round (v.) Look up round at
late 14c., "to make round," from round (adj.). Sense of "make a circuit round" is from 1590s. Sense of "bring to completeness" is from c. 1600; meaning "to approximate (a number)" is from 1934. Meaning "turn round and face, turn on and assault" is from 1882. Round out "fill up" is from 1856. Related: Rounded; rounding.
round robin (n.) Look up round robin at
"petition or complaint signed in a circle to disguise the order in which names were affixed and prevent ringleaders from being identified," 1730, originally in reference to sailors and frequently identified as a nautical term. As a kind of tournament in which each player plays the others, it is recorded from 1895.
round-table (n.) Look up round-table at
also roundtable, 1826 in reference to a gathering of persons in which all are accorded equal status (there being no head of a round table.) King Arthur's Round Table is attested from c. 1300, translating Old French table ronde (1155, in Wace's Roman de Brut).
roundabout (adv.) Look up roundabout at
"by a circuitous route," mid-14c., from round (adv.) + about. As an adjective from c. 1600. Noun sense of "traffic circle" is attested from 1927.
roundel (n.) Look up roundel at
late 13c., "a circle," from Old French rondel "round dance; dance lyric; roundel," from rond "round" (see round (n.)).
roundelay (n.) Look up roundelay at
1570s, from Middle French rondelet, diminutive of rondel "short poem with a refrain," literally "small circle," diminutive of Old French rond "circle, sphere," originally an adjective from roont (see round (adj.)). Spelling developed by association with lay (n.1) "poem to be sung."
rounder (n.) Look up rounder at
1620s, "a sentinel," agent noun from round (n.) on notion of "one who makes the rounds." Sense of "chronic drunkard or criminal" is from 1854, on notion of one who is habitually in and out of jails or bars. Rounders, a baseball-like game, attested from 1828.
Roundhead (n.) Look up Roundhead at
"adherent of the Parliamentary party in the English Civil War," 1641, so called for their custom of wearing the hair close-cropped, in contrast to the flowing curls of the cavaliers.
roundhouse (n.) Look up roundhouse at
also round-house, "lock-up, place of detention," 1580s, from Dutch rondhuis "guardhouse." Meaning "circular shed for locomotives with a turntable in the center" is from 1856. Meaning "blow delivered with a wide sweep of the arm" is perhaps extended from "round building for circular machinery."
roundness (n.) Look up roundness at
late 14c., from round (adj.) + -ness.
roundup (n.) Look up roundup at
also round-up, by 1869 in the cattle drive sense; from verbal phrase round up "to collect in a mass" (1610s; specifically of livestock from 1847); see round (v.) + up (adv.). Meaning "summary of news items" is recorded from 1886.
rouse (v.) Look up rouse at
mid-15c., intransitive probably from Anglo-French or Old French reuser, ruser, originally used in English of hawks shaking the feathers of the body, but like many hawking terms it is of obscure origin. Figurative meaning "to stir up, provoke to activity" is from 1580s; that of "awaken" is first recorded 1590s. Related: Roused; rousing.
rouser (n.) Look up rouser at
1610s, agent noun from rouse (v.).
roust (v.) Look up roust at
1650s, probably an alteration of rouse. Related: Rousted; rousting.
roustabout (n.) Look up roustabout at
"deck hand, wharf worker," 1868, perhaps from roust + about. But another theory connects it to British dialect rousing "rough, shaggy," a word associated perhaps with rooster. With extended senses in U.S., including "circus hand" (1931); "manual laborer on an oil rig" (1948).
rout (v.) Look up rout at
"drive into disordered flight by defeat," c. 1600, from rout (n.). Related: Routed; routing.
rout (n.) Look up rout at
1590s, "disorderly retreat following a defeat," from Middle French route "disorderly flight of troops," literally "a breaking off, rupture," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," literally "a broken group," from noun use of Latin rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)).

The archaic English noun rout "group of persons, assemblage," is the same word, from Anglo-French rute, Old French route "host, troop, crowd," from Vulgar Latin rupta "a dispersed group," here with sense of "a division, a detachment." It first came to English meaning "group of soldiers" (early 13c.), also "gang of outlaws or rioters, mob" (c. 1300) before the more general sense developed 14c. Also as a legal term. A rout-cake (1807) was one baked for use at a reception.
route (n.) Look up route at
early 13c., from Old French rute "road, way, path" (12c.), from Latin rupta (via) "(a road) opened by force," from rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)). Sense of "fixed or regular course for carrying things" (as in mail route) is 1792, an extension of the meaning "customary path of animals" (early 15c.).
route (v.) Look up route at
1890, from route (n.). Related: Routed; routing.
router (n.) Look up router at
"cutter that removes wood from a groove," 1818, from rout "poke about, rummage" (1540s), originally of swine digging with the snout; a variant of root (v.1).
routine (n.) Look up routine at
1670s, from French routine "usual course of action, beaten path" (16c.), from route "way, path, course" (see route (n.)) + noun suffix -ine (see -ine (1)). Theatrical or athletic performance sense is from 1926. The adjective is attested from 1817, from the noun. Related: Routinely.
routinization (n.) Look up routinization at
1916, noun of action from routinize (1893), from routine + -ize.
roux (n.) Look up roux at
sauce made from browned butter or fat, 1813, from French (beurre) roux "browned (butter)," from roux "red, reddish-brown," from Latin russus, which is related to ruber "red," from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy."
rove (v.) Look up rove at
"to wander with no fixed destination," 1530s (earliest sense was "to shoot arrows at a mark selected at pleasure or at random," late 15c.); possibly a Midlands dialectal variant of northern English and Scottish rave "to wander, stray," from Middle English raven, probably from Old Norse rafa "to wander, rove" (compare rave (v.)). Influenced by rover, if not a back-formation from it. Related: Roved; roving.
rover (n.) Look up rover at
late 14c., "sea-robber, pirate," from Middle Dutch rover "robber, predator, plunderer," especially in zeerovere "pirate," literally "sea-robber," from roven "to rob," from Middle Dutch roof "spoil, plunder," related to Old English reaf "spoil, plunder," reafian "to reave" (see reave (v.)). Meaning "remote-controlled surface vehicle" is from 1970.
row (n.1) Look up row at
"line of people or things," Old English ræw "a row, line; succession, hedge-row," probably from Proto-Germanic *rai(h)waz (source also of Middle Dutch rie, Dutch rij "row;" Old High German rihan "to thread," riga "line;" German Reihe "row, line, series;" Old Norse rega "string"), possibly from PIE root *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" (source also of Sanskrit rikhati "scratches," rekha "line"). Meaning "a number of houses in a line" is attested from mid-15c., originally chiefly Scottish and northern English. Phrase a hard row to hoe attested from 1823, American English.
row (n.2) Look up row at
"noisy commotion," 1746, Cambridge University slang, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to rousel "drinking bout" (c. 1600), a shortened form of carousal. Klein suggests a back-formation from rouse (n.), mistaken as a plural (compare pea from pease).
row (v.) Look up row at
"propel with oars," Old English rowan "go by water, row" (class VII strong verb; past tense reow, past participle rowen), from Proto-Germanic *ro- (source also of Old Norse roa, Dutch roeien, West Frisian roeije, Middle High German rüejen), from PIE root *ere- "to row."
row-house (n.) Look up row-house at
1913, American English, from row (n.1), which is attested from mid-15c. in sense of "a number of houses in a line," + house (n.).
rowan (n.) Look up rowan at
"mountain ash," 1804, from rowan-tree, rountree (1540s), northern English and Scottish, from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse reynir, Swedish Ronn "the rowan"), ultimately from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy," in reference to the berries.
There were those in this neighbourhood, long after the beginning of the present century, who believed that a slip of rowan tree carried on their person dispelled glamour, and rendered nugatory all the powers of sorcery and witchcraft. [Alexander Laing, "Lindores Abbey and the Burgh of Newburgh," Edinburgh, 1876]
rowboat (n.) Look up rowboat at
also row-boat, 1530s, from row (v.) + boat. Similar formation in Dutch roeiboot.
rowdy (n.) Look up rowdy at
"a rough, quarrelsome person," 1808, American English, originally "lawless backwoodsman," probably from row (n.2). The adjective is first recorded 1819. Related: Rowdily; rowdiness.
rowel (n.) Look up rowel at
"pointed wheel on a spur," mid-14c., from Old French roelle, roel (Modern French rouelle), "small wheel" (see roulette).
Roxanne Look up Roxanne at
fem. proper name, from French, from Latin Roxane, from Greek Rhoxane, of Persian origin (compare Avestan raoxšna- "shining, bright"). Spelling influenced by Anne.
Roxy Look up Roxy at
cinema chain built by U.S. entertainment mogul Samuel L. "Roxy" Rothafel (1882-1936).
royal (n.) Look up royal at
"royal person," c. 1400, from royal (adj.). Specifically "member of the royal family" from 1774.
royal (adj.) Look up royal at
mid-13c., "fit for a king;" late 14c., "pertaining to a king," from Old French roial "royal, regal; splendid, magnificent" (12c., Modern French royal), from Latin regalis "of a king, kingly, royal, regal," from rex (genitive regis) "king," from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule."

Meaning "thorough, total" attested from 1940s; that of "splendid, first-rate" from 1853. Battle royal (1670s) preserves the French custom of putting the adjective after the noun (as in attorney general); the sense of the adjective here is "on a grand scale" (compare pair-royal "three of a kind in cards or dice," c. 1600). The Royal Oak was a tree in Boscobel in Shropshire in which Charles II hid himself during flight after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Sprigs of oak were worn to commemorate his restoration in 1660.
royale (adj.) Look up royale at
French, "royal" (see royal (adj.)).
royalist (n.) Look up royalist at
1640s, from royal + -ist. In England, a partisan of Charles I and II during the Civil War; in the U.S., an adherent of British government during the Revolution; in France, a supporter of the Bourbons.
royally (adv.) Look up royally at
late 14c., "regally;" 1836, "gloriously," from royal (adj.) + -ly (2).
royalty (n.) Look up royalty at
c. 1400, "office or position of a sovereign," also "magnificence," from or modeled on Old French roialte (12c., Modern French royauté), from Vulgar Latin *regalitatem (nominative *regalitas), from Latin regalis (see royal). Sense of "prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation" is from late 15c. From that evolved more general senses, such as "payment to a landowner for use of a mine" (1839), and ultimately "payment to an author, composer, etc." for sale or use of his or her work (1857). Compare realty.
rpg (n.) Look up rpg at
by 1979, initialism (acronym) from role-playing game. As an initialism for rocket-propelled grenade, by 1970.
rpm Look up rpm at
1906, initialism (acronym) from revolutions per minute.
rRNA (n.) Look up rRNA at
stands for ribosomal RNA.
rub (v.) Look up rub at
early 14c., transitive and intransitive, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to East Frisian rubben "to scratch, rub," and Low German rubbeling "rough, uneven," or similar words in Scandinavian (compare Danish rubbe "to rub, scrub," Norwegian rubba), of uncertain origin. Related: Rubbed; rubbing.

To rub (someone) the wrong way is from 1853; probably the notion is of cats' fur. To rub noses in greeting as a sign of friendship (attested from 1822) formerly was common among Eskimos, Maoris, and some other Pacific Islanders. Rub out "obliterate" is from 1560s; underworld slang sense of "kill" is recorded from 1848, American English. Rub off "remove by rubbing" is from 1590s; meaning "have an influence" is recorded from 1959.
rub (n.) Look up rub at
"act of rubbing," 1610s, from rub (v.); earlier "obstacle, inequality on ground" (1580s, common in 17c.) which is the figure in Hamlet's there's the rub (1602).
rub-a-dub (n.) Look up rub-a-dub at
1787, echoic of the sound of a drum.
rub-down (n.) Look up rub-down at
1885, from verbal phrase, from rub (v.) + down (adv.).
rubaiyat (n.) Look up rubaiyat at
"quatrains" (in Persian poetry), 1859, plural of rubai, from Arabic rubaiyah, from rubaiy "composed of four elements."
rubato Look up rubato at
musical instruction, 1883, Italian, short for tempo rubato, literally "robbed time," from past participle of rubare "to steal, rob" (see rob (v.)).