total (adj.) Look up total at
late 14c., from Old French total (14c.), from Medieval Latin totalis "entire, total" (as in summa totalis "sum total"), from Latin totus "all, all at once, the whole, entire, altogether," of unknown origin. Total war is attested from 1937 (William Shirer), in reference to a concept developed in Germany.
totalitarian (adj.) Look up totalitarian at
1926, first in reference to Italian fascism, formed in English on model of Italian totalitario "complete, absolute, totalitarian," from total (adj.) + ending from authoritarian. The noun is recorded from 1938.
totalitarianism (n.) Look up totalitarianism at
1926, first recorded in reference to Italian fascism, from totalitarian + -ism.
totality (n.) Look up totality at
1590s, from total (adj.) + -ity, or from or based on Middle French totalité, Medieval Latin totalitas. In the eclipse sense, "time of total obscuration," from 1842.
totally (adv.) Look up totally at
c. 1500, from total (adj.) + -ly (2).
tote (v.) Look up tote at
"to carry," 1670s, of unknown origin; originally attested in Virginia, but OED discounts the popular theory of its origin in a West African language (such as Kikongo tota "pick up," Kimbundu tuta "carry, load," related to Swahili tuta "pile up, carry"). Related: Toted; toting. Tote bag is first recorded 1900.
totem (n.) Look up totem at
animal or natural object considered as the emblem of a family or clan, 1760, from Algonquian (probably Ojibwa) -doodem, in odoodeman "his sibling kin, his group or family," hence, "his family mark;" also attested in French c. 1600 in form aoutem among the Micmacs or other Indians of Nova Scotia. Totem pole is 1808, in reference to west coast Canadian Indians.
totemic (adj.) Look up totemic at
1846, from totem + -ic.
tother (prep.) Look up tother at
"the other," early 13c., þe toþer, from faulty separation of þet oþer "that other;" simple use of tother in place of the other is attested by 1580s. Often written t'other as though a contraction of the other.
totipotent (adj.) Look up totipotent at
1896, from Latin toti-, comb. form of totus "whole" (see total (adj.)) + potent. Perhaps immediately from German totipotent, which is attested by 1893. Related: Totipotency.
toto Look up toto at
Latin ablative singular (masc. and neuter) of totus "whole, entire" (see total (adj.)).
toto caelo Look up toto caelo at
Latin, literally "by the whole heaven."
totter (v.) Look up totter at
c. 1200, "swing to and fro," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian totra "to quiver, shake"). Meaning "stand or walk with shaky, unsteady steps" is from c. 1600. Related: Tottered; tottering.
tottery (adj.) Look up tottery at
"trembling, unsteady," 1861, from totter + -y (2).
toucan Look up toucan at
bright-colored bird of South America, 1560s, from French toucan (1550s) and Spanish tucan; from Tupi (Brazil) tuka, tukana, said to be probably imitative of its call.
touch (v.) Look up touch at
late 13c., "make deliberate physical contact with," from Old French tochier "to touch, hit, knock; mention, deal with" (11c., Modern French toucher), from Vulgar Latin *toccare "to knock, strike" as a bell (source also of Spanish tocar, Italian toccare), perhaps of imitative origin. Related: Touched; touching.

From c. 1300 in transitive sense "bring into physical contact," also "pertain to." Other senses attested from 14c. are "perceive by physical contact, examine by sense of touch," also "be or come into physical contact with; come to rest on; border on, be contiguous with;" also "use the sense of touch," and "mention, describe." From early 14c. as "affect or move mentally or emotionally," with notion of to "touch" the heart or mind. Also from early 14c. as "have sexual contact with." Meaning "to get or borrow money" first recorded 1760. Touch-and-go (adj.) is recorded from 1812, apparently from the name of a tag-like game, first recorded 1650s. Touch football is first attested 1933. Touch-me-not (1590s) translates Latin noli-me-tangere.
touch (n.) Look up touch at
c. 1300, from Old French toche "touch, a touching; a blow, attack; a test" (Modern French touche), from tocher "to touch" (see touch (v.)). Meaning "slight attack" (of an illness, etc.) is recorded from 1660s. Sense of "communication" (to be in or out of touch) is from 1884. Sense of "skill or aptitude in some topic" is first recorded 1927, probably from music or the arts. Soft touch "person easily manipulated" is recorded from 1940.
touch-screen (n.) Look up touch-screen at
1974, from touch + screen (n.).
touch-up (n.) Look up touch-up at
"act of improvement requiring modest effort," 1872, from verbal phrase touch up "improve or finish (as a painting or drawing) with light strokes" (1715), from touch (v.) + up (adv.).
touchdown (n.) Look up touchdown at
1864, originally in rugby, where the ball is literally touched down on the other side of the goal, from verbal phrase (by 1859 in sports), from touch (v.) + down (adv.). As "landing of an aircraft" from 1935.
touche Look up touche at
exclamation acknowledging a hit in fencing, 1902, from French touché, past participle of toucher "to hit," from Old French touchier "to hit" (see touch (v.)). Extended (non-fencing) use by 1907.
touched (adj.) Look up touched at
"stirred emotionally," mid-14c., past participle adjective from touch (v.).
touching (adj.) Look up touching at
"affecting the emotions," c. 1600, present participle adjective from touch (v.).
touching (prep.) Look up touching at
"concerning, regarding," late 14c., from touch (v.), on model of French touchant.
touchpoint (n.) Look up touchpoint at
c. 1600, from touch + point (n.).
touchstone (n.) Look up touchstone at
late 15c., from touch (v.) in the Middle English sense "to test" (metal) + stone (n.). Fine-grained black quartz, used for testing the quality of gold and silver alloys by the color of the streak made by rubbing them on it. Also see basalt. Figurative sense is from 1530s.
touchwood (n.) Look up touchwood at
1570s, from touch (v.) + wood, probably from the notion of being set alight at the touch of a spark.
touchy (adj.) Look up touchy at
"apt to take offense at slight provocation," c. 1600, perhaps an alteration of tetchy (q.v.) influenced by touch (v.). Related: Touchiness.
tough (adj.) Look up tough at
Old English toh "strong and firm in texture, tenacious, sticky," from Proto-Germanic *tanhu- (cognates: Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh), which Watkins suggests is from PIE *denk- "to bite," from the notion of "holding fast." See rough for spelling change.

From c. 1200 as "strong, powerful;" c. 1300 as "not tender or fragile;" early 14c. as "difficult to chew," also "hard to endure." Figurative sense of "steadfast" is mid-14c.; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s. Verb tough it "endure the experience" is first recorded 1830, American English. Tough guy attested from 1901. Tough-minded first recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck first recorded 1912; tough shit, dismissive retort to a complaint, is from 1946.
tough (n.) Look up tough at
"street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).
toughen (v.) Look up toughen at
1580s, from tough (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Toughened; toughening.
toughness (n.) Look up toughness at
mid-15c., from tough (adj.) + -ness.
toupee (n.) Look up toupee at
1727, from French toupet "tuft of hair, forelock," diminutive formed from Old French top "tuft, forelock, topknot" (12c.), from Frankish *top or another Germanic source related to top (n.1) "highest point." Originally an artificial curl or lock on the top of the head; a style, not necessarily a compensation for baldness. In 18c., also sometimes used of a person who wears a toupee. Slang short form toup is recorded from 1959.
tour (n.) Look up tour at
c. 1300, "a turn, a shift on duty," from Old French tor, tourn, tourn "a turn, trick, round, circuit, circumference," from torner, tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Sense of "a continued ramble or excursion" is from 1640s. Tour de France as a bicycle race is recorded in English from 1916 (Tour de France Cycliste), distinguished from a motorcar race of the same name. The Grand Tour, a journey through France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy formerly was the finishing touch in the education of a gentleman.
tour (v.) Look up tour at
1746, "make a tour, travel about," from tour (n.). Related: Toured; touring.
tour de force (n.) Look up tour de force at
"feat of strength," 1802, French; see tour (n.) + force (n.).
tourism (n.) Look up tourism at
1811, from tour (n.) + -ism.
tourist (n.) Look up tourist at
1772, "one who makes a journey for pleasure, stopping here and there" (originally especially a travel-writer), from tour (n.) + -ist. Tourist trap attested from 1939, in Graham Greene. Related: Touristic.
tourmaline (n.) Look up tourmaline at
complete silicate of aluminum and boron, 1759, from French or German, ultimately from Sinhalese toramalli, a general name for cornelian.
tournament (n.) Look up tournament at
"medieval martial arts contest," c. 1200 (figurative), c. 1300 (literal), from Old French tornement "contest between groups of knights on horseback" (12c.), from tornoier "to joust, tilt, take part in tournaments" (see tourney). Modern use, in reference to games of skill, is recorded from 1761.
tournedos (n.) Look up tournedos at
fillet of steak dish, 1877, from French, from tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)) + dos "back." According to French etymologists, "so called because the dish is traditionally not placed on the table but is passed behind the backs of the guests" [OED]. But there are other theories.
tourney (v.) Look up tourney at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French turneier, Old French tornoier "to joust, tilt," literally "turn around," from Vulgar Latin *tornizare, from Latin tornare "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Related: Tourneying.
tourney (n.) Look up tourney at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French turnei, Old French tornei "contest of armed men" (12c., Modern French tournoi), from tornoier "to joust, tilt" (see tourney (v.)).
tourniquet (n.) Look up tourniquet at
1690s, from French tourniquet "surgical tourniquet," also "turnstile" (16c.), diminutive of torner "to turn," from Old French torner (see turn (v.)).
tousle (v.) Look up tousle at
"pull roughly, disorder, dishevel," mid-15c., frequentative of -tousen "handle or push about roughly," probably from an unrecorded Old English *tusian, from Proto-Germanic *tus- (cognates: Frisian tusen, Old High German erzusen, German zausen "to tug, pull, dishevel"); related to tease (v.). Related: Tousled; tousling.
Toussaint (n.) Look up Toussaint at
French, literally "feast of All Saints" (Nov. 1), from tous, plural of tout "all" + saint "saint."
tout (v.) Look up tout at
1700, thieves' cant, "to act as a lookout, spy on," from Middle English tuten "to peep, peer," probably from a variant of Old English totian "to stick out, peep, peer," from Proto-Germanic *tut- "project" (cognates: Dutch tuit "sprout, snout," Middle Dutch tute "nipple, pap," Middle Low German tute "horn, funnel," Old Norse tota "teat, toe of a shoe"). The sense developed to "look out for jobs, votes, customers, etc., to try to get them" (1731), then "praise highly in an attempt to sell" (1920). Related: Touted; touting.
tow (v.) Look up tow at
"pull with a rope," Old English togian "to drag, pull," from Proto-Germanic *tugojanan (cognates: Old English teon "to draw," Old Frisian togia "to pull about," Old Norse toga, Old High German zogon, German ziehen "to draw, pull, drag"), from PIE root *deuk- "to pull, draw" (cognates: Latin ducere "to lead;" see duke (n.)). Related: Towed; towing.
tow (n.1) Look up tow at
"the coarse, broken fibers of flax, hemp, etc., separated from the finer parts," late 14c., probably from Old English tow- "spinning" (in towlic "fit for spinning," tow-hus "spinning-room"), perhaps cognate with Gothic taujan "to do, make," Middle Dutch touwen "to knit, weave," from Proto-Germanic *taw- "to manufacture" (see taw (v.)).
tow (n.2) Look up tow at
c. 1600, "rope used in towing," from tow (v.). Meaning "act or fact of being towed" is from 1620s.