Taffy Look up Taffy at Dictionary.com
characteristic name of a Welshman, c.1700, from Teifi, Welsh form of Davy (see David).
Taft Look up Taft at Dictionary.com
surname, from a variant of Old English toft "homestead, site of a house."
tag (n.1) Look up tag at Dictionary.com
"small, hanging piece from a garment," c.1400, of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian tagg "point, prong, barb," Swedish tagg "prickle, thorn") and related to Middle Low German tagge "branch, twig, spike"), from Proto-Germanic *tag-. The sense development might be "point of metal at the end of a cord, string, etc.," hence "part hanging loose." Or perhaps ultimately from PIE *dek-, a root forming words referring to fringe, horsetail, locks of hair" (see with tail (n.1)).

Meaning "a label" is first recorded 1835; sense of "automobile license plate" is recorded from 1935, originally underworld slang. Meaning "an epithet, popular designation" is recorded from 1961, hence slang verb meaning "write graffiti in public places" (1990).
tag (n.2) Look up tag at Dictionary.com
"children's game," 1738 (in reference to "Queen Mary's reign"), perhaps a variation of Scottish tig "touch, tap" (1721), probably an alteration of Middle English tek "touch, tap" (see tick (n.2)). Baseball sense is from 1912.
tag (v.1) Look up tag at Dictionary.com
"to furnish with a tag," late 14c. (implied in tagged), from tag (n.1). Meaning "go along as a follower" is from 1670s; sense of "follow closely and persistently" is from 1884. Related: Tagging. Verbal phrase tag along is first recorded 1900.
tag (v.2) Look up tag at Dictionary.com
"a touch in the game of tag," 1878; in baseball, 1904, from tag (n.2); the adjective in the pro-wrestling sense is recorded from 1955. Related: Tagged; tagging.
Tagalog (n.) Look up Tagalog at Dictionary.com
people living near Manila in the Philippines, also their language, 1704, from Tagalog taga "native to" + ilog "river."
tagliatelle (n.) Look up tagliatelle at Dictionary.com
1876, from Italian tagliatelle, plural noun from tagliare "to cut" (see entail).
tagline (n.) Look up tagline at Dictionary.com
"punchline of a joke," 1926, originally "last line in an actor's speech" (1916), from tag (n.1) + line (n.).
tahini (n.) Look up tahini at Dictionary.com
from Arabic tahina, from tahana "to grind or crush."
Tahiti Look up Tahiti at Dictionary.com
from native Polynesian Otahiti, of uncertain meaning. It was called in turn Sagittaria (1606, by the Portuguese), King George III Island (1767, by the British), Nouvelle-Cythère (1768, by the French). Related: Tahitian.
Tahoe Look up Tahoe at Dictionary.com
Lake on the Nevada-California border, from Washo /da'aw/ "lake."
Tai (n.) Look up Tai at Dictionary.com
group of people of related ethnicity and language in Southeast Asia, including the Thai, Lao, and Shan, from tai, literally "free."
tai chi (n.) Look up tai chi at Dictionary.com
1736, the "supreme ultimate" in Taoism and Neo-Confucianism, from Chinese tai "extreme" + ji "limit." As the name of a form of martial arts training (said to have been developed by a priest in the Sung dynasty, 960-1279) it is first attested 1962, in full, tai chi ch'uan, with Chinese quan "fist."
taiga (n.) Look up taiga at Dictionary.com
belt of coniferous forests in Siberia, 1869, from Russian taiga, which is of Mongolian origin.
tail (n.1) Look up tail at Dictionary.com
"hindmost part of an animal," Old English tægl, tægel "a tail," from Proto-Germanic *tagla- (cognates: Old High German zagal, German Zagel "tail," dialectal German Zagel "penis," Old Norse tagl "horse's tail," Gothic tagl "hair"), from PIE *doklos, from suffixed form of root *dek- (2) "something long and thin" (referring to such things as fringe, lock of hair, horsetail; cognates: Old Irish dual "lock of hair," Sanskrit dasah "fringe, wick"). According to OED, the primary sense, at least in Germanic, seems to have been "hairy tail," or just "tuft of hair," but already in Old English the word was applied to the hairless "tails" of worms, bees, etc. But Buck writes that the common notion is of "long, slender shape." As an adjective from 1670s.

Meaning "reverse side of a coin" (opposite the side with the head) is from 1680s; that of "backside of a person, buttocks" is recorded from c.1300; slang sense of "pudenda" is from mid-14c.; that of "woman as sex object" is from 1933, earlier "act of copulation" with a prostitute (1846). Of descending strokes of letters, from 1590s.

Tails "coat with tails" is from 1857. The tail-race (1776) is the part of a mill race below the wheel. To turn tail "take flight" (1580s) originally was a term in falconry. The image of the tail wagging the dog is attested from 1907. Another Old English word for "tail" was steort (see stark).
tail (n.2) Look up tail at Dictionary.com
"limitation of ownership," a legal term, early 14c. in Anglo-French; late 13c. in Anglo-Latin, in most cases a shortened form of entail.
tail (v.) Look up tail at Dictionary.com
1520s, "attach to the tail," from tail (n.1). Meaning "move or extend in a way suggestive of a tail" is from 1781. Meaning "follow secretly" is U.S. colloquial, 1907, from earlier sense of "follow or drive cattle." Related: Tailed; tailing. Tail off "diminish" is attested from 1854.
tail-bone (n.) Look up tail-bone at Dictionary.com
also tailbone, 1540s, from tail (n.) + bone (n.).
tail-end (n.) Look up tail-end at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from tail (n.) + end (n.).
tail-gate (n.) Look up tail-gate at Dictionary.com
1868, back panel on a wagon, hinged to swing down and open, from tail (n.) + gate (n.). Extended by 1950 to hatchback door on an automobile. The verb (also tailgate) meaning "to drive too close behind another vehicle" is from 1951 ("Truck drivers know the practice of following too close as tail-gating" - "Popular Science," Jan. 1952); as an adjective, in reference to the open tail-gate of a parked car as a setting for a party or picnic, from 1958. Related: Tail-gating.
tail-hook (n.) Look up tail-hook at Dictionary.com
1861, in angling, from tail (n.) + hook (n.).
tail-pipe (n.) Look up tail-pipe at Dictionary.com
also tailpipe, 1757, "small pipe fixed at the swell of a musket to receive the ramrod," from tail (n.) + pipe (n.). From 1832 as "suction pipe of a pump;" 1907 as "exhaust pipe of an automobile."
tailor (n.) Look up tailor at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Anglo-French tailour, Old French tailleor "tailor," also "stone-mason" (13c., Modern French tailleur), literally "a cutter," from tailler "to cut," from Late Latin or old Medieval Latin taliare "to split" (compare Medieval Latin taliator vestium "a cutter of clothes"), from Latin talea "a slender stick, rod, staff; a cutting, twig."
Although historically the tailor is the cutter, in the trade the 'tailor' is the man who sews or makes up what the 'cutter' has shaped. [OED]
The post-Latin sense development would be "piece of a plant cut for grafting," hence a verb, "cut a shoot," then, generally, "to cut." Possible cognates include Sanskrit talah "wine palm," Old Lithuanian talokas "a young girl," Greek talis "a marriageable girl" (for sense, compare slip of a girl, twiggy), Etruscan Tholna, name of the goddess of youth.
Kent. ... You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow: a tailor make a man?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone cutter, or a painter, could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.
["King Lear"]
One who makes outer garments to order, as opposed to a clothier, who makes them for sale ready-made. Tailor-made first recorded 1832 (in a figurative sense); literal sense was "heavy and plain, with attention to exact fit and with little ornamentation," as of women's garments made by a tailor rather than a dress-maker.
tailor (v.) Look up tailor at Dictionary.com
1660s, from tailor (n.). Figurative sense of "to design (something) to suit needs" is attested from 1942. Related: Tailored; tailoring.
tailspin (n.) Look up tailspin at Dictionary.com
"downward spiraling dive of an aircraft," 1916, from tail (n.1) + spin (n.). Figurative sense of "state of loss of control" is from 1928.
tain (n.) Look up tain at Dictionary.com
"thin tin plate for mirrors, etc.," 1858, from French tain "tinfoil" (17c.), an alteration of étain "tin," from Latin stagnum, stannum "alloy of silver and lead," in Late Latin "tin" (see stannic).
Taino Look up Taino at Dictionary.com
from Taino nitayno "the first, the good."
taint (v.) Look up taint at Dictionary.com
1570s, "to corrupt, contaminate," also "to touch, tinge, imbue slightly" (1590s), from Middle English teynten "to convict, prove guilty" (late 14c.), partly from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre "to touch upon, seize" (see attainder). Also from Anglo-French teinter "to color, dye" (early 15c.), from Old French teint (12c.), past participle of teindre "to dye, color," from Latin tingere (see tincture). Related: Tainted; tainting.
taint (n.) Look up taint at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "stain, spot," from Old French teint "color, hue, dye, stain," from Latin tinctus "a dyeing," from tingere "to dye" (see tincture). Meaning "a moral stain, corruption, contaminating influence" is from 1610s.
Taiwan Look up Taiwan at Dictionary.com
literally "terrace bay," from Chinese tai "terrace" + wan "bay." Related: Taiwanese.
Taj Mahal (n.) Look up Taj Mahal at Dictionary.com
mausoleum at Agra, India, built by Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, from Persian, perhaps "the best of buildings," with second element related to Arabic halla "to lodge." But some authorities hold that the name of the mausoleum is a corruption of the name of the woman interred in it, Mumtaz (in Persian, literally "chosen one") Mahal, who died in 1631. Persian taj is literally "crown, diadem, ornamental headdress," but here denoting an object of distinguished excellence. Figurative use of Taj Mahal in English as a name denoting anything surpassing or excellent is attested from 1895.
take (v.) Look up take at Dictionary.com
late Old English tacan "to take, seize," from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse taka "take, grasp, lay hold," past tense tok, past participle tekinn; Swedish ta, past participle tagit), from Proto-Germanic *takan- (cognates: Middle Low German tacken, Middle Dutch taken, Gothic tekan "to touch"), from Germanic root *tak- "to take," of uncertain origin, perhaps originally meaning "to touch." As the principal verb for "to take," it gradually replaced Middle English nimen, from Old English niman, from the usual West Germanic *nem- root (source of German nehmen, Dutch nemen; see nimble).

OED calls take "one of the elemental words of the language;" take up alone has 55 varieties of meaning in that dictionary's 2nd print edition. Basic sense is "to lay hold of," which evolved to "accept, receive" (as in take my advice) c.1200; "absorb" (take a punch) c.1200; "choose, select" (take the high road) late 13c.; "to make, obtain" (take a shower) late 14c.; "to become affected by" (take sick) c.1300.

Take five is 1929, from the approximate time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Take it easy first recorded 1880; take the plunge "act decisively" is from 1876; take the rap "accept (undeserved) punishment" is from 1930. Phrase take it or leave it is recorded from 1897. To take it out on (someone or something) "vent one's anger on other than what caused it" is by 1840.
take (n.) Look up take at Dictionary.com
1650s, "that which is taken," from take (v.). Sense of "money taken in" by a single performance, etc., is from 1931. Movie-making sense is recorded from 1927. Criminal sense of "money acquired by theft" is from 1888. The verb sense of "to cheat, defraud" is from 1920. On the take "amenable to bribery" is from 1930.
takeaway (adj.) Look up takeaway at Dictionary.com
also take-away, 1964 in reference to food-shops, from take (v.) + away. From 1970 as a noun.
taken Look up taken at Dictionary.com
past participle of take (v.).
takeoff (n.) Look up takeoff at Dictionary.com
also take-off, "caricature," colloquial, 1846, from earlier sense of "thing that detracts from something, drawback" (1826), from take (v.) + off (adv.). Meaning "act of becoming airborne" is from 1904 in reference to aircraft; in reference to jumping, it is attested from 1869. Verbal phrase take off "become airborne" is from 1918, in reference to aircraft; figurative use "rise suddenly and dramatically" by 1963.
takeout (adj.) Look up takeout at Dictionary.com
also take-out, in reference to food prepared at a restaurant but not eaten there, 1941, from take (v.) + out. British equivalent is takeaway.
takeover (n.) Look up takeover at Dictionary.com
1917, "an act of taking over," from verbal phrase take over (1884), from take (v.) + over (adv.). Attested from 1958 in the corporate sense.
taker (n.) Look up taker at Dictionary.com
"one who takes" in any sense, late 14c., agent noun from take (v.). Specifically "one who accepts a bet" from 1810.
talaria (n.) Look up talaria at Dictionary.com
"winged sandals of Hermes (Mercury)" and often other gods (Iris, Eros, the Fates and the Furies), 1590s, from Latin talaria, noun use of neuter plural of talaris "of the ankle," from talus "ankle" (see talus (n.1)).
talbearer (n.) Look up talbearer at Dictionary.com
also tale-bearer, late 15c., from tale (n.) + agent noun from bear (v.).
talc (n.) Look up talc at Dictionary.com
1580s, talke, from Middle French talc (16c.), probably from Spanish talco and Medieval Latin talcus, also talcum "talc" (ealy 14c.), both from Arabic talq, from Persian talk "talc." "It was applied by the Arab and medieval writers to various transparent, translucent and shining minerals such as talc proper, mica, selenite, etc." [Flood]. Related: Talcoid; talcose; talcous.
talcum (n.) Look up talcum at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Medieval Latin talcum, used for any of various shiny minerals. See talc. Talcum powder attested from 1871.
tale (n.) Look up tale at Dictionary.com
Old English talu "series, calculation," also "story, tale, statement, deposition, narrative, fable, accusation, action of telling," from Proto-Germanic *talo (cognates: Dutch taal "speech, language," Danish tale "speech, talk, discourse," German Erzählung "story," Gothic talzjan "to teach"), from PIE root *del- (2) "to recount, count." The secondary Modern English sense of "number, numerical reckoning" (c.1200) probably was the primary one in Germanic; see tell (v.), teller and Old Frisian tale, Middle Dutch tal, Old Saxon tala, Danish tal, Old High German zala, German Zahl "number."

The ground sense of the Modern English word in its main meaning, then, might have been "an account of things in their due order." Related to talk (v.) and tell (v.). Meaning "things divulged that were given secretly, gossip" is from mid-14c.; first record of talebearer "tattletale" is late 15c.
talent (n.) Look up talent at Dictionary.com
late 13c., "inclination, disposition, will, desire," from Old French talent (12c.), from Medieval Latin talenta, plural of talentum "inclination, leaning, will, desire" (11c.), in classical Latin "balance, weight; sum of money," from Greek talanton "a balance, pair of scales," hence "weight, definite weight, anything weighed," and in later times sum of money," from PIE *tele- "to lift, support, weigh," "with derivatives referring to measured weights and thence money and payment" [Watkins]; see extol.
An ancient denomination of weight, originally Babylonian (though the name is Greek), and varying widely in value among different peoples and at different times. [Century Dictionary]
According to Liddell & Scott, as a monetary sum, considered to consist of 6,000 drachmae, or, in Attica, 57.75 lbs. of silver. Also borrowed in other Germanic languages and Celtic. Attested in Old English as talente). The Medieval Latin and common Romanic sense developed from figurative use of the word in the sense of "money." Meaning "special natural ability, aptitude, gift committed to one for use and improvement" developed by mid-15c., in part perhaps from figurative sense "wealth," but mostly from the parable of the talents in Matt. xxv:14-30. Meaning "persons of ability collectively" is from 1856.
talented (adj.) Look up talented at Dictionary.com
1630s, "having skills or abilities," from talent (n.). There was a verb talent in 15c., but it meant "predispose."
talesman (n.) Look up talesman at Dictionary.com
"reserve member of a jury," 1670s, from tales "writ ordering bystanders to serve" in place of jurors not in attendance (late 15c.), via Anglo-French (mid-13c.), from Latin tales (in tales de circumstantibus "such persons from those standing about," a clause featured in such a writ), noun use of plural of talis "such, of such kind" (see that).
Taliban (n.) Look up Taliban at Dictionary.com
Sunni fundamentalist movement begun in Afghanistan, Pashto plural of Arabic tālib "student;" so called because it originated among students in Pakistani religious schools. Group formed c.1993. Often incorrectly treated as singular in English.
talipes (n.) Look up talipes at Dictionary.com
"club-foot, deformed foot," from Latin talus "ankle" (see talus (n.1)) + pes "foot" (see foot (n.)). The notion seems to be "walking on the ankles."