Etymology
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cart (n.)

c. 1200, "two-wheeled vehicle," usually for one horse and often without springs, from Old Norse kartr or a similar Scandinavian source, akin to and replacing Old English cræt "cart, wagon, chariot," perhaps originally "body of a cart made of wickerwork, hamper" and related to Middle Dutch cratte "woven mat, hamper," Dutch krat "basket," Old English cradol (see cradle (n.)).

Many old allusions are from the cart being used to convey offenders to the gallows (and sometimes serving as a drop for hangings) or for public exposure, especially of lewd women, either in the cart or tied to its tail. Compare tumbrel. To put the cart before the horse in a figurative sense "reverse the natural or proper order of things" is from 1510s in those words; the image in other words dates to mid-14c.: put the plow (sull) before the oxen.

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pine (v.)

Middle English pinen "cause to starve" (c. 1300), from Old English pinian "to torture, torment, afflict, cause to suffer," from *pīn (n.) "pain, torture, punishment," from a general Germanic word (compare Middle Dutch pinen, Old High German pinon, German Pein, Old Norse pina), all possibly ultimately from Latin poena "punishment, penalty" (see penal). If so, the Latin word probably came into Germanic with Christianity.

The intransitive sense of "to languish, waste away, be consumed with grief or longing," the main modern meaning, is recorded from early 14c., via the Middle English intransitive senses of "endure penance, torment oneself; endure pain, suffer." Related: Pined; pining.

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ream (n.1)

standard commercial measure of paper, rem, mid-14c., from Old French reyme, from Spanish resma, from Arabic rizmah "bundle" (of paper), from rasama "collect into a bundle." The Moors brought manufacture of cotton paper to Spain.

The exact path of transmission of the word to English is unclear, and it might have entered from more than one language. An early variant rym (late 15c.) suggests a Dutch influence: compare Middle Dutch rieme, Dutch riem, which probably were borrowed from Spanish during the Hapsburg control of Holland. For ordinary writing paper, 20 quires of 24 sheets each, or 480 sheets; often 500 or more to allow for waste; the count varies slightly for drawing or printing paper.

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bummer (n.)

"loafer, idle person," 1855, possibly an extension of the British word for "backside" (similar development took place in Scotland by 1540), but more probably from German slang bummler "loafer," agent noun from bummeln "go slowly, waste time." The earliest uses are in representations of German immigrant dialect in the U.S. In the American Civil War it was common in the sense "camp-follower, plundering straggler."

According to Kluge, the German word is from 17c., and its earliest sense is "oscillate back and forth." It is perhaps connected to words in German for "dangle" (baumeln), via "back-and-forth motion" of a bell clapper, transferred to "going back and forth," hence "doing nothing." The meaning "bad experience" is 1968 slang.

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avoid (v.)

late 14c., "shun (someone), refrain from (something), have nothing to do with (an action, a scandal, etc.), escape, evade," from Anglo-French avoider "to clear out, withdraw (oneself)," partially Englished from Old French esvuidier "to empty out," from es- "out" (see ex-) + vuidier "to be empty," from voide "empty, vast, wide, hollow, waste," from Latin vocivos "unoccupied, vacant," related to vacare "be empty" (from PIE *wak-, extended form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out").

In Middle English with a wide range of meanings now obsolete: "to empty, rid, take out, remove, discharge from the body, send away; eject or banish; destroy, erase; depart from or abandon, go away." The current sense corresponds to Old French eviter with which it perhaps was confused. Related: Avoided; avoiding.

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prodigal (adj.)

c. 1500, of persons, "given to extravagant expenditure, lavish, wasteful," a back-formation from prodigality, or else from French prodigal and directly from Late Latin prodigalis, from Latin prodigus "wasteful," from prodigere "drive away, waste," from pro "forth" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward") + agere "to set in motion, drive; to do, perform" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move").

Most often in prodigal son (Vulgate Latin filius prodigus) from the parable told in Luke xv.11-32. The meaning "very liberal, lavishly bountiful" is by 1590s. As a noun, "prodigal person, one who expends money lavishly and without necessity," 1590s, from the adjective (the Latin adjective also was used as a noun). Related: Prodigially.

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blotter (n.)

1590s, "thing for drying wet spots," agent noun from blot (v.). The meaning "bad writer" is from c. 1600. The sense of "day book" is from 1670s, and the word was applied by 1810 to rough drafts, scrap books, notebooks, and draft account books. Hence the police jargon sense "arrest record sheet," recorded from 1887.

The Waste-Book, or Blotter, is nothing different from the Journal, only from the circumstance that it is used in moments of haste during the business of the day, when it is not practicable to observe that precision, neatness, and order, which we wish to appear on our Journal, which is nothing more nor less than a better finished copy of the Blotter itself .... [Lyman Preston, "Preston's Treatise on Book-Keeping," New York, 1835]
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harass (v.)

1610s, "to lay waste, devastate" (obsolete); 1620s, "to vex by repeated attacks," from French harasser "tire out, vex" (16c.), which is of uncertain origin; possibly from Old French harer "stir up, provoke; set a dog on" (according to Watkins, from Frankish *hara "over here, hither," from Proto-Germanic *hi‑, from PIE *ki-, variant form of root *ko-, the stem of demonstrative pronoun meaning "this"), and perhaps blended with Old French harier "to harry, draw, drag" [Barnhart]. Related: Harassed; harassing.

Harass, as applied to mind or body, suggests the infliction of the weariness that comes from the continuance or repetition of trying experiences, so that there is not time for rest. Torment implies the infliction of acute pain, physical or mental, and is frequently used in the sense of harassing by frequent return. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
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hack (v.1)

"to cut roughly, cut with chopping blows," c. 1200, from verb found in stem of Old English tohaccian "hack to pieces," from West Germanic *hakkon (source also of Old Frisian hackia "to chop or hack," Dutch hakken, Old High German hacchon, German hacken), from PIE root *keg- "hook, tooth." Perhaps influenced by Old Norse höggva "to hew, cut, strike, smite" (which is unrelated, from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike;" see hew).

The slang sense of "cope with" (as in can't hack it) is recorded in American English by 1955, with a notion of "get through by some effort," as a jungle (phrase hack after "keep working away at" is attested from late 14c.). To hack around "waste time" is U.S. slang, by 1955, perhaps originally of golfers or cabbies. Related: Hacked; hacking.

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strigil (n.)

"ancient tool for scraping the skin after a bath," 1580s, from Latin strigilis "scraper, horse-comb," from stringere (1) "draw along a surface, graze, touch lightly; strip off, pluck off, cut away; clip, prune; lay bare, unsheathe," figuratively "waste, consume, reduce; touch, move, affect, cause pain," from PIE root *strig- "to stroke, rub, press" (source also of Latin striga "stroke, strike, furrow," stria "furrow, channel;" Old Church Slavonic striga "shear;" Old English stracian "to stroke;" German streichen "to stroke, rub").

Etymologists dispute over whether this is connected to Latin stringere (2) "to tie, tighten," root of strain (v.). Based on the sense differences, de Vaan writes, "It appears that a merger occurred of two different PIE verbs, *strig- 'to brush, strip' and *strengh- 'to tie'."

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