"piece of cloth used to mend another material," late 14c., pacche, of obscure origin, perhaps a variant of pece, pieche, from Old North French pieche (see piece (n.1)), or from an unrecorded Old English word (Old English had claðflyhte for "a patch").
Meaning "portion of any surface different from what is around it" is from 1590s. That of "small piece of ground," especially one under cultivation, is from 1570s. As "small piece of plaster used on the face," to cover blemishes or enhance beauty is from 1590s. Phrase not a patch on "nowhere near as good as" is from 1860.
"a beggar, one who lives by asking alms," late 14c., from Latin mendicantem (nominative mendicans), noun use of present participle of mendicare "to beg, ask alms" (see mendicant (adj.)).
theory of inheritance of characteristic by means of (what now are called) genes, 1903, in reference to the work of Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), Austrian biologist who enunciated the laws of heredity. Related: Mendelian.
"tendency or disposition to lie, habitual lying," also "a falsehood, a lie," 1640s, from French mendacité and directly from Late Latin mendacitas "falsehood, mendacity," from Latin mendax "lying; a liar" (see mendacious).
artificial trans-uranic element, 1955, Modern Latin, in honor of Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907). With metallic element ending -ium.
in baseball, "a low batting average," (somewhere around .200) with the suggestion that any player hitting below it ought to feel a bit ashamed, by 1984, said to have been in humorous use in baseball clubhouses c. 1979, from the name of former Pirate, Mariner, and Ranger shortstop Mario Mendoza, who was noted for his defense but whose .215 lifetime batting average routinely left him at the bottom of weekly batting averages. The surname is Basque.
"beggary," c. 1400, mendicite, from Old French mendicite "begging," from Latin mendicitatem (nominative mendicitas) "beggary" (see mendicant (adj.) ).
"unite or attach (fabric, etc.) by means of thread or similar material, with or without aid of a needle or awl;" Middle English seuen, from Old English siwian "to stitch, sew, mend, patch, knit together, fasten by sewing," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (source also of Old Norse syja, Swedish sy, Danish sye, Old Frisian sia, Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan "to sew"), from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew."
From c. 1200 as "produce or construct (clothing, a garment) by means of a needle and thread." The intransitive sense of "work with a needle or thread, practice sewing" is by mid-15c. Related: Sewed; sewing. Sewn is a modern variant past-participle.
To sew up (a wound, etc.) "close by stitching the edges together" is by late 15c. (Caxton); the modern colloquial sew (something) up "bring to a desired conclusion" is a figurative use attested by 1904.
"to rub or scour to brightness;" figuratively, "to clear from taint or stain, renew the glory or brightness of; renovate," late 14c. (implied mid-13c. in the surname Furbisher), from Old French forbiss-, present-participle stem of forbir "to polish, burnish; mend, repair" (12c., Modern French fourbir). This is from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *furbjan "cause to have a (good) appearance" (compare Old High German furban "to polish"), from PIE *prep- "to appear," which is perhaps identical with *kwrep- "body, appearance" (see corporeal). Related: Furbished; furbishing.
The Old English cognate of the Germanic verbs, feormian (with unetymological -m-) meant "to clean, to rub bright, to polish." The surname Frobisher is a metathesized form of the agent noun. "This was a business of considerable importance when armour and arms were in general use, and were in continual need of furbishing, or scrubbing" [Wright, "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies"].