also inflexion, early 15c., from Latin inflexionem (nominative inflexio) "a bending, inflection, modification," noun of action from past participle stem of inflectere "to bend in, to change" (see inflect). For spelling, see connection. Grammatical sense "variation by declension or conjugation" is from 1660s; pronunciation sense "modulation of the voice" is from c. 1600.
"Derivation" can be defined as the process by which lexical items belonging to different word-classes are drawn from given bases. Derivation must be distinguished from inflexion, by which different paradigmatic forms are created from given stems. Inflexion describes plural formations, forms of comparison, etc. Inflexion processes do not change the word-class to which the lexical item under consideration belongs. [Alfred Bammesberger, "English Etymology," Heidelberg, Carl Winter, 1984]
1894 as a spelling variant of bologna sausage (q.v.), representing the popular pronunciation. As slang for "nonsense," 1922, American English (popularized 1930s by Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York; sometimes said to be one of the coinages of legendary "Variety" staffer Jack Conway), from earlier sense of "idiot" (by 1915), perhaps influenced by blarney, but usually regarded as being from the sausage, as a type traditionally made from odds and ends. It also was early 20c. ring slang for an inferior fighter.
The aristocratic Kid's first brawl for sugar was had in Sandusky, Odryo, with a boloney entitled Young Du Fresne. He gave the green and nervous Kid a proper pastin' for six rounds and the disgusted Dummy sold me his find for a hundred bucks, leavin' the clubhouse just in time to miss seein' the boy get stung, get mad, and win by a knockout. [H.C. Witwer, "The Leather Pushers," Collier's, Oct. 16, 1920]
1818 as a purely geographical term, "relating to or of the nature of a continent," from continent (n.) + -al (1). In reference to the European mainland (as opposed to Great Britain), recorded from 1760. Continental breakfast (the kind eaten on the continent as opposed to the kind eaten in Britain) is attested by 1855.
As "pertaining to the government and affairs of the 13 revolutionary British American colonies," from 1774; the Continental Congress was so called from 1775.
Continental divide "line across a continent such that the drainage on one side feeds into one ocean or sea and that on the other feeds into a different body of water," was in use by 1865; continental slope "slope between the outer edge of the continental shelf and the ocean floor" is from 1849. Continental shelf "area of shallow sea around a continent, geologically part of the continent" is first attested 1888.
Continental drift "gradual movement of the continents across the earth's surface through geological time" (1925) is a translation of German Kontinentalverschiebung, proposed 1912 by German scientist Alfred Wegener (1880-1930); the theory was not widely accepted until after c. 1950.
masc. proper name, from Old High German Erchanbald, literally "genuine-bold," from erchan "genuine" + bald (see bold). Archie, British World War I military slang for "German anti-aircraft fire" or the guns that produce it (1915) is said in contemporary sources to be from the airmen dodging hostile fire and thinking of the refrain of a then-popular music hall song.
It's no use me denying facts, I'm henpecked, you can see!
'Twas on our wedding day my wife commenced to peck at me
The wedding breakfast over, I said, "We'll start off today
Upon our honeymoon."
Then she yelled, "What! waste time that way?"
[chorus] "Archibald, certainly not!
Get back to work at once, sir, like a shot.
When single you could waste time spooning
But lose work now for honeymooning!
Archibald, certainly not!"
[John L. St. John & Alfred Glover, "Archibald, Certainly Not"]
1824, a Latin word meaning "swaddling clothes," also, figuratively, "childhood, beginnings, birthplace, place where a thing had its earliest development, the beginning of anything;" especially "early printed book using movable-type technology," From Gutenberg's beginning c. 1439 to the close of the year 1500. Latin incunabula "a cradle; a birthplace," figuratively "rudiments or beginnings," is from in "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + cunabula, diminutive of cunae "cradle," from PIE *koi-na-, suffixed form of root *kei- (1) "to lie," also forming words for "bed, couch."
Interest in collecting them began c. 1640 with the celebration of (as it was supposed) the 200th anniversary of printing. Perhaps this use of the word traces to the title of the first catalog of such books, Incunabula typographiae (Amsterdam, 1688). The word in this sense has come into general use throughout Europe. The number of books put on the market throughout Europe during that period has been estimated at 20 million. Prof. Alfred W. Pollard [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1941] wrote that "up to the end of the 17th century," Caxton's original printings "could still be bought for a few shillings."
1884, Tabloid, "small tablet of medicine," trademark name (by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co.) for compressed or concentrated chemicals and drugs, a hybrid formed from tablet + Greek-derived suffix -oid. By 1898, it was being used figuratively to mean a compressed form or dose of anything, hence tabloid journalism (1901), and newspapers that typified it (1917), so called for having short, condensed news articles and/or for being small in size. Associated originally with Alfred C. Harmsworth, editor and proprietor of the London Daily Mail.
Mr. Harmsworth entered a printing office twenty years ago as office-boy, and today owns thirty periodicals besides The Mail. Upon a friendly challenge from Mr. Pulitzer of The New York World, the English journalist issued the first number of The World for the new century in the ideal form. The size of the page was reduced to four columns and the general make-up was similar in appearance to that of one of the weekly magazines. Current news was presented in condensed and tabulated form, of which the editor says: "The world enters today upon the twentieth or time-saving century. I claim that by my system of condensed or tabloid journalism hundreds of working hours can be saved each year." ["The Twentieth Century Newspaper," in The Social Gospel, February 1901]
"one of a race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore," Old English elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ylfe (plural, West Saxon) "sprite, fairy, goblin, incubus," from Proto-Germanic *albiz (source also of Old Saxon alf, Old Norse alfr, German alp "evil spirit, goblin, incubus"), origin unknown; according to Watkins, possibly from PIE *albho- "white." Used figuratively for "mischievous person" from 1550s.
In addition to elf/ælf (masc.), Old English had parallel form *elfen (fem.), the plural of which was *elfenna, -elfen, from Proto-Germanic *albinjo-. Both words survived into Middle English and were active there, the former as elf (with the vowel of the plural), plural elves, the latter as elven, West Midlands dialect alven (plural elvene).
The Germanic elf originally was dwarfish and malicious (compare elf-lock "knot in hair," Old English ælfadl "nightmare," ælfsogoða "hiccup," thought to be caused by elves); in the Middle Ages they were confused to some degree with faeries; the more noble version begins with Spenser. Nonetheless a popular component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given names and surnames, such as Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine "Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women's names such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty." Elf Lock hair tangled, especially by Queen Mab, "which it was not fortunate to disentangle" [according to Robert Nares' glossary of Shakespeare] is from 1592.
1596, in reference to the famous London prison, on the site of one of the seven gates in the old London wall (the main gate to the west); this one having been used as a lock-up since the 1100s. So called because it was thought to be more recent than the others (but it apparently dated to Roman times) or because it had been rebuilt at some point. The gate was demolished in the 18c.; the last prison of that name was torn down 1902-3.
Newgate frill, "a beard shaved so as to grow only under the chin and jaw," so called in allusion to the position of the hangman's noose, is by 1851. The author of "The Habits of Good Society" (1859) calls it "a kind of compromise between the beard and the razor."
Both Coleridge and Ruskin praised Thomas Hood's Newgatory.
Hood was addressing the admirable Mrs. Fry, who, as every one knows, set up a school in Newgate to teach the poor neglected outcasts what they had never heard from Christian lips before. One of the chief points made by Hood is this,—how much better, kinder, wiser, more politic even, it would be to multiply these schools outside, not inside the Prison walls, so that prevention might take the place of cure. [Alfred Ainger, preface to "Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood"]
As a literary study, this exquisite pun of Hood's ... deserves the most careful memory, as showing what a noble and instructive lesson even a pun may become, when it is deep in its purpose, and founded on a truth which is perfectly illustrated by the seeming equivocation. [Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera"]
Old English Angli Saxones (plural), from Latin Anglo-Saxones, in which Anglo- is an adjective, thus literally "English Saxons," as opposed to those of the Continent (now called Old Saxons). Properly in reference to the Saxons of ancient Wessex, Essex, Middlesex, and Sussex.
I am a suthern man, I can not geste 'rum, ram, ruf' by letter. [Chaucer, "Parson's Prologue and Tale"]
After the Norman-French invasion of 1066, the peoples of the island were distinguished as English and French, but after a few generations all were English, and Latin-speaking scribes, who knew and cared little about Germanic history, began to use Anglo-Saxones to refer to the pre-1066 inhabitants and their descendants. When interest in Old English writing revived late 16c., the word was extended to the language we now call Old English.
In the last years of the reign of Elizabeth, Camden revived the use of the old name Anglosaxones, and, probably for the first time, used lingua Anglosaxonica for the language of England before the Norman conquest. He explains that Anglosaxones means the Saxons of England, in contradistinction to those of the continent; and, in his English Remains, he, accordingly, renders it by "English Saxons." Throughout the seventeenth century, and even later, "English Saxon" continued to be the name ordinarily applied by philologists to the language of king Alfred, but, in the eighteenth century, this gave place to "Anglo-Saxon." [Henry Bradley, in "Cambridge History of English Literature," 1907]
"the people of England; the speech of England," noun use of Old English adjective Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), "of or pertaining to the Angles," from Engle (plural) "the Angles," the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)). The use of the word in Middle English was reinforced by Anglo-French Engleis. Cognates: Dutch Engelsch, German Englisch, Danish Engelsk, French Anglais (Old French Engelsche), Spanish Inglés, Italian Inglese.
Technically "of the Angles," but Englisc also was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders — Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede's gens Anglorum) — and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. "The name English for the language is thus older than the name England for the country" [OED]. After 1066, it specifically meant the native population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French occupiers), a distinction which lasted about a generation. But as late as Robert of Gloucester's "Chronicle" (c. 1300) it still could retain a sense of "Anglian" and be distinguished from "Saxon" ("Þe englisse in þe norþ half, þe saxons bi souþe").
... when Scots & others are likely to be within earshot, Britain & British should be inserted as tokens, but no more, of what is really meant [Fowler]
In pronunciation, "En-" has become "In-," perhaps through the frequency of -ing- words and the relative rarity of -e- before -ng- in the modern language. A form Inglis is attested from 14c. and persisted in Scotland and northern England, and Ingland and Yngelond were used for "England" in Middle English, but the older spelling has stood fast. Meaning "English language or literature as a subject at school" is from 1889.