Etymology
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durum (n.)

species of hard wheat especially used in making macaroni, by 1904, from Latin durum, neuter of durus "hard," from PIE *dru-ro-, suffixed variant form of root *deru- "be firm, solid, steadfast." The seeds are tough. It was introduced in the U.S. by the Department of Agriculture in 1899 from Russia and 1900 from North Africa.

Previous to 1901 this wheat could not usually be sold at the elevators or mills at any price and was rarely grown—in small quantities only, for stock feed. Since its commercial value has been demonstrated the production has increased from 100,000 bushels, the largest estimate in 1901, to at least 6,000,000 bushels in 1903—an increase of sixtyfold in two years. [Flour Trade News, November 1904]
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drone (n.)

Middle English drane, drone, "male honeybee," from Old English dran, dræn, from Proto-Germanic *dran- (source also of Middle Dutch drane; Old High German treno; German Drohne, which is from Middle Low German drone), probably imitative (compare Lithuanian tranni, Greek thronax "a drone"). Given a figurative sense of "idler, lazy worker" (male bees make no honey) 1520s. Meaning "pilotless aircraft directed by remote control" is from 1946.

Drones, as the radio-controlled craft are called, have many potentialities, civilian and military. Some day huge mother ships may guide fleets of long-distance, cargo-carrying airplanes across continents and oceans. Long-range drones armed with atomic bombs could be flown by accompanying mother ships to their targets and in for perfect hits. [Popular Science, November 1946]

Meaning "a deep, continuous humming sound" is from c. 1500, apparently an independent imitative formation (compare threnody). Meaning "bass pipe of a bagpipe" is from 1590s.

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acrophobia (n.)

"morbid fear of heights," 1887, medical Latin, from Greek akros "at the end, topmost" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce") + -phobia "fear." Coined by Italian physician Dr. Andrea Verga in a paper describing the condition, from which Verga himself suffered.

In this paper, read somewhat over a year ago at the congress of alienists at Pavia, the author makes confession of his own extreme dread of high places. Though fearless of the contagion of cholera, he has palpitations on mounting a step-ladder, finds it unpleasant to ride on the top of a coach or to look out of even a first-story window, and has never used an elevator. [abstract of Verga's report in American Journal of Psychology, November 1888]
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percussion (n.)

early 15c., percussioun, "a striking, a blow; internal injury, contusion," from Latin percussionem (nominative percussio) "a beating, striking; a beat as a measure of time," noun of action from past participle stem of percutere "to strike hard, beat, smite; strike through and through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + quatere "to strike, shake" (see quash).

In reference to musical instruments sounded by a stroke or blow, attested by 1776 (instrument of percussion). In medical diagnosis, "a method of striking or tapping the surface of the body to determine the condition of the organs in the region struck," by 1781.

The art of percussion, besides, although very simple in appearance, requires long practice, and a dexterity which few men can acquire. The slightest difference in the angle under which the fingers strike the thorax, may lead one to suspect a difference of sound which in reality does not exist. ["Laennec's New System of Diagnosis," in Quarterly Journal of Foreign Medicine and Surgery, November 1819]
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politics (n.)
Origin and meaning of politics

1520s, "science and art of government," from politic (n.) "the political state of a country or government (early 15c.), from Old French politique and Medieval Latin politica; see politic (adj.). The plural form probably was modeled on Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state" (plural), the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as (The Book of) Polettiques or Polytykys. Also see -ics.

Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men's view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed. [Fisher Ames (1758-1808), "British Alliance," in the Boston Repertory, November 1806]

The sense of "political actions or practice" is from 1640s. Meaning "political allegiances or opinions of a person or party" is from 1769.

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knucklehead (n.)

also knuckle-head, "stupid person," 1890, American English, from knuckle (n.) + head (n.).

"That infernal knuckle-head at the camp ought to have reported before now," he thought to himself, as he smoked. [Charles H. Shinn, "The Quicksands of Toro," in Belford's Magazine, vol. v, June-November 1890, New York]

From 1869 as the name of a part in a type of mechanical coupling device. Popularized in the "stupid person" sense from 1942, from character R.F. Knucklehead, star of "Don't" posters hung up at U.S. Army Air Force training fields.

Everything Knucklehead does is wrong and ends in disaster. He endures one spectacular crash after another so that the students at the Gulf Coast Air Force Training Center may profit by his mistakes, and it looks now as if there will be no let-up in his agony. [Life magazine, May 25, 1942]
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time zone (n.)

by 1885, from time (n.) + zone (n.). As in Britain and France, the movement to regulate time nationally came from the railroads.

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]
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dyslexia (n.)

"a difficulty in reading due to a condition of the brain," 1885, from German dyslexie (1883), from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + lexis "word" (taken as "reading"), from legein "speak" (from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')") + abstract noun ending -ia. Dyslexic (n.) is recorded by 1946; dyslectic (adj.) by 1962.

Professor Berlin has written a very interesting monograph upon the disease called dyslexia, which he believes allied to the alexia, or word-blindness of Kussmaul. He gives a clinical history of six cases, collected during a period of twenty-three years, all having this peculiarity, that they could read aloud the average type, Jaeger three to five, only a few words in succession. These words were correctly spoken and without confusion or stammering, but as soon as a few words had been read the patients seemed anxious to get rid of the book, and, on being questioned, stated that they had an unpleasant feeling which they could not well define. [The Satellite of the Annual of the Universal Medical Sciences, Philadelphia, November 1887]
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roll (v.)

early 14c., rollen, "turn over and over, move by rotating" (intransitive); late 14c. in the transitive sense of "move (something) by turning it over and over;" from Old French roeller "roll, wheel round" (Modern French rouler), from Medieval Latin rotulare, from Latin rotula, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary). Related: Rolled; rolling.

From c. 1400 as "wrap or cover by rolling or enclosing" in something, also "wrap round and round an axis;" early 15c. as "press or level with a roller." From 1510s as "to move or travel on wheels or by means of rolling." Of sounds (such as thunder) somehow suggestive of a rolling ball, 1590s; of a drum from 1680s.

Of spoken sounds, "to utter with vibrations of the tongue," by 1846. Of eyes, from late 14c. (rolle his eyne), originally suggestive of ferocity or madness. Of a movie camera, "to start filming," from 1938. Sense of "rob a stuporous drunk" is by 1873, from the action required to get to his pockets. To roll up "gather, congregate" is from 1861, originally Australian. To roll with the punches is a metaphor from boxing (1940). To roll them bones was old slang for "play at dice" (1929). Heads will roll is a Hitlerism:

If our movement is victorious there will be a revolutionary tribunal which will punish the crimes of November 1918. Then decapitated heads will roll in the sand. [1930]
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bat (n.1)

"a stick or staff used in beating, a war-club, staff used to strike the ball in certain games," c. 1200, from rare Old English batt "cudgel," a western England word at first, probably from Welsh or another Celtic source (compare Irish and Gaelic bat, bata "staff, cudgel"), later reinforced and influenced by Old French batte "pestle," from Late Latin battre "to beat;" all from PIE root *bhat- "to strike." As a kind of wooden paddle used to play cricket (later baseball), it is attested from 1706.

Middle English sense of "a lump, piece, chunk" (mid-14c.) was used of bread, clay, wool, and survives in brickbat and batting (n.1). Phrase right off the bat (1866), also hot from the bat (1870), probably represent a baseball metaphor, but cricket or some other use of a bat might as easily be the source--there is an early citation from Australia (in an article about slang): "Well, it is a vice you'd better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again, and I'll give it to him right off the bat. I'll wipe up the floor with him. I'll ---" ["The Australian Journal," November 1888].

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