toreador (n.) Look up toreador at
"bullfighter on horseback" (as opposed to a torero, who kills on foot), 1610s, from Spanish toreador, from torear "to participate in a bullfight," from toro "bull," from Latin taurus (see Taurus).
A toreador is, or rather was, a gentleman who killed bulls for his own amusement on horseback and with the spear. He was a sportsman, and his sport was as manly and respectable as pig-sticking. A professional fighter who performs in a ring and for money is a torero. ["Saturday Review," Jan. 22, 1887]
Tori Look up Tori at
fem. proper name, originally short for Victoria.
toric (adj.) Look up toric at
1888, from torus + -ic.
torii (n.) Look up torii at
singular and plural, "gateway to a Shinto temple," Japanese, according to OED from tori "bird" + i "to sit, to perch."
torment (n.) Look up torment at
c. 1300, "the inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering, pain, distress," from Old French torment "torture, pain, anguish, suffering distress" (11c., Modern French tourment), from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (see torque (n.)).
torment (v.) Look up torment at
c. 1300, "inflict torture on, distress," from Old French tormenter "torture, torment, oppress, agitate" (12c.), from Medieval Latin tormentare "to torment, to twist," from Latin tormentum (see torment (n.)). Related: Tormented; tormenting.
tormentor (n.) Look up tormentor at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French tormentour, Old French tormenteor "torturer," agent noun from tormenter "to torture" (see torment (v.)).
torn Look up torn at
past participle of tear (v.); from Old English getoren.
tornado (n.) Look up tornado at
1550s, ternado, navigator's word for violent windy thunderstorm in the tropical Atlantic, probably a mangled borrowing from Spanish tronada "thunderstorm," from tronar "to thunder," from Latin tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)). Also in 17c. spelled tornatho, tornathe, turnado; modern spelling by 1620s. Metathesis of -o- and -r- in modern spelling influenced by Spanish tornar "to twist, turn," from Latin tornare "to turn." Meaning "extremely violent whirlwind" is first found 1620s; specifically "destructive rotary funnel cloud" (especially in the U.S. Midwest) from 1849. Related: Tornadic.
toro (n.) Look up toro at
"bull," 1650s, from Spanish toro "bull," from Latin taurus (see steer (n.)).
Toronto Look up Toronto at
city in Ontario, Canada, founded 1793 as York, renamed 1834 for a native village that appears on a 1656 map as Tarantou, from an Iroquoian source, original form and sense unknown; perhaps taron-to-hen "wood in the water," or Huron deondo "meeting place."
torpedo (n.) Look up torpedo at
1520s, "electric ray" (flat fish that produces an electric charge to stun prey or for defense), from Latin torpedo "electric ray," originally "numbness, sluggishness" (the fish so called from the effect of being jolted by the ray's electric discharges), from torpere "be numb" (see torpor).
Torpedo. A fish which while alive, if touched even with a long stick, benumbs the hand that so touches it, but when dead is eaten safely. [Johnson]
The sense of "explosive device used to blow up enemy ships" is first recorded 1776, as a floating mine; the self-propelled version is from c. 1900. Related: Torpedic.
torpedo (v.) Look up torpedo at
"destroy or sink (a ship) by a torpedo," 1874, from torpedo (n.). Also used late 19c. of blowing open oil wells. Figurative sense attested from 1895. Related: Torpedoed; torpedoing.
torpid (adj.) Look up torpid at
1610s, "benumbed, without feeling or power," from Latin torpidus "benumbed, stupefied," from torpere "be numb or stiff" (see torpor). Figurative sense of "sluggish, dull, apathetic" is from 1650s. Related: Torpidly; torpidness.
torpidity (n.) Look up torpidity at
1610s; see torpid + -ity.
torpor (n.) Look up torpor at
"lethargy, listlessness," c. 1600, from Latin torpor "numbness, sluggishness," from torpere "be numb, be inactive, be dull," from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff, rigid, firm, strong" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic trupeti, Lithuanian tirpstu "to become rigid;" Greek stereos "solid;" Old English steorfan "to die;" see stereo-).
torque (n.) Look up torque at
"rotating force," 1882, from Latin torquere "to twist, turn, turn about, twist awry, distort, torture," from PIE *torkw-eyo-, causative of *terkw- "to twist" (see thwart (adv.)). The word also is used (since 1834) by antiquarians and others as a term for the twisted metal necklace worn anciently by Gauls, Britons, Germans, etc., from Latin torques "collar of twisted metal," from torquere. Earlier it had been called in English torques (1690s). Torque-wrench is from 1941.
torque (v.) Look up torque at
1570s (implied in torqued "twisted"), from torque (n.).
torr (n.) Look up torr at
unit of pressure, 1949, named for Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647), inventor of the barometer.
torrent (n.) Look up torrent at
"rapid stream," c. 1600, from Middle French torrent (16c.) and directly from Latin torrentem (nominative torrens) "rushing, roaring" (of streams), also "a rushing stream," originally as an adjective "roaring, boiling, burning, parching, hot, inflamed," present participle of torrere "to parch" (see terrain). Extension to any onrush (of words, feelings, etc.) first recorded 1640s.
torrential (adj.) Look up torrential at
1849; see torrent + -ial. Perhaps by influence of French torrentiel. Related: Torrentially.
torrid (adj.) Look up torrid at
1580s, in torrid zone "region of the earth between the tropics," from Medieval Latin torrida zona, from fem. of torridus "dried with heat, scorching hot," from torrere "to parch," from PIE root *ters- "to dry" (see terrain). Sense of "very hot" is first attested 1610s. Figurative sense from 1630s.
torsion (n.) Look up torsion at
early 15c., "wringing pain in the bowels," from Old French torsion "colic" (early 14c.), from Late Latin torsionem (nominative torsio) "a wringing or gripping," from Latin tortionem (nominative tortio) "torture, torment," noun of action from past participle stem of torquere "to twist, distort, torture" (see torque (n.)). Meaning "act or effect of twisting as by opposing forces" is first recorded 1540s.
torso (n.) Look up torso at
1797, "trunk of a statue," from Italian torso "trunk of a statue," originally "stalk, stump," from Vulgar Latin *tursus, from Latin thyrsus "stalk, stem," from Greek thyrsos (see thyrsus). As "trunk of a person" by 1865. Earlier, in the statuary sense, in French form torse (1620s).
tort (n.) Look up tort at
mid-13c., "injury, wrong," from Old French tort "wrong, injustice, crime" (11c.), from Medieval Latin tortum "injustice," noun use of neuter of tortus "wrung, twisted," past participle of Latin torquere "turn, turn awry, twist, wring, distort" (see torque (n.)). Legal sense of "breach of a duty, whereby someone acquires a right of action for damages" is first recorded 1580s.
torte (n.) Look up torte at
"sweet cake, tart," 1748, from German Torte; earlier sense of "round cake, round bread" (1550s) is from Middle French torte; both are from Late Latin torta "flat cake," also "round loaf of bread" (also source of Italian torte, Spanish torta), probably related to tart (n.1). Not considered to be from the source of tort.
tortellini (n.) Look up tortellini at
1937, from Italian, plural of tortellino, diminutive of tortello "cake, fritter," itself a diminutive of torta (see torte).
tortfeasor (n.) Look up tortfeasor at
1650s, from Old French tortfesor, from tort "wrong, evil" (see tort) + -fesor "doer," from Latin facere "to make, do" (see factitious).
torticollis (n.) Look up torticollis at
wryneck, 1811, Modern Latin, from Latin tortus "crooked, twisted," from torquere "to twist" (see torque (n.)) + collum "neck" (see collar (n.)).
tortilla (n.) Look up tortilla at
1690s, from American Spanish tortilla, from Spanish, "a tart," literally "a little cake," diminutive of torta "cake," from Late Latin torta "flat cake" (see torte).
tortious (adj.) Look up tortious at
late 14c., "wrongful, illegal," from Anglo-French torcious (14c.), from stem of torcion, literally "a twisting," from Late Latin tortionem (see torsion, and compare tort). Meaning "pertaining to a tort" is from 1540s.
tortoise (n.) Look up tortoise at
1550s, altered (perhaps by influence of porpoise) from Middle English tortuse (late 15c.), tortuce (mid-15c.), tortuge (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin tortuca (mid-13c.), perhaps from Late Latin tartaruchus "of the underworld" (see Tartarus). Others propose a source in Latin tortus "twisted," based on the shape of the feet. The classical Latin word was testudo, from testa "shell." First record of tortoise shell as a pattern of markings is from 1782.
tortuous (adj.) Look up tortuous at
late 14c., "full of twists and turns," from Anglo-French tortuous (12c.), Old French tortuos, from Latin tortuosus "full of twists, winding," from tortus "a twisting, winding," from stem of torquere "to twist, wring, distort" (see torque (n.)). Related: Tortuously; tortuousness.
torture (n.) Look up torture at
early 15c., "contortion, twisting, distortion; a disorder characterized by contortion," from Old French torture "infliction of great pain; great pain, agony" (12c.), and directly from Late Latin tortura "a twisting, writhing," in Medieval Latin "pain inflicted by judicial or ecclesiastical authority as a means of punishment or persuasion," from stem of Latin torquere "to twist, turn, wind, wring, distort" (see torque (n.)). The meaning "infliction of severe bodily pain as a means of punishment or persuasion" in English is from 1550s. The theory behind judicial torture was that a guilty person could be made to confess, but an innocent one could not, by this means. Macaulay writes that it was last inflicted in England in May 1640.
torture (v.) Look up torture at
1580s, from torture (n.). Related: Tortured; torturing.
torturous (adj.) Look up torturous at
"pertaining to or characterized by torture," late 15c., from Anglo-French torturous, from Old French tortureus, from Latin tortura (see torture (n.)).
torus (n.) Look up torus at
1560s, in architecture, "large, rounded molding at the base of a column," from Latin torus "a swelling, bulge, knot; cushion, couch."
Tory (n.) Look up Tory at
1566, "an outlaw," specifically "one of a class of Irish robbers noted for outrages and savage cruelty," from Irish toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from Old Irish toirighim "I pursue," from toir "pursuit," from Celtic *to-wo-ret- "a running up to," from PIE root *ret- "to run, roll" (see rotary).

About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c. 1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c. 1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to George III of England; it represents their relative position in the pre-revolutionary English political order in the colonies. As an adjective from 1680s.
tosh (adj.) Look up tosh at
"neat, clean, trim," 1776, Scottish, of unknown origin.
tosh (n.) Look up tosh at
"valuables collected from drains," 1852, London slang, of unknown origin.
toss (v.) Look up toss at
mid-15c., "to lift or throw with a sudden movement," of uncertain origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian tossa "to strew, spread"). Food preparation sense (with reference to salad, etc.) is recorded from 1723. Intransitive sense "be restless; throw oneself about" is from 1550s. Related: Tossed; tossing.
toss (n.) Look up toss at
"an act of throwing," 1630s, from toss (v.). Meaning "a coin toss" is from 1798.
toss-up (n.) Look up toss-up at
"even matter," 1809, from earlier sense of "a flipping of a coin to arrive at a decision" (c. 1700), from verbal phrase, from toss (v.) + up (adv.).
tosser (n.) Look up tosser at
term of contempt in British slang, by 1977, probably from slang toss off "act of masturbation" (1735). Agent noun from toss (v.). Compare jerk (n.).
tosspot (n.) Look up tosspot at
"heavy drinker," 1560s, from toss (v.) + pot (n.1).
tostada (n.) Look up tostada at
1945, from Mexican Spanish, from past participle of Spanish tostar "to toast" (see toast (v.1)).
tot (n.) Look up tot at
"little child," 1725, Scottish, of uncertain origin, perhaps a shortened form of totter, or related to Old Norse tottr, nickname of a dwarf (compare Swedish tutte "little child," Danish tommel-tot "little child," in which the first element means "thumb"). Tot-lot "play ground for young children" is recorded from 1944.
tot (v.) Look up tot at
"to reckon up," 1760, from tot (n.) "total of an addition," first recorded 1680s, short for total (n.). Hence, "to mark (an account or a name) with the word 'tot.'"
total (v.) Look up total at
1716, "bring to a total," from total (n.). Intransitive sense "reach a total of" is from 1859. Meaning "to destroy one's car" first recorded 1954. Related: Totaled; totaling.
total (n.) Look up total at
"whole amount, sum," 1550s, from total (adj.).