"given to the use of low and indecent language," "using such language as only the licence of a buffoon can warrant" [Johnson], 1570s, from scurrile "coarsely joking" (implied in scurrility), from Latin scurrilis "buffoon-like," from scurra "fashionable city idler, man-about-town," later "buffoon." According to Klein's sources, "an Etruscan loan-word." Related: Scurrilously; scurrilousness. As a verb, scurrilize was tried (c. 1600).
also double-entendre, "word or phrase with two meanings or admitting of two interpretations," usually one of them obscure or indecent, 1670s, from French (where it was rare and is now obsolete), literally "a twofold meaning," from entendre (now entente) "to hear, to understand, to mean," from Latin intendere "turn one's attention" (see intend).
The proper Modern French phrase would be double entente, but the phrase has become established in English in its old form. Native phrase double meaning in the same sense is recorded from 1550s.
late 14c., "disgraceful, shameful, without honesty or integrity; unjust, unfair, disposed to deceive or cheat; unmodest, unchaste," from Old French deshoneste (13c., Modern French déshonnête) "dishonorable, horrible, indecent," perhaps from a Medieval Latin or Gallo-Roman compound of Latin dis- "not" (see dis-) + honestus "honorable; deserving honor, respectable," from honos "honor, dignity, office, reputation," which is of unknown origin. The Latin formation was dehonestus. Related: Dishonestly.
round dance performed to music in triple time, extraordinarily popular as a fashionable dance from late 18c. to late 19c., the dance itself probably of Bohemian origin, 1779 (walse, in a translation of "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers" from a French translation, which has walse), from German Waltzer, from walzen "to roll, dance," from Old High German walzan "to turn, roll," from Proto-Germanic *walt- (cognate with Old Norse velta), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Described in 1825 as "a riotous and indecent German dance" [Walter Hamilton, "A Hand-Book or Concise Dictionary of Terms Used in the Arts and Sciences"].
The music struck up a beautiful air, and the dancers advanced a few steps, when suddenly, to my no small horror and amazement, the gentlemen seized the ladies round the waist, and all, as if intoxicated by this novel juxtaposition, began to whirl about the room, like a company of Bacchanalians dancing round a statue of the jolly god. "A waltz!" exclaimed I, inexpressibly shocked, "have I lived to see Scotch women waltz?" [The Edinburgh Magazine, April 1820]
1540s, ridyculouse, "worthy of ridicule or contemptuous laughter," from Latin ridiculus "laughable, funny, absurd," from ridere "to laugh" (see risible). Shakespeare and other 17c. writers sometimes spelled it rediculous.
By 18c. the sense was weakening toward "comical, amusingly absurd." The slang extension to "outrageous, scandalous" is by 1839 (see below), but its appearance in college slang late 1960s is perhaps a fresh extension. The sense of "excellent" is by 1959 in jazz slang. Related: Ridiculously; ridiculousness; ridiculosity. In the sense "concerned with jokes," Latin had ridicularius.
RIDICULOUS. This is used in a very different sense in some counties from its original meaning. Something very indecent and improper is understood by it ; as, any violent attack upon a woman's chastity is called "very ridiculous behaviour :" a very disorderly, and ill-conducted house, is also called a "ridiculous one." [Halliwell, "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1852]
The same use also is attested in U.S., where it was regarded as a Southern word for "outrageous" and noted as in use in 20c. in Gullah speech and among poor whites in the Ozarks.
late 14c., nasti, "foul, filthy, dirty, unclean," literally or figuratively, a word of uncertain origin. Middle English Compendium says from Old Norse (compare Swedish dialectal and Danish naskug, nasket "dirty, nasty") with Middle English adjectival suffix -i. There was a variant nasky in early Modern English.
Barnhart suggests Old French nastre "miserly, envious, malicious, spiteful," shortened form of villenastre "infamous, bad," from vilain "villain" (see villain) + -astre, pejorative suffix, from Latin -aster. Another alternative etymology [mentioned in OED] is from Dutch nestig "dirty," literally "like a bird's nest."
From c. 1600 as "indecent, obscene" ("morally filthy"). Of weather, "foul, stormy," from 1630s; of things generally, "unpleasant, offensive; troublesome, annoying," from 1705. Of people, "ill-tempered, mean," from 1825. The noun meaning "something nasty" is from 1935. Related: Nastily; nastiness.
Nasty, in England frequently meaning ill-tempered or cross-grained (Slang Dictionary, p. 186), and in this sense admitted into good society, denotes in America something disgusting in point of smell, taste, or even moral character, and is not considered a proper word to be used in the presence of ladies. [M. Schele De Vere, "Americanisms," 1872]