Etymology
Advertisement
political (adj.)

1550s, "of or pertaining to a polity, civil affairs, or government;" from Latin politicus "of citizens or the state" (see politic (adj.)) + -al (1). Meaning "taking sides in party politics" (usually pejorative) is from 1749. Political prisoner first recorded 1860; political science is from 1779 (first attested in Hume). Political animal translates Greek politikon zōon (Aristotle, "Politics," I.ii.9) "an animal intended to live in a city; a social animal."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
electrocution (n.)

"execution by electricity," 1889, American English; noun of action from electrocute. Meaning "any death by electricity" is from 1897.

Electrocution, unless better performed than in the first instance, is a retrograde step rather than the contrary. The preliminary arrangements: the shaving of the head, the cutting of the clothing, the strapping in a chair, add much to the horror of the occasion. It is safe to say that electrocution is not the coming method of execution. [The Medical Era, vol. vii, no. 9, Sept. 1890]
Related entries & more 
placebo (n.)

early 13c., name given to the rite of Vespers of the Office of the Dead, so called from the opening of the first antiphon, "I will please the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalms cxvi.9, in Vulgate Placebo Domino in regione vivorum), from Latin placebo "I shall please," future indicative of placere "to please" (see please).

Medical sense is recorded by 1785, "a medicine given more to please than to benefit the patient." Placebo effect is attested from 1900.

Related entries & more 
tierce (n.)
old unit of liquid measure equal to one-third of a pipe (42 gallons), 1530s, from Anglo-French ters, Old French tierce (11c.). used in the sense "one-third" in various ways, from Latin tertia, fem. of tertius "a third," from PIE *tri-tyo-, from root *trei- (see three). Also used in Middle English for "a third part" (late 15c.), "the third hour of the canonical day" (ending at 9 a.m.), late 14c., and, in astronomy and geometry, "sixtieth part of a second of an arc."
Related entries & more 
amphora (n.)
early 14c., "two-handled vessel for holding wine, oil, etc.," from Latin amphora from Greek amphoreus "an amphora, jar, urn," contraction of amphiphoreus, literally "two-handled," from amphi "on both sides" (see amphi-) + phoreus "bearer," from pherein "to bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry."

Decorative amphorae were used as ornaments and given as prizes at some public games. Also a liquid measure in the ancient world, in Greece equal to 9 gallons, in Rome to 6 gallons, 7 pints. Related: Amphoral; amphoric.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Berlin 
city in Brandenburg, capital of modern Germany. Folk-etymology derives it from German Bär "bear," but it is likely from a Slavic source (compare Old Polabian berl-, birl- "swamp"), from PIE *ber- "marshy place," in reference to the old city's location on low, marshy ground along the River Spree. A flashpoint city in the Cold War, the Berlin airlift ran from June 28, 1948 to May 12, 1949. The Berlin Wall began to be built Aug. 15, 1961, and was effective until Nov. 9, 1989. Related: Berliner.
Related entries & more 
hosanna (interj.)
Old English osanna, via Medieval Latin hosanna, Late Latin osanna, and Greek ossana, hosanna, from Hebrew hosha'na, probably a shortening of hoshi'ah-nna "save, we pray" (see Psalms cxviii.25), from imperative of y-sh- (compare yeshua "salvation, deliverance, welfare," for which see Joshua) + emphatic particle -na. Originally an appeal for deliverance; used in Christian Church as an ascription of praise, because when Jesus entered Jerusalem this was shouted by Galilean pilgrims in recognition of his messiahhood (Matthew xxi.9, 15, etc.).
Related entries & more 
onanism (n.)

"masturbation," also "coitus interruptus," 1727, from Onan, name of the son of Judah (Genesis xxxviii.9), who spilled his seed on the ground rather than impregnate his dead brother's wife: "And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother." The moral point of the verse was redirected by those who sought to suppress masturbation. Related: Onanist; onanistic.

Related entries & more 
Maxwell 

surname, later masc. proper name, attested from late 12c., from Maxwell, name of a town on the River Tweed on the Scottish borders (the name is probably "the well of Macc or Macca"). In physics, usually a reference to James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), as in Maxwell's demon (1879; as Maxwell's "intelligent demons" from 1874).

The definition of a "demon," according to the use of this word by Maxwell, is an intelligent being endowed with free will, and fine enough tactile and perceptive organisation to give him the faculty of observing and influencing individual molecules of matter. ["Nature," April 9, 1874]
Related entries & more 
dirge (n.)

c. 1200, dirige (the contracted form is from c. 1400), "that part of the Office for the Dead beginning with the antiphon for the first psalm of the first nocturn of matins," from Latin dirige "direct!" imperative of dirigere "to direct" (see direct (v.)). The antiphon begins, Dirige, Domine, Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam ("Direct, O Lord, my God, my way in thy sight"), from Psalms v.9.

Hence, broadly, "the funeral service as sung." Transferred sense of "any funeral song or hymn, a song or tune expressing grief" is from c. 1500.

Related entries & more 

Page 3