1905, from German Narzissismus, coined 1899 (in "Die sexuellen Perversitäten"), by German psychiatrist Paul Näcke (1851-1913), on a comparison suggested 1898 by Havelock Ellis, from Greek Narkissos, name of a beautiful youth in mythology (Ovid, "Metamorphoses," iii.370) who fell in love with his own reflection in a spring and was turned to the flower narcissus (q.v.). Narcissus himself as a figure of self-love is attested by 1767. Coleridge used the word in a letter from 1822.
But already Krishna, enamoured of himself, had resolved to experience lust for his own self; he manifested his own Nature in the cow-herd girls and enjoyed them. [Karapatri, "Lingopasana-rahasya," Siddhanta, II, 1941-2]
Sometimes erroneously as narcism.
late Old English tannian "to convert hide into leather" (by steeping it in tannin), from Medieval Latin tannare "tan, dye a tawny color" (c. 900), from tannum "crushed oak bark," used in tanning leather, probably from a Celtic source (such as Breton tann "oak tree"). The meaning "make brown by exposure to the sun" (as tanning does to hides) first recorded 1520s; intransitive sense also from 1520s. Of persons, not considered an attractive feature until 20c.; in Shakespeare, "to deprive of the freshness and beauty of youth" (Sonnet CXV). As an adjective from 1620s. To tan (someone's) hide in the figurative sense is from 1660s. Related: Tanned; tanning. German Tanne "fir tree" (as in Tannenbaum) might be a transferred meaning from the same Celtic source.
"large marsupial mammal of Australia," 1770, used by Capt. Cook and botanist Joseph Banks (who first reported the species to Europeans), supposedly representing a native word from northeast Queensland, Australia, but often said to be unknown now in any native language. However, according to Australian linguist R.M.W. Dixon ("The Languages of Australia," Cambridge, 1980), the word probably is from Guugu Yimidhirr (Endeavour River-area Aborigine language) /gaNurru/ "large black kangaroo."
In 1898 the pioneer ethnologist W.E. Roth wrote a letter to the Australasian pointing out that gang-oo-roo did mean 'kangaroo' in Guugu Yimidhirr, but this newspaper correspondence went unnoticed by lexicographers. Finally the observations of Cook and Roth were confirmed when in 1972 the anthropologist John Haviland began intensive study of Guugu Yimidhirr and again recorded /gaNurru/. [Dixon]
Kangaroo court is American English, first recorded 1850 in a Southwestern context (also mustang court), from notion of proceeding by leaps.
Used in ancient Greece of a blue gem, perhaps sapphire, and of a purple or deep red flower, but exactly which one is unknown (gladiolus, iris, and larkspur have been suggested). It is fabled to have sprung from the blood of Hyakinthos, Laconian youth beloved by Apollo and accidentally slain by him. The flower is said to have the letters "AI" or "AIAI" (Greek cry of grief) on its petals. The modern use in reference to a particular flowering plant genus is from 1570s. Related: Hyacinthine.
"writing which avoids all words containing a particular letter" (an ancient literary pastime; in English typically -e-), 1711, abstracted from Greek lipogrammatikos, literally "wanting a letter," from stem of leipein "to leave, be lacking" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave") + gramma "a letter, character" (see -gram).
If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically, you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport. [Ernest Vincent Wright, "Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words without Using the Letter 'e'," Los Angeles: 1939]
1820 in the political sense, "local attachment as opposed to national unity," from provincial + -ism. Meaning "a certain narrowness of localism of thought or interest; lack of polish or enlightenment," reflecting manners or modes of a certain province or of provinces generally (as opposed to the big city or the capital) is by 1836. Sense of "a local word or usage or expression" is from 1770.
To me provincialism stood, and stands, for the sum-total of all false values; it is the estimation of people for what they have, or pretend to have, and not for what they are. Artificial classifications, rigid lines of demarkation that bear no relation whatsoever to intrinsic merit, seem to belong to its very essence, while contempt for intelligence, suspicion and fear of independent thought, appear to be necessary passports to provincial popularity. [Vera Brittain, "Testament of Youth"]
c. 1300; "wasted, ruined, spent in vain," c. 1500; also "no longer to be found, gone astray" (1520s), past-participle adjectives from lose. Meaning "spiritually ruined, inaccessible to good influence" is from 1640s. Related: Lostness.
Of battles, games, etc. in which one has been defeated, 1724; hence Lost Cause in reference to the bid for independence by the southern states of the U.S., first as the title of the 1866 pro-Southern history of the CSA and the rebellion written by Virginia journalist E.A. Pollard (1832-1872). Lost Generation in reference to the youth that came of age when World War I broke is first attested 1926 in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," where he credits it to Gertrude Stein. Lost-and-found as the name of a department where misplaced articles are brought or sought is by 1907.
1890, from French fin de siècle "end of century," phrase used as an adjective. At the time it meant "modern;" now it means "from the 1890s." "App. first in title of a comedy, Paris fin de siècle, produced at the Gymnase, Feb. 1890" [Weekley]. French siècle "century, age" is from Latin saeculum "age, span of time, generation" (see secular).
No proof is needed of the extreme silliness of the term. Only the brain of a child or of a savage could form the clumsy idea that the century is a kind of living being, born like a beast or a man, passing through all the stages of existence, gradually ageing and declining after blooming childhood, joyous youth, and vigorous maturity, to die with the expiration of the hundredth year, after being afflicted in its last decade with all the infirmities of mournful senility. [Max Nordau, "Degeneration," English translation, 1895]
also brain-storm, by 1861 as a colloquial term for "fit of acute delirious mania; sudden dethronement of reason and will under stress of strong emotion, usually accompanied by manifestations of violence," from brain (n.) + figurative use of storm (n.).
The sense of "brilliant idea, mental excitement, fit of mental application," is by 1934 and seems to have evolved from the earlier sense:
Modern radio broadcasting is replete with examples of the resourcefulness, daring and hair-trigger thinking of the men who handle the big news breaks and special programs for the networks — the "brainstorm boys" the announcers and engineers call them. Eye-witness accounts of federal agents surrounding a gang lair, word pictures of dust storms, stratosphere flights, floods and fires — these are but a few of the programs brought to radio audiences by the brainstorm squad. [Popular Mechanics, July 1936]
The verbal meaning "make a concerted attack on a problem, involving spontaneous ideas," is by 1947. Related: Brainstormed; brainstorming.