Etymology
Advertisement
gas (n.1)

1650s, from Dutch gas, probably from Greek khaos "empty space" (see chaos). The sound of Dutch "g" is roughly equivalent to that of Greek "kh." First used by Flemish chemist J.B. van Helmont (1577-1644), probably influenced by Paracelsus, who used khaos in an occult sense of "proper elements of spirits" or "ultra-rarified water," which was van Helmont's definition of gas.

Hunc spiritum, incognitum hactenus, novo nomine gas voco ("This vapor, hitherto unknown, I call by a new name, 'gas.'") [Helmont, Ortus Medicinae]

Modern scientific sense began 1779, with later secondary specialization to "combustible mix of vapors" (1794, originally coal gas); "anesthetic" (1894, originally nitrous oxide); and "poison gas" (1900). Meaning "intestinal vapors" is from 1882. "The success of this artificial word is unique" [Weekley]. Slang sense of "empty talk" is from 1847; slang meaning "something exciting or excellent" first attested 1953, from earlier hepster slang gasser in the same sense (1944). Gas also meant "fun, a joke" in Anglo-Irish and was used so by Joyce (1914). Gas-works is by 1817. Gas-oven is from 1851 as a kitchen appliance; gas-stove from 1848.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
flush (n.)

The section of entries for the various flushes in Century Dictionary opens with a caveat:

The several words spelled flush, being mostly dialectal, colloquial, or technical, and scantily recorded in early literature, have become partly confused with one another, and cannot now be entirely disentangled. Words originally different have acquired some meanings very nearly identical, while on the other hand there are some meanings not obviously related which are, nevertheless, to be referred to one original.

Weekley calls it "A very puzzling word." Sense of "a rush of water" in a stream (1520s), is probably from flush (v.1). From this likely come the extended senses "rush of emotion or passion" (1610s); "a sudden shooting up" (1773); "act of cleansing (a drain) by flushing" (1883); "glow of light or color" (especially sudden redness in the face), 1620s. Independently from the verb, probably, is the noun sense of "a flight of birds suddenly started up" (1590s).

The meaning "hand of cards all of one suit" (1520s) is of uncertain origin, perhaps formed on the model of French flus (15c.), from Old French flux, flus "a flowing, rolling" (see flux), which, in common with its Italian cognate flusso, is said to have once had a sense of "a run" of cards. The form in English probably was influenced by flush (v.1).

Related entries & more 
laugh (v.)

late 14c., from Old English (Anglian) hlæhhan, earlier hliehhan, hlihhan "to laugh, laugh at; rejoice; deride," from Proto-Germanic *klakhjan (source also of Old Norse hlæja, Danish le, Old Frisian hlakkia, Old Saxon hlahhian, Middle Dutch and Dutch lachen, Old High German hlahhan, German lachen, Gothic hlahjan), from PIE *kleg-, of imitative origin (compare Latin cachinnare "to laugh aloud," Sanskrit kakhati "laughs," Old Church Slavonic chochotati "laugh," Lithuanian klagėti "to cackle," Greek kakhazein).

Originally with a "hard" -gh- sound, as in Scottish loch; the spelling remained after the pronunciation shifted to "-f."

If laugh were written as it is pronounced, laaff, there would be nothing in the word itself to put us in mind of the thing signified. The imitation begins to be felt in the guttural ach of G. lachen, and is clearly indicated in the reduplicate form of the Du. lachachen, to hawhaw or laugh loud, preserved by Kilian. [Hensleigh Wedgwood, introduction to "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1878] 

To laugh in one's sleeve is to laugh inwardly so as not to be observed:

If I coveted nowe to avenge the injuries that you have done me, I myght laughe in my slyve. [John Daus, "Sleidanes Commentaries," 1560]

"The phrase generally implies some degree of contempt, and is used rather of a state of feeling than of actual laughter" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Laughed; laugher; laughing.

Related entries & more 
Greek (n.)

Middle English Grek, from Old English Grecas, Crecas (plural) "Greeks, inhabitants of Greece," an early Germanic borrowing from Latin Graeci "the Hellenes," apparently from Greek Graikoi. The first use of Graikhos as equivalent to Hellenes is found in Aristotle ("Meteorologica" I.xiv).

A modern theory (put forth by German classical historian Georg Busolt, 1850-1920), derives it from Graikhos "inhabitant of Graia" (literally "gray," also "old, withered"), a town on the coast of Boeotia, which was the name given by the Romans to all Greeks, originally to the Greek colonists from Graia who helped found Cumae (9c. B.C.E.), the important city in southern Italy where the Latins first encountered Greeks. Under this theory, it was reborrowed in this general sense by the Greeks.

The Germanic languages originally borrowed the word with an initial "-k-" sound (compare Old High German Chrech, Gothic Kreks), which probably was their word-initial sound closest to the Latin "-g-" at the time; the word later was refashioned.

It is attested from late 14c. as "the Greek language." The meaning "unintelligible speech, gibberish, any language of which one is ignorant" is from c. 1600. The meaning "member of a Greek-letter fraternity" is student slang, 1884.

It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author — and not to learn it better. [Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil," 1886]
Related entries & more 
wet (adj.)

Old English wæt "moist, rainy, liquid," also as a noun. "moisture, liquid drink," from Proto-Germanic *wed- (source also of Old Frisian wet ). Also from cognate Old Norse vatr; all from PIE root *wed- (1) "water; wet." Of paint, ink, etc., "not yet dry" from 1510s. Opposed to dry in reference to the U.S. battles over prohibition from 1870. Wet blanket "person who has a dispiriting effect" is recorded from 1871, from use of blankets drenched in water to smother fires (the phrase is attested in this literal sense from 1660s).

Do we not know them, those wet blankets who come down on our pleasant little fires and extinguish them, with no more ruth than the rain feels when it pours on the encampment of the merry picnic party, or floods the tents of a flower show? ["Wet Blankets," in Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, February, 1871]

All wet "in the wrong" is recorded from 1923, American English; earlier simply wet "ineffectual," and perhaps ultimately from slang meaning "drunken" (c. 1700). Wet-nurse is from 1610s. The diver's wet-suit is from 1955. Wet dream is from 1851; in the same sense Middle English had ludificacioun "an erotic dream."

He knew som tyme a man of religion, þat gaff hym gretelie vnto chastitie bothe of his harte & of his body noghtwithstondyng he was tempid with grete ludificacions on þe nyght. ["Alphabet of Tales," c. 1450]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
idiom (n.)

1580s, "form of speech peculiar to a people or place;" meaning "phrase or expression peculiar to a language" is from 1620s; from French idiome (16c.) and directly from Late Latin idioma "a peculiarity in language," from Greek idioma "peculiarity, peculiar phraseology" (Fowler writes that "A manifestation of the peculiar" is "the closest possible translation of the Greek word"), from idioumai "to appropriate to oneself," from idios "personal, private," properly "particular to oneself."

This is from PIE *swed-yo-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (source also of Sanskrit svah, Avestan hva-, Old Persian huva "one's own," khva-data "lord," literally "created from oneself;" Greek hos "he, she, it;" Latin suescere "to accustom, get accustomed," sodalis "companion;" Old Church Slavonic svoji "his, her, its," svojaku "relative, kinsman;" Gothic swes "one's own;" Old Norse sik "oneself;" German Sein; Old Irish fein "self, himself").

[G]rammar & idiom are independent categories; being applicable to the same material, they sometimes agree & sometimes disagree about particular specimens of it; the most can be said is that what is idiomatic is far more often grammatical than ungrammatical, but that is worth saying, because grammar & idiom are sometimes treated as incompatibles .... [Fowler]
Related entries & more 
Goth (n.)

Old English Gota (plural Gotan) "a member of the Germanic people who lived in Eastern Europe c.100 C.E.," from Late Latin Gothus (plural Gothi), from Greek Gothos (plural Gothoi), from Gothic *Gutos, which is preserved in Gothic gutþiuda "Gothic people," the first element cognate with Old Norse gotar "men" (the second meaning "people; see Dutch). "The sense 'men' is usually taken to be the secondary one, but as the etymology of the word is unknown, this is uncertain" [Gordon]. The unetymological -th- in the modern English word is from Late Latin.

They entered history in 3c. C.E. on the lower Danube and later invaded the Roman Empire and were converted to Arian Christianity. Used in sense of "rude or uncivilized person; savage despoiler" (1660s) in reference to their fifth-century sacking of Roman cities (compare vandal, and French gothique, still with a sense of "barbarous, rude, cruel"). In 19c., in reference to living persons, it meant "a Gothicist" (1812), that is, "an admirer of the Gothic style, especially in architecture." Modern use as an adjective in reference to a subculture style (typically with lower-case g-) is from 1986, short for Gothic in this sense.

By 1982, when the legendary Batcave club opened in London, the music press had begun to use the term gothic rock to describe the music and fandom around which a new postpunk subculture was forming. [Lauren M.E. Goodlad & Michael Bibby, "Goth: Undead Subculture," 2007]
Related entries & more 
trophy (n.)

early 15c., trophe, "an overwhelming victory;" 1510s, "a spoil or prize of war," from Old French trophée (15c.) from Latin trophaeum "a sign of victory, monument," originally tropaeum, from Greek tropaion "monument of an enemy's defeat," noun use of neuter of adjective tropaios "of defeat, causing a rout," from trope "a rout," originally "a turning" (of the enemy); from PIE root *trep- "to turn."

In ancient Greece, spoils or arms taken in battle and set up on the field and dedicated to a god. Figurative extension to any token or memorial of victory is first recorded 1560s. As "a symbolic representation of a classical trophy" from 1630s.

Trophy wife "a second, attractive and generally younger, wife of a successful man who acquires her as a status symbol" was a trending phrase in media from 1988 ("Fortune" magazine did a cover story on it in 1989), but is older in isolated instances.

Variations on this theme ['convenience-wife'] include the HOSTESS-WIFE of a businessman who entertains extensively and seeks  a higher-level, home-branch version of his secretary; the TROPHY-WIFE — the woman who was hard to get because of birth or wealth or beauty — to be kept on exhibition like a mammoth tusk or prime Picasso ... [Phyllis I. Rosenteur, excerpt from "The Single Women," published in Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 12, 1961]

The excerpt distinguishes the trophy wife from the "showcase wife," "chosen for her pulchritude and constantly displayed in public places, dripping mink and dangling diamonds," which seems more to suit the later use of trophy wife.

Related entries & more 
luck (n.)

c. 1500, "fortune good or bad, what happens to one by chance (conceived as being favorable or not); good luck, quality of having a tendency to receive desired or beneficial outcomes," not found in Old English, probably from early Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc "happiness, good fortune," a word of unknown origin. It has cognates in Modern Dutch geluk, Middle High German g(e)lücke, German Glück "fortune, good luck."

Perhaps first borrowed in English as a gambling term. To be down on (one's) luck is from 1832; to be in luck is from 1857; to push (one's) luck is from 1911. Good luck as a salutation to one setting off to do something is from 1805. Expression no such luck, expressing disappointment that  something did not or will not happen, is by 1835. Better luck next time as an expression of encouragement in the face of disappointment is from 1858, but the expression itself is older:

A gentleman was lately walking through St Giles's, where a levelling citizen attempting to pick his pocket of a handkerchief, which the gentleman caught in time, and secured, observing to the fellow, that he had missed his aim, the latter, with perfect sang-froid, answered, "better luck next time master."  [Monthly Mirror, London, September 1802]

Luck of the draw (1892) is from card-playing. In expressions often ironical, as in just (my) luck (1909). To be out of luck is from 1789; to have one's luck run out is from 1966.

Related entries & more 
sugar (n.)
late 13c., sugre, from Old French sucre "sugar" (12c.), from Medieval Latin succarum, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit sharkara "ground or candied sugar," originally "grit, gravel" (cognate with Greek kroke "pebble"). The Arabic word also was borrowed in Italian (zucchero), Spanish (azucar, with the Arabic article), and German (Old High German zucura, German Zucker), and its forms are represented in most European languages (such as Serbian cukar, Polish cukier, Russian sakhar).

Its Old World home was India (Alexander the Great's companions marveled at the "honey without bees") and it remained exotic in Europe until the Arabs began to cultivate it in Sicily and Spain; not until after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as the West's sweetener. The Spaniards in the West Indies began raising sugar cane in 1506; first grown in Cuba 1523; first cultivated in Brazil 1532. The reason for the -g- in the English word is obscure (OED compares flagon, from French flacon). The pronunciation shift from s- to sh- is probably from the initial long vowel sound syu- (as in sure).

As a type of chemical compound from 1826. Slang "euphemistic substitute for an imprecation" [OED] is attested from 1891. As a term of endearment, first recorded 1930. Sugar-cane is from 1560s. Sugar-maple is from 1731. Sugar loaf was originally a moulded conical mass of refined sugar (early 15c.); now obsolete, but sense extended 17c. to hills, hats, etc. of that shape.
Related entries & more 

Page 19