Specific military sense of "army officer next in rank to a captain and commanding the company in his absence" is from 1570s. Pronunciation with lef- is common in Britain, and spellings to reflect it date back to 14c., but the origin of this is a mystery (OED rejects suggestion that it comes from old confusion of -u- and -v-).
The adjective came to be used as a noun in Church Latin via anniversaria dies in reference to saints' days. Anniversary as an adjective in English is from mid-15c. An Old English word for "anniversary" (n.) was mynddæg, literally "mind-day."
"dark fecal discharge from a newborn infant," 1706, from Latin meconium "excrement of a newborn child," literally "poppy juice," from Greek mēkōnion "poppy-juice, opium," diminutive of mēkōn "poppy," which perhaps is related to Old Church Slavonic maku, German Mohn "poppy," and is perhaps of Pre-Greek origin. "As the poppy originates from the Mediterranean according to botanists, it is often thought that we are dealing with a 'Wanderwort', which was borrowed into lndoEuropean at PIE date" [Beekes]. The discharge was so called by classical physicians for its resemblance. Related: Meconial.
children's game, from plural of marble (n.); the game is recorded by that name by 1709 but is probably older (it was known in 13c. German as tribekugeln). It originally was played with small balls of polished marble or alabaster, later of clay. Glass marbles with the colored swirl date from the 1840s.
Meaning "mental faculties, common sense" (as in to lose or not have all one's marbles) is by 1927, American English slang, perhaps [OED] from earlier slang marbles "furniture, personal effects, 'the goods' " (1864, Hotten), a corrupt translation of French meubles (plural) "furniture" (see furniture).
late 14c., "death," a sense now obsolete, from Old French obit or directly from Medieval Latin obitus "death" (a figurative use, literally "a going down, a going to a place"), noun use of past participle of Latin obire "to die," literally "to go toward" (see obituary).
From c. 1400 as "anniversary of a person's death; memorial service held on the anniversary of a person's death." In modern usage (since 1874) it is usually a clipped form of obituary, though it had the same meaning of "published death notice" 15c.-17c. The scholarly abbreviation ob. with date is from Latin obiit "(he) died," third person singular of obire.
Perhaps so called in reference to trees growing nearby (compare Alamogordo, New Mexico, literally "big poplar," and Spanish alameda "a shaded public walk with a row of trees on each side"); but the popular name seems to date from the period 1803-13, when the old mission building was the base for a Spanish cavalry company from the Mexican town of Alamo de Parras in Nueva Vizcaya.
surname attested from early 15c., probably in many cases a variant of Mathieson "son of Matthew," but in some cases perhaps "son of Maddy," from the pet form of the fem. proper name Maud. The city in Wisconsin, U.S., was named 1836 for U.S. President James Madison, who had died that year. As the name of a popular dance of 1960 its signification is unknown; supposedly it originated in Baltimore.
Madison Avenue "values and business of advertising and public relations" is attested by 1954, from the street in Manhattan, laid out c. 1836 and also named for the late president. The concentration of advertising agencies there seems to date from the 1940s.
1660s, "pod of the vanilla plant," from Spanish vainilla "vanilla plant," literally "little pod," diminutive of vaina "sheath," from Latin vagina "sheath of an ear of grain, hull of a plant" (see vagina). So called from the shape of the pods. European discovery 1521 by Hernando Cortes' soldiers on reconnaissance in southeastern Mexico. Meaning "flavoring extracted from the vanilla bean" is attested by 1728.
Adjectival meaning "conventional, of ordinary sexual preferences" is by 1970s, probably from the notion of whiteness and the common choice of vanilla ice cream; vanilla as figurative of a plain and conventional choice (without reference to sex) seems to date to the late 19c. as a noun, by 1940s (often plain vanilla) as an adjective.
member of a supposed secret society possessing ancient occult wisdom, 1620s, from Modern Latin rosa crucis (DuCange) or crux, in either case a Latinization of German Rosenkreuz, French rosecroix, in either case from the name of the society's reputed founder, Christian Rosenkreuz, said to date from 1484 but not mentioned before 1614. As an adjective from 1660s. Related: Rosicrucianism.
The book describing the Rosicrucians ("Fama Fraternitatis," published in 1614) is generally regarded as merely an elaborate satire on the charlatanry and credulity of the times. Books of Rosicrucian pretensions were formerly numerous in England as well as in Germany, and several have lately reappeared in the United States. [Century Dictionary, 1895]