girdle (n.) Look up girdle at
Old English gyrdel "belt, sash, cord drawn about the waist and fastened," worn by both men and women, common Germanic (cognates: Old Norse gyrðill, Swedish gördel, Old Frisian gerdel, Dutch gordel, Old High German gurtil, German Gürtel "belt"), from the same source as Old English gyrdan "to gird" (see gird). Modern euphemistic sense of "elastic corset not extending above the waist" first recorded 1925. Originally a belt to secure the clothes, also for carrying a purse, a weapon, keys, etc.
girdle (v.) Look up girdle at
"encircle with a girdle," 1580s, from girdle (n.). Meaning "to cut off a belt of bark around a trunk to kill a tree" is from 1660s, especially in North America. Related: Girdled; girdling.
girl (n.) Look up girl at
c.1300, gyrle "child, young person" (of either sex but most frequently of females), of unknown origin. One guess [OED] leans toward an unrecorded Old English *gyrele, from Proto-Germanic *gurwilon-, diminutive of *gurwjoz (apparently also represented by Low German gære "boy, girl," Norwegian dialectal gorre, Swedish dialectal gurre "small child," though the exact relationship, if any, between all these is obscure), from PIE *ghwrgh-, also found in Greek parthenos "virgin." But this involves some objectionable philology. Liberman (2008) writes:
Girl does not go back to any Old English or Old Germanic form. It is part of a large group of Germanic words whose root begins with a g or k and ends in r. The final consonant in girl is a diminutive suffix. The g-r words denote young animals, children, and all kinds of creatures considered immature, worthless, or past their prime.
Another candidate is Old English gierela "garment" (for possible sense evolution in this theory, compare brat). A former folk-etymology derivation from Latin garrulus "chattering, talkative" is now discarded. Like boy, lass, lad it is of more or less obscure origin. "Probably most of them arose as jocular transferred uses of words that had originally different meaning" [OED]. Specific meaning of "female child" is late 14c. Applied to "any young unmarried woman" since mid-15c. Meaning "sweetheart" is from 1640s. Old girl in reference to a woman of any age is recorded from 1826. Girl next door as a type of unflashy attractiveness is recorded by 1953.
Doris [Day] was a big vocalist even before she hit the movies in 1948. There, as the latest movie colony "girl next door," sunny-faced Doris soon became a leading movie attraction as well as the world's top female recording star. "She's the girl next door, all right," said one Hollywood admirer. "Next door to the bank." ["Life" magazine, Dec. 22, 1958]
Girl Friday "resourceful young woman assistant" is from 1940, a reference to "Robinson Crusoe." Girl Scout is from 1909. For the usual Old English word, see maiden.
girlfriend (n.) Look up girlfriend at
also girl-friend, by 1859 as "a woman's female friend in youth," from girl + friend (n.). As a man's sweetheart, by 1922. She-friend was used 17c. in the same set of senses, of the mistress of a man and of a woman who is a close friend of another.
girlhood (n.) Look up girlhood at
1785, from girl + -hood.
girlie (adj.) Look up girlie at
"meant to titillate men, featuring attractive women scantily clad or nude," 1942, from girl + -y (2).
girlish (adj.) Look up girlish at
1560s, "like or befitting a girl," from girl + -ish. Related: Girlishly; girlishness.
girly (adj.) Look up girly at
"girl-like," 1866, from girl + -y (2). Reduplicated form girly-girly (adj.) is recorded from 1883; as a noun from 1882.
girly (n.) Look up girly at
girlie, "little girl," 1860, from girl + -y (3). Another diminutive was girleen (1836) with an Irish ending.
Girondist (n.) Look up Girondist at
1795, member of the moderate republican party of France, 1791-93, from Gironde, name of a department in southwestern France; the faction so called because its leaders were deputies elected from there.
girt (v.) Look up girt at
c.1400 as alternative form of gird; also past tense and past participle of gird.
girth (n.) Look up girth at
c.1300, "belt around a horse's body," from Old Norse gjorð "girdle, belt, hoop," from Proto-Germanic *gertu- (cf Gothic gairda "girdle"), from the same source as girdle and gird. Sense of "measurement around an object" first recorded 1640s.
gist (n.) Look up gist at
1711, "the real point" (of a law case, etc.), from Anglo-French legalese phrases such as cest action gist "this action lies," from Old French gist en "it consists in, it lies in," from gist (Modern French gît), third person singular present indicative of gésir "to lie," from Latin iacet "it lies," from iacere "to lie, rest," related to iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Extended sense of "essence" first recorded 1823.
git (n.) Look up git at
"worthless person," 1946, British slang, a southern variant of Scottish get "illegitimate child, brat," which is related to beget.
Gitano (n.) Look up Gitano at
"gypsy," 1834, from Spanish Gitano (fem. Gitana), from Vulgar Latin *Ægyptanus "Egyptian" (see Gypsy). The fem. is gitana. The French form of the feminine, gitane, was used as the name of a brand of cigarettes (1933) and has come to be used for French cigarettes generally.
gittern (n.) Look up gittern at
old wire-strung instrument like a guitar, late 14c., from Old French guiterne, obscurely from Latin cithara, from Greek kithara (see guitar).
give (v.) Look up give at
Old English giefan (West Saxon) "to give, bestow, deliver to another; allot, grant; commit, devote, entrust," class V strong verb (past tense geaf, past participle giefen), from Proto-Germanic *geban (cognates: Old Frisian jeva, Middle Dutch gheven, Dutch geven, Old High German geban, German geben, Gothic giban), from PIE *ghabh- "to take, hold, have, give" (see habit). It became yiven in Middle English, but changed to guttural "g" by influence of Old Norse gefa "to give," Old Danish givæ. Meaning "to yield to pressure" is from 1570s.

Give in "yield" is from 1610s; give out is mid-14c., "publish, announce;" meaning "run out, break down" is from 1520s. Give up "surrender" is mid-12c. To give (someone) a cold seems to reflect the old belief that one could be cured of disease by deliberately infecting others. What gives? "what is happening?" is attested from 1940. Give-and-take (n.) is originally from horse racing (1769) and refers to races in which bigger horses were given more weight to carry, lighter ones less. General sense attested by 1778.
giveaway (n.) Look up giveaway at
also give-away, "act of giving away," 1872, from phrase give away, c.1400 (of brides, from 1719); see give (v.) + away (adv.). Meaning "to betray, expose, reveal" is 1878, originally U.S. slang.
given (adj.) Look up given at
late 14c., "allotted, predestined," past participle adjective from give (v.); also with a noun sense of "fate," reflecting an important concept in pagan Germanic ideology (Old English had giefeðe in this sense). The modern noun sense of "what is given, known facts" is from 1879. Given name (1827) so called because given at baptism.
giver (n.) Look up giver at
mid-14c., from give + -er (1). Old English agent-noun forms were giefend, giefa.
Giza Look up Giza at
place in Egypt, from Arabic Er-ges-her "beside the high," i.e., the Great Pyramid.
gizmo (n.) Look up gizmo at
1942, "Marine and Navy usage for any old thing you can't put a name to" ["Life" magazine, July 30, 1945], of unknown origin, perhaps a made-up word.
gizzard (n.) Look up gizzard at
"stomach of a bird," late 14c., from Old French gisier (Modern French gésier) "entrails, giblets (of a bird)," probably from Vulgar Latin *gicerium, dissimilated from Latin gigeria (neuter plural) "cooked entrails of a fowl," a delicacy in ancient Rome, from PIE *yekwr- "liver" (see hepatitis). Parasitic -d added 1500s. Later extended to other animals, and, jocularly, to human beings.
glabella (n.) Look up glabella at
"space between the eyebrows," 1590s, Modern Latin, properly fem. of adj. glabellus "without hair, smooth," diminutive of glaber "smooth, bald," from PIE *gladh- "smooth" (see glad).
glabrous (adj.) Look up glabrous at
1630s, from Latin glaber "hairless, smooth, bald" (see glad).
glace (adj.) Look up glace at
"having a smooth, polished surface," 1847, from French glacé, past participle of glacer "to ice, give a gloss to," from Vulgar Latin *glaciare "to turn or make into ice," from Latin glacies "ice" (see glacial).
glacial (adj.) Look up glacial at
1650s, "cold, icy," from French glacial, from Latin glacialis "icy, frozen, full of ice," from glacies "ice," probably from PIE root *gel- "cold" (cognates: Latin gelu "frost;" see cold (adj.)). Geological sense apparently coined in 1846 by British naturalist Edward Forbes (1815-1854). Related: Glacially.
glaciate (v.) Look up glaciate at
1620s, "to freeze;" 1865 in reference to glaciers, from Latin glaciatus, past participle of glaciare "to turn to ice," from glacies (see glacial).
glaciation (n.) Look up glaciation at
1640s, noun of action from Latin glaciare "to freeze" (see glacis).
glacier (n.) Look up glacier at
1744, from French glacier, from Savoy dialect glacière "moving mass of ice," from Old French glace "ice," from Vulgar Latin glacia (source also of Old Provençal glassa, Italian ghiaccia), from Latin glacies (see glacial).
glaciology (n.) Look up glaciology at
1856, from Latin glacies "ice" (see glacial) + -ology. Related: Glaciological; glaciologist.
glacis (n.) Look up glacis at
"sloping bank" (especially leading up to a fortification), 1670s, from French glacir "to freeze, make slippery," from Old French glacier "to slip, glide," from Vulgar Latin *glaciare "to make or turn into ice," from glacies (see glacial).
glad (adj.) Look up glad at
Old English glæd "bright, shining, joyous," from Proto-Germanic *glada- (cognates: Old Norse glaðr "smooth, bright, glad," Danish glad "glad, joyful," Old Saxon gladmod "glad," Old Frisian gled "smooth," Dutch glad "slippery," German glatt "smooth"), from PIE *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold (see glass). The modern sense is much weakened. Slang glad rags "one's best clothes" first recorded 1902.
glad hand (n.) Look up glad hand at
1895, in verbal phrase to give the glad hand "extend a welcome." As a verb, attested from 1903 (also gladhand). Often used cynically.
gladden (v.) Look up gladden at
c.1300, "to be glad;" 1550s, "to make glad;" see glad + -en (1). Earlier in both senses was simply glad (v.), from Old English gladian, Mercian gleadian "be glad, make glad."
glade (n.) Look up glade at
"clear, open space in a woods," c.1400, perhaps from Middle English glode (c.1300), from Old Norse glaðr "bright" (see glad). Original meaning would be "bright (because open) space in a wood" (compare French clairière "glade," from clair "clear, bright;" German Lichtung "clearing, glade," from Licht "light"). American English sense of "marshy grassland" (as in Everglades) first recorded c.1796.
gladiator (n.) Look up gladiator at
mid-15c., "Roman swordsman," from Latin gladiator, literally "swordsman," from gladius "sword," probably from Gaulish (compare Welsh cleddyf, Cornish clethe, Breton kleze "sword;" see claymore). Old Irish claideb is from Welsh.
The close connection with Celtic words for 'sword', together with the imperfect match of initial consonants, and the semantic field of weaponry, suggests that Latin borrowed a form *gladio- or *kladio- (a hypothetical variant of attested British Celtic *kladimo- 'sword') from [Proto-Celtic] or from a third language. [de Vaan]
gladiatorial (adj.) Look up gladiatorial at
1750s, from Latin gladiatorius (see gladiator) + -al (1).
gladiolus (n.) Look up gladiolus at
c.1000, from Latin gladiolus "wild iris," literally "small sword," diminutive of gladius "sword" (see gladiator); so called by Pliny in reference to the plant's sword-shaped leaves. The Old English form of the word was gladdon. Form gladiol is attested mid-15c.; the modern use perhaps represents a 1560s reborrowing from Latin.
gladly (adv.) Look up gladly at
Old English glædlice "joyfully, kindly, willingly;" see glad + -ly (2).
gladness (n.) Look up gladness at
Old English glædnes; see glad + -ness.
gladsome (adj.) Look up gladsome at
late 14c., gladsum; see glad + -some (1).
Gladys Look up Gladys at
fem. proper name, Welsh Gwladys, probably a Brythonified form of Latin Claudia (q.v.).
Glagolitic (n.) Look up Glagolitic at
1861, from Serbo-Croatian glagolica "Glagolitic alphabet," from Old Church Slavonic glagolu "word," from PIE *gal-gal-, reduplicated form of root *gal- (2) "to call, shout" (see call (v.)) + Greek suffix -itic. The older of the two Slavic writing systems (Cyrillic is the other), it was designed by Cyrillus c.863 C.E.
glair (n.) Look up glair at
white of an egg, c.1300, from Old French glaire "white of egg, slime, mucus" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *claria (ovi) "white part (of an egg)," from Latin clarus "bright, clear" (see clear (adj.)).
glaive (v.) Look up glaive at
late 13c., used in Middle English of various weapons, from Old French glaive "lance, spear, sword," also figuratively used for "violent death" (12c.), from Latin gladius "sword" (see gladiator); influenced by clava "knotty branch, cudgel, club," related to clavus "nail."
glam (adj.) Look up glam at
slang shortening of glamorous, first attested 1936. Glam rock attested by 1974. Glamazon "glamourous, dominant woman" attested by 1985 (see amazon).
glamor Look up glamor at
chiefly U.S. alternative spelling of glamour (q.v.). Related: Glamorous; glamorously.
glamorize (v.) Look up glamorize at
also glamourize, 1901, from glamor + -ize. Related: Glamorized; glamorizing.
glamorous (adj.) Look up glamorous at
1882, from glamor + -ous. Related: Glamorously.