Etymology
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shill (n.)

"one who acts as a decoy for a gambler, auctioneer, etc.," by 1911, in newspaper exposés of fake auctions, perhaps originally a word from U.S. circus or carnival argot and a shortened form of shilaber, shillaber (1908) "one who attempts to lure or customers," itself of unknown origin and also a surname. Carny slang often is deeply obscure. The verb, "act as a shill," is attested by 1914. Related: Shilled; shilling.

The auction game, as practice in Chicago on South State street, for instance, is a sordid affair, run according to cut and dried rules which admit of no freshness or originality. The list of employees is made up of one backer, or proprietor, two auctioneers, one pretty girl cashier, and from two to ten "shills," whose business it is to stand around in the crowd and make fake bids for the articles on sale. [The Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 12, 1912]
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bid (v.)

probably an early Middle English mutual influence or confusion of two older words: The sense in bid farewell is from Old English biddan "to ask, entreat, beg, pray, beseech; order" (class V strong verb, past tense bæd, past participle beden), from Proto-Germanic *bedjanan "to pray, entreat" (source also of German bitten "to ask," attested in Old High German from 8c., also Old Saxon biddian, Old Frisian bidda"ask, request command," Old Norse biðja, Gothic bidjan "request"). This, according to Kluge and Watkins, is from a PIE root *gwhedh- "to ask, pray" (see bead (n.)).

To bid at an auction, meanwhile, is from Old English beodan "offer, proclaim" (class II strong verb; past tense bead, past participle boden), from Proto-Germanic *beudanan "to stretch out, reach out, offer, present," (source also of German bieten "to offer," Old High German biatan, also Old Saxon biodan, Old Frisian biada, Old Norse bjoða, Gothic anabiudan "to command"). This is (with a shift of meaning) from PIE root *bheudh- "be aware, make aware" (source also of bode (v.)).

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block (n.1)

"solid piece," early 14c., blok, blokke, "large solid piece of wood," usually with one or more plane faces, from Old French bloc "log, block" of wood (13c.), which is from a Germanic source such as Middle Dutch bloc "trunk of a tree," Old High German bloh (from PIE *bhlugo-, from *bhelg- "a thick plank, beam;" see balk (n.)).

The word was generalized by late 15c. to any solid piece. The meaning "solid mass of wood, the upper surface of which is used for some purpose" is from late 15c., originally the executioner's block where the condemned were beheaded. The meaning "stump where a slave stood to be sold at auction" is from 1842. The sense of "mold on which something is shaped, or placed to keep its shape," typically a hat or wig, is from 1570s; the meaning "head" (generally disparaging) is from 1630s, perhaps an extension of this. To knock (someone's) block off "thrash, beat" is by 1923.

The meaning "grooved pulley in a wooden case" (used to transmit power and change the direction of motion by means of a rope) is from c. 1400. Hence block and tackle (1825; see tackle (n.)). The meaning in city block is 1796, from the notion of a "compact mass" of buildings.

BLOCK. A term applied in America to a square mass of houses included between four streets. It is a very useful one. [Bartlett]

Later of a portion of a city enclosed by streets, whether built up or not.

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lot (n.)

Old English hlot "object used to determine someone's share" (anything from dice to straw, but often a chip of wood with a name inscribed on it), also "what falls to a person by lot," from Proto-Germanic *khlutom (source also of Old Norse hlutr "lot, share," Old Frisian hlot "lot," Old Saxon hlot, Middle Dutch, Dutch lot, Old High German hluz "share of land," German Los), from a strong verb (the source of Old English hleotan "to cast lots, obtain by lot; to foretell"). The whole group is of unknown origin.

The object was placed with others in a receptacle (such as a hat or helmet), which was shaken, the winner being the one whose name or mark was on the lot that fell out first. Hence the expression cast lots; to cast (one's) lot with another (1530s, originally biblical) is to agree to share winnings. In some cases the lots were drawn by hand, hence to draw lots. The word was adopted from Germanic into the Romanic languages (Spanish lote, and compare lottery, lotto).

Meaning "choice resulting from the casting of lots" first attested c. 1200. Meaning "share or portion of life" in any way, "that which is given by fate, God or destiny" is from c. 1300. Meaning "number of persons or things of the same kind" is from 1570s (compare Latin mala merx, of persons, literally "a bad lot"). Sense of "plot of land" is first recorded 1630s, American English (distribution of the most desirable properties in new settlements often was determined by casting lots), then especially "parcel of land set aside for a specified purpose" (the Hollywood sense is from 1928). The common U.S. city lot was a rectangle 25 feet wide (along the street) by 100 deep; it was so universal as to be sometimes a unit of measure.

Meaning "group, collection" is 1725, from the notion of auction lots. Lots in the generalized sense of "great many" is attested by 1812; lotsa, colloquial for "lots of," is from 1927; lotta for "lot of" is by 1906.

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