Etymology
Advertisement
ski (n.)

in early use often skee, "one of a pair of long, slender boards or slats fastened to the feet and used to glide over snow," 1883 (there is an isolated instance from 1755), from Norwegian ski, related to Old Norse skið "long snowshoe," literally "stick of wood, firewood," cognate with Old English scid "stick of wood," obsolete English shide "piece of wood split off from timber;" Old High German skit, German Scheit "log," from Proto-Germanic *skid- "to divide, split," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."

THE new sport which has lately been introduced at Beloit is skeeing. They are long ash planks, carefully planed and turned up at the end, and are warranted to take you down hill quicker than a wink. After some practice performers become very expert, and the speed with which they go is something surprising. [Beloit College, Wisconsin, Round Table, Dec. 18, 1885]

Ski-jumper is attested from 1894; ski bum, a skiing enthusiast who works casual jobs at resorts for the opportunity to ski, is attested by 1960; ski-mask, originally to protect the face while skiing, is from 1963; noted as part of criminal disguises by 1968.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
defense (n.)
Origin and meaning of defense

c. 1300, "action of guarding or shielding from attack or injury; act of defending by fighting; a fortified place of refuge," from Old French defense, from Latin defensus, past participle of defendere "ward off, protect" (see defend). It also arrived (without the final -e) from Old French defens, from Latin defensum "thing protected or forbidden," neuter past participle of defendere.

Middle English defens was assimilated into defense, but not before it inspired the alternative spelling defence, via the same tendency that produced hence (hennis), pence (penies), dunce (Duns). Webster made the -se form standard in U.S., but British has preferred defence, and compare fence (n.).

Meaning "a speech or writing intended to repel or disprove a charge or accusation" is from late 14c., as is the sense of "method adopted by one against whom a lawsuit has been brought." Meaning "science of defense against attack" (in fencing, boxing, etc.) is from c. 1600. Used by 1935 as a euphemism for "national military resources," but the notion (non-euphemistic) was in Middle English: man of defense "warrior," ship of defense "warship." Defenses "natural weapons of an animal" is by 1889. Defense mechanism in psychology is from 1913.

Related entries & more 
load (n.)

c. 1200, lode, lade "that which is laid upon a person or beast, burden," a sense extension from Old English lad "a way, a course, a carrying; a street, watercourse; maintenance, support," from Proto-Germanic *laitho (source also of Old High German leita, German leite, Old Norse leið "way, road, course"), from PIE root *leit- (2) "to go forth" (see lead (v.1)).

It seems to have expanded its range of senses in early Middle English, supplanting words based on lade (v.), to which it is not etymologically connected. The older senses went with the spelling lode (q.v.). The spelling is modern. Meaning "amount customarily loaded at one time" is from c. 1300; meaning "a quantity of strong drink taken" is from 1590s. Meaning "the charge of a firearm" is from 1690s.

Meaning "a great amount or number" (often loads) is from c.1600. Figurative sense of "burden weighing on the mind, heart, or soul" is first attested 1590s. Meaning "amount (of work, etc.) to be done by one person" is attested in compounds from 1939 (first was workload). Colloquial loads "lots, heaps" is attested from c. 1600. Phrase take a load off (one's) feet "sit down, relax" is from 1914, American English. Get a load of "take a look at" is American English colloquial, attested from 1929.

Related entries & more 
shed (v.)

"cast off," Middle English sheden, from Old English sceadan, scadan "to divide, separate, part company; discriminate, decide; scatter abroad, cast about," strong verb (past tense scead, past participle sceadan), from Proto-Germanic *skaithan (source also of Old Saxon skethan, Old Frisian sketha, Middle Dutch sceiden, Dutch scheiden, Old High German sceidan, German scheiden "part, separate, distinguish," Gothic skaidan "separate"), from an extended form of PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."

Of tears, from late 12c.; of light, from c. 1200. In reference to animals, "to lose hair, feathers, etc., by natural process," it is recorded from c. 1500; of trees losing leaves from 1590s; of persons and their clothes, by 1858, American English colloquial.

This verb in Old English was used to gloss Late Latin words in the sense "to discriminate, to decide" that literally mean "to divide, separate" (compare discern). Hence also Old English scead (n.) "separation, distinction; discretion, understanding, reason;" sceadwisnes "discrimination, discretion" (see shed (n.2)). Related: Shedding. To shed blood "kill by shedding blood" is from c. 1300  A shedding-tooth (1799) was a milk-tooth or baby-tooth.

Related entries & more 
shelf (n.1)

late 14c., "thin slab or plank fixed horizontally to a wall or frame and used for supporting small objects; a transverse board in a case or cabinet," perhaps from Middle Low German schelf "shelf, set of shelves," or perhaps from Old English cognate scylfe, which could have meant "shelf, ledge, floor, deck of a ship" (the sense is uncertain), and scylf "peak, pinnacle."

These all are from Proto-Germanic *skelf- "split," possibly from the notion of a split piece of wood (compare Old Norse skjölf "bench"), from an extended form of the PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut," and thus distantly related to shell, etc.

From mid-15c. as "grassy bank." The meaning "ledge of rock" (as in later continental shelf) is from 1809, perhaps from or influenced by shelf (n.2).

By 1920s in reference to the display of goods in a shop, hence shelf life "time goods may be kept or stored unsold before they begin to spoil" (1927). The figurative phrase on the shelf "out of the way, inactive" is attested from 1570s (also used 19c. of unmarried women with no prospects). Off the shelf "ready-made, from a supply of ready-made goods" is from 1936. Related: Shelves.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
distance (n.)

c. 1300, distaunce, "a dispute or controversy, civil strife, rebellion;" early 14c., "disagreement, discord, strife;" from Old French destance "discord, quarrel" (13c.), with later senses directly from Latin distantia "a standing apart," from distantem (nominative distans) "standing apart, separate, distant," present participle of distare "stand apart," from dis- "apart, off" (see dis-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Meaning "remoteness of space, extent of space between two objects or places" is from late 14c. Also "an interval of time" (late 14c., originally distaunce of times). Meaning "remote part of a field of vision" is by 1813. The figurative sense of "aloofness, remoteness in personal intercourse" (1590s) is the same as in stand-offish.

At a distance "far away" is from 1650s. To keep (one's) distance was originally figurative (c. 1600). Phrase go the distance (1930s) seems to be originally from the prize ring, where the word meant "scheduled length of a bout." But it also was a term in 19c. horse-racing heats, where distance meant "the space behind the winning horse in a race that other competing horses must be inside to avoid being disqualified for subsequent heats."

Related entries & more 
clipper (n.)

late 14c., "sheep-shearer;" early 15c., "a barber;" c. 1300 as a surname; agent noun from Middle English clippen "shorten" (see clip (v.1)). In late 18c., the word principally meant "one who cuts off the edges of coins" for the precious metal.

The type of sailing ship with sharp lines and a great spread of canvas is so called from 1823 (in Cooper's "The Pilot"), probably from clip (v.1) in sense of "to move or run rapidly." Compare early 19c. clipper "person or animal who looks capable of fast running." Perhaps it was influenced by Middle Dutch klepper "swift horse," which is echoic (Clipper appears as the name of an English race horse in 1831). The nautical sense was perhaps originally simply "fast ship," regardless of type:

Well, you know, the Go-along-Gee was one o' your flash Irish cruisers — the first o' your fir-built frigates — and a clipper she was! Give her a foot o' the sheet, and she'd go like a witch — but somehow o'nother, she'd bag on a bowline to leeward. ["Naval Sketch-Book," by "An officer of rank," London, 1826]

The early association of the ships was with Baltimore, Maryland. Clipper-ship is attested from 1850.

Related entries & more 
rod (n.)

Middle English rod, rodde, "a stick of wood," especially a straight cutting from a woody plant, stripped of twigs, and having a particular purpose" (walking stick, wand of office, instrument of punishment), from Old English rodd "a rod, pole," which is probably cognate with Old Norse rudda "club," from Proto-Germanic *rudd- "stick, club," from PIE *reudh- "to clear land." Other sources formerly consider it to correspond to the continental words under rood.

As a long, tapering elastic pole for fishing, from mid-15c. Figurative sense of "offshoot" (mid-15c.) led to Biblical meaning "scion, tribe." As an instrument of punishment, attested from mid-12c.; also used figuratively for "any sort of correction or punishment" (14c.). In mechanics, "any bar slender in proportion to its length" (1728).

As a unit of linear measure (5½ yards or 16½ feet, also called perch or pole) attested from late 14c., from the pole used to mark it off. As a measure of land area, "a square perch," from late 14c., the usual measure in brickwork. Meaning "light-sensitive cell in a retina" is by 1837, so-called for their shape. Slang meaning "penis" is recorded from 1902; that of "handgun, pistol, revolver" is by 1903.

Related entries & more 
swear (v.)

Old English swerian "take an oath" (class VI strong verb; past tense swor, past participle sworen), from Proto-Germanic *swērjanan (source also of Old Saxon swerian, Old Frisian swera, Old Norse sverja, Danish sverge, Middle Dutch swaren, Old High German swerien, German schwören, Gothic swaren "to swear"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from a PIE *swer- "to speak, talk, say" (source also of Old Church Slavonic svara "quarrel," Oscan sverrunei "to the speaker").

Also related to the second element in answer. The secondary sense of "use bad language" (early 15c.) probably developed from the notion of "invoke sacred names." Swear off "desist as with a vow" is from 1898. Swear in "install (someone) in office by administration of an oath" is attested from 1700 in modern use, echoing Old English.

[Swearing and cursing] are entirely different things : the first is invoking the witness of a Spirit to an assertion you wish to make ; the second is invoking the assistance of a Spirit, in a mischief you wish to inflict. When ill-educated and ill-tempered people clamorously confuse the two invocations, they are not, in reality, either cursing or swearing ; but merely vomiting empty words indecently. True swearing and cursing must always be distinct and solemn .... [Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera"]
Related entries & more 
Salisbury (n.)

place in Wiltshire, Middle English Salesbury, Old English Searobyrg, Searesbyrig, Roman Sorbiodoni, Sorvioduni. The first element is a British Celtic word of uncertain sense; the second is *dunon "a hill, fort" or else Gaulish *duro- "fort, walled town." The first element was altered in Old English by folk etymology and the second replaced by its native translation, burh.

Salisbury steak (1885) is named for J.H. Salisbury (1823-1905), U.S. physician and food specialist, who promoted it. 

In the Philadelphia Medical Reporter for January 10th, Dr. Hepburn describes the way in which the steak is prepared in the "Salisbury" treatment, which has acquired a great reputation in America for disordered digestion, and widely different diseases of a chronic kind, few drugs being employed simultaneously, and those chiefly of a tonic kind. The best slices of a round of beef are chopped off with dull knives, the object being rather to pound than to cut the meat. [from a report reprinted in several U.S. and British medical journals in 1885 that goes on to describe the method; this version from Homeopathic World, Aug. 1, 1885]

Incorrect use for "hamburger" generally traces to World War I and the deliberate attempt to purify American English of German loan words. 

Related entries & more 

Page 101