Etymology
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robust (adj.)

1540s, of persons, "having or indicating great strength, muscular, vigorous," from French robuste (14c.) and directly from Latin robustus "strong and hardy," literally "as strong as oak," originally "oaken," from robur, robus "hard timber, strength," also "a special kind of oak," named for its reddish heartwood, from Latin ruber "red" (related to robigo "rust"), from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy." Related: Robustly; robustness; robusticity.

Robustious (1540s) was an elaborated form common in 17c. (see "Hamlet" iii.2), with more of a sense of "rough, violent, rude;" according to OED it fell from use by mid-18c., but was somewhat revived by mid-19c. antiquarian writers. Related: Robustiously; robustiousness.

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petard (n.)

1590s, "engine of war consisting of a small, attachable bomb used to blow in doors and gates and breach walls," from French pétard (late 16c.), from French péter "break wind," from Old French pet "a fart," from Latin peditum, noun use of neuter past participle of pedere "to break wind," from PIE root *pezd- "to fart" (see feisty). Surviving in figurative phrase hoist with one's own petard (or some variant) "caught in one's own trap, involved in the danger one meant for others," literally "blown up with one's own bomb," which is ultimately from Shakespeare (1605):

For tis the sport to haue the enginer Hoist with his owne petar ["Hamlet" III.iv.207].

For the verb, see hoist. The thing itself was rendered obsolete by the development of bombs; it seems to have had a reputation for backfiring. Related: Petardier.

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chameleon (n.)

lizard-like reptile notable for its ability to change color, mid-14c., camelion, from Old French caméléon, from Latin chamaeleon, from Greek khamaileon "the chameleon," from khamai "on the ground" (also "dwarf"), akin to chthon "earth" (from PIE root *dhghem- "earth") + leon "lion" (see lion).

Perhaps the large head-crest on some species was thought to resemble a lion's mane. Greek khamalos meant "on the ground, creeping," also "low, trifling, diminutive." The classical -h- was restored in English early 18c. Figurative sense of "variable person" is 1580s. It formerly was supposed to live on air (as in "Hamlet" III.ii.98). The constellation was one of the 11 added to Ptolemy's list in the 1610s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) after Europeans began to explore the Southern Hemisphere.

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honor (v.)

mid-13c., honuren, "to do honor to, show respect to," from Old French onorer, honorer "respect, esteem, revere; welcome; present" (someone with something), from Latin honorare "to honor," from honor "honor, dignity, office, reputation" (see honor (n.)). From c. 1300 as "confer honors on." From c. 1300 as "to respect, follow" (teachings, etc.). In the commercial sense of "accept a bill due, etc.," it is recorded from 1706, via the notion of "perform a duty of respect toward." Related: Honored; honoring.

A custom more honoured in the breach than the observance. Whoever will look up the passage (Hamlet I. iv. 16) will see that it means, beyond a doubt, a custom that one deserves more honour for breaking than for keeping: but it is often quoted in the wrong & very different sense of a dead letter or rule more often broken than kept. [Fowler]
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hoist (v.)

1540s, "to raise, lift, elevate," especially with a rope or tackle, earlier hoise (c. 1500), from Middle English hysse (late 15c.), which probably is from Middle Dutch hyssen (Dutch hijsen) "to hoist," related to Low German hissen and Old Norse hissa upp "raise," Danish heise, Swedish hissa. A nautical word found in most European languages (French hisser, Italian issare, Spanish izar), but it is uncertain which coined it. Related: Hoisted; hoisting. In phrase hoist with one's own petard, it is the past participle.

For 'tis the sport, to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petar: and it shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
["Hamlet," Act III, Scene iv]

Meaning "to lift and remove" was prevalent c. 1550-1750. As a noun, 1650s, "act of hoisting;" 1835, "that by which something is hoisted," from the verb.

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manner (n.)

c. 1200, manere, "kind, sort, variety," from Anglo-French manere, Old French maniere "fashion, method, manner, way; appearance, bearing; custom" (12c., Modern French manière), from Vulgar Latin *manaria (source of Spanish manera, Portuguese maneira, Italian maniera), from fem. of Latin manuarius "belonging to the hand," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand"). The French word also was borrowed by Dutch (manier), German (manier), Swedish (maner).

Meaning "customary practice" is from c. 1300. Senses of "way of doing something; a personal habit or way of doing; way of conducting oneself toward others" are from c. 1300. Meaning "specific nature, form, way something happens" is mid-14c.

Of literature, art, etc., "way in which a work is made or executed," from 1660s. Most figurative meanings derive from the original sense "method of handling" which was extended when the word was used to translate Latin modus "method."

Phrase manner of speaking is recorded from 1530s. To the manner born ("Hamlet" I iv.15) sometimes is used incorrectly; it means "accustomed by birth to be subject to the practice," but the noun is sometimes understood as manor (which formerly also was spelled manner).

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porcupine (n.)

rodent noted for its stout, clumsy body and the defensive spines or quills that cover the body and tail, c. 1400, porke despyne, from Old French porc-espin (early 13c., Modern French porc-épic), literally "spine hog," from Latin porcus "hog" (from PIE root *porko- "young pig") + spina "thorn, spine" (see spine). The word had many forms in Middle English and early Modern English, including portepyn (influenced by port "to carry," as though "carry-spine"), porkpen, porkenpick, porpoynt, and Shakespeare's porpentine (in "Hamlet"). The same notion forms the name in other languages (Dutch stekel-varken, German Stachelschwein).

The spines grow mostly on the rump and back of the broad flat tail ; they are quite loosely attached, and when the animal slaps with its tail (its usual mode of defense) some quills may be flirted to a distance. Something like this, no doubt, gives rise to the popular notion that the porcupine "shoots" its quills at an enemy. [Century Dictionary] 
May (9 years old)—"Papa, things pertaining to a horse are equine, to cows bovine, to cats feline, to dogs canine, but to hogs, is what?"
Fay (5 years)—"Porcupine, O tourse."
[Health, August 1904]
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piece (n.1)

c. 1200, pece, "fixed amount, measure, portion;" c. 1300, "fragment of an object, bit of a whole, slice of meat; separate fragment, section, or part," from Old French piece "piece, bit portion; item; coin" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *pettia, probably from Gaulish *pettsi (compare Welsh peth "thing," Breton pez "piece, a little"), perhaps from an Old Celtic base *kwezd-i-, from PIE root *kwezd- "a part, piece" (source also of Russian chast' "part"). Related: Pieces.

Meaning "separate article forming part of a class or group" is from c. 1400; that of "specimen, instance, example" is from 1560s. Sense of "portable firearm" is from 1580s, earlier "artillery weapon" (1540s). The meaning "chessman" is from 1560s. Meaning "a period of time" is from early 14c.; that of "a portion of a distance" is from 1610s; that of "literary composition" dates from 1530s.

Piece of (one's) mind "one's opinion expressed bluntly" is from 1570s. Piece of work "remarkable person" echoes Hamlet. Piece as "a coin" is attested in English from c. 1400, hence piece of eight, old name for the Spanish dollar (c. 1600) of the value of 8 reals and bearing a numeral 8. Adverbial phrase in one piece "whole, undivided, without loss or injury" is by 1580s; of a piece "as of the same piece or whole" is from 1610s.

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vaudeville (n.)

1735, "a country song," especially one for the stage, from French vaudeville (16c.), alteration (by influence of ville "town") of vaudevire, said to be from (chanson du) Vau de Vire "(song of the) valley of Vire," in the Calvados region of Normandy, first applied to the popular satirical songs of Olivier Basselin, a 15c. poet who lived in Vire. The alternative explanation is that vaudevire derives from dialectal vauder "to go" + virer "to turn." From the popularity of the songs in France grew a form of theatrical entertainment based on parodies of popular opera and drama, interspersed with songs.

The Théatre du Vaudeville is rich in parodies, which follow rapidly upon every new piece given at the Opera, or at the Théatre Français. Their parody upon Hamlet is too ludicrous for description, but irresistibly laughable; and the elegaut light ballet of La Colombe Retrouvée [The Dove found again], I saw parodied at the Vaudeville as "La Maison Retrouvée" [The House found again], with a breadth of farce quite beyond the genius of Sadler's Wells. Some of the acting here, particularly that of the men, is exquisite; and the orchestra like all the orchestras in Paris is full and excellent. ["France in 1816," by Lady Morgan]

As a sort of popular stage variety entertainment show suitable for families, from c. 1881 in U.S., displaced by movies after c. 1914, considered dead from 1932.

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ranch (n.)

1808, "country house," from American Spanish rancho "small farm, group of farm huts," from Spanish rancho "small farm, hamlet," earlier "mess-room," originally, "group of people who eat together," from ranchear "to lodge or station," from Old French ranger "install in position," from rang "row, line," from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hringaz "circle, ring, something curved" (from nasalized form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend"). The evolution would seem to be from "group of people who eat together" to "group of people who work and live together." The earlier form of the word in English was rancheria (c. 1600).

The sense of "large stock-farm and herding establishment" is by 1847. In Spanish America, the rancho was a herding operation, distinguished from the hacienda, a cultivated farm or plantation. Meanwhile, back at the ranch as a cliche narration for scene shifts in old Western serials and movies is by 1957.

Ranch-house "principle dwelling house on a ranch" is attested from 1862. By 1947 it was the name given to the modernistic type of low, long homes popular among U.S. suburban builders and buyers after World War II, hence ranch, of houses, "single-story, split-level" (adj.); as a noun, "a modern ranch-style house," by 1952, also rancher (1955); diminutive ranchette is attested by 1948.

Ranch dressing is from 1970, originally in reference to popular Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix, sold by mail order.

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