-machy Look up -machy at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "battle, war, contest," from Greek -makhia, from makhe "a battle, fight," related to makhesthai "to fight," from PIE root *magh- (2) "to fight."
-mancy Look up -mancy at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "divination by means of," from Old French -mancie, from Late Latin -mantia, from Greek manteia "oracle, divination," from mantis "seer, prophet, soothsayer," related to mania "madness, frenzy" (see mania).
-ment Look up -ment at Dictionary.com
suffix forming nouns, originally from French and representing Latin -mentum, which was added to verb stems sometimes to represent the result or product of the action. French inserts an -e- between the verbal root and the suffix (as in commenc-e-ment from commenc-er; with verbs in ir, -i- is inserted instead (as in sent-i-ment from sentir). Used with English verb stems from 16c. (as in merriment, which also illustrates the habit of turning -y to -i- before this suffix).
-meter Look up -meter at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "device or instrument for measuring; commonly -ometer, occasionally -imeter; from French -mètre, from Greek metron "a measure" (see meter (n.2)).
-metric Look up -metric at Dictionary.com
word-forming element from -metry + -ic.
-metry Look up -metry at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "process of measuring," Middle English -metrie, from Middle French -metrie, from Latin -metria, from Greek -metria "a measuring of," from -metros "measurer of," from metron "measure" (see meter (n.2)).
-most Look up -most at Dictionary.com
superlative suffix of adjectives and adverbs, Middle English alteration (by influence of unrelated most) of Old English -mest, a double superlative, from -mo, -ma (cognate with Latin -mus; compare Old English forma "first," meduma "midmost") + -est.
M Look up M at Dictionary.com
13th letter, from Greek mu, from Semitic mem. The Roman symbol for 1,000; sometimes used in this sense in English 15c.-16c.; but in late 20c. newspaper headlines it stands for million. As a thickness of type, from 1680s.
M.A.S.H. Look up M.A.S.H. at Dictionary.com
1950, U.S. military acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
M.D. Look up M.D. at Dictionary.com
1755, abbreviation of Latin Medicinæ Doctor "doctor of medicine."
M.E. Look up M.E. at Dictionary.com
abbreviation of Middle English, attested by 1874.
M.F.N. Look up M.F.N. at Dictionary.com
initialism (acronym) of most favored nation, attested from 1942.
M.P. Look up M.P. at Dictionary.com
1917, abbreviation of military police, which is recorded from 1827.
ma Look up ma at Dictionary.com
1823, childish or colloquial shortening of mamma.
ma'am Look up ma'am at Dictionary.com
also maam, 1660s, colloquial shortening of madam (q.v.). Formerly the ordinary respectful form of address to a married woman; later restricted to the queen and royal princesses or used by servants to their mistresses.
Maat Look up Maat at Dictionary.com
Egyptian goddess, literally (in Egyptian) "truth."
Mabel Look up Mabel at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, shortening of Amabel. Enjoyed its greatest popularity as a given name for girl babies in U.S. from c.1884-1895.
Mac Look up Mac at Dictionary.com
casual, generic term of address for a man, 1928, from Irish and Gaelic mac, a common element in Scottish and Irish names (literally "son of"); hence used generally from early 19c. for "a Celtic Irishman" (see Mac-).
Mac- Look up Mac- at Dictionary.com
common element in Scottish and Irish names, from Old Celtic *makko-s "son." Cognate root *makwos "son" produced Old Welsh map, Welsh mab, ap "son;" also probably cognate with Old English mago "son, attendant, servant," Old Norse mögr "son," Gothic magus "boy, servant," Old English mægð "maid" (see maiden).
macabre (adj.) Look up macabre at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Old French (danse) Macabré "(dance) of Death" (1376), probably a translation of Medieval Latin (Chorea) Machabæorum, literally "dance of the Maccabees" (leaders of the Jewish revolt against Syro-Hellenes; see Maccabees). The association with the dance of death seems to be via vivid descriptions of the martyrdom of the Maccabees in the Apocryphal books. The abstracted sense of "gruesome" is first attested 1842 in French, 1889 in English.
The typical form which the allegory takes is that of a series of pictures, sculptured or painted, in which Death appears, either as a dancing skeleton or as a shrunken corpse wrapped in grave-clothes to persons representing every age and condition of life, and leads them all in a dance to the grave. ["Encyclopaedia Britannica," 11th ed., 1911]
Macaca Look up Macaca at Dictionary.com
monkey genus, Modern Latin, from Portuguese macaca, fem. of macaco, a name from an African language of the Congo.
macadam (n.) Look up macadam at Dictionary.com
1824, named for inventor, Scottish civil engineer John L. McAdam (1756-1836), who developed a method of levelling roads and paving them with gravel and outlined the process in his pamphlet "Remarks on the Present System of Road-Making" (1822). Originally, road material consisting of a solid mass of stones of nearly uniform size laid down in layers; he did not approve of the use of binding materials or rollers. The idea of mixing tar with the gravel began 1880s.
macadamia (n.) Look up macadamia at Dictionary.com
Australian evergreen tree, 1904, from Modern Latin (1858), named for Scotland-born chemist Dr. John Macadam (1827-1865), secretary of the Victoria Philosophical Institute, Australia.
macadamization (n.) Look up macadamization at Dictionary.com
1824, from macadam + -ization.
macadamize (v.) Look up macadamize at Dictionary.com
1826, from macadam + -ize. Related: Macadamized; macadamizing.
macaque (n.) Look up macaque at Dictionary.com
East Indian monkey, 1757, from French macaque, from Portuguese macaco "monkey," a Bantu word brought from Africa to Brazil (where it was applied 17c. to a type of monkey there). Introduced as a genus name 1840.
macaroni (n.) Look up macaroni at Dictionary.com
"tube-shaped food made of dried wheaten paste" [Klein], 1590s, from southern Italian dialectal maccaroni (Italian maccheroni), plural of maccarone, name for a kind of pasty food, possibly from maccare "bruise, batter, crush," of unknown origin, or from late Greek makaria "food made from barley."

Used after c.1764 to mean "fop, dandy" (as in "Yankee Doodle") because it was an exotic dish at a time when certain young men who had traveled the continent were affecting French and Italian fashions and accents. There is said to have been a Macaroni Club in Britain, which was the immediate source of the term.
macaronic (adj.) Look up macaronic at Dictionary.com
1610s, in reference to a form of verse consisting of vernacular words in a Latin context with Latin endings; applied loosely to verse in which two or more languages are jumbled together; from Modern Latin macaronicus (coined 1517 by Teofilo Folengo), from dialectal Italian maccarone (see macaroni), in reference to the mixture of words in the verse: "quoddam pulmentum farina, caseo, botiro compaginatum, grossum, rude, et rusticanum" [Folengo].
macaroon (n.) Look up macaroon at Dictionary.com
1610s, "small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds," from French macaron (16c.), from dialectal Italian maccarone (see macaroni). French meaning said to have been invented 1552 by Rabelais. The -oon ending was conventional in 15c.-17c. English to add emphasis to borrowings of French nouns ending in stressed -on.
Macassar Look up Macassar at Dictionary.com
especially in Macassar oil (1809), hair tonic originally advertised as made from materials obtained from Macassar (1660s), name of a district on the island of Celebes (modern Sulawesi); from native Mangkasara.
Macau Look up Macau at Dictionary.com
from Portuguese corruption of southern Chinese ama (name of a patron goddess of sailors) + ngao "bay, port."
macaw (n.) Look up macaw at Dictionary.com
species of large, long-tailed birds, 1660s, from Portuguese macau, from a word in a Brazilian language, perhaps Tupi macavuana, which may be the name of a type of palm tree the fruit of which the birds eat.
Macbeth Look up Macbeth at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, Gaelic, literally "son of life." The first reference to bad luck associated with Shakespeare's "Macbeth," and to avoidance of naming it, is from 1896, alludes to an incident of 1885, and says the tradition goes back "so far as modern memory can recall." The original superstition seems to have pertained particularly to the witches' scenes, which were played up dramatically in 19c. productions, and especially to Matthew Locke's 17c. music to accompany the witches' song, which was regularly played through the 19th century.
It is strange how the effect of this music has exerted such a long surviving influence on members of the dramatic profession. It is still considered most unlucky to sing, hum, or whistle the witch airs in the theatre except in the ways of business. [Young-Stewart, "The Three Witches," in "The Shakespearean," Sept. 15, 1896]



If you number an actor or actress among your friends, and desire to retain his or her friendship, there are three things you positively must not do, especially if the actor is of the old school. Do not whistle in the theatre, do not look over his shoulder into the glass while he is making up, and do not hum the witch's song from "Macbeth." ... [O]lder actors would almost prefer to lose their salary than go on in "Macbeth" on account of this song. They believe that it casts spells upon the members of the company. ["Some Odd Superstitions of the Stage," "Theatre" magazine, July 1909]
Maccabees Look up Maccabees at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Late Latin Maccabæus, surname given to Judas, third son of Mattathias the Hasmonean, leader of the religious revolt against Antiochus IV, 175-166 B.C.E. Usually connected with Hebrew maqqabh "hammer," but Klein thinks it an inexact transliteration of Hebrew matzbi "general, commander of an army." Related: Maccabean.
Macduff Look up Macduff at Dictionary.com
Gaelic Mac Dhuibh "son of Dubh," literally "black."
mace (n.1) Look up mace at Dictionary.com
"heavy metal weapon, often with a spiked head," late 13c., from Old French mace "a club, scepter" (Modern French masse), from Vulgar Latin *mattea (source also of Italian mazza, Spanish maza "mace"), from Latin mateola (in Late Latin also matteola) "a kind of mallet." The Latin word perhaps is cognate with Sanskrit matyam "harrow, club," Old Church Slavonic motyka "mattock," Old High German medela "plow" [Klein]. As a symbol of authority or office from mid-15c.
mace (n.2) Look up mace at Dictionary.com
"spice made from dry outer husk of nutmeg," late 14c., from Old French macis (in English taken as a plural and stripped of its -s), of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be a scribal error for Latin macir, the name of a red spicy bark from India, but OED finds this etymology unlikely.
Mace (n.3) Look up Mace at Dictionary.com
chemical spray originally used in riot control, 1966, technically Chemical Mace, a proprietary name (General Ordnance Equipment Corp, Pittsburgh, Pa.), probably so called for its use as a weapon, in reference to mace (1). The verb is first attested 1968. Related: Maced; macing.
Macedonia Look up Macedonia at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, Macedone, from Latin Macedonius "Macedonian," from Greek Makedones "the Macedonians," literally "highlanders" or "the tall ones," related to makednos "long, tall," makros "long, large" (see macro-). French Macédoine "mixed cut fruit or vegetables" is early 19c., said to be a reference to the diversity of people in Alexander's empire.
Macedonian Look up Macedonian at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Latin Macedonius (see Macedonia) + -an.
macerate (v.) Look up macerate at Dictionary.com
late 15c., a back-formation from maceration or else from Latin maceratus, past participle of macerare "soften, make soft, soak, steep," related to maceria "garden wall," originally "of kneaded clay," from PIE *mak-ero-, suffixed form of root *mag- "to knead" (cognates: Greek magis "kneaded mass, cake," mageus "one who kneads, baker;" Old Church Slavonic mazo "to anoint, smear;" Breton meza "to knead;" Middle Irish maistir "to churn"), also "to fashion, fit" (compare make (v.)). Related: Macerated; macerating.
maceration (n.) Look up maceration at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Latin macerationem (nominative maceratio), noun of action from past participle stem of macerare (see macerate).
Mach Look up Mach at Dictionary.com
measure of speed relative to the speed of sound (technically Mach number), 1937, named in honor of Austrian physicist Ernst Mach (1838-1916).
machete (n.) Look up machete at Dictionary.com
1590s (in pseudo-Spanish form macheto), from Spanish machete, probably a diminutive of macho "sledge hammer," alteration of mazo "club," which is probably [Barnhart] a dialectal variant of maza "mallet," from Vulgar Latin *mattea "war club" (see mace (n.1)). An alternative explanation traces macho to Latin marculus "a small hammer," diminutive of marcus "hammer," from a base parallel to that of Latin malleus (see mallet).
Machiavelli Look up Machiavelli at Dictionary.com
see Machiavellian. His name was Englished 16c.-18c. as Machiavel.
Machiavellian (adj.) Look up Machiavellian at Dictionary.com
"cunning, deceitful, unscrupulous," 1570s, from Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), Florentine statesman and author of "Del Principe," a work advising rulers to place advantage above morality. A word of abuse in English well before his works were translated ("The Discourses" 1636, "The Prince" 1640), in part because his books were Indexed by the Church, in part because of French attacks on him (such as Gentillet's, translated into English 1602).
machinable (adj.) Look up machinable at Dictionary.com
1896, from machine (v.) + -able. Related: Machinability.
machinate (v.) Look up machinate at Dictionary.com
"lay plots, intrigue," c.1600, a back-formation from machination, or else from Latin machinatus, past participle of machinari (see machination). Related: Machinated; machinating; machinator.
machination (n.) Look up machination at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "a plotting, intrigue," from Old French machinacion "plot, conspiracy, scheming, intrigue," from Latin machinationem (nominative machinatio) "device, contrivance, machination," noun of action from past participle stem of machinari "contrive skillfully, to design; to scheme, to plot," from machina (see machine (n.)). Related: Machinations.
machinator (n.) Look up machinator at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Latin machinator, agent noun from past participle stem of machinari "design, contrive, plot" (see machine (n.)).