pencil (n.) Look up pencil at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "an artist's fine brush of camel hair," from Old French pincel "artist's paintbrush" (13c., Modern French pinceau), from Latin penicillus "painter's brush, hair-pencil," literally "little tail," diminutive of peniculus "brush," itself a diminutive of penis "tail" (see penis). Small brushes formerly were used for writing before modern lead or chalk pencils; meaning "graphite writing implement" apparently evolved late 16c. Derogatory slang pencil-pusher "office worker" is from 1881; pencil neck "weak person" first recorded 1973.
pencil (v.) Look up pencil at Dictionary.com
1530s, "to mark or sketch with a pencil-brush," from pencil (n.). In reference to lead pencils from 1760s. Related: Penciled; penciling. To pencil (something) in "arrange tentatively" is attested from 1942.
pend (v.) Look up pend at Dictionary.com
c.1500, "to depend, to hang," from French pendre, from Late Latin pendere "to hang" (see pendant). In some cases short for depend.
pendant (n.) Look up pendant at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "loose, hanging part of anything," from Anglo-French pendaunt "hanging" (c.1300), Old French pendant (13c.), noun use of present participle of pendre "to hang," from Latin pendere "to hang," from PIE *(s)pend-, extended form of root *(s)pen- "to pull, draw, stretch" (see span (v.)). Meaning "dangling part of an earring" is attested from 1550s. Nautical sense of "tapering flag" is recorded from late 15c. "In this sense presumably a corruption of pennon" [OED].
pendency (n.) Look up pendency at Dictionary.com
1630s, from pendent + -cy.
pendent (adj.) Look up pendent at Dictionary.com
c.1600 respelling of Middle English pendaunt "hanging, overhanging" (late 14c., from Old French pendant; see pendant) on model of its Latin original, pendentem.
pendentive (n.) Look up pendentive at Dictionary.com
1727, from French pendentif (mid-16c.), from Latin pendentem (nominative pendens) "hanging," present participle of pendere "to hang" (see pendent (adj.)).
pending (prep.) Look up pending at Dictionary.com
1640s, "during, in the process of," preposition formed from root of French pendant "during," literally "hanging," present participle of pendere "to hang, to suspend" (see pendant). Meaning patterned on a secondary sense of Latin pendente "not decided," literally "hanging," in legal phrase pendente lite "while the suit is pending." Use of the present participle before nouns caused it to be regarded as a preposition. As an adjective from 1797.
pendragon (n.) Look up pendragon at Dictionary.com
"Welsh warlord" (mainly known now in Arthurian Uther Pendragon), late 15c., title of a chief leader in war of ancient Britain or Wales, from pen "head" (see pen-) + dragon, which figured on the standard of a cohort.
pendular (adj.) Look up pendular at Dictionary.com
1734, from French pendulaire, from pendule, from pendre (see pendant).
pendulous (adj.) Look up pendulous at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Latin pendulus "hanging down," figuratively "doubtful, uncertain, hesitating," from pendere "to hang" (see pendant). Related: Pendulously.
pendulum (n.) Look up pendulum at Dictionary.com
1660, from Modern Latin pendulum (1643), noun use of neuter of Latin adjective pendulus "hanging down," from pendere "to hang" (see pendant). The Modern Latin word is perhaps a Latinization of Italian pendolo.
Penelope Look up Penelope at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, name of the faithful wife in the "Odyssey," from Greek Penelopeia, probably related to pene "thread on the bobbin," from penos "web," cognate with Latin pannus "cloth garment" (see pane (n.)). Used in English as the type of the virtuous wife (1580) as it was in Latin.
penetrable (adj.) Look up penetrable at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "penetrating," from Latin penetrabilis "penetrable, vulnerable," from penetrare (see penetrate). Meaning "capable of being penetrated" is attested from 1530s; figurative use by 1590s. Related: Penetrability.
penetrate (v.) Look up penetrate at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Latin penetratus, past participle of penetrare "to put or get into, enter into," related to penitus "within, inmost," penus "innermost part of a temple, store of food," penates "household gods." Related: Penetrated; penetrating.
penetrating (adj.) Look up penetrating at Dictionary.com
"touching the feelings intensely," 1630s, figurative present participle adjective from penetrate (v.).
penetration (n.) Look up penetration at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "insight, shrewdness," from Latin penetrationem (nominative penetratio) "a penetrating or piercing," noun of action from past participle stem of penetrare (see penetrate). The sexual sense is attested from 1610s.
penguin (n.) Look up penguin at Dictionary.com
1570s, originally used of the great auk of Newfoundland (now extinct), shift in meaning to the Antarctic bird (which looks something like it, found by Drake in Magellan's Straits in 1578) is from 1580s. Of unknown origin, though often asserted to be from Welsh pen "head" (see pen-) + gwyn "white" (see Gwendolyn), but Barnhart says the proposed formation is not proper Welsh. The great auk had a large white patch between its bill and eye. The French and Breton versions of the word ultimately are from English.
penholder (n.) Look up penholder at Dictionary.com
1815, from pen (n.1) + holder.
penicillin (n.) Look up penicillin at Dictionary.com
1929, coined in English by Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), who first recognized its antibiotic properties, from Modern Latin Penicillium notatum (1867), the name of the mould from which it was first obtained, from Latin penicillus "paintbrush" (see pencil (n.)), in reference to the shape of the mould cells.
peninsula (n.) Look up peninsula at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Latin pæninsula "a peninsula," literally "almost an island," from pæne "almost" + insula "island" (see isle). Earlier translated as demie island.
peninsular (adj.) Look up peninsular at Dictionary.com
1610s, from peninsula + -ar.
penis (n.) Look up penis at Dictionary.com
1670s, perhaps from French pénis or directly from Latin penis "penis," earlier "tail," from PIE *pes- "penis" (cognates: Sanskrit pasas-, Greek peos, posthe "penis," probably also Old English fæsl "progeny, offspring," Old Norse fösull, German Fasel "young of animals, brood"). The proper plural is penes. The adjective is penial. In psychological writing, penis envy is attested from 1924.
penitence (n.) Look up penitence at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from Old French penitence (11c.) and directly from Latin paenitentia "repentance," noun of condition from paenitentum (nominative paenitens) "penitent," present participle of paenitere "cause or feel regret," probably originally "is not enough, is unsatisfactory," from paene "nearby, almost."
penitent (adj.) Look up penitent at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French pénitent (14c.) and directly from Latin paenitentem (see penitence). As a noun, late 14c., from the adjective.
penitential (adj.) Look up penitential at Dictionary.com
c.1500, from Medieval Latin penitentialis, from Latin paenitentia "repentance" (see penitence).
penitentiary (n.) Look up penitentiary at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "place of punishment for offenses against the church," from Medieval Latin penitentiaria, from fem. of penitentiarius (adj.) "of penance," from Latin paenitentia "penitence" (see penitence). Meaning "house of correction" (originally an asylum for prostitutes) is from 1806, short for penitentiary house (1776). Slang shortening pen is attested from 1884.
penknife (n.) Look up penknife at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from pen (n.1) + knife (n.). So called because such small knives were used to sharpen quills.
penman (n.) Look up penman at Dictionary.com
1610s, "copyist, clerk, scrivener" (obsolete), from pen (n.1) + man (n.).
penmanship (n.) Look up penmanship at Dictionary.com
1690s, from obsolete penman "copyist, clerk, scrivener" + -ship.
pennant (n.) Look up pennant at Dictionary.com
1610s, "rope for hoisting," probably a blend of pendant in the nautical sense of "suspended rope" and pennon. Use for "flag on a warship" first recorded 1690s; "flag symbolizing a sports championship" (especially baseball) is from 1880; as a synonym for "championship" it was first used 1915.
penniless (adj.) Look up penniless at Dictionary.com
"destitute," early 14c., penyles, from penny + -less.
pennon (n.) Look up pennon at Dictionary.com
long, narrow flag (often triangular or swallow-tailed), late 14c., from Old French penon "feathers of an arrow; streamer, flag, banner," from penne "feather," from Latin penna "feather" (see pen (n.1)).
Pennsylvania Look up Pennsylvania at Dictionary.com
American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch is attested from 1824.
Pennsylvanian (adj.) Look up Pennsylvanian at Dictionary.com
1698, from Pennsylvania + -an. In reference to a geological system, attested from 1891. As a noun meaning "a person of Pennsylvania," by 1685.
penny (n.) Look up penny at Dictionary.com
Old English pening, penig, Northumbrian penning "penny," from Proto-Germanic *panninggaz (cognates: Old Norse penningr, Swedish pänning, Danish penge, Old Frisian panning, Old Saxon pending, Middle Dutch pennic, Dutch penning, Old High German pfenning, German Pfennig, not recorded in Gothic, where skatts is used instead), of unknown origin.
Offa's reformed coinage on light, broad flans is likely to have begun c.760-5 in London, with an awareness of developments in Francia and East Anglia. ... The broad flan penny established by Offa remained the principal denomination, with only minor changes, until the fourteenth century. [Anna Gannon, "The Iconography of Early Anglo-Saxon Coinage," Oxford, 2003]
The English coin was originally set at one-twelfth of a shilling and was of silver, later copper, then bronze. There are two plural forms: pennies of individual coins, pence collectively. In translations it rendered various foreign coins of small denomination, especially Latin denarius, whence comes its abbreviation d.

As American English colloquial for cent, it is recorded from 1889. Penny-a-liner "writer for a journal or newspaper" is attested from 1834. Penny dreadful "cheap and gory fiction" dates from c.1870. Phrase penny-wise and pound-foolish is recorded from c.1600. Penny-pincher "miserly person" is recorded from 1906 (as an adjective penny-pinching is recorded from 1858, American English). Penny loafers attested from 1960.
penny-ante (adj.) Look up penny-ante at Dictionary.com
"cheap, trivial," 1935; extended from use in reference to poker played for insignificant stakes (1855), from penny + ante.
pennyfarthing (adj.) Look up pennyfarthing at Dictionary.com
also penny farthing, penny-farthing, "ineffective," 1887, from penny + farthing, the two together making but a small sum. The noun, in reference to the kind of bicycle with a small wheel in back and a big one in front (so called from the notion of different size coins) is first recorded 1927.
pennyroyal (n.) Look up pennyroyal at Dictionary.com
herb, 1520s, alteration by folk etymology of Anglo-French puliol real; for second element see royal; first element ultimately from Latin puleium "thyme," of unknown origin.
pennyweight (n.) Look up pennyweight at Dictionary.com
Old English penega gewiht, originally the weight of a silver penny; see penny + weight (n.).
pennyworth (n.) Look up pennyworth at Dictionary.com
Old English peningwurð; see penny + worth (adj.). Figurative of "small amount" from mid-14c.
penology (n.) Look up penology at Dictionary.com
"study of punishment and crime prevention," 1838, coined apparently by Francis Lieber, corresponding member of the Philadephia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, from pen- as in penitentiary (ultimately from Latin poena "penalty, punishment;" see penal) + -ology "study of." Related: Penologist; penological.
Pensacola Look up Pensacola at Dictionary.com
name of a Muskogean tribe, from Choctaw, literally "hair-people," from pashi "hair of the head" + oklah "people."
pension (n.) Look up pension at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "payment for services," especially "reward, payment out of a benefice" (early 14c., in Anglo-Latin), from Old French pension "payment, rent" (13c.) and directly from Latin pensionem (nominative pensio) "a payment, installment, rent," from past participle stem of pendere "pay, weigh" (see pendant). Meaning "regular payment in consideration of past service" first recorded 1520s. Meaning "boarding house, boarding school" first attested 1640s, from French, and usually in reference to places in France or elsewhere on the Continent.
pension (v.) Look up pension at Dictionary.com
1640s, "to live in a pension," from pension (n.) or else from French pensionner. Meaning "to grant a pension" is from 1702. Related: Pensioned; pensioning.
pensioner (n.) Look up pensioner at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Anglo-French pensionner, from Old French pensionnier (mid-14c.), from Medieval Latin pensionarius, from pension (see pension (n.)).
pensive (adj.) Look up pensive at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French pensif "thoughtful, distracted, musing" (11c.), from penser "to think," from Latin pensare "weigh, consider," frequentative of pendere "weigh" (see pendant). Related: Pensively; pensiveness.
pent (adj.) Look up pent at Dictionary.com
"kept in, confined," 1540s, variant of penned, past participle of pen (v.2). Pent-up (also pent up) is from 1580s.
penta- Look up penta- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "five, containing five," from Greek penta- (before a vowel pent-), comb. form of pente "five," related to Aeolian pempte (see five), with -a- by analogy of hepta-, ennea-, deka-.
pentacle (n.) Look up pentacle at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Medieval Latin pentaculum "pentagram," a hybrid coined from Greek pente "five" (see five) + Latin -culum, diminutive (or instrumental) suffix. OED notes other similar words: Italian had pentacolo "anything with five points," and French pentacle (16c.) was the name of something used in necromancy, perhaps a five-branched candlestick; French had pentacol "amulet worn around the neck" (14c.), from pend- "to hang" + a "to" + col "neck." The same figure as a pentagram, except in magical usage, where it has been extended to other symbols of power, including a six-point star. Related: Pentacular.