peerless (adj.)
c.1300, from peer (n.) + -less.
peeve (v.)
1907 (implied in peeved), back-formation from peevish. As a noun, attested by 1910. Related: Peeved; peeving; peeves.
peevish (adj.)
late 14c., peyvesshe "perverse, capricious, silly," of uncertain origin, possibly 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.)
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.)
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.)
"fasten with or as if on a peg," 1590s, from peg (n.). Slang sense of "identify, classify" first recorded 1920. Related: Pegged; pegging.
Pegasus
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
fem. familiar proper name, alteration of Maggie (see Margaret).
pegomancy (n.)
"divination by fountains," 1727, from Latinized form of Greek pege "fountain, spring" (of unknown origin) + -mancy.
peignoir (n.)
"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
surname, attested from late 12c., from Old French Piers, nominative of proper name Pierre (see Peter) .
pejoration (n.)
1650s, noun of action from pejorate (see pejorative).
pejorative (adj.)
"depreciative, disparaging," 1888, from French péjoratif, from Late Latin peiorat-, past participle stem of peiorare "make worse," from Latin peior "worse," related to pessimus "worst," pessum "downward, to the ground," from PIE *ped-yos-, comparative of root *ped- "to walk, stumble, impair" (see peccadillo). As a noun from 1882. English had a verb pejorate "to worsen" from 1640s.
Peking
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
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.)
"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
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.)
"pertaining to the sea," 1650s, from Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos "sea, high sea, open sea, main," from PIE *pelag- "to spread out" (source of Greek plagos "side," Latin plaga "hunting net, curtain, region"), possibly from root *plak- (1) "to spread out, be flat" (see placenta).
Pelasgian
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.)
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.
pelican (n.)
Old English pellicane, from Late Latin pelecanus, from Greek pelekan "pelican" (so used by Aristotle), apparently related to pelekas "woodpecker" and pelekys "ax," perhaps so called from the shape of the bird's bill. Spelling influenced in Middle English by Old French pelican. Used in Septuagint to translate Hebrew qaath. The fancy that it feeds its young on its own blood is an Egyptian tradition properly belonging to some other bird. Louisiana has been known as the Pelican state at least since 1859.
pell (n.)
"a parchment," mid-15c., earlier "skin, hide" (mid-14c.), from Anglo-French pell, Old French pel "skin" (13c., Modern French peau), from Latin pellem, pellis "skin, leather, parchment, hide" (see film (n.)).
pell-mell (adv.)
"confusedly," 1570s, from Middle French pêle-mêle, from Old French pesle mesle (12c.), apparently a jingling rhyme on the second element, which is from the stem of the verb mesler "to mix, mingle" (see meddle). Phonetic French form pelly melly is attested in English from mid-15c.
pellagra (n.)
chronic disease caused by dietary deficiency and characterized by skin eruptions, 1811, a hybrid formed from Latin pellis "skin" (see film (n.)) + Greek agra "a catching, seizure," related to agrein "to take, seize." But OED suggests it might be originally Italian pelle agra "rough skin." Related: Pellagrous.
pellet (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French pelote "small ball" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila "ball, playing ball, the game of ball," perhaps originally "ball of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
pellet (v.)
"to form into pellets," 1590s, from pellet (n.).
pellicle (n.)
1540s, from Middle French pellicle (Modern French pellicule), from Latin pellicula "small or thin skin," diminutive of pellis "skin, leather, parchment, hide" (see film (n.)). Related: Pellicular.
pellucid (adj.)
"transparent, translucent," 1610s, from Latin pellucidus "transparent," from pellucere "shine through," from per- "through" (see per) + lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)). Related: Pellucidly; pellucidity.
Peloponnesus (n.)
peninsula of southern Greece, late 15c., from Latin, from Greek Peloponnesos, second element apparently nesos "island" (see Chersonese); first element said to be named for Pelops, son of Tantalus, who killed him and served him to the gods as food (they later restored him to life). The proper name is probably from pellos "dark" + ops "face, eye." But the association with the peninsula name likely is folk etymology. Related: Peloponnesian.
peloton (n.)
1706, "small body of soldiers, platoon," from French peleton, derivative of pelote "ball, heap, platoon" (11c.); see platoon.
pelt (v.)
"to strike" (with something), c.1500, of unknown origin; perhaps from early 13c. pelten "to strike," variant of pilten "to thrust, strike," from an unrecorded Old English *pyltan, from Medieval Latin *pultiare, from Latin pultare "to beat, knock, strike." Or from Old French peloter "to strike with a ball," from pelote "ball" (see pellet (n.)) [Klein]. Watkins says the source is Latin pellere "to push, drive, strike." Related: Pelted; pelting.
pelt (n.)
"skin of a fur-bearing animal," early 15c., of uncertain origin, perhaps a contraction of pelet (late 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French pelete "fine skin, membrane," diminutive of pel "skin," from Latin pellis "skin, hide" (see film (n.)). Or perhaps the source of the English word is Anglo-French pelterie, Old French peletrie "fur skins," from Old French peletier "furrier," from pel.
pelvic (adj.)
1830, irregularly formed from pelvis + -ic. OED prefers "the better-formed" French pelvien.
pelvis (n.)
1610s, "basin-like cavity formed by the bones of the pelvic girdle," from Modern Latin, from Latin pelvis "basin, laver," Old Latin peluis "basin," from PIE *pel- "container" (cognates: Sanskrit palavi "vessel," Greek pelex "helmet," pelike "goblet, bowl," Old Norse and Old English full "cup").
pemmican (n.)
1791, from Cree (Algonquian) /pimihka:n/ from /pimihke:w/ "he makes grease," from pimiy "grease, fat." Lean meat, dried, pounded and mixed with congealed fat and ground berries and formed into cakes used on long journeys. Also used figuratively for "extremely condensed thought or matter."
pen (n.3)
slang, "prison," 1884, shortening of penitentiary; earlier use (1845) probably is a figurative extension of pen (n.2).
pen (n.1)
"writing implement," late 13c., from Old French pene "quill pen; feather" (12c.) and directly from Latin penna "a feather, plume," in plural "a wing," in Late Latin, "a pen for writing," from Old Latin petna, pesna, from PIE *pet-na-, suffixed form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly" (see petition (n.)).

Latin penna and pinna "a feather, plume;" in plural "a wing;" also "a pinnacle; battlement" (see pin (n.)) are treated as identical in Watkins, etc., but regarded as separate (but confused) Latin words by Tucker and others, who derive pinna from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (see spike (n.1)) and see the "feather/wing" sense as secondary.

In later French, this word means only "long feather of a bird," while the equivalent of English plume is used for "writing implement," the senses of the two words thus are reversed from the situation in English. Pen-and-ink (adj.) is attested from 1670s. Pen name is recorded from mid-19c.
pen (v.2)
"to enclose in a pen," c.1200, from Old English *pennian, from the source of pen (n.2). Related: Penned; penning.
pen (n.2)
"enclosure for animals," Old English penn, penne, "enclosure, pen, fold," of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old English pinn "pin, peg" (see pin (n.)) on notion of a bolted gate or else "structure made of pointed stakes."
pen (v.1)
late 15c., from pen (n.). Related: Penned; penning.
pen-
Brythonic for "head;" common in place names in Cornwall and Wales (such as Penzance, see also Pendragon).
pen-pal (n.)
also pen pal, 1931, from pen (n.1) + pal (n.). gradually replacing earlier pen-friend (1919).
penal (adj.)
"pertaining to punishment," mid-15c., from Old French peinal (12c., Modern French pénal) and directly from Medieval Latin penalis, from Latin poenalis "pertaining to punishment," from poena "punishment," from Greek poine "blood-money, fine, penalty, punishment," from PIE *kwoina, from root *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (cognates: Greek time "price, worth, honor, esteem, respect," tinein "to pay a price, punish, take vengeance;" Sanskrit cinoti "observes, notes;" Avestan kaena "punishment, vengeance;" Old Church Slavonic cena "honor, price;" Lithuanian kaina "value, price").
penalise (v.)
chiefly British English spelling of penalize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Penalised; penalising.
penalize (v.)
1868, from penal + -ize. Related: Penalized; penalizing.
penalty (n.)
mid-15c., from Middle French penalité and directly from Medieval Latin poenalitatem (nominative poenalitas), from Latin poenalis (see penal). The sporting sense is first recorded 1885. Ice hockey penalty box attested by 1931.
penance (n.)
late 13c., "religious discipline or self-mortification as a token of repentance and as atonement for some sin," from Anglo-French penaunce, Old French peneance (12c.), from Latin pænitentia (see penitence). Transferred sense is recorded from c.1300.
penates (n.)
Roman household gods, 1510s, from Latin penates "gods of the inside of the house," related to penatus "sanctuary of a temple" (especially that of Vesta), cognate with penitus "within" (see penetrate).
pence (n.)
late 14c., contraction of penies, collective plural of penny. Spelling with -ce reflects the voiceless pronunciation.
penchant (n.)
1670s, from French penchant, noun use of present participle of Old French pencher "to incline," from Vulgar Latin *pendicare, a frequentative formed from Latin pendere "to hang" (see pendant (n.)).