- toft (n.)
- "homestead, site of a house," late Old English, from Old Norse topt "homestead," from Proto-Germanic *tumfto, from PIE *dem- "house, household" (see domestic).
- tofu (n.)
- soy bean curd, 1876, from Japanese tofu, from Chinese doufu, from dou "beans" + fu "rotten."
- tog (n.)
- 1708, "outer garment," shortened from togman "cloak, loose coat" (1560s), thieves' cant word, formed from French togue "cloak," from Latin toga (see toga). Middle English toge "toga" (14c.) also was a cant word for "a coat."
- toga (n.)
- c. 1600, from Latin toga "cloak or mantle," from PIE *tog-a- "covering," from root *(s)teg- "to cover" (see stegosaurus). The outer garment of a Roman citizen in time of peace.
The toga as the Roman national dress was allowed to be worn by free citizens only. A stranger not in full possession of the rights of a Roman citizen could not venture to appear in it. Even banished Romans were in imperial times precluded from wearing it. The appearance in public in a foreign dress was considered as contempt of the majesty of the Roman people. Even boys appeared in the toga, called, owing to the purple edge attached to it (a custom adopted from the Etruscans) toga praetexta. On completing his sixteenth, afterward his fifteenth, year (tirocinium fori), the boy exchanged the toga praetexta for the toga virilis, pura, or libera--a white cloak without the purple edge. Roman ladies (for these also wore the toga) abandoned the purple edge on being married. [Guhl & Koner, "The Life of the Greeks and Romans," transl. Francis Hueffer, 1876]
Breeches, like the word for them (Latin bracae) were alien to the Romans, being the dress of Persians, Germans, and Gauls, so that bracatus "wearing breeches" was a term in Roman geography meaning "north of the Alps." College fraternity toga party was re-popularized by movie "Animal House" (1978), but this is set in 1962 and the custom seems to date from at least the mid-1950s.
Down on Prospect Street, Campus Club held a toga party, at which everyone wore togas. Charter held a come-as-you-are party, at which everyone wore what they happened to have on, and Cloister held a party called "A Night in Tahiti," at which we'd hate to guess what everyone wore. The borough police reported that only one false alarm was turned in. ["Princeton Alumni Weekly," March 19, 1954]
- together (adv.)
- Old English togædere "so as to be present in one place, in a group, in an accumulated mass," from to (see to) + gædere "together" (adv.), apparently a variant of the adverb geador "together," from Proto-Germanic *gaduri- "in a body," from PIE *ghedh- "to unite, join, fit" (see good, and compare gather).
In reference to single things, "so as to be unified or integrated," from c. 1300. Adjective meaning "self-assured, free of emotional difficulties" is first recorded 1966. German cognate zusammen has as second element the Old High German verbal cognate of English same (Old English also had tosamne "together").
- togetherness (n.)
- 1650s, "state of being together," from together + -ness. Sense of "fellowship, fellow-feeling," is from 1930.
- toggery (n.)
- "clothes collectively," 1812, from tog + -ery.
- toggle (n.)
- 1769, "pin passed through the eye of a rope, strap, or bolt to hold it in place," a nautical word of uncertain origin, perhaps a frequentative form of tog "tug." As a kind of wall fastener it is recorded from 1934. Toggle bolt is from 1794; toggle switch, the up-and-down sort, first attested 1938. In computing by 1979, in reference to a key which alternates the function between on and off when struck.
- toggle (v.)
- 1836, "make secure with a toggle," from toggle (n.). Meaning "alternate back and forth between opposite actions" is by 1982. Related: Toggled; toggling.
- togs (n.)
- "clothes," 1779, plural of tog (q.v.).
- toil (v.)
- early 14c., toilen, "pull at, tug," from Anglo-French toiller, Old French toellier "pull or drag about" (see toil (n.1)). Intransitive meaning "struggle, work hard, labor for considerable time" is from late 14c., perhaps by influence of till (v.). Related: Toiled; toiling.
- toil (n.1)
- "hard work," c. 1300, originally "turmoil, contention, dispute," from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler "agitate, stir up, entangle, writhe about," from Old French toeillier "drag about, make dirty" (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare "crush with a small hammer," from tudicula "mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing," from Latin tudes "hammer," from PIE *tud-, variant of *(s)teu- "to push, stroke, knock, beat" (see obtuse). Sense of "hard work, labor" (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).
- toil (n.2)
- "net, snare," 1520s, from Middle French toile "hunting net, cloth, web" (compare toile d'araignée "cobweb"), from Old French toile "cloth" (11c.), from Latin tela "web, net, warp of a fabric," from PIE *teks- "to weave" (see texture (n.)). Now used largely in plural (as in caught in the toils of the law).
- toile (n.)
- type of heavy, coarse cloth, c. 1400, from Old French toile "linen cloth, canvas" (see toil (n.2)). As a type of dress material, from 1794.
- toilet (n.)
- 1530s, earliest in English in an obsolete sense "cover or bag for clothes," from Middle French toilette "a cloth; a bag for clothes," diminutive of toile "cloth, net" (see toil (n.2)). Toilet acquired an association with upper class dressing by 18c., through the specific sense "a fine cloth cover on the dressing table for the articles spread upon it;" thence "the articles, collectively, used in dressing" (mirror, bottles, brushes, combs, etc.). Subsequent sense evolution in English (mostly following French uses) is to "act or process of dressing," especially the dressing and powdering of the hair (1680s); then "a dressing room" (1819), especially one with a lavatory attached; then "lavatory or porcelain plumbing fixture" (1895), an American euphemistic use.
Toilet paper is attested from 1884 (the Middle English equivalent was arse-wisp). Toilet training is recorded from 1940.
- toiletries (n.)
- "odds and ends used in grooming," 1924, from toiletry (1892); see toilet + -ry.
- toilsome (adj.)
- 1580s, from toil (v.) + -some (1). An earlier word was toilous (early 15c.). The opposite, toilless (c. 1600) is much less common.
- tokay (n.)
- 1710, rich sweet wine from the region of Tokay (Hungarian Tokaj) a town in Hungary. The name is perhaps Slavic, from tok "current," or Hungarian, from a Turkic personal name.
- toke (n.)
- "inhalation of a marijuana cigarette or pipe smoke," 1968, U.S. slang, from earlier verb meaning "to smoke a marijuana cigarette" (1952), perhaps from Spanish tocar in sense of "touch, tap, hit" or "get a shave or part." In 19c. the same word in British slang meant "small piece of poor-quality bread," but probably this is not related.
- token (n.)
- Old English tacen "sign, symbol, evidence" (related to verb tæcan "show, explain, teach"), from Proto-Germanic *taiknam (cognates: Old Saxon tekan, Old Norse teikn "zodiac sign, omen, token," Old Frisian tekan, Middle Dutch teken, Dutch teken, Old High German zeihhan, German zeichen, Gothic taikn "sign, token"), from PIE root *deik- "to show" (see teach).
Meaning "coin-like piece of stamped metal" is first recorded 1590s. Older sense of "evidence" is retained in by the same token (mid-15c.), originally "introducing a corroborating circumstance" [OED].
- token (adj.)
- "nominal," 1915, from token (n.). In integration sense, first recorded 1960.
- tokenism (n.)
- 1962, from token (adj.) in the integration sense + -ism.
- so named 1868, from Japanese to "east" + kyo "capital;" its earlier name was Edo, literally "estuary."
- past tense and past participle of tell (v.), from Old English tealde, past tense of tellan.
- tole (n.)
- "ornamented and painted sheet iron," 1946, from French tôle "sheet iron," from dialectal taule "table," from Latin tabula "a flat board" (see table (n.)).
- city in Spain, famous from 16c. for its sword-blades of fine temper; the place name is Celtic, from tol "hill."
- tolerable (adj.)
- early 15c., "bearable," from Middle French tolerable (14c.) and directly from Latin tolerabilis "that may be endured, supportable, passable," from tolerare "to tolerate" (see toleration). Meaning "moderate, middling, not bad" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Tolerably.
- tolerance (n.)
- early 15c., "endurance, fortitude" (in the face of pain, hardship, etc.), from Old French tolerance (14c.), from Latin tolerantia "a bearing, supporting, endurance," from tolerans, present participle of tolerare "to bear, endure, tolerate" (see toleration). Of individuals, with the sense "tendency to be free from bigotry or severity in judging other," from 1765. Meaning "allowable amount of variation" dates from 1868; and physiological sense of "ability to take large doses" first recorded 1875.
- tolerant (adj.)
- 1784, "free from bigotry or severity in judging others," from French tolérant (16c.), and directly from Latin tolerantem (nominative tolerans), present participle of tolerare "to bear, endure, tolerate" (see toleration). Meaning "able to bear (something) without being affected" is from 1879. Related: Tolerantly.
- tolerate (v.)
- 1530s, of authorities, "to allow without interference," from Latin toleratus, past participle of tolerare (see toleration). Related: Tolerated; tolerating.
- toleration (n.)
- 1510s, "permission granted by authority, license," from Middle French tolération (15c.), from Latin tolerationem (nominative toleratio) "a bearing, supporting, enduring," noun of action from past participle stem of tolerare "to endure, sustain, support, suffer," literally "to bear," from PIE *tele- "to bear, carry" (see extol).
Meaning "forbearance, sufferance" is from 1580s. The specific religious sense is from 1609; as in Act of Toleration (1689), statute granting freedom of religious worship (with conditions) to dissenting Protestants in England. In this it means "recognition of the right of private judgment in matters of faith and worship; liberty granted by the government to preach and worship as one pleases; equality under the law without regard to religion."
If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life because thou supposest he will be miserable in that which is to come. Nobody, therefore, in fine, neither single persons nor churches, nay, nor even commonwealths, have any just title to invade the civil rights and worldly goods of each other upon pretence of religion. [John Locke, "Letter Concerning Toleration," 1689]
Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. [James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments," 1785]
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. [Karl Popper, "The Open Society and Its Enemies," 1962]
- toll (n.)
- "tax, fee," Old English toll "impost, tribute, passage-money, rent," variant of toln, cognate with Old Norse tollr, Old Frisian tolen, Old High German zol, German Zoll, probably representing an early Germanic borrowing from Late Latin tolonium "custom house," from Latin telonium "tollhouse," from Greek teloneion "tollhouse," from telones "tax-collector," from telos "tax" (see tele-; for sense, compare finance). On the other theory it is native Germanic and related to tell (v.) on the notion of "that which is counted." Originally in a general sense of "payment exacted by an authority;" meaning "charge for right of passage along a road" is from late 15c.
- toll (v.)
- "to sound with slow single strokes" (intransitive), mid-15c., probably a special use of tollen "to draw, lure," early 13c. variant of Old English -tyllan in betyllan "to lure, decoy," and fortyllan "draw away, seduce," of obscure origin. The notion is perhaps of "luring" people to church with the sound of the bells, or of "drawing" on the bell rope. Transitive sense from late 15c. Related: Tolled; tolling. The noun meaning "a stroke of a bell" is from mid-15c.
- tollbooth (n.)
- early 14c., originally a tax collector's booth, from toll (n.) + booth.
- Toltec (adj.)
- 1787, in reference to an ancient people of Mexico, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) tolteca, literally "people of the tules" (cat-tail reeds).
- toluene (n.)
- colorless liquid hydrocarbon, 1855, from German toluin (Berzelius, 1842), from Tolu, place in Colombia (now Santiago de Tolu) from which "balsam of Tolu" was obtained from the bark of certain trees, which were known in Europe by the name of the port. The chemical so called because it was first distilled (1841) from balsam of Tolu. The place name is of unknown origin.
- familiar shortening of masc. proper name Thomas, used by late 14c. as a type of a nickname for a common man (as in Tom, Dick, and Harry, 1734). Applied 17c. as a nickname for several exceptionally large bells. Short for Uncle Tom in the sense of "black man regarded as too servile to whites" is recorded from 1959. Tom Walker, U.S. Southern colloquial for "the devil" is recorded from 1833. Tom and Jerry is first attested 1828 and later used in many extended senses, originally were the names of the two chief characters (Corinthian Tom and Jerry Hawthorn) in Pierce Egan's "Life in London" (1821); the U.S. cat and mouse cartoon characters debuted 1940 in "Puss Gets the Boot." Tom Thumb (1570s) was a miniature man in popular tradition before P.T. Barnum took the name for a dwarf he exhibited. Tom-tit "titmouse" is from 1709. Compare tomcat.
- tom-fool (n.)
- also tom-fool, "buffoon, clown," 1640s, from Middle English Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient man (mid-14c.), see Tom + fool (n.).
- tom-tom (n.)
- 1690s, "drum" (originally used in India), from Hindi tam-tam, probably of imitative origin (compare Sinhalese tamat tama and Malay tong-tong). Related: Tom-toms.
- tomahawk (n.)
- 1610s, tamahaac, from Virginia Algonquian (probably Powhatan) tamahaac "a hatchet, what is used in cutting," from tamaham "he cuts." Cognate with Mohegan tummahegan, Delaware tamoihecan, Micmac tumeegun.
- tomato (n.)
- 1753, earlier tomate (c. 1600), from Spanish tomate (mid-16c.) from Nahuatl (Aztecan) tomatl "a tomato," said to mean literally "the swelling fruit," from tomana "to swell." Spelling probably influenced by potato (1565). Slang meaning "an attractive girl" is recorded from 1929, on notion of juicy plumpness.
A member of the nightshade family, all of which contain poisonous alkaloids. Introduced in Europe from the New World, by 1550 they regularly were consumed in Italy but grown only as ornamental plants in England and not eaten there or in the U.S. at first. An encyclopedia of 1753 describes it as "a fruit eaten either stewed or raw by the Spaniards and Italians and by the Jew families of England." Introduced in U.S. 1789 as part of a program by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, but not commonly eaten until after c. 1830.
Alternative name love apple and alleged aphrodisiac qualities have not been satisfactorily explained; perhaps from Italian name pomodoro, taken as from adorare "to adore," but probably rather from d'or "of gold" (in reference to color) or de Moro "of the Moors."
- tomb (n.)
- c. 1200, tumbe, early 14c. tomb, from Anglo-French tumbe and directly from Old French tombe "tomb, monument, tombstone" (12c.), from Late Latin tumba (also source of Italian tomba, Spanish tumba), from Greek tymbos "burial mound, cairn," generally "grave, tomb," perhaps from PIE root *teue- (2) "to swell" (see thigh). The final -b began to be silent about the time of the spelling shift (compare lamb, dumb). Modern French tombeau is from Vulgar Latin diminutive *tumbellus. The Tombs, slang for "New York City prison" is recorded from 1840.
- tombola (n.)
- Italian lotto-style lottery, 1880, from Italian tombola, apparently from tombolare "to tumble, fall upside down," from a Germanic source (see tumble (v.)).
- tombolo (n.)
- sand-bar joining an island to the mainland, 1899, from Italian tombolo "sand dune," from Latin tumulus "hillock, mound, heap of earth," from PIE root *teue- (2) "to swell" (see thigh).
- tomboy (n.)
- 1550s, "rude, boisterous boy," from Tom + boy; meaning "wild, romping girl, girl who acts like a spirited boy" is first recorded 1590s. It also could mean "strumpet, bold or immodest woman" (1570s). Compare tomrig "rude, wild girl." Related: Tomboyish.
- tombstone (n.)
- 1560s, originally the flat stone atop a grave (or the lid of a stone coffin); from tomb + stone (n.). Meaning "gravestone, headstone" is attested from 1711. The city in Arizona, U.S., said to have been named by prospector Ed Schieffelin, who found silver there in 1877 after being told all he would find there was his tombstone.
- tomcat (n.)
- 1809, from Tom + cat (n.); probably influenced by Tom the Cat in the popular children's book "The Life and Adventures of a Cat" (1760); replaced earlier Gib-cat, from diminutive of Gilbert, though Tom was applied to male kittens c. 1300. The name also is used of the males of other beasts and birds since at least 1791 (such as tom-turkey, by 1846). Also see Tibert. The verb meaning "to pursue women promiscuously for sexual gratification" is recorded from 1927. Related: Tom-catting.
- tome (n.)
- 1510s, "a single volume of a multi-volume work," from Middle French tome (16c.), from Latin tomus "section of a book, tome," from Greek tomos "volume, section of a book," originally "a section, piece cut off," from temnein "to cut," from PIE *tem- "to cut" (cognates: second element in Latin aestimare "to value, appraise," Old Church Slavonic tina "to cleave, split," Middle Irish tamnaim "I cut off," Welsh tam "morsel"). Sense of "a large book" is attested from 1570s.
- tomfoolery (n.)
- "foolish trifling," 1812, from tomfool + -ery.
- "British soldier," 1884, from Thomas Atkins, since 1815 the typical sample name for filling in army forms. Tommy gun (1929) is short for Thompson gun (see Thompson). Soon extended to other types of sub-machine gun, especially those favored by the mob.