also oedema, "excessive accumulation of serum in tissue spaces or a body cavity," c. 1400, idema, "a swelling filled with phlegmatic humors," from medical Latin, from Greek oidēma (genitive oidēmatos) "a swelling tumor," from oidein "to swell," from oidos "tumor, swelling," from PIE *oid- "to swell," source also of Latin aemidus "swelling;" Armenian aitumn "a swelling," aytnum "to swell;" Old Norse eista "testicle," Old High German eittar "pus," Old English attor "poison" (that which makes the body swell), and the first element in Oedipus.
"of or pertaining to the kidneys," 1650s, from French rénal and directly from Late Latin renalis "of or belonging to kidneys," from Latin ren (plural renes) "kidneys," a word of of uncertain etymology, with possible cognates in Old Irish aru "kidney, gland," Welsh arenn "kidney, testicle," Hittite hah(ha)ari "lung(s), midriff." Also possibly related are Old Prussian straunay, Lithuanian strėnos "loins," Latvian streina "loins." "The semantic shift from 'loins' to 'kidneys' is quite conceivable" [de Vaan].
c. 1600, "fleshy mass at the back of the testicles," Modern Latin, literally "that which is on the testicles," from Greek epididymis, a word probably coined by Greek anatomist Herophilus (c. 353-280 B.C.E.) from epi "on" (see epi-) + didymos "testicle," literally "double, twofold" (adj.), from PIE root *dwo- "two." An acceptable Englishing of it is in Richard Brome's "The Court Beggar" (1652):
Strangelove. I doe not slight your act in the discovery,
But your imposture, sir, and beastly practise
Was before whisper'd to me by your Doctor
To save his Epididamies
Restricted sense of "precious stone, gem" developed in English from early 14c. Figurative meaning "beloved person, admired woman" is late 14c. Colloquial family jewels "testicles" is from 1920s, but jewel as "testicle" dates to late 15c. Jewel-case is from 1753.
Compare Greek parastatai "testicles," from parastates "one that stands by;" and French slang témoins, literally "witnesses." But Buck thinks Greek parastatai "testicles" has been wrongly associated with the legal sense of parastates "supporter, defender" and suggests instead parastatai in the sense of twin "supporting pillars, props of a mast," etc. Or it might be a euphemistic use of the word in the sense "comrades." OED, meanwhile, points to Walde's suggestion of a connection between testis and testa "pot, shell, etc." (see tete).
odoriferous reddish-brown substance secreted by the male musk deer (dried and used in medicinal preparations and as a perfume), late 14c., from Old French musc (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin muscus, from Late Greek moskhos, from Persian mushk, from Sanskrit muska-s "testicle," from mus "mouse" (so called, presumably, for resemblance; see muscle). The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. German has Moschus, from a Medieval Latin form of the Late Greek word. Spanish has almizcle, from Arabic al misk "the musk," from Persian.
The musk-deer, the small ruminant of central Asia that produces the substance, is so called from 1680s. The name musk was applied to various plants and animals of similar smell, such as the Arctic musk-ox (1744). Musk-melon "the common melon" (1570s) probably originally was an oriental melon with a musky smell, the name transferred by error [OED]. Also compare Muscovy.
Sense of "testicle" is from late Old English. The British measure of weight (usually equal to 14 pounds) is from late 14c., originally a specific stone. Stone-fruit, one with a pit, is from 1520s. Stone's throw for "a short distance" is attested from 1580s. Stone Age is from 1864. To kill two birds with one stone is first attested 1650s. To leave no stone unturned is from 1540s.
"round object, compact spherical body," also "a ball used in a game," c. 1200, probably from an unrecorded Old English *beal, *beall (evidenced by the diminutive bealluc "testicle"), or from cognate Old Norse bollr "ball," from Proto-Germanic *balluz (source also of Dutch bal, Flemish bal, Old High German ballo, German Ball), from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."
Meaning "testicle" is from early 14c. (compare ballocks). Ball of the foot is from mid-14c. Meaning "rounded missile used in warfare" is from late 14c. A ball as an object in a sports game is recorded from c. 1200; meaning "a game played with a ball" is from mid-14c. Baseball sense of "pitch that does not cross the plate within the strike zone" is by 1889, probably short for high ball, low ball, etc.
Ball-point pen is by 1946. Ball of fire when first recorded in 1821 referred to "a glass of brandy;" as "spectacularly successful striver" it is c. 1900. Many phrases are from sports: To have the ball "hold the advantage" is from c. 1400. To be on the ball is from 1912; to keep (one's) eye on the ball in the figurative sense is by 1907, probably ultimately on golf, where it was an oft-repeated item of advice. Figurative use of ball in (someone's) court is by 1956, from tennis.
The head must necessarily be steady, for it is most important that you should keep your eye fixedly on the ball from the moment that the club-head is lifted from the ground until the ball is actually struck. "Keep your eye on the ball," should be your companion text to "Slow back." [Horace G. Hutchinson, "Hints on the Game of Golf," 1886]
Once a meeting is over, someone will be expected to do something. Make sure it is someone else. This is known as keeping the ball in their court. [Shepherd Mead, "How to Get Rich in TV Without Really Trying," 1956]