Etymology
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shed (v.)

"cast off," Middle English sheden, from Old English sceadan, scadan "to divide, separate, part company; discriminate, decide; scatter abroad, cast about," strong verb (past tense scead, past participle sceadan), from Proto-Germanic *skaithan (source also of Old Saxon skethan, Old Frisian sketha, Middle Dutch sceiden, Dutch scheiden, Old High German sceidan, German scheiden "part, separate, distinguish," Gothic skaidan "separate"), from an extended form of PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."

Of tears, from late 12c.; of light, from c. 1200. In reference to animals, "to lose hair, feathers, etc., by natural process," it is recorded from c. 1500; of trees losing leaves from 1590s; of persons and their clothes, by 1858, American English colloquial.

This verb in Old English was used to gloss Late Latin words in the sense "to discriminate, to decide" that literally mean "to divide, separate" (compare discern). Hence also Old English scead (n.) "separation, distinction; discretion, understanding, reason;" sceadwisnes "discrimination, discretion" (see shed (n.2)). Related: Shedding. To shed blood "kill by shedding blood" is from c. 1300  A shedding-tooth (1799) was a milk-tooth or baby-tooth.

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idol (n.)

mid-13c., "image of a deity as an object of (pagan) worship," from Old French idole "idol, graven image, pagan god" (11c.), from Latin idolum "image (mental or physical), form," especially "apparition, ghost," but used in Church Latin for "false god, image of a pagan deity as an object of worship." This is from Greek eidolon "mental image, apparition, phantom," also "material image, statue," in Ecclesiastical Greek," a pagan idol," from eidos "form, shape; likeness, resemblance" (see -oid).

A Greek word for "image," used in Jewish and early Christian writers for "image of a false god," hence also "false god." The Germanic languages tended to form a word for it from the reverse direction, from "god" to "false god," hence "image of a false god" (compare Old English afgod, Danish afgud, Swedish avgud, Old High German abgot, compounds with af-/ab- "away, away from" (source of off) + god).

The older Greek senses sometimes have been used in English. Figurative sense of "something idolized" is first recorded 1560s (in Middle English the figurative sense was "someone who is false or untrustworthy"). Meaning "a person so adored, human object of adoring devotion" is from 1590s.

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queer (adj.)

c. 1500, "strange, peculiar, odd, eccentric," from Scottish, perhaps from Low German (Brunswick dialect) queer "oblique, off-center," which is related to German quer "oblique, perverse, odd," from Old High German twerh "oblique" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). For the suggested sense evolution, compare cross (adj.). But OED is against this etymology on grounds of timing and sense.

The meaning "appearing, feeling, or behaving otherwise than is usual or normal" is by 1781. The colloquial sense of "open to suspicion, doubtful as to honesty" is by 1740. As a slang noun, "counterfeit money," by 1812; to shove the queer (1859) was "to pass counterfeit money. Queer Street (1811) was the imaginary place where persons in difficulties and shady characters lived, hence, in cant generally, "contrary to one's wishes."

Sense of "homosexual" is attested by 1922; the noun in this sense is 1935, from the adjective. Related: Queerly. Queer studies as an academic discipline is attested from 1994.

Among the entries in the 1811 "Lexicon Balatronicum" are: Queer as Dick's Hatband "Out of order without knowing one's disease"; Queer Bitch "An odd out of the way fellow"; Queer Ken "A prison";  Queer Mort "A diseased strumpet";  Queer Rooster "An informer that pretends to be sleeping and thereby overhears the conversation of thieves in nightcellars."

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hatchet (n.)

c. 1300 (mid-12c. in surnames), "small axe with a short handle," designed to be used by one hand, from Old French hachete "small combat-axe, hatchet," diminutive of hache "axe, battle-axe, pickaxe," possibly from Frankish *happja or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hapjo- (source also of Old High German happa "sickle, scythe").

This is perhaps from PIE root *kop- "to beat, strike" (source also of Greek kopis "knife," koptein "to strike, smite," komma "piece cut off;" Lithuanian kaplys "hatchet," kapti, kapiu "to hew, fell;" Old Church Slavonic skopiti "castrate," Russian kopat' "to hack, hew, dig;" Albanian kep "to hew").

Hatchet-face in reference to one with sharp and prominent features is from 1650s. In Middle English, hatch itself was used in a sense "battle-axe." In 14c., hang up (one's) hatchet meant "stop what one is doing." Phrase bury the hatchet "lay aside instruments of war, forget injuries and make peace" (1754) is from a Native American peacemaking custom described from 1680. Hatchet-man was originally California slang for "hired Chinese assassin" (1880), later extended figuratively to journalists who attacked the reputation of a public figure (1944).

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flesh (n.)

Old English flæsc "flesh, meat, muscular parts of animal bodies; body (as opposed to soul)," also "living creatures," also "near kindred" (a sense now obsolete except in phrase flesh and blood), from Proto-Germanic *flaiska-/*fleiski- (source also of Old Frisian flesk, Middle Low German vlees, German Fleisch "flesh," Old Norse flesk "pork, bacon"), which is of uncertain origin; according to Watkins, originally "piece of meat torn off," from PIE *pleik- "to tear," but Boutkan suspects a northern European substratum word.

Of fruits from 1570s. Figurative use for "carnal nature, animal or physical nature of man" (Old English) is from the Bible, especially Paul's use of Greek sarx, and this led to sense of "sensual appetites" (c. 1200).

Flesh-wound is from 1670s; flesh-color, the hue of "Caucasian" skin, is first recorded 1610s, described as a tint composed of "a light pink with a little yellow" [O'Neill, "Dyeing," 1862]. In the flesh "in a bodily form" (1650s) originally was of Jesus (Wyclif has up the flesh, Tindale after the flesh). An Old English poetry-word for "body" was flæsc-hama, literally "flesh-home." A religious tract from 1548 has fleshling "a sensual person." Flesh-company (1520s) was an old term for "sexual intercourse."

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hit (v.)

late Old English hyttan, hittan "come upon, meet with, fall in with, 'hit' upon," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse hitta "to light upon, meet with," also "to hit, strike;" Swedish hitta "to find," Danish and Norwegian hitte "to hit, find," from Proto-Germanic *hitjan, which is of uncertain origin. Meaning shifted in late Old English period to "strike, come into forcible contact" via the notion of "to reach with a blow or missile," and the word displaced Old English slean (modern slay) in this sense. Original sense survives in phrases such as hit it off (1780, earlier in same sense hit it, 1630s) and is revived in slang hit on (1970s).

To hit the bottle "drink alcohol" is from 1933 (hit the booze in the same sense is from 1889, and hit the pipe "smoke opium" is also late 19c.). To figuratively hit the nail on the head (1570s) is from archery. To hit the hay "go to bed" is from 1912. Hit the road "leave" is from 1873; hit the bricks is from 1909, originally trade union jargon meaning "go out on strike." To hit (someone) up "request something" is from 1917. To not know what hit (one) is from 1923. Related: Hitting.

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coelacanth (n.)

order of lobe-finned fishes, 1850, from Modern Latin Coelacanthus (genus name, 1839, Agassiz), from Greek koilos "hollow" (from PIE root *keue- "to swell," also "vault, hole") + akantha "spine" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce"). So called from the hollow fin rays supporting the tail in fossil remains.

Thought to have gone extinct 66 million years ago until a living one was fished up off the east coast of South Africa Dec. 22, 1938. The specimen was noticed by museum curator Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, who wrote a description of it to South African ichthyologist J.L.B. Smith.

I stared and stared, at first in puzzlement. I did not know any fish of our own, or indeed of any seas like that; it looked more like a lizard. And then a bomb seemed to burst in my brain, and beyond that sketch and the paper of the letter, I was looking at a series of fishy creatures that flashed up as on a screen, fishes no longer here, fishes that had lived in dim past ages gone, and of which only fragmentary remains in rock are known. [J.L.B. Smith, "Old Fourlegs: The Story of the Coelacanth," 1956]
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ski (n.)

in early use often skee, "one of a pair of long, slender boards or slats fastened to the feet and used to glide over snow," 1883 (there is an isolated instance from 1755), from Norwegian ski, related to Old Norse skið "long snowshoe," literally "stick of wood, firewood," cognate with Old English scid "stick of wood," obsolete English shide "piece of wood split off from timber;" Old High German skit, German Scheit "log," from Proto-Germanic *skid- "to divide, split," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."

THE new sport which has lately been introduced at Beloit is skeeing. They are long ash planks, carefully planed and turned up at the end, and are warranted to take you down hill quicker than a wink. After some practice performers become very expert, and the speed with which they go is something surprising. [Beloit College, Wisconsin, Round Table, Dec. 18, 1885]

Ski-jumper is attested from 1894; ski bum, a skiing enthusiast who works casual jobs at resorts for the opportunity to ski, is attested by 1960; ski-mask, originally to protect the face while skiing, is from 1963; noted as part of criminal disguises by 1968.

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distance (n.)

c. 1300, distaunce, "a dispute or controversy, civil strife, rebellion;" early 14c., "disagreement, discord, strife;" from Old French destance "discord, quarrel" (13c.), with later senses directly from Latin distantia "a standing apart," from distantem (nominative distans) "standing apart, separate, distant," present participle of distare "stand apart," from dis- "apart, off" (see dis-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Meaning "remoteness of space, extent of space between two objects or places" is from late 14c. Also "an interval of time" (late 14c., originally distaunce of times). Meaning "remote part of a field of vision" is by 1813. The figurative sense of "aloofness, remoteness in personal intercourse" (1590s) is the same as in stand-offish.

At a distance "far away" is from 1650s. To keep (one's) distance was originally figurative (c. 1600). Phrase go the distance (1930s) seems to be originally from the prize ring, where the word meant "scheduled length of a bout." But it also was a term in 19c. horse-racing heats, where distance meant "the space behind the winning horse in a race that other competing horses must be inside to avoid being disqualified for subsequent heats."

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