"building in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Congress meets," 1793 (in writings of Thomas Jefferson), from Latin Capitolium, name of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, protector of the city, on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Used earlier of Virginia state houses (1699). Its use in American public architecture deliberately evokes Roman republican imagery. With reference to the Roman citadel, Capitol is recorded in English from late 14c., via Old North French capitolie. Relationship of Capitoline to capital (adj.) is likely but not certain.
"of the Goths," the ancient Germanic people, "pertaining to the Goths or their language," 1610s, from Late Latin Gothicus, from Gothi, Greek Gothoi (see Goth). Old English had Gotisc. As a noun, "the language of the Goths," from 1757. Gothic was used by 17c. scholars to mean "Germanic, Teutonic," hence its use from 1640s as a term for the art style that emerged in northern Europe in the Middle Ages (which has nothing to do with the historical Goths), originally applied in scorn by Italian architects of the Renaissance; it was extended early 19c. to literary style that used northern European medieval settings to suggest horror and mystery. The word was revived 1983 as the name for a style of music and the associated youth culture (see goth). In typography, in England of black-face letters used for German text (1781), in the U.S. of square-cut printing type. Gothic revival in reference to a style of architecture and decorating (championed by Sir George Gilbert Scott) is from 1856.
nickname of Franciscan Mission San Antonio de Valeroin (begun 1718, dissolved 1793) in San Antonio, Texas; American Spanish, literally "poplar" (in New Spain, also "cottonwood"), from alno "the black poplar," from Latin alnus "alder" (see alder).
Perhaps so called in reference to trees growing nearby (compare Alamogordo, New Mexico, literally "big poplar," and Spanish alameda "a shaded public walk with a row of trees on each side"); but the popular name seems to date from the period 1803-13, when the old mission building was the base for a Spanish cavalry company from the Mexican town of Alamo de Parras in Nueva Vizcaya.
surname attested from early 15c., probably in many cases a variant of Mathieson "son of Matthew," but in some cases perhaps "son of Maddy," from the pet form of the fem. proper name Maud. The city in Wisconsin, U.S., was named 1836 for U.S. President James Madison, who had died that year. As the name of a popular dance of 1960 its signification is unknown; supposedly it originated in Baltimore.
Madison Avenue "values and business of advertising and public relations" is attested by 1954, from the street in Manhattan, laid out c. 1836 and also named for the late president. The concentration of advertising agencies there seems to date from the 1940s.
"The Academy," as a place where arts and sciences were taught, 1580s, from phrase groves of Academe (translating Horace's silvas Academi), the name of the public gymnasium and gardens near Athens where Plato taught, from Greek he Akadēmeia (see academy).
Latin academia also was used in reference to Plato's doctrines. Academe in a modern, general sense of "the world of universities and scholarship" is attested in English from 1849. (academia in the sense of "academic community" is from 1956.)
Academe properly means Academus (a Greek hero); & its use as a poetic variant for academy, though sanctioned by Shakespeare, Tennyson & Lowell, is a mistake; the grove of A., however, (Milton) means rightly The Academy. [Fowler]
twentieth letter of the English alphabet; in the Phoenician alphabet the corresponding sign was the 22nd and last; everything after T in the modern alphabet represents European alterations or additions. The sound has been consistent throughout its history.
In Late Latin and Old French, -t- before -e- and -i- acquired the "s" value of -c- and words appeared in both spellings (nationem/nacionem) and often passed into Middle English with a -c- (nacioun). In most of these the spelling was restored to a -t- by or in the period of early Modern English, but sorting them out took time (Edmund Coote's "English Schoole-maister" (1596) noted malicious/malitious) and a few (space, place, coercion, suspicion) resisted the restoration.
To cross one's t's(and dot one's i's) "to be exact" is attested from 1849. Phrase to a T "exactly, with utmost exactness" is recorded from 1690s, though the exact signification remains uncertain despite much speculation. The measuring tool called a T-square (sometimes suggested as the source of this) is recorded by that name only from 1785. The T-cell (1970) so called because they are derived from the thymus. As a medieval numeral, T represented 160. A T was formerly branded on the hand of a convicted thief.
third day of the week, Old English tiwesdæg, from Tiwes, genitive of Tiw "Tiu," from Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz "god of the sky," the original supreme deity of ancient Germanic mythology, differentiated specifically as Tiu, ancient Germanic god of war, from PIE *deiwos "god," from root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god." Cognate with Old Frisian tiesdei, Old Norse tysdagr, Swedish tisdag, Old High German ziestag.
The day name (second element dæg, see day) is a translation of Latin dies Martis (source of Italian martedi, French Mardi) "Day of Mars," from the Roman god of war, who was identified with Germanic Tiw (though etymologically Tiw is related to Zeus), itself a loan-translation of Greek Areos hēmera. In cognate German Dienstag and Dutch Dinsdag, the first element would appear to be Germanic ding, þing "public assembly," but it is now thought to be from Thinxus, one of the names of the war-god in Latin inscriptions.
masc. proper name, Middle English Jon, Jan (mid-12c.), from Old French Jan, Jean, Jehan (Modern French Jean), from Medieval Latin Johannes, an alteration of Late Latin Joannes, from Greek Ioannes, from Hebrew Yohanan (longer form y'hohanan), said to mean literally "Jehovah has favored" or "Jah is gracious," from hanan "he was gracious."
Greek conformed the Hebrew ending to its own customs. The -h- in English was inserted in imitation of the Medieval Latin form. Old English had the Biblical name as Iohannes. As the name of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it was one of the most frequent Christian given names, and in England by early 14c. it rivaled William in popularity and was used generically (in Middle English especially of priests) and as an appellative (as in John Barleycorn, John Bull, John Q. Public). Somehow it also became the characteristic name of a Chinaman (1818).
The Latin name also is the source of French Jean, Spanish Juan, Italian Giovanni, Portuguese João, also Dutch Jan, Hans, German Johann, Russian Ivan. Welsh form was Ieuan, Efan (see Evan), but Ioan was adopted for the Welsh Authorized Version of the Bible, hence frequency of Jones as a Welsh surname.
"cold, factual person," from the name of the school-board superintendent and mill-owner in Dickens' "Hard Times" (1854):
THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir - peremptorily Thomas - Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. ....
In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words 'boys and girls,' for 'sir,' Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.
Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.
masc. proper name, attested by 1218, probably via Anglo-French Jake, Jaikes, from Old French Jacques (which was a diminutive of Latin Jacobus; see Jacob), but in English the name always has been regarded as a familiar form of John, and some have argued that it is a native formation. In Middle English spelled Jakke, Jacke, etc., and pronounced as two syllables ("Jackie").
In England, Jack became a generic name applied familiarly or contemptuously to anybody (especially a young man of the lower classes) from late 14c. Later used especially of sailors (1650s; Jack-tar is from 1781); Jack-ashore (adj.) "drinking and in high spirits, recklessly spending" (1875) also is an image from sailors (1840 as a book title). In U.S., as a generic name addressed to an unknown stranger, attested from 1889. Every man Jack "everyone" is from 1812. Also see jack (n.).
Used in male personifications from 15c.; first record of jack-of-all-trades "person handy at any kind of work or business" is from 1610s; Jack Frost is from 1826; Jack-nasty "a sneak or sloven" is from 1833 (Jack-nasty-face, a sea-term for a common sailor, is from 1788). Jack Sprat for a small, light man is from 1560s (his opposite was Jack Weight). Jack-pudding "comical clown, buffoon" is from 1640s. Jack-Spaniard is from 1703 as a Spaniard, 1833 as "a hornet" in the West Indies. Other personifications listed in Farmer & Henley include jack-snip "a botching tailor," Jack-in-office "overbearing petty official" (1680s), Jack-on-both-sides "a neutral," Jack-out-of-doors "a vagrant" (1630s), jack-sauce "impudent fellow" (1590s).
The U.S. plant jack-in-the-pulpit (Indian turnip) is attested by 1833. Jack the Ripper was active in London 1888. The Scottish form is Jock (compare jockey (n.)). Alliterative coupling of Jack and Jill is from 15c. (Iakke and Gylle, Ienken and Iulyan). Jack Ketch for "hangman, executioner" (1670s) is said to be from the name of a public executioner in the time of James II (compare Derrick); it also was used as a verb meaning "to hang."