Etymology
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skerry (n.)

"isolated rock in the sea," 1610s, in a Scottish context, from Old Norse sker, from Proto-Germanic *skarjam, suffixed form of PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut," on the notion of "something cut off."

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precise (adj.)

mid-15c., "neither more nor less than, with no error; exactly stated or marked off; definitely or strictly expressed; distinguished with precision from all others," from Old French précis "condensed, cut short" (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin precisus, from Latin praecisus "abrupt, abridged, cut off," past participle of praecidere "to cut off, shorten," from prae "before" (see pre-) + -cidere, combining form of caedere "to cut" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). For the Latin vowel change, see acquisition. Related: Precisely (late 14c.).

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segment (n.)

1560s, in geometry, "plane figure contained by a right angle and a part of a circumference of a circle," from Latin segmentum "a strip or piece cut off, a cutting, strips of colored cloth," from secare "to cut" (from PIE root *sek- "to cut"), with euphonious alteration of -c- to -g- before -m-.

Latin segmentum was used in Medieval Latin as a geometry term, translating Greek tmema. The meaning "segmental portion of anything circular" is from 1640s; the general sense of "a division, section, part cut off or marked as separate from others" is from 1762.

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rescind (v.)

"abrogate, annul, or revoke by authority, repeal," 1630s, from French rescinder "cancel; cut off" (15c.), and directly from Latin rescindere "annul, cancel, abolish, remove by cutting off," from re- "back" (see re-) + scindere "to cut, rend, tear asunder, split; split up, part, divide, separate" (from PIE *skind-, from root *skei- "to cut, split"). Related: Rescinded; rescinding.

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detail (v.)

1630s, "relate or narrate in particulars," from French dtailler "cut up in pieces; narrate in particulars," from Old French detaillier "cut in pieces" (12c.), from de- "entirely" (see de-) + taillier "to cut in pieces" (see tailor (n.)). Meaning "divide or set off" (especially for military duty) is from 1793. Related: Detailed; detailing.

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ant (n.)

c. 1500 shortening of Middle English ampte (late 14c.), from Old English æmette "ant," from West Germanic *emaitjon (source also of Old High German ameiza, German Ameise) from a compound of Germanic *e-, *ai- "off, away" + *mai- "cut," from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim). Thus the insect's name is, etymologically, "the biter-off."

As þycke as ameten crepeþ in an amete hulle [chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1297]

Emmet survived into 20c. as an alternative form. By a similar contraction, aunt "a parent's sister" is from Latin amita. White ant "termite" is from 1729. To have ants in one's pants "be nervous and fidgety" is from 1934, made current by a popular song; antsy embodies the same notion.

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hara-kiri (n.)

"suicide by disembowelment," 1856, from Japanese, literally "belly-cutting," the colloquial word for what is formally called seppuku "cut open the stomach;" from hara "belly" + kiri "to cut." Sometimes erroneously written hari-kari.

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truncate (v.)

late 15c., from Latin truncatus "cut off," past participle of truncare "to maim, mutilate, cut off," from truncus "maimed, mutilated," also "trunk of a tree, trunk of the body," of uncertain origin, probably originally "mutilated, cut off," and perhaps from PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome." Related: Truncated; truncating.

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saw (v.)

"cut or cut in pieces with a saw," c. 1200, sauen, saghen, from saw (n.1). Strong conjugation (sawn) began by c. 1400 on model of draw, etc. Related: Sawed; sawing. Sawed-off "short, cut short" is attested by 1887, by 1898 specifically of shotguns.

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retail (v.)

early 15c., retailen, "sell in small quantities or parcels," from the noun or from Old French retaillier "cut back, cut off, pare, clip, reduce, circumcise," from re- "back" (see re-) + taillier "to cut, trim" (see tailor (n.)). Sometimes also "to deal out (information, etc.) in small quantities; hand down by report; recount, tell over again" (1590s). Related: Retailed; retailing.

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