"of or pertaining to the dynasty to which the first French kings belonged," 1690s, from French Mérovingien, from Medieval Latin Merovingi, "descendants of Meroveus," (mythical?) ancestor of the line of Frankish kings in Gaul c. 500-752 beginning with Clovis; Merovingi is a Latinization of his Germanic name (compare Old High German Mar-wig "famed-fight") with the Germanic patronymic suffix -ing.
town and railroad stop on the Main Line outside Philadelphia, named 1869 by the Pennsylvania Railroad's executives, Welsh, literally "big hill;" it was the name of the estate near Dolgellau, Merionethshire, Wales, that belonged to Rowland Ellis, one of the original Quaker settlers in the region (1686). Before the change the village was known as Humphreysville, after another early Welsh settler. The women's college there was founded in 1885.
"of or in the manner of Anacreon," the "convivial bard of Greece," celebrated lyrical poet (560-478 B.C.E.), born at Teos in Ionia. Also in reference to his lyric form (1706) of a four-line stanza, rhymed alternately, each line with four beats (three trochees and a long syllable), also "convivial and amatory" (1801); and "an erotic poem celebrating love and wine" (1650s).
The name is literally "Up-lord," from ana "up" (see ana-) + kreon "lord, master," which Beekes calls "an inherited word from Indo-European poetic language," from PIE *kreih- "splendor," and he compares Sanskrit sri- "magnificence, riches, splendor, fame."
U.S. lawyer and writer Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) in 1814 set or wrote his poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" to the melody of the drinking song of the popular London gentleman's club called The Anacreontic Society, dedicated to "wit, harmony, and the god of wine." The tune is late 18c. and may be the work of society member and court musician John Stafford Smith (1750-1836).
type of map projection, 1660s, invented by Flemish geographer Gerhard Kremer (1512-1594), who Latinized his surname, which means "dealer, tradesman," as Mercator (see merchant). He first used this type of map projection in 1568. Its great distortions in the northern and southern regions renders it unsuitable for land maps, but as on it a constant compass bearing always is represented by a straight line, it is useful for sea maps.
line of French kings who ruled 1589-1792 and 1815-1848; its name is from Bourbon l'Archambault, chief town of a lordship in central France, probably from Borvo, name of a local Celtic deity associated with thermal springs, whose name probably is related to Celtic borvo "foam, froth." They also ruled in Naples and Spain. Proverbially, they "forget nothing and learn nothing" (the quip is attested by 1830, the source unknown), hence the name was used generally of extreme conservatives.
masc. proper name, variant of Marcus (q.v.). Among the top 10 names given to boy babies born in the U.S. between 1955 and 1970.
Mark Twain is the pseudonym of American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), who had been a riverboat pilot; he took his pen name from the cry mark twain, the call indicating a depth of two fathoms, from mark (n.1) in a specialized sense of "measured notification (a piece of knotted cloth, etc.) on a lead-line indicating fathoms of depth" (1769) + twain.
masc. proper name, German Siegfried; the first element is from Old High German sigu "victory," from Proto-Germanic *seges- "victory" (source also of Old Frisian si, Old Saxon sigi, Middle Dutch seghe, Dutch zege, German Sieg, Old Norse sigr, Danish seier, Gothic sigis, Old English sige "victory, success, triumph"), from PIE root *segh- "to hold" (source also of Sanskrit saha- "victory," sahate "overcomes, masters").
The second element is from Old High German frithu "peace" (from suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to love"). Siegfried Line, World War I German fortifications in France (and German western defenses after it), is from German Siegfriedlinie, named for the hero in Wagner's "Ring" cycle.
also Shiah, 1620s, a collective name for one of the two great Muslim sects, from Arabic shi'ah "partisans, followers, sect, company, faction" (from sha'a "to follow"). This is the proper use, but it commonly is used in English to mean "a Shiite." In Arabic, shi'ah is the name of the sect, shiya'iy is a member of the sect.
The branch of Islam that recognizes Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, as the lawful successor of the Prophet; the minority who believed, after the death of the Prophet, that spiritual and political authority followed his family line, as opposed to the Sunni, who took Abu Bakr as the political leader of the community. The Arabic name is short for Shi'at Ali "the party of Ali."
"the southern United States," 1859, of obscure origin, first attested in the song of that name, which was popularized, if not written, by Ohio-born U.S. minstrel musician and songwriter Dan Emmett (1815-1904); perhaps a reference to the Mason-Dixon Line, but there are other well-publicized theories dating to the Civil War. Popularized nationwide in minstrel shows. Dixieland style of jazz developed in New Orleans c. 1910, so called by 1919 (in the name of a band).
It is interesting to remember that the song which is essentially Southern — "Dixie" — and that which is essentially Northern — "Yankee Doodle" — never really had any serious words to them. [The Bookman, June 1910]
originally a name for a group of native peoples among Chiwere (Siouan) tribes, from an Algonquian word recorded c. 1700, said to mean literally "people of the big canoes." Formed as a U.S. territory in 1812 (out of the whole of the Louisiana Purchase not admitted that year as the state of Louisiana); admitted as a state 1821.
In U.S. history, the Missouri Compromise (1820) in Congress admitted Missouri as a slave state, along with Maine as a free one, but set a line westward from the main southern boundary of Missouri above which no new states would be admitted with slavery. It has been the Show-Me State since at least 1902; the expression I'm from Missouri, you'll have to show me is attested from at least c. 1880. Related: Missourian.