of unknown origin; OED and Barnhart give earliest date as 1925, but the "Dictionary of American Slang" gives a first reference of 1874 (but without citation and I can't find it), which, if correct, would rule out the usual theory that it is from the proper name of T.W. Earp, a student at Oxford c. 1911, who kindled wrath "in the hearts of the rugger-playing stalwarts at Oxford, when he was president of the Union, by being the last, most charming, and wittiest of the 'decadents.' " [Rawson]
"Mean to say you never heard of Sinzy? Why, he's one of the greatest characters in this town. He's a terrible twerp to look at — got a face like bad news from home, but I guess he's the best jazz piano player in the world." [Julian Street, "Cross-Sections," 1923]
also brain-storm, by 1861 as a colloquial term for "fit of acute delirious mania; sudden dethronement of reason and will under stress of strong emotion, usually accompanied by manifestations of violence," from brain (n.) + figurative use of storm (n.).
The sense of "brilliant idea, mental excitement, fit of mental application," is by 1934 and seems to have evolved from the earlier sense:
Modern radio broadcasting is replete with examples of the resourcefulness, daring and hair-trigger thinking of the men who handle the big news breaks and special programs for the networks — the "brainstorm boys" the announcers and engineers call them. Eye-witness accounts of federal agents surrounding a gang lair, word pictures of dust storms, stratosphere flights, floods and fires — these are but a few of the programs brought to radio audiences by the brainstorm squad. [Popular Mechanics, July 1936]
The verbal meaning "make a concerted attack on a problem, involving spontaneous ideas," is by 1947. Related: Brainstormed; brainstorming.
early 15c., "something that intimidates, an object of fear," from Old French terreur (14c.), from Latin terrorem (nominative terror) "great fear, dread, alarm, panic; object of fear, cause of alarm; terrible news," from terrere "fill with fear, frighten," from PIE root *tres- "to tremble" (see terrible).
From c. 1500 as "fear so great as to overwhelm the mind." Meaning "quality of causing dread" is attested from 1520s. Sense of "a person fancied as a source of terror" (often with deliberate exaggeration, as of a naughty child) is recorded from 1883. Terror bombing first recorded 1941, with reference to German air attack on Rotterdam. Terror-stricken is from 1831. The Reign of Terror in French history (March 1793-July 1794) was the period when the nation was ruled by a faction whose leaders made policy of killing by execution anyone deemed an impediment to their measures; so called in English from 1801. Old English words for "terror" included broga and egesa.
1510s, "refuse, reject" someone or something, a sense now obsolete, from French réfuter (16c.) and directly from Latin refutare "to drive back; rebut, disprove; to repress, repel, resist, oppose," from re- "back" (see re-) + *futare "to beat" (from PIE root *bhau- "to strike").
The meaning "prove (someone) wrong, prove (someone) to be in error, disprove and overthrow by argument or countervailing proof" is from 1540s; of statements, opinions, etc., by 1590s. Many have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards "to deny," which occurred as the word came to be used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.
For people who still use the word in its older sense it is rather shocking to hear on the B.B.C., which has a reputation for political impartiality, a news-report that Politician A has refuted the arguments of Politician B. [Charles L. Barber, "Linguistic Change in Present-day English," 1964]
nocturnal Madagascar mammal, 1795, given this sense by Linnaeus, from Latin lemures (plural, singular lemurum) "evil spirits of the dead" in Roman mythology, a word of uncertain origin. De Vaan finds it likely that it and Greek lamia are borrowings of a non-Indo-European (perhaps Anatolian/Etruscan) word for malevolent spirits.
The oldest usage of "lemur" for a primate that we are aware of is in Linnaeus's catalog of the Museum of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden (Tattersall, 1982); .... In this work, he explained his use of the name "lemur" thus: "Lemures dixi hos, quod noctu imprimis obambulant, hominibus quodanmodo similes, & lento passu vagantur [I call them lemurs, because they go around mainly by night, in a certain way similar to humans, and roam with a slow pace]" [Dunkel, Alexander R., et al., "Giant rabbits, marmosets, and British comedies: etymology of lemur names, part 1," in "Lemur News," vol. xvi, 2011-2012, p.65]
"heavy piece of crude metal for firing from a gun, lead bit, lead bullet not regularly formed," 1620s, perhaps a special use of slug (n.1), which at the time would have meant "lazy person or animal," perhaps on some supposed resemblance.
The meaning "token or counterfeit coin" is recorded from 1881; that of "strong drink" is recorded by 1756, perhaps from the slang phrase fire a slug "take a drink," though it also might be related to Irish slog "swallow."
In typography, "a thin blank of type metal" (1871), hence the journalism sense of "title or short guideline at the head of a news story in draft or galleys" (by 1925), short for slug-line, so called because usually it occupies one slug of type. Sometimes by error they get printed, and if the copy-editor's shorthand instruction is "dead head" or "kill widow," it can look bad.
in wagering, "equalizing allowance to a weaker side or player by a stronger, advantage conceded by one of the parties in proportion to the assumed chances in his favor," 1590s, found first in Shakespeare ("2 Henry IV," 1597), probably from the word's earlier sense of "condition of inequality, difference, amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another" (1540s), from odd (q.v.), though the exact sense evolution is uncertain. Odds was used for "unequal things, matters, or conditions" from c. 1500, and the later senses may have evolved generally from this earlier notion of "things that don't come out even."
Until 19c. treated as a singular, though obviously a plural (compare news). General sense of "chance or balance of probability in favor of something happening" is by 1580s. Sense of "disagreement, variance, strife" (1580s) is the notion in at odds "at controversy or quarrel, unable to agree." Odds-on "on which the odds are laid" is by 1890.
c. 1300, "action of leading," from lead (v.1). Meaning "the front or leading place" is from 1560s. Johnson stigmatized it as "a low, despicable word." Sense in card-playing, "action or privilege of playing first," is from 1742; in theater, "the principal part," from 1831; in journalism, "initial summary of a news story," from 1912 (often spelled lede to distinguish it from lead (n.1), which formerly played a prominent role in typesetting. Boxing sense is from 1906. In jazz bands, from 1934 in reference to the principal parts; earlier it was used in music in reference to fugues (1880) of the part that takes off first and is "followed" by the others.
Meaning "direction given by example" (as in follow (someone's) lead) is by 1863, that of "a clue to a solution" is by 1851, both from the notion of "thing to be followed." As an adjective, "leading," by 1846. Lead-time "time needed to produce something" is 1945, American English.
1640s, "one who calculates, a reckoner, one whose occupation is to make arithmetical calculations," agent noun from compute (v.).
Meaning "calculating machine" (of any type) is from 1897; in modern use, "programmable digital electronic device for performing mathematical or logical operations," 1945 under this name (the thing itself was described by 1937 in a theoretical sense as Turing machine). ENIAC (1946) usually is considered the first.
Computer literacy is recorded from 1970; an attempt to establish computerate (adjective, on model of literate) in this sense in the early 1980s didn't catch on. Computerese "the jargon of programmers" is from 1960, as are computerize and computerization.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A New York Congressman says the use of computers to record personal data on individuals, such as their credit background, "is just frightening to me." [news article, March 17, 1968]
Earlier words for "one who calculates" include computator (c. 1600), from Latin computator; computist (late 14c.) "one skilled in calendrical or chronological reckoning."
of unknown origin; attested in London criminal slang as adjective (1775, "counterfeit"), verb (1812, "to rob"), and noun (1851, "a swindle;" of persons 1888, "a swindler"), but probably older. A likely source is feague "to spruce up by artificial means," from German fegen "polish, sweep," also "to clear out, plunder" in colloquial use. "Much of our early thieves' slang is Ger. or Du., and dates from the Thirty Years' War" [Weekley]. Or it may be from Latin facere "to do." Century Dictionary notes that "thieves' slang is shifting and has no history."
The nautical word meaning "one of the windings of a cable or hawser in a coil" probably is unrelated, from Swedish veck "a fold." As a verb, "to feign, simulate" from 1941. To fake it is from 1915, jazz slang; to fake (someone) out is from 1940s, originally in sports. Related: Faked; fakes; faking.
The jazz musician's fake book is attested from 1951. Fake news "journalism that is deliberately misleading" is attested from 1894; popularized in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.