formerly in English law, "a personal chattel which, having been the immediate cause of the death of a person, was forfeited to the Crown to be sold and the money applied to pious uses," 1520s, from Anglo-French deodande (late 13c.), from Medieval Latin deodandum, from Deo dandum "a thing to be given to God," from dative of deus "god" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god") + neuter gerundive of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). Abolished 1846.
Thus, if a cart ran over a man and killed him, the cart was by law forfeited as a deodand, and the coroner's jury was required to fix the value of the forfeited property. The pious object of the forfeiture was early lost sight of, and the king might and often did cede his right to deodands within certain limits as a private perquisite. [Century Dictionary]
late 14c. as an order of angels, from Late Latin cherub, from Greek kheroub, from Hebrew kerubh (plural kerubhim) "winged angel," which according to Klein is perhaps related to Akkadian karubu "to bless," karibu "one who blesses," an epithet of the bull-colossus. Old English had cerubin, from the Greek plural. But there are other theories:
The cherubim, a common feature of ancient Near Eastern mythology, are not to be confused with the round-cheeked darlings of Renaissance iconography. The root of the terms either means "hybrid" or, by an inversion of consonants, "mount," "steed," and they are winged beasts, probably of awesome aspect, on which the sky god of the old Canaanite myths and of the poetry of Psalms goes riding through the air. [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004, commentary on Genesis iii.24]
The meaning "beautiful child" is from 1705. The plural in this sense is cherubs.
also skew-bald, 1650s, "having white and brown (or some other color) patches, spotted in an irregular manner" (used especially of horses), from skued, skeued "skewbald, of mixed colors" (early 15c.) + bald "having white patches" (see bald).
The first element is said to be unconnected with skew (v.), but Klein's sources say it is and Middle English Compendium offers that as a possibility; OED suggests it is perhaps from Old French escu "shield," but also notes a close resemblance in form and sense with Icelandic skjottr, "the history of which is equally obscure." Watkins says it is Scandinavian and akin to Old Norse sky "cloud" on the resemblance of the markings to cloud cover.
When the white is mixed with black it is called 'pie-bald,' with bay the name of 'skew-bald' is given to it. ["Youatt's 'The Horse,' " 1866]
As a noun meaning "skewbald horse" or other animal from 1863.
late 15c., "any atmospheric phenomenon," from Old French meteore (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin meteorum (nominative meteora), from Greek ta meteōra "the celestial phenomena, things in heaven above," plural of meteōron, literally "thing high up," noun use of neuter of meteōros (adj.) "high up, raised from the ground, hanging," from meta "by means of" (see meta-) + -aoros "lifted, lifted up, suspended, hovering in air," related to aeirein "to raise" (from PIE root *wer- (1) "to raise, lift, hold suspended").
Specific sense of "fireball in the sky, shooting star" is attested from 1590s. Atmospheric phenomena were formerly classified as aerial meteors (wind), aqueous meteors (rain, snow, hail), luminous meteors (aurora, rainbows), and igneous meteors (lightning, shooting stars). All the other senses have fallen away. When still in space beyond the atmosphere it is a meteoroid; when fallen to earth it is a meteorite. A periodically recurring fall of them (usually associated with a comet) is a meteor shower (by 1853).
late 14c., from French galaxie or directly from Late Latin galaxias "the Milky Way" as a feature in the night sky (in classical Latin via lactea or circulus lacteus), from Greek galaxias (adj.), in galaxias kyklos, literally "milky circle," from gala (genitive galaktos) "milk" (from PIE root *g(a)lag- "milk").
The technical astronomical sense in reference to the discrete stellar aggregate including the sun and all visible stars emerged by 1848. Figurative sense of "brilliant assembly of persons" is from 1580s. Milky Way is a translation of Latin via lactea.
See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt. [Chaucer, "House of Fame"]
Originally ours was the only one known. Astronomers began to speculate by mid-19c. that some of the spiral nebulae they could see in telescopes were actually immense and immensely distant structures the size and shape of the Milky Way. But the matter was not settled in the affirmative until the 1920s.
songbird of the Old World, early 14c., earlier lauerche (c. 1200), from Old English lawerce (late Old English laferce), from Proto-Germanic *laiw(a)rikon (source also of Old Saxon lewerka, Frisian liurk, Old Norse lævirik, Dutch leeuwerik, German Lerche), a word of unknown origin.
Old English and Old Norse forms suggest a contracted compound, perhaps meaning "treason-worker," but "nothing is known in folklore to account for such a designation" [OED]. Noted for its early song and high flying (in contrast to its low nest). When the sky falls, we shall catch larks was an old proverb mocking foolish optimism.
Latin alauda "the lark" (source of Italian aloda, Spanish alondra, Provençal alauza, Old French aloe) is said to be from Gaulish (Celtic). True Latin names for the skylark were galerita, corydalus.
SPLIT the lark and you’ll find the music,
Bulb after bulb, in silver rolled
"altar top," 1848, Latin, literally "table," also "meal, supper," and "altar, sacrificial table," hence used in Church Latin for "upper slab of a church altar" (see mesa). With a capital M-, the name of an organization for people of IQs of 148 or more founded in England in 1946, the name chosen, according to the organization, to suggest a "round table" type group. The constellation (1763) originally was Mons Mensae "Table Mountain." It is the faintest constellation in the sky, with no star brighter than magnitude 5.0.
La Caille, who did so much for our knowledge of the southern heavens, formed the figure from stars under the Greater Cloud, between the poles of the equator and the ecliptic, just north of the polar Octans; the title being suggested by the fact that the Table Mountain, back of Cape Town, "which had witnessed his nightly vigils and daily toils," also was frequently capped by a cloud. [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," London: 1899]
late 14c., orange bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), from Latin Arcturus, from Greek Arktouros, literally "guardian of the bear" (the bright star was anciently associated with nearby Ursa Major, the "Big Dipper," which it seems to follow across the sky). For first element see arctic; second element is Greek ouros "watcher, guardian, ward" (from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for"). It is fourth-brightest of the fixed stars. The double nature of the great bear/wagon (see Big Dipper) has given two different names to the constellation that follows it: Arktouros "bear-ward" and Bootes "the wagoner."
Arcturus in the Bible (Job ix.9 and xxxviii.32) is a mistranslation by Jerome (continued in KJV) of Hebrew 'Ayish, which refers to what we see as the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. In Israel and Arabia, the seven stars of the Great Bear seem to have been a bier (the "bowl") followed by three mourners. In the Septuagint it was translated as Pleiada, which is equally incorrect.
"periphrastic expression in early Germanic poetry" (such as swan-road for "sea," sky-candle for "sun"), 1871, a modern learned word from Old Norse kenning in a special sense "poetical periphrasis or descriptive name" (it also meant "teaching, doctrine; preaching; mark of recognition"), from kenna "to know, to recognize, to feel or perceive; to call, to name (in a formal poetic metaphor)," from PIE root *gno- "to know."
In the whole poem of Beowulf there are scarcely half a dozen of them [similes], and these of the simplest character, such as comparing a ship to a bird. Indeed, such a simple comparison as this is almost equivalent to the more usual "kenning" (as it is called in Icelandic), such as "brimfugol," where, instead of comparing the ship to a bird, the poet simply calls it a sea-bird, preferring the direct assertion to the indirect comparison. [Henry Sweet, "Sketches of the History of Anglo-Saxon Poetry," London, 1871]
Cognate Old English cenning is attested as "procreation; declaration in court" (and see kenning (n.2)).
c. 1200, "elevate in rank or dignity, exalt;" c. 1300, "to raise from the ground or other surface, pick up; erect, set in place," also intransitive, "to rise in waves;" early 14c., "remove (someone or something) from its place," from Old Norse lypta "to raise" (Scandinavian -pt- pronounced like -ft-), from Proto-Germanic *luftijan (source also of Middle Low German lüchten, Dutch lichten, German lüften "to lift"), a Proto-Germanic verb from the general Germanic noun for "air, sky, upper regions, atmosphere" (see loft (n.)), giving the verb an etymological sense of "to move up into the air."
Intransitive sense of "to rise, to seem to rise" (of clouds, fogs, etc.) is from 1834. Figurative sense of "to encourage" (with up) is mid-15c. The meaning "steal, take up dishonestly" (as in shoplift) is 1520s. Surgical sense of "to raise" (a person's face) is from 1921. Middle English also had a verb liften (c. 1400). Related: Lifted; lifting.