mezzo-soprano (n.) Look up mezzo-soprano at
1753; see mezzo + soprano.
mezzotint (n.) Look up mezzotint at
1738; see mezzo + tint. As a verb, from 1827.
MGM Look up MGM at
abbreviation of Metro Goldwyn-Mayer, attested from 1933.
MI5 Look up MI5 at
1939, from abbreviation of Military Intelligence, followed by the department number.
MIA Look up MIA at
also m.i.a., initialism (acronym) of missing in action, attested from 1919 (see missing).
Miami Look up Miami at
place name in U.S.; the one in Florida is of unknown origin, attested in Spanish as Maymi (1566), Mayaimi (1575). The one in Ohio is from the Miami, native people there, attested from 18c., apparently from a native word /myaamiwa "downstream person."
miasma (n.) Look up miasma at
1660s, from Modern Latin miasma "noxious vapors," from Greek miasma (genitive miasmatos) "stain, pollution, defilement, taint of guilt," from stem of miainein "to pollute," from possible PIE root *mai- "to stain, soil, defile" (source of Old English mal "stain, mark," see mole (n.1)). Earlier form was miasm (1640s), from French miasme. Related: Miasmatic; miasmal.
mic (n.) Look up mic at
shortened form of microphone, first attested 1961.
mica (n.) Look up mica at
1706, from specialized use of Latin mica "crumb, bit, morsel, grain," originally *smika (form probably influenced by Latin micare "to flash, glitter"), from PIE *smik- "small" (cognates: Greek smikros, Attic mikros "small;" Old High German smahi "littleness"). Related: Micaceous "containing mica."
micacious (adj.) Look up micacious at
"sparkling," 1836, from Late Latin micare "to shine, sparkle, flash, glitter."
Micah Look up Micah at
masc. proper name, sixth of the Old Testament prophets, from Hebrew Mikhah, short for Mikhayah, literally "who is like the Lord?" First element identical to that in Michael, for second element, see Jah.
Micawber (n.) Look up Micawber at
as a type of a childishly impractical man living in optimistic fantasy, from the character of Wilkins Micawber in Dickens' "David Copperfield" (1850).
"I am at present, my dear Copperfield, engaged in the sale of corn upon commission. It is not an avocation of a remunerative description -- in other words it does not pay -- and some temporary embarrassments of a pecuniary nature have been the consequence. I am however delighted to add that I have now an immediate prospect of something turning up ...."
mice (n.) Look up mice at
plural of mouse (n.); Old English mys, shows effects of i-mutation.
A cube of cheese no larger than a die
May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.
Michael Look up Michael at
masc. proper name, name of an archangel, from Late Latin Michael (source of French Michel, Spanish Miguel), from Greek Mikhael, from Hebrew Mikha-el, literally "Who is like God?"
Michaelmas Look up Michaelmas at
early 12c., Sanct Micheles mæsse, the feast of St. Michael (Sept. 29, an English quarter-day), from Michael + mass (n.2). Goose is the day's traditional fare since at least 15c.
Michelin Look up Michelin at
type of tires, 1902, from French motor vehicle manufacturers André (1853-1931) and Édouard (1859-1940) Michelin, who first made the tires.
Michigan Look up Michigan at
name originally applied to the lake, perhaps from Old Ojibwa (Algonquian) *meshi-gami "big lake." The spelling is French. Organized as a U.S. territory 1805, admitted as a state 1837. A resident might be a Michigander (1848) or a Michiganian (1813).
mick (n.) Look up mick at
derogatory slang for "Irishman," 1856, from nickname of common Irish name Michael (q.v.).
mickey (n.) Look up mickey at
short for Mickey Finn, 1938.
Mickey Finn Look up Mickey Finn at
"strong drink, drink laced with chloral hydrate," by 1928 (perhaps 1890s), of unknown origin. Presumably named after someone, but the various stories about the name cannot be substantiated.
Mickey Mouse Look up Mickey Mouse at
cartoon mouse character created 1928 by U.S. animator Walt Disney (1901-1966). As an adjective meaning "small and worthless" it dates from 1936, originally used especially of mediocre dance-band music, a put-down based on the type of tunes played as background in cartoon films.
mickle (adj.) Look up mickle at
dialectal survival of Old English micel, mycel "great, intense, big, long, much, many," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz (cognates: Old Saxon mikil, Old Norse mikill, Old High German mihhil, Gothic mikils), from PIE root *meg- "great, large" (cognates: Armenian mets "great;" Sanskrit mahat- "great, mazah- "greatness;" Avestan mazant- "great;" Hittite mekkish "great, large;" Greek megas "great, large;" Latin magnus "great, large, much, abundant," major "greater," maximus "greatest;" Middle Irish mag, maignech "great, large;" M.Welsh meith "long, great"). Its main modern form is much (q.v.). Related: Mickleness.
Micmac Look up Micmac at
Algonquian tribe of the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland, by 1776, from mi:kemaw, a native name said to mean literally "allies."
micro- Look up micro- at
word-forming element meaning "small, microscopic; magnifying; one millionth," from Latinized comb. form of Greek mikros "small, little, petty, trivial, slight" (see mica).
micro-organism (n.) Look up micro-organism at
also microorganism, 1855, from micro- + organism.
microbe (n.) Look up microbe at
popular name for a bacterium, 1878, from French microbe, "badly coined ... by Sédillot" [Weekley] in 1878 from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + bios "life" (see bio-). It is an incorrect use of bios; in Greek the word would mean literally "short-lived."
microbial (adj.) Look up microbial at
1879, from Modern Latin microbion (see microbe) + -al (1).
microbiologist (n.) Look up microbiologist at
1882, from microbiology + -ist.
microbiology (n.) Look up microbiology at
1880, coined in English from micro- + biology. Related: Microbiological.
microcephalic (adj.) Look up microcephalic at
"small-headed," 1845, from French microcéphalique, from Modern Latin microcephalus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kephale "head" (see cephalo-). Related: Microcephalism; microcephalous (1840); microcephaly (n.).
microchip (n.) Look up microchip at
"integrated circuit," 1975, from micro- + chip (n.1).
microcircuit (n.) Look up microcircuit at
1959, from micro- + circuit (n.). Related: Microcircuitry.
microclimate (n.) Look up microclimate at
1918, from micro- + climate. Related: Microclimatology.
microcomputer (n.) Look up microcomputer at
1971, from micro- + computer.
microcosm (n.) Look up microcosm at
c. 1200, mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world," from Middle French microcosme and in earliest use directly from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos). General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself" is attested from 1560s. Related: Microcosmic. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c. 1600).
microeconomics (n.) Look up microeconomics at
1948, from micro- + economics. Related: Microeconomic.
microelectronics (n.) Look up microelectronics at
1960, from micro- + electronics.
microfiche (n.) Look up microfiche at
1950, from French microfiche, from micro- + French fiche "slip of paper" (see fiche).
microfilm (n.) Look up microfilm at
1927, coined from micro- + film (n.). The verb is first recorded 1940, from the noun. Related: Microfilmed; microfilming.
micrography (n.) Look up micrography at
1650s, "description of microscopic objects," from micro- + -graphy. From 1899 as "art of writing in very small letters."
microinstruction (n.) Look up microinstruction at
1959, from micro- + instruction.
micrology (n.) Look up micrology at
"hair splitting, exaggerated attention to petty things," 1650s, from Greek mikrologia "pettiness, care for trifles," from micros (see micro-) + -logia (see -logy).
micromanage (v.) Look up micromanage at
by 1978, from micro- + manage (v.). Related: Micromanagement; micromanaged; micromanaging.
micromania (n.) Look up micromania at
1879, "a form of mania in which the patient thinks himself, or some part of himself, to be reduced in size," from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + mania. Also used in reference to insane self-belittling.
micrometer (n.) Look up micrometer at
1660s, from micro- + -meter. Originally a telescope attachment; from 1884 as a craftsman's fine measuring tool. Related: Micrometry; micrometric.
micron (n.) Look up micron at
"one millionth of a meter," 1892, coined 1880 in French from Greek mikron, neuter of mikros "small" (see mica).
Micronesia Look up Micronesia at
1840, from Italian, literally "the region of small islands," Modern Latin, formed on model of Polynesia from micro- "small" (see micro-) + Greek nesos "island" (see Chersonese). Related: Micronesian.
microphone (n.) Look up microphone at
1680s, "ear trumpet for the hard-of-hearing," coined from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + phone "sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)). Modern meaning dates from 1929, from use in radio broadcasting and movie recording. Earlier, "amplifying telephone transmitter" (1878). Of the two spellings of the short form of the word, mike (1927) is older than mic (1961).
microprocessor (n.) Look up microprocessor at
1970, from micro- + processor.
microscope (n.) Look up microscope at
1650s, from Modern Latin microscopium, literally "an instrument for viewing what is small," from Greek micro- (see micro-) + -skopion, from skopein "to look, see" (see -scope).