Etymology
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ablaut (n.)

"systematic vowel alteration in the root of a word to indicate shades of meaning or tense," a characteristic of Indo-European languages, 1845, from German Ablaut, literally "off-sound" ("off" here denoting substitution), coined by J.P. Zweigel in 1568 from ab "off" (from Old High German aba "off, away from," from PIE root *apo- "off, away") + Laut "sound, tone" (from Old High German hlut, from Proto-Germanic *hludaz "heard, loud," from suffixed form of PIE root *kleu- "to hear"). The word was popularized by Jakob Grimm and Franz Bopp. The process is what makes strong verbs in Germanic. An example is bind/band/bond/bound + (German) Bund. Compare umlaut.

In our language, it seems to us that the uncouthness of such compounds as Upsound, Offsound, and Insound, could hardly be compensated by any advantage to be derived from their use; and we therefore purpose, in the course of this work, where any of these terms occur in the original, to retain them in their German shape. Of these terms, Ablaut and Umlaut are those which chiefly, if not alone, are used by our author. [from footnote in translation of Bopp's "Comparative Grammar," London, 1845]
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hammerhead (adj.)

also hammer-head, 1560s, "head of a hammer," from hammer (n.) + head (n.). From 1796 (American English) in reference to a kind of shark, so called for its broad, transverse head. The animal is referred to as hammer-headed shark from 1752 and hammer-fish from 1745. The older name for it was balance-fish; there was a full specimen and a head of another under that name in the Royal Society Museum by 1681:

He hath his Name not unaptly from the ſhape of his Head, very different from that of all other Fiſhes, being ſpread out horizontally, like the Beam of a Balance; his eyes ſtanding at the two extremes, as the iron Hooks do at the end of the Beam. He grows sometimes to the length of four or five yards: but this is a young one. [Nehemiah Grew, M.D., "Catalogue & Deſcription Of the Natural and Artificial Rarities Belonging to the Royal Society And preſerved at Greſham Colledge. Whereunto is Subjoyned the Comparative Anatomy of Stomachs and Guts. By the ſame author" London, 1681 ]

Compare French requin marteau, Italian pesce martello, etc. The Greeks named it for the cross-bar of a yoke (zygon) and called it zygania. "According to Xenocrates, and to Philotinus ap. Galen vi. 727, it is tough and indigestible, but may be eaten pickled" [Thompson].

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macabre (adj.)

early 15c., in Macabrees daunce, daunce of Machabree, a kind of morality show or allegorical representation of death and his victims, from Old French (danse) Macabré "(dance) of Death" (1376), which is of uncertain origin.

John Lydgate (c. 1370–c. 1451), the monk/poet who first translated it into English, seems to have regarded it as the name of the French author, and perhaps it was a French surname Macabré. Or perhaps it is from Medieval Latin (Chorea) Machabæorum, literally "dance of the Maccabees" (leaders of the Jewish revolt against Syro-Hellenes; see Maccabees). If so, the association with the dance of death (a favorite subject of literature and art in the Middle Ages) would be from vivid descriptions of the martyrdom of the Maccabees in the Apocryphal books.

The typical form which the allegory takes is that of a series of pictures, sculptured or painted, in which Death appears, either as a dancing skeleton or as a shrunken corpse wrapped in grave-clothes to persons representing every age and condition of life, and leads them all in a dance to the grave. [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1911]

 The abstracted sense of "characterized by gruesomeness" is attested 1842 in French, by 1889 in English. Related: Macaberesque.

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generation (n.)

early 14c., "body of individuals born about the same period" (historically 30 years but in other uses as few as 17), on the notion of "descendants at the same stage in the line of descent," from Old French generacion "race, people, species; progeny, offspring; act of procreating" (12c., Modern French génération) and directly from Latin generationem (nominative generatio) "generating, generation," noun of action from past-participle stem of generare "bring forth, beget, produce," from genus "race, kind" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups).

From late 14c. as "act or process of procreation; process of being formed; state of being procreated; reproduction; sexual intercourse;" also "that which is produced, fruit, crop; children; descendants, offspring of the same parent."

Generation gap is recorded by 1967; generation x for the (American) generation born after Baby Boomers (c. 1965 - c. 1979) is from 1991, by author Douglas Coupland (b.1961) in the book of that name; abbreviation gen X is by 1997; generation y is attested by 1994 but did not catch on. Adjectival phrase first-generation, second-generation, etc. with reference to U.S. immigrant families is from 1896. Related: Generational.

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speak (v.)

Old English specan, variant of sprecan "to speak, utter words; make a speech; hold discourse (with others)" (class V strong verb; past tense spræc, past participle sprecen), from Proto-Germanic *sprekanan (source also of Old Saxon sprecan, Old Frisian spreka, Middle Dutch spreken, Old High German sprehhan, German sprechen "to speak," Old Norse spraki "rumor, report"), from PIE root *spreg- (1) "to speak," perhaps identical with PIE root *spreg- (2) "to strew," on notion of speech as a "scattering" of words.

The -r- began to drop out in Late West Saxon and was gone by mid-12c., perhaps from influence of Danish spage "crackle," also used in a slang sense of "speak" (compare crack (v.) in slang senses having to do with speech, such as wisecrack, cracker, all it's cracked up to be). Elsewhere, rare variant forms without -r- are found in Middle Dutch (speken), Old High German (spehhan), dialectal German (spächten "speak").

Not the primary word for "to speak" in Old English (the "Beowulf" author prefers maþelian, from mæþel "assembly, council," from root of metan "to meet;" compare Greek agoreuo "to speak, explain," originally "speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly").

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Hoyle 

cited as a typical authority on card or board games, by 1755, a reference to Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), author of several works on card-playing. The surname, according to Bardsley, represents a Northern English dialectal pronunciation of hole. "In Yorks and Lancashire hole is still dialectically hoyle. Any one who lived in a round hollow or pit would be Thomas or Ralph in the Hoyle." ["Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames," London, 1901]

To the making of rule-books there is no end, and books on card games are no exception to the rule. Many claim to be the last word in 'Official Rules', and to this end disguise themselves under the name of HOYLE as an earnest of proof and authority. It may therefore be rather surprising to learn that Hoyle died over 200 years ago, and positively disconcerting find that most card games do not actually have official rules. What's more, the original Hoyle, an eighteenth-century Whist tutor, only described some half-dozen card games, and in not a single instance did he write any rules explaining how the game is played. [David Parlett, "A History of Card Games," 1991]
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Greek (n.)

Old English Grecas, Crecas (plural) "Greeks, inhabitants of Greece," early Germanic borrowing from Latin Graeci "the Hellenes," apparently from Greek Graikoi. The first use of Graikhos as equivalent to Hellenes is found in Aristotle ("Meteorologica" I.xiv).

A modern theory (put forth by German classical historian Georg Busolt, 1850-1920), derives it from Graikhos "inhabitant of Graia" (literally "gray," also "old, withered"), a town on the coast of Boeotia, which was the name given by the Romans to all Greeks, originally to the Greek colonists from Graia who helped found Cumae (9c. B.C.E.), the important city in southern Italy where the Latins first encountered Greeks. Under this theory, it was reborrowed in this general sense by the Greeks.

The Germanic languages originally borrowed the word with an initial "-k-" sound (compare Old High German Chrech, Gothic Kreks), which probably was their initial sound closest to the Latin "-g-" at the time; the word was later refashioned. From late 14c. as "the Greek language." Meaning "unintelligible speech, gibberish, any language of which one is ignorant" is from c. 1600. Meaning "member of a Greek-letter fraternity" is student slang, 1884.

It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author — and not to learn it better. [Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil," 1886]
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Munchkin (n.)

1900, coined by U.S. author L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." He never explained how he got the word.

The word most like it is perhaps mutchkin, an old Scottish measure of capacity for liquids, which was used by Scott. (It comes from Middle Dutch mutseken, originally "a little cap," from mutse "cap," earlier almutse "amice, hood, headdress," from Latin amictus "mantle, cloak," noun use of past participle of amicire "to wrap, throw around," a compound from ambi- "around" (see ambi-) + iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)).

But some Baum scholars see a possible inspiration in Münchner Kindl, the name of the emblem of the city of Munich (German München) or in German Männchen, literally "little man," which is cognate with mannequin.

While she stood looking at the strange and beautiful sights, she noticed coming toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older. ["The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"]
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set (n.1)

"collection of matching things," mid-15c., sette, sete, earlier "religious sect" (late 14c.), in part from Middle English set, past participle of setten (see set (v.)) and in part from Old French sette, sete "sequence," a variant of secte "religious community," from Medieval Latin secta "retinue," from Latin secta "a following" (see sect).

Skeat first proposed that set (n.), in the sense of "a number of things or persons belonging together" ultimately was a corruption of the source of sect, influenced by set (v.) in subsequent developments as if meaning "a number set together." Thus this noun set was in Middle English earliest in the sense of "religious sect," which also likely developed some modern meanings, such as "group of people" (mid-15c.), especially "persons customarily or officially associated" (1680s); "group of persons with shared status, habits, or affinities" (1777).

The meaning "a number of things having a resemblance or natural affinity; complete collection of pieces to be used together" is by 1560s. Hence, "collection of volumes by one author" (1590s), "complete apparatus for some purpose" (1891, of telephones, radio, etc.).

Meaning "group of pieces musicians perform at a club during 45 minutes" (more or less) is from c. 1925, though it is found in a similar sense from 1580s. Set-piece is from 1846 as "grouping of people in a work of visual art;" from 1932 in reference to literary works.

The word sett is a variant, preserved in old law and "now prevalent in many technical senses" [OED].

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Newgate 

1596, in reference to the famous London prison, on the site of one of the seven gates in the old London wall (the main gate to the west); this one having been used as a lock-up since the 1100s. So called because it was thought to be more recent than the others (but it apparently dated to Roman times) or because it had been rebuilt at some point. The gate was demolished in the 18c.; the last prison of that name was torn down 1902-3.

Newgate frill, "a beard shaved so as to grow only under the chin and jaw," so called in allusion to the position of the hangman's noose, is by 1851. The author of "The Habits of Good Society" (1859) calls it "a kind of compromise between the beard and the razor."

Both Coleridge and Ruskin praised Thomas Hood's Newgatory.

Hood was addressing the admirable Mrs. Fry, who, as every one knows, set up a school in Newgate to teach the poor neglected outcasts what they had never heard from Christian lips before. One of the chief points made by Hood is this,—how much better, kinder, wiser, more politic even, it would be to multiply these schools outside, not inside the Prison walls, so that prevention might take the place of cure. [Alfred Ainger, preface to "Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood"]
As a literary study, this exquisite pun of Hood's ... deserves the most careful memory, as showing what a noble and instructive lesson even a pun may become, when it is deep in its purpose, and founded on a truth which is perfectly illustrated by the seeming equivocation. [Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera"]
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