Etymology
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rude (adj.)

late 13c., "coarse, rough, without finish" (of surfaces), from Old French ruide (13c.) and directly from Latin rudis "rough, crude, unlearned," a word of uncertain etymology, related to rudus "rubble." The usual preferred derivation is that it is from the same source as Latin rufus "red" (see rufous) via a notion of raw ("red") meat, but de Vaan points out "there is not a shimmer of a meaning 'red' in rudis or in rudus 'rubble', so that the supposed shift from 'crude (meat)' > 'crude' rests in the air."

The senses of "ill-mannered, uncultured, boorish; uneducated, ignorant" are from mid-14c.; also of actions or acts, "violent, rough." That of "of low birth or position, common, humble" is from late 14c. The meaning "marked by incivility, contrary to the requirements of courtesy" is perhaps late 14c., certainly by 16c., but difficult to distinguish from earlier "unrefined, uncultured" senses.

Rude boy (also Rudie, for short) in Jamaican slang is attested from 1967. Figurative phrase rude awakening is attested from 1895.

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embezzlement (n.)

"theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one's trust or belonging to one's employer," 1540s, from embezzle + -ment. An earlier noun was embezzling (early 15c.).

[I]n English law, a peculiar form of theft, which is distinguished from the ordinary crime in two points:— (1) It is committed by a person who is in the position of clerk or servant to the owner of the property stolen; and (2) the property when stolen is in the possession of such clerk or servant. The definition of embezzlement as a special form of theft arose out of the difficulties caused by the legal doctrine that to constitute larceny the property must be taken out of the possession of the owner. Servants and others were thus able to steal with impunity goods entrusted to them by their masters. A statute of Henry VIII. (1529) was passed to meet this case; and it enacted that it should be felony in servants to convert to their own use caskets, jewels, money, goods or chattels delivered to them by their masters. [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910]
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deuce (n.)

late 15c., dews, "the 2 in dice or cards," also "a roll of 2 in dice" (1510s), from Old French deus (Modern French deux), from Latin duos (nominative duo) "two" (from PIE root *dwo- "two"). The spelling -ce from -s to reflect voiceless pronunciation is as in dice, pence, etc.

The word became a mild oath by 1710, about 50 years after it was first attested in the sense of "bad luck, the devil, etc.," perhaps because two was the lowest score, and probably by similarity to Latin deus and related words meaning "god." According to OED, 16c. Low German had der daus! in the same sense, which perhaps influenced the English form.

In tennis, "a stage of the game in which both players or sides have scored 40, and one must score 2 points to win," 1590s. Deuce coupe is 1940s hot-rodder slang for "souped up two-door car," especially a 1932 Ford. Related: Deuced; deucedly.

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south (adv.)

Old English suð "southward, to the south, southern, in the south," from Proto-Germanic *sunthaz, perhaps literally "sun-side" (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian suth "southward, in the south," Middle Dutch suut, Dutch zuid, German Süden), and related to base of *sunnon "sun" (from PIE root *sawel- "the sun"). Old French sur, sud (French sud), Spanish sur, sud are loan-words from Germanic, perhaps from Old Norse suðr.

As an adjective from c. 1300; as a noun, "one of the four cardinal points," also "southern region of a country," both late 13c. The Southern states of the U.S. have been collectively called The South since 1779 (in early use this often referred only to Georgia and South Carolina). South country in Britain means the part below the Tweed, in England the part below the Wash, and in Scotland the part below the Forth. South Sea meant "the Mediterranean" (late 14c.) and "the English Channel" (early 15c.) before it came to mean (in plural) "the South Pacific Ocean" (1520s) and it was frequent for "the Pacific Ocean" generally in U.S. in early 19c. (Thoreau, J.Q. Adams).

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gown (n.)

long, loose outer garment, c. 1300, from Old French goune "robe, coat; (nun's) habit, gown," related to Late Latin gunna "leather garment, skin, hide," of unknown origin. Used by St. Boniface (8c.) for a fur garment permitted for old or infirm monks. Klein writes that it is probably "a word adopted from a language of the Apennine or the Balkan Peninsula." OED points to Byzantine Greek gouna, a word for a coarse garment sometimes made of skins, but also notes "some scholars regard it as of Celtic origin."

In 18c., gown was the common word for what now usually is styled a dress. It was maintained more in the U.S. than in Britain, but was somewhat revived 20c. in fashion senses and in combinations (such as bridal gown, nightgown). Meaning "flowing robe worn on official occasions as a badge of office or authority" is from late 14c. As collective singular for "residents of a university" (1650s) it typically is used in rhyming opposition to town.

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reflection (n.)

late 14c., refleccioun, reflexioun, reflectioun, of surfaces or bodies, "the action of throwing back light or heat," from Old French reflexion, refleccion, and directly from Late Latin reflexionem (nominative reflexio) "a reflection," literally "a bending back," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin reflectere "to bend back, bend backwards, turn away," from re- "back" (see re-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible).

Meaning "an image produced by the action of a mirror, etc." is from 1580s. Of the mind, "turning of the thought back upon past experiences or ideas," from 1670s. Meaning "remark made after turning back one's thought on some subject" is from 1640s. Spelling with -ct- recorded from late 14c., established 18c., by influence of the verb. OED considers the version with -x- to be "the etymological spelling," but Fowler (1926) points out that -ct- is usual in the general senses and even technical ones.

A clear differentiation being out of the question, & the variation of form being without essential significance, the best thing to do is to use the commoner spelling, reflection, in all senses. [Fowler, "Modern English Usage," 1926]
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echidna (n.)

Australian egg-laying hedgehog-like mammal, 1810, said to have been named by Cuvier, usually explained as from Greek ekhidna "snake, viper" (also used metaphorically of a treacherous wife or friend), from ekhis "snake," from PIE *angwhi- "snake, eel" (source also of Norwegian igle, Old High German egala, German Egel "leech," Latin anguis "serpent, snake").

But this sense is difficult to reconcile with this animal (unless it is a reference to the ant-eating tongue). The name perhaps belongs to Latin echinus, Greek ekhinos "sea-urchin," originally "hedgehog" (in Greek also "sharp points"), which Watkins explains as "snake-eater," from ekhis "snake." The 1810 Encyclopaedia Britannica gives as the animal's alternative name "porcupine ant-eater." Or, more likely, the name refers to Echidna as the name of a serpent-nymph in Greek mythology, "a beautiful woman in the upper part of her body; but instead of legs and feet, she had from the waist downward, the form of a serpent," in which case the animal was so named for its mixed characteristics (early naturalists doubted whether it was mammal or amphibian).

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gooseberry (n.)

type of thorny shrub with hairy fruit, cultivated in northern Europe, 1530s, with berry, but the first part is of uncertain origin; no part of the plant seems to suggest a goose. Watkins points to Old French grosele "gooseberry," which is from Germanic. Or perhaps from German Krausebeere or Kräuselbeere, related to Middle Dutch croesel "gooseberry," and to German kraus "crispy, curly" [Klein, etc.]. By either path it could be related to the Germanic group of words in kr-/cr- and meaning "to bend, curl; bent, crooked; rounded mass." Under this theory, gooseberry would be folk etymology. But OED editors find no reason to prefer this to a literal reading, because "the grounds on which plants and fruits have received names associating them with animals are so commonly inexplicable, that the want of appropriateness in the meaning affords no sufficient ground for assuming that the word is an etymological corruption."

As slang for a fool, 1719, perhaps an extended form of goose (n.) in this sense, or a play on gooseberry fool in the cookery sense. Gooseberry also meant "a chaperon" (1837) and "a marvelous tale." Old Gooseberry for "the Devil" is recorded from 1796. In euphemistic explanations of reproduction to children, babies sometimes were said to be found under a gooseberry bush.

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shrew (n.)

[small insectivorous mammal; malignant woman], Middle English shreue, which is recorded only in the sense of "rascal, evil-doer; scolding woman; undisciplined child;" which is apparently from Old English screawa "shrew-mouse," a word of uncertain origin.

OED calls the word's absence in the "animal" sense from Old English to the 16c. "remarkable." It gives the two words separate entries (2nd ed. print) and speculates that the "malignant person" sense might be original. Perhaps it is from Proto-Germanic *skraw-, from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool" (see shred (n.)), in reference to the shrew's pointed snout. An alternative Old English word for it was scirfemus, from sceorfan "to gnaw." Middle English Compendium points to Middle High German shröuwel, schrowel, schrewel "devil."

The specific meaning "peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman" [Johnson's definition] is c. 1300, from earlier sense of "spiteful person" (male or female), mid-13c., which is traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread (compare beshrew). Shrews were paired with sheep from 1560s through 17c. as the contrasting types of wives.

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stake (n.2)

"that which is placed at hazard as a wager, the sum of money or other valuable consideration which is deposited as a pledge or wager to be lost or won according to the issue of a contest or contingency," 1530s, perhaps from stake (v.2), which is attested a few years earlier, but both the noun and verb are of uncertain origin. Perhaps literally "that which is fixed or put up," either from a particular use of stake (n.1) "stake, pole," or from the notion of "a post on which a gambling wager was placed" (but OED points out there is "no evidence of the existence of such a custom"). Weekley suggests "there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor" in this usage.

Meaning "the prize in a contest of strength, skill, speed, etc." is by 1620s; plural stakes, "sum of money to be won in a (horse) race," is recorded by 1690s (compare sweepstakes). Meaning "an interest, something to gain or lose" is by 1580s; hence have a stake in "have an interest in the turn of events, have something to gain or lose" (1784). The phrase at stake "state of being laid or pledged as a wager; state of being at hazard or in peril" is from c. 1600.

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