late 14c., "set (one's eyes or mind) on something" (a figurative use), probably from Old French verb *fixer, from fixe "fixed," from Latin fixus "fixed, fast, immovable; established, settled," past-participle adjective from figere "to fix, fasten, drive, thrust in; pierce through, transfix," also figurative, from PIE root *dheigw- "to pierce, stick in;" hence "to fix, fasten."
Sense of "fasten, attach" is c. 1400; that of "to make (colors, etc.) fast or permanent" is from 1660s. The meaning "settle, assign" evolved into "adjust, arrange" (1660s), then "to repair" (1737), but this sometimes was objected to (see below). Sense of "tamper with" (a fight, a jury, etc.) is from 1790. As euphemism for "castrate a pet" it dates from 1930. Related: Fixed; fixing.
To fix is to make fast, or permanent; to set immoveably, &c.: hence, to fix a watch, is to stop it, or prevent it from 'going;' which, it must be admitted, is a very unsatisfactory mode of repairing that article. [Seth T. Hurd, "A Grammatical Corrector; or, Vocabulary of the Common Errors of Speech," 1847]
1590s, in a now-obsolete meaning "mischievous, malicious;" also in 17c., "careless, incautious; unreliable, not to be trusted," from un- (1) "not" + canny (q.v.) in its old Scots and Northern English sense of "skillful, prudent, lucky" (it is a doublet of cunning).
Canny had also a sense of "superstitiously lucky; skilled in magic." In Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) the first sense of uncanny as used in Scotland and the North is "awkward, unskilful; careless; imprudent; inconvenient." The second is "Unearthly, ghostly, dangerous from supernatural causes ; ominous, unlucky ; of a person : possessed of supernatural powers".
From 1773, uncanny appears in popular literature from the North (Robert Fergusson, Scott), with reference to persons and in a sense of "not quite safe to trust or deal with through association with the supernatural." By 1843 it had a general sense in English of "having a supernatural character, weird, mysterious, strange." (OED notes this as "Common from c 1850"; Borges considers it untranslatable but notes that German unheimlich answers to it.)
The Scottish writers also use it with the meanings "unpleasantly hard; dangerous, unsafe."
mid-12c., forloren "disgraced, depraved," past participle of obsolete forlesan "be deprived of, lose, abandon," from Old English forleosan "to lose, abandon, let go; destroy, ruin," from for- "completely" + leosan "to lose" (from Proto-Germanic *lausa-, from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"). In the Mercian hymns, Latin perditionis is glossed by Old English forlorenisse. OED's examples of forlese end in 17c., but the past participle persisted. Sense of "forsaken, abandoned" is 1530s; that of "wretched, miserable" first recorded 1580s.
A common Germanic compound (cognates: Old Saxon farilosan, Old Frisian urliasa, Middle Dutch verliesen, Dutch verliezen, Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").
In English now often in forlorn hope (1570s), which is a partial translation of Dutch verloren hoop, in which hoop means "troop, band," literally "heap," and the sense of the whole phrase is of a suicide mission. The phrase more often than not is used in English as if it meant "a faint hope," and the misuse has colored the meaning of forlorn. Related: Forlornly; forlornness.
Old English ban "bone, tusk, hard animal tissue forming the substance of the skeleton; one of the parts which make up the skeleton," from Proto-Germanic *bainan (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon ben, Old Norse bein, Danish ben, German Bein). Absent in Gothic, with no cognates outside Germanic (the common PIE root is *ost-); the Norse, Dutch, and German cognates also mean "shank of the leg," and this is the main meaning in Modern German, but English seems never to have had this sense.
To work (one's) fingers to the bone is from 1809. To have a bone to pick (1560s) is an image from dogs struggling to crack or gnaw a bone (to pick a bone "strip a bone by picking or gnawing" is attested from late 15c.); bone of contention (1560s) is from two dogs fighting over a bone; the images seem to have become somewhat merged. Also compare bones.
Bone-china, which is mixed with bone-dust, is by 1854. Bone-shaker (1874) was an old name for the early type of bicycle, before the adoption of rubber tires, etc.
Old English hamor "hammer," from Proto-Germanic *hamaraz (source also of Old Saxon hamur, Middle Dutch, Dutch hamer, Old High German hamar, German Hammer). The Old Norse cognate hamarr meant "stone, crag" (it's common in English place names), and suggests an original sense of the Germanic words as "tool with a stone head," which would describe the first hammers. The Germanic words thus could be from a PIE *ka-mer-, with reversal of initial sounds, from PIE *akmen "stone, sharp stone used as a tool" (source also of Old Church Slavonic kamy, Russian kameni "stone"), from root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce."
As a part of a firearm, 1580s; as a part of a piano, 1774; as a small bone of the ear, 1610s. Figurative use of "aggressive and destructive foe" is late 14c., from similar use of French martel, Latin malleus. To go at it hammer and tongs "with great violence and vigor" (1708) is an image from blacksmithing (the tongs hold the metal and the hammer beats it). Hammer and sickle as an emblem of Soviet communism attested from 1921, symbolizing industrial and agricultural labor.
Old English heap "pile (of things); great number, crowd, multitude (of persons)," from West Germanic *haupaz (source also of Old Saxon hop, Old Frisian hap, Middle Low German hupe, Dutch hoop, German Haufe "heap"), of uncertain origin. The group is perhaps related to Old English heah "high" (see high), but OED suggests a common origin with Latin cubare "lie down," and Boutkan says it is probably not Indo-European at all.
Slang meaning "old car" is attested from 1924. Earlier it meant "slovenly woman" (1806). As a characteristic word in American Indian English speech, "a lot, a great deal," by 1832.
One grain of sand does not make a heap. A second grain of sand added to the first does not make a heap. Indeed each and every grain of sand, when added to the others, does not make a heap which was not a heap before. Therefore, all the grains of sand in existence can still not a heap make. [the fallacy of the heap, as described in Malcolm Murray and Nebojsa Kujundzic, "Critical Reflection," 2005]
It forms all or part of: amiss; amoeba; azimuth; common; commune; communicate; communication; communism; commute; congee; demean; emigrate; emigration; excommunicate; excommunication; immune; immutable; incommunicado; mad; mean (adj.1) "low-quality;" mew (n.2) "cage;" mews; migrate; migration; mis- (1) "bad, wrong;" mistake; Mithras; molt; Mstislav; municipal; munificent; mutable; mutant; mutate; mutation; mutatis mutandis; mutual; permeable; permeate; permutation; permute; remunerate; remuneration; transmutation; transmute; zenith.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit methati "changes, alternates, joins, meets;" Avestan mitho "perverted, false;" Hittite mutai- "be changed into;" Latin mutare "to change," meare "to go, pass," migrare "to move from one place to another," mutuus "done in exchange;" Old Church Slavonic mite "alternately;" Czech mijim "to go by, pass by," Polish mijać "avoid;" Gothic maidjan "to change."
c. 1200, sermoun, sarmun, "a discourse upon a text of scripture; that which is preached," from Anglo-French sermoun, Old French sermon, sermun "speech, words, discourse; church sermon, homily" (10c.) and directly from Latin sermonem (nominative sermo) "continued speech, conversation; common talk, rumor; learned talk, discourse; manner of speaking, literary style."
This is reconstructed to be from PIE *ser-mo-, a suffixed form of the root *ser- (2) "to line up," hence "to thread, thread together," and thus "a stringing together of words." De Vaan writes, "The derivation from a root 'to link, put on a string' is not compelling, but can be defended with parallel etymologies of words for 'speech' in other languages."
The sense in English and French is elliptical for Latin sermo religiosus "public religious discourse." Throughout Middle English the word also was used in its non-religious classical sense of "a discourse, a discussion." In modern transferred (non-religious) use, it is from 1590s. Also by late 13c. of particular discourses of Christ, the Apostles, etc. Related: Sermonic; sermonical; sermonish. Sermoner "preacher" is attested from early 13c. as a surname.
word-forming element meaning "forward, forth, toward the front" (as in proclaim, proceed); "beforehand, in advance" (prohibit, provide); "taking care of" (procure); "in place of, on behalf of" (proconsul, pronoun); from Latin pro (adv., prep.) "on behalf of, in place of, before, for, in exchange for, just as," which also was used as a first element in compounds and had a collateral form por-.
Also in some cases from cognate Greek pro "before, in front of, sooner," which also was used in Greek as a prefix (as in problem). Both the Latin and Greek words are from PIE *pro- (source also of Sanskrit pra- "before, forward, forth;" Gothic faura "before," Old English fore "before, for, on account of," fram "forward, from;" Old Irish roar "enough"), extended form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, toward, near," etc.
The common modern sense of "in favor of, favoring" (pro-independence, pro-fluoridation, pro-Soviet, etc.) was not in classical Latin and is attested in English from early 19c.
mid-14c., proteccioun, "shelter, defense, that which shields from harm or injury; keeping, guardianship, act or state of protecting;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past-participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro "before" (see pro-) + tegere "to cover" (from PIE root *(s)teg- "to cover"). A common Old English word for "protect" was beorgan.
The political economy sense of "system of fostering a country's industries by means of imposts on products of foreign competitors" is from 1789. As "a writing that guarantees the bearer safety or safe conduct" from mid-15c.; the modern underworld sense of "freedom from molestation in exchange for money" is attested from 1860. The ecological sense of "attempted preservation by laws" is from 1880 (originally of wild birds in Britain).
Also in medieval England, "the protection or maintenance of a lord or patron; sponsorship." To put (someone) out of protection meant to deprive him or her of the security of the protection of the kingdom's laws.