when two competing hypotheses explain the data equally well, choose the simpler. Or, as Sir William Hamilton puts it, "Neither more, nor more onerous, causes are to be assumed, than are necessary to account for the phenomena." Named for English philosopher William of Ockham or Occam (c. 1285-c. 1349), "The Invincible Doctor," who expressed it with Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter neccssitatem.
So called after William of Occam (died about 1349): but, as a historical fact, Occam does not make much use of this principle, which belongs rather to the contemporary nominalist William Durand de St. Pourçain (died 1332). [Century Dictionary]
"piercing that consists of a ring which goes through the urethra and out behind the glans," mid-20c., supposedly so-called from the modern legend that Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861), prince consort of Queen Victoria, had one.
But the term seems to be not older than bodyart maven Doug Malloy and his circle, and the stories about the prince may be fantastical inventions, perhaps to explain the term. Perhaps, too, there is some connection with Albert underworld/pawnshop slang for "gold watch-chain" (1861), which probably is from the common portraits of the prince in which he is shown with a conspicuous gold watch chain. Many fashions in male dress made popular by him bore his name late 19c.
1861, in reference to a type of extinct hominid, from German Neanderthal "Neander Valley," name of a gorge near Düsseldorf where humanoid fossils were identified in 1856.
The place name is from the Graecized form of Joachim Neumann (literally "new man," Greek *neo-ander), 1650-1680, German pastor, poet and hymn-writer, who made this a favorite spot in the 1670s. Adopting a classical form of one's surname was a common practice among educated Germans in this era. As a noun, by 1915; as a type of a big, brutish, stupid person from 1926. They were extinct by about 35,000 years ago. That they interbred with modern humans was long debated and denied, but DNA analysis settled the question in 2013: They did.
ancient Persian god of light or the sun, eventually regarded as ruler of the material and spiritual universe, 1550s, from Latin, from Greek Mithras, from Avestan Mithra-, from Indo-Iranian *mitram "contract," whence *mitras "contractual partner, friend," conceptualized as a god, or, according to Kent, first the epithet of a divinity and eventually his name. Perhaps from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change; exchange," on the notion of "god of the contract" [Watkins].
Related to Sanskrit Mitrah, a Vedic deity associated with Varuna. "His name is one of the earliest Indic words we possess, being found in clay tablets from Anatolia dating to about 1500 B.C." [Calvert Watkins, "Dictionary of Indo-European Roots," 2000]. His worship was adopted by the Romans and enjoyed great popularity in the early empire. Related: Mithraic; Mithraism.
in ancient Roman mythology, one of the three chief divinities (with Jupiter and Juno), a virgin goddess of arts, crafts, and sciences; wisdom, sense, and reflection (later identified with Greek Athene), late 14c., Mynerfe, minerve, from Latin Minerva, from Old Latin Menerva, from Proto-Italic *menes-wo- "intelligent, understanding," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think, remember," with derivatives referring to qualities of mind or states of thought (see mind (n.)). Compare Sanskrit Manasvini, name of the mother of the Moon, manasvin "full of mind or sense." Related: Minerval.
Minerva Press, a printing-press formerly in Leadenhall Street, London; also a class of ultra-sentimental novels, remarkable for their intricate plots, published from about 1790 to 1810 at this press, and other productions of similar character. [Century Dictionary]
former New Amsterdam (city), New Netherlands (colony), renamed after British acquisition in 1664 in honor of the Duke of York and Albany (1633-1701), the future James II, who had an interest in the territory. See York. Related: New Yorker. Latinized Noveboracensian "of or pertaining to New York" (1890) contains the Medieval Latin name of York, England, Eboracum. New York minute "very short time" attested by 1976.
Some of Mr. [Horace] Gregory's poems have merely appeared in The New Yorker; others are New Yorker poems: the inclusive topicality, the informed and casual smartness, the flat fashionable irony, meaningless because it proceeds from a frame of reference whose amorphous superiority is the most definite thing about it—they are the trademark not simply of a magazine but of a class. [Randall Jarrell, "Town Mouse, Country Mouse," The Nation, Sept. 20, 1941]
third month of our year, first month of the ancient Roman calendar, c. 1200, from Anglo-French marche, Old French marz, from Latin Martius (mensis) "(month) of Mars," from Mars (genitive Martis). The Latin word also is the source of Spanish marzo, Portuguese março, Italian marzo, German März, Dutch Maart, Danish Marts, etc.
Replaced Old English hreðmonaþ, the first part of which is of uncertain meaning, perhaps from hræd "quick, nimble, ready, active, alert, prompt." Another name for it was Lide, Lyde (c.1300), from Old English hlyda, which is perhaps literally "noisy" and related to hlud "loud" (see loud). This fell from general use 14c. but survived into 19c. in dialect.
For March hare, proverbial type of madness, see mad (adj.). The proverb about coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb is since 1630s. March weather has been figurative of changeableness since mid-15c.
It is the American version of British All-Hallows summer, French été de la Saint-Martin (feast day Nov. 11), etc. Also colloquial was St. Luke's summer (or little summer), period of warm weather occurring about St. Luke's day (Oct. 18). An older and simpler name for it was autumn-spring (1630s).
also Hallow-e'en, Hallow e'en, 1781, in a Scottish context, the word and the magical lore about the date were popularized by Burns' poem (1785, and he attached a footnote explaining it), but it probably dates to 17c. in Scotland and is attested as the name of a tune in 1724. The tune is mentioned again in an English-Scots songbook ("The Chearful Companion") in 1783, and Burns was not the first to describe the customs in print.
Hallow-E'en, or Holy Eve, is the evening previous to the celebration of All Saints. That it is propitious to the rites of divination, is an opinion still common in many parts of Scotland. [John Main, footnote to his poem "Hallow-E'en," Glasgow, 1783]
It is a Scottish shortening of Allhallow-even "Eve of All Saints, last night of October" (1550s), the last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year's Night, a night for witches. A pagan holiday given a cursory baptism. Otherwise obsolete hallow (n.) "holy person, saint," is from the source of hallow (v.). Also see even (n.), and compare hallows. Hallow-day for "All-Saints Day" is from 1590s; earlier was halwemesse day (late 13c.).
fem. proper name, Danish shortened form of Katherine. Rare before 1928; a top-10 name for girls born in the U.S. 1951-1968.
The modern pejorative use in reference to a person regarded as ignorant, meddlesome, entitled, racist, or generally negative, is attested by 2005, originally often with reference to meanness or stupidity, and exploded in popularity 2018, with more emphasis on the racism and privilege. Its use as rhetorical shorthand probably was encouraged, if not inspired by, the 2004 movie "Mean Girls" (screenplay by Tina Fey) and by comedian U.S. Dane Cook's 2005 stand-up act, both of which produced memes and Twitter references. Claims that it originated in African-American circles are unsupported.
Beth Harpaz's 2001 book "Girls in the Van," about Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign, reports that Clinton's assistants Karen Dunn and Karen Finney were known as The Karens. Finney went on to a career as a commentator, and some of the earliest abstract uses of Karen in the late 2000s are as the personification of a liberal do-gooder.