Etymology
Advertisement
quarterstaff (n.)

also quarter-staff, 1540s (quarter-stroke "stroke with a quarterstaff" is attested from early 15c.), an old weapon formed from a stout pole, six to eight feet long (six-and-a-half sometimes is given as the standard length), tipped with iron, formerly a weapon characteristic of the English peasantry. From staff (n.); the quarter in it is of uncertain signification. According to one theory, favored by fencing manuals, etc., it likely is in reference to operation of the weapon:

It was grasped by one hand in the middle, and by the other between the middle and the end. In the attack the latter hand shifted from one quarter of the staff to the other, giving the weapon a rapid circular motion, which brought the ends on the adversary at unexpected points. [Century Dictionary]

Linguists tend to prefer an explanation from woodcutting, perhaps a reference to a cut of lumber known as a quarter, but contemporary evidence is wanting for either conjecture.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
map (n.)

"drawing upon a plane surface representing a part or whole of the earth's surface or the heavens, with the various points drawn in proportion and in corresponding positions," 1520s, a shortening of Middle English mapemounde "map of the world" (late 14c.), and in part from French mappe, shortening of Old French mapemonde. Both the fuller English and French words are from Medieval Latin mappa mundi "map of the world."

The first element is from Latin mappa "napkin, cloth" (on which maps were drawn), "tablecloth, signal-cloth, flag," said by Quintilian to be of Punic (Semitic) origin (compare Talmudic Hebrew mappa, contraction of Mishnaic menaphah "a fluttering banner, streaming cloth"). The second element is Latin mundi "of the world," from mundus "universe, world" (see mundane).

Commonly used 17c. in a figurative sense of "epitome; detailed representation of anything." To put (something) on the map "bring it to wide attention" is from 1913.

Related entries & more 
bun (n.)

"small, slightly sweetened roll or biscuit," late 14c., of obscure and much-disputed origin; perhaps [Skeat] from Old French buignete "a fritter," originally "a boil, a swelling," diminutive of buigne "swelling from a blow, bump on the head," from a Germanic source (compare Middle High German bunge "clod, lump"), or from Gaulish *bunia (compare Gaelic bonnach; see bannock). Spanish buñelo "a fritter" apparently is from the same source.

Of hair coiled at the back of the head, first attested 1894. To have a bun in the oven "be pregnant" is from 1951. The modern popular use of buns in the sense of "male buttocks" is from 1960s, perhaps from a perceived similarity; but bun also meant "tail of a hare" (1530s) in Scottish and northern England dialect and was transferred to human beings (and conveniently rhymed with nun in ribald ballads). This may be an entirely different word; OED points to Gaelic bun "stump, root."

Related entries & more 
oriel (n.)

mid-13c, "a portico or small room forming a projection, a room or building in the form of a large bay window;" mid-14c., "large recessed window, a bay window," from Old French oriol "hall, vestibule; oriel," and Medieval Latin oriolum "porch, small room, gallery," which are perhaps from Vulgar Latin *auraeolum, a dissimilation of aulaeolum, a diminutive of Latin aulaeum "curtain." "Although much research has been expended upon the history of this word, and especially upon the development of the current use in oriel window, the sense history remains in many points obscure and perplexed" [OED].

It projects from the outer face of the wall, being in plan actually hexagonal, semi-octagonal, or rectangular, etc., and is supported on brackets, corbels, or corbeling. When such a projecting feature rests upon the ground, or directly upon the foundation of the building, it is called a bay-window, or a bow-window. [Century Dictionary]
Related entries & more 
link (n.)

early 15c., "one of a series of rings or loops which form a chain; section of a cord," probably from Old Norse *hlenkr or a similar Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse hlekkr "link," in plural, "chain;" Old Swedish lænker "chain, link," Norwegian lenke "a link," Danish lænke "a chain," German Gelenk "articulation, a joint of the body; a link, ring"), from Proto-Germanic *khlink- (source also of German lenken "to bend, turn, lead"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn." Related to lank, flank, flinch.

The noun is not found in Old English, where it is represented by lank "the hip" ("turn of the body"), hlencan (plural) "armor." Meaning "a division of a sausage made in a continuous chain" is from mid-15c. Meaning "anything serving to connect one thing or part with another" is from 1540s. Sense of "means of telecommunication between two points" is from 1911. Missing link between man and apes dates to 1880.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
plumbing (n.)

mid-15c., "the weighting of a fishing line," verbal noun from plumb (v.). In early Modern English "the art of casting and working in lead." Specific meaning "water and drainage pipes and other apparatus used for conveying water through a building" is recorded by 1875, American English.

THE apparatus by which the water from a reservoir is carried about over a building and delivered at points convenient for use, is called by the general name of plumbing. The word "plumbing" means lead-work; and it is used to signify this water apparatus of a house because the pipes of which it largely consists are usually made of lead. [Edward Abbott, "Long Look House: A Book for Boys and Girls," Boston, 1877]

Alternative plumbery for "lead-work" (also "a building in which lead-work is done") also is mid-15c. The slang meaning "a person's reproductive organs" is attested by 1975.

Related entries & more 
possession (n.)

mid-14c., possessioun, "act or fact of holding, occupying, or owning; a taking possession, occupation," also "thing possessed, that which is possessed, material or landed property" (in plural, goods, lands, or rights owned), from Old French possession "fact of having and holding; what is possessed;" also "demonic possession," and directly from Latin possessionem (nominative possessio) "a seizing, possession," noun of action from past-participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess).

The legal property sense is earliest; the demonic sense in English, "state of being under the control of evil spirits or of madness," first is recorded 1580s. Phrase possession is nine (or eleven) points of the law is out of a supposed 10 (or 12). With eleven from 1640s; with nine from 1690s.

St. Jerome in his 'Life of St. Hilarion' has given us a graphic account of the courage with which that saint confronted, and the success with which he relieved, a possessed camel. [W.E.H. Lecky, "A History of European Morals," 1869]
Related entries & more 
game (n.)

c. 1200, from Old English gamen "joy, fun; game, amusement," common Germanic (cognates: Old Frisian game "joy, glee," Old Norse gaman "game, sport; pleasure, amusement," Old Saxon gaman, Old High German gaman "sport, merriment," Danish gamen, Swedish gamman "merriment"), said to be identical with Gothic gaman "participation, communion," from Proto-Germanic *ga- collective prefix + *mann "person," giving a sense of "people together."

The -en was lost perhaps through being mistaken for a suffix. Meaning "contest for success or superiority played according to rules" is first attested c. 1200 (of athletic contests, chess, backgammon). Especially "the sport of hunting, fishing, hawking, or fowling" (c. 1300), thus "wild animals caught for sport" (c. 1300), which is the game in fair game (see under fair (adj.)), also gamey. Meaning "number of points required to win a game" is from 1830. Game plan is 1941, from U.S. football; game show first attested 1961.

Related entries & more 
sphere (n.)

mid-15c., Latinized spelling of Middle English spere (c. 1300) "cosmos; space, conceived as a hollow globe about the world," from Anglo-French espiere, Old French espere (13c., Modern French sphère), from Latin sphaera "globe, ball, celestial sphere" (Medieval Latin spera), from Greek sphaira "globe, ball, playing ball, terrestrial globe," a word of unknown origin.

From late 14c. in reference to any of the supposed concentric, transparent, hollow, crystalline globes of the cosmos believed to revolve around the earth and contain the planets and the fixed stars; the supposed harmonious sound they made rubbing against one another was the music of the spheres (late 14c.). Also from late 14c. as "a globe; object of spherical form, a ball," and the geometric sense "solid figure with all points equidistant from the center." Meaning "range of something, place or scene of activity" is first recorded c. 1600 (as in sphere of influence, 1885, originally in reference to Anglo-German colonial rivalry in Africa).

Related entries & more 
tittle (n.)

"small stroke or point in writing," late 14c. (Wyclif, in Matthew v.18), translating Latin apex in Late Latin sense of "accent mark over a vowel," which itself translates Greek keraia (literally "a little horn"), used by the Greek grammarians of the accents and diacritical points, in this case a Biblical translation of Hebrew qots, literally "thorn, prick," used of the little lines and projections by which the Hebrew letters of similar form differ from one another.

Wyclif's word is borrowed from a specialized sense of Latin titulus (see title (n.)), which was used in Medieval Latin (and in Middle English and Old French) to indicate "a stroke over an abridged word to indicate letters missing" (and compare Provençal titule "the dot over -i-").

As apex was used by the Latin grammarians for the accent or mark over a long vowel, titulus and apex became to some extent synonymous; hence Wyclif's use of titil, titel to render L. apex [OED]

Compare tilde, which is the Spanish form of the same word.

Related entries & more 

Page 13