Etymology
Advertisement
Visigoth 
1640s, from Late Latin Visigothus (plural Visigothi), perhaps "West Goths" (which could be Latinized from a Germanic source such as Old High German westan "from the west"), as opposed to Ostrogothi; but according to some authorities, Visi/Vesi appears to be a Latinized form of a tribal name. Their kingdom endured to 507 in southern France, till 711 in Spain. In common with Vandal their name later was used for "uncivilized person" (1749). Related: Visigothic.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
January (n.)
late 13c., Ieneuer (early 12c. in Anglo-French), from Old North French Genever, Old French Jenvier (Modern French Janvier), from Latin Ianuarius (mensis) "(the month) of Janus" (q.v.), to whom the month was sacred as the beginning of the year according to later Roman reckoning (cognates: Italian Gennaio, Provençal Genovier, Spanish Enero, Portuguese Janeiro). The form was gradually Latinized by c. 1400. Replaced Old English geola se æfterra "Later Yule." In Chaucer, a type-name for an old man.
Related entries & more 
Amy 
fem. proper name, from Old French Amee, literally "beloved," from fem. past participle of amer "to love," from Latin amare "to love, be in love with; find pleasure in," Proto-Italic *ama- "to take, hold," from a PIE root meaning "take hold of," also the source of Sanskrit amisi, amanti "take hold of; swear;" Avestan *ama- "attacking power;" Greek omnymi "to swear," anomotos "under oath;" Old Irish namae "enemy." According to de Vaan, "The Latin meaning has developed from 'to take the hand of' [to] 'regard as a friend'."
Related entries & more 
Mephistopheles 

1590s, Mephastophilus, the name of the evil spirit to whom Faust sold his soul in the old legend, from German (1587), a word of unknown origin. The older, Greek-like form is apparently a folk-etymology. According to the speculation of eminent Göthe scholar K.J. Schröer (1886) it is a compound of Hebrew mephitz "destroyer" + tophel "liar" (short for tophel sheqer, literally "falsehood plasterer;" see Job xiii.4). Klein writes that the names of devils in the Middle Ages "are in most cases derived from Hebrew." Related: Mephistophelian.

Related entries & more 
Abraham 
masc. proper name, name of the first of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament, from Hebrew Abraham "father of a multitude," from abh "father" + *raham (cognate with Arabic ruham "multitude"); the name he altered from Abram "high father," from second element ram "high, exalted." Related: Abrahamic; Abrahamite.

Abraham-man was an old term for mendicant lunatics, or, more commonly, frauds who wandered England shamming madness so as to collect alms (1560s). According to the old explanation of the name (from at least 1640s), they originally were from Bethlehem Hospital, where in early times there was an Abraham ward or room for such persons, but the ward might have been named for the beggars.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Mars 

c. 1300 as the name of the bright reddish-orange planet in the heavens; late 14c. as the name of the Roman god of war, from Latin Mars (stem *Mawort-), the Roman god of war (identified with Greek Ares), a name of unknown origin, apparently from earlier Mavors, related to Oscan Mamers.

According to Watkins the Latin word is from *Mawort- "name of an Italic deity who became the god of war at Rome ...." He also had agricultural attributes, and might ultimately have been a Spring-Dionysus. The planet was so named by the Romans, no doubt for its blood-like color. The Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis "the fiery." Also in medieval alchemy, "iron" (late 14c.). The Mars candy bar was first manufactured in 1932 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the candy-making family.

Related entries & more 
Mithras 

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.

Related entries & more 
Atlas 
1580s, in Greek mythology a member of the older family of Gods, later regarded as a Titan, son of Iapetus and Clymene; in either case supposed to uphold the pillars of heaven (or earth), which according to one version was his punishment for being the war leader of the Titans in the struggle with the Olympian gods. "Originally the name of an Arcadian mountain god; the name was transferred to the mountain chain in Western Africa" [Beekes].

The Greek name traditionally is interpreted as "The Bearer (of the Heavens)," from a-, copulative prefix (see a- (3)), + stem of tlenai "to bear," from PIE root *tele- "to lift, support, weigh." But Beekes compares Berber adrar "mountain" and finds it plausible that the Greek name is a "folk-etymological reshaping" of this. Mount Atlas, in Mauritania, was important in Greek cosmology as a support of the heavens.
Related entries & more 
Rome 

capital of Italy; seat of an ancient republic and empire; city of the Papacy, Old English, from Old French Rome, from Latin Roma, a word of uncertain origin. "The original Roma quadrata was the fortified enclosure on the Palatine hill," according to Tucker, who finds "no probability" in derivation from *sreu- "flow," and suggests the name is "most probably" from *urobsma (urbs, robur) and otherwise, "but less likely" from *urosma "hill" (compare Sanskrit varsman- "height, point," Lithuanian viršus "upper"). Another suggestion [Klein] is that it is from Etruscan (compare Rumon, former name of Tiber River).

Common in proverbs, such as Rome was not buylt in one daye (1540s); for when a man doth to Rome come, he must do as there is done (1590s); All roads lead to Rome (1795).

Related entries & more 
Euxine 
archaic name for the Black Sea, from Latin Pontus Euxinus, from Greek Pontos Euxenios, literally "the hospitable sea," a euphemism for Pontos Axeinos, "the inhospitable sea." From eu- "good, well" (see eu-) + xenos "host; guest; stranger" (from PIE root *ghos-ti- "stranger, guest, host").

According to Room, The Old Persian name for the sea was akhshaena, literally "dark," probably in reference to the sudden, dangerous storms that make the sea perilous to sailors and darken its face (or perhaps in reference to the color of the water, from the sea being deep and relatively lifeless), and the Greeks took this untranslated as Pontos Axeinos, which was interpeted as the similar-sounding Greek word axenos "inhospitable." Thus the modern English name could reflect the Old Persian one.
Related entries & more 

Page 3