also Marano, "a Jew or Moor in Spain who, to avoid persecution, publicly professed conversion to Christianity while privately continuing in the practices and beliefs of their old religion," 1580s, from Spanish, probably literally "pig, swine," an expression of contempt, from Arabic muharram "forbidden thing" (eating of pork is forbidden by Muslim and Jewish religious law), from haruma "was forbidden" (see harem).
surname, from the many Mortons on the map of England, literally "moor or marsh settlement." Morton's Fork (1759) is in reference to John Morton (c. 1420-1500), archbishop of Canterbury, who levied forced loans under Henry VII by arguing the obviously rich could afford to pay and those who were not were living frugally and thus had savings and could pay, too.
Replaced or merged with Old English westen, woesten "a desert, wilderness," from the Latin word. Meanings "consumption, depletion," also "useless expenditure" are from c. 1300; sense of "refuse matter" is attested from c. 1400. Waste basket first recorded 1850.
"confusedly, hurriedly," 1590s, a "vocal gesture" [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (as in hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children's game, attested from c. 1600).
Edward Moor, "Suffolk Words and Phrases" (London, 1823), quotes a list of "conceited rhyming words or reduplications" from the 1768 edition of John Ray's "Collection of English Words Not Generally Used," all said to "signify any confusion or mixture;" the list has higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, hodge-podge, mingle-mangle, arsy-versy, kim-kam, hub-bub, crawly-mauly, and hab-nab. "To which he might have added," Moor writes, crincum-crankum, crinkle-crankle, flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, gibble-gabble, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hiccup-suickup, hocus-pocus, hotch-potch, hugger-mugger, humdrum, hum-strum, hurry-scurry, jibber-jabber, prittle-prattle, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, and topsy-turvy. Many of these date to the 16th century.
1744, "ropes, etc., by which a floating thing is confined or made fast," from mooring. Figurative sense of "that to which anything is fastened or by which it is held" is by 1851.
"coffee-room, viewed from the inside through a glass door, as it was seen by Dickens on a dark London day; ... used by Chesterton to denote the queerness of things that have become trite, when they are seen suddenly from a new angle." [J.R.R. Tolkien, "On Fairy Stories"]