"a trifling nicety in argument, a quibble," 1530s, from Medieval Latin quidditas "the essence of things," in Scholastic philosophy, "that which distinguishes a thing from other things," literally "whatness," from Latin quid "what," neuter of indefinite pronoun quis "somebody, someone or other" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).
The sense developed from scholastic disputes over the nature of things. Original classical meaning "real essence or nature of a thing, that which distinguishes a thing from other things and makes it what it is" is attested in English from late 14c. (quidite).
"indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newly wed couple," 1540s (hony moone), but probably older, from honey (n.) in reference to the new marriage's sweetness, and moon (n.) "month" in reference to how long it probably will last, or from the changing aspect of the moon: no sooner full than it begins to wane. French has cognate lune de miel, but German version is flitterwochen (plural), from flitter "tinsel" + wochen "week." In figurative use from 1570s. Specific sense of "post-wedding holiday" attested from c. 1800.
indefinite article, the form of an used before consonants, mid-12c., a weakened form of Old English an "one" (see an). The disappearance of the -n- before consonants was mostly complete by mid-14c. After c. 1600 the -n- also began to vanish before words beginning with a sounded -h-; it still is retained by many writers before unaccented syllables in h- or (e)u- but is now no longer normally spoken as such. The -n- also lingered (especially in southern England dialect) before -w- and -y- through 15c.
It also is used before nouns of singular number and a few plural nouns when few or great many is interposed.
early 15c., "heap or stack of something," usually consisting of an indefinite number of separate objects arranged in a more or less regular conical or pyramidal form, from Old French pile "a heap, a stack," and directly from Latin pila "a pillar," also "stone barrier, pier" (see pillar).
The sense development in Latin would have been from "pier, harbor wall of stones," to "something heaped up." Middle English pile also could mean "pillar supporting something, pier of a bridge" (mid-15c.). In English, the verb in the sense of "to heap (up)" is recorded from c.1400.
Middle English also had a noun pile meaning "castle, tower, stronghold (late 14c.), which persisted in a sense of "large building." OED regards this as a separate word, of doubtful origin, but other sources treat them as the same.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "one, unique."
It forms all or part of: a (1) indefinite article; alone; an; Angus; anon; atone; any; eleven; inch (n.1) "linear measure, one-twelfth of a foot;" lone; lonely; non-; none; null; once; one; ounce (n.1) unit of weight; quincunx; triune; unanimous; unary; une; uni-; Uniate; unilateral; uncial; unicorn; union; unique; unison; unite; unity; universal; universe; university; zollverein.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek oinos "ace (on dice);" Latin unus "one;" Old Persian aivam; Old Church Slavonic -inu, ino-; Lithuanian vienas; Old Irish oin; Breton un "one;" Old English an, German ein, Gothic ains "one."
Middle English eilen, ailen, "trouble, afflict, harm," from Old English eglan "to trouble, plague, afflict," from Proto-Germanic *azljaz (source also of Old English egle "hideous, loathsome, troublesome, painful;" Gothic agls "shameful, disgraceful," agliþa "distress, affliction, hardship," us-agljan "to oppress, afflict"), from PIE *agh-lo-, suffixed form of root *agh- (1) "to be depressed, be afraid." Related: Ailed; ailing; ails.
From late Old English also of mental states and moods. Phrase what ails you? "what is wrong with you? why do you behave that way?" is by c. 1300 (what eileth the?)
It is remarkable, that this word is never used but with some indefinite term, or the word no thing; as What ails him? ... Thus we never say, a fever ails him. [Johnson]
early 15c., periode, "a course or extent of time; a cycle of recurrence of a disease," from Old French periode (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin periodus "recurring portion, cycle," from Latin periodus "a complete sentence," also "cycle of the Greek games," from Greek periodos "cycle, circuit, period of time," literally "a going around," from peri "around" (see peri-) + hodos "a going, traveling, journey; a way, path, road," a word of uncertain origin (see Exodus).
Sense of "repeated cycle of events" led to that of "interval of time." From 1712 as "an indefinite part of any continued state or series of events;" by 1727 as "time in which a circuit or revolution (as of a heavenly body) is made." Sense of "episode of menstruation" is by 1829, probably short for period of menstruation (1808), etc.
The meaning "dot marking end of a sentence" is recorded c. 1600, from the earlier sense of "a complete sentence, from one full stop to another," then "a full pause at the end of a sentence" (1580s). The educational sense of "portion of time set apart for a lesson" is from 1876. The sporting sense "division of a game or contest" is attested by 1898. As an adjective from 1905; period piece is attested from 1911.
"10 times one hundred; the number which is ten times one hundred; a symbol representing this number;" Old English þusend, from Proto-Germanic *thusundi (source also of Old Frisian thusend, Dutch duizend, Old High German dusunt, German tausend, Old Norse þusund, Gothic þusundi).
Related to words in Balto-Slavic (Lithuanian tūkstantis, Old Church Slavonic tysashta, Polish tysiąc, Russian tysiacha, Czech tisic), and probably ultimately a compound with indefinite meaning "great multitude, several hundred," literally "swollen-hundred," with first element from PIE root *teue- "to swell," second element from PIE root *dekm- "ten."
Used to translate Greek khilias, Latin mille, hence the refinement into the precise modern meaning. There was no general Indo-European word for "thousand." Slang shortening thou first recorded 1867. Thousand island dressing (1916) presumably is named for the region of New York on the St. Lawrence River.
early 14c., "to bear or convey, take along or transport," from Anglo-French carier "transport in a vehicle" or Old North French carrier "to cart, carry" (Modern French charrier), from Gallo-Roman *carrizare, from Late Latin carricare, from Latin carrum originally "two-wheeled Celtic war chariot," from Gaulish (Celtic) karros, from PIE *krsos, from root *kers- "to run."
The meaning "take by force, gain by effort" is from 1580s. The sense of "gain victory, bear to a successful conclusion" is from 1610s; specifically in reference to elections from 1848, American English.
The meaning "to conduct, manage" (often with an indefinite it) is from 1580s. The meaning "bear up and support" is from 1560s. The commercial sense of "keep in stock" is from 1848. In reference to mathematical operations from 1798. Of sound, "to be heard at a distance" by 1858.
To carry out "conduct to completion" is from c. 1600. To carry it off "brazen a thing out" is from 1704; carried off as a euphemism for "killed" is from 1670s. To be carried (away) in the figurative sense "transported, having the attention fully absorbed" is from 1560s. Carrying capacity is attested from 1836. Carry-castle (1590s) was an old descriptive term for an elephant.
indicating where something or someone is knocked, "into an extremely distressed or disabled condition," American English slang, by 1835; considered by OED to be a corruption of western England dialectal collyweston, name of a village in Northamptonshire ("Colin's West Farmstead") that somehow came to signify "askew, not right." But Farmer calls it an Americanism and goes in for it as an "indefinite superlative," and DAS also does not consider the obscure English term to be the source. Early nautical references suggest it might simply be what it looks like: a sailor's generic way of indicating something has been thrown pretty far by impact, based on galley in the "ship's cooking room" sense.
"Matter? why d--n my old shoes, Captain Williams, here is one of that bloody Don Dego's shot gone right through the galley-door, and through the side of the big copper, and knocked all the beef and hot water galley-west. ..." [N.Ames, "Old Sailor's Yarns," New York, 1835]