- tie-dye (v.)
- 1904, from tie (v.) + dye (v.) in reference to the method. Related: Tie-dyed.
- tie-in (n.)
- "connection," 1934, from verbal phrase (attested by 1793), from tie (v.) + in (adv.).
- tier (n.)
- "row, rank, range," mid-15c., from Middle French tire, from Old French tire (13c.) "rank, sequence, order, kind," also "likeness, image; state, condition," probably from tirer "to draw, draw out" (see tirade).
- tierce (n.)
- old unit of liquid measure equal to one-third of a pipe (42 gallons), 1530s, from Anglo-French ters, Old French tierce (11c.). used in the sense "one-third" in various ways, from Latin tertia, fem. of tertius "a third," from PIE *tri-tyo-, from root *trei- (see three). Also used in Middle English for "a third part" (late 15c.), "the third hour of the canonical day" (ending at 9 a.m.), late 14c., and, in astronomy and geometry, "sixtieth part of a second of an arc."
- tiff (n.)
- 1727, "outburst of temper," later "petty quarrel" (1754), of uncertain origin; OED suggests imitative, "from the sound of a slight puff of air or gas."
- tiffany (n.)
- "type of thin, transparent fabric," c. 1600; earlier a common name for the festival of the Epiphany (early 14c.; in Anglo-French from late 13c.), from Old French Tifinie, Tiphanie "Epiphany" (c. 1200), from Late Latin Theophania "Theophany," another name for the Epiphany, from Greek theophania "the manifestation of a god" (see theophany).
Also popular in Old French and Middle English as a name given to girls born on Epiphany Day. The fabric sense is found only in English and is of obscure origin and uncertain relation to the other meanings, unless "holiday silk" or as a fanciful or playful allusion to "manifestation:"
The invention of that fine silke, Tiffanie, Sarcenet, and Cypres, which instead of apparell to cover and hide, shew women naked through them. [Holland's "Pliny," 1601]
The fashionable N.Y. jewelry firm Tiffany & Co. (1895) is named for its founder, goldsmith Charles L. Tiffany (1812-1902) and his son, Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933), who was the art nouveau decorator noted for his glassware. The surname is attested in English from 1206.
- tig (n.)
- child's game, 1816, earlier tick (1620s), variant of tag (n.2).
- tiger (n.)
- Old English tigras (plural), also in part from Old French tigre "tiger" (mid-12c.), both from Latin tigris "tiger," from Greek tigris, possibly from an Iranian source akin to Old Persian tigra- "sharp, pointed," Avestan tighri- "arrow," in reference to its springing on its prey, "but no application of either word, or any derivative, to the tiger is known in Zend." [OED]. Of tiger-like persons from c. 1500. The meaning "shriek or howl at the end of a cheer" is recorded from 1845, American English, and is variously explained. Tiger's-eye "yellowish-brown quartz" is recorded from 1886.
- tight (adj.)
- c. 1400, tyght "dense, close, compact," from Middle English thight, from Old Norse þettr "watertight, close in texture, solid," and also from Old English -þiht (compare second element in meteþiht "stout from eating"), both from Proto-Germanic *thinhta- (source also of Middle High German dihte "dense, thick," German dicht "dense, tight," Old High German gidigan, German gediegen "genuine, solid, worthy"), from PIE root *tenk- (2) "to become firm, curdle, thicken" (source also of Irish techt "curdled, coagulated," Lithuanian tankus "close, tight," Persian tang "tight," Sanskrit tanakti "draws together, contracts").
Sense of "drawn, stretched" is from 1570s; meaning "fitting closely" (as of garments) is from 1779; that of "evenly matched" (of a contest, bargain, etc.) is from 1828, American English; that of "drunk" is from 1830. Of persons, "close, intimate, sympathetic" from 1956. From 1670s as an adverb; to sit tight is from 1738; sleep tight as a salutation in sending someone off to bed is by 1871. Related: Tightly; tightness. Tight-assed "unwilling to relax" is attested from 1903. Tight-laced is recorded from 1741 in both the literal and figurative senses. Tight-lipped is first attested 1872.
- tighten (v.)
- "to make tight," 1727; the earlier verb was simply tight, from Old English tyhtan, from the root of tight. Related: Tightened; tightening.
- tightrope (n.)
- 1801, from tight (adj.) + rope (n.). So called for being tensely stretched.
- tights (n.)
- 1827, "tight-fitting breeches," from tight. Meaning "skin-tights worn by dancers, acrobats, etc." is attested from 1836.
- tightwad (n.)
- "parsimonious person," 1900, from tight in the figurative sense of "close-fisted" (1805) + wad (n.). The notions of stringency and avarice also combine in Modern Greek sphiktos "greedy," literally "tight."
- tigress (n.)
- 1610s, from tiger + -ess.
- river in Turkey and Iraq, from an Iranian source akin to words for "arrow," probably in reference to the swiftness of its current. Compare Old Persian tigra- "sharp, pointed," Avestan tighri- "arrow."
- from the name of a Diegueño (Yuman) village, written Tiajuan in 1829; deformed by folk-etymology association with Spanish Tia Juana "Aunt Jane."
- Tiki (n.)
- "large wooden image of the creator-ancestor of Maoris and Polynesians," 1777, from Eastern Polynesian tiki "image." Tiki torch is first recorded 1973.
- variant of till (prep.) or short for until.
- tilapia (n.)
- 1849, formed in Modern Latin, perhaps from Greek tilon, name of a fish in Aristotle, + apios "distant."
- tilde (n.)
- 1864, from Spanish, metathesis of Catalan title, from vernacular form of Medieval Latin titulus "stroke over an abridged word to indicate missing letters," a specialized sense of Latin titulus, literally "inscription, heading" (see title (n.)). The mark itself represents an -n- and was used in Medieval Latin manuscripts in an abridged word over a preceding letter to indicate a missing -n- and save space.
- tile (n.)
- early 14c., from Old English tigele "roofing shingle," from Proto-Germanic *tegala (Old Saxon tiegla, Old High German ziagal, German ziegel, Dutch tegel, Old Norse tigl), a borrowing from Latin tegula "roof-tile" (source also of Italian tegola, French tuile), from tegere "roof, to cover" (see stegosaurus). Also used in Old English and early Middle English for "brick," before that word came into use.
- tile (v.)
- "to cover with tiles," late 14c., from tile (n.). Related: Tiled; tiling.
- till (prep.)
- "until," Old English til (Northumbrian) "to," from Old Norse til "to, until," from Proto-Germanic *tilan (source also of Danish til, Old Frisian til "to, till," Gothic tils "convenient," German Ziel "limit, end, goal"). A common preposition in Scandinavian, serving in the place of English to, probably originally the accusative case of a noun now lost except for Icelandic tili "scope," the noun used to express aim, direction, purpose (as in aldrtili "death," literally "end of life"). Also compare German Ziel "end, limit, point aimed at, goal," and till (v.).
- till (v.)
- "cultivate (land)" early 13c.; "plow," late 14c., from Old English tilian "cultivate, tend, work at, get by labor," originally "strive after, aim at, aspire to," related to till "fixed point, goal," and til "good, useful, suitable," from Proto-Germanic *tilojan (source also of Old Frisian tilia "to get, cultivate," Old Saxon tilian "to obtain," Middle Dutch, Dutch telen "to breed, raise, cultivate, cause," Old High German zilon "to strive," German zielen "to aim, strive"), from source of till (prep.).
For sense development, compare expression work the land, Old Norse yrkja "work," but especially "cultivate" (and also "to make verses"); Old Church Slavonic delati "work," also "cultivate." Related: Tilled; tilling.
- till (n.)
- "cashbox," mid-15c., from Anglo-French tylle "compartment," Old French tille "compartment, shelter on a ship," probably from Old Norse þilja "plank, floorboard," from Proto-Germanic *theljon. The other theory [Klein, Century Dictionary] is that the word is from Middle English tillen "to draw," from Old English -tyllan (see toll (v.)), with a sense evolution as in drawer (see draw (v.)).
- tillage (n.)
- late 15c., from till (v.) + -age.
- tiller (n.1)
- mid-14c., "stock of a crossbow," from Old French telier "stock of a crossbow" (c. 1200), originally "weaver's beam," from Medieval Latin telarium, from Latin tela "web; loom," from PIE *teks-la-, from root *teks- "to weave" (see texture (n.)). Meaning "bar to turn the rudder of a boat" first recorded 1620s.
- tiller (n.2)
- "one who tills," mid-13c., from till (v.).
- tilt (n.2)
- "condition of being tilted," 1837, from tilt (v.1).
- tilt (v.1)
- Old English *tyltan "to be unsteady," from tealt "unsteady," from Proto-Germanic *taltaz (source also of Old Norse tyllast "to trip," Swedish tulta "to waddle," Norwegian tylta "to walk on tip-toe," Middle Dutch touteren "to swing"). Meaning "to cause to lean, tip, slope" (1590s) is from sense of "push or fall over." Intransitive sense "to lean, tip" first recorded 1620s. Related: Tilted; tilting.
- tilt (n.1)
- "a joust, a combat," 1510s, perhaps from tilt (v.1) on the notion of "to lean" into an attack, but the word originally seems to have been the name of the barrier which separated the combatants, which suggests connection with tilt in an earlier meaning "covering of coarse cloth, an awning" (mid-15c.). This is perhaps from tilt (v.1), or related to or influenced by tent. Watkins derives it from Old English teld "awning, tent," related to beteldan "to cover," from Proto-Germanic *teldam "thing spread out." Hence, also full tilt (c. 1600). Pinball machine sense is from 1934.
- tilt (v.2)
- "to joust," 1590s, from tilt (n.1). Related: Tilted; tilting. The figurative sense of tilting at windmills is suggested in English by 1798; the image is from Don Quixote, who mistook them for giants.
So saying, and heartily recommending himself to his lady Dulcinea, whom he implored to succour him in this emergency, bracing on his target, and setting his lance in the rest, he put his Rozinante to full speed, and assaulting the nearest windmill, thrust it into one of the sails, which was drove about by the wind with so much fury, that the lance was shivered to pieces, and both knight and steed whirled aloft, and overthrown in very bad plight upon the plain. [Smollett translation, 1755]
- tilth (n.)
- "labor, work" (especially in agriculture), Old English tilþ "labor, husbandry," from tilian "to till" (see till (v.)) + -th (2).
- timber (n.)
- Old English timber "building, structure," in late Old English "building material, trees suitable for building," and "trees or woods in general," from Proto-Germanic *timran (source also of Old Saxon timbar "a building, room," Old Frisian timber "wood, building," Old High German zimbar "timber, wooden dwelling, room," Old Norse timbr "timber," German Zimmer "room"), from PIE *deme- "to build," possibly from root *dem- "house, household" (source of Greek domos, Latin domus; see domestic (adj.)).
The related Old English verb timbran, timbrian was the chief word for "to build" (compare Dutch timmeren, German zimmern). As a call of warning when a cut tree is about to fall, it is attested from 1912 in Canadian English. Timbers in the nautical slang sense (see shiver (v.2)) is from the specialized meaning "pieces of wood composing the frames of a ship's hull" (1748).
The timber-wolf (1846) of the U.S. West is the gray wolf, not confined to forests but so-called to distinguish it from the prairie-wolf (coyote).
- timberline (n.)
- 1867, from timber + line (n.).
- timbre (n.)
- "characteristic quality of a musical sound," 1849, from French timbre "quality of a sound," earlier "sound of a bell," from Old French, "bell without a clapper," originally "small drum," probably via Medieval Greek *timbanon, from Greek tympanon "kettledrum" (see tympanum). Timbre was used in Old French (13c.) and Middle English (14c.) to render Latin tympanum in Psalms cl.
- timbrel (n.)
- percussive Middle Eastern instrument, c. 1500, diminutive of timbre (14c.), from Old French timbre in its older sense of "drum" (see timbre). Used in Bible translations, chiefly to render Hebrew toph, cognate with Arabic duff "drum," of imitative origin.
- city on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, older spelling Timbuctoo, used allusively in English for "most distant place imaginable" from at least 1863. The name is from Songhai, literally "hollow," in reference to the depression in which it stands.
- time (n.)
- Old English tima "limited space of time," from Proto-Germanic *timon- "time" (source also of Old Norse timi "time, proper time," Swedish timme "an hour"), from PIE *di-mon-, suffixed form of root *da- "cut up, divide" (see tide (n.)).
Abstract sense of "time as an indefinite continuous duration" is recorded from late 14c. Personified since at least 1509 as an aged bald man (but with a forelock) carrying a scythe and an hour-glass. In English, a single word encompasses time as "extent" and "point" (French temps/fois, German zeit/mal) as well as "hour" (as in "what time is it?" compare French heure, German Uhr). Extended senses such as "occasion," "the right time," "leisure," or times (v.) "multiplied by" developed in Old and Middle English, probably as a natural outgrowth of such phrases as "He commends her a hundred times to God" (Old French La comande a Deu cent foiz).
to have a good time ( = a time of enjoyment) was common in Eng. from c 1520 to c 1688; it was app. retained in America, whence readopted in Britain in 19th c. [OED]
Time of day (now mainly preserved in negation, i.e. what someone won't give you if he doesn't like you) was a popular 17c. salutation (as in "Good time of day vnto your Royall Grace," "Richard III," I.iii.18), hence to give (one) the time of day "greet socially" (1590s); earlier was give good day (mid-14c.). The times "the current age" is from 1590s. Behind the times "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1831. Times as the name of a newspaper dates from 1788.
Time warp first attested 1954; time-traveling in the science fiction sense first recorded 1895 in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." Time capsule first recorded 1938, in reference to the one "deemed capable of resisting the effects of time for five thousand years preserving an account of universal achievements embedded in the grounds of the New York World's fair."
Jones [archaeologist of A.D. 5139] potters about for a while in the region which we have come to regard as New York, finds countless ruins, but little of interest to the historian except a calcified direction sheet to something called a "Time Capsule." Jones finds the capsule but cannot open it, and decides, after considerable prying at the lid, that it is merely evidence of an archaic tribal ceremony called a "publicity gag" of which he has already found many examples. ["Princeton Alumni Weekly," April 14, 1939]
To do time "serve a prison sentence" is from 1865. Time frame is attested by 1964; time-limit is from 1880. About time, ironically for "long past due time," is recorded from 1920. To be on time is by 1854 in railroading.
- time (v.)
- Old English getimian "to happen, befall," from time (n.). Meaning "to appoint a time" (of an action, etc.) is attested from c. 1300; sense of "to measure or record the time of" (a race, event, etc.) is first attested 1660s. Related: Timed; timing.
- time zone (n.)
- by 1885, from time (n.) + zone (n.). As in Britain and France, the movement to regulate time nationally came from the railroads.
Previous to 1883 the methods of measuring time in the United States were so varied and so numerous as to be ludicrous. There were 50 different standards used in the United States, and on one road between New York and Boston, whose actual difference is 12 minutes, there were three distinct standards of time. Even small towns had two different standards one known as "town" or local time and the other "railroad" time.
... At noon on November 18, 1883, there was a general resetting of watches and clocks all over the United States and Canada, and the four great time zones, one hour apart, into which the country was divided came into being. So smoothly did the plan work that the general readjustment was accomplished without great difficulty and it has worked satisfactorily ever since. ["Railroad Trainman," 1909]
- time-honored (adj.)
- also time-honoured, 1590s; from time (n.) + past participle of honor (v.).
- time-keeper (n.)
- also timekeeper, 1680s, from time (n.) + keeper.
- time-line (n.)
- also timeline, 1876, from time (n.) + line (n.).
- time-out (n.)
- also time out, 1896 in sports, 1939 in other occupations; from 1980 as the name of a strategy in child discipline; from time + out.
- time-server (n.)
- "one who adapts his manners and opinions to the times," 1580s, from expression serve the time "shape one's views to what is in favor" (1550s), translating Latin tempori servire. See time (n.) + serve (v.).
- time-sharing (n.)
- 1953, as a computing term, from time (n.) + verbal noun from share (v.). In real estate, as an arrangement in property use, it is recorded from 1976.
- time-span (n.)
- also timespan, 1897, from time (n.) + span (n.1).
- time-stamp (n.)
- 1888, from time (n.) + stamp (n.). As a verb by 1906. Related: Time-stamped.
- time-worn (adj.)
- 1729, from time (n.) + worn (adj.).