glycolysis (n.) Look up glycolysis at
1891, from French; see glyco- + -lysis.
glyph (n.) Look up glyph at
1727, "ornamental groove in sculpture or architecture," from French glyphe (1701), from Greek glyphe "a carving," from glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve," also "to note down" on tablets, from PIE root *gleubh- "to cut, slice, tear apart" (cognates: Latin glubere "to peel, shell, strip," Old English cleofan "to cleave," Old Norse klofi, Middle Dutch clove "a cleft"). Meaning "sculpted mark or symbol" (as in hieroglyph) is from 1825. Related: Glyphic.
glyptodon (n.) Look up glyptodon at
extinct gigantic armadillo-like mammal from the Pleistocene of South America, 1838, irregularly formed from Greek glyptos "carved, engraved" (verbal adjective of glyphein; see glyph) + odon (genitive odontos) "tooth" (see tooth). So named for its fluted teeth.
gn- Look up gn- at
consonant cluster at the head of some words; the -g- formerly was pronounced. Found in words from Old English (gnat, gnaw), in Low German, and Scandinavian as a variant of kn- (gneiss), in Latin and Greek (gnomon, gnostic) and representing sounds in non-Indo-European languages (gnu).
gnarl (v.) Look up gnarl at
"contort, twist, make knotty," 1814, a back-formation from gnarled (q.v.). As a noun from 1824, "a knotty growth on wood." Earlier an identical verb was used imitatively in a sense of "to snarl" like a dog (1590s); Farmer & Henley lists gnarler as thieves' slang for "a watch-dog."
gnarled (adj.) Look up gnarled at
c. 1600, probably a variant of knurled, from Middle English knar "knob, knot in wood" (late 14c.), earlier "a crag, twisted rock" (early 13c.), from a general group of Germanic words that includes English knob, knock, knuckle, knoll, knurl. Gnarl (v.) "make knotty," gnarl (n.) "a knotty growth on wood," and gnarly (adj.) all seem to owe their existence in modern English to Shakespeare's use of gnarled in 1603:
Thy sharpe and sulpherous bolt Splits the vn-wedgable and gnarled Oke. ["Measure for Measure," II.ii.116]
"(Gnarled) occurs in one passage of Shakes. (for which the sole authority is the folio of 1623), whence it came into general use in the nineteenth century" [OED].
gnarly (adj.) Look up gnarly at
"knotted and rugged," c. 1600, from gnarl (see gnarled) + -y (2). Picked up 1970s as surfer slang to describe a dangerous wave; it had spread to teen slang by 1982, where it meant both "excellent" and "disgusting."
gnash (v.) Look up gnash at
early 15c. variant of Middle English gnasten "to grind the teeth together" in rage, sorrow, or menace (early 14c.), perhaps from Old Norse gnasta, gnista "to gnash the teeth," of unknown origin, probably imitative. Compare German knistern "to crackle," Old English gnidan "to rub, bruise, pound, break to pieces," Danish knaske "crush with the teeth." Related: Gnashed; gnashing.
gnat (n.) Look up gnat at
Old English gnæt "gnat, midge, small flying insect," earlier gneat, from Proto-Germanic *gnattaz (cognates: Low German gnatte, German Gnitze); perhaps literally "biting insect" and related to gnaw.
The gnatte is a litil fflye, and hatte culex he soukeþ blood and haþ in his mouþ a pipe, as hit were a pricke. And is a-countid a-mong volatiles and greueþ slepinge men wiþ noyse & wiþ bytinge and wakeþ hem of here reste. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]
Gnat-catcher, insectivorous bird of the U.S. woodlands, is from 1823.
gnathic (adj.) Look up gnathic at
"pertaining to the jaw," 1882, with -ic + Greek gnathos "jaw, cheek," properly "the lower jaw," from PIE root *genu- (2) "jawbone, chin" (see chin (n.)).
gnatho- Look up gnatho- at
before vowels gnath-, word-forming element meaning "jaw, mouth part, beak (of a bird)," from Greek gnathos "jaw" (see gnathic).
gnaw (v.) Look up gnaw at
Old English gnagan "to gnaw, bite off little by little" (past tense *gnog, past participle gnagan), from Proto-Germanic *gh(e)n- "to gnaw" (cognates: Old Saxon gnagan, Old Norse, Swedish gnaga, Middle Dutch, Dutch knagen, Old High German gnagan, German nagen "to gnaw"), probably imitative of gnawing. Figurative sense "wear away as if by continued biting" is from early 13c. Related: Gnawed; gnawing.
gneiss (n.) Look up gneiss at
type of metamorphic rock, 1757, kneiss, from German Gneiss (16c.), which is probably from Middle High German gneist "spark" (so called because the rock glitters), from Old High German gneisto "spark" (compare Old English gnast "spark," Old Norse gneisti). Related: Gneissic.
gnocchi (n.) Look up gnocchi at
type of small potato dumplings, 1891, from Italian gnocchi, plural of gnocco, from nocchio "a knot in wood," perhaps from a Germanic source akin to knuckle (n.), gnarled, etc. So called for their shape.
gnome (n.1) Look up gnome at
"dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit," 1712, from French gnome (16c.), from Medieval Latin gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Greek *genomos "earth-dweller" (compare thalassonomos "inhabitant of the sea"). A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means "intelligence" (see gnome (n.2)).

Popularized in England in children's literature from early 19c. as a name for red-capped German and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines of them were first imported to England late 1860s from Germany; garden-gnome attested from 1933. Gnomes of Zurich for "international financiers" is from 1964.
gnome (n.2) Look up gnome at
"short, pithy statement of general truth," 1570s, from Greek gnome "judgment, opinion; maxim, the opinion of wise men" (see gnomic).
gnomic (adj.) Look up gnomic at
"full of instructive sayings," 1784, from French gnomique (18c.) and directly from Late Latin gnomicus "concerned with maxims, didactic," from Greek gnomikos, from gnome "a means of knowing, a mark, token; the mind (as the organ of knowing), thought, judgment, intelligence; (one's) mind, will, purpose; a judgment, opinion; maxim, the opinion of wise men," from root of gignoskein "to come to know" (see gnostic (adj.)). Gnomical is attested from 1610s.
gnomish (adj.) Look up gnomish at
"resembling a gnome," 1822, from gnome (n.1) + -ish. Related: Gnomishly; gnomishness.
gnomist (n.) Look up gnomist at
1865; see gnome (n.2) + -ist.
gnomon (n.) Look up gnomon at
"vertical shaft that tells time by the shadow it casts" (especially the triangular plate on a sundial), 1540s, from Latin gnomon, from Greek gnomon "indicator (of a sundial), carpenter's rule," also, in plural, "the teeth that mark the age of a horse or mule," literally "one that discerns or examines," from gignoskein "to come to know" (see gnostic (adj.)). In geometry from 1560s, from a use in Greek. In early use in English sometimes folk-etymologized as knowman. Related: Gnomonic.
gnosis (n.) Look up gnosis at
"knowledge," especially "special knowledge of spiritual mysteries," 1703, from Greek gnosis "a knowing, knowledge; a judicial inquiry, investigation; a being known," in Christian writers, "higher knowledge of spiritual things," from PIE *gno-ti-, from root *gno- "to know" (see gnostic (adj.)).
Gnostic (n.) Look up Gnostic at
1580s, "believer in a mystical religious doctrine of spiritual knowledge," from Late Latin Gnosticus "a Gnostic," from Late Greek Gnostikos, noun use of adjective gnostikos "knowing, able to discern, good at knowing," from gnostos "known, to be known," from gignoskein "to learn, to come to know" (see gnostic (adj.)). Applied to various early Christian sects that claimed direct personal knowledge beyond the Gospel or the Church hierarchy; they appeared in the first century A.D., flourished in the second, and were stamped out by the 6th.
gnostic (adj.) Look up gnostic at
"relating to knowledge," especially mystical or esoteric knowledge of spiritual things, 1650s, from Greek gnostikos "knowing, good at knowing, able to discern," from gnostos "known, perceived, understood," earlier gnotos, from gignoskein "learn to know, come to know, perceive; discern, distinguish; observe, form a judgment," from PIE *gi-gno-sko-, reduplicated and suffixed form of root *gno- "to know" (see know (v.)).
Gnosticism (n.) Look up Gnosticism at
1660s, from Gnostic + -ism.
GNP (n.) Look up GNP at
abbreviation of gross national product, attested by 1953.
gnu (n.) Look up gnu at
ox-like South African antelope, 1777, gnoo, from Dutch gnoe, used by German traveler Georg Forster (1754-1794) to render Hottentot i-ngu "wildebeest," from Southern Bushman !nu: (in which ! and : represent clicks).
go (v.) Look up go at
Old English gan "to advance, walk; depart, go away; happen, take place; conquer; observe, practice, exercise," from West Germanic *gaian (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian gan, Middle Dutch gaen, Dutch gaan, Old High German gan, German gehen), from PIE *ghe- "to release, let go" (cognates: Sanskrit jihite "goes away," Greek kikhano "I reach, meet with"), but there does not seem to be general agreement on a list of cognates.

A defective verb throughout its recorded history; the Old English past tense was eode, a word of uncertain origin but evidently once a different verb (perhaps connected to Gothic iddja); it was replaced 1400s by went, past tense of wenden "to direct one's way" (see wend). In northern England and Scotland, however, eode tended to be replaced by gaed, a construction based on go. In modern English, only be and go take their past tenses from entirely different verbs.

The word in its various forms and combinations takes up 45 columns of close print in the OED. Meaning "cease to exist" is from c. 1200; that of "to appear" (with reference to dress, appearance, etc.) is from late 14c.; that of "to be sold" is from early 15c. Meaning "to be known" (with by) is from 1590s; that of "pass into another condition or state" is from 1580s. From c. 1600 as "to wager," hence also "to stand treat," and to go (someone) better in wagering (1864). Meaning "say" emerged 1960s in teen slang. Colloquial meaning "urinate or defecate" attested by 1926, euphemistic (compare Old English gong "a privy," literally "a going"). To go back on "prove faithless to" is from 1859; to go under in the figurative sense "to fail" is from 1849. To go places "be successful" is by 1934.
go (n.) Look up go at
1727, "action of going," from use of go (v.) to start a race, etc. Meaning "an incident, an occurrence, affair, piece of business" is from 1796. Meaning "power of going, dash, vigor" is from 1825, colloquial, originally of horses. The sense of "an attempt, a try or turn at doing something" (as in give it a go, have a go at) is from 1825 (earlier it meant "a delivery of the ball in skittles," 1773). Meaning "something that goes, a success" is from 1876. Phrase on the go "in constant motion" is from 1843. Phrase from the word go "from the beginning" is by 1834. The go "what is in fashion" is from 1793. No go "of no use" is from 1825.
go (adj.) Look up go at
"in order," 1951, originally in aerospace jargon, from go (v.).
go down (v.) Look up go down at
c. 1300, "droop, descend," from go (v.) + down (adv.). Meaning "decline, fail" is from 1590s. Sense of "to happen" is from 1946, American-English slang. Go down on "perform oral sex on" is from 1916.
go for (v.) Look up go for at
1550s, "be taken or regarded as," also "be in favor of," from go (v.) + for (adv.). Meaning "attack, assail" is from 1880. Go for broke is from 1951, American English colloquial.
go off (v.) Look up go off at
1570s, of firearms, etc., "explode, be discharged;" see go (v.) + off (adv.); meaning "depart" is c. 1600; that of "deteriorate in condition" is from 1690s; that of "reprimand" is from 1941 (originally with at, since c. 2000 more often with on).
go on (v.) Look up go on at
1580s, "advance, proceed," from go (v.) + on (adv.). Meaning "behave, carry on" is from 1777; especially "to talk volubly" (1863). As an expression of derision by 1886.
go out (v.) Look up go out at
early 13c., "leave home," from go (v.) + out (adv.). Meaning "become extinct, expire" is from c. 1400.
go over (v.) Look up go over at
1580s, "review point by point;" see go (v.) + over (adv.). Meaning "be successful" is from 1923.
go south (v.) Look up go south at
"vanish, abscond," 1920s, American English, probably from mid-19c. notion of disappearing south to Mexico or Texas to escape pursuit or responsibility, reinforced by Native American belief (attested in colonial writing mid-18c.) that the soul journeys south after death.
go through (v.) Look up go through at
"to execute, carry to completion" (a plan, etc., often with with), 1560s; see go (v.) + through (adv.). Meaning "to examine" is 1660s; "to endure, suffer, undergo" is by 1712; "to wear out" (of clothes, etc.) by 1959.
go together (v.) Look up go together at
1520s, "accompany," see go (v.) + together (adv.). From 1710 as "agree with, harmonize with;" 1899 as "be courting."
go west (v.) Look up go west at
19c. British idiom for "die, be killed" (popularized during World War I), "probably from thieves' slang, wherein to go west meant to go to Tyburn, hence to be hanged, though the phrase has indubitably been influenced by the setting of the sun in the west" [Partridge]. Compare go south.
go-ahead (adj.) Look up go-ahead at
by 1840, "pushing, driving," from verbal phrase go ahead; see go (v.) + ahead (adv.). Go ahead as a command or invitation to proceed is from 1831, American English.
go-between (n.) Look up go-between at
"one who passes between parties in a negotiation or intrigue," 1590s, from verbal phrase go between in obsolete sense "act as a mediator" (1540s), from go (v.) + between.
go-by (n.) Look up go-by at
1640s, "an evasion, a leaving behind by artifice," from verbal phrase; see go (v.) + by (adv.). From 1650s as "a passing without notice, intentional disregard." Compare bygone.
go-cart (n.) Look up go-cart at
also gocart, 1670s, originally "a litter, sedan chair;" also "an infant's walker" (1680s), from go + cart (n.). Later also of hand carts (1759). The modern form go-kart (1959) was coined in reference to a kind of miniature racing car with a frame body and a two-stroke engine.
go-getter (n.) Look up go-getter at
1910, American English, from go + agent noun from get (v.). Goer, with essentially the same meaning, is attested from late 14c.
go-go (adj.) Look up go-go at
1964, "fashionable," from slang adjective go "fashionable" (1962); see go (n.). First appearance of go-go dancer is from 1965.
go-it-alone (adj.) Look up go-it-alone at
attested by 1953 (in reference to U.S. foreign policy proposals), from an American English verbal phrase attested by 1842 and meaning "do anything without assistance." Go it as colloquial for "to act" (especially in a determined or vigorous way) is from 1825; hence also American English go it blind (1842) in reference to something done without regard for consequences.
go-round (n.) Look up go-round at
"act of going round," originally especially "a merry-go-round," 1886, from go (v.) + round (adv.). Figurative sense of "argument, bout, fight," etc. is from 1891.
go-to-meeting (adj.) Look up go-to-meeting at
"suitable for use in a church or on Sundays," 1790, especially of clothes but the earliest recorded reference is to music.
Goa Look up Goa at
former Portuguese colony in India, from local goe mat "fertile land." Related: Goanese.
goad (n.) Look up goad at
Old English gad "point, spearhead, arrowhead, pointed stick used for driving cattle," from Proto-Germanic *gaido "goad, spear" (cognates: Lombardic gaida "spear"), from suffixed form of PIE root *ghei- (1) "to propel, prick" (cognates: Sanskrit hetih "missile, projectile," himsati "he injures;" Avestan zaena- "weapon;" Greek khaios "shepherd's staff;" Old English gar "spear;" Old Irish gae "spear"). Figurative use "anything that urges or stimulates" is since 16c., probably from the Bible.