Etymology
Advertisement
Fata Morgana (n.)
1818, literally "Fairy Morgana," mirage especially common in the Strait of Messina, Italy, from Morgana, the "Morgan le Fay" of Anglo-French poetry, sister of King Arthur, located in Calabria by Norman settlers. Morgan is Welsh, "sea-dweller." There is perhaps, too, here an influence of Arabic marjan, literally "pearl," also a fem. proper name, popularly the name of a sorceress.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Appalachian 
in reference to the North American mountain range, c. 1600, Mountaynes Apalatsi; written apalachen by Spanish explorers and originally in reference only to the southern end of the range. Originally the name of the Apalachee, a Muskogean people of northwestern Florida, perhaps from Apalachee abalahci "other side of the river" or Hitchiti (Muskogean) apalwahči "dwelling on one side." Spelling shifted under influence of adjectives in -ian.
Related entries & more 
Jamaica 
West Indian island, from Taino (Arawakan) xaymaca, said to mean "rich in springs." Columbus when he found it in 1494 named it Santiago, but this did not stick. It belonged to Spain from 1509-1655, and after to Great Britain. Related: Jamaican.

The Jamaica in New York probably is a Delaware (Algonquian) word meaning "beaver pond" altered by influence of the island name.
Related entries & more 
Rasputin 

acquired name (Russian, literally "debauchee") of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (c. 1872-1916), mystic and faith healer who held sway over court of Nicholas II of Russia. His nickname is from his doctrine of "rebirth through sin," that true holy communion must be preceded by immersion in sin. His name has been used figuratively in English from 1937 for anyone felt to wield an insidious and corrupting influence.

Related entries & more 
Cambridge 
city in eastern England, Old English Grontabricc (c. 745) "Bridge on the River Granta" (a Celtic river name, of obscure origin). The change to Cante- and later Cam- was due to Norman influence. The river name Cam is a back-formation in this case, but Cam also was a legitimate Celtic river name, meaning "crooked." The university dates to 1209. Cambridge in Massachusetts, U.S., originally was New Towne but was renamed 1638 after the founding there of Harvard College, John Harvard being a graduate of Cambridge in England.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Phyllis 

fem. proper name, in old pastoral poems and plays a generic proper name for a comely rustic maiden (1630s), from Latin Phyllis, a girl's name in Virgil, Horace, etc., from Greek Phyllis, female name, literally "foliage of a tree," from phyllon "a leaf" (from PIE *bholyo- "leaf," suffixed form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). In English, often spelled Phillis, probably from influence of phil- "loving." Her sweetheart usually was Philander. The generic use was so common that for a time the name was a verb meaning "to celebrate in amatory verses."

Related entries & more 
Wednesday (n.)
fourth day of the week, Old English wodnesdæg "Woden's day," a Germanic loan-translation of Latin dies Mercurii "day of Mercury" (compare Old Norse Oðinsdagr, Swedish Onsdag, Old Frisian Wonsdei, Middle Dutch Wudensdach). For Woden, see Odin.

Contracted pronunciation is recorded from 15c. The Odin-based name is missing in German (mittwoch, from Old High German mittwocha, literally "mid-week"), probably by influence of Gothic, which seems to have adopted a pure ecclesiastical (i.e. non-astrological) week from Greek missionaries. The Gothic model also seems to be the source of Polish środa, Russian sreda "Wednesday," literally "middle."
Related entries & more 
India 
"the Indian subcontinent, central Asia south of the Himalayas," formerly sometimes used generally for "Asia;" since 1947 specifically in reference to the Republic of India, Old English India, Indea, from Latin India, from Greek India "region of the Indus River," later used of the region beyond it, from Indos "Indus River," also "an Indian," from Old Persian Hindu, the name for the province of Sind, from Sanskrit sindhu "river."

The more common Middle English form was Ynde or Inde, from Old French (hence Indies). The form India began to prevail again in English from 16c., perhaps under Spanish or Portuguese influence.
Related entries & more 
Bellatrix 

bright star in the left shoulder of Orion, from Latin bellatrix "female warrior," frequently used as an adjective, "warlike, skilled in war," fem. of bellator "to wage war," from bellum "war" (see bellicose). The Latin name, from the Alfonsine Tables (mid-13c.), very loosely translates the Arabic name for the star, Al Najid "the conqueror."

In astrology it was the natal star of all destined to great civil or military honors, and rendered women born under its influence lucky and loquacious; or as old Thomas Hood said, "Women born under this constellation shall have mighty tongues." [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," 1899]
Related entries & more 
Rhode Island 

U.S. state, the region is traditionally said to have been named by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano when he passed through in 1524, based on an imagined similarity between modern Block Island and the Greek Isle of Rhodes. More likely it is from Roodt Eylandt, the name Dutch explorer Adriaen Block gave to Block Island c. 1614, literally "red island," so called for the color of its cliffs. Under this theory, the name was altered by 17c. English settlers by folk-etymology influence of the Greek island name (see Rhodes) and then extended to the mainland part of the colony. By 1685 the island had been renamed for Block. The Rhode Island red domestic fowl was so called by 1896, for its plumage.

Related entries & more 

Page 2