boys' knife-throwing game, 1650s, originally mumble-the-peg (1620s), of unknown signification and origin. The usual story is that it is so called because "The last player to complete the series is compelled to draw out of the ground with his teeth a peg which the others have driven in with a certain number of blows with the handle of the knife" [Century Dictionary]; see mumble (v.) in the original sense "eat in a slow, inefficient manner."
"heavy knife or cutlass," used as a weapon and tool by the Spanish in the Americas, 1590s (in pseudo-Spanish form macheto), from Spanish machete "a chopping knife," probably a diminutive of macho "sledge hammer," alteration of mazo "club," which is probably [Barnhart] a dialectal variant of maza "mallet," from Vulgar Latin *mattea "war club" (see mace (n.1)). An alternative explanation traces macho to Latin marculus "a small hammer," diminutive of marcus "hammer," from a base parallel to that of Latin malleus (see mallet).
also colter, "iron blade or sharp-edged wheel attached to the beam of a plow to cut the ground," Old English culter, from Latin culter "a knife, iron blade in a plowshare," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." As a surname (13c.), probably from Coulter in Lancashire.
late 14c., prouynen, proinen, of a bird, "to trim the feathers with the beak;" of a person, "to dress or groom oneself carefully," from an extended or transferred sense of Old French proignier, poroindre "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), a word of unknown origin. Compare preen, which seems to be a variant of this word that kept the original senses.
The main modern sense of "lop superfluous twigs or branches from" is from 1540s, perhaps a separate borrowing of the French word. It is earlier in English in a general sense of "lop off as superfluous or injurious" (early 15c.).
Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Roman *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (see prop (n.1)).
Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook, knife with a hooked blade used for pruning plants, is from 1610s; pruning knife, knife with a curved blade, is from 1580s.
"act of castrating," early 15c., castracioun, from Latin castrationem (nominative castratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of castrare "to castrate, emasculate," supposedly from a noun *castrum "knife, instrument that cuts," from PIE root *kes- "to cut." Freud's castration complex is attested from 1914 in English (translating German Kastrationsangst).