1823, "act of flopping; any action that produces the sound 'flop;' the sound itself," from flop (v.). Figurative sense of "a failure; that which is a failure" is by 1893, from the notion of a sudden break-down or collapse. Extended form flopperoo is attested by 1936. The Fosbury flop high-jumping technique (1968) is so called in reference to U.S. athlete Dick Fosbury (b. 1947), who used it to win the 1968 Olympic gold medal.
c. 1200, from gold (n.); compare golden. In reference to the color of the metal, it is recorded from c. 1400. Gold rush is attested from 1859, originally in an Australian context. Gold medal as first prize is from 1757. Gold record, a framed, gold phonograph record to commemorate a certain level of sales, is from 1948.
Joe Grady and Ed Hurst, WPEN disk jockey team, will be given a gold record by Mercury of the one-millionth copy of Frankie Lane's waxing of That's My Desire, January 10, for having done so much to plug the platter in these parts [Philadelphia]. [Billboard magazine, Jan. 10, 1948]
Extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story," with or without saints, wonders, and miracles is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1610s; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903. To be a legend in (one's) own time is from 1958.
1721, "alloy of copper and (usually) a smaller amount of tin," from French bronze, from Italian bronzo, from Medieval Latin bronzium, which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps cognate (via notion of color) with Venetian bronza "glowing coals," or German brunst "fire." Perhaps influenced by Latin Brundisium the Italian town of Brindisi (Pliny writes of aes Brundusinum). Perhaps ultimately from Persian birinj "copper."
In Middle English, the distinction between bronze (copper-tin alloy) and brass (copper-zinc alloy) was not clear, and both were called bras (see brass (n.)). Used historically for bells, cannons, statuary, and fine mechanical works. Also from French are Dutch brons, German Bronze, etc., and ultimately from the Medieval Latin word are Spanish bronce, Russian bronza, Polish bronc, Albanian brunze, etc.
A bronze medal has been given to a third-place finisher at least since 1852. The archaeological Bronze Age (1850) falls between the Stone and Iron ages, and is a reference to the principal material for making weapons and ornaments.