Etymology
Advertisement
Voltaire 

name taken from 1718 by French author François Marie Arouet after his imprisonment in the Bastille on suspicion of having written some satirical verses; originally de Voltaire. The signification is uncertain.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
dippy (adj.)

"mad, insane, crazy," especially in love, 1903, perhaps from dip + -y (2), but the exact signification is unclear. Another theory connects it with dipsomania.

Related entries & more 
dew claw (n.)

also dew-claw, "rudimentary inner toe of the foot, especially the hind foot, of some dogs," 1570s, from claw, but the signification of the first element is obscure (compare dewlap).

Related entries & more 
petcock (n.)

also pet-cock, "a small plug-cock, made to be fastened to a pipe and used for draining water and condensation from steam cylinders, etc.," 1864, from cock (n.2); the signification of the first element is uncertain.

Related entries & more 
equivalence (n.)

"equality in value, correspondence in signification, force, nature, etc.," 1540s, from French équivalence, from Medieval Latin aequivalentia, from Late Latin aequivalentem "equivalent" (see equivalent). Related: Equivalency (1530s).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
bulrush (n.)
also bullrush, popular name for tall rush-like plants growing in or near water (in Biblical use, the Egyptian papyrus), mid-15c., bolroysche, from rush (n.1); the signification of bull is doubtful.
Related entries & more 
beef (v.)
"to complain," slang, 1888, American English, from noun meaning "complaint" (1880s). The noun meaning "argument" is recorded from 1930s. The origin and signification are unclear; perhaps it traces to the common late 19c. complaint of soldiers about the quantity or quality of beef rations.
Related entries & more 
rubber (n.2)

"deciding match" in a game or contest, usually a third where each has won one, 1590s, a word of unknown origin and signification; even the original form is uncertain. Not obviously connected to rubber (n.1). 

Related entries & more 
Leghorn 
city in Italy (modern Livorno, in 16c.-17c. Legorno), from Latin Liburnus, from the native people name Liburni, which is of unknown signification. Spanish Liorna, French Livourne. As a breed of fowl, 1869. Related: Livornese.
Related entries & more 
beforehand (adv.)
also before-hand, "in anticipation," early 13c., from before + hand, which here is of uncertain signification, unless the original notion is payment in advance or something done before another's hand does it. Hyphenated from 18c.; one word from 19c.
Related entries & more 

Page 2