late 14c., "edge of a quadrant or other instrument," from Latin limbus "ornamental border, hem, fringe, edge," a word of uncertain origin. Klein suggests it is cognate with Sanskrit lambate "hang down limply" and English limp (adj.). Tucker writes that "the sense appears to be that of something which twists, goes round, or binds ... not of something which hangs loose," and suggests cognates in Lithuanian linta "ribbon," Old Norse linnr "whether." De Vaan tends to agree with Klein and writes, "In view of the phoneme *b, the very specific meaning of limbus and its absence from the oldest literature, the etymology remains uncertain." Astronomical sense of "edge of the disk of a heavenly body" first attested 1670s. Related: Limbal.
c. 1300, coler, coller, "neck armor, gorget, something worn about the neck," from Old French coler "neck, collar" (12c., Modern French collier), from Latin collare "necklace, band or chain for the neck," from collum "the neck," from PIE *kwol-o- "neck" (source also of Old Norse and Middle Dutch hals "neck"), literally "that on which the head turns," from root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round."
The spelling was re-Latinized in early modern English. From late 14c. as "border at the neck of a garment," also "band put around the neck of a dog or other animal for purposes of restraint or identification." From mid-15c. as "neck-band forming part of the harness of a horse or other draught-animal."
early 14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), "lower part of a woman's dress," the part that hangs from the waist, from Old Norse skyrta "shirt, a kind of kirtle;" see shirt, which is from the Old English cognate, and from which it is not always distinguishable in early use.
The sense development from "shirt" to "skirt" is obscure; it could be from the long shirts of peasant garb (compare Low German cognate Schört, in some dialects "woman's gown").
Also "lower part of a man's gown, clerical vestment, etc." (late 14c.). The sense of "border, edge, part of anything furthest from the mass or the center" (in outskirt, etc.) is recorded by late 15c.
Metonymic use for "women collectively" is from 1550s; the slang sense of "young woman" is from 1906; skirt-chaser is attested by 1942.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "front, forehead," with derivatives meaning "in front of, before; end." Also see *ambhi-.
It forms all or part of: advance; advantage; along; ancestor; ancient (adj.); answer; Antaeus; ante; ante-; ante meridiem; antecede; antecedent; antedate; antediluvian; ante-partum; antepenultimate; anterior; anti-; antic; anticipate; anticipation; antique; antler; avant-garde; elope; end; rampart; un- (2) prefix of reversal; until; vambrace; vamp (n.1) "upper of a shoe or boot;" vanguard.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antah "end, border, boundary;" Hittite hanti "opposite;" Greek anta, anten "opposite," anti "over against, opposite, before;" Latin ante (prep., adv.) "before (in place or time), in front of, against;" Old Lithuanian anta "on to;" Gothic anda "along;" Old English and- "against;" German ent- "along, against."
Old English hem "a border" of cloth or a garment, from Proto-Germanic *hamjam (source also of Old Norse hemja "to bridle, curb," Swedish hämma "to stop, restrain," Old Frisian hemma "to hinder," Middle Dutch, German hemmen "to hem in, stop, hinder"), from PIE *kem- "to compress" (source also of Armenian kamel "to press, squeeze," Lithuanian kamuoti "press together, stop," Russian kom "mass, clot, clod").
Apparently the same root yielded Old English hamm, common in place names (where it means "enclosure, land hemmed in by water or high ground, land in a river bend"). In Middle English, hem also was a symbol of pride or ostentation.
If þei wer þe first þat schuld puplysch þese grete myracles of her mayster, men myth sey of hem, as Crist ded of þe Pharisees, þat þei magnified her owne hemmys. [John Capgrave, "Life of Saint Gilbert of Sempringham," 1451]
1550s, "goal, end, final point," from Latin terminus (plural termini) "an end, a limit, boundary line," from PIE *ter-men- "peg, post," from root *ter-, base of words meaning "peg, post; boundary, marker, goal" (source also of Sanskrit tarati "passes over, crosses over," tarantah "sea;" Hittite tarma- "peg, nail," tarmaizzi "he limits;" Greek terma "boundary, end-point, limit," termon "border;" Gothic þairh, Old English þurh "through;" Old English þyrel "hole;" Old Norse þrömr "edge, chip, splinter"). "The Hittite noun and the usage in Latin suggest that the PIE word denoted a concrete object which came to refer to a boundary-stone." [de Vaan]
In ancient Rome, Terminus was the name of the deity who presided over boundaries and landmarks, focus of the important Roman festival of Terminalia (held Feb. 23, the end of the old Roman year). The meaning "either end of a transportation line" is first recorded 1836.
the meanings "mass of small, cryptogamous, herbaceous plants growing together" and "bog, peat-bog" are the same word: Old English meos "moss plant" and mos "bog;" both are from Proto-Germanic *musan (source also of Old High German mios, Danish mos, German Moos), also in part from Old Norse mosi "moss, bog," and Medieval Latin mossa "moss," from the same Germanic source.
These are from PIE *meus- "damp," with derivatives referring to swamps and swamp vegetation (source also of Latin muscus "moss," Lithuanian mūsai "mold, mildew," Old Church Slavonic muchu "moss"). The Germanic languages have the word in both senses, which is natural because moss is the characteristic plant of boggy places. It is impossible to say which sense is original. The proverb that a rolling stone gathers no moss is suggested from 14c.:
Selden Moseþ þe Marbelston þat men ofte treden. ["Piers Plowman," 1362]
Moss-agate "agate stone with moss-like dendrite forms (caused by metallic oxides)" is from 1790. Scott (1805) revived 17c. moss-trooper "freebooter infesting Scottish border marshes" (compare bog-trotter).
mid-13c., "unblemished, refined, pure, free of impurities," also "of high quality, choice," from Old French fin "perfected, of highest quality" (12c.), a back-formation from finire or else from Latin finis "that which divides, a boundary, limit, border, end" (see finish (v.)); hence "acme, peak, height," as in finis boni "the highest good." The English word is from c. 1300 as "rich, valuable, costly;" also in a moral sense "true, genuine; faithful, constant." From late 14c. as "expertly fashioned, well or skillfully made," also, of cloth, "delicately wrought." Of weapons or edges, "sharp" from c. 1400. In reference to quality of gold and silver, late 15c.
In French, the main meaning remains "delicate, intricately skillful;" in English since c. 1300 fine has been also a general broad expression of admiration or approval, the equivalent of French beau (as in fine arts, "those which appeal to the mind and the imagination," 1767, translating French beaux-arts). Related: Finer; finest. Fine print is from 1861 as "type small and close-set;" by 1934 in the extended sense "qualifications and limitations of a deal."
I would hate to see some old railroad man come here and take my job, and then, I don't think it is right to hire some Hill Billy and give him the same right as I just because he was hired the same time I was. [The Railroad Trainmen's Journal, vol. ix, July 1892]
In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires of his revolver as the fancy takes him. [New York Journal, April 23, 1900]
In Scott's collection of Border ballads, billie is a frequent term of address or intimacy, "comrade, companion, a brother in arms," "a term expressive of affection and familiarity" also "a brother; a wooer of a woman," and generally "a young man" [Jamieson, 2nd edition]. It is said to be a variant of bully (n.) in its old sense of "sweetheart," also "fine fellow."
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 the 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 (however, despite the coincidence, this in no way suggests an acronym origin for tag). Touch football is first attested 1933. Touch-me-not (1590s) translates Latin noli-me-tangere.