Etymology
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black box (n.)

1947, RAF slang for "navigational instruments;" later extended to any sort of apparatus that operates in a sealed container. Especially of flight recorders from c. 1964.

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Black Hills 

South Dakota landform, translating Lakhota pahá-sapa; supposedly so called because their densely forested flanks look dark from a distance.

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black market (n.)

"unauthorized dealing in restricted or rationed commodities," 1931, from black (adj.), probably suggesting "dark, invisible" or "shady, improper," + market (n.). As an adjective by 1935. Use of the phrase rose when World War II rationing began.

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Black Hand (n.)

Italian immigrant secret society in U.S., 1904; earlier a Spanish anarchist society, both from the warning mark they displayed to potential victims.

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black widow (n.)

type of venomous spider (Latrodectus mactans) in U.S. South, 1904, so called from its color and from the female's supposed habit of eating the male after mating (the males seem to get eaten more often before they mate, when they first enter the webs of the females, which have very poor eyesight). Sometimes also known as shoe-button spider. The name black widow is attested earlier (1830s) as a translation of a name of the "scorpion spider" of Central Asia.

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vena cava (n.)

Medical Latin, from Latin vena "vein" (see vein) + cava, from cavus "hollow" (from PIE root *keue- "to swell," also "vault, hole").

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film noir (n.)

1958, from French, literally "black film," from noir (12c.), from Latin niger (see Negro).

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bete noire (n.)

"person or thing regarded with especial aversion," 1844, from French bête noire, literally "the black beast." For bête see beast; noire is from Latin niger (see Negro).

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cafe au lait (n.)

1763, French café au lait, literally "coffee with milk," from lait "milk" (12c.), from Latin lactis, genitive of lac "milk" (see lacto-). As opposed to café noir "black coffee."

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Uncle Tom (n.)

"servile black man," 1922, somewhat inaccurately in reference to the humble, pious, but strong-willed main character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852). The image implied in the insult perhaps is more traceable to the late 19c. minstel show versions of the story, which reached a far wider audience than the book.

I don't recall anyone in the 1920s using the term 'Uncle Tom' as an epithet. But what's amazing is how fast it caught on (in the 1930s). Black scholars picked up (the term) and just started throwing it at each other. [Ernest Allen, quoted in Hamilton, Kendra, "The Strange Career of Uncle Tom," Black Issues in Higher Education, June 2002]

As a verb, attested from 1937.

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