early 15c., "slender, flexible rod for exploring the conditions of wounds or other cavities in the body," also "a medical examination," from Medieval Latin proba "examination," in Late Latin "a test, proof," from Latin probare "show, demonstrate; test, inspect; judge by trial" (see prove).
Meaning "act of probing" is 1890, from the verb; figurative sense of "penetrating investigation" is from 1903, probably extended from the verb in this sense. Meaning "small, unmanned exploratory craft" is attested from 1953.
"Probe to the bottom," says President Roosevelt of the postal steals. Yes—"probe to the bottom," but don't overlook the top. What is needed quite as much as a probe—in fact, for the proper use of the probe—is a postmaster-general in the place of Payne, the mere partisan and convention fixer. [Chattanooga Daily Times, June 3, 1903]
"large, extinct species of shaggy elephant living in northern latitudes," 1706, from Russian mammot', probably from Ostyak, a Finno-Ugric language of northern Russia (compare Finnish maa "earth"). Because the remains were dug from the earth, the animal was believed to root like a mole.
As an adjective, "gigantic," it is attested from 1802; in this sense "the word appears to be originally American" [Thornton, "American Glossary"], and its first uses are in derogatory accounts of the cheese wheel, more than 4 feet in diameter, sent to President Jefferson by the ladies of the Baptist congregation in Cheshire, Massachusetts, as a present, engraved with the motto "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Federalist editors mocked the affair, and called up the word mammoth (known from Peale's exhibition) to characterize it.
1640s, "capable of performance" (a sense now obsolete), also "of the branch of government that carries out the laws," from Latin executivus, from past participle stem of exequi "follow after; carry out, accomplish" (see execution). The sense of "concerned with or pertaining to the function of carrying into practical effect" is from 1670s. The noun meaning "person or persons invested with supreme executive power in a country" is from 1776, as a branch of government charged with the execution and enforcement of the laws. Meaning "high-ranking businessman, person holding an executive position in a business organization" is by 1902 in American English; hence the adjectival sense "stylish, luxurious, costly" (1970s). Executive privilege in reference to the U.S. president is attested by 1805, American English.
"belief in the omnipotence of scientific knowledge and methods and in their applicability to everything," a derogatory term, by 1870 (G.B. Shaw); see science + -ism. An earlier word was scientificism (1825) "restriction of analysis or explanation to what is scientifically demonstrable."
Particularly is the present age of science characterized by a predominance of observation over reflection. One would think from the general tendency in this direction that science was little else than gathering of facts. So it has come to pass that a fresh discovery gives warrant for any inference,—for any theory. ... That facts should be valued mainly for the principles they reveal, modern scientism could hardly understand, much less believe. [Henry N. Day, "President McCosh's Logic," The New Englander, July, 1870]
c. 1400, "avowal, pledge, solemn declaration," from Old French protest, from protester, from Latin protestari "declare publicly, testify, protest," from pro- "forth, before" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before") + testari "testify," from testis "witness" (see testament).
Meaning "statement of disapproval" is recorded by 1751. By late 19c. this was mostly restricted to "a solemn or formal declaration against some act or course of action."
The adjectival sense of "expressing of dissent from, or rejection of, prevailing social, political, or cultural mores" is by 1942, in reference to U.S. civil rights movement (in protest march); protest rally from 1960. Protest vote, "vote cast to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates or the current system," is by 1905 (in reference to Socialist Party candidates).
Because they now fully understood the power of the picket line, they were ready and anxious to march on Washington when A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, advanced the idea in January 1941 of organizing a Negro protest march on Washington, because Government officials from the President down to minor bureau chiefs, had persistently evaded the issue of combating discrimination in defense industries as well as the Government itself. As the time for the event drew nearer some of the heads of the Government became alarmed; Randolph reported that a ranking New Dealer had told him many Government officials were asking, "What will they think in Berlin?" [Statement of Edgar G. Brown, Revenue Revision of 1942 hearings, 77th Congress, 2nd session]
colloquial for "signature," 1903 (sometimes, through some unexplainable error, John Henry), from the Boston merchant and rebel (1736-1793), signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The extended sense is from his signing that dangerous document first or most flamboyantly.
John Hancock, president of Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, writing his name in large, plain letters, and saying: "There; John Bull can read my name without spectacles. Now let him double the price on my head, for this is my defiance." [Hélène Adeline Guerber, "The Story of the Thirteen Colonies," New York, 1898]
The family name is attested from 1276 in Yorkshire, a diminutive (see cock (n.1)) of Hann, a very common given name in 13c. Yorkshire as a pet form of Henry or John.
of unknown origin; OED and Barnhart give earliest date as 1925, but the "Dictionary of American Slang" gives a first reference of 1874 (but without citation and I can't find it), which, if correct, would rule out the usual theory that it is from the proper name of T.W. Earp, a student at Oxford c. 1911, who kindled wrath "in the hearts of the rugger-playing stalwarts at Oxford, when he was president of the Union, by being the last, most charming, and wittiest of the 'decadents.' " [Rawson]
"Mean to say you never heard of Sinzy? Why, he's one of the greatest characters in this town. He's a terrible twerp to look at — got a face like bad news from home, but I guess he's the best jazz piano player in the world." [Julian Street, "Cross-Sections," 1923]
"that runs, capable of moving quickly," late 14c., rennynge, present-participle adjective from run (v.), replacing earlier erninde, from Old English eornende. The meaning "rapid, hasty, done on the run" is from c. 1300. The sense of "continuous, carried on continually" is from late 15c.
Running-jump is from 1914. A running-mate (1865) originally was a horse entered in a race to set the pace for another from the same stable who was intended to win; U.S. "vice-presidential candidate" sense is recorded from 1888. Running-board is attested by 1817 in reference to a narrow gangway on either side of a ship or boat; extended by 1907 to the footboards of cars and trucks.
Running dog is recorded by 1937, from Chinese and later North Korean communist phrases used to describe supposed imperialist lackeys, such as Mandarin zou gou "running dog," on the notion of a dog that runs at its master's command.
"room in which food is cooked, part of a building fitted out for cooking," c. 1200, from Old English cycene "kitchen," from Proto-Germanic *kokina (source also of Middle Dutch cökene, Old High German chuhhina, German Küche, Danish kjøkken), probably borrowed from Vulgar Latin *cocina (source also of French cuisine, Spanish cocina), a variant of Latin coquina "kitchen," from fem. of coquinus "of cooks," from coquus "cook," from coquere "to cook" (from PIE root *pekw- "to cook, ripen").
The Old English word might be directly from Vulgar Latin. Kitchen cabinet "informal but powerful set of advisers" is American English slang, 1832, originally in reference to President Andrew Jackson, whose intimate friends were supposed to have more influence with him than his official advisers. Kitchen midden (1863) in archaeology translates Danish kjøkken mødding. Surname Kitchener ("one employed in or supervising a (monastic) kitchen") is from early 14c.
mid-15c., militari, "pertaining to or befitting soldiers; used, done, or brought about by soldiers," from Old French militaire (14c.) and directly from Latin militaris "of soldiers or war, of military service, warlike," from miles (genitive militis) "soldier," a word of unknown origin.
Perhaps ultimately from Etruscan, or else meaning "one who marches in a troop," and thus connected to Sanskrit melah "assembly," Greek homilos "assembled crowd, throng." De Vaan writes, "It is tempting to connect mīlia [pl.] 'thousand(s)', hence *mīli-it- 'who goes with/by the thousand' ...." Related: Militarily. Old English had militisc, from Latin.
Military police is from 1827. Military age, at which one becomes liable to military service, is by 1737. Military-industrial complex was coined 1961 in the farewell speech of U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower.