Etymology
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pity (n.)

mid-13c., pite, "compassion, kindness, generosity of spirit;" c. 1300 "disposition to mercy, quality of being merciful," also "a feeling of sympathy and compassion aroused by the sorrow or suffering of another," from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion, care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern French pitié), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see piety). Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself a loan-translation of Latin misericordia.

It is some comfort to receive commiseration or condolence ; it gives one strength to receive sympathy from a loving heart ; it is irksome to need compassion ; it galls us to be pitied. [Century Dictionary, 1895]

Middle English pity also could mean "devout obedience to God" (mid-14c.), and pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity, matter or source of grief or regret" is from late 14c.

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atheism (n.)

"the doctrine that there is no God;" "disbelief in any regularity in the universe to which man must conform himself under penalties" [J.R. Seeley, "Natural Religion," 1882], 1580s, from French athéisme (16c.), with -ism + Greek atheos "without a god, denying the gods," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + theos "a god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts). A slightly earlier form is represented by atheonism (1530s) which is perhaps from Italian atheo "atheist." The ancient Greek noun was atheotes "ungodliness."

In late 19c. sometimes further distinguished into secondary senses "The denial of theism, that is, of the doctrine that the great first cause is a supreme, intelligent, righteous person" [Century Dictionary, 1897] and "practical indifference to and disregard of God, godlessness."

In the first sense above given, atheism is to be discriminated from pantheism, which denies the personality of God, and from agnosticism, which denies the possibility of positive knowledge concerning him. In the second sense, atheism includes both pantheism and agnosticism. [Century Dictionary]
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back (n.)

Old English bæc "back," from Proto-Germanic *bakam (cognates: Old Saxon and Middle Dutch bak, Old Frisian bek), with no known connections outside Germanic. In other modern Germanic languages the cognates mostly have been ousted in this sense by words akin to Modern English ridge (such as Danish ryg, German Rücken).

Many Indo-European languages show signs of once having distinguished the horizontal back of an animal (or a mountain range) from the upright back of a human. In other cases, a modern word for "back" may come from a word related to "spine" (Italian schiena, Russian spina) or "shoulder, shoulder blade" (Spanish espalda, Polish plecy).

By synecdoche, "the whole body," especially with reference to clothing. Meaning "upright part of a chair" is from 1520s. To turn (one's) back on (someone or something) "ignore" is from early 14c. As a U.S. football position by 1876, so called from being behind the line of rushers; further distinguished according to relative position as quarterback, halfback, fullback.

To know (something) like the back of one's hand, implying familiarity, is first attested 1893 in a dismissive speech made to a character in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Catriona":

If I durst speak to herself, you may be certain I would never dream of trusting it to you; because I know you like the back of my hand, and all your blustering talk is that much wind to me.

The story, a sequel to "Kidnapped," has a Scottish setting and context, and the back of my hand to you was noted in the late 19th century as a Scottish expression meaning "I will have nothing to do with you" [see Longmuir's edition of Jamieson's Scottish dictionary]. In English generally, the back of (one's) hand has been used to imply contempt and rejection at least since 1300. Perhaps the connection of a menacing dismissal is what made Stevenson choose that particular anatomical reference.

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scalawag (n.)

also scallawag, "disreputable fellow," by 1839, American English colloquial, of uncertain origin; perhaps an alteration (by influence of wag "habitual joker") of Scottish scallag "farm servant, rustic," itself an alteration of Scalloway, one of the Shetland Islands, the reference being to little Shetland ponies (an early recorded sense of scalawag was "undersized, ill-fed, or worthless animal," 1854).

Judge Lynch passed through town on Saturday night last. He remained here long enough to give a worthless scalawag a genteel suit, from "head to heels" of tar and feathers. [Maumee City Express, Saturday Aug. 3, 1839]

In U.S. history, used from 1862 as a derogatory term for anti-Confederate native white Southerners.

The word was used in the southern United States, during the period of reconstruction (1865 to 1870 and later), in an almost specific sense, being opprobriously applied by the opponents of the Republican party to native Southerners who acted with that party, as distinguished from carpet-bagger, a Republican of Northern origin. [Century Dictionary]
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clerisy (n.)

1818, on model of German clerisei, from Late Latin clericia, related to clericus (see cleric); apparently coined by Coleridge, who used it to mean "the learned men of a nation, its poets, philosophers, and scholars," "to express a notion no longer associated with CLERGY" [OED]. But since the 1840s it has since sometimes been used in the sense "the clergy," as distinguished from the laity.

The clerisy of the nation (a far apter exponent of the thing meant, than the term which the usus et norma loquendi forces on me), the clerisy, I say, or national church, in its primary acceptation and original intention comprehended the learned of all denominations;—the sages and professors of law and jurisprudence; of medicine and physiology; of music; of military and civil architec[t]ure; of the physical sciences; with the mathematical as the common organ of the preceding; in short, all the so called liberal arts and sciences, the possession and application of which constitute the civilization of a country, as well as the Theological. [Coleridge, "On the Constitution of the Church and State," 1830]
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mantle (n.)

Old English mentel "a loose, sleeveless garment worn as an outer covering, falling in straight lines from the shoulders," from Latin mantellum "cloak" (source of Italian mantello, Old High German mantal, German Mantel, Old Norse mötull), perhaps from a Celtic source, or, if the Latin word is the same word as mantelum, mantelium "a cloth, hand-towel, napkin," perhaps it is from manus "hand."

Reinforced and altered 12c. by cognate Old French mantel "cloak, mantle; bedspread, cover" (Modern French manteau), also from the Latin source. Figurative sense "that which enshrouds, something that conceals, a covering" is from c. 1300. Allusive use for "symbol of literary authority or artistic pre-eminence" (by 1789) is from Elijah's mantle (II Kings ii.13). As a layer of the earth between the crust and core (though not originally distinguished from the core) it is attested from 1940. To take (originally have) the mantel (and the ring) was a symbolic act done before a bishop by a widow, indicating a vow of chastity (c. 1400).

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print (n.)

c. 1300, prente, "impression, mark made by impression upon a surface" (as by a stamp or seal), from Old French preinte "impression," noun use of fem. past participle of preindre "to press, crush," altered from prembre, from Latin premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). The Old French word also was borrowed into Middle Dutch (prente, Dutch prent) and other Germanic languages.

Sense of "a printed publication" (later especially a newspaper) is from 1560s. The meaning "printed lettering" is from 1620s; print-hand "print-like handwriting" is from 1650s. The sense of "picture or design from a block or plate" is attested from 1660s. Meaning "piece of printed cloth or fabric" is from 1756. The photographic sense is by 1853.

In Middle English, stigmata were called precious prentes of crist; to perceiven the print of sight was "to feel (someone's) gaze." Out of print "no longer to be had from the publisher" is from 1670s (to be in print "in printed form" is recorded from late 15c.). Print journalism attested from 1962, as distinguished from the television variety.

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leather (n.)

Old English leðer (only in compounds) "tanned or otherwise dressed hide or skin of an animal," from Proto-Germanic *lethran (source also of Old Norse leðr, Old Frisian lether, Old Saxon lethar, Middle Dutch, Dutch leder, Old High German ledar, German Leder), from PIE *letro- "leather" (source also of Old Irish lethar, Welsh lledr, Breton lezr). As an adjective from early 14c.; it acquired a secondary sense of "sado-masochistic" 1980s, having achieved that status in homosexual jargon in the 1970s.

In commercial and popular usage leather does not include skins dressed with the hair or fur on: such skins are usually distinguished by compounding the word skin with the name of the animal from which they are taken: as sealskin, bearskin, otter skin, etc. In the untanned state skins valued for their fur, hair, or wool and destined to be tawed and dressed for furriers' and analogous uses, are called pelts or peltry. [Century Dictionary, 1900]
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mist (n.)

"weather condition consisting of a cloud resting upon the ground, fog," also "precipitation consisting of fine droplets of water, much smaller than rain," Old English mist (earliest in compounds, such as misthleoðu "misty cliffs," wælmist "mist of death"), from Proto-Germanic *mikhstaz (source also of Middle Low German mist, Dutch mist, Icelandic mistur, Norwegian and Swedish mist), perhaps from PIE *meigh- "to urinate." Greek omikhle "fog;" Old Church Slavonic migla"fog;" Sanskrit mih- "fog, mist," megha "cloud" sometimes are said to be cognates in this secondary sense, but Beekes finds these rather more likely to be from a separate IE root meaning "fog."

Sometimes distinguished from fog, either as being less opaque or as consisting of drops large enough to have a perceptible downward motion. [OED]

Also in Old English in reference to dimness of the eyes or eyesight, either by illness or tears, and in a figurative sense of "something that darkens and obscures mental vision." Meaning "haze of dust in the air producing obscurity of things seen at a distance" is by 1785.

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corona (n.)

1650s, "a crown," from Latin corona "a crown, a garland," in ancient Rome especially "a crown or garland bestowed for distinguished military service" (from a suffixed form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend").

With many extended senses in botany, anatomy, etc. As a brand of Cuban cigar, 1876. The brand of Mexican pale lager beer dates from 1925. The astronomical sense of "luminous circle observed around the sun during total eclipses" is from 1809. The two "crown" constellations, Corona Borealis and Corona Australis, both are Ptolemaic.

Corona Borealis "certainly is much more like that for which it is named than usually is the case with our sky figures," according to Richard Hinckley Allen ("Star-Names and Their Meaning," 1899), and he adds that to the Greeks it was stephanos, a wreath, and from Roman times on typically it was Ariadne's Crown. To Arab astronomers, however, it was Al Fakkah "the dish" (sometimes "the pauper's dish" or "the broken dish" — Latinized as Discus parvus confractus — as the celestial circle is incomplete), a word wrestled into European languages as Alphaca or Alphecca, and used as the name of the constellation's none-too-bright brightest star.

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