- setness (n.)
- 1640s, from set (n.2) + -ness. Old English had setnes, which was pressed into service to translate various ideas in Roman law and Christianity: "foundation, creation, construction; size, extent; law, ordinance; instruction; sentence."
- sett (n.)
- see set (n.1).
The extra t is an arbitrary addition in various technical senses, from a lawn-tennis to a granite set. Each class of persons has doubtless added it to distinguish the special sense that means most to it from all others ; but so many are the special senses that the distinction is now no more distinctive than an Esq. after a man's name, & all would do well to discard it. [Fowler]
- settee (n.)
- "long seat with back and arms," 1716, perhaps a variant of settle (n.), or a diminutive of set (v.) "act of setting."
- setter (n.)
- "one who sets (something)," c.1400, agent noun from set (v.). As a type of hunting-dog (originally a type of spaniel), 1570s, so called because the dog is "set" on game.
- setting (n.)
- late 14c., "fact or action of setting (something), putting, placing, planting," verbal noun from set (v.).
Meaning "place, location, site" is late 14c. Surgical sense, with reference to broken bones, etc., is from early 15c. In reference to heavenly bodies, from c.1400. Also in Middle English "act of creation; thing created" (c.1400). In reference to mounts for jewels, etc. from 1815; meaning "background, history, environment" is attested from 1841.
- settle (v.)
- "come to rest," Old English setlan "cause to sit, place, put," from setl "a seat" (see settle (n.)). Related: Settling. Compare German siedeln "to settle, colonize."
From c.1300 of birds, etc., "to alight." From early 14c. as "sink down, descend; cave in." Early 15c. in reference to suspended particles in a liquid. Sense of "establish a permanent residence" first recorded 1620s; that of "decide" is 1620s. Meaning "secure title to by deed" is from 1660s.
Meaning "reconcile" (a quarrel, differences, etc.) perhaps is influenced by Middle English sahtlen "to reconcile," from Old English saht "reconciliation," from Old Norse satt "reconciliation." To settle down "become content" is from 1853; transitive sense from 1520s; as what married couples do in establishing domesticity, from 1718. To settle for "content oneself with" is from 1943.
- settle (n.)
- "long bench," 1550s, from Middle English setle "a seat," from Old English setl "a seat, stall; position, abode; setting of a heavenly body," related to sittan "to sit," from Proto-Germanic *setla- (cognates: Middle Low German, Middle Dutch setel, Dutch zetel, German Sessel, Gothic sitls), from PIE *sedla- (cognates: Latin sella "seat, chair," Old Church Slavonic sedlo "saddle," Old English sadol "saddle"), from root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).
- settled (adj.)
- "firmly fixed," also "quiet, orderly, steady," 1550s, past participle adjective from settle (v.).
- settlement (n.)
- 1620s, "act of fixing or steadying;" from settle (v.) + -ment. Meaning "a colony," especially a new one, "tract of country newly developed" is attested from 1690s; that of "small village on the frontier" is from 1827, American English. Sense of "payment of an account" is from 1729; legal sense "a settling of arrangements" (of divorce, property transfer, etc.) is from 1670s.
- settler (n.)
- 1590s, "a thing that settles" (a debate, etc.); agent noun from settle (v.). Meaning "a person who moves into a new country" is from 1690s.
- seven (n.)
- Old English seofon, from Proto-Germanic *sebun (cognates: Old Saxon sibun, Old Norse sjau, Swedish sju, Danish syv, Old Frisian sowen, siugun, Middle Dutch seven, Dutch zeven, Old High German sibun, German sieben, Gothic sibun), from PIE *septm "seven" (cognates: Sanskrit sapta, Avestan hapta, Hittite shipta, Greek hepta, Latin septem, Old Church Slavonic sedmi, Lithuanian septyni, Old Irish secht, Welsh saith).
Long regarded as a number of perfection (seven wonders; seven sleepers, the latter translating Latin septem dormientes; seven against Thebes, etc.), but that notion is late in Old English and in German a nasty, troublesome woman could be eine böse Sieben "an evil seven" (1662).
Magical power or healing skill associated since 16c. with the seventh son ["The seuenth Male Chyld by iust order (neuer a Gyrle or Wench being borne betweene)," Thomas Lupton, "A Thousand Notable Things," 1579]. The typical number for "very great, strong," as in seven-league boots in the fairy story of Hop o'my Thumb. The Seven Years' War (1756-63) is also the Third Silesian War.
The Seven Stars (Old English sibunsterri), usually refers to the Pleiades, though in 15c. and after this name occasionally was given to the Big Dipper (which also has seven stars), or the seven planets of classical astronomy. Popular as a tavern sign, it might also (with six in a circle, one in the center) be a Masonic symbol.
FOOL: ... The reason why the
seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
LEAR: Because they are not eight?
FOOL: Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.
["King Lear," I.v.]
- Seven Champions (n.)
- 1590s, the national saints of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, and Italy, viz. George, Andrew, David, Patrick, Denys, James, and Anthony.
- Seven Seas (n.)
- 1872, the Arctic, Antarctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian.
- Seven Sisters
- "the Pleiades," early 15c. (see Pleiades), seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, placed among the stars by Zeus. The Pleiades also are known as the Seven Stars (see seven). As a late-20c. name for the major multi-national petroleum companies, it is attested from 1962. They were listed in 1976 as Exxon, Mobil, Gulf, Standard Oil of California, Texaco, British Petroleum, and Royal Dutch Shell.
- seven-up (n.)
- children's game, 1830; with capital initials, as the proprietary name of a brand of carbonated drink, it is attested from 1928.
- seven-year itch (n.)
- 1899, American English, some sort of skin condition (sometimes identified with poison ivy infection) that either lasts seven years or returns every seven years. Jocular use for "urge to stray from marital fidelity" is attested from 1952, as the title of the Broadway play (made into a film, 1955) by George Axelrod (1922-2003), in which the lead male character reads an article describing the high number of men have extra-marital affairs after seven years of marriage.
- sevenfold (adj.)
- Old English seofonfeald; see seven + -fold.
- late Old English seofontyne; see seven + -teen. Replacing Old English form seofon-teoða. Compare German siebzehn, a contraction of Middle High German siben-zehen.
- seventeenth (adj.)
- c.1300, seventenþe, from seventeen + -th (1); replacing forms based on Old English seofonteoþa.
- c.1300, from seven + -th (1); earlier sevende, seveth, from Old English seofunda (Anglian, Northumbrian), seofoþa (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *sebundon (cognates: Old Norse sjaundi, Old Saxon sivondo, Old High German sibunto, German siebente, siebte). The music note sense is from 1590s.
- seventies (n.)
- 1859 as the years of someone's life between 70 and 79; from 1837 as the eighth decade of years in a given century. See seventy.
- seventieth (adj.)
- late 13c., from seventy + -th (1).
- Old English (hund)seofontig, from seofon (see seven) + -tig (see -ty (1)). Similar formation in Old Frisian soventich, Middle Dutch seventich, Old Norse sjau tiger.
- sever (v.)
- c.1300, from Anglo-French severer, Old French sevrer "to separate" (12c., later in French restricted to "to wean," i.e. "to separare from the mother"), from Vulgar Latin *seperare, from Latin separare "to separate" (see separate (v.)).
- several (adj.)
- early 15c., "existing apart," from Anglo-French several, from Middle French seperalis "separate," from Medieval Latin separalis, from Latin separ "separate, different," back-formation from separare "to separate" (see separate (v.)). Meaning "various, diverse, different" is attested from c.1500; that of "more than one" is from 1530s, originally in legal use.
Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurled
Related: Severalty. Jocular ordinal form severalth attested from 1902 in American English dialect (see -th (2)).
By dreams, each one into a several world
- severally (adv.)
- "separately," late 14c., from several + -ly (2).
- severance (n.)
- early 15c., from Anglo-French, from Old French sevrance "separation, parting," from sevrer (see sever). Meaning "discharge from employment contract" is attested from 1941. Severance pay attested by 1942.
- severe (adj.)
- 1540s, from Middle French severe (12c., Modern French sévère) or directly from Latin severus "serious, grave, strict, austere" (see severity). From 1660s with reference to styles or tastes; from 1725 of diseases.
- severely (adv.)
- 1540s, from severe + -ly (2). Colloquial sense of "excessively" attested by 1854.
- severity (n.)
- late 15c., "austerity or strictness of life," from Middle French severite, from Latin severitas "seriousness, strictness, sternness," from severus "stern, strict, serious," of uncertain origin. Possibly from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold" (see scheme (n.)), or possibly from *se vero "without kindness," from se "without" (see secret) + *vero "kindness," neuter ablative of verus "true" (see very). Meaning "strictness in dealing with others" is recorded from 1520s.
- inland port city in Spain, Spanish Sevilla, ultimately from Phoenician, from sefela "plain, valley."
- sew (v.)
- Old English siwian "to stitch, sew, mend, patch, knit together," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (cognates: Old Norse syja, Swedish sy, Danish sye, Old Frisian sia, Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan "to sew"), from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew" (cognates: Sanskrit sivyati "sews," sutram "thread, string;" Greek hymen "thin skin, membrane," hymnos "song;" Latin suere "to sew, sew together;" Old Church Slavonic šijo "to sew," šivu "seam;" Lettish siuviu, siuti "to sew," siuvikis "tailor;" Russian švec "tailor"). Related: Sewed; sewing. To sew (something) up "bring it to a conclusion" is a figurative use attested by 1904.
- sewage (n.)
- 1818, from sew (v.) "to drain, draw off water" (late 15c., from sewer (n.1)) + -age.
- sewer (n.1)
- c.1400, "conduit," from Anglo-French sewere, Old North French sewiere "sluice from a pond" (13c.), literally "something that makes water flow," from shortened form of Gallo-Roman *exaquaria (source of Middle French esseveur), from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + aquaria, fem. of aquarius "pertaining to water," from aqua "water" (see aqua-).
Specifically of underground channels for wastewater from c.1600; figurative use of this is from 1640s.
- sewer (n.2)
- "one who sews," late 14c., agent noun from sew (v.).
- sewerage (n.)
- 1832, from sewer (n.1) + -age.
- sewing (n.)
- late 13c., "action of sewing;" c.1400, "sewn work," verbal noun from sew (v.). Sewing machine is attested from 1847.
- sex (n.)
- late 14c., "males or females collectively," from Latin sexus "a sex, state of being either male or female, gender," of uncertain origin. "Commonly taken with seco as division or 'half' of the race" [Tucker], which would connect it to secare "to divide or cut" (see section (n.)). Meaning "quality of being male or female" first recorded 1520s. Meaning "sexual intercourse" first attested 1929 (in writings of D.H. Lawrence); meaning "genitalia" is attested from 1938. Sex appeal attested by 1904.
For the raw sex appeal of the burlesque "shows" there is no defense, either. These "shows" should be under official supervision, at the least, and boys beneath the age of eighteen forbidden, perhaps, to attend their performance, just as we forbid the sale of liquors to minors. [Walter Prichard Eaton, "At the New Theatre and Others: The American Stage, Its Problems and Performances," Boston, 1910]
Sex drive is from 1918; sex object is 1901; sex symbol is 1871 in anthropology; the first person to whom the term was applied seems to have been Marilyn Monroe (1959). Sex therapist is from 1974.
- sex (v.)
- 1884, "to determine the sex of," from sex (n.); to sex (something) up "increase the sex appeal of" is recorded from 1942. Related: Sexed; sexing.
- sexagenarian (n.)
- 1738, "person sixty years old," from Latin sexagenarius "containing sixty," from sexagenarius, from sexageni "sixty each, sixty at a time," from sexaginta "sixty," from comb. form of sex (see six) + -genaria "ten times," from -ginta "tens," from PIE *dkm-ta-, from *dekm- "ten" (see ten). As an adjective from 1836.
- sexagesimal (adj.)
- "pertaining to 60," 1680s, from Medieval Latin sexagesimalis, from Latin sexagesimus "the sixtieth," from sexaginta "sixty."
- sexiness (n.)
- 1922, from sexy + -ness.
- sexism (n.)
- 1968; see sexist + -ism.
- sexist (adj.)
- 1965, from sex (n.) on model of racist, coined by Pauline M. Leet, director of special programs at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S., in a speech which was circulated in mimeograph among feminists. Popularized by use in print in Caroline Bird's introduction to "Born Female" (1968).
- sexless (adj.)
- 1590s, from sex (n.) + -less. Related: Sexlessly; sexlessness.
- sexology (n.)
- 1902, from sex (n.) + -ology. Related: Sexologist.
- sexpert (n.)
- "sex therapist," 1924, from jocular merger of sex (n.) + expert.
- sexploitation (n.)
- 1942, from sex (n.) + exploitation. Other similar coinages include sexpert (1924); sexcapade (1953); sexational (1927); and sexophone in "Brave New World."
- sexpot (n.)
- "erotically willing and desirable female," 1929, from sex (n.) + pot (n.1), perhaps suggested by fleshpot.
- sext (v.)
- by 2005, from contraction of sex (n.) + text (v.). Related: Sexted; sexting.