feculent (adj.) Look up feculent at Dictionary.com
"muddy, turbid, full of dregs or impurities," late 15c., from Middle French féculent, from Latin faeculentus "abounding in dregs," from stem faec- "sediment, dregs" (see feces) + adjective suffix -ulentus "full of." Related: Feculence.
fecund (adj.) Look up fecund at Dictionary.com
a 16c. Latinizing revision of the spelling of Middle English fecond (early 15c.), from Middle French fecond (Old French fecont "fruitful"), from Latin fecundus "fruitful, fertile, productive; rich, abundant," from *fe-kwondo-, suffixed form (adjectival) of Latin root *fe-, corresponding to PIE *dhe(i)- "to suck, suckle," also "produce, yield."

Cognates include: Sanskrit dhayati "sucks," dhayah "nourishing;" Greek thele "mother's breast, nipple," thelys "female, fruitful;" Old Church Slavonic dojiti "to suckle," dojilica "nurse," deti "child;" Lithuanian dele "leech;" Old Prussian dadan "milk;" Gothic daddjan "to suckle;" Old Swedish dia "suckle;" Old High German tila "female breast;" Old Irish denaim "I suck," dinu "lamb."

Also from the same Latin root come felare "to suck;" femina "woman" (*fe-mna-, literally "she who suckles"); felix "happy, auspicious, fruitful;" fetus "offspring, pregnancy;" fenum "hay" (probably literally "produce"); and probably filia/filius "daughter/son," assimilated from *felios, originally "a suckling."
fecundity (n.) Look up fecundity at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin fecunditatem (nominative fecunditas) "fruitfulness, fertility," from fecundus "fruitful, fertile" (see fecund).
fed (n.) Look up fed at Dictionary.com
1788, short for Federalist; as colloquial for "official of the federal government," from 1916; especially, since 1930s, of FBI agents.
fed (adj.) Look up fed at Dictionary.com
past participle adjective from feed (v.). Fed up "surfeited, disgusted, bored," is British slang first recorded 1900 (some early uses connect it to the Boer War), extended to U.S. by World War I; probably from earlier phrases like fed up to the back teeth. Earlier it was used of livestock, "fatten up by feeding." The notion probably is the same one in to have had enough "to have had too much."
fedayeen (n.) Look up fedayeen at Dictionary.com
partisans or irregulars in the Middle East, from Arabic plural of fedai "devotee, zealot, one who risks life for a cause," from Persian fidai.
federal (adj.) Look up federal at Dictionary.com
1640s, as a theological term (in reference to "covenants" between God and man), from French fédéral, an adjective formed from Latin foedus (genitive foederis) "covenant, league, treaty, alliance," from PIE *bhoid-es-, from root *bheidh- "to trust" (which also is the source of Latin fides "faith;" see faith).

Secular meaning "pertaining to a covenant or treaty" (1650s) led to political sense of "formed by agreement among independent states" (1707), from use of the word in federal union "union based on a treaty" (popularized during formation of U.S.A. 1776-1787) and like phrases. Also from this period in U.S. history comes the sense "favoring the central government" (1788) and the especial use of the word (as opposed to confederate) to mean a state in which the federal authority is independent of the component parts within its legitimate sphere of action. Used from 1861 in reference to the Northern forces in the American Civil War.
federalism (n.) Look up federalism at Dictionary.com
1793, "doctrine of federal union in government," American English, from French fédéralisme, from fédéral (see federal). Also, from about the same time and place, "doctrines of the Federalist Party in American politics."
federalist (n.) Look up federalist at Dictionary.com
1787, American English, "member or supporter of the Federal party in U.S. politics" (originally of supporters of the Philadelphia constitution), from federal + -ist. General sense of "one who supports federal union" is from 1792. The party expired c.1824. As an adjective by 1801.
federate (v.) Look up federate at Dictionary.com
1814 (implied in federated), a back-formation from federation, or else from Latin foederatus "leagued, federated, combined; having a treaty, bound by treaty," past participle of foederare "to establish by treaty," from foedus "covenant, treaty, alliance" (see federal). Related: Federating. As an adjective, by 1710.
federation (n.) Look up federation at Dictionary.com
1721, "union by agreement," from French fédération, from Late Latin foederationem (nominative foederatio), noun of action from Latin foederare "league together," from foedus "covenant, league" (see federal).
fedora (n.) Look up fedora at Dictionary.com
type of hat, 1887, American English, from "Fédora," a popular play by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908) that opened 1882, in which the heroine, a Russian princess named Fédora Romanoff, originally was performed by Sarah Bernhardt. During the play, Bernhardt, a notorious cross-dresser, wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. Women's-rights activists adopted the fashion. The proper name is Russian fem. of Fedor, from Greek Theodoros, literally "gift of god," from theos "god" (see theo-) + doron "gift" (see date (n.1)).
fee (n.) Look up fee at Dictionary.com
Middle English, representing the merger or mutual influence of two words, one from Old English, one from an Old French form of the same Germanic word, and both ultimately from a PIE root meaning "cattle."

The Old English word is feoh "livestock, cattle; movable property; possessions in livestock, goods, or money; riches, treasure, wealth; money as a medium of exchange or payment," from Proto-Germanic *fehu- (cognates: Old Saxon fehu, Old High German fihu, German Vieh "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune"). This is from PIE *peku- "cattle" (cognates: Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus "cattle;" Latin pecu "cattle," pecunia "money, property").

The other word is Anglo-French fee, from Old French fieu, a variant of fief "possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment" (see fief), which apparently is a Germanic compound in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh.

Via Anglo-French come the legal senses "estate in land or tenements held on condition of feudal homage; land, property, possession" (c.1300). Hence fee-simple (late 14c.) "absolute ownership," as opposed to fee-tail (early 15c.) "entailed ownership," inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir "to cut, to limit").

The feudal sense was extended from landholdings to inheritable offices of service to a feudal lord (late 14c.; in Anglo-French late 13c.), for example forester of fe "a forester by heritable right." As these often were offices of profit, the word came to be used for "remuneration for service in office" (late 14c.), hence, "payment for (any kind of) work or services" (late 14c.). From late 14c. as "a sum paid for a privilege" (originally admission to a guild); early 15c. as "money payment or charge exacted for a license, etc."
fee-faw-fum (interj.) Look up fee-faw-fum at Dictionary.com
exclamation of the giant in "Jack the Giant-Killer," c.1600.
feeb (n.) Look up feeb at Dictionary.com
slang for "feeble-minded person," by 1914, American English, from feeble. Other words used in the same sense were feeble (n.), mid-14c.; feebling (1887).
feeble (adj.) Look up feeble at Dictionary.com
late 12c., "lacking strength or vigor" (physical, moral, or intellectual), from Old French feble "weak, feeble" (12c., Modern French faible), from Latin flebilis "lamentable," literally "that is to be wept over," from flere "weep, cry, shed tears, lament," from PIE *bhle- "to howl" (see bleat (v.)). The first -l- was lost in Old French. The noun meaning "feeble person" is recorded from mid-14c.
feeble-minded (adj.) Look up feeble-minded at Dictionary.com
also feebleminded, 1530s; see feeble + minded. Related: Feeble-mindedness.
feebleness (n.) Look up feebleness at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from feeble + -ness.
feebly (adv.) Look up feebly at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from feeble + -ly (2).
feed (v.) Look up feed at Dictionary.com
Old English fedan "nourish, give food to, sustain, foster" (transitive), from Proto-Germanic *fodjan (cognates: Old Saxon fodjan, Old Frisian feda, Dutch voeden, Old High German fuotan, Old Norse foeða, Gothic fodjan "to feed"), from PIE root *pa- "to protect, feed" (see food). Intransitive sense "take food, eat" is from late 14c. Meaning "to supply to as food" is from 1818.
feed (n.) Look up feed at Dictionary.com
"action of feeding," 1570s, from feed (v.). Meaning "food for animals" is first attested 1580s. Meaning "a sumptuous meal" is from 1808. Of machinery, "action of or system for providing raw material" from 1892.
feedback (n.) Look up feedback at Dictionary.com
1920, in the electronics sense, "the return of a fraction of an output signal to the input of an earlier stage," from verbal phrase, from feed (v.) + back (adv.). Transferred use, "information about the results of a process" is attested by 1955.
feeder (n.) Look up feeder at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "one who feeds (an animal);" 1560s, "one who eats;" agent noun from feed (v.). As a mechanical apparatus for conveying materials, from 1660s. Of cattle and streams, by 1790s; of roads and railroads, by 1850s.
feeding (n.) Look up feeding at Dictionary.com
"act of taking food," Old English feding, verbal noun from feed (v.). Feeding frenzy is from 1989, metaphoric extension of a phrase that had been used of sharks since 1950s.
feel (v.) Look up feel at Dictionary.com
Old English felan "to touch or have a sensory experience of; perceive, sense (something)," in late Old English "have a mental perception," from Proto-Germanic *foljan (cognates: Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), from PIE root *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (cognates: Greek psallein "to pluck (the harp)," Latin palpare "to touch softly, stroke," palpitare "to move quickly"), perhaps ultimately imitative.

The meaning in Old English was "to perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a tactile sensation, sense pain, pleasure, illness, etc.; have an emotional experience or reaction," developed by c.1200, also "have an opinion or conviction;" that of "to react with sympathy or compassion" is from mid-14c. Meaning "to try by touch" is from early 14c. From late 14c. as "know (something) beforehand, to have foreknowledge of." To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.
feel (n.) Look up feel at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. That of "sensation produced (by an object, surface, etc.)" is from 1739. Slang sense of "a sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).
feeler (n.) Look up feeler at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "one who feels," agent noun from feel (v.). Of animal organs, 1660s. Transferred sense of "proposal put forth to observe the reaction it gets" is from 1830. Related: Feelers.
feeling (n.) Look up feeling at Dictionary.com
late 12c., "act of touching, sense of touch," verbal noun from feel (v.). Meaning "a conscious emotion" is mid-14c. Meaning "what one feels (about something), opinion" is from mid-15c. Meaning "capacity to feel" is from 1580s.
feeling (adj.) Look up feeling at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "pertaining to the physical senses, sensory," present participle adjective from feel (v.). Related: Feelingly.
feelings (n.) Look up feelings at Dictionary.com
"tender or sensitive side of one's nature," 1771, from plural of feeling.
feet (n.) Look up feet at Dictionary.com
plural of foot (n.).
feign (v.) Look up feign at Dictionary.com
A 17c. respelling of fain, fein, from Middle English feinen, feynen "disguise or conceal (deceit, falsehood, one's real meaning); dissemble, make false pretenses, lie; pretend to be" (c.1300), from Old French feindre "pretend, represent, imitate, shirk" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (see fiction).

From late 14c. as "simulate (an action, an emotion, etc.)." Related: Feigned; feigning. The older spelling is that of faint, feint, but this word acquired a -g- in imitation of the French present participle stem feign- and the Latin verb.
feint (n.) Look up feint at Dictionary.com
1670s, "a false show, assumed appearance;" 1680s as "a pretended blow, movement made to deceive an opponent as to the object of an attack," from French feinte "a feint, sham, pretense," abstract noun from Old French feint "false, deceitful" (13c.), originally fem. past participle of feindre "pretend, shirk" (see feign).

Borrowed c.1300 as adjective ("deceitful," also "enfeebled; lacking in courage;" see feint (v.)), but long obsolete in that sense except as a trade spelling of faint among stationers and paper-makers. Also as a noun in Middle English with senses "false-heartedness" (early 14c.), "bodily weakness" (c.1400).
feint (v.) Look up feint at Dictionary.com
c.1300, feinten, "to deceive, pretend" (obsolete), also "become feeble or exhausted; to lack spirit or courage," from Middle English feint (adj.) "feigned, false, counterfeit," from Old French feint, past participle of feindre (see feign (v.)). Sense of "make a sham attack, make a pretended blow" is attested by 1833, from the noun. Related: Feinted; feinting.
feist (n.) Look up feist at Dictionary.com
also fist, "a breaking wind, foul smell, fart," mid-15c. (Old English had present participle fisting, glossing Latin festiculatio), a general West Germanic word with cognates in Middle Dutch veest, Dutch vijst; see feisty.
feisty (adj.) Look up feisty at Dictionary.com
1896, "aggressive, exuberant, touchy," American English, with -y (2) + feist "small dog," earlier fice, fist (American English, 1805); short for fysting curre "stinking cur," attested from 1520s, with present participle of now-obsolete Middle English fysten, fisten "break wind" (mid-15c.), from Proto-Germanic *fistiz- "a fart," said to be from PIE *pezd- (see fart), but there are difficulties.

The 1811 slang dictionary defines fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Compare also Danish fise "to blow, to fart," and obsolete English aske-fise, "fire-tender," literally "ash-blower" (early 15c.), from an unrecorded Norse source, used in Middle English for a kind of bellows, but originally "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [OED].
feldspar (n.) Look up feldspar at Dictionary.com
type of mineral common in crystalline rocks, 1785, earlier feldspath (1757), from older German Feldspath (Modern German Feldspat), from Feld "field" (see field (n.)) + spath "spar, non-metallic mineral, gypsum" (see spar (n.2)); spelling influenced by English spar "mineral." Related: Feldspathic.
fele (adv.) Look up fele at Dictionary.com
Old English feola, fela (West Saxon), feolo, feolu (Mercian, Northumbrian), "much, many, in large amounts, very," from a common Germanic adjective from Proto-Germanic *felu- (cognates: Old Saxon filo, Dutch veel, German viel, Old Norse fiol, Gothic filu), from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill" (see poly-). Obsolete; OED's last entry for it is Hakluyt (1598).

Hence felefold "manifold," from late Old English felefeald.
It was fouler bi felefold þan it firste semed. ["Piers Plowman," c.1378]
Felicia Look up Felicia at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Latin felix (genitive felicis) "happy" (see felicity).
felicide (n.) Look up felicide at Dictionary.com
"killing of a cat," 1832, from Latin feles "cat" (see feline) + -cide.
felicitate (v.) Look up felicitate at Dictionary.com
1620s, "to render happy" (obsolete); 1630s, "to reckon happy;" from Late Latin felicitatus, past participle of felicitare "to make happy," from Latin felicitas "fruitfulness, happiness," from felix "fruitful, fertile; lucky, happy" (see felicity). Meaning "congratulate, compliment upon a happy event" is from 1630s. Related: Felicitated; felicitating. Little-used alternative verb form felicify (1680s) yielded adjective felicific (1865).
felicitation (n.) Look up felicitation at Dictionary.com
"expression of joy for another's happiness or good fortune," 1709, noun of action from felicitate. Related: Felicitations.
felicitous (adj.) Look up felicitous at Dictionary.com
1726, "blissful, very happy," from felicity + -ous. There is an isolated use of felicitously from 1530s.
felicity (n.) Look up felicity at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "happiness; that which is a source of happiness," from Old French felicite "happiness" (14c.), from Latin felicitatem (nominative felicitas) "happiness, fertility," from felix (genitive felicis) "happy, fortunate, fruitful, fertile," from Latin root *fe-, equivalent of PIE *dhe(i)- "to suck, suckle, produce, yield" (see fecund). Meaning "skillful adroitness, admirable propriety" is from c.1600.
feline (adj.) Look up feline at Dictionary.com
"cat-like," 1680s, from Late Latin felinus "of or belonging to a cat," from Latin feles (genitive felis) "cat, wild cat, marten," of uncertain origin. Hence Modern Latin Felis, the cat genus. As a noun, "a feline animal" (popularly "a domestic cat") from 1861.
felinity (n.) Look up felinity at Dictionary.com
"quality of being cat-like," 1848; see feline + -ity.
Felix Look up Felix at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Latin felix "happy" (see felicity).
fell (v.1) Look up fell at Dictionary.com
Old English fællan (Mercian), fyllan (West Saxon) "make fall, cause to fall," also "strike down, demolish, kill," from Proto-Germanic *falljan "strike down, cause to fall" (cognates: Old Frisian falla, Old Saxon fellian, Dutch fellen, Old High German fellen, German fällen, Old Norse fella, Danish fælde), causative of *fallan (source of Old English feallan; see fall (v.)), showing i-mutation. Related: Felled; feller; felling.
fell (adj.) Look up fell at Dictionary.com
"cruel," late 13c., possibly late Old English, perhaps from Old French fel "cruel, fierce, vicious," from Medieval Latin fello "villain" (see felon). Phrase at one fell swoop is from "Macbeth." Related: Fellness.
fell (n.1) Look up fell at Dictionary.com
"rocky hill," c.1300, from Old Norse fiall "mountain," from Proto-Germanic *felzam- "rock" (cognates: Old High German felisa, German Fels "stone, rock"), from PIE root *pel(i)s- "rock, cliff." Old High German felisa "a rock" is the source of French falaise (formerly falize) "cliff." Now mostly in place-names, such as Scafell Pike, highest mountain in England.