c. 1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (early 15c.), from Old French espine "thorn, prickle; backbone, spine" (12c., Modern French épine), from Latin spina "backbone," originally "thorn, prickle" (figuratively, in plural, "difficulties, perplexities"), from PIE *spe-ina-, from root *spei- "sharp point" (see spike (n.1)). Meaning "the back of a book" is first attested 1922.
1570s, "spiny, full of sharp points, armed with prickles" (originally of holly leaves), from prickle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense of "irritable, quick to anger" is recorded by 1862. Prickly heat "inflammatory disorder of the sweat glands" is from 1736, so called for the sensation; prickly pear, of the fruit of a certain cactus, is from 1760 (earlier prickle pear, 1610s). Related: Prickliness.
"common yard weed of the genus Plantago," with large, spreading leaves close to the ground and slender spikes, c. 1300, planteine, from Anglo-French plaunteyne, Old French plantain, from Latin plantaginem (nominative plantago), the common weed, from planta "sole of the foot" (see plant (n.)); so called from its flat leaves.
"deep orange-yellowish," 1650s, from Latin luteus "golden-yellow, orange-yellow," from lutum, the name of a weed used in dyeing yellow, a word of unknown origin.
"sweet briar," c. 1400, from French églantine, from Old French aiglent "dog rose," from Vulgar Latin *aquilentus "rich in prickles," from Latin aculeus "spine, prickle," diminutive of acus "a needle" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").
mid-14c., "chisel with a concave blade," from Old French gouge "a gouge" (14c.), from Late Latin gubia, alteration of gulbia "hollow beveled chisel," probably from Gaulish (compare Old Irish gulban "prick, prickle," Welsh gylfin "beak"). Meaning "an imposition, a cheat" is from 1845, American English colloquial.