early 14c., controve, contreve, "to invent, devise, plan;" late 14c., "to manage by a plan or scheme," from Old French controver (Modern French controuver) "to find out, contrive, imagine," from Late Latin contropare "to compare" (via a figure of speech), from an assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see con-) + tropus "song, musical mode," from Greek tropos "figure of speech" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn").
Sense evolution (in French) was from "invent with ingenuity" to "invent falsely." Spelling in English was altered by the same unexplained 15c. sound change that also affected briar, friar, choir. Related: Contrived; contriving.
also nerveracking, "causing anxiety or mental stress," 1812, from nerve (n.) + present participle of rack (v.1). Between nerve-racking and nerve-wracking (1867) this is probably the better choice as a figure of speech, but the sense of wrack (v.), though less suitable in the image, is not obviously wrong.
c. 1300, "branched or divided in two parts," past-participle adjective from fork (v.). Of roads from 1520s; from 1550s as "pointing more than one way." In 16c.-17c. sometimes with a suggestion of "cuckold," on the notion of "horned." Forked tongue as a figure of duplicitous speech is from 1885, American English. Double tongue in the same sense is from 15c.
also matchwood, 1590s, "wood used to start a fire;" 1838, "wood which has been split to proper size for matches," from match (n.1) + wood (n.). From the latter sense it has been used as a figure of speech for wood which has been broken or splintered into very small pieces. Also in this sense is matchsticks (1791).
German Pavian "baboon" is from Dutch baviaan, from Middle Dutch baubijn, a borrowing of the Old French word. Century Dictionary says Arabic maimun probably is from the European words.
"figure of speech consisting of omission of conjunctions," 1580s, from Latin, from Greek asyndeton, neuter of asyndetos "unconnected," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + syndetos, from syndein "to bind together," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + dein "to bind," related to desmos "band," from PIE root *dē- "to bind" (see diadem).
"I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other." ["The Tempest"]