ancient city in Syria, famous in medieval times for silk and steel, mid-13c., probably via Old French, from Latin Damascus, from Greek Damaskos, from Semitic (compare Hebrew Dammeseq, Arabic Dimashq), from a pre-Semitic name of unknown origin.
c. 1600, from Waldenses (plural), mid-15c., from Medieval Latin, apparently from Waldensis, a variant form of the surname of Peter Waldo, the preacher who originated the sect c.1170 in southern France. Excommunicated 1184, they eventually were swept into the Protestant revolt (16c.).
screen surname of Swedish actress Greta Gustaffson (1905-1990); her name was used allusively to indicate aloofness by 1934; her legendary avoidance of publicity began with her retirement from films in the mid-40s. Related: Garbo-esque.
West African nation, literally "lion mountains," from Spanish sierra "mountain range" (see sierra) + leon "lion" (see lion). Attested from mid-15c. in Portuguese explorers' accounts, and a very early explanation of the name derives it from the "roaring" of thunder in the mountains. Related: Sierra Leonean.
Middle English Saracene, Sarcene, Sarazyn, Sarasine, "a Turk; an Arab; a Muslim," from Old English (in translations from Latin), from Old French Saracin, Sarrasine or Medieval Latin Saracenus, from Greek sarakenos. This usually is said to be from Arabic sharquiyin, accusative plural of sharqiy "eastern," from sharq "east, sunrise," but this is not certain. In medieval times the name was associated with that of Biblical Sarah (q.v.).
Peple þat cleped hem self Saracenys, as þogh þey were i-come of Sarra [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s ]
It was the name Greeks and Romans gave to the nomads of the Syrian and Arabian deserts and the inhabitants of Arabia Felix, in the West it took on a sense of "Middle Eastern Muslim" from the Crusades. It also could be applied to any non-Christian people against whom a crusade was preached (the pagan Lithuanians), and in Middle English it was used generally for "one who is not a Christian or Jew; heathen, pagan" (mid-13c.). From c. 1300 as an adjective. Related: Saracenic; Sarcenism ("Islam"), and compare sarsen. Sarsinrie, "the Saracen people or country," is attested in mid-15c.
city in England, mid-11c., Stæfford, literally "ford by a landing-place," from Old English stæð "river bank, shore" + ford (n.). County town of Staffordshire, which, as a name for a type of earthenware and porcelain made there is attested from 1765. The city was noted in medieval England as a source of blue cloth.
street in Soho, London (Westminster), in mid-1960s lined with fashionable boutiques and clothing shops, hence used figuratively from 1964 for "(contemporary) English stylishness." It was named for Karnaby House, built 1683, from a surname or transferred from Carnaby in Yorkshire, which is from a Scandinavian personal name + -by (see by).
in various usages, from the gentle boy hero of Frances Hodgson Burnett's popular novel "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1885). The family name is recorded from mid-13c., literally "son of the king" (Anglo-French Le Enfant le Roy), from faunt, a Middle English variant of enfaunt (see infant). Middle English had also fauntekin "a little child" (late 14c.).
Biblical character (Luke xvi.20), the poor man covered in sores; his name was extended in medieval usage to "any poor and visibly diseased person" (compare lazar, mid-14c., "one deformed and nauseous with filthy and pestilential diseases" [Johnson]). The name is from a Greek rendition of Hebrew El'azar, literally "(he whom) God has helped."