Etymology
Advertisement
pilgrim (n.)

c. 1200, pilegrim, "a person traveling to a holy place (as a penance or to discharge some vow or religious obligation, or seeking some miracle or spiritual benefit)," also "a traveler" generally, "a wayfarer," from Old French pelerin, peregrin "pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger" (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, a dissimilation of Latin peregrinus "foreigner, stranger, foreign resident" (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino, German Pilger), from peregre (adv.) "from abroad," from per- "beyond" + agri, locative case of ager "country, land" (from PIE root *agro- "field").

The change of the first -r- to -l- in most Romance languages is by dissimilation; the -m appears to be a Germanic modification. Pilgrim Fathers "English Separatists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower and founded Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1620" is attested by 1799. They sometimes wrote of themselves as Pilgrims from c. 1630, in reference to Hebrews xi.13. Pilgrim in U.S. Western slang for "an original settler" is by 1841, later "a newcomer, 'tenderfoot,'" perhaps originally in reference to the Mormon migrations.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
mackerel (n.)

edible fish of the North Atlantic (Scomber scombrus), c. 1300, from Old French maquerel "mackerel" (Modern French maquereau), of unknown origin; perhaps so called from the dark blotches with which the fish is marked, from Latin macula "spot, stain" (see macula). But the word is apparently identical with Old French maquerel "pimp, procurer, broker, agent, intermediary" (itself attested in English in this sense by early 15c.), a word from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch makelaer "broker," from Old Frisian mek "marriage," from maken "to make").

The connection would be obscure, but medieval people had imaginative notions about the erotic habits of beasts. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Compare ancient Greek aitnaios "an unknown fish celebrated for its marital constancy;" alphēstēs, the wrasse, "a fish with a singular and unsavoury reputation ... a byword for the incontinent and lewd" (both in Thompson, who also notes that the hermaphroditic nature of certain fishes, discovered by modern naturalists, was known to Aristotle). The exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1876.

Related entries & more 
sycamore (n.)
mid-14c., sicamour "mulberry-leaved fig tree," from Old French sicamor, sagremore, from Latin sycomorus, from Greek sykomoros "African fig-tree," literally "fig-mulberry," from sykon "fig" (see fig) + moron (see mulberry). But according to many sources this is more likely a folk-etymology of Hebrew shiqmah "mulberry."

A Biblical word, originally used for a wide-spreading shade tree with fig-like fruit (Ficus sycomorus) common in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry; applied in English from 1580s to a large species of European maple (also plane-tree), perhaps because both it and the Biblical tree were notable for their shadiness (the Holy Family took refuge under a sycamore on the flight to Egypt), and from 1814 to the North American shade tree that also is called a buttonwood, which was introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by John Tradescant the Younger).

Spelling apparently influenced by sycamine "black mulberry tree," which is from Greek sykcaminos, which also is mentioned in the Bible (Luke xvii.6). For the sake of clarity, some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in reference to the Biblical tree.
Related entries & more 
blasphemy (n.)

"impious or profane speaking of God or sacred things," early 13c., from Old French blasfemie "blasphemy," from Late Latin blasphemia, from Greek blasphemia "a speaking ill, impious speech, slander," from blasphemein "to speak evil of." Second element is phēmē "utterance" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say"); first element uncertain, perhaps related to blaptikos "hurtful," though blax "slack (in body and mind), stupid" also has been proposed; de Vaan suggests a connection with the root of Latin malus "bad, unpleasant" (from PIE root *mel- (3)). In Old Testament usage the word applied to a more specific crime, against the reverence for Jehovah as ruler of the Jews, comparable to treason.

Blasphemy cognizable by common law is described by Blackstone to be "denying the being or providence of God, contumelious reproaches of our Saviour Christ, profane scoffing at the Holy Scripture, or exposing it to contempt or ridicule"; by Kent as "maliciously reviling God or religion"; and by Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw as "speaking evil of the Deity with an impious purpose to derogate from the Divine Majesty and to alienate the minds of others from the love and reverence of God." [Century Dictionary, 1895]
Related entries & more 
defenestration (n.)

1620, "the action of throwing out of a window," from Latin fenestra "window." A word invented for one incident: the "Defenestration of Prague," May 21, 1618, when two Catholic deputies to the Bohemian national assembly and a secretary were tossed out the window of the castle of Hradschin by Protestant radicals (the pair landed in a trash heap and survived). It marked the start of the Thirty Years' War.

The extraordinary chance which had saved three lives was a holy miracle or a comic accident according to the religion of the beholder .... Murder or no murder, the coup d'état was complete, and since Thurn had overruled many of his supporters in demanding death it was well for the conscience of his allies that a pile of mouldering filth in the courtyard of the Hradschin had made soft falling for the governors. [Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, "The Thirty Years War," 1938]

Some linguists link fenestra with Greek verb phainein "to show;" others see in it an Etruscan borrowing, based on the suffix -(s)tra, as in Latin loan-words aplustre "the carved stern of a ship with its ornaments," genista "the plant broom," lanista "trainer of gladiators." Related: Defenestrate (1915); defenestrated (1620).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
breakfast (n.)

"first meal of the day," mid-15c., from the verbal phrase; see break (v.) + fast (n.). For vowel shift, see met (v.). An Old English word for it was undernmete (see undern), also morgenmete "morning meal."

Spanish almuerzo "lunch," but formerly and still locally "breakfast," is from Latin admorsus, past participle of admordere "to bite into," from ad "to" + mordēre "to bite" (see mordant). German Frühstück is from Middle High German vruostücke, literally "early bit."

In common with almuerzo, words for "breakfast" tend over time to shift in meaning toward "lunch;" compare French déjeuner "breakfast," later "lunch" (cognate of Spanish desayuno "breakfast"), from Vulgar Latin *disieiunare "to breakfast," from Latin dis- "apart, in a different direction from" + ieiunare, jejunare "fast" (see jejune; also compare dine). Greek ariston in Homer and Herodotus was a meal at the break of day but in classical times taken in the afternoon.

The long/short vowel contrast in break/breakfast represents a common pattern where words from Old English have a long vowel in their modern form but a short vowel as the first element of a compound: Christ/Christmas, holy/holiday, moon/Monday, sheep/shepherd, wild/wilderness, etc.

Related entries & more 
station (n.)
late 13c., "place which one normally occupies," from Old French stacion, estacion "site, location; station of the Cross; stop, standstill," from Latin stationem (nominative statio) "a standing, standing firm; a post, job, position; military post; a watch, guard, sentinel; anchorage, port" (related to stare "to stand"), from PIE *steti-, suffixed form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Meaning "each of a number of holy places visited in succession by pilgrims" is from late 14c., as in Station of the Cross (1550s). Meaning "fixed uniform distance in surveying" is from 1570s. Sense of "status, rank" is from c. 1600. Meaning "military post" in English is from c. 1600. The meaning "place where people are stationed for some special purpose" (as in polling station) is first recorded 1823. Radio station is from 1912; station break, pause in broadcasting to give the local station a chance to identify itself, is from 1942.

The meaning "regular stopping place" is first recorded 1797, in reference to coach routes; applied to railroads 1830. Station-master is from 1836. Station wagon in the automobile sense is first recorded 1929, from earlier use for a horse-drawn conveyance that took passengers to and from railroad stations (1894). Station house "police station" is attested from 1836.
Related entries & more 
innocent (adj.)

mid-14c., "doing no evil; free from sin, guilt, or moral wrong," from Old French inocent "harmless; not guilty; pure" (12c.), from Latin innocentem (nominative innocens) "not guilty, blameless; harmless; disinterested," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocentem (nominative nocens), present participle of nocere "to harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- (1) "death."

Meaning "free from guilt of a specific crime or charge" is from late 14c., as is the meaning "with childlike simplicity or artlessness." Humorous sense "free, devoid of" is from 1706. The noun meaning "person who is innocent of sin or evil, artless or simple person" is from c. 1200, especially a young child (who presumably has not yet sinned actively). The Holy Innocents (early 14c.) were the young children slain by Herod after the birth of Jesus (Matthew ii.16), hence Innocents day (Dec. 28).

Indo-European words for "innocent" are generally negative compound of the word for "guilty." An exception is the Germanic group represented by Gothic swikns (also "pure, chaste"), Old Norse sykn "free from guilt, innocent" (especially as a law term), Old English swicn "clearance from a charge," also "cleansing," but these are of uncertain origin.

Related entries & more 
sense (n.)

c. 1400, "faculty of perception," also "meaning, import, interpretation" (especially of Holy Scripture), from Old French sens "one of the five senses; meaning; wit, understanding" (12c.) and directly from Latin sensus "perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning," from sentire "perceive, feel, know," probably a figurative use of a literally meaning "to find one's way," or "to go mentally." According to Watkins and others, this is from a PIE root *sent- "to go" (source also of Old High German sinnan "to go, travel, strive after, have in mind, perceive," German Sinn "sense, mind," Old English sið "way, journey," Old Irish set, Welsh hynt "way").

Application to any one of the external or outward senses (touch, sight, hearing, etc.) in English first recorded 1520s.

A certain negro tribe has a special word for "see;" but only one general word for "hear," "touch," "smell," and "taste." It matters little through which sense I realize that in the dark I have blundered into a pig-sty. In French "sentir" means to smell, to touch, and to feel, all together. [Erich M. von Hornbostel, "Die Einheit der Sinne" ("The Unity of the Senses"), 1927]

Meaning "that which is wise" is from c. 1600. Meaning "capacity for perception and appreciation" is from c. 1600 (as in sense of humor, attested by 1783, sense of shame, 1640s).

Related entries & more 
empire (n.)

mid-14c., "territory subject to an emperor's rule;" in general "realm, dominion;" late 14c. as "authority of an emperor, supreme power in governing; imperial power," in Middle English generally of the Roman Empire.

From Old French empire "rule, authority, kingdom, imperial rule" (11c.), from Latin imperium "a rule, a command; authority, control, power; supreme power, sole dominion; military authority; a dominion, realm," from imperare "to command," from assimilated form of in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + parare "to order, prepare" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure").

Not etymologically restricted to "territory ruled by an emperor," but used that way. The Empire, meaning "the British Empire," first recorded 1772 (it officially devolved into "The Commonwealth" in 1931); before that it meant the Holy Roman Empire (1670s).

[P]roperly an empire is an aggregate of conquered, colonized, or confederated states, each with its own government subordinate or tributary to that of the empire as a whole. [Century Dictionary] 

Empire as the name of a style (especially in reference to a style of dresses with high waistlines) is by 1860, in reference to the affected classicism prevailing in France during the reign of Napoleon I (1804-15). Second Empire is in reference to the rule of Napoleon III of France (1852-70). New York has been called the Empire State since 1834.

Related entries & more 

Page 16