drug slang, "to keep a joint in your mouth," dangling from the lip like Humphrey Bogart's cigarette in the old movies, instead of passing it on, by 1968, in "Don't Bogart That Joint" by Fraternity of Man. The word also was used 1960s with notions of "get something by intimidation, be a tough guy" (again with reference to the actor and the characters he typically played). Sixties slang, but the notion isn't new; in old drinking slang, Captain Cork was "a man slow in passing the bottle."
"great hunter," 1712, a reference to the biblical son of Cush, referred to (Genesis x.8-9) as "a mighty hunter before the Lord." In Middle English he was Nembrot (mid-13c.), founder of cities and builder of the tower of Babel (though Genesis does not name him as such). In 16c.-17c. his name was synonymous with "a tyrant." The word came to mean "geek, klutz" by 1983 in teenager slang, for unknown reasons. (Amateur theories include its occasional use in "Bugs Bunny" cartoon episodes featuring rabbit-hunting Elmer Fudd as a foil; its alleged ironic use, among hunters, for a clumsy member of their fraternity; or a stereotype of deer hunters by the non-hunting population in the U.S.)
late 14c., originally a traveling guild of masons with a secret code; in the early 17c. they began accepting honorary members and teaching them the secrets and lore, which was continued into or revived in the 17th century and by 1717 had developed into the secret fraternity of affiliated lodges known as Free and Accepted Masons (commonly abbreviated F. and A. M.). The accepted refers to persons admitted to the society but not belonging to the craft.
The exact origin of the free- is a subject of dispute. Some [such as Klein] see a corruption of French frère "brother," from frèremaçon "brother mason;" others say it was because the masons worked on "free-standing" stones; still others see them as "free" from the control of local guilds or lords [OED]. Related: freemasonic.
14c., "fraternal relation, relationship between sons of the same father or mother," from brother + -hood; earlier was brotherhede (c. 1300), with ending as in maidenhead; and Old English had broþerrede, with ending as in kindred. The modern form of the word prevailed from 15c.
Originally "relationship of a brother," also "friendly companionship." The concrete sense of "an association of men for any purpose, a fraternity" is from mid-14c. in the Middle English word (later also "labor union," 1880s). The meaning "a class of individuals of the same kind" is from 1728. The meaning "community feeling uniting all humankind" is from 1784. Old English also had broðorscipe "brothership," broðorsibb "kinship of brothers."
What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose
Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art,
To cut the link of brotherhood, by which
One common Maker bound me to the kind?
[Cowper, from "The Task," 1785]
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
And everybody hates the Jews.
[Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week" lyrics, 1965]
c. 1200 (early 12c. as a surname), masoun, "stoneworker, builder in stone, one who dresses, lays, or carves stone," from Old French masson, maçon "stone mason" (Old North French machun), probaby from Frankish *makjo or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German steinmezzo "stone mason," Modern German Steinmetz, with second element related to mahhon "to make"); from PIE root *mag- "to knead, fashion, fit."
But it also might be from, or influenced by, Medieval Latin machio, matio (7c.) which is said by Isidore to be derived from machina (see machine (n.)). The medieval word also might be from the root of Latin maceria "wall." Meaning "a member of the fraternity of freemasons" is attested from early 15c. in Anglo-French. The Mason jar (by 1868), a type of molded glass jar with an airtight screw lid, used for home preserves, is named for John L. Mason of New York, who patented it in 1858.
mid-14c., plegge, "surety, bail," from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) "hostage, security, bail," also Anglo-Latin plegium, both probably from Frankish *plegan "to guarantee," from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning "have responsibility for" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Middle Dutch plien "to answer for, guarantee," Old High German pflegan "to care for, be accustomed to," Old English pleon "to risk the loss of, expose to danger"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed" [Watkins].
From late 14c. as "person who goes surety or gives bail for another;" late 15c. (Caxton) as "personal property given as surety for a debt or engagement. By 1520s as "a token or sign of favor, agreement, etc.
Meaning "allegiance vow attested by drinking with another" is from 1630s. Sense of "solemn promise, one's word given or considered as security for the performance (or refraining from) an act" is recorded by 1814, though this notion is from 16c. in the verb. Weekley notes the "curious contradiction" in pledge (v.) "to toast with a drink" (1540s) and pledge (n.) "the vow to abstain from drinking" (1833). Meaning "student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority" dates from 1901.
"member of a community or fraternity of men formed for the practice of religious devotions or duties and bound by certain vows," Old English munuc (used also of women), from Proto-Germanic *muniko- (source also of Old Frisian munek, Middle Dutch monic, Old High German munih, German Mönch), an early borrowing from Vulgar Latin *monicus (source of French moine, Spanish monje, Italian monaco), from Late Latin monachus "monk," originally "religious hermit," from Ecclesiastical Greek monakhos "monk," noun use of a classical Greek adjective meaning "solitary," from monos "alone" (from PIE root *men- (4) "small, isolated"). The original monks in Church history were men who retired from the world for religious meditation and the practice of religious duties in solitude. For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come.
In England, before the Reformation, the term was not applied to the members of the mendicant orders, who were always called friars. From the 16th c. to the 19th c., however, it was usual to speak of the friars as a class of monks. In recent times the distinction between the terms has been carefully observed by well-informed writers. In French and Ger. the equivalent of monk is applied equally to 'monks' and 'friars.' [OED]
Middle English Grek, from Old English Grecas, Crecas (plural) "Greeks, inhabitants of Greece," an early Germanic borrowing from Latin Graeci "the Hellenes," apparently from Greek Graikoi. The first use of Graikhos as equivalent to Hellenes is found in Aristotle ("Meteorologica" I.xiv).
A modern theory (put forth by German classical historian Georg Busolt, 1850-1920), derives it from Graikhos "inhabitant of Graia" (literally "gray," also "old, withered"), a town on the coast of Boeotia, which was the name given by the Romans to all Greeks, originally to the Greek colonists from Graia who helped found Cumae (9c. B.C.E.), the important city in southern Italy where the Latins first encountered Greeks. Under this theory, it was reborrowed in this general sense by the Greeks.
The Germanic languages originally borrowed the word with an initial "-k-" sound (compare Old High German Chrech, Gothic Kreks), which probably was their word-initial sound closest to the Latin "-g-" at the time; the word later was refashioned.
It is attested from late 14c. as "the Greek language." The meaning "unintelligible speech, gibberish, any language of which one is ignorant" is from c. 1600. The meaning "member of a Greek-letter fraternity" is student slang, 1884.
It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author — and not to learn it better. [Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil," 1886]
"male person in his relation to another person or other persons of either sex born of the same parents," Old English broþor, from Proto-Germanic *brothar (source also of Old Norse broðir, Danish broder, Old Frisian brother, Dutch broeder, Old High German bruodar, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar), from PIE root *bhrater-.
A stable word across the Indo-European languages (Sanskrit bhrátár-, Greek phratér, Latin frater, etc.). Hungarian barát is from Slavic; Turkish birader is from Persian.
Other words sometimes come to mean "brother," when the cognate of brother is widely to "member of a fraternity," or as an appellation of a monk (Italian fra, Portuguese frade, Old French frere), or where there was need to distinguish "son of the same mother" from "son of the same father." For example Greek adelphos, which probably originally was an adjective with phrater and meant, specifically, "brother of the womb" or "brother by blood," and became the main word as phrater became "one of the same tribe." Spanish hermano "brother" is from Latin germanus "full brother" (on both the father's and mother's side); Middle English also had brother-german in this sense.
The meaning "male person in relation to any other person of the same ancestry" in English is from late 14c. The sense of "member of a mendicant order" is from c. 1500. As a familiar term of address from one man to another, it is attested from 1912 in U.S. slang; the specific use among Black American is by 1973.
also gild, early 13c., yilde (spelling later influenced by Old Norse gildi "guild, brotherhood"), a semantic fusion of Old English gegield "guild, brotherhood," and gield "service, offering; payment, tribute; compensation," from Proto-Germanic *geldja- "payment, contribution" (source also of Old Frisian geld "money," Old Saxon geld "payment, sacrifice, reward," Old High German gelt "payment, tribute;" see yield (v.)).
The connecting sense is of a contribution or payment to join a protective or trade society. But some look to the alternative prehistoric sense of "sacrifice," as if in worship, and see the word as meaning a combination for religious purposes, either Christian or pagan. The Anglo-Saxon guilds had a strong religious component; they were burial societies that paid for Masses for the souls of deceased members as well as paying fines in cases of justified crime.
The earliest reference was to sacred banquets (Tacit: Germania 21-2) for which a contribution had to be paid, and which furthermore accounts for the meaning 'fraternity' of the formation *geldja-. In medieval times the economically oriented fraternities, the guilds, adopted this word, but it could still be used in reference to religious fraternities .... The contribution to the banquets, *gelda-, acquired a legal meaning 'recompense', but also the meaning 'money, currency' in general. [Dirk Boutkan, "Old Frisian Etymological Dictionary"]
Continental guilds of merchants, incorporated in each town or city and holding exclusive rights of doing business there, arrived after the Conquest. In many cases they became the governing body of a town (compare Guildhall, which came to be the London city hall). Trade guilds arose 14c., as craftsmen united to protect their common interest.