Etymology
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ridge (n.)

Middle English rigge, from Old English hrycg "back of a man or beast," probably reinforced by Old Norse hryggr "back, ridge," from Proto-Germanic *hruggin (source also of Old Frisian hregg, Old Saxon hruggi, Dutch rug, Old High German hrukki, German Rücken "the back"). OED says "of uncertain relationship;" Pokorny, Boutkan, and Watkins have it from PIE *kreuk-, extended form of root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend."

The original "back" sense, predominant in Middle English, seems to have become archaic 17c. Also in Old English, "the top or crest of anything," especially when long and narrow, based on resemblance to the projecting part of the back of a quadruped, the "ridge" of the backbone. Probably also in late Old English "a long elevation of land, a long, narrow range of hills," implied in place-names. From late 14c. of the highest part of the roof of a building, also the strip of ground thrown up between two plowed furrows. The spelling with -dg- is from late 15c.

Ridge-runner, somewhat derisive term for "Southern Appalachian person, hillbilly," especially an upland white farmer of the Ozarks region, is recorded by 1917 (it later came into use in other regions). Also "person who wanders from place to place," often with a suggestion of illicit intent (1930).

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cognate (adj.)

1640s, "allied by blood, connected or related by birth, of the same parentage, descended from a common ancestor," from Latin cognatus "of common descent" (source also of Spanish cognado, Italian cognato), from assimilated form of com "together" (see co-) + gnatus, past participle of gnasci, older form of nasci "to be born" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget").

Of things, "related in origin, traceable to the same source," by 1640s; specifically of words, "coming from the same root or original word but showing differences due to subsequent separate phonetic development," by 1782; of languages, "from the same original language," by 1799. French, Spanish, and Italian are cognate languages (all essentially descended from Latin) but are not cognate with Latin. English cognate, Spanish cognado and Italian cognato are cognate words from Latin cognatus. English brother, Sanskrit bhrtr-, Greek phratr, Latin frater, Russian brat are cognate words from the PIE root *bhrater. Words that are cognates are more like cousins than siblings; they develop in different languages.

Related: Cognatic; cognation (late 14c. in English as "blood-relationship, kinship"); cognateness. As a noun, "one connected to another by ties of kinship," from 1754.

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gunsel (n.)

by 1910, American English underworld slang, from hobo slang, "naive young boy," but especially "a catamite;" specifically "a young male kept as a sexual companion, especially by an older tramp," from Yiddish genzel, from German Gänslein "gosling, young goose" (see goose (n.)). The secondary, non-sexual meaning "young hoodlum" seems to be entirely traceable to Dashiell Hammett, who sneaked it into "The Maltese Falcon" (1929) while warring with his editor over the book's racy language:

"Another thing," Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: "Keep that gunsel away from me while you're making up your mind. I'll kill him."

The context implies some connection with gun and a sense of "gunman," and evidently that is what the editor believed it to mean. The word was retained in the script of the 1941 movie made from the book, so evidently the Motion Picture Production Code censors didn't know it either.

The relationship between Kasper Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet) and his young hit-man companion, Wilmer Cook (Elisha Cook, Jr.), is made fairly clear in the movie, but the overt mention of sexual perversion would have been deleted if the censors hadn't made the same mistaken assumption as Hammett's editor. [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1989, p.184]
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bull (n.3)

"insincere, trifling, or deceptive talk," 1914. Popularly associated with roughly contemporary bullshit (n.) in the same sense, and in modern use often felt as a shortened form of it. There seems to have been an identical Middle English word meaning "false talk, fraud," apparently from Old French bole "deception, trick, scheming, intrigue," and perhaps related to modern Icelandic bull "nonsense."

Sais christ to ypocrites ... yee ar ... al ful wit wickednes, tresun, and bull. ["Cursor Mundi," Northumbrian, early 14c.]

There also was an early Modern English verb bull meaning "to mock, cheat," which dates from 1530s. Bull session is attested from 1920.

Also uncertain is the relationship to the bull that means "a gross inconsistency in language, a ludicrous blunder involving a contradiction in terms" (1630s), said by the English to be characteristic of the Irish, and thus often called an Irish bull. Sydney Smith defined it as "an apparent congruity, and real incongruity of ideas, suddenly discovered." Three examples attributed to Sir Boyle Roche: "Why should we do anything for posterity, for what, in the name of goodness, has posterity done for us?" ... "It would surely be better, Mr. Speaker, to give up not only a part, but, if necessary, even the whole of our Constitution, to preserve the remainder." ... "The best way to avoid danger is to meet it plump."

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degree (n.)

c. 1200, "a step, a stair," also "a position in a hierarchy," and "a stage of progress, a single movement toward an end," from Old French degré (12c.) "a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position," which is said to be from Vulgar Latin *degradus "a step," from Latin de- "down" (see de-) + gradus "a step; a step climbed;" figuratively "a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go").

A word of wide use in Middle English; in 14c. it also meant "way, manner; condition, state, standing." Most extended senses in Middle English are from the notion of a hierarchy of steps. Genealogical sense of "a certain remove in the line of blood" is from mid-14c.; educational sense of "an academic rank conferred by diploma" is from late 14c. By degrees "gradually, by stages" is from late 14c.

Other transferred senses are from the notion of "one of a number of subdivisions of something extended in space or time," hence "intensive quality, measure, extent." The meaning "1/360th of a circle" is from late 14c. (The division of the circle into 360 degrees was known in Babylon and Egypt; the number is perhaps from the daily motion of the sun through the zodiac in the course of a year.) From 1540s as "a measure of heat;" the specific use as a unit of temperature on a thermometer is by 1727. In reference to crime, by 1670s as "one of certain distinctions of culpability;" in U.S. use by 1821 as "one of the phases of the same kind of crime."

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public (adj.)

late 14c., publike, "open to general observation," from Old French public (c. 1300) and directly from Latin publicus "of the people; of the state; done for the state," also "common, general, of or belonging to the people at large; ordinary, vulgar," and as a noun, "a commonwealth; public property." This Latin word was altered (probably by influence of Latin pubes "adult population, adult;" see pubis) from Old Latin poplicus "pertaining to the people," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).

Attested in English from early 15c. as "of or pertaining to the people at large" and from late 15c. as "pertaining to public affairs." The meaning "open to all in the community, to be shared or participated in by people at large" is from 1540s in English. An Old English adjective in this sense was folclic. The sense of "done or made by or on behalf of the community as a whole" is by 1550s; that of "regarding or directed to the interests of the community at large, patriotic" is from c. 1600.

Public relations "the management of the relationship between a company or corporation and the general public" is recorded by 1913 (with an isolated use by Thomas Jefferson in 1807). Public office "position held by a public official" is from 1821; public service is from 1570s; public interest "the common well-being" is from 1670s. Public enemy, one considered a nuisance to the general community, is attested from 1756. Public sector attested from 1949. Public funds (1713) are the funded debts of a government.

Public woman "prostitute" is by 1580s, on the notion of "open for the use of all." For public house, see pub.

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sister (n.)

mid-13c., suster, "female sibling, a female person in her relation to other children of the same parents," from Old English sweostor, swuster, Northumbrian soester "sister," or a Scandinavian cognate (Old Norse systir, Swedish syster, Danish søster), in any case from Proto-Germanic *swestr- (source also of Old Saxon swestar, Old Frisian swester, Middle Dutch suster, Dutch zuster, Old High German swester, German Schwester, Gothic swistar).

These are from PIE *swesor, one of the most persistent and unchanging root words, recognizable in almost every modern Indo-European language (Sanskrit svasar-, Avestan shanhar-, Latin soror, Old Church Slavonic, Russian sestra, Lithuanian sesuo, Old Irish siur, Welsh chwaer). Greek eor "daughter, cousin" is the surviving relic of the root in that language, perhaps from a dialectal vocative form; it was replaced as "sister" byadelphē (for which see Adelphi).French soeur "a sister" (11c., instead of *sereur) is directly from Latin soror, a rare case of a borrowing from the nominative case.

The forms in -u- persisted through Middle English; for the vowel evolution, see bury. It was used of nuns in Old English, of the Fates from c. 1300, the Muses from late 14c., and of the Pleiades from early 15c.

From late 14c. as "fellow woman," without regard to relationship, "fellow creature, woman sharing the human condition," also "woman engaged in the same activity as another." The meaning "female fellow-Christian, woman of one's own faith" is from mid-15c. In modern use, of a woman in general from 1906; especially in U.S. of "a Black woman" from 1926; and in the sense of "fellow feminist" from 1912. Sister act "variety act by two or more sisters" is from vaudeville (1908).

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navel (n.)

"the mark in the middle of the belly where the umbilical cord was attached in the fetus," Middle English navele, from Old English nafela, nabula, from Proto-Germanic *nabalan (source also of Old Norse nafli, Danish and Swedish navle, Old Frisian navla, Middle Dutch and Dutch navel, Old High German nabalo, German Nabel), from PIE *(o)nobh- "navel" (source also of Sanskrit nabhila "navel, nave, relationship;" Avestan nafa "navel," naba-nazdishta "next of kin;" Persian naf; Latin umbilicus "navel;" Old Prussian nabis "navel;" Greek omphalos; Old Irish imbliu). For Romanic words, see umbilicus.

The cords of all link back, strandentwining cable of all flesh. [Joyce, "Ulysses"]

"Navel" words from other roots include Lithuanian bamba, Sanskrit bimba- (also "disk, sphere"), Greek bembix, literally "whirlpool." Old Church Slavonic papuku, Lithuanian pumpuras are originally "bud." Considered a feminine sexual center since ancient times, and still in parts of the Middle East, India, and Japan. In medieval Europe, it was averred that "[t]he seat of wantonness in women is the navel" [Cambridge bestiary, C.U.L. ii.4.26]. Words for it in most languages have a secondary sense of "center."

Meaning "center or hub of a country" is attested in English from late 14c. To contemplate (one's) navel "meditate" is from 1933; hence navel-gazer (by 1947); see also omphaloskepsis. Navel orange is attested from 1831.

Another great key I will give you is to be found by the contemplation of the Manipur Lotus, which is in the navel, or thereabouts. By contemplating this center you will be able to enter and go into another person's body, and to take possession of that person's mind, and to cause him to think and to do what you want him to do; you will obtain the power of transmuting metals, of healing the sick and afflicted, and of seership. ["Swami Brahmavidya," "Transcendent-Science or The Science of Self Knowledge," Chicago, 1922]
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blood (n.)

Old English blod "blood, fluid which circulates in the arteries and veins," from Proto-Germanic *blodam "blood" (source also of Old Frisian blod, Old Saxon blôd, Old Norse bloð, Middle Dutch bloet, Dutch bloed, Old High German bluot, German Blut, Gothic bloþ), according to some sources from PIE *bhlo-to-, perhaps meaning "to swell, gush, spurt," or "that which bursts out" (compare Gothic bloþ "blood," bloma "flower"), from suffixed form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom." But Boutkan finds no certain IE etymology and assumes a non-IE origin.

There seems to have been an avoidance in Germanic, perhaps from taboo, of other PIE words for "blood," such as *esen- (source of poetic Greek ear, Old Latin aser, Sanskrit asrk, Hittite eshar); also *krew-, which seems to have had a sense of "blood outside the body, gore from a wound" (source of Latin cruour "blood from a wound," Greek kreas "meat"), but which came to mean simply "blood" in the Balto-Slavic group and some other languages.

Inheritance and relationship senses (also found in Latin sanguis, Greek haima) emerged in English by mid-13c. The meanings "person of one's family, race, kindred; offspring, one who inherits the blood of another" are late 14c. As the fluid of life (and the presumed seat of the passions), blood has stood for "temper of mind, natural disposition" since c. 1300 and been given many figurative extensions. The slang meaning "hot spark, a man of fire" [Johnson] is from 1560s. Blood pressure is attested from 1862. Blood money is from 1530s; originally money paid for causing the death of another.

Blood type is from 1928. That there were different types of human blood was discovered c. 1900 during early experiments in transfusion. To get blood from a stone "do the impossible" is from 1660s. Expression blood is thicker than water is attested by 1803, in reference to family ties of those separated by distance. New (or fresh) blood, in reference to new members of an organization or group, especially ones bringing new ideas and fresh vigor or strength, is from 1880.

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