late 14c., "measured ground for a combat, joust, race., etc.," in a Scottish source, and according to OED "Until the latter part of the 19thy cent. only in Sc. use;" probably from Old French renc, reng "row, line," from Frankish or another Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hringaz "something curved, circle" (from PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend"). But probably much confused in meaning with ring (n.1), also used for "area marked out for a sporting contest."
By 1787 (Burns) as "a sheet of ice measured off for curling;" extended to smooth wooden floors for roller-skating by 1875, to ice surfaces measured for ice hockey by 1896. By 1895 as "building containing a skating rink."
(plural Cyclopes), in Greek mythology, a giant with one eye, circular and in the middle of the forehead, 1510s, from Latin Cyclops, from Greek kyklops, literally "round-eyed," from stem of kyklos "circle, circular body" (from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round") + ops "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see").
According to the Hesiodic legend, there were three Cyclopes of the race of Titans, sons of Uranus and Ge, who forged the thunderbolts of Zeus, Pluto's helmet, and Poseidon's trident, and were considered the primeval patrons of all smiths. Their workshops were afterward said to be under Mount Etna. [Century Dictionary]
But in the Odyssey they were lawless gigantic cannibal shepherds in Sicily under their chief Polyphemus, and in other ancient tales they were race of giants from Thrace under a king Cyclops, who built the prehistoric walls and fortresses of Greece. Related: Cyclopic.
"structure consisting of one large, unhewn stone slab resting on two or more stones placed erect in the earth," such that a person may walk under it, 1859, from French dolmin applied 1796 by French general and antiquarian Théophile Malo Corret de La Tour d'Auvergne (1743-1800), perhaps from Cornish tolmen, literally "hole of stone," from Celtic men "stone."
Some suggest the first element may be Breton taol "table," a loan-word from Latin tabula "board, plank," but OED says the Breton form of this compound would be taolvean. "There is reason to think that this [tolmen] is the word inexactly reproduced by Latour d'Auvergne as dolmin, and misapplied by him and succeeding French archaeologists to the cromlech" [OED]. See cromlech, which is the same idea but arranged as one of a circle. Related: Dolmenic.
late 14c., conneccion, "state or fact of being connected," also connexioun (in this spelling from mid-15c.), from Old French connexion, from Latin connexionem (nominative connexio) "a binding or joining together," from *connexare, frequentative of conectere "to fasten together, to tie, join together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + nectere "to bind, tie" (from PIE root *ned- "to bind, tie").
Meaning "act of connecting" is from c. 1600; sense of "anything that connects" is from 1741. As "circle of persons with whom one is brought into more or less intimate relations" is from 1767. Meaning "the meeting of one means of travel with another" is from 1862. Sense of "supplier of narcotics" is attested by 1934.
geometric figure, "oblique-angled equilateral parallelogram," 1570s, from French rhombe, from Latin rhombus "a magician's circle," also a kind of fish, which in Late Latin took on also the geometric sense. This is from Greek rhombos "circular movement, spinning motion; spinning-top; magic wheel used by sorcerers; tambourine;" also "a geometrical rhomb," also the name of a flatfish.
Watkins has this from rhembesthai "to spin, whirl," from PIE *wrembh-, from *werbh- "to turn, twist, bend" (source also of Old English weorpan "to throw away"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend" (see versus). But Beekes connects rhombos to rhembomai "to go about, wander, roam about, act random," despite this being attested "much later," a word of no clear etymology.
In general use in reference to any lozenge-shaped object. Related: Rhombic.
late 14c. as the name of a flowering plant (Iris germanica); early 15c. in reference to the eye membrane, from Latin iris (plural irides) "iris of the eye; iris plant; rainbow," from Greek iris (genitive iridos) "a rainbow;" also "iris plant" and "iris of the eye," a word of uncertain origin, traditionally derived from PIE root *wei- "to bend, turn, twist."
Iris was the name of the minister and messenger of the Olympian gods (especially of Hera), visibly represented by the rainbow (which was regarded as the descent of a celestial messenger). From the oldest parts of the Iliad the word is used of both the messenger and the rainbow.
The eye region was so called (early 15c. in English) for being the part that gives color to the eye; the Greek word was used of any brightly colored circle, "as that round the eyes of a peacock's tail" [Liddell & Scott]. Another sense in Middle English was "prismatic rock crystal." Related: Iridian; iridine.
late 14c., "unwholesome, impure, of the nature of vice, wicked, corrupting, pernicious, harmful;" of a text, "erroneous, corrupt," from Anglo-French vicious, Old French vicios "wicked, cunning, underhand; defective, illegal" (Modern French vicieux), from Latin vitiosus (Medieval Latin vicious) "faulty, full of faults, defective, corrupt; wicked, depraved," from vitium "fault" (see vice (n.1)).
Meaning "inclined to be savage or dangerous" is first recorded 1711 (originally of animals, especially horses); that of "full of spite, bitter, severe" is from 1825. In law, "marred by some inherent fault" (late 14c.), hence also this sense in logic (c. 1600), as in vicious circle in reasoning (c. 1792, Latin circulus vitiosus), which was given a general sense of "a situation in which action and reaction intensify one another" by 1839. Related: Viciously (mid-14c., "sinfully"); viciousness.
late 14c., cicle, "perpetual circulating period of time, on the completion of which certain phenomena return in the same order," especially and originally in reference to astronomical phenomena, from Old French cicle and directly from Late Latin cyclus, from Greek kyklos "circle, wheel, any circular body," also "circular motion, cycle of events," from PIE kw(e)-kwl-o-, a suffixed, reduplicated form of the root *kwel- (1) "to revolve, move round."
From 1660s as "any recurring round of operations or events" (as in life cycle). From 1821 as "single complete period in a cycle." Extended by 1842 to "any long period of years, an age." In literary use, "the aggregate of the legends or traditions around some real or mythical event or character" (1835).
By 1884 as "recurring series of oscillations or operations in an engine, etc." From 1870 as short for motorcycle; by 1881 as short for bicycle or tricycle.
late 14c., "book of permanent tables of astronomical data," attested in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c., via Old French almanach or directly from Medieval Latin almanachus, a word of uncertain origin and the subject of much speculation. The Latin word is often said to be ultimately from Arabic somehow, but an exact phonological and semantic fit is wanting: OED connects it to a supposed Spanish-Arabic al-manakh "calendar, almanac," which is possibly ultimately from Late Greek almenichiakon "calendar," which itself is said to be of Coptic origin. But the author of English words of Arabic Ancestry makes a detailed case "that the word almanac was pseudo-Arabic and was generated within the circle of astronomers in Paris in the mid 13th century."
One-year versions, showing correspondence of days of the week and month, ecclesiastical calendars, etc., date from 16c.; "astrological and weather predictions appear in 16-17th c.; the 'useful statistics' are a modern feature" [OED].
late 14c., in reference to the large, oblong, unroofed enclosures used for races, etc., in ancient Rome, from Latin circus "ring, circular line," which was applied by Romans to circular arenas for performances and contests and oval courses for racing (especially the Circus Maximus), from or cognate with Greek kirkos "a circle, a ring," perhaps from PIE *kikro-, reduplicated form of root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend." The adjective form is circensian.
In reference to modern large arenas for performances of feats of horsemanship, acrobatics, etc., from 1791, sense then extended to the performing company itself and the entertainment given, hence "traveling show" (originally traveling circus, 1838). Extended in World War I to squadrons of military aircraft. Meaning "lively uproar, chaotic hubbub" is from 1869.
Sense in Picadilly Circus and other place names is from early 18c. sense "buildings arranged in a ring," also "circular road."