Etymology
Advertisement
Alexander 

masc. proper name, from Latin, from Greek Alexandros "defending men," from alexein "to ward off, keep off, turn (something) away, defend, protect" + anēr (genitive andros) "man" (from PIE root *ner- (2) "man"). The first element perhaps is related to Greek alke "protection, help, strength, power, courage," alkimos "strong;" and cognate with Sanskrit raksati "protects," Old English ealgian "to defend."

As a kind of cocktail recipe featuring crème de cacao and cream, Alexander is attested from 1913; the reason for the name is unclear.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Albert 

masc. proper name, from German (the French form is Aubert), from Old High German Adalbert, literally "noble-bright," from Old High German adal "noble family," from Proto-Germanic *athala- (see atheling) + second element from Proto-Germanic *berhta- "bright" (from PIE root *bhereg- "to shine; bright, white").

The compound is cognate with Old English Æþelbeorht (which sometimes was metathesized as Æþelbriht, hence the surname Albright). As a kind of watch chain, from 1861 (see Prince Albert).

Related entries & more 
Salisbury (n.)

place in Wiltshire, Middle English Salesbury, Old English Searobyrg, Searesbyrig, Roman Sorbiodoni, Sorvioduni. The first element is a British Celtic word of uncertain sense; the second is *dunon "a hill, fort" or else Gaulish *duro- "fort, walled town." The first element was altered in Old English by folk etymology and the second replaced by its native translation, burh.

Salisbury steak (1885) is named for J.H. Salisbury (1823-1905), U.S. physician and food specialist, who promoted it. 

In the Philadelphia Medical Reporter for January 10th, Dr. Hepburn describes the way in which the steak is prepared in the "Salisbury" treatment, which has acquired a great reputation in America for disordered digestion, and widely different diseases of a chronic kind, few drugs being employed simultaneously, and those chiefly of a tonic kind. The best slices of a round of beef are chopped off with dull knives, the object being rather to pound than to cut the meat. [from a report reprinted in several U.S. and British medical journals in 1885 that goes on to describe the method; this version from Homeopathic World, Aug. 1, 1885]

Incorrect use for "hamburger" generally traces to World War I and the deliberate attempt to purify American English of German loan words. 

Related entries & more 
Mary 

fem. proper name, Old English Maria, Marie, name of the mother of Jesus, from Latin Maria, from Greek Mariam, Maria, from Aramaic Maryam, from Hebrew Miryam, name of the sister of Moses (Exodus xv), a word of unknown origin, said to mean literally "rebellion."

The nursery rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb" was written early 1830 by Sarah Josepha Hale of Boston and published September 1830 in "Juvenile Miscellany," a popular magazine for children. Mary Jane is 1921 as the proprietary name of a kind of low-heeled shoe worn chiefly by young girls, 1928 as slang for marijuana.

Related entries & more 
methodist (n.)

1590s, "one who is characterized by strict adherence to method," from method + -ist. With a capital M-, it refers to the Protestant religious denomination founded 1729 at Oxford University by John and Charles Wesley. The name had been used at least since 1686 for various new methods of worship; it was applied to the Wesleys by their fellow-students at Oxford for their methodical habits in study and religious life. Johnson (1755) describes them as "One of a new kind of puritans lately arisen, so called from their profession to live by rules and in constant method." Related: Methodism.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Catherine 

fem. proper name, from French Catherine, from Medieval Latin Katerina, from Latin Ecaterina, from Greek Aikaterine. The -h- was introduced 16c., probably a folk etymology from Greek katharos "pure" (see catharsis). The initial Greek vowel is preserved in Russian form Ekaterina.

As the name of a type of pear, attested from 1640s. Catherine wheel (early 13c.) originally was the spiked wheel on which St. Catherine of Alexandria (martyred 307), legendary virgin from the time of Maximinus, was tortured and thus became the patron saint of spinners. Her name day is Nov. 25; a popular saint in the Middle Ages, which accounts for the enduring popularity of the given name. It was applied from 1760 to a kind of fireworks shooting from a revolving spiral tube.

Related entries & more 
Platonic (adj.)

1530s, "of or pertaining to Greek philosopher Plato" (429 B.C.E.-c. 347 B.C.E.), from Latin Platonicus, from Greek Platōnikos. The name is Greek Platōn, a nickname in reference to his broad shoulders (from platys "broad;" from PIE root *plat- "to spread"); his original name was Aristocles, son of Ariston. The meaning "free of sensual desire" (1630s, in Platonic love "pure spiritual affection unmixed with sexual desire," translating Latin Amor platonicus) which the word usually carries nowadays, is a Renaissance notion; it is based on Plato's writings in "Symposium" about the kind of interest Socrates took in young men and originally had no reference to women. Related: Platonically.

The bond which unites the human to the divine is Love. And Love is the longing of the Soul for Beauty ; the inextinguishable desire which like feels for like, which the divinity within us feels for the divinity revealed to us in Beauty. This is the celebrated Platonic Love, which, from having originally meant a communion of two souls, and that in a rigidly dialectical sense, has been degraded to the expression of maudlin sentiment between the sexes. Platonic love meant ideal sympathy ; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry. [George Henry Lewes, "The History of Philosophy," 1867]
Related entries & more 
Gradgrind (n.)

"cold, factual person," from the name of the school-board superintendent and mill-owner in Dickens' "Hard Times" (1854):

THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir - peremptorily Thomas - Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. ....
In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words 'boys and girls,' for 'sir,' Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.
Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away. 
Related entries & more 
Beguine (n.)
late 15c., from French béguine (13c.), Medieval Latin beguina, "a member of a women's spiritual order professing poverty and self-denial, founded c.1180 in Liege in the Low Countries." They are said to take their name from the surname of Lambert le Bègue "Lambert the Stammerer," a Liege priest who was instrumental in their founding, and it's likely the word was pejorative at first. French bègue is of unknown origin. Related: Beguinage.

The women's order, though sometimes persecuted, generally preserved its good reputation, but it quickly drew imposters who did not; nonetheless it eventually was condemned as heretical. A male order, called Beghards founded communities by the 1220s in imitation of them, but they soon degenerated (compare Old French beguin "(male) Beguin," also "hypocrite") and wandered begging in the guise of religion; they likely were the source of the words beg and beggar, though there is disagreement over whether Beghard produced Middle Dutch beggaert "mendicant" or was produced by it. The male order was condemned by the Church early 14c. and vanished by mid-16c.

Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" (1935) refers to a kind of popular dance of West Indian origin, from French colloquial béguin "an infatuation, boyfriend, girlfriend," earlier "child's bonnet," and before that "nun's headdress" (14c.), from Middle Dutch beggaert, ultimately the same word as the above. Compare English biggin "child's cap" (1520s), from the French word.
Related entries & more 
Jack 

masc. proper name, attested by 1218, probably via Anglo-French Jake, Jaikes, from Old French Jacques (which was a diminutive of Latin Jacobus; see Jacob), but in English the name always has been regarded as a familiar form of John, and some have argued that it is a native formation. In Middle English spelled Jakke, Jacke, etc., and pronounced as two syllables ("Jackie").

In England, Jack became a generic name applied familiarly or contemptuously to anybody (especially a young man of the lower classes) from late 14c. Later used especially of sailors (1650s; Jack-tar is from 1781); Jack-ashore (adj.) "drinking and in high spirits, recklessly spending" (1875) also is an image from sailors (1840 as a book title). In U.S., as a generic name addressed to an unknown stranger, attested from 1889. Every man Jack "everyone" is from 1812. Also see jack (n.).

Used in male personifications from 15c.; first record of jack-of-all-trades "person handy at any kind of work or business" is from 1610s; Jack Frost is from 1826; Jack-nasty "a sneak or sloven" is from 1833 (Jack-nasty-face, a sea-term for a common sailor, is from 1788). Jack Sprat for a small, light man is from 1560s (his opposite was Jack Weight). Jack-pudding "comical clown, buffoon" is from 1640s. Jack-Spaniard is from 1703 as a Spaniard, 1833 as "a hornet" in the West Indies. Other personifications listed in Farmer & Henley include jack-snip "a botching tailor," Jack-in-office "overbearing petty official" (1680s), Jack-on-both-sides "a neutral," Jack-out-of-doors "a vagrant" (1630s), jack-sauce "impudent fellow" (1590s).

The U.S. plant jack-in-the-pulpit (Indian turnip) is attested by 1833. Jack the Ripper was active in London 1888. The Scottish form is Jock (compare jockey (n.)). Alliterative coupling of Jack and Jill is from 15c. (Iakke and Gylle, Ienken and Iulyan). Jack Ketch for "hangman, executioner" (1670s) is said to be from the name of a public executioner in the time of James II (compare Derrick); it also was used as a verb meaning "to hang."

Related entries & more 

Page 3