the legal doctrine of being bound by precedents, Latin, literally "to stand by things decided;" from stare "to stand" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm"). Second element from decidere "to decide, determine," literally "to cut off," from de- "off" (see de-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide).
an English notion of a stereotypical French oath, 1869, from French sacré bleu, literally "holy blue," a euphemism for sacré Dieu (1768), "holy God." From Old French sacrer, from Latin sacrare "to make or declare sacred" (see sacred). Such things are never idiomatic. In an old French-language comic set in the U.S. Wild West, the angry cowboys say "Bloody Hell!"
breed of domestic dog, originally used in police work, 1911 (as pincher Dobermann from 1907), named for Ludwig Dobermann, 19c. German dog-breeder in Thuringia. Pinscher "fox terrier" seems to be a 19c. borrowing from English pinch (see Kluge).
Der Kutscher aus gutem Hause verschafft sich, wie er kann und wenn er kann, einen ganz kleinen englischen Pinscher, der den Pferden sehr gut gut folgt und die großen Dänen von ehedem ersetzt hat, aus J.J. Rousseau's Zeit, der von dem dänischen Hunde umgerannt wurde, wie ihr wißt. ["Paris, oder, Das Buch der Hundert und Ein," Volume 6, Theodor Hell (pseud.), Potsdam, 1833]
"pleasing inactivity, sweet idleness," 1814, from Italian, literally "sweet doing nothing." The Latin roots are dulcis "sweet" (see dulcet), facere "to make, do" (see factitious), and nec entem, literally "not a being."
This phrase, frequent enough in English literature, does not seem to occur in any Italian author of note. Howells says that he found it current among Neapolitan lazzaroni, but it is not included in any collection of Italian proverbial sayings. [Walsh]
"occasion on which entertainment or profit is derived from injury or death of another," 1860, originally in reference to holidays for gladiatorial combat; the expression seems to be entirely traceable to an oft-quoted passage on a dying barbarian gladiator from the fourth canto (1818) of Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage":
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother. He, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday!
Previous to 1883 the methods of measuring time in the United States were so varied and so numerous as to be ludicrous. There were 50 different standards used in the United States, and on one road between New York and Boston, whose actual difference is 12 minutes, there were three distinct standards of time. Even small towns had two different standards one known as "town" or local time and the other "railroad" time.
... At noon on November 18, 1883, there was a general resetting of watches and clocks all over the United States and Canada, and the four great time zones, one hour apart, into which the country was divided came into being. So smoothly did the plan work that the general readjustment was accomplished without great difficulty and it has worked satisfactorily ever since. [Railroad Trainman, September 1909]