cognate with English borough), altered in Middle French by folk-etymology to faux bourg "false town" (suburbs were seen as inauthentic).
- faucet (n.)
- c.1400, from Old French fausset (14c.) "breach, spigot, stopper, peg (of a barrel)," of unknown origin; perhaps diminutive of Latin faux, fauces "upper part of the throat, pharynx, gullet." Barnhart and others suggest the Old French word is from fausser "to damage, break into," from Late Latin falsare (see false).
Spigot and faucet was the name of an old type of tap for a barrel or cask, consisting of a hollow, tapering tube, which was driven at the narrow end into a barrel, and a screw into the tube which regulated the flow of the liquid. Properly, it seems, the spigot was the tube, the faucet the screw, but the senses have merged or reversed over time. Faucet is now the common word in American English for the whole apparatus.
- fault (n.)
- late 13c., faute, "deficiency," from Old French faute (12c.) "opening, gap; failure, flaw, blemish; lack, deficiency," from Vulgar Latin *fallita "a shortcoming, falling," noun use of fem. past participle, from Latin falsus "deceptive, feigned, spurious," past participle of fallere "deceive, disappoint" (see fail (v.)).
The -l- was restored 16c., probably in imitation of Latin, but was not pronounced till 18c. Sense of "physical defect" is from early 14c.; that of "moral culpability" is first recorded late 14c. Geological sense is from 1796. The use in tennis (c.1600) is closer to the etymological sense.
- fault (v.)
- late 14c., Scottish, "be deficient;" see fault (n.). Meaning "find fault with" is from mid-15c. Related: Faulted; faulter; faulting.
- faultless (adj.)
- mid-14c., "having no blemishes or imperfections," from fault (n.) + -less. Meaning "having no blame, culpability, or guilt" is from 1570s. Related: Faultlessly; faultlessness.
- faulty (adj.)
- late 14c., from fault (n.) + -y (2). Related: Faultiness.
- faun (n.)
- late 14c., from Latin Faunus, a word of unknown origin. A god of the countryside, worshipped especially by farmers and shepherds, equivalent of Greek Pan. Formerly men with goat horns and tails, later with goat legs, which caused them to be assimilated to satyrs, but they have diverged again lately.
The faun is now regarded rather as the type of unsophisticated & the satyr of unpurified man; the first is man still in intimate communion with Nature, the second is man still swayed by bestial passions. [Fowler]
The plural is fauni.
- fauna (n.)
- 1771, collective name for animals of a certain region or time, from Late Latin Fauna, a Roman fertility goddess, wife, sister, or daughter (or some combination thereof) of Faunus (see faun).
Popularized by Linnaeus, who adopted it as a companion word to flora and used it in the title of his 1746 catalogue of the animals of Sweden, "Fauna Suecica." First used in English by naturalist Gilbert White.
- faunal (adj.)
- 1877, from fauna + -al (1).
- in various usages, from the gentle boy hero of Frances Hodgson Burnett's popular novel "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1885). The family name is from mid-13c., literally "son of the king" (Anglo-French Le Enfant le Roy).
- 1876, in reference to Johann Faust (c.1485-1541), German wandering astrologer and wizard, who was reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil. Fantastic tales of his life were told as early as the late 16c., and he was the hero of dramas by Marlowe and Goethe. The Latinized form of his name, faustus, means "of favorable omen."
- Fauvist (n.)
- movement in painting associated with Henri Matisse, 1915, from French fauve, "wild beast" (12c., in Old French "fawn-colored horse, dark-colored thing, dull," from Frankish *falw-, from the Germanic root of fallow (adj.)). Coined by French art critic Louis Vauxcelles at Autumn Salon of 1905. It was a reaction against impressionism, featuring vivid use of colors. Related: Fauvism.
- faux (adj.)
- from French faux "false" (12c., see false). Used with English words at least since 1676 (Etheredge, faux-prude). Used by itself, with French pronunciation, from 1980s to mean "fake."
- faux pas (n.)
- 1670s, French, literally "false step."
- 1938, slang shortening of favorite.
- personification of the west wind in Roman mythology, OED says from Latin favere "to favor;" Klein says by dissimilation from *fovonius, literally "the warming wind," from fovere "to warm" (see fever). This is the source (via Old High German phonno, 10c., via Vulgar Latin contraction *faonius) of German Föhn "warm, dry wind blowing down Alpine valleys."
- favor (n.)
- c.1300, "attractiveness, charm," from Old French favor (13c., Modern French faveur) "favor, approval, partiality," from Latin favorem (nominative favor) "good will, inclination, partiality, support," coined by Cicero from stem of favere "to show kindness to," from PIE *ghow-e- "to honor, revere, worship." Meaning "act of kindness" is from late 14c. Meaning "thing given as a mark of favor" is from 1580s. Phrase in favor of recorded from 1560s.
- favor (v.)
- "to regard with favor, indulge, treat with partiality," mid-14c., from Old French favorer, from favor (see favor (n.)). Related: Favored; favoring.
- favorable (adj.)
- mid-14c., from Old French favorable "well-disposed, favorable, partial," from Latin favorabilis "favored, in favor," from favor (see favor (n.)). Related: Favorably.
- favorite (n.)
- 1580s, from Middle French favorit, perhaps via Italian favorito, past participle of favorire, from favore, from Latin favorem (see favor (n.)). In racing, attested from 1813. As an adjective, by 1711.
- favoritism (n.)
- 1763, from favorite + -ism.
- chiefly British English spelling of favor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or. Related: Favourite; favouritism.
- favourable (adj.)
- chiefly British English spelling of favorable; for spelling, see -or. Related: Favourably.
- favous (adj.)
- "resembling a honeycomb," 1670s, from Latin favus "honeycomb."
- fawn (n.)
- "young deer," mid-14c., from Anglo-French (late 13c.), Old French faon, feon "young animal" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fetonem (nominative *feto), from Latin fetus "an offspring" (see fetus). Still used of the young of any animal in King James I's private translation of the Psalms, but mainly of deer from 15c. Color use is 1881.