1530s, typical name for an English woman of the lower class, hence "girl, lass, sweetheart," sometimes also "strumpet," from the pet form of Isabel. Often paired with Tom, as Jill was with Jack. Colloquial St. Tibb's Eve (1785) was the evening of the last day, the Day of Judgment, hence "never."
fem. proper name, from French Hélène, from Latin Helena, from Greek Helenē, fem. proper name, probably fem. of helenos "the bright one." In Greek legend, the sister of Castor and Pollux and wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Her elopement with Paris was the cause of the Trojan War. Among the top 10 popular names for girl babies in the U.S. born between 1890 and 1934.
fem. proper name, Middle English Jille, Jylle, Gille, etc., familiar shortening of Jillian, Gillian, which represent the common Middle English pronunciation of Juliana (see Gillian). A very popular name for girls in medieval England, hence its use as a familiar, almost generic, name for a girl (early 15c.; paired with Jack since mid-15c.).
fem. proper name, from French Jeanne, Old French Jehane, from Medieval Latin Johanna (see John). As a generic name for "girl, girlfriend" it is attested from 1906 in U.S. slang. Never a top-10 list name for girls born in the U.S., it ranked in the top 50 from 1931 to 1956. It may owe its "everywoman" reputation rather to its association with the popular boy's name John.
name of the temple of Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis in Athens, from Greek Parthenōn, literally "temple of the virgin goddess" (Athene), also, in a general sense, "the young women's apartments in a house," from parthenos "virgin, maiden, girl," a word of unknown origin. Beekes finds "acceptable" its derivation from IE *psteno- "breast" on the notion of "having protruding breasts." The temple was completed about 438 B.C.E., later served as a church and then a mosque under the Turks, and was shattered by an explosion of gunpowder stored there in 1687 during the Venetian siege.
Trojan youth taken by Zeus as his cup-bearer (and lover), from Greek Ganymedes, perhaps a non-Greek name, or from ganymai "I rejoice, am glad" (related to ganos "brightness; sheen; gladness, joy; pride") + medea (plural) "counsels, plans, cunning" (see Medea); taken in Greek folk-etymology to mean "delighting in genitals."
Used figuratively of serving-boys (c. 1600) and catamites (1590s). Associated with Aquarius in the zodiac. As the name of one of the four large satellites of Jupiter, proposed in Latin 1610s, but not widely used before 1847.
ancient name for the land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers north of Babylon (in modern Iraq), from Greek mesopotamia (khōra), literally "a country between two rivers," from fem. of mesopotamos, from mesos "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + potamos "river" (see potamo-).
In 19c. the word sometimes was used in the sense of "anything which gives irrational or inexplicable comfort to the hearer," based on the story of the old woman who told her pastor that she "found great support in that comfortable word Mesopotamia" ["Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable," 1870]. The place was Mespot (1917) to British soldiers serving there in World War I. Related: Mesopotamian.