early 15c., "act of looking into the distance, condition of facing something else or a certain direction," from Latin prospectus "distant view, look out; sight, faculty of sight," noun use of past participle of prospicere "look out on, look forward," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
The meaning "extensive view of the landscape, view of things within the reach of the eye" is from 1530s; transferred sense of "mental view or survey" is from 1620s. The meaning "that which is presented to the eye, scene" is from 1630s.
The sense of "person or thing considered promising" is from 1922, from the earlier sense of "expectation, ground of expectation," especially of advantage (1660s) on the notion of "looking forward," hence "anticipation." Hence prospects "things looked forward to." The meaning "a wide, long, straight street or avenue" is by 1866, in a Russian context, and thus often spelled prospekt.
Which is it to be? We observe that the London Times has lent the weight of its authority to the word "autocar," which it now prints without the significant inverted commas but with a hyphen, "auto-car." We believe that the vocable originated with a journal called the Hardwareman, which succeeded in obtaining the powerful support of the Engineer for its offspring. As for ourselves, being linguistic purists, we do not care for hybrid constructions—"auto" is Greek, while "car" is Latin and Celtic. At the same time, such clumsy phrases as "horseless carriages," "mechanical road carriages," and "self-propelled vehicles" are not meeting with general favour. Why not therefore adopt the philogically sound "motor-car," which could be run into a single word, "motorcar"? [The Electrical Engineer, Dec. 20, 1895]
1640s, of a volatile liquid, "to evaporate through the pores" (intransitive), a back-formation from perspiration and in part from Latin perspirare "blow or breathe constantly," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + spirare "to breathe, blow" (see spirit (n.)). The meaning "to sweat, to give out watery substance through the pores of the skin" (intransitive) is a polite usage attested from 1725. Medical men tried to maintain a distinction between "sensible" (sweat) and "insensible" perspiration:
[I]t is sufficient for common use to observe, that perspiration is that insensible discharge of vapour from the whole surface of the body and the lungs which is constantly going on in a healthy state; that it is always natural and always salutary; that sweat, on the contrary, is an evacuation, which never appears without some uncommon effort, or some disease to the system, that it weakens and relaxes, and is so far from coinciding with perspiration, that it obstructs and checks it. [Charles White, "A Treatise on the Management of Pregnant and Lying-in Women," London, 1791]
Related: Perspired; perspiring.
also sceptic, 1580s, "member of an ancient Greek school that doubted the possibility of real knowledge," from French sceptique and directly from Latin scepticus "the sect of the Skeptics," from Greek skeptikos (plural Skeptikoi "the Skeptics, followers of Pyrrho"), noun use of adjective meaning "inquiring, reflective" (the name taken by the disciples of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho, who lived c. 360-c. 270 B.C.E.). This is related to skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (from a metathesized form of PIE root *spek- "to observe").
Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]
There is one word of caution, however, to be given to those who renounce inquiry; it is that they cannot retain the right to condemn inquirers. [Benjamin Jowett, "On the Interpretation of Scripture," in "Essays and Reviews," 1860]
The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude" first recorded 1610s. The sk- spelling is an early 17c. Greek revival and is preferred in U.S. As a verb, scepticize (1690s) failed to catch on.
[extent] 1530s, "room to act, free play," also literal (1550s), "room to move in, space;" from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, object; thing aimed at, mark, target," from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos "aim, target, object of attention;" also "watcher, one who watches," which according to Watkins is from a metathesized form of PIE *spek-yo-, suffixed form of root *spek- "to observe." Beekes writes that the the old IE root noun (as in Latin haruspex) from *spek- apparently was replaced in Greek by skopos.
It is attested from 1550s as "that which is aimed at or desired," hence "ultimate aim;" the classical sense of "a mark to aim or shoot at" was in English by 1560s but now is obsolete. Hence "object a speaker or writer has in view" (1530s). The sense of "intellectual range, distance the mind can reach" is recorded from c. 1600. By 1590s as "extent in space." By 1830 as "sphere in which some activity operates." Elizabethan scopious "spacious, wide" did not stick.
also metre, "poetic measure, metrical scheme, arrangement of language in a series of rhythmic movements," Old English meter "meter, versification," from Latin mētrum, from Greek metron "meter, a verse; that by which anything is measured; measure, length, size, limit, proportion" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure").
The word was possibly reborrowed early 14c. (after a 300-year gap in recorded use), from Old French metre, with a specific sense of "metrical scheme in verse," from Latin mētrum.
In the first place, observe, that all great poets intend their work to be read by simple people, and expect no help in it from them ; but intend only to give them help, in expressing what otherwise they could never have found words for. Therefore a true master poet invariably calculates on his verse being first read as prose would be ; and on the reader's being pleasantly surprised by finding that he has fallen unawares into music. [Ruskin, "Elements of English Prosody, for use in St. George's Schools," 1880]
Old English missan "fail to hit, miss (a mark); fail in what was aimed at; escape (someone's notice)," from Proto-Germanic *missjan "to go wrong" (source also of Old Frisian missa, Middle Dutch, Dutch missen, German missen "to miss, fail"), from *missa- "in a changed manner," hence "abnormally, wrongly," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move." Reinforced or influenced by cognate Old Norse missa "to miss, to lack." Related: Missed; missing.
Sense of "fail to find" (someone or something) is by late 12c. Meaning "fail to note, perceive, or observe" is from early 13c. Meaning "fail to reach or attain what one wants" is from mid-13c. Sense of "perceive with regret the absence or loss of (something or someone)" is from c. 1300. Meaning "omit, leave out, skip" is by mid-14c. Sense of "to escape, avoid" is from 1520s.
Sense of "to not be on time for" is from 1823; to miss the boat in the figurative sense of "be too late for" is from 1929, originally nautical slang. To miss out (on) "fail to get" is by 1929.
late 14c., in logic, "a class of individuals or things," from Latin species "a particular sort, kind, or type" (opposed to genus), originally "a sight, look, view; outward appearance, shape, form," a derivative of specere "to look at, to see, behold" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). In English it is attested from 1550s as "appearance, outward form."
Latin species "a sight; outward appearance" had many extended senses, including "a spectacle; a mental appearance, an idea or notion;" also "semblance, pretext; manner, fashion; display, beauty; a likeness or statue; reputation, honor." Typically it was used in passive senses. Also compare spice (n.).
In Late Latin, in logic and legal language, it acquired the meaning "a special case," especially (as a translation of Greek eidos) "a class included under a higher class; a kind; a sort; a number of individuals having common characteristics peculiar to them." The notion (as Lewis & Short puts it) is "The particular thing among many to which the looks are turned."
The English word is attested from 1560s as "a distinct class (of something) based on common characteristics." The specific use in biological sciences in reference to groups of living things recognizably distinct from all others by their inherited characteristics is from c. 1600. Endangered species is attested by 1964.
1955, verbal noun from surf (v.). The surfing craze went nationwide in U.S. from California in 1963. Surf-board is from 1826, originally in a Hawaiian and Polynesian context. Surf music attested from 1963.
It is highly amusing to a stranger to go out into the south part of this town, some day when the sea is rolling in heavily over the reef, and to observe there the evolutions and rapid career of a company of surf-players. The sport is so attractive and full of wild excitement to Hawaiians, and withal so healthful, that I cannot but hope it will be many years before civilization shall look it out of countenance, or make it disreputable to indulge in this manly, though it be dangerous, exercise. [the Rev. Henry T. Cheever, "Life in the Sandwich Islands," New York, 1851]
"The basis of surfing music is a rock and roll bass beat figuration, coupled with a raunch-type weird-sounding lead guitar plus wailing saxes. Surfing music has to sound untrained with a certain rough flavor to appeal to the teenagers." [music publisher Murray Wilson, quoted in Billboard, June 29, 1963]
"act of going before or moving forward, an advance," 1590s, from Late Latin praecissionem (nominative praecissio) "a coming before," from past-participle stem of Latin praecedere "to go before" (see precede). Originally used in reference to calculations of the equinoxes, which come slightly earlier each year, a phenomenon discovered by Hipparchus (190 B.C.E.-120 B.C.E.).
Alpha Centauri was still visible at the latitude of New York, B. C. 300. Ten thousand years ago its meridian altitude at the latitude of Washington was about 30 degrees. At that time Sirius did not appear above our horizon ; and it is interesting to observe that in our latitude these two magnificent stars can never be within the circle of perpetual occultation at the same time. The whole constellation of the Southern Cross was visible in Southern Europe until after the commencement of historic times. Its brightest star, however, will not reappear in the latitude of New York till about A. D. 20,000. [Prof. Daniel Kirkwood, "Changes in Celestial Scenery," in Our Monthly, July 1871]
The word is attested much older (early 14c.) as an error for procession. Related: Precessional.