Old English camb (later Anglian comb) "thin strip of toothed, stiff material" (for dressing the hair), also "fleshy crest growing on the head of the domestic fowl" (so called for its serrations), hence "crest of a hat, helmet, etc.;" also "honeycomb" (for which see honeycomb (n.)) , from Proto-Germanic *kambaz (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German camb, German Kamm, Middle Dutch cam, Dutch kam, Old Norse kambr), literally "toothed object," from PIE *gombhos, from root *gembh- "tooth, nail."
From c. 1300 as a tool for carding wool (probably earlier; Comber as a surname is from c. 1200). Comb-paper (1866) is marbled paper in which the design is produced mostly by use of a comb.
1550s, "a written challenge, letter of defiance," from French cartel (16c.), from Italian cartello "placard," diminutive of carta "card" (see card (n.1)).
It came to mean "written agreement between states at war" (1690s), for the exchange of prisoners or some other mutual advantage, then "a written agreement between challengers" of any sort (1889). Sense of "a commercial trust, an association of industrialists" is from 1900, via German Kartell, which is from French. The older U.S. term for that is trust (n.). The usual German name for them was Interessengemeinschaft, abbreviated IG.
1540s, "make compensation for, spend, pay for" (a sense now archaic); 1570s, "satisfy by payment," from Old French defraier, defrayer (15c.), perhaps from de- "out" (see de-) + fraier "spend," from frais "costs, damages caused by breakage," from Latin fractum, neuter past participle of frangere "to break" (from PIE root *bhreg- "to break").
"food" for anything, "food" in its widest sense, "that which nourishes an animal or vegetable," 1670s, from Latin pabulum "fodder, food, nourishment," from PIE root *pa- "to feed" + instrumentive suffix *-dhlom. Related Pabular; pabulary; pabulous.
Pablum (1932), derived from this, is a trademark (Mead Johnson & Co.) for a soft, bland cereal used as a food for infants and weak and invalid persons, hence its figurative use (attested from 1970, first by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew) in reference to "mushy" political prose.
female proper name, shortened form of Mollie, Molly, itself a familiar of Mary. Used from c. 1600 for "prostitute," but in low slang by early 19c. it also meant "female companion not bound by ties of marriage, but often a life-mate" [Century Dictionary]. It became a general word for "woman" in old underworld slang, for instance Moll-buzzer "pickpocket who specializes in women;" Moll-tooler "female pick-pocket." U.S. sense of "a gangster's girlfriend" is by 1923.
"pokeweed; a strong-growing branching weed of eastern North America used in medicine and dyeing," colonial American English, from native words, possibly a confusion of similar-sounding Native American plant names; from 1630s in English as "tobacco plant," short for uppowoc (1580s), from Algonquian (Virginia) *uppowoc. Later (1708) the word is used in the sense "pokeweed," as a shortened form of puccoon, from Algonquian (Virginia) *puccoon, name of a plant used for dyeing. Native roots for "smoke" and "stain" have been proposed as the origin or origins.
"a step in dancing," a French word in English, 1775, from French pas "a step, track, passage," from Latin passus "step, pace" (from PIE root *pete- "to spread"). Used in forming names for types of dances, such as pas de deux "dance for two persons" (1762).