common surname and middle name in North India, later (1699) adopted by Sikhs as a title after their initiation ceremony, also a surname adopted by male Sikhs; 1620s in English, from Hindi Singh, from Sanskrit simhah "lion."
fashionable residential district of London, noted for the wealthiness and aristocracy of its residents, it was developed in the 1820s and after on land owned by Earl Grosvenor and named (with -ia) for Belgrave, site of a Grosvenor estate in Cheshire.
river in Asia, from Sanskrit sindhu "river." The constellation was one of the 11 added to Ptolemy's list in the 1610s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) after Europeans began to explore the Southern Hemisphere; it represents "an Indian," not the river.
"stale joke," 1816, from Joseph Miller (1684-1738), a comedian, whose name was affixed after his death to a popular jest-book, "Joe Miller's Jests, or the Wit's Vade-mecum" (1739) compiled by John Mottley, which gave Miller after his death more fame than he enjoyed while alive.
A certain Lady finding her Husband somewhat too familiar with her Chamber-maid, turned her away immediately; Hussy, said she, I have no Occasion for such Sluts as you, only to do that Work which I choose to do myself. [from "Joe Miller's Jests"].
region in northeastern Germany, late 14c., Prusse (late 13c. as a surname), from Medieval Latin Borussi, Prusi, Latinized forms of the native name of the Lithuanian people who lived in the bend of the Baltic before being conquered 12c. and exterminated by (mostly) German crusaders who replaced them as the inhabitants.
Perhaps from Slavic *Po-Rus "(Land) Near the Rusi" (i.e. Russians; compare Pomerania). The German duchy of Prussia after the 17c. union with the Mark of Brandenberg became the core of the Prussian monarchy and later the chief state in the German Empire. The center of power shifted to Berlin after the union, and the old core of the state came to be known as East Prussia.
sandy island in mouth of Hudson River, said to have been called "Gull Island" by local Indians and "Oyster Island" by the Dutch, renamed "Gull Island" after the British took over, then "Gibbet Island" because pirates were hanged there. Sold to Samuel Ellis in 1785, who made it a picnic spot and gave it his name. Sold by his heirs in 1808 to New York State and acquired that year by the U.S. War Department for coastal defenses. Vacant after the American Civil War until the government opened an immigration station there in 1892 to replace Castle Island.
used for "London Metropolitan Police," 1864, from the name of short street off Whitehall, where from 1829 to 1890 stood the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Force, hence, the force itself, especially the detective branch. After 1890, it was located in "New Scotland Yard."
community in Brooklyn, N.Y., so called for the rabbits once found there (see coney) and was known to the Dutch as Konijn Eiland, from which the English name probably derives. It emerged as a resort and amusement park center after the U.S. Civil War.
South American nation, independent from 1819 as part of Gran Colombia (after its breakup in 1830, known as New Granada, then Colombia from 1863); named for Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Italian Colombo, Portuguese Colom, Spanish Colón). Related: Colombian.
1620s, "originally the name of a street in Moorfields in London, much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems; whence any mean production is called grubstreet" [Johnson]. The place was renamed 1830 to Milton Street (after a local developer) then erased entirely 1970s by the Barbicon complex.