"sharp, hooked, horny end of the limb of a mammal, bird, reptile, etc.," Old English clawu, earlier clea, "claw, talon, iron hook," from Proto-Germanic *klawo (source also of Old Frisian klawe "claw, hoe," Middle Dutch klouwe, Dutch klauw, Old High German klawa, German Klaue "claw").
Claw-foot in reference to carved furniture legs is from 1823; claw-and-ball attested from 1893. Claw-hammer, one having one end divided into two claws, is attested from 1769.
1530s, "pitchfork," from Old North French croche "shepherd's crook," variant of croc "hook," from Old Norse krokr "hook," which is of obscure origin but perhaps related to the widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning "bent, hooked."
From 1570s as "any fork or forking," especially "a parting of branches of a tree;" meaning "region where the body forks" is attested from 1590s. Hence crotchcutter "women's bathing suit with leg openings which reach above the hips" (by 1997).
ball game played with a curved stick or club, 1527, implied in a document from Ireland ("The horlinge of the litill balle with hockie stickes or staves ..."), of unknown origin. Perhaps related to French hoquet "shepherd's staff, crook," diminutive of Old French hoc "hook." The hooked clubs with which the game is played resemble shepherds' staves. In North America, ice hockey is distinguished from field hockey, but hockey alone can mean either. Also known as shinny or shinty.
late 15c., "caustic, biting, severe" (of words, speech), from Old French mordant, literally "biting," present participle of mordre "to bite," from Latin mordēre "to bite, bite into; nip, sting;" figuratively "to pain, cause hurt," which is perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm." Related: Mordantly.
The noun is first attested in a now-obsolete or archaic sense of "ornamented hooked clasp of a belt or girdle" (mid-14c.), from Old French mordant in this sense. In dyeing, "substance used in fixing colors," it is attested by 1791; as an adjective in dyeing, "having the property of fixing colors," by 1902. Related: Mordancy; mordantly.
The modern noun usually is a shortening of kippered herring, from a verb meaning "to cure a fish by cleaning, salting, and spicing it" (early 14c.). The earliest attested uses of the verb are to preparing salmon, hence the verb. The modern noun kipper is recorded from 1773 of salmon, 1863 of herring.
De Vaan writes, "It is possible that 'eagle' was derived from aquilus 'dark' when this had received its colour meaning. It may not be the only dark bird, but it is certainly one of the biggest and most majestic of them." As for aquilus, "The Romans derived this colour from aqua 'water', which [Etymologicum Magnum] reject because they cannot imagine water being black. Still, this seems a more likely derivation to me than from aquila 'eagle' ...."
Meaning "pertaining to an eagle" is from 1650s; that of "eagle-like" is by 1742.
late 14c., prouynen, proinen, of a bird, "to trim the feathers with the beak;" of a person, "to dress or groom oneself carefully," from an extended or transferred sense of Old French proignier, poroindre "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), a word of unknown origin. Compare preen, which seems to be a variant of this word that kept the original senses.
The main modern sense of "lop superfluous twigs or branches from" is from 1540s, perhaps a separate borrowing of the French word. It is earlier in English in a general sense of "lop off as superfluous or injurious" (early 15c.).
Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Roman *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (see prop (n.1)).
Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook, knife with a hooked blade used for pruning plants, is from 1610s; pruning knife, knife with a curved blade, is from 1580s.
Circa 1900, to pull (oneself) up by (one's) bootstraps was used figuratively of an impossible task (among the "practical questions" at the end of chapter one of Steele's "Popular Physics" schoolbook (1888) is, "30. Why can not a man lift himself by pulling up on his boot-straps?" and an excellent question it is). By 1916 the meaning of the phrase had expanded to include "better oneself by rigorous, unaided effort." The meaning "fixed sequence of instructions to load the operating system of a computer" (1953) is from the notion of the first-loaded program pulling itself (and the rest) up by the bootstrap. It was used earlier of electrical circuits (1946).