1610s, "a blunt sword;" 1833 as a size or type of needle; late 19c. as a size or type of cigars, from blunt (adj.). As street slang for "marijuana and tobacco cigar" (easier to pass around, easier to disguise, and the stimulant in the tobacco enhances the high from the pot), by c. 1993, said to have originated among Jamaicans in New York City in the early 1980s; from Phillies Blunt brand cigars.
Users say that the Phillies Blunt brand produces less harsh-tasting or sweeter smoke. The leaf wrapper of a Phillies Blunt is strong enough to hold together through the manipulations of making a blunt. Other brands fall apart. [http://nepenthes.lycaeum.org/Drugs/THC/Smoke/blunts.html]
1690s, name of an Indian tribe in south-central Pennsylvania, probably from some Iroquoian language and sometimes said to mean "people of the cabin pole;" later a place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
A characteristic type of covered wagon built there is called Conestoga wagon by 1750 (about three years before the last of the Conestoga Indians were massacred), but it already was an established term, as the first reference is to the name of a Philadelphia tavern, and probably originally it meant the type of wagon farmers used on the road from the city to Conestoga. It seems to have become a popular term in the 1830s to describe the "land ship" used by U.S. pioneers headed west. Also a breed of horses (1824) and a type of boot and cigar (see stogie).
Better remembered, if at all, as a political term: During a heated Democratic party meeting in Tammany Hall c. 1835, the opposition doused the gaslights to break it up, and the radical delegates used loco-foco matches to relight them. When it was publicized, the name loco-foco entered U.S. political jargon (by 1837) and down to the Civil War was applied, usually disparagingly, to a radical faction of the Democratic Party (but by the Whigs to all Democrats).
Meaning "furnish light for" is from c. 1200; sense of "emit light, shed light, shine" is from c. 1300. Buck writes that light is "much more common than kindle even with fire, and only light, not kindle, with candle, lamp, pipe, etc." To light up is from c. 1200 as "give light to" (a room, etc.); 1861 in reference to a pipe, cigar, etc. Related: Lighted; lighting.
a red light as a sign to stop is from 1849, long before traffic signals; see red (adj.1) + light (n.). As the name of a children's game (in reference to the traffic light meaning) it is recorded from 1953.
The use of red-light district to indicate a city district with many brothels is by 1896.
On a few blocks east of the Bowery, in what was known as the Red Light district, there are still a few houses of this character. The Red Light district was so called because the hall light in disreputable houses had a red globe or shone through red curtains covering the transom of the hall door. A red light before a cigar store, cider room or coffee room indicated its purpose. The Parisian licensed brothel has a red lantern with the number of the house over the door. [I.L. Nascher, M.D., "The Wretches of Povertyville," Chicago, 1909]
1650s, "a crown," from Latin corona "a crown, a garland," in ancient Rome especially "a crown or garland bestowed for distinguished military service" (from a suffixed form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend").
With many extended senses in botany, anatomy, etc. As a brand of Cuban cigar, 1876. The brand of Mexican pale lager beer dates from 1925. The astronomical sense of "luminous circle observed around the sun during total eclipses" is from 1809. The two "crown" constellations, Corona Borealis and Corona Australis, both are Ptolemaic.
Corona Borealis "certainly is much more like that for which it is named than usually is the case with our sky figures," according to Richard Hinckley Allen ("Star-Names and Their Meaning," 1899), and he adds that to the Greeks it was stephanos, a wreath, and from Roman times on typically it was Ariadne's Crown. To Arab astronomers, however, it was Al Fakkah "the dish" (sometimes "the pauper's dish" or "the broken dish" — Latinized as Discus parvus confractus — as the celestial circle is incomplete), a word wrestled into European languages as Alphaca or Alphecca, and used as the name of the constellation's none-too-bright brightest star.
1540s, "open to view, catching the eye," from Latin conspicuus "visible, open to view; attracting attention, striking," from conspicere "to look at, observe, see, notice," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
Meaning "obvious to the mind, forcing itself upon the attention" is from 1610s; hence "eminent, notable, distinguished." Related: Conspicuously; conspicuousness. Phrase conspicuous by its absence (1859) is said to be from Tacitus ("Annals" iii.76), in a passage about certain images: "sed præfulgebant ... eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur."
Conspicuous consumption "expenditure on a lavish scale to enhance prestige" is attested by 1895 in published writing of Norwegian-American economist and sociologist Thorstein Vebeln, made famous in his "The Theory of the Leisure Class" (1899).
Not only must wealth be possessed, but there must be a show of its possession. It must be made obvious to all that there is an inexhaustible reserve. Hence leisure must be made conspicuous by "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous waste." If only enough persons and the right persons could see it and know it, it would be highly honorific to light a cigar occasionally with a thousand-dollar bill. A man must not limit his consumption to himself and his family. He must live in a palace many times larger than he can possibly fill, and have a large retinue of servants and retainers, ostensibly to minister to his wants, but really to make clear his ability to pay. [Lester F. Ward, review of "Theory of the Leisure Class" in The American Journal of Sociology, May 1900]