by 1938 in reference to Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), favorite of Catherine II of Russia, especially in reference to the sham villages supposedly erected under his orders for the empress' tour of Crimea (1787) to create an impression of prosperity and progress. The silent film "Battleship Potemkin" dates from 1925, depicting (with elaboration) events of 1905 and the mutiny aboard a Russian battleship named for the Tsarist minister.
city in central Italy, site of a school of medieval painting, probably from Senones, the name of a Gaulish people who settled there in ancient times. Related: Sienese. For the coloring material, see sienna.
material which in thin sheets produces a high degree of plane polarization of light passing through it, 1936, proprietary name (Sheet Polarizer Co., Union City, N.J.). As a type of camera producing prints rapidly, it is attested from 1961.
in reference to a kind of loose, full gown worn by women, 1878, from Old Mother Hubbard, nursery rhyme, which was printed 1805, written by Sarah Catherine Martin (1768-1826) but based on earlier material of unknown origin. The name is attested from 1591.
proprietary name (1922) of a product manufactured originally by Formica Insulation Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. (founded 1913). According to the company, the material (originally marketed as an industrial insulator) was so called because it could be used for mica, i.e., in place of mica, a more expensive natural insulator. Primarily used in consumer goods since c. 1945.
Athenian statesman (c. 495-429 B.C.E.), leader of the city in its period of intellectual and material preeminence, from Latinized form of Greek Perikles, literally "far-famed," from peri "all around" (see peri-) + -kles "fame," a common ending in Greek proper names, related to kleos "rumor, report, news; good report, fame, glory," from PIE *klew-yo-, suffixed form of root *kleu- "to hear." Related: Periclean.
"pertaining to Ionia or the Ionians," 1570s of music; 1580s of architecture, from Latin Ionicus, from Greek Ionikos (see Ionian). In prosody, a foot of two long syllables followed by two short. The Ionic school of philosophers (Thales, Anaxamander, etc.) studied the material world in ways that somewhat anticipated observational science. It also once was the name of an important school of Greek painting, but all of it save the name is lost. Related: Ionicize (1841).
first letter of the Roman alphabet, based on Greek alpha (see alpha). In music from c. 1600 as the name of the sixth note of the natural scale; it is the note given by a fixed-tone instrument (usually oboe or organ) to which all the instruments of an orchestra are tuned. As a blood type, 1926, denoting A agglutinogens. The A side of a two-sided record (by 1962, see side (n.)) held the material chosen for promotion. A-bomb, short for atom bomb, was in newspaper headlines by Aug. 8, 1945.
city in California, named c. 1866 for George Berkeley (1685-1753), Bishop of Cloyne, who denied the objective reality of the material world. The college there opened in 1873. The surname (also Barclay) is the birch-tree wood or clearing. The transuranic element berkelium (1950) is named for the laboratory there, where it was discovered. It does not occur naturally.
Whether they knew or not
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard's eye.
[Yeats, from "The Seven Sages"]
ancient Persian god of light or the sun, eventually regarded as ruler of the material and spiritual universe, 1550s, from Latin, from Greek Mithras, from Avestan Mithra-, from Indo-Iranian *mitram "contract," whence *mitras "contractual partner, friend," conceptualized as a god, or, according to Kent, first the epithet of a divinity and eventually his name. Perhaps from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change; exchange," on the notion of "god of the contract" [Watkins].
Related to Sanskrit Mitrah, a Vedic deity associated with Varuna. "His name is one of the earliest Indic words we possess, being found in clay tablets from Anatolia dating to about 1500 B.C." [Calvert Watkins, "Dictionary of Indo-European Roots," 2000]. His worship was adopted by the Romans and enjoyed great popularity in the early empire. Related: Mithraic; Mithraism.