pyjamas (n.) Look up pyjamas at
also pyjama (adj.), chiefly British English spelling of pajamas. Early spellings in English also include pai jamahs (1800); pigammahs (1834), peijammahs (1840).
pylon (n.) Look up pylon at
1823, "gateway to an Egyptian temple," from Greek pylon "gateway," from pyle "gate, wing of a pair of double gates; an entrance, entrance into a country; mountain pass; narrow strait of water," of unknown origin. Meaning "tower for guiding aviators" (1909) led to that of "steel tower for high-tension wires" (1923).
pylorus (n.) Look up pylorus at
1610s, from Late Latin pylorus "the lower orifice of the stomach," from Greek pyloros, literally "gatekeeper, porter," from pyle "gate" (see pylon) + ouros "watcher, guardian," from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for." Related: Pyloric.
pyo- Look up pyo- at
word-forming element meaning "pus," from Greek puon "pus" (see pus).
pyogenic (adj.) Look up pyogenic at
1840s, from pyogenesis, medical Latin, from pyo- "pus" + -genic "producing."
Pyongyang Look up Pyongyang at
North Korean capital, from Korean p'yong "flat" + yang "land."
pyracanth (n.) Look up pyracanth at
thorny shrub of the apple family, 1660s, from Modern Latin genus name Pyracantha, from Greek pyrakantha (Dioscorides), a plant named but not described, from pyr "fire" (from PIE root *paewr- "fire") + akantha "thorn, thorny plant," from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce."
pyramid (n.) Look up pyramid at
1550s (earlier in Latin form piramis, late 14c.), from French pyramide (Old French piramide "obelisk, stela," 12c.), from Latin pyramides, plural of pyramis "one of the pyramids of Egypt," from Greek pyramis (plural pyramides) "a pyramid," apparently an alteration of Egyptian pimar "pyramid." Financial sense is from 1911. Related: Pyramidal.
pyre (n.) Look up pyre at
1650s, from Latin pyra and directly from Greek pyra "funeral pyre; altar for sacrifice; any place where fire is kindled," from pyr "fire," from PIE root *paewr- "fire," source also of fire.
Pyrenees Look up Pyrenees at
1550s, from French Pyrénées, from Latin Pyrenæi montes, from Greek Pyrene, name of a daughter of Bebryx/Bebrycius who was beloved of Herakles; she is said to be buried in these mountains (or that the mountains are the tomb Herakles reared over her corpse). The name is said to mean literally "fruit-stone," but Room says it might be Greek pyr "fire" + eneos "dumb, speechless," which perhaps translates or folk-etymologizes a Celtic goddess name. "In medieval times there was no overall name for the range and local people would have known only the names of individual mountains and valleys" [Room, Adrian, Place Names of the World, 2nd ed., McFarland & Co., 2006]. Related: Pyrenean.
pyretic (adj.) Look up pyretic at
1809, from French pyrétique or directly from Modern Latin pyreticus, from Greek pyretos "fever, burning heat," related to pyr "fire," from PIE root *paewr- "fire." As a noun, "a pyretic agent," from 1728.
Pyrex (n.) Look up Pyrex at
1915, proprietary name (Corning Glass Works, Corning, N.Y.), arbitrary coinage, in which eager etymologists see implications of Greek pyr "fire" and perhaps Latin rex "king;" but the prosaic inventors say it was based on pie (n.1), because pie dishes were among the first products made from it. The -r- is purely euphonious.
pyrexia (n.) Look up pyrexia at
"fever," 1769, medical Latin, from Greek pyrexis "feverishness," from pyressein "to be feverish, to be ill of fever," from pyretos "fever, burning heat" (related to pyr "fire," from PIE root *paewr- "fire") + abstract noun ending -ia.
pyrgologist (n.) Look up pyrgologist at
"one versed in the structure and history of towers," 1877, from Greek pyrgos "a tower; highest point of a building" + -ologist. It seems to have been used once, in the "Athenaeum" of Aug. 18, and then forgotten except in the dictionary.
pyrite (n.) Look up pyrite at
"metallic iron disulfide, fool's gold," 1550s, from Old French pyrite (12c.), from Latin pyrites, from Greek pyrites lithos "stone of fire, flint" (so called because it glitters), from pyrites "of or in fire," from pyr (genitive pyros) "fire," from PIE root *paewr- "fire." Related: Pyritic.
pyro- Look up pyro- at
before vowels pyr-, word-forming element form meaning "fire," from Greek pyro-, combining form of pyr (genitive pyros) "fire, funeral fire," also symbolic of terrible things, rages, "rarely as an image of warmth and comfort" [Liddell & Scott], from PIE root *paewr- "fire." Pyriphlegethon, literally "fire-blazing," was one of the rivers of Hell.
pyroclastic (adj.) Look up pyroclastic at
1887, from pyro- + clastic.
pyrogen (n.) Look up pyrogen at
1858, as a proposed word for "electricity," from pyro- + -gen. Meaning "fever-producer" is from 1896. Related: Pyrogenic; pyrogenetic. Greek pyrogenes meant "born in fire, wrought by fire."
pyrolatry (n.) Look up pyrolatry at
"fire-worship," 1660s, from pyro- + -latry. Related: Pyrolater.
pyrolusite (n.) Look up pyrolusite at
"manganese dioxide," 1828, the name given in Roman times, when it was used, in a heated state, to de-colorize glass, from Greek elements pyro- "by heat, by fire" (from PIE root *paewr- "fire") + lysis "a loosening" (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart").
pyrolysis (n.) Look up pyrolysis at
1879, from pyro- + -lysis. Related: Pyrolytic.
pyromania (n.) Look up pyromania at
1840, from pyro- "fire" + mania "madness, frenzy." Used in German in the 1830s.
The propensity which leads an insane person to accomplish his purpose by burning, has been considered to merit particular notice, and to constitute a variety of monomania. Dr. Marc, of France, has published a memoir on the subject; he gives the name of pyromania to it, and considers that, like other insane propensities, it may be the result of instinct, or it may be the result of delusion--reasoning upon erroneous principles. [Alexander Morrison, M.D., "The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases," London, 1840]
An older word for it was incendiarism.
pyromaniac (adj.) Look up pyromaniac at
1855, from pyromania. As a noun from 1861.
pyrophobia (n.) Look up pyrophobia at
"morbid fear of fire," 1871, from pyro- + -phobia.
pyrophoric (adj.) Look up pyrophoric at
1779, from Modern Latin pyrophorus, literally "fire-bearing," from Greek pyrophoros, from pyro- (see pyro-) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children." Related: Pyrophorous; pyrophorus.
pyrotechnic (adj.) Look up pyrotechnic at
1704, "of or pertaining to fire;" 1825, "of or pertaining to fireworks," from pyro- + Greek tekhnikos "made by art," from tekhne "art" (see techno-). Figurative use attested from 1847. Related: Pyrotechnical (1610s, from pyrotechny "use of gunpowder," 1570s).
pyrotechnician (n.) Look up pyrotechnician at
1729, from pyrotechnic + -an.
pyrotechnics (n.) Look up pyrotechnics at
1729, from pyrotechnic (also see -ics). Figurative sense is from 1901.
Pyrrhic (adj.) Look up Pyrrhic at
1885 (usually in phrase Pyrrhic victory), from Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who defeated Roman armies at Asculum, 280 B.C.E., but at such cost to his own troops that he was unable to follow up and attack Rome itself, and is said to have remarked, "one more such victory and we are lost."
pyrrhic (n.) Look up pyrrhic at
"dance in armor" (1590s), also a type of metrical foot (1620s), from Latin pyrrhicha, from Greek pyrrikhe orkhesis, the war-dance of ancient Greece, traditionally named for its inventor, Pyrrikhos. The name means "reddish," from pyrros "flame-colored," from pyr "fire," from PIE root *paewr- "fire." As an adjective from 1749.
Pyrrhonic (adj.) Look up Pyrrhonic at
1590s, "pertaining to Pyrrho" (c. 360-c. 275 B.C.E.), skeptic philosopher of Elis, who held the impossibility of attaining certainty of knowledge. Related: Pyrrhonism; Pyrrhonist.
Pythagorean (adj.) Look up Pythagorean at
1540s, from Latin Pythagoreus "of or pertaining to Pythagoras," Greek philosopher of Samos (6c. B.C.E.), whose teachings included transmigration of the soul and vegetarianism (these are some of the commonest early allusions in English). The Pythagorean theorem is the 47th of the first book of Euclid.
Pythia (n.) Look up Pythia at
"priestess of Apollo at Delphi," 1842, from Greek pythia (hiereia) "(Priestess) of Pythian Apollo, from a variant form of Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pytho, older name of the region of Delphi (see python).
Pythian (adj.) Look up Pythian at
c. 1600, "pertaining to Delphi or Delphic Apollo," from Pythia + -an. As a noun from 1590s.
python (n.) Look up python at
1580s, fabled serpent, slain by Apollo near Delphi, from Latin Python, from Greek Python "serpent slain by Apollo," probably related to Pytho, the old name of Delphi, perhaps itself related to pythein "to rot," or from PIE *dhubh-(o)n-, from *dheub- "hollow, deep, bottom, depths," and used in reference to the monsters who inhabit them. Zoological application to large non-venomous snakes of the tropics is from 1836, originally in French.
Pythonesque (adj.) Look up Pythonesque at
1975, in reference to the style of humor popularized by British TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus."
pythoness (n.) Look up pythoness at
late 14c., "woman with the power of soothsaying," from Old French phitonise (13c.), from Late Latin pythonissa, used in Vulgate of the Witch of Endor (I Samuel xxviii.7), and often treated as her proper name, literally fem. of pytho "familiar spirit;" which ultimately is connected with the title of the prophetess of the Delphic Oracle, Greek pythia hiereia, from Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pytho, older name of the region of Delphi (see python).
pyuria (n.) Look up pyuria at
1811, from pyo- + -uria (see urine).
pyx (n.) Look up pyx at
c. 1400, "a box," especially the vessel in which the host or consecrated bread is preserved, from Latin pyxis, from Greek pyxis "box-wood; a box," from pyxos "box-wood; box-tree," of uncertain origin.