also called Laodice, a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, the accomplice of her brother Orestes in the murder of their mother, from Greek Ēlektra, literally "shining, bright," related to ēlektōr "the beaming sun" and perhaps to ēlektron "amber." Especially in psychological Electra complex (1913, Jung) in reference to a daughter who feels attraction toward her father and hostility to her mother. Also the name of a daughter of Atlas, and as such a name of one of the Pleiades.
"great destruction by bloody violence, massacre," c. 1600, from French carnage (16c.), from Old Italian carnaggio "slaughter, murder," from Medieval Latin carnaticum "flesh," from Latin carnaticum "slaughter of animals," from carnem (nominative caro) "flesh," originally "a piece of flesh" (from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut"). In English it has been always used more often of slaughters of men than of beasts. Southey (1795) tried to make a verb of it.
early 15c., of a deed, "evil, wicked;" from 1520s as "having the property of destroying or being injurious," from Old French pernicios (13c., Modern French pernicieux) and directly from Latin perniciosus "destructive," from pernicies "destruction, death, ruin," from per "completely" (see per) + necis "violent death, murder," related to necare "to kill," nocere "to hurt, injure, harm," noxa "harm, injury" (from PIE root *nek- (1) "death"). Related: Perniciously; perniciousness.
1620, "the action of throwing out of a window," from Latin fenestra "window." A word invented for one incident: the "Defenestration of Prague," May 21, 1618, when two Catholic deputies to the Bohemian national assembly and a secretary were tossed out the window of the castle of Hradschin by Protestant radicals (the pair landed in a trash heap and survived). It marked the start of the Thirty Years' War.
The extraordinary chance which had saved three lives was a holy miracle or a comic accident according to the religion of the beholder .... Murder or no murder, the coup d'état was complete, and since Thurn had overruled many of his supporters in demanding death it was well for the conscience of his allies that a pile of mouldering filth in the courtyard of the Hradschin had made soft falling for the governors. [Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, "The Thirty Years War," 1938]
Some linguists link fenestra with Greek verb phainein "to show;" others see in it an Etruscan borrowing, based on the suffix -(s)tra, as in Latin loan-words aplustre "the carved stern of a ship with its ornaments," genista "the plant broom," lanista "trainer of gladiators." Related: Defenestrate (1915); defenestrated (1620).
In Christian and Hebrew communities infanticide has always been regarded as not less criminal than any other kind of murder; but in most others, in both ancient and modern times, it has been practised and regarded as even excusable, and in some enjoined and legally performed, as in cases of congenital weakness or deformity among some of the communities of ancient Greece. [Century Dictionary]
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit nasyati "disappears, perishes," Avestan nasyeiti "disappears," nasu- "corpse," Old Persian vi-nathayatiy "he injures;" Greek nekros "corpse;" Latin nex, genitive necis "violent death, murder" (as opposed to mors), nocere "to harm, hurt," noxius "harmful;" Greek nekus "dead" (adj.), nekros "dead body, corpse;" Old Irish ec, Breton ankou, Welsh angeu "death."
fem. proper name, fem. of Harry.
We think that gentlemen lose a particle of their respect for young ladies who allow their names to be abbreviated into such cognomens as Kate, Madge, Bess, Nell, &c. Surely it is more lady-like to be called Catharine, Margaret, Eliza, or Ellen. We have heard the beautiful name Virginia degraded into Jinny; and Harriet called Hatty, or even Hadge. [Eliza Leslie, "Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book," Philadelphia, 1839]
Nautical slang Harriet Lane "preserved meat" (1896) is the name of the victim of a notorious murder in which it was alleged the killer chopped up her body.