late 14c., mukken, "to dig in the ground," also "to remove manure;" c. 1400, "to spread manure, cover with muck," from muck (n.) or Old Norse moka (n.). Mucker "one who removes muck from stables" is attested by early 13c. as a surname. Meaning "to make dirty" is from 1832; in the figurative sense, "to make a mess of," it is from 1886; to muck about "mess around" is from 1856. To muck (something) up is by 1896 as "to dirty, soil;" 1922 as "make a mess of." Related: Mucked; mucking.
1848, "a deodorizer," originally of substances to quell the odor of manure, formed in English as if from de- + Latin odorantem, from odor "smell" (see odor (n.)). In reference to a substance to be used on the human body, from 1860. An earlier version, a perfumed powder, was called empasm (1650s), from Greek *empasma "to sprinkle on."
"spread liberally," 1847, of uncertain origin. Early 19c. local glossaries from western England have the word with a sense "to slip or slide."
Slather on the manure on all the hoed crops, if you have it; if not buy of your improvident neighbor. [Genesee Farmer, June 1847]
Sometimes said to be from a dialectal noun meaning "large amount" (usually as plural, slathers), but this is first attested 1855. Related: Slathered; slathering.
mid-13c., muk, "animal or human excrement; cow dung and vegetable matter spread as manure," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse myki, mykr "cow dung," Danish møg; from Proto-Germanic *muk-, *meuk- "soft," which is perhaps related to Old English meox "dung, filth" (see mash (n.)). Meaning "unclean matter generally" is from c. 1300; that of "wet, slimy mess" is by 1766. Muck-sweat "profuse sweat" is attested from 1690s.
late 14c., compote, "mixture of stewed fruits, a preserve," from Old French composte "mixture of leaves, manure, etc., for fertilizing land" (13c.), also "condiment," from Vulgar Latin *composita, noun use of fem. of Latin compositus, past participle of componere "to put together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + ponere "to place" (see position (n.)).
The fertilizer sense is attested in English from 1580s, and the French word in this sense is a 19th century borrowing from English. The condiment sense now goes with compote, a later borrowing from French.
"clayey soil used for fertilizer, mixture of clay and carbonate of lime," mid-14c. (late 13c. in place-names), from Old French marle (Modern French marne) and directly from Medieval Latin margila, diminutive of Latin marga "marl," which is said by Pliny to be a Gaulish word, but modern Celtic cognates are considered to be borrowed from English or French.
As a verb, "to manure with marl," by late 14c. (marlen, from Old French marler and Medieval Latin marlare). Medieval Latin margila also is the source of Dutch mergel, German Mergel.
"become putrid," hence "be spoiled, be made worthless or ineffective," 1640s (implied in addled), from archaic addle (n.) "urine, liquid filth," from Old English adela "mud, mire, liquid manure" (cognate with East Frisian adel "dung," Old Swedish adel "urine," Middle Low German adel "mud," Dutch aal "puddle").
Popularly used in the noun phrase addle egg (mid-13c.) "egg that does not hatch, rotten egg," a loan-translation of Latin ovum urinum, literally "urine egg," which is itself an erroneous loan-translation of Greek ourion ōon "putrid egg," literally "wind egg," from ourios "of the wind" (confused by Roman writers with ourios "of urine," from ouron "urine").
From this phrase, since c. 1600 the noun in English was mistaken as an adjective meaning "putrid," and thence given a figurative extension to "empty, vain, idle," also "confused, muddled, unsound" (1706), then back-formed into a verb in that sense. Related: Addling.
Popular in forming derogatory compounds 17c. and after, such as addle-headed "stupid, muddled" (1660s); addle-pated (1630s); addle-pate "stupid bungler" (c. 1600); addle-plot "spoil-sport, person who spoils any amusement" (1690s).