pedo- Look up pedo- at
before vowels ped-, word-forming element meaning "boy, child," from Greek pedo-, combining form of pais "boy, child," especially a son, from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little." The British form paed- is better because it avoids confusion with the ped- that means "foot" (from PIE root *ped-). Compare, from the same root, Sanskrit putrah "son;" Avestan puthra- "son, child;" Latin puer "child, boy," Oscan puklu "child."
pedology (n.) Look up pedology at
"scientific study of the soil," 1924, from Greek pedon "ground, earth" (from suffixed form of PIE root *ped- "foot") + -logy. Related: Pedological. Earlier it was a word for "the study of children" (1894), from pedo-.
pedometer (n.) Look up pedometer at
instrument for measuring distances covered by a walker, 1723, from French pédomètre (1712), a hybrid coined from Latin pedis (genitive of pes "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot") + Greek metron "a measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure"). At first Englished as waywiser.
pedophile (n.) Look up pedophile at
1951, derived noun from pedophilia.
pedophilia (n.) Look up pedophilia at
1900, from Greek pais (genitive paidos) "child" (see pedo-) + philos "loving" see -phile). First attested in an abstract of a report by Krafft-Ebing.
pedophiliac (adj.) Look up pedophiliac at
1951, from pedophilia.
pedophilic (adj.) Look up pedophilic at
1920, from pedophilia + -ic.
peduncle (n.) Look up peduncle at
1753, from Modern Latin pedunculus "footstalk," diminutive of pes (genitive pedis) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot."
pedunculated (adj.) Look up pedunculated at
1752, from Modern Latin pedunculatus, from pedunculus (see peduncle).
pee (v.) Look up pee at
1788, "to spray with urine," euphemistic abbreviation of piss. Meaning "to urinate" is from 1879. Related: Peed; peeing. Noun meaning "act of urination" is attested from 1902; as "urine" from 1961. Reduplicated form pee-pee is attested from 1923.
peek (v.) Look up peek at
late 14c., piken "look quickly and slyly," of unknown origin. The words peek, keek, and peep all were used with more or less the same meaning 14c.-15c.; perhaps the ultimate source was Middle Dutch kieken. Related: Peeked; peeking.
peek (n.) Look up peek at
"a peek, glance," 1844, from peek (v.).
peekaboo (n.) Look up peekaboo at
also peek-a-boo, as a children's game attested from 1590s; as an adjective meaning "see-through, open," it dates from 1895. From peek (v.) + boo.
peel (v.) Look up peel at
"to strip off," developed from Old English pilian "to peel, skin, decorticate, strip the skin or ring," and Old French pillier, both from Latin pilare "to strip of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). Probably also influenced by Latin pellis "skin, hide." Related: Peeled; peeling. Figurative expression keep (one's) eyes peeled be observant, be on the alert" is from 1853, American English.
peel (n.1) Look up peel at
piece of rind or skin, 1580s, from earlier pill, pile (late 14c.), from peel (v.)).
peel (n.2) Look up peel at
"shovel-shaped instrument" used by bakers, etc., c. 1400, from Old French pele (Modern French pelle) "shovel," from Latin pala "spade, shovel, baker's peel, shoulder blade," probably from PIE *pag-slo-, suffixed form of root *pag- "to fasten."
peel out (v.) Look up peel out at
hot-rodders' slang, 1952, perhaps from peel "blade or wash of an oar" (1875, American English), earlier "shovel-shaped instrument" (see peel (n.2). Or it might be from aircraft pilot phrase peel off "veer away from formation" (World War II), or from earlier American English slang peel it "run away at full speed" (1860).
peeler (n.) Look up peeler at
"policeman," 1817, British colloquial, originally a member of the Irish constabulary, named for Sir (at that time Mr.) Robert Peel (1788-1850) who founded the Irish Constabulary (compare bobby). In Middle English it meant "robber, thief" (mid-14c.). Meaning "strip-tease artist" (1951) is from peel (v.) in colloquial sense of "strip off clothing" (1820).
peen (n.) Look up peen at
1680s, "sharp or thin end of a hammer head, opposite the face," probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian dialectal penn "peen," Old Swedish pæna "beat iron thin with a hammer"). Earlier as a verb, "to beat thin with a hammer" (1510s).
peep (v.1) Look up peep at
"glance" (especially through a small opening), mid-15c., perhaps alteration of Middle English piken (see peek (v.)). Peeping Tom "a curious prying fellow" [Grose] is from 1796 (see Godiva).
peep (v.2) Look up peep at
"make a short chirp," c. 1400, probably altered from pipen (mid-13c.), ultimately imitative (compare Latin pipare, French pepier, German piepen, Lithuanian pypti, Czech pipati, Greek pipos).
peep (n.2) Look up peep at
"short chirp," early 15c., from peep (v.2); meaning "slightest sound or utterance" (usually in a negative context) is attested from 1903. Meaning "young chicken" is from 1680s. The marshmallow peeps confection are said to date from 1950s.
peep (n.1) Look up peep at
"a furtive look, as if through a crevice, a glimpse," 1520s, originally and especially "the first looking out of light from the eastern horizon" (the sense in peep of day); from peep (v.1). General meaning "a furtive glance" is attested by 1730.
peep-hole (n.) Look up peep-hole at
1680s, from peep (v.1) + hole (n.).
peep-show (n.) Look up peep-show at
1851 (not typically salacious until c. 1914), from peep (v.1) + show (n.).
peepee Look up peepee at
1923, childish reduplication of pee.
peeper (n.) Look up peeper at
1650s, "one who peeps," agent noun from peep (v.1). Slang meaning "eye" is c. 1700. From 1590s as "young chicken" and 1857 as "tree frog" (American English), both from peep (v.2).
peer (n.) Look up peer at
c. 1300, "an equal in rank or status" (early 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French peir, Old French per (10c.), from Latin par "equal" (see par (n.)). Sense of "a noble" (late 14c.) is from Charlemagne's Twelve Peers in the old romances, who, like the Arthurian knights of the Round Table, originally were so called because all were equal. Sociological sense of "one of the same age group or social set" is from 1944. Peer review attested by 1970. Peer pressure is first recorded 1971.
peer (v.) Look up peer at
"to look closely," 1590s, variant of piren (late 14c.), with a long -i-, probably related to or from East Frisian piren "to look," of uncertain origin. Influenced in form and sense by Middle English peren (late 14c.), shortened form of aperen (see appear). Related: Peered; peering.
peerage (n.) Look up peerage at
mid-15c., "peers collectively," from peer (n.) + -age. Probably on model of Old French parage.
peerless (adj.) Look up peerless at
c. 1300, from peer (n.) + -less.
peeve (v.) Look up peeve at
1907 (implied in peeved), back-formation from peevish. As a noun, attested by 1910. Related: Peeved; peeving; peeves.
peevish (adj.) Look up peevish at
late 14c., peyvesshe "perverse, capricious, silly," of uncertain origin; probably modeled on Latin perversus "reversed, perverse," past participle of pervertere "to turn about" (see pervert (v.)). Meaning "cross, fretful" first recorded 1520s. Related: Peevishly; peevishness.
peewee (adj.) Look up peewee at
1877, "small, tiny, for children," a dialect word, possibly a varied reduplication of wee. Attested earlier (1848) as a noun meaning "a small marble." (Baseball Hall-of-Famer Harold "Peewee" Reese got his nickname because he was a marbles champion before he became a Dodgers shortstop.) As a type of bird (variously applied on different continents) it is attested from 1886, imitative of a bird cry.
peg (n.) Look up peg at
mid-15c., from Middle Dutch pegge "peg," a common Low German word (Low German pigge "peg," German Pegel "gauge rod, watermark," Middle Dutch pegel "little knob used as a mark," Dutch peil "gauge, watermark, standard"), of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE *bak- "staff used as support" (see bacillus). To be a square peg in a round hole "be inappropriate for one's situation" is attested from 1836; to take someone down a peg is from 1580s, but the original literal sense is uncertain (most of the likely candidates are not attested until centuries later). Peg leg "wooden leg" attested from 1765.
peg (v.) Look up peg at
"fasten with or as if on a peg," 1590s, from peg (n.). Slang sense of "identify, classify" first recorded 1920. Related: Pegged; pegging.
Pegasus Look up Pegasus at
winged horse in Greek mythology, late 14c., from Latin, from Greek Pegasos, usually said to be from pege "fountain, spring; a well fed by a spring" (plural pegai), especially in "springs of Ocean," near which Medusa was said to have been killed by Perseus (Pegasus sprang from her blood). But this may be folk etymology, and the ending of the word indicates non-Greek origin. Advances since the 1990s in the study of the Luwians, neighbors of the Hittites in ancient Anatolia, show a notable convergence of the Greek name with Pihaššašši, the name of a Luwian weather-god: "the mythological figure of Pegasus carrying the lightning and thunderbolt of Zeus, ... is likely to represent an avatar of the Luwian Storm-God of Lightning ...." [Alice Mouton, et al., eds., "Luwian Identities," 2013]
Peggy Look up Peggy at
fem. familiar proper name, alteration of Maggie (see Margaret).
pegomancy (n.) Look up pegomancy at
"divination by fountains," 1727, from Latinized form of Greek pege "fountain, spring" (of unknown origin) + -mancy.
peignoir (n.) Look up peignoir at
"lady's loose robe," 1835, from French peignoir, from Middle French peignouoir "garment worn over the shoulders while combing the hair" (16c.), from peigner "to comb the hair," from Latin pectinare, from pecten (genitive pectinis) "a comb," related to pectere "to comb" (see fight (v.)). A gown put on while coming from the bath; misapplied in English to a woman's morning gown.
Peirce Look up Peirce at
surname, attested from late 12c., from Old French Piers, nominative of proper name Pierre (see Peter) .
pejoration (n.) Look up pejoration at
1650s, noun of action from pejorate, from Late Latin peiorare "make worse," from Latin peior "worse," perhaps originally "stumbling," from PIE *ped-yos-, suffixed (comparative) form of *ped- "to walk, stumble, impair," from root *ped- "foot."
pejorative (adj.) Look up pejorative at
"depreciative, disparaging," 1888, from French péjoratif, from Late Latin peiorat-, past participle stem of peiorare "make worse," from Latin peior "worse," perhaps originally "stumbling," from PIE *ped-yos-, suffixed (comparative) form of *ped- "to walk, stumble, impair," from root *ped- "foot." As a noun from 1882. English had a verb pejorate "to worsen" from 1640s.
Peking Look up Peking at
former transliteration of what is now (in the pinyin system) called Beijing. In the Wade-Giles system it was Peiping; this form Peking pre-dates Wade-Giles and was formed by the old British-run, Hong Kong-based Chinese postal system.
Pekingese Look up Pekingese at
1907, "small long-haired dog of the pug type," so called because originally brought from the Imperial Palace at Peking, China. Also Pekinese.
pelage (n.) Look up pelage at
"coat of a mammal," from French pelage "hair or wool of an animal" (16c.), from Old French pel "hair," from Latin pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
Pelagian Look up Pelagian at
1530s (n.); 1570s (adj.), from Medieval Latin Pelagianus, from Pelagius, Latinized form of the name of 4c. British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin. Combated by Augustine, condemned by Pope Zosimus in 418 C.E. His name in Welsh was said to have been Morgan, literally "sea-dweller" (hence his Church name, from Greek pelagos "sea;" see pelagic). Related: Pelagianism.
pelagic (adj.) Look up pelagic at
"pertaining to the sea," 1650s, from Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos "sea, high sea, open sea, main." Beekes rejects the traditional derivation from PIE root *plak- (1) "to spread out, be flat" as without evidence and concludes instead that "the word rather seems to be Pre-Greek."
Pelasgian Look up Pelasgian at
late 15c., "of the Pelasgi," from Latin Pelasgius, from Greek Pelasgios "of the Pelasgi," from Pelasgoi "the Pelasgi," name of a prehistoric people of Greece and Asia Minor who occupied Greece before the Hellenes, probably originally *Pelag-skoi, literally "Sea-people" (see pelagic).
pelf (n.) Look up pelf at
mid-14c., "stolen goods," from Anglo-French pelf, Old French pelfre "booty, spoils" (11c.), of unknown origin; also see pilfer. Meaning "money, riches," with a pejorative overtone first recorded c. 1500.