"company, partnership," 1829, Southern and Western American English, of unknown origin; said [OED] to be perhaps from French cahute "cabin, hut" (12c.), but U.S. sources [Bartlett] credit it to French cohorte (see cohort), which is said to have had a sense of "companions, confederates."
type of tropical American alligator, also cayman, 1570s, from Portuguese or Spanish caiman, from Carib acayouman "crocodile," or perhaps from a Congo African word applied to the reptiles in the new world by African slaves. "The name appears to be one of those like anaconda and bom, boma, which the Portuguese or Spaniards very early caught up in one part of the world, and naturalized in another." [OED]
elder son of Adam and Eve, the first murderer and the first fratricide, from Hebrew Qayin, literally "created one," also "smith," from Semitic stem q-y-n "to form, to fashion." Figurative use for "murderer, fratricide" is from late 14c. The Cainites were a 2c. heretical sect who revered Cain, Judas, and other wicked characters in Scripture.
To raise Cain "behave disruptively" is recorded from 1840, American English.
Why are Adam and Eve the oldest sugar planters? Because they were he first to raise Cain. [joke in The Monthly Traveller, Boston, July 1832, and elsewhere]
The surnames McCain, McCann, etc., are a contraction of Irish Mac Cathan "son of Cathan," from Celtic cathan, literally "warrior," from cath "battle."
"large, conical heap of stone," especially of the type common in Scotland and Wales and also found elsewhere in Britain, 1530s, from Scottish carne, akin to Gaelic carn "heap of stones, rocky hill" and Gaulish karnon "horn," perhaps from PIE *ker-n- "highest part of the body, horn," thus "tip, peak" (see horn (n.)).
city in Egypt, from Arabic al-Kahira "the strong," the name given 973 C.E. to the new city built north of the old one, which was Egyptian khere-ohe, said to mean "place of combat" and to be in reference to a battle between the gods Seth and Horus that took place here. Related: Cairene.
"ammunition wagon; wooden chest for bombs, gunpowder, etc.," 1704, from French caisson "ammunition wagon," originally "large box" (16c.), from Italian cassone, augmentative form of cassa "a chest," from Latin capsa "a box" (see case (n.2)).
c. 1300, "wicked, base, cowardly," from Old North French caitive "captive, miserable" (Old French chaitif, 12c., Modern French chétif "puny, sickly, poor, weak"), from Latin captivus "caught, taken prisoner," from captus, past participle of capere "to take, hold, seize" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). Its doublet, captive, is a later, scholarly borrowing of the same word. In most Romance languages, it has acquired a pejorative sense (Spanish cautivo, Italian cattivo).
c. 1300, "wicked man, scoundrel," from Anglo-French caitif, noun use of Old North French caitive (Old French chaitif) "captive, miserable" (see caitiff (adj.)). It is attested from mid-14c as "prisoner."
fem. proper name, alternative spelling of Kathleen (itself a variant of Catherine); not much used in U.S., then suddenly popular from c. 1985.
variant of Gaius, common Roman praenomen. Both forms have the abbreviation C., and the confusion reflects the early Roman uncertainty about the use of gamma (see C).