Etymology
Advertisement
almanac (n.)

late 14c., "book of permanent tables of astronomical data," attested in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c., via Old French almanach or directly from Medieval Latin almanachus, a word of uncertain origin and the subject of much speculation. The Latin word is often said to be ultimately from Arabic somehow, but an exact phonological and semantic fit is wanting.

OED connects it to a supposed Spanish-Arabic al-manakh "calendar, almanac," which is possibly ultimately from Late Greek almenichiakon "calendar," which itself is said to be of Coptic origin. The author of English words of Arabic Ancestry makes a detailed case  "that the word almanac was pseudo-Arabic and was generated within the circle of astronomers in Paris in the mid 13th century."

One-year versions, showing correspondence of days of the week and month, ecclesiastical calendars, etc., date from 16c.; "astrological and weather predictions appear in 16-17th c.; the 'useful statistics' are a modern feature" [OED].

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
authentic (adj.)
Origin and meaning of authentic

mid-14c., autentik, "authoritative, duly authorized" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French autentique "authentic; canonical" (13c., Modern French authentique) and directly from Medieval Latin authenticus, from Greek authentikos "original, genuine, principal," from authentes "one acting on one's own authority," from autos "self" (see auto-) + hentes "doer, being," from PIE root *sene- (2) "to accomplish, achieve." Sense of "real, entitled to acceptance as factual" is first recorded mid-14c.

Traditionally in modern use, authentic implies that the contents of the thing in question correspond to the facts and are not fictitious (hence "trustworthy, reliable"); while genuine implies that the reputed author is the real one and that we have it as it left the author's hand (hence "unadulterated"); but this is not always maintained: "The distinction which the 18th c. apologists attempted to establish between genuine and authentic ... does not agree well with the etymology of the latter word, and is not now recognized" [OED].

Related entries & more 
oligarchy (n.)

"form of government in which supreme power is vested in a small exclusive class," 1570s, from French oligarchie (14c.), from Latinized form of Greek oligarkhia "government by the few," from stem of oligos "few, small, little" (a word of uncertain origin) + -arkhia, from arkhein "to rule" (see archon). An earlier form of the word in English was oligracie (c. 1500, from Old French).

Aristotle, after some preliminary remarks, concludes by defining a democracy to be, when the freemen and those not the rich, being the majority, possess the sovereign power; and an oligarchy, when the rich and those of noble birth, being few, are in possession of the sovereign power. This definition of an oligarchy necessarily implies that the majority are excluded from participating in the sovereign power. It might be inferred, on the other hand, that in this definition of a democracy the few are excluded from the sovereign power: and such in this passage should be the meaning of the author, if he is consistent with himself. ["Political Dictionary," London 1845]
Related entries & more 
Apache 

1745, from American Spanish (where it is attested by 1598), probably from Yavapai (a Yuman language) 'epache "people." Sometimes derived from Zuni apachu "enemy" (see F.W. Hodge, "American Indians," 1907), but this seems to have been the Zuni name for the Navajo.

In French, the sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" is attested by 1902, said to have been coined by journalist Victor Moris; it was in English by 1908. Apache dance was the World War I-era equivalent of 1990s' brutal "slam dancing." Fenimore Cooper's Indian novels were enormously popular in Europe throughout the 19c., and comparisons of Cooper's fictional Indian ways in the wilderness and underworld life in European cities go back to Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by German author Karl May that Apaches replaced Mohicans as the quintessential savages in European popular imagination. Also compare Mohawk.

Related entries & more 
W 

not in the Roman alphabet, but the Modern English sound it represents is close to the devocalized consonant expressed by Roman -U- or -V-. In Old English, this originally was written -uu-, but by 8c. began to be expressed by the runic character wyn (Kentish wen), which looked like this: ƿ (the character is a late addition to the online font set and doesn't display properly on many computers, so it's something like a combination of lower-case -p- and a reversed -y-).

In 11c., Norman scribes introduced -w-, a ligatured doubling of Roman -u- which had been used on the continent for the Germanic "w" sound, and wyn disappeared c. 1300. -W- is not properly a letter in the modern French alphabet, and it is used there only in borrowed foreign words, such as wagon, weekend, Western, whisky, wombat. Charles Mackay ("Extraordinary Popular delusions and the Madness of Crowds") reports that the Scotsman John Law, author of the Mississippi stock swindle of 1720, was known in France as Monsieur Lass "to avoid the ungallic sound, aw."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
meiosis (n.)

in biology, "division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small."

Earlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":

"YOUNG AUTHOR." — Yes Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat,—at least, not with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you would want for the present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales.

 Related: meiotic; meiotically.

Related entries & more 
Shakespeare 

the surname is recorded from 1248; it means "a spearman." This was a common type of English surname: Shakelance (1275), Shakeshaft (1332), etc. To shake (v.) in the sense of "to brandish or flourish (a weapon)" is attested from late Old English:

Heo scæken on heore honden speren swiðe stronge.
[Laymon, "Brut," c. 1205]

and was in use through Middle English. Compare also shake-buckler "a swaggerer, a bully;" shake-rag "ragged fellow, tatterdemalion," an old name for a beggar.

"Never a name in English nomenclature so simple or so certain in origin. It is exactly what it looks -- Shakespear" [Bardsley, "Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames," 1901]. Nevertheless, speculation flourishes.

The spelling is that of the first folio. The name was variously written in contemporary records, as all surnames were. In one signature, the author spells it Shakspere.  It also was spelled Shakespear and Shakespere, the former being the proper modern spelling, the latter being the spelling adopted by the New Shakespere Society of London and the first edition of the OED and Century Dictionary. Related: Shakespearian (1753); Shakesperean (1796); Shakesperian (1755).

Related entries & more 
pen (n.1)

late 13c., penne, "writing implement made from the hard, hollow stem at the base of a feather," from Old French pene "quill pen; feather" (12c.) and directly from Latin penna "a feather, plume," in plural "a wing," in Late Latin, "a pen for writing," from Old Latin petna, pesna, from PIE *pet-na-, suffixed form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly."

In later French, this word means only "long feather of a bird," while the equivalent of English plume is used for "writing implement;" the senses of the two words in French thus are reversed from the situation in English.

In Middle English also "a feather," especially a large one from the wing or tail. The sense was extended to any instrument of similar form used for writing by means of fluid ink. Pen-and-ink (adj.) "made or done with a pen and ink" is attested from 1670s. Pen name "fictitious name assumed by an author" is by 1857 (French nom de plume was used in English from 1823). Southey uses pen-gossip (v.) "to gossip by correspondence" (1818).

Related entries & more 
critic (n.)

formerly critick, 1580s, "one who passes judgment, person skilled in judging merit in some particular class of things," from French critique (14c.), from Latin criticus "a judge, a censor, an estimator," also "grammarian who detects spurious passages in literary work," from Greek kritikos "able to make judgments," from krinein "to separate, decide" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish"). The meaning "one who judges merits of books, plays, etc." is from c. 1600. The English word always has had overtones of "censurer, faultfinder, one who judges severely."

To understand how the artist felt, however, is not criticism; criticism is an investigation of what the work is good for. ... Criticism ... is a serious and public function; it shows the race assimilating the individual, dividing the immortal from the mortal part of a soul. [George Santayana, "The Life of Reason," 1906]
A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ;
[Pope, "An Essay on Criticism," 1709]

For "inferior or incompetent critic" 17c. had criticaster; later generations used criticling, critikin, criticule.

Related entries & more 
Scientology (n.)

1951, system of beliefs founded by U.S. author L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986); a hybrid word coined by him. In the book "Scientology: 8-80" (1952, The Hubbard Association of Scientologists Inc.) Hubbard described his thinking in coining the word:

"Scientology" is a new word which names a new science. It is formed from the Latin word, "scio", which means KNOW, or DISTINGUISH, being related to the word "scindo", which means CLEAVE. (Thus, the idea of differentiation is strongly implied.) It is formed from the Greek word "logos", which means THE WORD or OUTWARD FORM BY WHICH THE INWARD THOUGHT IS EXPRESSED AND MADE KNOWN: also, THE INWARD THOUGHT or REASON ITSELF. Thus, SCIENTOLOGY means KNOWING ABOUT KNOWING, or SCIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE.

The elements of it are Latin scire "to know" (for which see science) and Greek logos "word, speech, statement, discourse," also "computation, account," also "reason," from PIE *log-o-, suffixed form of root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak," on notion of "to pick out words." There was a German scientologie (A. Nordenholz, 1937). Related: Scientologist.

Related entries & more 

Page 10