Etymology
Advertisement
insulation (n.)
noun of action from insulate (v.) in its various senses. From 1767 as "a blocking from electricity or heat" (by interposition of a non-conductor). Sense of "state or action of being detached from others" is from 1798. Literal meaning "act of making (land) into an island" is from 1784; that of "state of being an island" is from 1799. The concrete sense of "insulating material" is recorded by 1870.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
entity (n.)

1590s, "being," from Late Latin entitatem (nominative entitas), from ens (genitive entis) "a thing," proposed by Caesar as present participle of esse "be" (see is), to render Greek philosophical term to on "that which is" (from neuter of present participle of einai "to be," from PIE root *es- "to be"). Originally abstract; concrete sense in English is from 1620s.

Related entries & more 
quantity (n.)

early 14c., quantite, "amount, magnitude, the being so much in measure or extent," from Old French quantite, cantite (12c., Modern French quantité) and directly from Latin quantitatem (nominative quantitas) "relative greatness or extent," coined as a loan-translation of Greek posotes (from posos "how great? how much?") from Latin quantus "of what size? how much? how great? what amount?," correlative pronominal adjective (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).

From late 14c. as "that which has quantity, a concrete quantity;" from 1610s in the concrete sense of "an object regarded as more or less." In prosody and metrics, "the relative time occupied in uttering a vowel or syllable" (distinguishing it as long or short) by 1560s. Latin quantitatem also is the source of Italian quantita, Spanish cantidad, Danish and Swedish kvantitet, German quantitat.

Related entries & more 
avatar (n.)

1784, "descent of a Hindu deity to earth in an incarnate or tangible form," from Sanskrit avatarana "descent" (of a deity to the earth in incarnate form), from ava- "off, down" (from PIE root *au- (2) "off, away") + base of tarati "(he) crosses over," from PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome."

Meaning "concrete embodiment of something abstract" is from 1815. In computer use, it seems to trace to the novel "Snowcrash" (1992) by Neal Stephenson.

Related entries & more 
slab (n.)
late 13c., "large, flat mass," of unknown origin, possibly related to Old French escopel, escalpe "thin fragment of wood," which according to Klein is possibly a Gaulish word (compare Breton scolp, Welsh ysgolp "splinter, chip"). But OED rejects this on formal grounds. Meaning "rectangular block of pre-cast concrete used in building" is from 1927. Slab-sided is "having flat sides like slabs," hence "tall and lank" (1817, American English).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
building (n.)
c. 1300, "a structure;" late 14c., "act or process of constructing;" verbal noun from build (v.). Building-block is 1846 as "one of a set of children's play blocks;" 1849 as "temporary support on which a ship's keel rests while the ship is being constructed;" 1856 as "cinder-block, concrete block, artificial stone block used in building construction." Figurative sense "basic unit from which something is constructed" is by 1955.
Related entries & more 
intermediary (adj.)

1757, "situated between two things;" 1818 as "serving as a mediator;" from French intermédiaire (17c.), from Latin intermedius "that which is between" (see intermediate). As a noun, "one who acts between others" from 1791 (Medieval Latin intermedium also was used as a noun). An earlier adjective was intermedial (1590s).

Intermediary, n., is, even with concrete sense of go-between or middleman or mediator, a word that should be viewed with suspicion & resorted to only when it is clear that every more ordinary word comes short of the need. [Fowler]
Related entries & more 
whole nine yards (n.)
by 1970, of unknown origin; perhaps arbitrary (see cloud nine). Among the guesses that have been made without real evidence: concrete mixer trucks were said to have dispensed in this amount. Or the yard might be the word used in the slang sense of "one hundred dollars." Several similar phrases meaning "everything" arose in the 1940s (whole ball of wax, which is likewise of obscure origin, whole schmear); older examples include whole hog (see hog (n.)) and whole shooting match (1896); whole shebang (1895).
Related entries & more 
nitpicker (n.)

also nit-picker, "pedantic critic," by 1951, perhaps 1946, a figurative use, said to be originally military jargon; see nit (n.) + pick (v.).

Two long-time Pentagon stand-bys are fly-speckers and nit-pickers. The first of these nouns refers to people whose sole occupation seems to be studying papers in the hope of finding flaws in the writing, rather than making any effort to improve the thought or meaning; nit-pickers are those who quarrel with trivialities of expression and meaning, but who usually end up without making concrete or justified suggestions for improvement. [Collier's, Nov. 24, 1951]
Related entries & more 
notion (n.)

late 14c., nocioun, "a general concept, conception," from Latin notionem (nominative notio) "concept, conception, idea, notice," noun of action from past participle stem of noscere "come to know," from PIE root *gno- "to know." Coined by Cicero as a loan-translation of Greek ennoia "act of thinking, notion, conception," or prolepsis "previous notion, previous conception."

Meaning "an opinion, a view, a somewhat vague belief" is from c. 1600; that of "a not very rational inclination, a whim" is by 1746. Notions in the concrete sense of "miscellaneous small articles of convenience or utensils" (such as sold by Yankee peddlers) is by 1803, American English, via the idea of "clever product of invention."

Related entries & more 

Page 2