to win something hands down (1855) is from horse racing, from a jockey's gesture of letting the reins go loose in an easy victory.
The Two Thousand Guinea Stakes was not the best contested one that it has been our fortune to assist at. ... [T]hey were won by Meteor, with Scott for his rider; who went by the post with his hands down, the easiest of all easy half-lengths. Wiseacre certainly did the best in his power to spoil his position, and Misdeal was at one time a little vexatious. [The Sportsman, report from April 26, 1840]
Ancient Greek had akoniti "without a struggle, easily," from akonitos (adj.), literally "without dust," specifically "without the dust of the arena."
1680s, pimiento (modern form from 1718), "dried, aromatic berries of an evergreen tree native to the West Indies," cultivated mostly in Jamaica, from Spanish pimiento "pepper-plant, green or red pepper," also pimienta "black pepper," from Late Latin pigmenta, plural of pigmentum "vegetable juice," from Latin pigmentum "pigment" (see pigment (n.)). So called because it added a dash of color to food or drink.
[I]n med.L. spiced drink, hence spice, pepper (generally), Sp. pimiento, Fr. piment are applied to Cayenne or Guinea pepper, capsicum; in Eng. the name has passed to allspice or Jamaica pepper. [OED]
The tree itself so called by 1756. The piece of red sweet pepper stuffed in a pitted olive so called from 1918, earlier pimiento (1901), from Spanish. French piment is from Spanish.
late 14c., orix, also in Middle English origen, from Latin oryx, from Greek oryx (genitive orygos), an old name of some sort of Libyan and Egyptian antelope with pointed horns, perhaps originally the gazelle; "the digging animal," literally "pick-axe," but according to Beekes this is probably a folk-etymologizing of a borrowed word Used in Greek and Latin bibles to render Hebrew tho, which early English Bibles misidentified as everything from a small hibernating animal or dormouse to a kind of bird like a guinea hen to a wild bull. Now applied to a specific genus of large antelopes of North Africa and Arabia.
Thou shalt eate no abhominacion. These are the beestes which ye shal eate: Oxen, shepe, Goates, Hert, Roo, Bugle, wylde goate, Unicorne, Origen, and Camelion. [Coverdale translation of the Bible, Deuteronomy xiv.5, 1535]
"material object regarded with awe as having mysterious powers or being the representative of a deity that may be worshipped through it," 1610s, fatisso, from Portuguese feitiço "charm, sorcery, allurement," noun use of an adjective meaning "artificial."
The Portuguese adjective is from Latin facticius "made by art, artificial," from facere "to make, do, produce" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put;" compare French factice "artificial," restored from Old French faitise, from Latin facticius). Via the French word, Middle English had fetis, fetice (adj.) "cleverly made, neat, elegant" (of things), "handsome, pretty, neat" (of persons). But in the Middle Ages the Romanic derivatives of the word took on magical senses; compare Portuguese feiticeria "sorcery, witchcraft," feiticeiro "sorcerer, wizard." Latin facticius in Spanish has become hechizo "artificial, imitated," also "bewitchment, fascination."
The specific Portuguese use of the word that brought it to English probably began among Portuguese sailors and traders who used the word as a name for charms and talismans worshipped by the inhabitants of the Guinea coast of Africa. It was picked up and popularized in anthropology by Charles de Brosses' "Du culte des dieux fétiches" (1760), which influenced the word's spelling in English (French fétiche also is borrowed 18c. from the Portuguese word).
Any material image of a religious idea is an idol; a material object in which force is supposed to be concentrated is a Fetish; a material object, or a class of material objects, plants, or animals, which is regarded by man with superstitious respect, and between whom and man there is supposed to exist an invisible but effective force, is a Totem. [J. Fitzgerald Lee, "The Greater Exodus," London, 1903]
Figurative sense of "something irrationally revered, object of blind devotion" appears to be an extension made by the New England Transcendentalists (1837). For sexual sense (1897), see fetishism.