pierced (adj.)
c. 1400, past participle adjective from pierce (v.).
piercer (n.)
early 15c., agent noun from pierce (v.).
piercing (adj.)
in reference to cold, sound, etc., early 15c., present participle adjective from pierce (v.). Figuratively, of pain, grief, etc., from late 14c. Related: Piercingly.
piercing (n.)
late 14c., verbal noun from pierce (v.).
Pierian (adj.)
literally "of Pieria," 1590s, from Latin Pierius "Pieria," from Greek Pieria, district in northern Thessaly, reputed home of the Muses; thus "pertaining to poetry."
A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
[Pope, "Essay on Criticism," 1711]
The name is ultimately from PIE *peie- "be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)).
Pierre
Modern French form of masc. proper name represented in Modern English by Peter (q.v.). The city in South Dakota, U.S., was named for Pierre Chouteau (1789-1865) who set up an Indian trading post here in 1837.
pierrot (n.)
stock character in French pantomime, in English, "a buffoon," from French Pierrot, diminutive of Pierre; considered a typical name of a French peasant.
Piers
common Old French form of masc. proper name Peter (q.v.).
Pieta (n.)
"Virgin holding the dead body of Christ," 1640s, from Italian pieta, from Latin pietatem (see piety).
pietism (n.)
also Pietism, 1690s, from German Pietismus, originally applied in derision to the movement to revive personal piety in the Lutheran Church, begun in Frankfurt c. 1670 by Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705). See piety + -ism.
pietist (n.)
also Pietist, 1690s; see pietism + -ist. As an adjective from 1705.
pietistic (adj.)
1804, from pietist + -ic. Related: Pietistical.
piety (n.)
early 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), "mercy, tenderness, pity," from Old French piete "piety, faith; pity, compassion" (12c.), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "dutiful conduct, sense of duty; religiousness, piety; loyalty, patriotism; faithfulness to natural ties," in Late Latin "gentleness, kindness, pity;" from pius "kind" (see pious). Meaning "piousness" attested in English from c. 1600. Also see pity (n.).
piezo-
word-forming element meaning "pressure," from Greek piezein "to press tight, squeeze," from PIE *pisedyo- "to sit upon" (source also of Sanskrit pidayati "presses, oppresses"), from *pi "on," short for *epi (see epi-) + root *sed- (1) "to sit." First in piezometer (1820); in common use in word formation from c. 1900.
piezoelectric (adj.)
1883, from piezoelectricity, from German piezoelectricität (Wilhelm G. Hankel, 1881); see piezo- + electric. As a noun from 1913.
piffle (v.)
1847, of unknown origin, perhaps an alteration of trifle, by influence of piddle, etc. Or perhaps imitative of a puff of air, with diminutive suffix -el (2). As a noun by 1890.
pig (v.)
1670s, "to huddle together," from pig (n.). Related: Pigged; pigging. To pig out "eat voraciously" attested by 1979.
pig (n.)
probably from Old English *picg, found in compounds, further etymology unknown. Originally "young pig" (the word for adults was swine). Apparently related to Low German bigge, Dutch big ("but the phonology is difficult" -- OED). The meaning "oblong piece of metal" is first attested 1580s, on the notion of "large mass." Applied to persons, usually in contempt, since 1540s; the derogatory slang meaning "police officer" has been in underworld slang since at least 1811.
The pigs frisked my panney, and nailed my screws; the officers searched my house, and seized my picklock keys. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
Another Old English word for "pig" was fearh, related to furh "furrow," from PIE *perk- "dig, furrow" (source also of Latin porc-us "pig," see pork). "This reflects a widespread IE tendency to name animals from typical attributes or activities" [Lass]. Synonyms grunter, porker are from sailors' and fishermen's euphemistic avoidance of uttering the word pig at sea, a superstition perhaps based on the fate of the Gadarene swine, who drowned. The image of a pig in a poke is attested from 1520s (see poke (n.1)). Flying pigs as a type of something unreal is from 1610s.
pig iron (n.)
1660s; see pig (n.) + iron (n.).
pig Latin (n.)
childish deformed language (there are many different versions), by 1889 (hog Latin in same sense is attested by 1807).
The animals play quite an important part in the naming [of children's languages], as the hog, dog, fly, goose, pigeon, pig, all give names, with Mr. Hog leading. Among the names the Latins take the lead, and Hog Latin leads the list, being accredited as naming nearly as many languages as all the other names combined. Besides Hog Latin, there is Dog Latin, Pig Latin, Goose Latin, and Bum Latin. Then there is Greekish and Peddlers' French and Pigeon English. ... Very few can give any reason for the naming of the languages. In fact, no one can fully say where the great majority of names came from, for in most cases in the naming the following pretty well expresses the difficulty: "It was born before I was. I can't tell how young I was when I first heard of it." ["The Secret Language of Children," in "The North Western Monthly," October 1897]
For the language itself, compare loucherbem, a 20c. French slang similar to pig Latin, which takes its name from the form of the word boucher in that language (which is said to have originated among the Paris butchers).
pig-headed (adj.)
also pigheaded; 1756, "having a head resembling a pig;" 1788 as "obstinate;" see pig (n.) + -headed. Usually, but not always, figurative.
A pig-headed man must be one, who, like a driven pig, always will do exactly the opposite to what other people--in the case of the pig his luckless driver--wish him to do, that is to say he is an obstinate man. ["The Sedberghian," June 1882]
pigeon (n.)
late 14c. (early 13c. as a surname), from Old French pigeon "young dove" (13c.), probably from Vulgar Latin *pibionem, dissimilation from Late Latin pipionem (nominative pipio) "squab, young chirping bird" (3c.), from pipire "to peep, chirp," of imitative origin. Meaning "one easily duped" is from 1590s. Replaced culver (Old English culufre, from Vulgar Latin *columbra, from Latin columbula) and native dove.
pigeon-hole (n.)
also pigeonhole, 1570s, "a small recess for pigeons to nest in," from pigeon + hole (n.). Meaning "a compartment in a writing desk," etc. is from 1680s, based on resemblance. The verb is from 1840 literally; figurative sense of "label mentally" is from 1870.
[Y]ou will have an inspector after you with note-book and ink-horn, and you will be booked and pigeon-holed for further use when wanted. ["Civilisation--The Census," "Blackwood's Magazine," Oct. 1854]
Related: Pigeonholed.
pigeon-toed (adj.)
1788, originally of horses; see pigeon.
piggish (adj.)
1792, from pig (n.) + -ish. Until 20c. usually "stubborn, selfish; unclean, coarse;" association with greedy eating is more recent. Related: Piggishly; piggishness.
Piggly-Wiggly
chain of self-service grocery stores, started 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. According to founder's reminiscence from 1921, an arbitrary coinage, simply "something different from anything used before" ["Current Opinion"].
piggy (n.)
"a little pig," 1799, from pig (n.) + -y (3). Related: Piggies. Piggy bank popular from 1940 (ceramic or tin pig banks are noted by 1903 in American English, sometimes as souvenirs from Mexico).
piggy (adj.)
"resembling a pig," 1841, from pig (n.) + -y (2).
piggyback (adj.)
1823, probably a folk etymology alteration of pick pack (1560s), which perhaps is from pick, a dialectal variant of pitch (v.1). As a verb from 1952.
piglet (n.)
1883, from pig (n.) + diminutive suffix -let. Earlier name for baby pig was farrow.
pigment (n.)
late 14c., from Latin pigmentum "coloring matter, pigment, paint," figuratively "ornament," from stem of pingere "to color, paint" (see paint (v.)). Variants of this word could have been known in Old English (compare 12c. pyhmentum). As a verb from 1900. Related: Pigmented; pigmenting.
pigmentation (n.)
1866, from pigment + noun ending -ation. Perhaps modeled on French.
pigmentocracy (n.)
1952, apparently coined in "The Economist," from pigment + -cracy "rule or government by."
pigmy
see pygmy.
pigskin (n.)
"saddle leather," 1855, from pig (n.) + skin (n.). As slang for "football" from 1894.
pigsney (n.)
(obsolete), late 14c., endearing form of address to a girl or woman, apparently from Middle English pigges eye, literally "pig's eye," with unetymological -n- from min eye, an eye, etc. See OED for explanation of why this might have been felt as a compliment. In a pig's eye! as an adverse retort is recorded from 1872.
pigsty (n.)
1590s, from pig (n.) + sty. Figurative use for "miserable, dirty hovel" is attested from 1820.
pigtail (n.)
1680s, "tobacco in a twisted roll," from pig (n.) + tail (n.). So called from resemblance. Meaning "braid of hair" is from 1753, when it was a fashion among soldiers and sailors. Applied variously to other objects or parts thought to resemble this in appearance.
pika (n.)
rabbit-like animal of Siberia and North America, 1827, from Tunguse piika.
pike (n.4)
"pick used in digging," Middle English pik, pyk, collateral (long-vowel) form of pic (source of pick (n.1)), from Old English piic "pointed object, pickaxe," perhaps from a Celtic source (compare Gaelic pic "pickaxe," Irish pice "pike, pitchfork"). Extended early 13c. to "pointed tip" of anything. Pike, pick, and pitch formerly were used indifferently in English. Pike position in diving, gymnastics, etc., attested from 1928, perhaps on the notion of "tapering to a point."
pike (n.1)
"highway," 1812 shortening of turnpike.
pike (n.2)
"weapon with a long shaft and a pointed metal head," 1510s, from Middle French pique "a spear; pikeman," from piquer "to pick, puncture, pierce," from Old French pic "sharp point or spike," a general continental term (Spanish pica, Italian picca, Provençal piqua), perhaps ultimately from a Germanic [Barnhart] or Celtic source (see pike (n.4)). Alternative explanation traces the Old French word (via Vulgar Latin *piccare "to prick, pierce") to Latin picus "woodpecker." "Formerly the chief weapon of a large part of the infantry; in the 18th c. superseded by the bayonet" [OED]; hence old expressions such as pass through pikes "come through difficulties, run the gauntlet;" push of pikes "close-quarters combat." German Pike, Dutch piek, Danish pik, etc. are from French pique.
pike (n.3)
"voracious freshwater fish," early 14c., probably short for pike-fish, a special use of pike (n.2) in reference to the fish's long, pointed jaw, and in part from French brochet "pike" (fish), from broche "a roasting spit."
pikeman (n.)
"soldier armed with a pike," 16c., from pike (n.2) + man (n.).
piker (n.)
"miserly person," 1872, formerly "poor migrant to California" (1860), earlier pike (1854), perhaps originally "vagrant who wanders the pike (n.1)" (which is the notion in Sussex dialectal piker "vagrant, tramp, gypsy," 1838), but Barnhart, OED and others suggest the American English word ultimately is a reference to people from Pike County, Missouri.
pilaf (n.)
oriental dish of rice boiled with meat, 1610s, from Turkish pilav, from Persian pilaw. Spelling influenced by Modern Greek pilafi, from the Turkish word.
pilar (adj.)
"pertaining to hair," 1858, from Modern Latin pilaris "hairy," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
pilaster (n.)
a square column, 1570s, from Middle French pilastre (1540s), from Italian pilastro, from Medieval Latin pilastrum (mid-14c.), from pila, "buttress, pile" (from Latin pila, see pillar) + Latin -aster, suffix "expressing incomplete resemblance" [Barnhart].
Pilate (n.)
c. 1400 as a term of reproach, from the Roman surname, especially that of Pontius, a governor of Judaea, from Latin Pilatus, literally "armed with javelins," from pilum "javelin" (see pile (n.2)). Among slang and cant uses of Pontius Pilate mentioned in the 1811 "Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" is "(Cambridge) a Mr. Shepherd of Trinity College; who disputing with a brother parson on the comparative rapidity with which they read the liturgy, offered to give him as far as Pontius Pilate in the Belief."
Pilates
c. 1980, physical fitness regimen developed c. 1920 by German-born physical fitness teacher Joseph Pilates (1883-1967).