Etymology
Advertisement
prance (v.)

late 14c., prauncen, originally of horses in high mettle, "make a show in walking; move proudly, lifting the feet with a capering motion," a word of unknown origin. By late 14c. of persons, "to strut, swagger, act proudly and aggressively."

Perhaps related to Middle English pranken "to show off" (from Middle Dutch pronken "to strut, parade;" see prank) by influence of dance (though prank is not attested as early as this word); or perhaps from Danish dialectal prandse "to go in a stately manner." Klein suggests Old French paravancier. Related: Pranced; prancing. As a noun from 1751, from the verb.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
lucky (adj.)

mid-15c., of persons; 1540s, of actions or objects, "likely to bring luck;" from luck (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "occurring by chance" is 1590s. Related: Luckier; luckiest; luckiness.

Lucky break is attested from 1884 in billiards; 1872 as "failure or break-down which turns out to be fortunate." Lucky accident is from 1660s. Lucky dog "unusually lucky person" is from 1842. Lucky Strike as the name of a U.S. brand of cigarettes (originally chewing tobacco) popular in the World War II years is said to date from 1871. Its popularity grew from 1935 when the brand's maker picked up sponsorship of radio's "Your Hit Parade."

Related entries & more 
nuclear (adj.)

1841, "of or like the nucleus of a cell," from nucleus + -ar, probably by influence of French nucléaire. General sense of "central" is from 1912. In atomic physics, "of or belonging to the nucleus of an atom," from 1914; of weapons deriving their destructive power from nuclear reactions, by 1945.

Hence nuclear energy (1930), nuclear physics (1933), nuclear war (1954). Nuclear winter was coined by U.S. atmospheric scientist Richard Turco but is first attested in article by Carl Sagan in "Parade" magazine, Oct. 30, 1983. Nuclear family, originally a sociologists' term, is first attested 1949 in "Social Structure," by American anthropologist G.P. Murdock (1897-1985). Alternative adjective nucleal is recorded from 1840, probably from French.

Related entries & more 
pageant (n.)

late 14c., pagent, "a play in a cycle of mystery plays," from Medieval Latin pagina, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin pagina "page of a book" (see page (n.1)) on notion of "manuscript" of a play.

But an early sense in Middle English also was "wheeled stage or scene of a play" (late 14c.) and Klein, Century Dictionary, etc., say a sense of Medieval Latin pagina was "movable scaffold" (probably from the etymological sense of "stake"). The sense might have been extended from the platform to the play presented on it.

With unetymological -t as in ancient (adj.). In Middle English also "a scene in a royal welcome or a Roman triumph" (mid-15c.); "a story, a tale" (early 15c.); "an ornamental hanging for a room" (mid-15c.). The generalized sense of "showy parade, spectacle" is attested by 1805, though this notion is found in pageantry (1650s).

Related entries & more 
rain (v.)

"fall in drops through the air," Middle English reinen, from Old English regnian, usually contracted to rinan; see rain (n.), and compare Old Norse rigna, Swedish regna, Danish regne, Old High German reganon, German regnen, Gothic rignjan. Related: Rained; raining. Transferred and figurative use, of other things that fall in showers or drops (blessings, tears, etc.), is by c. 1200.

To rain on (someone's) parade is attested from 1941. Phrase to rain cats and dogs is attested from 1738 (variation rain dogs and polecats is from 1650s), of unknown origin and signification, despite intense speculation. One of the less likely suggestions is pets sliding off sod roofs when the sod got too wet during a rainstorm. (Ever see a dog react to a rainstorm by climbing up an exposed roof?) Probably rather an extension of cats and dogs as proverbial for "strife, enmity" (1570s).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
burlesque (n.)

1660s, "piece composed in burlesque style, derisive imitation, grotesque parody," earlier as an adjective, "odd, grotesque" (1650s), from French burlesque (16c.), from Italian burlesco "ludicrous," from burla "joke, fun, mockery," possibly ultimately from Late Latin burra "trifle, nonsense," literally "flock of wool" (a word of unknown origin). The more precise adjectival meaning "tending to excite laughter by ludicrous contrast between the subject and the manner of treating it" is attested in English by 1700.

The two great branches of ridicule in writing are comedy and burlesque. The first ridicules persons by drawing them in their proper characters; the other, by drawing them quite unlike themselves. Burlesque is therefore of two kinds; the first represents mean persons in accoutrements of heroes, the other describes great persons acting and speaking like the basest among the people. [Addison, "Spectator," Dec. 15, 1711]

By 1880s it typically meant "travesties on the classics and satires on accepted ideas" and vulgar comic opera. Modern sense of "variety show featuring striptease" is American English, evolved after 1870 and predominant from 1920s, probably from the earlier sense "sketches at the end of minstrel shows" (1857).

A BURLESQUE show, to the average person, is a rather naughty form of entertainment which men attend for the purpose of vicarious thrills and semi-obscenity. [The American Parade, 1927]
Related entries & more 

Page 2