the common European daisy, 1866, from French marguerite (see Margaret). "According to French etymologists, this use of F. marguerite is not from the personal name, but comes directly from the sense 'pearl.' " [OED] In Middle English, margaret "a daisy" is attested from early 15c., from Old French.
1836, from French margarine, a chemical term given to a fatty substance obtained from animal and vegetable oil, coined by French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889) in 1813 from (acide) margarique "margaric (acid);" literally "pearly," from Greek margaritēs "pearl" (see Margaret). So called for the luster of the crystals. Now discarded in this sense as a chemical term, but preserved in margarine.
as a type of tiny biting insect, 1839, American English, from midge, perhaps with diminutive suffix -et.
Dr. Webster is in error in saying the word "midge" is "not in use" at the present day. In the neighboring Green mountain districts, one or more most annoying species of Simulium that there abound, are daily designated in common conversation as the midges, or, as the name is often corrupted, the midgets. From Dr. Harris' treatise it appears that the same name is in popular use for the same insects in Maine. The term is limited in this country, we believe, exclusively to those minute insects, smaller than the musketoe, which suck the blood of other animals. ["Transactions of the New-York State Agricultural Society," vol. vi, Albany, 1847]
Transferred sense of "very small person" is attested by 1854. It is also noted mid-19c. as a pet form of Margaret.
common wildflower of Europe, growing in pastures and on mountainsides and cultivated in gardens, c. 1300, daiseie, from Old English dægesege, from dæges eage "day's eye;" see day (n.) + eye (n.). So called because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk. In Medieval Latin it was solis oculus "sun's eye." The use of dais eye for "the sun" is attested from early 15c.
Applied to similar plants in America, Australia, New Zealand. As a female proper name said to have been originally a pet form of Margaret (q.v.). Slang sense of "anything pretty, charming, or excellent" is by 1757.
Daisy-cutter first attested 1791, originally "a trotting horse," especially one that trots with low steps; later of cricket (1889) and baseball hits that skim along the ground. Daisy-chain is used in various figurative senses from 1856; the "group sex" sense is attested by 1941. Daisy-wheel for a removable printing unit in the form of a flat wheel is attested by 1974. Pushing up daisies "dead" is World War I soldier's slang from 1917 (see push (v.)), but variants with the same meaning go back to 1842.
"children's nurse," 1795, from the widespread child's word for "female adult other than mother" (compare Greek nanna "aunt," and see nana). The word also is a nickname form of the fem. proper name Ann, which probably is the sense in nanny-goat "female goat" (1706, compare billy-goat). Nanny-house "brothel" is slang from c. 1700. Nanny state, in reference to overintrusive government policies is attested by 1987, the term is associated with British political leader Margaret Thatcher, who criticized the tendency. Nannyism in reference to actions or policies considered unduly protective is by 1959; also compare the verb.
The statuette awarded for excellence in film acting, directing, etc., given annually since 1928 was first so called in 1936. The common explanation of the name is that it sprang from a 1931 remark by Margaret Herrick, secretary at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on seeing the statuette: "He reminds me of my Uncle Oscar." Thus the award would be named for Oscar Pierce, U.S. wheat farmer and fruit grower. The popularity of the name seems to trace to columnist Sidney Skolsky, and there are other stories of its origin.