1540s (early 15c. as alcofol), "fine powder produced by sublimation," from Medieval Latin alcohol "powdered ore of antimony," from Arabic al-kuhul "kohl," the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids, from kahala "to stain, paint." The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the."
Paracelsus (1493-1541) used the word to refer to a fine powder but also a volatile liquid. By 1670s it was being used in English for "any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything," including liquids.
The sense of "intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor" is attested by 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which then was extended to the intoxicating element in fermented liquors. The formerly preferred terms for the substance were rectified spirits or brandy.
In organic chemistry, the word was extended by 1808 to the class of compounds of the same type as this (a 1790 translation of Lavoisier's "Elements of Chemistry" has alkoholic gas for "the combination of alkohol with caloric").
"design stamped on wax," especially an impressed figure attached to a document as evidence of authenticity, c. 1200, sel, sele, from Old French seel, seal "seal on a letter" (Modern French sceau), from Vulgar Latin *sigellum (source of Italian suggello, Spanish sello; also Old Frisian and Middle High German sigel, German Siegel), from Latin sigillum "small picture, engraved figure, seal," diminutive of signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)).
An earlier borrowing directly from Latin is represented by Old English insigel. The use for "engraved device of some hard material used for imprinting a seal" (technically a matrix) is by c. 1300. Extended senses are via the notion of a seal used to mark and close a document to insure its secrecy (c. 1300). The meaning "an identifying mark" is from mid-14c.; especially one confirming goods and measures as conforming to standard. The technical sense of "what prevents the escape of a gas or liquid" is by 1853.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to pour, pour a libation."
It forms all or part of: alchemy; chyle; chyme; confound; confuse; diffuse; diffusion; effuse; effusion; effusive; fondant; fondue; font (n.2) "complete set of characters of a particular face and size of type;" found (v.2) "to cast metal;" foundry; funnel; fuse (v.) "to melt, make liquid by heat;" fusible; fusion; futile; futility; geyser; gush; gust (n.) "sudden squall of wind;" gut; infuse; ingot; parenchyma; perfuse; perfusion; profuse; refund; refuse (v.) "reject, disregard, avoid;" refuse (n.) "waste material, trash;" suffuse; suffusion; transfuse; transfusion.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek khein "to pour," khoane "funnel," khymos "juice;" Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "melt, cast, pour out;" Gothic giutan, Old English geotan "to pour;" Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails;" Old Norse geysa "to gush;" German Gosse "gutter, drain."
late 14c., "poisonous substance" (a sense now archaic), from Latin virus "poison, sap of plants, slimy liquid, a potent juice," from Proto-Italic *weis-o-(s-) "poison," which is probably from a PIE root *ueis-, perhaps originally meaning "to melt away, to flow," used of foul or malodorous fluids, but with specialization in some languages to "poisonous fluid" (source also of Sanskrit visam "venom, poison," visah "poisonous;" Avestan vish- "poison;" Latin viscum "sticky substance, birdlime;" Greek ios "poison," ixos "mistletoe, birdlime;" Old Church Slavonic višnja "cherry;" Old Irish fi "poison;" Welsh gwy "poison").
The meaning "agent that causes infectious disease" emerged by 1790s gradually out of the earlier use in reference to venereal disease (by 1728); the modern scientific use dates to the 1880s. The computer sense is from 1972.
VIRUS (among Physicians) a kind of watery stinking Matter, which issues out of Ulcers, being endued with eating and malignant Qualities. [Bailey's dictionary, 1770]
1640s, of a volatile liquid, "to evaporate through the pores" (intransitive), a back-formation from perspiration and in part from Latin perspirare "blow or breathe constantly," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + spirare "to breathe, blow" (see spirit (n.)). The meaning "to sweat, to give out watery substance through the pores of the skin" (intransitive) is a polite usage attested from 1725. Medical men tried to maintain a distinction between "sensible" (sweat) and "insensible" perspiration:
[I]t is sufficient for common use to observe, that perspiration is that insensible discharge of vapour from the whole surface of the body and the lungs which is constantly going on in a healthy state; that it is always natural and always salutary; that sweat, on the contrary, is an evacuation, which never appears without some uncommon effort, or some disease to the system, that it weakens and relaxes, and is so far from coinciding with perspiration, that it obstructs and checks it. [Charles White, "A Treatise on the Management of Pregnant and Lying-in Women," London, 1791]
Related: Perspired; perspiring.
Middle English sethen, from Old English seoþan "to boil, be heated to the boiling point, prepare (food) by boiling," also figurative, "be troubled in mind, brood" (class II strong verb; past tense seaþ, past participle soden), from Proto-Germanic *seuthan (source also of Old Norse sjoða, Old Frisian siatha, Dutch zieden, Old High German siodan, German sieden "to seethe"), from PIE root *seut- "to seethe, boil."
Driven out of its literal meaning by boil (v.); it survives largely in metaphoric extensions. Of a liquid, "to rise, surge, or foam" without reference to heat, from 1530s. Figurative use, of persons or populations, "to be in a state of inward agitation" is recorded from 1580s (implied in seething). It had transitive figurative uses in Old English, such as "to try by fire, to afflict with cares, be tossed about as in turbulent water." Now conjugated as a weak verb, its old past participle sodden (q.v.) is no longer felt as connected.
mid-14c., bede, "prayer bead," from Old English gebed "prayer," with intensive or collective prefix *ge- + Proto-Germanic *bidam "entreaty." This reconstructed word is also the source of Middle Dutch bede, Old High German beta, German bitte, Gothic bida "prayer, request," which according to Watkins is from a PIE root *gwhedh- "to ask, pray."
The shift in meaning in English comes via rosary beads threaded on a string to count prayers, and in verbal phrases bid one's beads, count one's beads, etc. The German cognate Bitte is the usual word for the conversational request "please." Compare Spanish cuentas "the beads of a rosary," from contar "to count."
The word is also related to bid (Old English biddan) and Gothic bidjan "to ask, pray." The sense in Modern English was further transferred to other small globular bodies, such as "drop of liquid" (1590s), "small knob forming front sight of a gun" (1831, Kentucky slang); hence draw a bead on "take aim at," 1841, U.S. colloquial.
early 15c., suspensioun, "a temporary halting or deprivation" (of office, etc.), from Latin suspensionem (nominative suspensio) "the act or state of hanging up, a vaulting," noun of action from past-participle stem of suspendere "to hang up, cause to hang, suspend," from assimilated form of sub "up from under" (see sub-) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").
General sense of "action of stopping; condition of being stopped" is from c. 1600. As "action of keeping in abeyance any mental action" (decision, judgment, etc.) by 1560s. Suspension of disbelief is from Coleridge:
A semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. ["Biographia Literaria," 1817]
The classical literal meaning "action of hanging by a support from above" is attested in English from 1540s. The meaning "particles suspended in liquid without dissolving" is from 1707. Suspension-bridge, one in which the roadway hangs suspended from chains or wire cables, is recorded by 1819 (earlier suspended bridge, 1796).
"simple earthen or glass cylindrical vessel," early 15c., possibly from rare Old French jarre "liquid measure smaller than a barrel," or more likely from Medieval Latin jarra (13c.) or Spanish or Catalan jarra (13c.), all ultimately from Arabic jarrah "earthen water vessel, ewer" (whence also Provençal jarra, Italian giarra), a general word in the 13c. Mediterranean sea-trade, which is from Persian jarrah "a jar, earthen water-vessel." Originally in English a large container used for importing olive oil.
In Britain in the 15th to 17th centuries, oil-lamps were overall not often used, because the oil was too expensive. Usage increased in the 17th century despite the expense. Olive oil was the most-often-used type of oil in the oil-lamps until the 18th century. The indications are good that no country or region exported more oil to Britain than southern Spain did in the 15th-17th centuries, with southern Italy coming second. ["English Words of Arabic Ancestry"]
mid-14c., "condiment for meat, fish, etc.; pickling liquid, brine," from Old French sauce, sausse, from Latin salsa "things salted, salt food," noun use of fem. singular or neuter plural of adjective salsus "salted," from past participle of Old Latin sallere "to salt," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").
From late 14c. as "a curative preparation, medicinal salt." Often in 15c.-17. sawce, salse; constant reimportation of the word in French cookery terms might have helped keep the older spelling. Also formerly applied broadly in provincial English and U.S. to condiments of any kind, especially garden vegetables or roots eaten with meat (1620s), also known as garden-sauce.
Figurative meaning "something which adds piquancy to words or actions" is recorded from c. 1500; the sense of "impertinence" is by 1835, but the connection of ideas in it is much older (see saucy, and compare sass). Slang meaning "liquor" is attested by 1940. Figurative phrases suggesting "subject to the same kind of usage" is by 1520s (serued with the same sauce).