1782, "peasant dance popular in Italy," originally "hysterical malady characterized by extreme impulse to dance" (1630s), epidemic in Apulia and adjacent parts of southern Italy 15c.-17c., popularly attributed to (or believed to be a cure for) the bite of the tarantula. This is likely folk-etymology, however, and the names of the dance and the spider more probably share an origin in Taranto, the name of a city in southern Italy (see tarantula). Used from 1833 to mean the style of music that accompanies this dance, usually in 6/8 time, with whirling triplets and abrupt major-minor modulations. Related: Tarantism.
Those who were bitten generally fell into a state of melancholy, and appeared to be stupified, and scarcely in possession of their senses. This condition was, in many cases, united with so great a sensibility to music, that at the very first tones of their favourite melodies, they sprang up, shouting for joy, and danced on without intermission, until they sank to the ground exhausted and almost lifeless. [Babington's translation of J.F.C. Hecker, "The Epidemics of the Middle Ages," London, 1859]
1560s, "wolf spider," (Lycos tarantula), from Medieval Latin tarantula, from Italian tarantola, from Taranto "Taranto," seaport city in southern Italy in the region where the spiders are frequently found, from Latin Tarentum, from Greek Taras (genitive Tarantos; perhaps from Illyrian darandos "oak"). Its bite is only slightly venomous. Popularly applied to other great hairy spiders, especially the genus Mygale, native to the warmer regions of the Americas (first so called in 1794).
"slowness," c. 1500, from Late Latin tardationem (nominative tardatio), noun of action from past participle stem of tardare "to slow," related to tardus "slow, sluggish" (see tardy).
1520s, "slow," from Old French tardif "slow, late" (12c.), also the name of the snail character in the Roman de Renart, from Vulgar Latin *tardivus, from Latin tardus "slow, sluggish; late; dull, stupid," of unknown origin. Meaning "late" in English is from 1660s.
This word, not much used in English prose, is constantly employed in the U.S. and in Canada with reference to lateness in school-attendance. [Thornton, "American Glossary," 1912]
Related: Tardily; tardiness. Earlier form of the word in English was tardif, tardyve (late 15c.). Tardity "slowness of movement or action" is recorded in English from early 15c., from Old French tardete, from Latin tarditas.
"allowable difference between gross and net weight, deduction made from gross weight of goods to account for approximate weight of packaging or container holding them," late 15c., from Anglo-French tare "wastage in goods, deficiency, imperfection" (15c.), from Italian tara, Medieval Latin tara, from Arabic tarah, literally "thing deducted or rejected, that which is thrown away," from taraha "to reject."
"kind of fodder plant, vetch," c. 1300, perhaps cognate with or from Middle Dutch tarwe "wheat," from a Germanic source perhaps related to Breton draok, Welsh drewg "darnel," Sanskrit durva "a kind of millet grass," Greek darata, daratos "bread," Lithuanian dirva "a wheat-field." Used in 2nd Wyclif version (1388) of Matthew xiii.25 to render Greek zizania as a weed among corn (earlier darnel and cockle had been used in this place); hence figurative use for "something noxious sown among something good" (1711).
"shield, buckler," late Old English, from Old French targe, from Frankish *targa, from Germanic (see target (n.)). Old English had a native form targe, but the soft -g- in the later word indicates it came from French.
"to use as a target," 1837, from target (n.). Earlier it meant "to shield" (1610s). Related: Targeted; targeting.