- gin (n.1)
- "type of distilled drinking alcohol," 1714, shortening of geneva, altered (by influence of the similarity of the name of the Swiss city, with which it has no other connection) from Dutch genever "juniper" (because the alcohol was flavored with its berries), from Old French genevre, from Vulgar Latin *jeniperus, from Latin juniperus "juniper" (see juniper). Gin and tonic attested by 1873; gin-sling by 1790. Card game gin rummy first attested 1941 (described in "Life" that year as the latest Hollywood fad).
- gin (n.2)
- "machine for separating cotton from seeds," 1796, American English, used earlier of various other machineries, from Middle English gin "ingenious device, contrivance" (c.1200), from Old French gin "machine, device, scheme," shortened form of engin, from Latin ingenium (see engine). The verb in this sense is recorded from 1789.
- gin (v.1)
- in slang phrase gin up "enliven, make more exciting," 1887, probably from earlier ginger up in same sense (1849), from ginger in sense of "spice, pizzazz;" specifically in reference to the treatment described in the 1811 slang dictionary under the entry for feague:
... to put ginger up a horse's fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well; it is said, a forfeit is incurred by any horse-dealer's servant, who shall shew a horse without first feaguing him. Feague is used, figuratively, for encouraging or spiriting one up.
- gin (v.2)
- "to begin," c.1200, ginnen, shortened form of beginnen (see begin).