Etymology
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step (v.)
Old English steppan (Anglian), stæppan (West Saxon) "take a step," from West Germanic *stap- "tread" (source also of Old Frisian stapa, Middle Dutch, Dutch stappen, Old High German stapfon, German stapfen "step"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem; to support, place firmly on" (see staff (n.); source also of Old Church Slavonic stopa "step, pace," stepeni "step, degree"). The notion is perhaps "a treading firmly on; a foothold."

Transitive sense (as in step foot in) attested from 1530s. Related: Stepped; stepping. Originally strong (past tense stop, past participle bestapen); weak forms emerged 13c., universal from 16c. To step out "leave for a short time" is from 1530s; meaning "to go out in public in style" is from 1907. Step on it "hurry up" is 1923, from notion of gas pedal.
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Matilda 

fem. proper name, from French Mathilde, which is of Germanic origin, literally "mighty in battle;" compare Old High German Mahthilda, from mahti "might, power" (see might (n.)) + hildi "battle," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle" (see Hilda). Matilda (1102-1167), daughter of Henry I, claimant to the throne during the Anarchy, usually is not reckoned among the kings and queens of England.

The name also was late 19c. Australian slang for "a traveler's bundle or swag," hence the expression waltzing Matilda "to travel on foot" (by 1889).

In my electorate nearly every man you meet who is not "waltzing Matilda" rides a bicycle. ["Parliamentary Debates," Australia, 1907]

The lyrics of the song of that name, sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem, are said to date to 1893.

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bottom (n.)

Old English botm, bodan "ground, soil, foundation, lowest or deepest part of anything," from Proto-Germanic *buthm- (source also of Old Frisian boden "soil," Old Norse botn, Dutch bodem, Old High German bodam, German Boden "ground, earth, soil"). This is perhaps from PIE root *bhudhno- "bottom" (source also of Sanskrit budhnah, Avestan buna- "bottom," Greek pythmen "foundation," Latin fundus "bottom, piece of land, farm," Old Irish bond "sole of the foot").

Meaning "fundamental character, essence" is from 1570s; to get to the bottom of some matter is from 1773. Meaning "posterior of a person" (the sitting part) is from 1794. Bottoms up as a call to finish one's drink is from 1875. Bottom dollar "the last dollar one has" is from 1857. To do or feel something from the bottom of (one's) heart is from 1540s. Bottom-feeder, originally of fishes, is from 1866.

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learn (v.)

Old English leornian "to get knowledge, be cultivated; study, read, think about," from Proto-Germanic *lisnojanan (cognates: Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen "to learn," Gothic lais "I know"), with a base sense of "to follow or find the track," from PIE root *lois- "furrow, track." It is related to German Gleis "track," and to Old English læst "sole of the foot" (see last (n.1)).

From c. 1200 as "to hear of, ascertain." Transitive use (He learned me (how) to read), now considered vulgar (except in reflexive expressions, I learn English), was acceptable from c. 1200 until early 19c. It is preserved in past-participle adjective learned "having knowledge gained by study." Old English also had læran "to teach" (see lere). Related: Learning.

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Mohawk 

name of a North American native people of upper New York and adjacent Canada, and their (Iroquoian) language, 1630s, Mohowawogs (plural), which is said to derive from a word in a southern New England Algonquian tongue meaning "they eat living things," perhaps a reference to cannibalism. Compare Unami Delaware /muhuwe:yck/ "cannibal monsters." The people's name for themselves is kanye'keha:ka.

In reference to the haircut style favored by punk rockers, c. 1975, from fancied resemblance to hair as worn by the native people in old movies and illustrations. The style of cut earlier was called a Mohican (1960). Mohoc, Mohock, a variant form of the word, was the name given 1711 to gangs of aristocratic London ruffians (compare Apache). As the name of turn in figure skating that involves a change of foot but not a change of edge, by 1880.

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rabbit (n.)

common burrowing mammal, identified as a rodent, noted for prolific breeding, late 14c., rabet, "young of the coney," suspected to be from Walloon robète or a similar northern French dialect word, a diminutive of Flemish or Middle Dutch robbe "rabbit," which are of unknown origin. "A Germanic noun with a French suffix" [Liberman]. The adult was a coney (q.v.) until 18c.

Zoologically speaking, there are no native rabbits in the United States; they are all hares. But the early colonists, for some unknown reason, dropped the word hare out of their vocabulary, and it is rarely heard in American speech to this day. When it appears it is almost always applied to the so-called Belgian hare, which, curiously enough, is not a hare at all, but a true rabbit. [Mencken, "The American Language"]

Rabbit punch "chop on the back of the neck" (1915) is so called from resemblance to a gamekeeper's method of dispatching an injured rabbit. Pulling rabbits from a hat as a conjurer's trick recorded by 1843. Rabbit's foot "good luck charm" is attested by 1879 in U.S. Southern black culture. Earlier references are to its use as a tool to apply cosmetic powders.

[N]ear one of them was the dressing-room of the principal danseuse of the establishment, who was at the time of the rising of the curtain consulting a mirror in regard to the effect produced by the application of a rouge-laden rabbit's foot to her cheeks, and whose toilet we must remark, passim, was not entirely completed. [New York Musical Review and Gazette, Nov. 29, 1856]

Rabbit-hole is by 1705. Rabbit ears "dipole television antenna" is from 1950. Grose's 1785 "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" has "RABBIT CATCHER. A midwife."

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chess (n.)

very ancient game of skill with 32 pieces, played by two on a checkered board of 64 squares, 13c., from Old French esches "chessmen," plural of eschec "game of chess, chessboard; checkmate" (see check (n.1)), from the key move of the game. Modern French distinguishes échec "check, blow, rebuff, defeat," from plural échecs "chess."

The original word for "chess" is Sanskrit chaturanga "four members of an army" -- elephants, horses, chariots, foot soldiers. This is preserved in Spanish ajedrez, from Arabic (al) shat-ranj, from Persian chatrang, from the Sanskrit word.

The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. [Marcel Duchamp, address to New York State Chess Association, Aug. 30, 1952]
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*plat- 

also *pletə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to spread;" extension of root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread."

It forms all or part of: clan; flan; flat (adj.) "without curvature or projection;" flat (n.) "a story of a house;" flatter (v.); flounder (n.) "flatfish;" implant; piazza; place; plaice; plane; (n.4) type of tree; plant; plantain (n.2); plantar; plantation; plantigrade; plat; plate; plateau; platen; platform; platinum; platitude; Platonic; Plattdeutsch; platter; platypus; plaza; supplant; transplant.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit prathati "spreads out;" Hittite palhi "broad;" Greek platys "broad, flat;" Latin planta "sole of the foot;" Lithuanian platus "broad;" German Fladen "flat cake;" Old Norse flatr "flat;" Old English flet "floor, dwelling;" Old Irish lethan "broad."

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horseshoe (n.)

also horse-shoe, late 14c. (early 13c. as a proper name), from horse (n.) + shoe (n.). Horseshoes as another name for the game of quoits is attested by 1822.

HORSE-SHOES, the game of coits, or quoits--because sometimes actually played with horse-shoes. [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]

The belief that finding a horseshoe by chance is lucky is attested from late 14c., and the practice of nailing one above a doorway to prevent a witch entering (or leaving) was common in London down to c. 1800. Of a type of bend in a river, 1770, American English. The horse-shoe crab of the east coast of the U.S. so called by 1809, for its shape; earlier simply horse-shoe (1775); also horse-hoof (1690s), horse-foot (1630s), which Bartlett (1848) identifies as "the common name."

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greaser (n.)

early 14c. (as a surname), "one who smears salve on a sheep," agent noun from grease (v.). As a contemptuous American English slang for "native Mexican or Latin American," first attested 1848, a term from the Mexican-American War; supposedly so called from unclean appearance, but contemporary sources sometimes explain it otherwise: an 1848 account of the war defines it as "friendly Mexican," and adds:

It may here be necessary to explain, as the terms are frequently made use of, that mocho is a low Spanish word for a foot-soldier, and the term greaser we suppose is a corruption of word grazier, the class of péons or labourers of the country. [Samuel C. Ried Jr., "The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers," Philadelphia, 1848]

Greaseball in same sense is from 1934 (earlier it was World War I slang for "an army cook," and from 1922 for "mechanic").

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