"the abiding place of poetry, the home of the poets," late 14c., Parnaso, from Italian, from Latin Parnassus, from Greek Parnassos, Parnasos, mountain chain in central Greece, sacred to Apollo and the Muses, thus symbolic of poetry. Ancient sources say the older name was Larnassos; Beekes hints at a Pre-Greek origin. Related: Parnassian.
Various kinds of literary fame seem destined to various measures of duration. Some spread into exuberance with a very speedy growth, but soon wither and decay; some rise more slowly, but last long. Parnassus has its flowers of transient fragrance, as well as its oaks of towering height, and its laurels of eternal verdure. [Samuel Johnson, "The Rambler," March 23, 1751]
also Hallow-e'en, Hallow e'en, "last night of October (the eve of All Saints Day) as a popular holiday," 1781, in a Scottish context, a Scottish shortening of Allhallowe'en, All Hallows even, etc., 1550s, "the evening before All-Hallows." This is from otherwise-obsolete hallow (n.), in Middle English halwe, "holy person, saint," from Old English halga, which is from the source of hallow (v.). Also see even (n.), and compare hallows.
All-Hallows is Middle English al-halwe, late Old English ealra halgan "all saints, the saints in heaven collectively," also the name of the feast day and of individual churches. The date Oct. 31 is described as alle halwe eue by c. 1300. Hallow-day for "All-Saints Day" is from 1590s; earlier was halwemesse day (late 13c.). Hallowtide (15c.) was the first week of November.
The last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year's Night, a night for witches. A pagan holiday given a cursory baptism. The word and the magical lore about the date were popularized by Burns' poem (1785, and he attached a footnote explaining it), but it probably dates to 17c. in Scotland and is the name of a tune in 1724. The tune is mentioned again in an English-Scots songbook ("The Chearful Companion") in 1783, and Burns was not the first to describe the customs in print.
Hallow-E'en, or Holy Eve, is the evening previous to the celebration of All Saints. That it is propitious to the rites of divination, is an opinion still common in many parts of Scotland. [John Main, footnote to his poem "Hallow-E'en," Glasgow, 1783]
month following January, late 14c., ultimately from Latin februarius mensis "month of purification," from februare "to purify," from februa "purifications, expiatory rites" (plural of februum "means of purification, expiatory offerings"), which is of uncertain origin, said to be a Sabine word. De Vaan says from Proto-Italic *f(w)esro-, from a PIE word meaning "the smoking" or "the burning" (thus possibly connected with fume (n.)). The sense then could be either purification by smoke or a burnt offering.
The last month of the ancient (pre-450 B.C.E.) Roman calendar, so named in reference to the Roman feast of purification, held on the ides of the month. The Old English name for it was solmonað, which is said to mean "mud month." English first borrowed the Roman name from Old French Feverier, which yielded Middle English Feverer, Feoverel, etc. (c. 1200) before the 14c. respelling to conform to Latin.
faint constellation and 11th zodiac sign, late Old English, from Latin aquarius, literally "water carrier," properly an adjective, "pertaining to water" (see aquarium); a loan-translation of Greek Hydrokhoos "the water-pourer," the old Greek name of this constellation.
The Aquarians (1580s) were a former Christian sect; its adherents used water instead of wine at the Lord's Supper. Aquarian Age (alluded to from 1913) is an astrological epoch (based on precession of the equinoxes) supposed to have begun in the 20th century (though in one estimate, 1848), it would be characterized by the traits of this sign, usher in world peace and human brotherhood, and last approximately 2,160 years. The term and the concept probably got a boost in popular use from the rock song "Age of Aquarius" (1967) and when An Aquarian Exposition was used as the sub-title of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (1969).
1950, with -ism + name of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-1957) of Wisconsin, leader of U.S. anti-Communist agitation. He entered the Senate in 1947, but his rise to national attention began with a widely reported speech on Feb. 9, 1950, in which he claimed to have a list of known Communists working for the State Department. The term is said to have been coined by Washington Post political cartoonist Herbert Block ("Herblock") in an editorial cartoon from March 29, 1950. The Army-McCarthy subcommittee hearings in the U.S. Senate ran from April to June 1954.
The surname is from Irish Mac Carthaigh "son of Carthach" (Welsh Caradawc), an ancient Celtic name, also known in its Latinized form, Caractacus (last of the British leaders to resist Rome, captured 51 C.E.)
fifth month of the modern calendar, early 12c., Mai, from Old French mai and directly from Latin Majus, Maius mensis "month of May," possibly from Maja, Maia, a Roman earth goddess (wife of Vulcan) whose name is of unknown origin; possibly from PIE *mag-ya "she who is great," fem. suffixed form of root *meg- "great" (cognate with Latin magnus).
"[R]eckoned on the continent of Europe and in America as the last month of spring, but in Great Britain as the first of summer" [Century Dictionary, 1897]. Replaced Old English þrimilce, month in which cows can be milked three times a day. May marriages have been considered unlucky at least since Ovid's day. May-apple, perennial herb native to North America, so called for its time of blooming and its yellowish fruit, is attested from 1733, American English.
"twelfth and last (by modern reckoning) month of the calendar, the month of the winter solstice," late Old English, from Old French decembre, from Latin December, from decem "ten" (from PIE root *dekm- "ten"); tenth month of the old Roman calendar, which began with March.
The -ber in four Latin month names is probably from -bris, an adjectival suffix. Tucker thinks that the first five months were named for their positions in the agricultural cycle, and "after the gathering in of the crops, the months were merely numbered."
If the word contains an element related to mensis, we must assume a *decemo-membris (from *-mensris). October must then be by analogy from a false division Sep-tem-ber &c. Perhaps, however, from *de-cem(o)-mr-is, i.e. "forming the tenth part or division," from *mer- ..., while October = *octuo-mr-is. [T.G. Tucker, "Etymological Dictionary of Latin"]
Decembrist, in Russian history in reference to the insurrection against Nicholas I in December 1825, is by 1868 in English, translating Russian dekabrist, from dekabr' "December."
cited as a typical authority on card or board games, by 1755, a reference to Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), author of several works on card-playing. The surname, according to Bardsley, represents a Northern English dialectal pronunciation of hole. "In Yorks and Lancashire hole is still dialectically hoyle. Any one who lived in a round hollow or pit would be Thomas or Ralph in the Hoyle." ["Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames," London, 1901]
To the making of rule-books there is no end, and books on card games are no exception to the rule. Many claim to be the last word in 'Official Rules', and to this end disguise themselves under the name of HOYLE as an earnest of proof and authority. It may therefore be rather surprising to learn that Hoyle died over 200 years ago, and positively disconcerting find that most card games do not actually have official rules. What's more, the original Hoyle, an eighteenth-century Whist tutor, only described some half-dozen card games, and in not a single instance did he write any rules explaining how the game is played. [David Parlett, "A History of Card Games," 1991]
twentieth letter of the English alphabet; in the Phoenician alphabet the corresponding sign was the 22nd and last; everything after T in the modern alphabet represents European alterations or additions. The sound has been consistent throughout its history.
In Late Latin and Old French, -t- before -e- and -i- acquired the "s" value of -c- and words appeared in both spellings (nationem/nacionem) and often passed into Middle English with a -c- (nacioun). In most of these the spelling was restored to a -t- by or in the period of early Modern English, but sorting them out took time (Edmund Coote's "English Schoole-maister" (1596) noted malicious/malitious) and a few (space, place, coercion, suspicion) resisted the restoration.
To cross one's t's(and dot one's i's) "to be exact" is attested from 1849. Phrase to a T "exactly, with utmost exactness" is recorded from 1690s, though the exact signification remains uncertain despite much speculation. The measuring tool called a T-square (sometimes suggested as the source of this) is recorded by that name only from 1785. The T-cell (1970) so called because they are derived from the thymus. As a medieval numeral, T represented 160. A T was formerly branded on the hand of a convicted thief.
eleventh Roman letter, from Greek kappa, from Phoenician kaph or a similar Semitic source, said to mean literally "hollow of the hand" and to be so called for its shape.
Little used in classical Latin, which at an early age conformed most of its words (the exceptions had ritual importance) to a spelling using -c- (a character derived from Greek gamma). In Late Latin, pronunciation of -c- shifted (in the direction of "s"). Greek names brought into Latin also were regularized with a -c- spelling, and then underwent the Late Latin sound-shift; hence the modern pronunciation of Cyrus, Circe. To keep their pronunciation clear, the many Greek words (often Church words) that entered Latin after this shift tended to take Latin -k- for Greek kappa.
K- thus became a supplementary letter to -c- in Medieval Latin, used with Greek and foreign words. But most of the languages descended from Latin had little need of it, having evolved other solutions to the sound shifts.
K- also was scarce in Old English. After the Norman conquest, new scribal habits restricted -c- and expanded the use of -k-, which began to be common in English spelling from 13c. This probably was done because the sound value of -c- was evolving in French and the other letter was available to clearly mark the "k" sound for scribes working in English. For more, see C.
In words transliterated from Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Hawaiian, etc., it represents several different sounds lumped. In modern use some of them are now with kh-; in older borrowings they often followed traditional English spelling and were written with a C- (Corea, Caaba, etc.).
As a symbol for potassium, it represents Latin kalium "potash." In CMYK as a color system for commercial printing it means "black" but seems to stand for key in a specialized printing sense. Slang meaning "one thousand dollars" is 1970s, from kilo-. K as a measure of capacity (especially in computer memory) meaning "one thousand" also is an abbreviation of kilo-.
As an indication of "strikeout" in baseball score-keeping it dates from 1874 and is said to represent the last letter of struck. The invention of the scorecard symbols is attributed to English-born U.S. newspaperman Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) principally of the old New York "Clipper," who had been writing baseball since 1858, and who explained it thus:
Smith was the first striker, and went out on three strikes, which is recorded by the figure "1" for the first out, and the letter K to indicate how put out, K being the last letter of the word "struck." The letter K is used in this instance as being easier to remember in connection with the word struck than S, the first letter, would be. [Henry Chadwick, "Chadwick's Base Ball Manual," London, 1874]