chief city and capital of England, Latin Londinium (Tacitus, c. 115), according to the "Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names," "unexplained." It is often said to be "place belonging to a man named *Londinos," a supposed Celtic personal name meaning "the wild one," "but this etymology is rejected in an emphatic footnote in Jackson 1953 (p. 308), and we have as yet nothing to put in its place" [Margaret Gelling, "Signposts to the Past: Place-Names and the History of England," Chichester, 1978]. Its mythical history is told in Layamon's "Brut" (c. 1200).
In late Old English often with -burg, -wic, or -ceaster. As an adjective, Old English had Lundenisc, but this seems to have fallen from use, and modern Londonish (1838) probably is a re-coinage. Also Londony (1884); Londonesque (1852); Londinensian (George Meredith); Londonian (1824, marked "rare" in OED).
London Bridge the children's singing game is attested from 1827. London broil "large flank steak broiled then cut in thin slices" attested 1930s, American English; London fog first attested 1785.
Old English gieldan (West Saxon), geldan (Anglian) "to pay, pay for; reward, render; worship, serve, sacrifice to" (class III strong verb; past tense geald, past participle golden), from Proto-Germanic *geldan "pay" (source also of Old Saxon geldan "to be worth," Old Norse gjaldo "to repay, return," Middle Dutch ghelden, Dutch gelden "to cost, be worth, concern," Old High German geltan, German gelten "to be worth," Gothic fra-gildan "to repay, requite"). This is from PIE *gheldh- "to pay," a root found only in Balto-Slavic and Germanic (and Old Church Slavonic žledo, Lithuanian geliuoti might be Germanic loan-words).
"[T]he only generally surviving senses on the Continent are 'to be worth; to be valid, to concern, apply to,' which are not represented at all in the English word" [OED]; sense development in English comes via use of this word to translate Latin reddere, French rendre. Sense of "give in return for labor or capital invested" is from early 14c. Intransitive sense of "give oneself up, submit, surrender (to a foe)" is from c. 1300. Related to Middle Low German and Middle Dutch gelt, Dutch geld, German Geld "money." Related: Yielded; yielding.
1797, contraction of and per se and, meaning "(the character) '&' by itself is 'and' " (a hybrid phrase, partly in Latin, partly in English). An earlier form of it was colloquial ampassy (1706). The distinction is to avoid confusion with & in such formations as &c., a once-common way of writing etc. (the et in et cetera is Latin for "and"). The letters a, I, and o also formerly (15c.-16c.) sometimes were written a per se, etc., especially when standing alone as words.
The symbol is based on the Latin word et "and," and comes from an old Roman system of shorthand signs (ligatures) attested in Pompeiian graffiti, and not (as sometimes stated) from the Tironian Notes, a different system of shorthand, probably invented by Cicero's companion Marcus Tullius Tiro. It used a different symbol, something like a reversed capital gamma, to indicate et. This Tironian symbol was maintained by some medieval scribes, including Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, in whose works a symbol resembling a numeral 7 indicates the word and.
In old schoolbooks the ampersand was printed at the end of the alphabet and thus by 1880s the word ampersand had acquired a slang sense of "posterior, rear end, hindquarters."
1640s, of textile fabric, "downy, fuzzy," later "flimsy, unsubstantial" (1660s), a word of unknown origin. One theory is that it is a corruption of Silesia, the German region, where thin linen or cotton fabric was made for export. Silesia, in reference to cloth, is attested in English from 1670s; and sleasie, sleazy as an abbreviated form is attested from late 17c., but OED finds the evidence to be against "any original connexion." The sense of "sordid, squalid" is from 1941. Related: Sleazily; sleaziness.
"Slesie linnen, so calld becaus brought from the province of Silesia, or as the Germans call it Schlesia, wher the capital city Breslaw is maintaind by this manufacture, which is the chief if not the only merchandize of that place." [from notes on Lansdowne manuscripts by antiquarian Bishop White Kennett (1660-1728), quoted in Halliwell]
A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleazy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web. [Emerson, "The Conduct of Life," 1860]
Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubid (source also of Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ "head"), from PIE root *kaput- "head."
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning "origin of a river" is mid-14c. Meaning "obverse of a coin" (the side with the portrait) is from 1680s; meaning "foam on a mug of beer" is first attested 1540s; meaning "toilet" is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship.
Synechdochic use for "person" (as in head count) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c. 1300. Meaning "drug addict" (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To be over (one's) head "beyond one's comprehension" is by 1620s. To give head "perform fellatio" is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll "people will be punished" (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case "eccentric or insane person" is from 1966. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972.
early 15c., securite, "state or condition of being safe from danger or harm;" mid-15c., "freedom from care or anxiety" (a sense now archaic), from Old French securite and directly from Latin securitas "freedom from care," from securus "free from care" (see secure (adj.)).
This form replaced the earlier sikerte (early 15c.), which represents an earlier borrowing of the Latin word; earlier in English in the sense of "security" was sikerhede (early 13c.); sikernesse (c. 1200). Sir Thomas Browne uses securement; Francis Bacon and Mrs. Browning have secureness. Surety is a doublet, via French.
The meaning "something which secures, that which makes safe" is from 1580s. The specific legal sense of "something pledged as a guarantee of fulfillment of an obligation" is from mid-15c. (originally a guarantee of good behavior).
The meaning "safety of a state, person, etc." is by 1941. By 1965 Security, with the capital, was generic or shorthand for "security officials; a state's security department or ministry."
The legal sense of "property in bonds" is from mid-15c.; that of "document held by a creditor as evidence of debt or property and proof of right to payment" is from 1680s. Security-check (n.) is by 1945. Phrase security blanket in figurative sense is attested by 1966, in reference to the crib blanket carried by the character Linus in the popular "Peanuts" newspaper comic strip (the blanket, and the strip, from 1956).
a fusion of Old English hon "suspend" (transitive, class VII strong verb; past tense heng, past participle hangen), and Old English hangian "be suspended" (intransitive, weak, past tense hangode); also probably influenced by Old Norse hengja "suspend," and hanga "be suspended." All from Proto-Germanic *hanhan (transitive), *hanganan (intransitive) "to hang" (source also of Old Frisian hangia, Dutch hangen, German hängen), from PIE *konk- "to hang" (source also of Gothic hahan, Hittite gang- "to hang," Sanskrit sankate "wavers," Latin cunctari "to delay;" see also second element in Stonehenge).
As a method of execution, in late Old English (but originally specifically of crucifixion). Meaning "to come to a standstill" (especially in hung jury) is from 1848, American English. Hung emerged as past participle 16c. in northern England dialect, and hanged endured only in legal language (which tends to be conservative) in reference to capital punishment and in metaphors extended from it (I'll be hanged).
Teen slang sense of "spend time" first recorded 1951; hang around "idle, loiter" is from 1828, American English; also compare hang out. To hang back "be reluctant to proceed" is from 1580s; phrase hang an arse "hesitate, hold back" is from 1590s. Verbal phrase hang fire (1781) originally was used of guns that were slow in communicating the fire through the vent to the charge. To let it all hang out "be relaxed and uninhibited" is from 1967.
early 14c., "agreement between persons, union in opinions or sentiment, state of mutual friendship, amiability," from Old French concorde (12c.) "concord, harmony, agreement, treaty," from Latin concordia "agreement, union," from concors (genitive concordis) "of the same mind," literally "hearts together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + cor (genitive cordis) "heart," from PIE root *kerd- "heart." Related: Concordial.
Meaning "a compact or agreement" is from late 15c. The village in Massachusetts (site of one of the opening battles of the Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775) was named in 1635, perhaps in reference to the peaceful dealings between the settlers and the local native tribes. The capital of New Hampshire was renamed for the Massachusetts town in 1763 (formerly it had been Pennycook, from a mangling of a native Algonquian word meaning "descent").
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
[Emerson, from "Concord Hymn"]
The Concord grape was so called by 1853, from the Massachusetts town, where it was bred for the local climate and promoted by farmer Ephraim Wales Bull. It is mentioned, but not named in the "New England Farmer" of Oct. 26, 1850, in its acknowledgements:
From E. W. Bull, Concord, a lot of fine seedling grapes, which he produced by a cross of the Catawba with a native grape. It is very good, and partakes of the nature of its parents, having some of the vinous flavor of the Catawba, and a little of the acid peculiar to our native fruit.
c. 1200, from Old French cite "town, city" (10c., Modern French cité), from earlier citet, from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas; in Late Latin sometimes citatem) originally "citizenship, condition or rights of a citizen, membership in the community," later "community of citizens, state, commonwealth" (used, for instance of the Gaulish tribes), from civis "townsman," from PIE root *kei- (1) "to lie," also forming words for "bed, couch," and with a secondary sense of "beloved, dear."
Now "a large and important town," but originally in early Middle English a walled town, a capital or cathedral town. Distinction from town is early 14c. OED calls it "Not a native designation, but app[arently] at first a somewhat grandiose title, used instead of the OE. burh"(see borough).
Between Latin and English the sense was transferred from the inhabitants to the place. The Latin word for "city" was urbs, but a resident was civis. Civitas seems to have replaced urbs as Rome (the ultimate urbs) lost its prestige. Loss of Latin -v- is regular in French in some situations (compare alleger from alleviare; neige from nivea; jeune from juvenis. A different sound evolution from the Latin word yielded Italian citta, Catalan ciutat, Spanish ciudad, Portuguese cidade.
London is the city from 1550s. As an adjective, "pertaining to a city, urban," from c. 1300. City hall "chief municipal offices" is first recorded 1670s; to fight city hall is 1913, American English. City slicker "a smart and plausible rogue, of a kind usu. found in cities" [OED] is first recorded 1916 (see slick (adj.)). City limits is from 1825.
The newspaper city-editor, who superintends the collection and publication of local news, is from 1834, American English; hence city desk attested from 1878. Inner city first attested 1968.