early 15c., countrollen, "to check the accuracy of, verify; to regulate," from Anglo-French contreroller "exert authority," from Medieval Latin contrarotulus "a counter, register," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + rotulus, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see roll (n.)). The word apparently comes from a medieval method of checking accounts by a duplicate register.
Un contrerollour qui doit contre roller au tresorere de la garderobe toutz lez receitez. [Household ordinances of Edward II, c. 1310]
Sense of "dominate, direct, exercise control over" is from mid-15c. Related: Controlled; controlling. Control group in scientific experiments is attested from 1952 (from a sense of control attested since 1875).
in cookery, "dish based on eggs beaten lightly and browned in a pan," sometimes with additional ingredients, 1610s, from French omelette (16c.), a metathesis of alemette (14c.), an alteration of alemele "omelet," literally "blade (of a knife or sword)," which is probably a misdivision of la lemelle (mistaken as l'alemelle), from Latin lamella "thin, small plate," diminutive of lamina "plate, layer" (see laminate). The food so called from its flat shape.
The proverb you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs (1845) translates French On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs. As a word for a similar thing, Middle English had hanonei "fried onions mixed with scrambled eggs" (mid-15c.).
mid-15c., "a monkey," also "an impertinent, conceited fellow, an absurd fop," a general term of reproach (in mid-15c. especially a contemptuous nickname for William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk), of unknown origin. Apparently from Jack of Naples, but whether this is some specific personification of Jack (which is attested from 16c. as "saucy or impertinent fellow") or folk etymology of jack (n.) + ape (n.) is unknown. See extensive note in OED. Century Dictionary suggests "orig., it is supposed, a man who exhibited performing apes." Farmer and Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues") say "originally, no doubt, a gaudy-suited and performing ape." Its fem. counterpart is Jane-of-apes (Massinger) "a pert, forward girl."
"animal of the family of mammals that includes the weasels, badgers, skunks, and otters," 1910, from Modern Latin Mustelidae, taken as a genus name by Linnaeus (1758), from Latin mustela "weasel," which is possibly a diminutive form from mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)), a theory accepted by de Vaan, who writes, "The use of the dim. for the weasel can be due to its small size compared with other similar animals (marten, polecat) or because it was domesticated and used as a pet animal." Tucker tentatively suggests *mus-ters-la "mouse harrier," and Klein notes that the weasel was identified in antiquity as "the catcher of mice."
also lagnappe, "dividend, something extra, present or extra item given by a dealer to a customer to encourage patronage," 1849, from New Orleans creole, of unknown origin though much speculated upon. Originally a bit of something given by New Orleans shopkeepers to customers. Said to be from American Spanish la ñapa "the gift." Klein says this is in turn from Quechua yapa "something added, gift."
We picked up one excellent word — a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice, limber, expressive, handy word — 'lagniappe.' They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish — so they said. ["Mark Twain," "Life on the Mississippi," 1883]
ancient name of England, attested in Old English, from Latin, sometimes said to be from the non-Indo-European base *alb "mountain," which also is suggested as the source of Latin Alpes "Alps," Albania, and Alba, an Irish name for "Scotland." But more likely from Latin albus "white" (see alb), which would be an apt description of the chalk cliffs of the island's southern coast.
Breoton is garsecges ealond, ðæt wæs iu geara Albion haten. [translation of Bede's "Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum," c. 900 C.E.]
Perfidious Albion, a reference to the supposedly treacherous policies of Britain when dealing with foreign powers, translates French rhetorical phrase la perfide Albion, said to have been in use since 16c. but popularized by Napoleon in the recruiting drive of 1813.
of persons, "extravagantly chivalrous, absurdly romantic," abstractly, "striving for an unattainable or impractical ideal," 1791, from Don Quixote, the romantic, impractical hero of Cervantes' satirical novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha" (1605; in English translation by 1620). Don Quixote as the type of anyone attempting the impossible or holding visionary but impossible ideals is in English from 1670s.
His name literally means "thigh," also "a cuisse" (a piece of armor for the thigh), in Modern Spanish quijote, from Latin coxa "hip" (see coxa). Related: Quixotical; quixotically.
Cervantes smiled Spain's chivalry away;
A single laugh demolish'd the right arm
Of his own country; — seldom since that day
Has Spain had heroes.
[Byron, "Don Juan"]
1580s, Harlicken, one of the stock characters of Italian commedia del'arte, from French harlequin, from Italian arlecchino, which is possibly from the same source as Old French Herlequin, Hellequin, etc., leader of la maisnie Hellequin, a troop of demons who rode the night air on horses. This is perhaps of Germanic origin; he seems to correspond to Old English Herla cyning "King Herla," mythical character sometimes identified as Woden, and possibly also to German Erlkönig, the "Elf King" of the Goethe poem. Sometimes also associated with Herrequin, 9c. count of Boulogne, who was proverbially wicked. In English pantomime, a mute character who carries a magic wand. From his ludicrous dress comes the English adjective meaning "particolored" (1779).
"the branch of zoology which treats of insects," 1764, from French entomologie (1764), coined from -logie "study of" (see -logy) + Greek entomon "insect," neuter of entomos "cut in pieces, cut up," in this case "having a notch or cut (at the waist)," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + temnein "to cut" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut").
Insects were so called by Aristotle in reference to the segmented division of their bodies. Compare insect, which is from a Latin loan-translation of the Greek word. Related: Entomological; entomologically. Hybrid insectology (1766, from French insectologie, 1744) is not much used.
I have given the name insectology to that part of natural history which has insects for its object; that of entomology ... would undoubtedly have been more suitable ... but its barbarous sound terryfy'd me. [Charles Bonnet's English translation of his "Contemplation de la nature," 1766]