atavism (n.)

1833, in biology, "reversion by influence of heredity to ancestral characteristics, resemblance of a given organism to some remote ancestor, return to an early or original type," from French atavisme, attested by 1820s, said to have been coined by French botanist Antoine-Nicolas Duchesne, from Latin atavus "ancestor, forefather," from at- perhaps here meaning "beyond" + avus "grandfather" (from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father;" see uncle).

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quiddity (n.)

"a trifling nicety in argument, a quibble," 1530s, from Medieval Latin quidditas "the essence of things," in Scholastic philosophy, "that which distinguishes a thing from other things," literally "whatness," from Latin quid "what," neuter of indefinite pronoun quis "somebody, someone or other" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).

The sense developed from scholastic disputes over the nature of things. Original classical meaning "real essence or nature of a thing, that which distinguishes a thing from other things and makes it what it is" is attested in English from late 14c. (quidite).

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comparative (adj.)

mid-15c., "implying comparison," from Old French comparatif, from Latin comparativus "pertaining to comparison," from comparat-, past participle stem of comparare "make equal with, liken, bring together for a contest," from com "with, together" (see com-) + par "equal" (see par (n.)).

Originally grammatical and applied to derived adjectives such as greater, stronger, softer. General sense of "estimated by comparison, relative" is from 1590s. Meaning "involving the parallel pursuit of different branches of a subject" is from 1670s. Old English used wiðmetendlic as a loan-translation of Latin comparativus. Related: Comparatively.

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blight (n.)

1610s, "influence, usually hidden or inconspicuous, that nips, blasts, or destroys plants," a word of obscure origin; according to OED it emerged into literary speech from the talk of gardeners and farmers.

It is perhaps from Old English blæce, blæcðu, a scrofulous skin condition and/or from Old Norse blikna "become pale" (from the group including bleach, bleak, etc.). The word came to be used in a general way of agricultural diseases, with or without suggestion of invisible baleful influence; hence the figurative sense of "anything which withers hopes or prospects or checks prosperity" (1660s). Compare slang blighter. Urban blight "condition of disrepair and poverty in a previously thriving part of a city" is attested by 1935.

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sibling (n.)

"brother or sister," 1903, a modern revival (originally in anthropology) of Middle English and Old English sibling "relative, kinsman or kinswoman," from sibb "kinship, relationship; love, friendship, peace, happiness," from Proto-Germanic *sibja- "blood relation, relative," properly "one's own" (source also of Old Saxon sibba, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch sibbe, Old High German sippa, German Sippe, Gothic sibja "kin, kindred"), from PIE *s(w)e-bh(o)- (source also of Old Church Slavonic sobistvo, Russian sob "character, individuality"), an enlargement of the root *swe- "self" (see idiom). Compare the second element in gossip.

The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]

In Old English, sibb and its compounds covered senses of "brotherly love, familial affection" which tended later to lump into love (n.), as in sibsumnes "peace, concord, brotherly love," sibbian (v.) "bring together, reconcile," sibbecoss "kiss of peace." Sibship, however, is a modern formation (1908). Sib persisted through Middle English as a noun, adjective, and verb expressing kinship and relationship. Sibling group is by 1950; sibling rivalry by 1937.

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comme il faut 

"according to etiquette," 1756, French, literally "as it should be." From comme "as, like, how," from Old French com, from Vulgar Latin *quomo, from Latin quomodo "how? in what way?," pronominal adverb of manner, related to quam "how much?," qui "who" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns). With il, from Latin ille "this" (see le) + faut, third person singular present indicative active of falloir "be necessary," literally "be wanting or lacking" (see fail (v.)).

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cold (n.)

c. 1300, "coldness of an object to the touch, relative absence of heat," from cold (adj.). Meaning "sensation produced by loss of heat from the body or some part of it" is from c. 1200.

Sense of "indisposition involving catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose or throat" is from 1530s, so called because the symptoms resemble those of exposure to cold; compare cold (n.) in earlier senses "indisposition or disease caused by excessive exposure to cold" (early 14c.), "chills of intermittent fever" (late 14c.). To be left out in the cold in the figurative sense is from 1861.

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quotidian (adj.)

mid-14c., coitidian, "daily, occurring or returning daily," from Old French cotidiien (Modern French quotidien), from Latin cottidianus, quotidianus "daily," from Latin quotus "how many? which in order or number?" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + dies "day" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine").

The qu- spelling in English dates from 16c. Meaning "ordinary, commonplace, trivial" is from mid-15c. Quotidian fever "intermittent fever" is from late 14c. The noun meaning "something that returns or is expected every day" is from c. 1400, originally of fevers.

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aspect (n.)
Origin and meaning of aspect

late 14c., an astrological term, "relative position of the planets as they appear from earth" (i.e., how they "look at" one another); also "one of the ways of viewing something," from Latin aspectus "a seeing, looking at, sight, view; countenance; appearance," from past participle of aspicere "to look at, look upon, behold; observe, examine," figuratively "consider, ponder," from ad "to" (see ad-) + specere "to look" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

The meanings "the look one wears" and "the appearance of things" are attested by early 15c. The sense of "a facing in a given direction" is from 1660s.

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