Old English spæc "act of speaking; power of speaking; manner of speaking; statement, discourse, narrative, formal utterance; language," variant of spræc, from Proto-Germanic *sprek-, *spek- (source also of Danish sprog, Old Saxon spraca, Old Frisian spreke, Dutch spraak, Old High German sprahha, German Sprache "speech;" see speak (v.))
The spr- forms were extinct in English by 1200. Meaning "address delivered to an audience" first recorded 1580s.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink
Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
Will risk t' other half for the freedom to speak,
Caring naught for what vengeance the mob has in store,
Let that mob be the upper ten thousand or lower.
[James Russell Lowell, "A Fable for Critics," 1848]
But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. ... I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. [Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., dissent to "Abrams v. United States," 1919]
1812 (n.) "a follower of English economist Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1835)," especially with regard to the doctrines set forth in his "Essay on the Principle of Population" (published anonymously in 1798).
In this work he first made prominent the fact that population, unless hindered by positive checks, as wars, famines, etc., or by preventive checks, as social customs that prevent early marriage, tends to increase at a higher rate than the means of subsistence can, under the most favorable circumstances, be made to increase. As a remedy he advocated the principle that society should aim to diminish the sum of vice and misery, and check the growth of population, by the discouragement of early and improvident marriages, and by the practice of moral self-restraint. [Century Dictionary]
As an adjective, "of or pertaining to Malthus," by 1818. Related: Malthusianism "theory of the relation of population to the means of subsistence" (1825). The surname is attested from late 13c., and probably means "worker at a malt-house."
used by U.S. scholar Brander Matthews in 1906 in "American Character;" popularized 1907 by U.S. humorist Frank Gelett Burgess. Originally mocking excessive praise printed on book jackets, and probably derisively imitative.
Gelett Burgess ... then entertained the guests with some characteristic flashes of Burgessian humor. Referring to the word "blurb" on the wrapper of his book he said: "To 'blurb' is to make a sound like a publisher. The blurb was invented by Frank A. Munsey when he wrote on the front of his magazine in red ink 'I consider this number of Munsey's the hottest pie that ever came out of my bakery.' ... A blurb is a check drawn on Fame, and it is seldom honored.["] [Publishers' Weekly, May 18, 1907]
Burgess occasionally wrote for Munsey's popular magazine, but the origin story in the joke shouldn't be taken seriously.
c. 1200, "moral stain," probably from Old English splott "a spot, blot, patch (of land)," and partly from or related to Middle Dutch spotte "spot, speck." Other cognates are East Frisian spot "speck," North Frisian spot "speck, piece of ground," Old Norse spotti "small piece," Norwegian spot "spot, small piece of land." It is likely that some of these are borrowed from others, but the exact evolution now is impossible to trace.
Meaning "speck, stain" is from mid-14c. The sense of "particular place, small extent of space" is from c. 1300. Meaning "short interval in a broadcast for an advertisement or announcement" is from 1923. Preceded by a number (as in five-spot) it originally was a term for "prison sentence" of that many years (1901, American English slang). To put (someone) on the spot "place in a difficult situation" is from 1928. Colloquial phrase hit the spot "satisfy, be what is required" is from 1868. Spot check is attested by 1933. Adverbial phrase spot on "completely right" attested from 1920.
mid-14c., "written account or record," from Old French copie (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin copia "reproduction, transcript," from Latin copia "an abundance, ample supply, profusion, plenty," from assimilated form of com "with" (see com-) + ops (genitive opis) "power, wealth, resources," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance."
Sense extended 15c. to any specimen of writing, especially MS given to a printer to be reproduced in type (Caxton, late 15c.). Meaning "a duplication, imitation, or reproduction" written or otherwise is from late 14c. Meaning "one of a set of reproductions containing the same matter" is from 1530s.
Copy-boy, one who takes copy from the writer to the printer, is from 1888. The newspaper copy-desk, where copy is edited for printing, is from 1887; copy-editor is attested from 1889.
The "copy desk" is the managing editor's literary inspection field, his last check by which the work of all editorial departments is gauged, the final balance where the brain product of the entire working force of the paper is weighed and judged. [The Journalist, May 21, 1892]
"noise, what is heard, sensation produced through the ear," late 13c., soun, from Old French son "sound, musical note, voice," from Latin sonus "sound, a noise," from PIE *swon-o-, from root *swen- "to sound."
The unetymological -d was established c. 1350-1550 as part of a tendency to add -d- after -n-. Compare gender (n.), thunder (n.), jaundice (n.), spindle, kindred, riband, and, from French powder (n.), meddle, tender (adj.), remainder, dialectal rundel, rundle for runnel, etc.
Sound-board, "thin, resonant plate of wood in a musical instrument," is from 15c. Sound-wave "wave in an elastic medium by which sound spreads" is by 1848. Sound barrier, in reference to supersonic flights, is from 1939. Sound check is by 1977; sound effect is by 1909, originally live accompaniment to silent films.
The experts of Victor ... will ... arrange for the synchronized orchestration and sound effects for this picture, in which airplane battles will have an important part. [Exhibitor's Herald & Moving Picture World, April 28, 1928]
"pathological craving for substance unfit for food" (such as chalk), 1560s, from Medieval Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), probably translating Greek kissa, kitta "magpie, jay," also "false appetite." The connecting notion may be the birds' indiscriminate feeding. Compare geophagy.
As the magpie eats young birds, here is the bird to keep the sparrows' numbers in check, for it will live in towns and close to dwellings—just the localities sparrows frequent. The magpie's appetite is omnivorous, and it is charged with at times killing weakly lambs, and varying its diet by partaking of grain and fruit; but I never at Home heard any complaints of this bird from the farmers, whilst the gamekeepers had not a good word for it. The bird will eat carrion, so if one were disturbed taking a meal from a dead lamb it would probably be blamed for its death, which may have occurred from natural causes. [A. Bathgate, "The Sparrow Plague and its Remedy," in Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, 1903]
also *kleu-, klēu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hook, crook," also "crooked or forked branch" (used as a bar or bolt in primitive structures).
It forms all or part of: anschluss; autoclave; clause; claustrophobia; claves; clavichord; clavicle; clavier; claviger; clechy; clef; cloison; cloisonne; cloister; close (v.); close (adj.); closet; closure; cloture; clove (n.1) "dried flowerbud of a certain tropical tree, used as a spice;" cloy; conclave; conclude; disclose; enclave; enclose; exclude; foreclose; include; occlude; preclude; recluse; seclude; slot (n.2) "bar or bolt used to fasten a door, window, etc."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek kleis "bar, bolt, key; collarbone," klobos "cage;" Latin clavis "key," clavus "nail," claudere "to shut, close;" Lithuanian kliūti "to catch, be caught on," kliaudžiu, kliausti "to check, hinder," kliūvu, kliūti "to clasp, hang;" Old Church Slavonic ključi "hook, key," ključiti "shut;" Old Irish clo "nail," Middle Irish clithar "hedge, fence;" Old High German sliozan "shut," German schließen "to shut," Schlüssel "key."
Old English -stoppian (in forstoppian "to stop up, stifle"), a general West Germanic word, cognate with Old Saxon stuppon, West Frisian stopje, Middle Low German stoppen, Old High German stopfon, German stopfen "to plug, stop up," Old Low Frankish (be)stuppon "to stop (the ears)."
These words are said by many sources to be a Germanic borrowing of Vulgar Latin *stuppare "to stop or stuff with tow or oakum" (source of Italian stoppare, French étouper "to stop with tow"), from Latin stuppa "coarse part of flax, tow." In support of this theory, it is said that plugs made of tow were used from ancient times in Rhine valley. Century Dictionary says this "suits phonetically," but "is on grounds of meaning somewhat doubtful." Barnhart, for one, proposes the whole Germanic group might be native, from a base *stoppon.
Sense of "bring or come to a halt, discontinue" (mid-15c.) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word's development in this sense is unique to English, though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps influenced by Latin stupere "be stunned, be stupefied." Intransitive meaning "check oneself" is from 1680s. Meaning "make a halt or stay, tarry" is from 1711. Stop-light is from 1922; stop-sign is from 1918. Stop-motion is from 1851, originally of looms. Related: Stopped; stopping.
1530s, "thing that rubs" (a brush, cloth, etc.), agent noun from rub (v.). By c. 1600 as "one who applies friction or massage in some process."
The meaning "elastic substance from tropical plants" is recorded by 1788, short for India rubber. Earlier known also as catouchou, caoutchouc, it was introduced to Europe 1744 by Charles Marie de la Condamine, so called because it originally was used to erase pencil marks from paper, etc. Later extended to synthetic substances having the same qualities.
This substance is very useful in drawing, &c., for erasing the strokes of black lead pencils, and is popularly called rubber, and lead-eater. [from the entry for Caoutchouc in George Selby Howard, "New Royal Cyclopaedia," 1788]
The meaning "an overshoe made of rubber" is 1842, American English; slang sense of "contraceptive sheath, condom" is by 1930s. As an adjective by 1844, "In very common use from about 1875" [OED]. Some figurative phrases are from the notion of rubber automobile tires.
Rubber cement "adhesive compound containing rubber" is attested from 1856 (from 1823 as India-rubber cement). Rubber check (one that "bounces") is from 1927. The decorative household rubber plant is so called by 1876 (earlier India-rubber plant, by 1805). Rubber-chicken circuit "after-dinner speaking tour" is by 1959, in reference to the likely quality of the food.