1763, "blind alley, dead end," from French impasse "impassable road; blind alley; impasse" (18c.), from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + passe "a passing," from passer "to pass" (see pass (v.)). Figurative use (c. 1840) is perhaps from its use in whist. Supposedly coined by Voltaire as a euphemism for cul de sac.
... dans l'impasse de St Thomas du Louvre; car j'appelle impasse, Messieurs, ce que vous appelez cul-de-sac: je trouve qu'une rue ne ressemble ni à un cul ni à un sac: je vous prie de vous servir du mot d'impasse, qui est noble, sonore, intelligible, nécessaire, au lieu de celui de cul, ... (etc.) [Voltaire, "A Messieurs Les Parisiens"]
also *kwi-, Proto-Indo-European root, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns.
It forms all or part of: cheese (n.2) "a big thing;" cue (n.1) "stage direction;" either; hidalgo; how; kickshaw; neither; neuter; qua; quality; quandary; quantity; quasar; quasi; quasi-; query; quib; quibble; quiddity; quidnunc; quip; quodlibet; quondam; quorum; quote; quotidian; quotient; ubi; ubiquity; what; when; whence; where; whether; which; whither; who; whoever; whom; whose; why.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kah "who, which;" Avestan ko, Hittite kuish "who;" Latin quis/quid "in what respect, to what extent; how, why," qua "where, which way," qui/quae/quod "who, which;" Lithuanian kas "who;" Old Church Slavonic kuto, Russian kto "who;" Old Irish ce, Welsh pwy "who;" Old English hwa, hwæt, hwær, etc.
lawn game played with balls, mallets, hoops, and pegs, 1851, from French, from Northern French dialect croquet "hockey stick," from Old North French "shepherd's crook," from Old French croc (12c.), from Old Norse krokr "hook" (see crook (n.)). The game originated in Brittany and was popularized in Ireland c. 1830 in England c. 1850 and was very popular in the latter place until 1872.
Qui est-ce qui a inventé le croquet? On l'ignore. On sait qui a imaginé l'imprimerie, qui a découvert la vapeur, et l'on ne connaît pas l'inventeur du croquet. O ingratitude! A moins, pourtant, qu'enfant de la nature et sorti tout entier de la main du Créateur, comme Ève de la côte d'Adam, il ne se soit inventé tout seul. [Jacques Boucher de Perthes, "Hommes et Choses; Alphabet des Passion et des Sensations," Paris, 1850]
"low-waisted two-piece women's bathing suit," 1948, from French, coined 1947, named for the U.S. A-bomb test of June 1946 on Bikini, the Marshall Islands atoll, locally Pikinni and said to derive from pik "surface" and ni "coconut," but this is uncertain. Various explanations for the swimsuit name have been suggested, none convincingly, the best being an analogy of the explosive force of the bomb and the impact of the bathing suit style on men's libidos (compare c. 1900 British slang assassin "an ornamental bow worn on the female breast," so called because it was very "killing," also the figurative sense of bombshell).
Bikini, ce mot cinglant comme l'explosion même ... correspondant au niveau du vêtement de plage à on anéantissement de la surface vêtue; à une minimisation extrême de la pudeur. [Le Monde Illustré, August 1947]
As a style of scanty briefs, from 1960. Variant trikini (1967), with separate bra cups held on by Velcro, falsely presumes a compound in bi-.
late 15c., dews, "the 2 in dice or cards," also "a roll of 2 in dice" (1510s), from Old French deus (Modern French deux), from Latin duos (nominative duo) "two" (from PIE root *dwo- "two"). The spelling -ce from -s to reflect voiceless pronunciation is as in dice, pence, etc.
The word became a mild oath by 1710, about 50 years after it was first attested in the sense of "bad luck, the devil, etc.," perhaps because two was the lowest score, and probably by similarity to Latin deus and related words meaning "god." According to OED, 16c. Low German had der daus! in the same sense, which perhaps influenced the English form.
In tennis, "a stage of the game in which both players or sides have scored 40, and one must score 2 points to win," 1590s. Deuce coupe is 1940s hot-rodder slang for "souped up two-door car," especially a 1932 Ford. Related: Deuced; deucedly.
"cease to sleep, come out of sleep," a merger of two Middle English verbs: 1. awaken, from Old English awæcnan (earlier onwæcnan; strong, past tense awoc, past participle awacen) "to awake, arise, originate," from a "on" + wacan "to arise, become awake;" and 2. awakien, from Old English awacian (weak, past participle awacode) "to awaken, revive; arise; originate, spring from," from a "on" + wacian "to be awake, remain awake, watch." For the first element, see a (1); the second element in both is common Proto-Germanic (from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively").
Both originally were intransitive only; the transitive sense "arouse from sleep" generally being expressed by Middle English awecchen (from Old English aweccan) until later Middle English. In Modern English, the tendency has been to restrict the strong past tense and past participle (awoke, awoken) to the original intransitive sense and the weak inflection (awaked) to the transitive, but this never has been complete. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.); also compare awaken.
Un peuple tout entier s'aperçut, le 15 mai 1796, que tout ce qu'il avait respecté jusque-là était souverainement ridicule et quelquefois odieux. ["La chartreuse de parme"]
"one time only; at one time in the past, formerly," c. 1200, anes, basically an adverbial form of one with adverbial genitive -s. The Old English form was æne, but it was replaced by, or reshaped by analogy with, the genitive singular of the early Middle English form of one and the common addition of -es to adverbs at that time. The spelling changed as pronunciation shifted from two syllables to one after c. 1300; the -ce is to retain the breathy -s- (compare hence). The pronunciation change to "wuns" parallels that of one.
As an emphatic, meaning "once and for all," it is attested from c. 1300, but in modern U.S. this is a Pennsylvania German dialect formation. Meaning "in a past time" (but not necessarily just one time) is from mid-13c.
Never once "never at all" is from early 13c. Once in a while "sometimes" is by 1781. Once upon a time as the beginning of a story is recorded from 1590s, earlier once on a time (late 14c.). At once originally (early 13c.) meant "simultaneously," later "in one company" (c. 1300), and preserved the sense of "one" in the word; the phrase typically appeared as one word, atones; the modern meaning "immediately" is attested from 1530s. Once and for all "once as a final act" is from 1848, earlier once for all (late 15c.).