Etymology
Advertisement
Amazon (n.)
late 14c., via Old French (13c.) or Latin, from Greek Amazon (mostly in plural Amazones) "one of a race of female warriors in Scythia," probably from an unknown non-Indo-European word, or possibly from an Iranian compound *ha-maz-an- "(one) fighting together" [Watkins], but in folk etymology long derived from a- "without" + mazos, variant of mastos "breast;" hence the story that the Amazons cut or burned off one breast so they could draw bowstrings more efficiently. Also used generally in early Modern English of female warriors; strong, tall, or masculine women; and the queen in chess.

The river in South America (originally called by the Spanish Rio Santa Maria de la Mar Dulce) rechristened by Francisco de Orellana, 1541, after an encounter with female warriors of the Tapuyas (or, as some say, beardless, long-haired male tribesmen). Others hold that the river name is a corruption of a native word in Tupi or Guarani meaning "wave").
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
mensa (n.)

"altar top," 1848, Latin, literally "table," also "meal, supper," and "altar, sacrificial table," hence used in Church Latin for "upper slab of a church altar" (see mesa). With a capital M-, the name of an organization for people of IQs of 148 or more founded in England in 1946, the name chosen, according to the organization, to suggest a "round table" type group. The constellation (1763) originally was Mons Mensae "Table Mountain." It is the faintest constellation in the sky, with no star brighter than magnitude 5.0.

La Caille, who did so much for our knowledge of the southern heavens, formed the figure from stars under the Greater Cloud, between the poles of the equator and the ecliptic, just north of the polar Octans; the title being suggested by the fact that the Table Mountain, back of Cape Town, "which had witnessed his nightly vigils and daily toils," also was frequently capped by a cloud. [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," London: 1899]
Related entries & more 
separation (n.)

c. 1400, separacioun, "a severing, detaching, cutting apart, act of removing or disconnecting one thing from another," from Old French separacion (Modern French séparation) and directly from Latin separationem (nominative separatio) noun of action from past-participle stem of separare "to pull apart," from se- "apart" (see secret (n.)) + parare "make ready, prepare" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure"). Alternative separateness (1650s) tends to hold to the meaning "distinct character or state, fact of being separate."

The specific sense of "sundering of a married couple, limited divorce" (without dissolution of the marriage tie) is attested from c. 1600. Sense in printing in reference to proportionate monochrome representations of a color photograph   is from 1922.

Separation of powers is attested by 1792, from French séparée de la puissance (Montesquieu, 1748). The idea was discussed in several places in "The Federalist" (1788), but not in that exact phrase (e.g. separation of the departments of power, No. 81). In psychology, the child's separation anxiety is attested from 1943.

Related entries & more 
admiral (n.)

c. 1200, amiral, admirail, "Saracen commander or chieftain," from Old French amirail (12c.) "Saracen military commander; any military commander," ultimately from medieval Arabic amir "military commander," probably via Medieval Latin use of the word for "Muslim military leader."

Amiral de la mer "commander of a fleet of ships" is in late 13c. Anglo-French documents. Meaning "highest-ranking naval officer" in English is from early 15c. The extension of the word's meaning from "commander on land" to "commander at sea" likely began in 12c. Sicily with Medieval Latin amiratus and then spread to the continent, but the word also continued to mean "Muslim military commander" in Europe in the Middle Ages. The Arabic word was later Englished as emir.

As amīr is constantly followed by -al- in all such titles, amīr-al- was naturally assumed by Christian writers as a substantive word, and variously Latinized .... [OED]

Also in Old French and Middle English further conformed to familiar patterns as amirauld, amiraunt. The unetymological -d- probably is from influence of Latin ad-mirabilis (see admire). Italian form almiraglio, Spanish almirante are from confusion with Arabic words in al-. As the name of a type of butterfly from 1720, according to OED possibly a corruption of admirable.

Related entries & more 
needle (n.)

Old English nædl "small, pointed instrument for carrying a thread through woven fabric, leather, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *næthlo (source also of Old Saxon nathla, Old Norse nal, Old Frisian nedle, Old High German nadala, German Nadel, Gothic neþla "needle"), literally "a tool for sewing," from PIE *net-la-, from root *(s)ne- "to sew, to spin" (source also of Sanskrit snayati "wraps up," Greek nein "to spin," Latin nere "to spin," German nähen "to sew," Old Church Slavonic niti "thread," Old Irish snathat "needle," Welsh nyddu "to sew," nodwydd "needle") + instrumental suffix *-tla.

To seke out one lyne in all hys bookes wer to go looke a nedle in a meadow. [Thomas More, c. 1530]

Meaning "piece of magnetized steel in a compass" is from late 14c. (on a dial or indicator from 1928); the surgical instrument so called from 1727; phonographic sense from 1902; sense of "leaf of a fir or pine tree" first attested 1797. Needledom "the world of sewing" is from 1847. Needle's eye, figurative of a minute opening, often is a reference to Matthew xix.24.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
sleeve (n.)

Old English sliefe (West Saxon), slefe (Mercian) "arm-covering part of a garment," probably literally "that into which the arm slips," from Proto-Germanic *slaubjon (source also of Middle Low German sloven "to dress carelessly," Old High German sloufen "to put on or off"). Related to Old English slefan, sliefan "to slip on (clothes)" and slupan "to slip, glide," from PIE root *sleubh- "to slide, slip."

Compare slipper, Old English slefescoh "slipper," slip (n.2) "woman's garment," and expression slip into "dress in." Mechanical sense is attested from 1864. Meaning "the English Channel" translates French La Manche, literally "the sleeve" (from Old French manche "a sleeve," also "a handle," from Latin manicae "long sleeves of a tunic;" see manacle (n.)).

To have something up one's sleeve is recorded from c. 1500 (large sleeves formerly doubled as pockets); to have a card (or ace) up one's sleeve in the figurative sense "have a hidden resource" is from 1863; the cheat itself is mentioned by 1840s. To wear one's heart on (one's) sleeve is from "Othello" (1604).

Related entries & more 
guillotine (n.)

"The name of the machine in which the axe descends in grooves from a considerable height so that the stroke is certain and the head instantly severed from the body." [Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, January 1793], 1791, from French guillotine, named in recognition of French physician Joseph Guillotin (1738-1814), who as a deputy to the National Assembly (1789) proposed, for humanitarian and efficiency reasons, that capital punishment be carried out by beheading quickly and cleanly on a machine, which was built in 1791 and first used the next year. Similar devices on similar principles had been used in the Middle Ages. The verb is attested by 1794. Related: Guillotined; guillotining.

This is the product of Guillotin's endeavors, ... which product popular gratitude or levity christens by a feminine derivative name, as if it were his daughter: La Guillotine! ... Unfortunate Doctor! For two-and-twenty years he, unguillotined, shall hear nothing but guillotine, see nothing but guillotine; then dying, shall through long centuries wander, as it were, a disconsolate ghost, on the wrong side of Styx and Lethe; his name like to outlive Cæsar's. [Carlyle, "French Revolution"]
Related entries & more 
moment (n.)

late 14c., "very brief portion of time, instant," in moment of time, from Old French moment (12c.) "moment, minute; importance, weight, value" and directly from Latin momentum "movement, motion; moving power; alteration, change;" also "short time, instant" (also source of Spanish, Italian momento), contraction of *movimentum, from movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away").

Some (but not OED) explain the sense evolution of the Latin word by notion of a particle so small it would just "move" the pointer of a scale, which led to the transferred sense of "minute time division."

In careful use, a moment has duration, an instant does not. The sense of "notable importance, 'weight,' value, consequence" is attested in English from 1520s. Meaning "opportunity" (as in seize the moment) is from 1781.

In for the moment "temporarily, so far as the near future is concerned" (1883) it means "the present time." Phrase never a dull moment is attested by 1885 (Jerome K. Jerome, "On the Stage - and Off"). Phrase moment of truth first recorded 1932 in Hemingway's "Death in the Afternoon," from Spanish el momento de la verdad, the final sword-thrust in a bull-fight.

Related entries & more 
oh (interj.)

interjection expressing various emotions (fear, surprise, pain, invocation, gladness, admiration, etc.), 1530s, from Middle English o, from Old French ô, oh or directly from Latin o, oh; a common Indo-European interjection (compare Greek ō; Old Church Slavonic and Lithuanian o; Irish och, Old Irish a; Sanskrit a). But it is not found in Old English (which had ea and translated Latin oh with la or eala) or the older Germanic languages except those that probably borrowed it from Greek or Latin.

The present tendency is to restrict oh to places where it has a certain independence, & prefer o where it is proclitic or leans forward upon what follows .... [Fowler]

Often extended for emphasis, as in Oh, baby, a stock saying from c. 1918; oh, boy (by 1917); oh, yeah (1924). Reduplicated form oh-oh as an expression of alarm or dismay is attested from 1944 (as uh-oh by 1935). Oh-so "so very" (often sarcastic or ironic) is by 1916. Oh yeah? "really? Is that so?" is attested from 1930.

Related entries & more 
modesty (n.)

1530s, "freedom from exaggeration, self-control," from French modestie or directly from Latin modestia "moderation, sense of honor, correctness of conduct," from modestus "moderate, keeping due measure, sober, gentle, temperate," from modus "measure, manner" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Meaning "quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself, retiring demeanor, disinclination to presumption, unobtrusiveness" is from 1550s; that of "womanly propriety, purity or delicacy of thought or manner" is from 1560s.

In euery of these thinges and their semblable is Modestie; whiche worde nat beinge knowen in the englisshe tonge, ne of al them which under stode latin, except they had radde good autours, they improprely named this vertue discretion. [Sir Thomas Elyot, "The Boke Named The Gouernour," 1531]
La pudeur donne des plaisirs bien flatteurs à l'amant: elle lui fait sentir quelles lois l'on transgresse pour lui;(Modesty both pleases and flatters a lover, for it lays stress on the laws which are being transgressed for his sake.) [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
The pride which masks as modesty is the most perverse of all. [Marcus Aurelius]
Related entries & more 

Page 13