polymeric (adj.)
1829, from polymer + -ic.
polymerization (n.)
1866, from polymer + -ization.
polymerize (v.)
1851, from polymer + -ize. Related: Polymerized; polymerizing.
polymorph (n.)
"organism of several forms," 1828, from Greek polymorphos "of many forms" (see polymorphous).
polymorphism (n.)
1839, from polymorph + -ism.
polymorphous (adj.)
1785, from Greek polymorphos "multiform, of many forms, manifold," from poly- "many" (see poly-) + morphe "shape, form" (see Morpheus). Related: Polymorphic; polymorphously; polymorphousness.
Polynesia (n.)
1758, Latinization of French polynésie, coined 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses (1709-1777) in "Histoire des navigations aux terres australes, contenant ce que l'on sait des moeurs et des productions des contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour" (and first in English in a review of it), coined from Greek polys "many" (see poly-) + nesos "island" (see Chersonese). Related: Polynesian.
polynomial
1670s (n.), 1704 (adj.), irregularly formed from poly- + stem of binomial.
polyp (n.)
c.1400, "nasal tumor," from Middle French polype and directly from Latin polypus "cuttlefish," also "nasal tumor," from Greek (Doric, Aeolic) polypos "octopus, cuttlefish," from polys "many" (see poly-) + pous "foot" (see foot (n.)). Etymological sense revived 1742 as a name for hydras and sea anemones (earlier polypus, early 16c.). The Latin word is the source of French poulpe "octopus."
polypeptide (n.)
peptide built from a large number of amino acids, 1903, from German polypeptid; see poly- + peptide.
polyphagia (n.)
1690s, "eating to excess," medical Latin, from Greek polyphagia "excess in eating," from polyphagos "eating to excess," from polys "much" (see poly-) + phagein "to eat" (see -phagous). Attested from 1890 in sense "feeding on various kinds of food." Nativized as polyphagy. Related: Polyphagic; polyphagous.
Polyphemus
name of a Cyclops ("Odyssey," IX), also used as the name for a one-eyed animal; the name is literally "many-voiced" or else "much-spoken-of" (see poly- + fame (n.)).
polyphonic (adj.)
1782, formed in English from Greek polyphonos (see polyphony).
polyphony (n.)
1828, "multiplicity of sounds," from Greek polyphonia "variety of sounds," from polyphonos "having many sounds or voices," from polys "many" (see poly-) + phone "voice, sound" (see fame (n.)). The meaning "counterpoint" (1864) is perhaps a back-formation from the adjective.
polyploidy (n.)
1922, from German polyploidie (1910), from polyploid, from Greek poly- (see poly-) + -ploid, from comb. form of ploos "fold" (see fold (v.)) + -oid.
polyrhythm (n.)
1911, probably a back formation from polyrhythmic.
polyrhythmic (adj.)
1883, from poly- + rhythmic.
polysemous (adj.)
1884, from Medieval Latin polysemus, from Greek polysemos "of many sides" (see polysemy).
polysemy (n.)
1900, from French polysémie (1897), from Medieval Latin polysemus, from Greek polysemos "of many senses," from poly- (see poly-) + sema "sign" (see semantic). Related: Polysemic.
polystyrene (n.)
1922, so called because it is a polymer of styrene.
polysyllabic (adj.)
1650s (implied in polysyllabical), from Medieval Latin polysyllabicus, from Greek polysyllabikos; see poly- + syllabic.
polysyllable (n.)
1560s; see poly- + syllable. As a rule, a word of more than three syllables.
polysynthesis (n.)
1837, from poly- + synthesis.
polytechnic (adj.)
1805, "pertaining to instruction in many (technical) subjects," from French École Polytechnique, engineering school founded 1794 (as École des Travaux publics) in Paris; from Greek polytekhnos "skilled in many arts," from polys "many" (see poly-) + tekhne "art" (see techno-). As a noun (short for polytechnic institution) from 1836.
polytheism (n.)
1610s, from French polythéisme (16c.), formed from Greek polytheia "polytheism," polytheos "of many gods," from polys "many" (see poly-) + theos "god" (see theo-).
polytheist (n.)
1610s; see polytheism + -ist.
polyunsaturated (adj.)
1921, from poly- + unsaturated.
polyurethane (n.)
1944, from polymer + urethane.
polyvalent (adj.)
1881, from poly- + -valent, from Latin valentem, present participle of valere "be worth" (see valiant). Coined by German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer (1825-1909), who also designed the flask that bears his name.
polyvinyl (n.)
1930, polymer of vinyl chloride. In chemistry, vinyl was used from 1863 as the name of a univalent radical derived from ethylene, from Latin vinum "wine" (see wine (n.)), because ethyl alcohol is the ordinary alcohol present in wine.
pom-pom (n.)
"Maxim automatic gun," 1899, of imitative origin, soldiers' slang from the Boer War. For the ornamental tuft, see pompom.
pomace (n.)
1570s, "crushed pulp of apples," from Old French pomaz, plural of pome "cider; apple," from Latin pomum "fruit; apple" (see Pomona).
pomaceous (adj.)
1706, from Vulgar Latin *poma "apple," originally plural of Latin pomus "fruit," later "apple" (see Pomona) + -aceous.
pomade (n.)
1560s, from Middle French pommade "an ointment" (16c.), from Italian pomata, from pomo "apple," from Latin pomum "fruit; apple" (see Pomona). So called because the original ointment recipe contained mashed apples.
pome (n.)
late 14c., of types of apples or apple-shaped objects, from Old French pome "apple" (12c., Modern French pomme), from Late Latin or Vulgar Latin *poma "apple," originally plural of Latin pomus "fruit," later "apple" (see Pomona).
pomegranate (n.)
c.1300, poumgarnet (a metathesized form), from Old French pome grenate (Modern French grenade) and directly from Medieval Latin pomum granatum, literally "apple with many seeds," from pome "apple; fruit" (see Pomona) + grenate "having grains," from Latin granata, fem. of granatus, from granum "grain" (see grain). The classical Latin name was malum granatum "seeded apple." Italian form is granata, Spanish is granada. The -gra- spelling restored in English early 15c.
pomelo (n.)
1858, of uncertain origin; apparently related to Latin pomum "fruit; apple" (see Pomona).
Pomerania (n.)
region and former province of Prussia on the Baltic coast of modern Poland (German Pommern, Polish Pomorze), Medieval Latin, from Pomerani, name of a Slavic tribe there, from Polish po morze "by the sea."
Pomeranian (n.)
type of dog, 1760, from Pomerania, former province of Prussia on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.
pommel (n.)
mid-13c., "ornamental knob;" c.1300, "knob at the end of a sword hilt," from Old French pomel (12c., Modern French pommeau), "rounded knob," diminutive of pom "hilt of a sword," from Late Latin pomellum, diminutive of Latin pomum "apple" (see Pomona), the connecting notion being "roundness." Sense of "front peak of a saddle" first recorded mid-15c. In Middle English poetry it also sometimes meant a woman's breast. The gymnast's pommel horse is attested from 1908.
pommes frites (n.)
"fried potatoes," 1872, French, from pomme "potato" (see pome).
Pomona (n.)
Roman goddess of fruit, from Latin pomum "apple; fruit," of uncertain origin. "Possibly from *po-emo- 'taken off, picked'; *po-omo- or *pe-omo- are also conceivable" [de Vaan]. Or perhaps borrowed from a lost Mediterranean language.
pomp (n.)
c.1300, from Old French pompe "pomp, magnificence" (13c.) and directly from Latin pompa "procession, pomp," from Greek pompe "solemn procession, display," literally "a sending," from pempein "to send." In Church Latin, used in deprecatory sense for "worldly display, vain show."
pompadour (n.)
1887 as a men's hairstyle; 1899 as a woman's style with the hair swept up over the forehead, in recognition of Jeanne-Antionette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1721-1764), mistress of Louis XV from 1745-50, who wore her hair in an upswept style. Used in her lifetime in reference to various fashions, accessories, colors, furniture, etc. The estate of Pompadour is in the Limousin region.
pompano (n.)
ocean fish, 1778, from American Spanish pampano, a name given to various types of fish, from Spanish, originally "vine, tendril," from Latin pampinus "tendril or leaf of a vine."
Pompeii
Roman town buried by volcanic eruption 79 C.E., excavated beginning in 1755; the name is from Oscan pompe "five," in reference to its five districts. Related: Pompeian.
pompier (n.)
"fireman's scaling ladder," French, literally "fireman," from pompe "pump" (see pump (n.)).
pompom (n.)
"ornamental round tuft" (originally on a hat, etc.), 1748, alteration of pompon "ornamental tuft; tuft-like flower head," from French pompon (1725), of unknown origin; perhaps related to Old French pompe "pomp."
pomposity (n.)
early 15c., "pomp, solemnity," from Medieval Latin pompositas, from Late Latin pomposus "stately, pompous" (see pompous). The sense of "ostentatious display" is from 1610s; earlier in French pomposité.
pompous (adj.)
late 14c., "characterized by exaggerated self-importance," from Old French pompos (14c., Modern French pompeux) and directly from Late Latin pomposus "stately, pompous," from Latin pompa "pomp" (see pomp). More literal (but less common) meaning "characterized by pomp" is attested from early 15c. Related: Pompously.