British slang word with varied senses, not all of them certainly connected; see Partridge, who lists two noun uses: "female pudenda" (c. 1845), which might be back-slang from fan, shortening of fanny (in the British sense); and "nothing," in prostitutes' slang from c. 1940; a verbal use, a euphemism for fuck (v.) in oaths, imprecations, expletives (as in naff off), 1959, "making it slightly less obvious than eff" [Partridge]; and an adjective naff "vulgar, common, despicable," which is said to have been used in 1960s British gay slang for "unlovely" and thence adopted into the jargons of the theater and the armed forces.
No cognates outside Germanic. "The earlier application was to the outward expression of kindly feeling, sympathy, affection to others, as in Gothic and ON.; but in OE. the word had come more usually to be applied to the external manifestation of one's own pleased or happy frame of mind, and hence even to the state itself" [OED]. Rare since 16c.
branch of chemistry which deals with wine-making and brewing, 1868, from Greek zymo-, combining form of zymē "a leaven" (from PIE root *yeue-; see juice) + -ourgia "a working," from ergon "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to do").
The last word in many standard English dictionaries (and this one); but Century Dictionary ends with Zyxomma ("A genus of Indian dragon-flies") and in the OED [2nd ed.] the last word is zyxt, an obsolete Kentish form of the second person singular of see (v.).
At the dictionary's letter A
Mr. Brandt is young and gay
But when at last he reaches zed
He's in his wheelchair, nearly dead
In reference to dark eyes, often as a mark of beauty, from 1660s. Black-eyed is from 1590s of women, of peas from 1728. The black-eyed Susan as a flower (various species) so called from 1881, for its appearance. It also was the title of a poem by John Gay (1685-1732), which led to a popular mid-19c. British stage play of the same name.
All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
"Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?"
1762, "one who bounces," agent noun from bounce (v.), which originally meant "to thump, hit." Given various specific senses in 19c., such as "boaster, bully, braggart" (1833); also "large example of its kind" (1842); "enforcer of order in a bar or saloon" (1865, American English, originally colloquial).
Now it so happened that the brakeman was what is known, in the language of the road, as a "bouncer." That is, he was a hybrid combining the qualities of a brakeman and a bruiser, and was frequently called into requisition by the conductor to take the dirty work of ejecting tramps off of his hands. ["Staats," "A Tight Squeeze," 1879]
"The Bouncer" is merely the English "chucker out". When liberty verges on license and gaiety on wanton delirium, the Bouncer selects the gayest of the gay, and — bounces him! [London Daily News, July 26, 1883]
1650s, "pertaining to a feast," from Latin festivus "festive, joyous, gay," from festum "festival, holiday," noun use of neuter of adjective festus "joyful, merry" (see feast (n.)). The word is unattested in English from 1651 to 1735 (it reappears in a poem by William Somervile, with the sense "fond of feasting, jovial"), and the modern use may be a back-formation from festivity. Meaning "mirthful, joyous" in English is attested by 1774. Related: Festively; festiveness.
When the Day crown'd with rural, chaste Delight
Resigns obsequious to the festive Night;
The festive Night awakes th' harmonious Lay,
And in sweet Verse recounts the Triumphs of the Day.
[Somervile, "The Chace"]
Earlier adjectives in English based on the Latin word were festival "pertaining to a church feast" (late 14c.); festful "joyous" (early 15c.), festial "pertaining to a church feast" (early 15c.), festli "fond of festivity" (late 14c.).
a common 18c. colloquial term for "homosexual man" or "man who is deemed effeminate, a sissy," by 1707, perhaps 1690s. The fem. proper name Molly or Moll served as a type-name of a low-class girl or prostitute in old songs and ballads (perhaps in part for the sake of the easy rhymes).
But the colloquial word also resembles Latin mollis "soft," which also had been used classically in a specific pejorative sense in reference to men, "soft, effeminate, unmanly, weak," in Cicero, Livy, etc. A 1629 publication from the Catholic-Protestant theological disputes, "Truth's triumph ouer Trent," written in English with swerves into Latin, at one point describes the denizens of Hell as fideles fornicarios, adulteros, molles, and so forth, and molles is translated parenthetically in the text as "effeminate." Molly House as a term for a brothel frequented by gay men is attested in a court case from 1726.
"trivialities, bits of information of little consequence," by 1932, from the title of a popular book by U.S.-born British aphorist Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) first published in 1902 but popularized in 1918 (with "More Trivia" following in 1921 and a collected edition including both in 1933), containing short essays often tied to observation of small things and commonplace moments. Trivia is Latin, plural of trivium "place where three roads meet;" in transferred use, "an open place, a public place." The adjectival form of this, trivialis, meant "public," hence "common, commonplace" (see trivial).
The Romans also had trivius dea, the "goddess of three ways," another name for Hecate, perhaps originally in her triple aspect (Selene/Diana/Proserpine), but also as the especial divinity of crossroads (Virgil has "Nocturnisque hecate triviis ululata per urbes"). John Gay took this arbitrarily as the name of a goddess of streets and roads for his mock Georgic "Trivia: Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London" (1716); Smith writes in his autobiography that he got the title from Gay.
I KNOW too much; I have stuffed too many of the facts of History and Science into my intellectuals. My eyes have grown dim over books; believing in geological periods, cave dwellers, Chinese Dynasties, and the fixed stars has prematurely aged me. ["Trivia," 1918 edition]
Then noted c. 1965 as an informal fad game among college students wherein one asked questions about useless bits of information from popular culture ("What was Donald Duck's address?") and others vied to answer first.
Nobody really wins in this game which concentrates on sports, comics and television. Everyone knows that Amos's wife on the "Amos 'n' Andy Show" is Ruby, but who knows that she is from Marietta, Georgia? Trivia players do. They also know the fourth man in the infield of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, the Canadian who shot down Baron Von Richtofen, and can name ten Hardy Boy books. [Princeton Alumni Weekly, Nov. 9, 1965]
The board game Trivial Pursuit was released 1982 and was a craze in U.S. for several years thereafter.