- tuffet (n.)
- 1550s, "little tuft," from Old French touffel (with diminutive suffix -et for French -el), diminutive of touffe (see tuft). Obsolete except in the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet" (1843), where it has been felt to mean "hassock, footstool."
LITTLE Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
And made of her knees such display
That the old fashioned spider,
Embarrassed beside her,
Was actually frightened away!
[Life Oct. 1, 1927]
- tuft (n.)
- "bunch of soft and flexible things fixed at the base with the upper ends loose," late 14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French touffe "tuft of hair" (14c.), which is either from Late Latin tufa "a kind of crest on a helmet" (also found in Late Greek toupha), or from a Germanic source (compare Old High German zopf, Old Norse toppr "tuft, summit;" see top (n.1)). As a verb from 1530s. Related: Tufted.
- tug (v.)
- c. 1200, from weak grade of Old English teohan "to pull, drag," from Proto-Germanic *teuhan "to pull" (source also of Old High German zucchen "to pull, jerk," German zücken "to draw quickly), from PIE root *deuk- "to lead" (see duke (n.)). Related to tow (v.). Related: Tugged; tugging.
- tug (n.)
- mid-14c., in reference to some part of a harness;" c. 1500 as "act of pulling or dragging," from tug (v.). Meaning "small, powerful vessel for towing other vessels" is recorded from 1817. Phrase tug of war (1670s) was originally figurative, "the decisive contest, the real struggle," from the noun in the sense "supreme effort, strenuous contest of forces" (1650s). As an actual athletic event, from 1876.
- tugboat (n.)
- also tug-boat, 1830, from tug (n.) + boat (n.).
- former palace in Paris, begun by Catherine de Medici, 1564; so called because it was built on the site of an ancient tile-works, from Old French tieule "tile," from Latin tegula (see tile (n.)). The former residence of the royal court, it was destroyed by fire in 1871 and now is the site of the Jardin des Tuileries.
- tuition (n.)
- early 15c., "protection, care, custody," from Anglo-French tuycioun (13c.), Old French tuicion "guardianship," from Latin tuitionem (nominative tuitio) "a looking after, a caring for, watching over, protection, guardianship," from tuitus, past participle of tueri "to look after" (see tutor (n.)). Meaning "action or business of teaching pupils" is recorded from 1580s. The meaning "money paid for instruction" (1828) probably is short for tuition fees, in which tuition refers to the act of teaching and instruction (a sense attested from 1580s).
- tulip (n.)
- 1570s, via Dutch or German tulpe, French tulipe "a tulip" (16c.), all ultimately from Turkish tülbent "turban," also "gauze, muslin," from Persian dulband "turban;" so called from the fancied resemblance of the flower to a turban.
Introduced from Turkey to Europe, where the earliest known instance of a tulip flowering in cultivation is 1559 in the garden of Johann Heinrich Herwart in Augsburg; popularized in Holland after 1587 by Clusius. The tulip-mania raged in Holland in the 1630s. The full form of the Turkish word is represented in Italian tulipano, Spanish tulipan, but the -an tended to drop in Germanic languages, where it was mistaken for a suffix. Tulip tree (1705), a North American magnolia, so called from its tulip-shaped flowers.
- tulle (n.)
- fine silk bobbin-net, 1817, from Tulle, town in central France, where the fabric was first manufactured. The place name is Medieval Latin Tutelae, said to be from Tutela, name of a pagan god.
- tumble (v.)
- c. 1300, "to perform as an acrobat," also "to fall down," perhaps from a frequentative form of Old English tumbian "dance about, tumble, leap." This is of unknown origin but apparently related to Middle Low German tummelen "to turn, dance," Dutch tuimelen "to tumble," Old High German tumon, German taumeln "to turn, reel." Transitive sense from late 14c. Related: Tumbled; tumbling.
- tumble (n.)
- "accidental fall," 1716, from tumble (v.). Earlier as "disorder, confusion" (1630s).
- tumble-down (adj.)
- 1791, originally "habitually falling down" and used first of horses, from tumble (v.) + down (adv.); in reference to buildings, "in a dilapidated condition," from 1818.
- tumbler (n.)
- mid-14c., "acrobat," agent noun from tumble (v.). Compare Old English tumbere "tumbler, dancer." A fem. form was tumblester (early 15c.), tumbester (late 14c.) "female acrobatic dancer." Meaning "drinking glass" is recorded from 1660s, originally a glass with a rounded or pointed bottom which would cause it to "tumble;" thus it could not be set down until it was empty. As a part of a lock mechanism, from 1670s.
- tumbleweed (n.)
- also tumble-weed, 1881, from tumble (v.) + weed (n.).
- tumbrel (n.)
- mid-15c., "two-wheeled cart for hauling dung, stones, etc.," earlier an instrument of punishment of uncertain type (early 13c.), from Old French tomberel "dump cart" (Modern French tombereau), from tomber "(let) fall or tumble," possibly from a Germanic source (compare Old Norse tumba "to tumble," Old High German tumon "to turn, reel;" see tumble (v.)). Notoriously the name given to the carts used to take victims to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror (though illustrations often show four-wheeled carts, not true tumbrels).
- tumefaction (n.)
- "morbid swelling," early 15c., from Medieval Latin tumefaccionem (nominative tumefaccio), noun of action from Latin tumefactus, from tumescere "begin to swell, swell up" (see tumescence).
- tumescence (n.)
- 1725, from French tumescence, from Latin tumescentem (nominative tumescens) "swelling," present participle of tumescere "begin to swell, swell up," figuratively "grow excited, become enraged," inceptive of tumere "to swell" (see tumid), with inchoative suffix -escere.
- tumescent (adj.)
- 1806, from Latin tumescentem (nominative tumescens), present participle of tumescere "to begin to swell, swell up," figuratively "grow excited, become enraged," inceptive of tumere "to swell" (see tumid), with inchoative suffix -escere.
- tumid (adj.)
- "morbidly swollen," 1540s, from Latin tumidus "swollen, swelling, rising high," figuratively "swollen with anger or pride," from tumere "to swell," from PIE root *teue- (2) "to swell" (see thigh). Figurative sense in English (in reference to prose, etc.) is attested from 1640s. Related: Tumidity.
- tummy (n.)
- 1867, infantile for stomach. Tummy-ache is attested from 1874.
- tumor (n.)
- early 15c., from Latin tumor "swelling, condition of being swollen, a tumor," from tumere "to swell" (see tumid).
- tumour (n.)
- chiefly British English spelling of tumor; see -or.
- tumulous (adj.)
- 1727, from Latin tumulosus "full of hills," from tumulus "hill, mound, heap of earth" (see tumulus).
- tumult (n.)
- late 14c., from Old French tumult (12c.), from Latin tumultus "commotion, bustle, uproar, disorder, disturbance," related to tumere "to be excited, swell" (see tumid).
- tumultuous (adj.)
- 1540s, from Middle French tumultuous (Modern French tumultueux), from Latin tumultuosus "full of bustle or confusion, disorderly, turbulent," from tumultus (see tumult). Related: Tumultuously; tumultuousness.
- tumulus (n.)
- ancient burial mound, 1680s, from Latin tumulus "hillock, heap of earth, mound," related to tumere "to swell" (see tumid).
- tun (n.)
- "large cask," especially one for wine, ale, or beer, Old English tunne "tun, cask, barrel," a general North Sea Germanic word (compare Old Frisian tunne, Middle Dutch tonne, Old High German tunna, German tonne), also found in Medieval Latin tunna (9c.) and Old French tonne (diminutive tonneau); perhaps from a Celtic source (compare Middle Irish, Gaelic tunna, Old Irish toun "hide, skin"). Tun-dish (late 14c.) was a funnel made to fit into the bung of a tun.
-- That? said Stephen. -- Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish? --
-- What is a tundish? --
--That. The ... the funnel. --
--Is that called a tundish in Ireland? -- asked the dean. -- I never heard the word in my life. --
-- It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra -- said Stephen, laughing -- where they speak the best English.--
-- A tundish -- said the dean reflectively. -- That is a most interesting word I must look that word up. Upon my word I must. --
His courtesy of manner rang a little false, and Stephen looked at the English convert with the same eyes as the elder brother in the parable may have turned on the prodigal. [Joyce, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"]
- tuna (n.)
- 1881, from American Spanish (California) tuna, from Spanish atun, from Arabic tun, borrowed, probably in Spain, from Latin thunnus "tunny" (see tunny).
- tundra (n.)
- an Arctic steppe, 1841, from Russian tundra, from Lappish (Finno-Ugric) tundar, said to mean "elevated wasteland, high-topped hill," or "a marshy plain."
- tune (n.)
- early 14c., "a musical sound," unexplained variant of tone (n.). From late 14c. as "a well-rounded succession of musical notes, an air, melody." Meaning "state of being in proper pitch" is from mid-15c.
- tune (v.)
- "bring into a state of proper pitch," c. 1500, from tune (n.). Non-musical meaning "to adjust an organ or receiver, put into a state proper for some purpose" is recorded from 1887. Verbal phrase tune in in reference to radio (later also TV) is recorded from 1913; figurative sense of "become aware" is recorded from 1926. Tune out "eliminate radio reception" is recorded from 1908; figurative sense of "disregard, stop heeding" is from 1928. Related: Tuned; tuning.
- tune-up (n.)
- "adjustments made to an automobile to improve its working," 1911, from verbal phrase tune up "bring to a state of effectiveness," 1718, in reference to musical instruments, from tune (v.) + up (adv.). Attested from 1901 in reference to engines. Meaning "event that serves as practice for a later one" is from 1934, U.S. sports jargon.
- tuneful (adj.)
- 1590s, from tune (n.) + -ful. Related: Tunefully.
- tuneless (adj.)
- 1590s, from tune (n.) + -less. Related: Tunelessly; tunelessness.
- tuner (n.)
- "one who tunes musical instruments," 1801, agent noun from tune (v.). From 1570s as "musician, singer." From 1909 as "device for varying the frequency of a radio or (later) television."
- tunesmith (n.)
- 1926, U.S. colloquial coinage, from tune (n.) + smith (n.).
- 1889, from Chinese tong.
- tungsten (n.)
- rare metallic element, 1796, from Swedish tungsten "calcium tungstate," coined 1780 by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) from tung "heavy" + sten "stone" (see stone (n.)). The word was used earlier as the name for calcium tungstate (1770). Atomic symbol W is from Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram "iron tungstate" (see wolfram).
- tunic (n.)
- late 15c., from Middle French tunique (12c.) or directly from Latin tunica "undergarment worn by either sex" (source of Spanish tunica, Italian tonica, Old English tunece, Old High German tunihha), probably from a Semitic source (compare Hebrew kuttoneth "coat," Aramaic kittuna). Also see chitin.
- tunicate (adj.)
- 1760, from Latin tunicatus "clothed with a tunic only (i.e. without a toga), in shirt-sleeves," past participle of tunicare "to clothe in a tunic," from tunica (see tunic). As a noun, from 1848.
- tuning (n.)
- 1550s, "action of putting in tune," verbal noun from tune (v.). Of motors, from 1863. Tuning fork attested from 1776, supposedly invented by John Shore (d.1753), royal trumpeter.
[Shore] was a man of humour and pleasantry, and was the original inventor of the tuning-fork, an instrument which he constantly carried about him, and used to tune his lute by, and which whenever he produced it gave occasion to a pun. At a concert he would say, "I have not about me a pitch-pipe, but I have what will do as well to tune by, a pitch-fork." [Sir John Hawkins, "A General History of the Science and Practice of Music," London, 1776]
- tunnel (n.)
- early 15c., "funnel-shaped net for catching birds," from Middle French tonnelle "net," or tonel "cask," diminutive of Old French tonne "tun, cask for liquids," possibly from the same source as Old English tunne (see tun).
Sense of "tube, pipe" (1540s) developed in English and led to sense of "underground passage" (1660s). This sense subsequently has been borrowed into French (1878). The earlier native word for this was mine (n.). Meaning "burrow of an animal" is from 1873. Tunnel vision first recorded 1912. The amusement park tunnel of love is attested from 1911 (in reference to New York's Luna Park). The figurative light at the end of the tunnel has been seen since 1882.
The "Tunnel of Love," an attraction found at many amusement parks, has been responsible for a surprising number of proposals. In this and similar devices, couples are allowed to drift through dark or semi-dark underground caverns, usually in a boat or gondola borne on an artificial stream of water. ... Their dim interiors often give a bashful young man the opportunity to propose. ["The American Magazine," July 1922]
- tunnel (v.)
- "excavate underground," 1795, from tunnel (n.). From 1570s as "furnish with a tunnel." Related: Tunneled; tunneling.
- tunny (n.)
- large sea-fish of the mackerel order, 1520s, probably from Middle French thon (14c.), from Old Provençal ton and directly from Latin thunnus "a tuna, tunny," from Greek thynnos "a tuna, tunny," possibly with a literal sense of "darter," from thynein "dart along."
- tup (n.)
- "male sheep," c. 1300, Scottish and Northern English; of unknown origin. As a verb, "to copulate," 1540s. Related: Tupped; tupping.
- tupelo (n.)
- American black gum tree, 1730, from an Algonquian language, such as Cree ito opilwa "swamp tree," Muskogee eto opelwv.
- Tupi (n.)
- a native language group of South America, also Tupian.
- tuppence (n.)
- mid-15c., to-pens, representing the common pronunciation of twopence (see two + pence).
- Tupperware (n.)
- 1954, trademark (reg. U.S.), from Earl S. Tupper, president of Tupper Corp., + ware (n.). Patent claims use from 1950.
- tuque (n.)
- type of cap worn in Canada, 1871, from Canadian French variant of French toque (see toque).