Etymology
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pole (n.1)

"stake, staff," late Old English pal "stake, pole, post," a general Germanic borrowing (Old Frisian and Old Saxon pal "stake," Middle Dutch pael, Dutch paal, Old High German pfal, Old Norse pall) from Latin palus "a stake," from PIE *pakslo-, suffixed form of root *pag- "to fasten." Later specifically "a long, slender, tapering piece of wood."

Racing sense of "inside pole-fence surrounding a course" is from 1851; hence pole position in auto racing (1904). A ten-foot pole as a metaphoric measure of something one would not touch something (or someone) else with is by 1839, American English. The ten-foot pole was a common tool used to set stakes for fences, etc., and the phrase "Can't touch de bottom with a ten foot pole" is in the popular old minstrel show song "Camptown Races."

"I saw her eat."
"No very unnatural occurrence I should think."
"But she ate an onion!"
"Right my boy, right, never marry a woman who would touch an onion with a ten foot pole."
[The Collegian, University of Virginia, June 1839]
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pussy (n.2)

slang for "female pudenda," by 1879, but probably older; perhaps from Old Norse puss "pocket, pouch" (compare Low German puse "vulva"), or perhaps instead from the cat word (see pussy (n.1)) on the notion of "soft, warm, furry thing;" compare French le chat, which also has a double meaning, feline and genital. Earlier uses are difficult to distinguish from pussy (n.1), e.g.:

The word pussie is now used of a woman [Philip Stubbes, "The Anatomie of Abuses," 1583]

And songs such as "Puss in a Corner" (1690, attributed to D'Urfey) clearly play on the double sense of the word for ribald effect. But the absence of pussy in Grose and other early slang works argues against the vaginal sense being generally known before late 19c., as does its frequent use as a term of endearment in mainstream literature, as in:

"What do you think, pussy?" said her father to Eva. [Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 1852]

Pussy-whipped "hen-pecked" is attested by 1956 (Middle English had cunt-beaten "impotent," in reference to a man, mid-15c.).

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seem (v.)

c. 1200, impersonal, hit semeth (it seems), "it appears (that something is so);" also with adjectives or phrases, "to appear to be (in some condition), have or present an appearance of being," from Old Norse soema "to honor; to put up with; to conform to (the world, etc.)," a verb derived from the adjective soemr "fitting."

This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *somiz (source also of Old English som "agreement, reconciliation," seman "to conciliate," source of Middle English semen "to settle a dispute," literally "to make one;" Old Danish söme "to be proper or seemly"), from PIE *somi-, suffixed form of root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with" (also compare same).

With other verbs (seem to be, etc.) from c. 1200. Sense of "appear to oneself, think oneself" is from 1630s. Also in Middle English "to present oneself, appear; be visible, be apparent" (late 14c.), hence, of a fact, etc., "be evident, apparent, or obvious." The sense of "be fitting or appropriate, be expedient" (c. 1300) is the etymological one, but it is obsolete except in derived seemly, unseemly. Related: Seemed; seeming.

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dare (v.)

Middle English durren, daren, from first and third person singular of Old English durran "be bold enough, have courage" (to do something), also transitive "to venture, presume," from Proto-Germanic *ders- (source also of Old Norse dearr, Old High German giturran, Gothic gadaursan), according to Watkins from PIE root *dhers- "bold" (source also of Sanskrit dadharsha "to be bold;" Old Persian darš- "to dare;" Greek thrasys "bold," tharsos "confidence, courage, audacity;" Old Church Slavonic druzate "to be bold, dare;" Lithuanian drįsti "to dare," drąsus "courageous").

An Old English irregular preterite-present verb: darr, dearst, dear were first, second and third person singular present indicative; mostly regularized 16c., though past tense dorste survived as durst, but is now dying, persisting mainly in northern English dialect.

Transitive sense of "attempt boldly to do" is from 1630s. Meaning "to challenge or defy (someone), provoke to action," especially by asserting or implying that one lacks the courage to accept the challenge, is by 1570s. Weakened sense in I dare say (late 14c.) "I suppose, I presume, I think likely," now usually implying more or less indifference. How dare you? is from c. 1200 (Hu durre ȝe).

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hillbilly (n.)

"southern Appalachian person," by 1892, from hill (n.) + Billy/Billie, popular or pet form of William. In reference to a type of U.S. folk music, first attested 1924.

I would hate to see some old railroad man come here and take my job, and then, I don't think it is right to hire some Hill Billy and give him the same right as I just because he was hired the same time I was. [The Railroad Trainmen's Journal, vol. ix, July 1892]
In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires of his revolver as the fancy takes him. [New York Journal, April 23, 1900]

In Scott's collection of Border ballads, billie is a frequent term of address or intimacy, "comrade, companion, a brother in arms," "a term expressive of affection and familiarity" also "a brother; a wooer of a woman," and generally "a young man" [Jamieson, 2nd edition]. It is said to be a variant of bully (n.) in its old sense of  "sweetheart," also "fine fellow."

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what (pron.)

Old English hwæt, referring to things in abstraction; also "why, wherefore; indeed, surely, truly," from Proto-Germanic pronoun *hwat (source also of Old Saxon hwat, Old Norse hvat, Danish hvad, Old Frisian hwet, Dutch wat, Old High German hwaz, German was, Gothic hva "what"), from PIE *kwod, neuter singular of *kwos "who," from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns. Corresponding to Latin quid.

Meaning "what did you say?" is recorded from c. 1300. As an adjective and adverb, in Old English. As a conjunction in late Old English. Exclamatory use was in Old English. What the _____ (devil, etc.) as an exclamation of surprise is from late 14c. As an interrogative expletive at the end of sentences from 1891; common in affected British speech. Or what as an alternative end to a question is first attested 1766. What have you "anything else one can think of" is from 1925. What's up? "what is happening?" first recorded 1881.

"To give one what for is to respond to his remonstrant what for? by further assault" [Weekley]. The phrase is attested from 1873; what for? as introducing a question is from 1760. To know what is what is from c. 1400; I'll tell you what to emphasize what is about to be said is in Shakespeare.

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meliorism (n.)

as a metaphysical concept, "belief that the world tends to become better or is capable of improvement;" in practical terms, "the improvement of society by regulated practical means;" by 1868, attributed to "George Eliot" (Mary Anne Evans), from Latin melior "better" (see meliorate) + -ism. Related: Meliorist (1835); melioristic.

In her general attitude towards life, George Eliot was neither optimist nor pessimist. She held to the middle term, which she invented for herself, of "meliorist." She was cheered by the hope and by the belief in gradual improvement of the mass; for in her view each individual must find the better part of happiness in helping another. ["Life and Letters"]
I don't know that I ever heard anybody use the word "meliorist" except myself. But I begin to think that there is no good invention or discovery that has not been made by more than one person. The only good reason for referring to the "source" would be, that you found it useful for the doctrine of meliorism to cite one unfashionable confessor of it in the face of the fashionable extremes. ["George Eliot," letter to James Sully, Jan. 19, 1877]
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do (v.)

"perform, execute, achieve, carry out, bring to pass by procedure of any kind," etc., etc., Middle English do, first person singular of Old English don "make, act, perform, cause; to put, to place," from West Germanic *doanan (source also of Old Saxon duan, Old Frisian dwa, Dutch doen, Old High German tuon, German tun), from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put, place."

Use as an auxiliary began in Middle English. Sense of "to put, place, lay" is obsolete except in phrases such as do away with. Periphrastic form in negative sentences (They did not think) replaced the Old English negative particles (Hie ne wendon).

Meaning "visit as a tourist" is from 1817. In old slang it meant "to hoax, cheat, swindle" (1640s). Slang meaning "to do the sex act with or to" is from 1913.

Slang do in "bring disaster upon, kill" is by 1905. To have to do with "have concern or connection with" is from late 13c. To do without "dispense with" is from 1713.  Expression do or die indicating determination to succeed despite dangers or obstacles is attested from 1620s.

Compare does, did, done.

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poverty (n.)

late 12c., poverte, "destitution, want, need or insufficiency of money or goods," from Old French poverte, povrete "poverty, misery, wretched condition" (Modern French pauvreté), from Latin paupertatem (nominative paupertas) "poverty," from pauper "poor" (see poor (adj.)).

From early 13c. in reference to deliberate poverty as a Christian act. Figuratively from mid-14c., "dearth, scantiness;" of the spirit, "humility," from the Beatitudes.

Seeing so much poverty everywhere makes me think that God is not rich. He gives the appearance of it, but I suspect some financial difficulties. [Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables," 1862]

Poverty line "estimated minimum income for maintaining the necessities of life" is attested from 1891; poverty trap "situation in which any gain in income is offset by a loss of state benefits" is from 1966; poverty-stricken "reduced to a state of poverty" is by 1778.

Poverty is a strong word, stronger than being poor; want is still stronger, indicating that one has not even the necessaries of life ; indigence is often stronger than want, implying especially, also, the lack of those things to which one has been used and that befit one's station ; penury is poverty that is severe to abjectness ; destitution is the state of having absolutely nothing .... [Century Dictionary]
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coat-tail (n.)

c. 1600, "flaps formed by the lower back of a coat," from coat (n.) + tail (n.). In 17c., to do something on one's own coattail meant "at one's own expense." Meaning "power of one person," especially in politics, is at least from 1848 (in a Congressional speech by Abraham Lincoln); expression riding (someone's) coattails into political office is from 1949.

But the gentleman from Georgia further says we [Whigs] have deserted all our principles, and taken shelter under General Taylor's military coat-tail, and he seems to think this is exceedingly degrading. Well, as his faith is, so be it unto him. But can he remember no other military coat-tail under which a certain other party have been sheltering for near a quarter of a century? Has he no acquaintance with the ample military coat-tail of General Jackson? Does he not know that his own party have run the five last presidential races under that coat-tail? And that they are now running the sixth under the same cover? Yes, sir, that coat-tail was used not only for General Jackson himself, but has been clung to, with the grip of death, by every Democratic candidate since. [Lincoln, speech in Congress, July 27, 1848]
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