"terminal or digital member of the hand" (in a restricted sense not including the thumb), Old English finger, fingor "finger," from Proto-Germanic *fingraz (source also of Old Saxon fingar, Old Frisian finger, Old Norse fingr, Dutch vinger, German Finger, Gothic figgrs "finger"), with no cognates outside Germanic; perhaps ultimately from PIE root *penkwe- "five."
As a unit of measure for liquor and gunshot (late Old English) it represents the breadth of a finger, about three-quarters of an inch. They generally are numbered from the thumb outward, and named index finger, fool's finger, leech- or physic-finger, and ear-finger.
Old English stif "rigid, inflexible," from Proto-Germanic *stifaz "inflexible" (source also of Dutch stijf, Old High German stif, German steif "stiff;" Old Norse stifla "choke"), from PIE *stipos-, from root *steip- "press together, pack, cram" (source also of Sanskrit styayate "coagulates," stima "slow;" Greek stia, stion "small stone," steibo "press together;" Latin stipare "pack down, press," stipes "post, tree trunk;" Lithuanian stipti "to stiffen, grow rigid," stiprus "strong;" Old Church Slavonic stena "wall"). Of battles and competitions, from mid-13c.; of liquor, from 1813. To keep a stiff upper lip is attested from 1815. Related: Stiffly.
"a strong liquor made from fermented honey and water," a favorite beverage of England in the Middle Ages, Middle English mede, from Old English medu, from Proto-Germanic *meduz (source also of Old Norse mjöðr, Danish mjød, Old Frisian and Middle Dutch mede, Old High German metu, German Met "mead"), from PIE root *medhu- "honey, sweet drink" (source also of Sanskrit madhu "sweet, sweet drink, wine, honey," Greek methy "wine," Old Church Slavonic medu, Lithuanian medus "honey," Old Irish mid, Welsh medd, Breton mez "mead"). Synonymous but unrelated early Middle English meþeglin yielded Chaucer's meeth.
c. 1200, "fasten (clothing, etc.) with laces and ties," from Old French lacier "entwine, interlace, fasten with laces, lace on; entrap, ensnare," from laz "net, noose, string, cord" (see lace (n.)). From early 14c. as "tighten (a garment) by pulling its laces." From 1590s as "to adorn with lace;" the meaning "to intermix (coffee, etc.) with a dash of liquor" (1670s) originally also was used of sugar, and comes via the notion of "to ornament or trim," as with lace. Meaning "beat, lash, mark with the lash" is from 1590s, from the pattern of streaks. Related: Laced; lacing. Laced mutton was "an old word for a whore" [Johnson].
lotto-like game of chance, 1924; there are many theories about its origin, none satisfying; the most likely is bingo! as an exclamation of sudden realization or surprise (attested from 1923).
Uncertain connection to the slang word for "brandy" (1690s), attested as "liquor" in American English from 1861. Thomas Chandler Haliburton ("Sam Slick") in "The Americans at Home" (1854) recounts a story of a drinking game in which the children's song about the farmer's dog was sung and when it came time to spell out the name, every participant had to take a letter in turn, and anyone who missed or flubbed had to drink.
"small and unpretentious place," 1816, perhaps recalling the hole in the wall that was a public house name in England from at least 1690s. "Generally it is believed to refer to some snug corner, perhaps near the town walls," but the common story was that it referred to "the hole made in the wall of the debtors' or other prisons, through which the poor prisoners received the money, broken meat, or other donations of the charitably inclined" [Jacob Larwood and John Camden Hotten, "The History of Signboards: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day," 1867]. Mid-19c. it was the name of the private liquor bar attached to the U.S. Congress.
Middle English som-thing, from Old English sum þinge "a certain but unknown thing, a thing indefinitely considered;" see some + thing. Hyphenated from c. 1300; one word from 17c.
From c. 1200 as "a part or portion more or less," also "unspecified act or deed." Formerly also common as an adverb, "in some measure or degree, rather, a little" (as in something like).
The sense of "some liquor, food, etc." is from 1570s. The sense of "an actual thing, an entity" (opposed to nothing) is from 1580s. The meaning "a thing worthy of consideration, a person of importance" is from 1580s. The emphatic form something else is from 1909. Phrase something for nothing is from 1816. To make something of is from 1778. Phrase or something, indicating indistinctness, is by 1814.
mid-12c., from Old Norse ves heill "be healthy," a salutation, from ves, imperative of vesa "to be" (see was) + heill "healthy," from Proto-Germanic *haila- (see health). Use as a drinking phrase appears to have arisen among Danes in England and spread to native inhabitants.
A similar formation appears in Old English wes þu hal, but this is not recorded as a drinking salutation. Sense extended c. 1300 to "liquor in which healths were drunk," especially spiced ale used in Christmas Eve celebrations. Meaning "a carousal, reveling" first attested c. 1600. Wassailing "custom of going caroling house to house at Christmas time" is recorded from 1742.
early 15c., "moonlight, the shining of the moon," from moon (n.) + shine (n.). Similar formation in Dutch maneschijn, German Mondschein, Swedish månsken, Danish maaneskin. In a figurative use, "appearance without substance, pretense, fiction" from late 15c.; perhaps from the notion of "moonshine in water" (see moonraker) or "light without heat."
Meaning "illicit or smuggled liquor" is attested from 1785 (earliest reference is to that smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex; in reference to Southern U.S., by 1829), from the notion of being brought in or taken out under cover of darkness at night. Moonlight also occasionally was used in this sense early 19c. As a verb in this sense from 1883. Related: Moonshiner "smuggler; one who pursues a dangerous or illegal trade at night" (1860).