Etymology
Advertisement
triathlon (n.)

1970, from tri- "three" + Greek athlon "contest;" formed on model of decathlon, biathlon, etc. Originally of various combinations of events; one of the earliest so called combined clay-pigeon shooting, fly-fishing, and horse-jumping; another was cross-country skiing, target shooting, and a giant slalom run; and a third connected to the U.S. Army involved shooting, swimming, and running. Applied to the combination of a long swim, a bicycle-race, and a marathon by 1981.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
liver (n.1)

secreting organ of the body, Old English lifer, from Proto-Germanic *librn (source also of Old Norse lifr, Old Frisian livere, Middle Dutch levere, Dutch lever, Old High German lebara, German Leber "liver"), perhaps from PIE root *leip- "to stick, adhere," also used to form words for "fat."

Formerly believed to be the body's blood-producing organ; in medieval times it rivaled the heart as the supposed seat of love and passion. Hence lily-livered, a white (that is, bloodless) liver being supposed a sign of cowardice, Shakespeare's pigeon-livered, etc. Liver-spots, once thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the organ, is attested from 1730.

Related entries & more 
pig Latin (n.)

childish deformed language (there are many different versions), by 1889 (hog Latin in same sense is attested by 1807).

The animals play quite an important part in the naming [of children's languages], as the hog, dog, fly, goose, pigeon, pig, all give names, with Mr. Hog leading. Among the names the Latins take the lead, and Hog Latin leads the list, being accredited as naming nearly as many languages as all the other names combined. Besides Hog Latin, there is Dog Latin, Pig Latin, Goose Latin, and Bum Latin. Then there is Greekish and Peddlers' French and Pigeon English. ... Very few can give any reason for the naming of the languages. In fact, no one can fully say where the great majority of names came from, for in most cases in the naming the following pretty well expresses the difficulty: "It was born before I was. I can't tell how young I was when I first heard of it." ["The Secret Language of Children," in The North Western Monthly, October 1897]

For the language itself, compare loucherbem, a 20c. French slang similar to pig Latin, which takes its name from the form of the word boucher in that language (which is said to have originated among the Paris butchers).

Related entries & more 
*pel- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "pale."

It forms all or part of: appall; falcon; fallow (adj.) "pale yellow, brownish yellow;" Fauvist; Lloyd; pale (adj.); pallid; pallor; palomino; Peloponnesus; polio; poliomyelitis.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit palitah "gray," panduh "whitish, pale;" Greek pelios "livid, dark;" polios "gray" (of hair, wolves, waves); Latin pallere "to be pale," pallidus "pale, pallid, wan, colorless;" Old Church Slavonic plavu, Lithuanian palvas "sallow;" Welsh llwyd "gray;" Old English fealo, fealu "dull-colored, yellow, brown." It also forms the root of words for "pigeon" in Greek (peleia), Latin (palumbes), and Old Prussian (poalis).

Related entries & more 
hoedown (n.)

"noisy dance," 1841, Southern U.S., apparently originally the name of a specific dance, perhaps from perceived similarity of dance motions to those of farm chores, hence from hoe (n.).

The step of every negro dance that was ever known, was called into requisition and admirably executed. They performed the "double shuffle," the "Virginny break-down," the "Kentucky heeltap," the "pigeon wing," the "back balance lick," the "Arkansas hoe down," with unbounded applause and irresistible effect. ["Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers," 1848]

"Hoe corn, hill tobacco" is noted as a line in the chorus of a slave song in 1838, and Washington Irving writes of a dance called "hoe corn and dig potatoes" in 1807.

The same precedence is repeated until all the merchandise is disposed of, the table is then banished the room, and the whole party hoe it down in straight fours and set dances, till the hour when "ghosts wandering here and there, troop home to church-yards." This is what we kintra folk call a strauss. ["Der Teufelskerl. A Tale of German Pennsylvania," in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, January 1840]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
box (n.1)

"rectangular wooden container," usually with a lid, Old English box, also the name of a type of shrub, from Late Latin buxis, from Greek pyxis "boxwood," pyxion "writing table, box," made of boxwood, from pyxos "box tree," which is of uncertain origin. Beekes suggests a loan-word from Italy, as that is where the tree is native. Dutch bus, German Büchse "box; barrel of a gun," also are Latin loan-words.

The meaning "compartment at a theater" is from c. 1600 (box seat in the theatrical sense is by 1850). The meaning "pigeon-hole at a post office" is from 1832. The meaning "television" is from 1950 (earlier "gramophone player," 1924). The meaning "station of a player in baseball" is from 1881. The graphics sense of "space enclosed within borders and rules" is from 1929. The slang meaning "vulva" is attested 17c., according to "Dictionary of American Slang;" modern use seems to date from c. World War II, perhaps originally Australian, on the notion of box of tricks. Box lunch (n.) is attested from 1899. The box set "multiple-album, CD or cassette issue of the work of an artist" is attested by 1955. To think or act outside the box "contrary to convention" is attested by 1994.

Related entries & more 
clay (n.)

Old English clæg "stiff, sticky earth; clay," from Proto-Germanic *klaijaz (source also of Old High German kliwa "bran," German Kleie, Old Frisian klai, Old Saxon klei, Middle Dutch clei, Danish klæg "clay;" also Old English clæman, Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleiman "to cover with clay").

Some sources see these as being from a common PIE root meaning "slime; glue" also forming words for "clay" and verbs for "stick together." Compared words include Latin gluten "glue, beeswax;" Greek gloios "sticky matter;" Lithuanian glitus "sticky," glitas "mucus;" Old Church Slavonic glina "clay," glenu "slime, mucus;" Old Irish glenim "I cleave, adhere;" Old English cliða "plaster." But Beekes writes that "Not all comparisons are convincing," and notes that most words cited are from Balto-Slavic or Germanic, "which suggests European substrate origin."

In Scripture, the stuff from which the body of the first man was formed; hence "human body" (especially when dead). As an adjective, "formed of clay," 1520s. Clay-pigeon "saucer of baked clay used as a flying target in trap-shooting," in place of live birds, is from 1881. Feet of clay "fundamental weakness" is from Daniel ii.33.

Related entries & more 
passenger (n.)

mid-14c., passager "a passer-by; a traveler," from Old French passagier, passageor "traveler, passer-by" (Modern French passager), noun use of passagier (adj.) "passing, fleeting, traveling," from passage "mountain pass, passage" (11c.), from passer "to go by," from Vulgar Latin *passare "to step, walk, pass," from Latin passus "step, pace" (from PIE root *pete- "to spread").

And in this I resemble the Lappwing, who fearing hir young ones to be destroyed by passengers, flyeth with a false cry farre from their nestes, making those that looke for them seeke where they are not .... [John Lyly, "Euphues and His England," 1580]

The -n- was added early 15c. (compare messenger, harbinger, scavenger, porringer). The oldest sense now is obsolete; meaning "one traveling in a public vehicle or vessel," especially in exchange for a fare, is attested from 1510s; hence, in modern use, "one riding in a private vehicle driven by another." The railroad passenger-car is attested from 1832. The North American passenger-pigeon was so called from 1802 for its extensive wanderings in search of food; they have been extinct since 1914.

Related entries & more 
pimp (n.)

"one who provides others with the means and opportunity of gratifying their sexual lusts," c. 1600, of unknown origin, perhaps from French pimpant "alluring in dress, seductive," present participle of pimper "to dress elegantly" (16c.), from Old French pimpelorer, pipelorer "decorate, color, beautify." Weekley suggests French pimpreneau, defined in Cotgrave [French-English Dictionary, 1611] as "a knave, rascall, varlet, scoundrell," but Liberman is against this.

Judging by such recorded meanings of pimp as 'helper in mines; servant in logging camps,' this word was originally applied to boys and servants. [Liberman]

The word also means "informer, stool pigeon" in Australia and New Zealand and in South Africa, where by early 1960s it existed in Swahili form impimpsi. Pimpmobile first recorded 1973 (six years before Popemobile).

PIMP. A male procurer, or cock bawd; also a small faggot used about London for lighting fires, named from introducing the fire to the coals. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]

Among the lists of late Middle English terms for animal groupings was a pimpe of chickens (or birds), mid-15c., a variant of pipe "flock" (mid-14c.), from Old French pipee.

Related entries & more 
bird (n.1)

"feathered, warm-blooded vertebrate animal of the class Aves," Old English bird, a rare collateral form of bridd, originally meaning "young bird, nestling" (the usual Old English for "bird" being fugol, for which see fowl (n.)), which is of uncertain origin with no cognates in any other Germanic language. The suggestion that it is related by umlaut to brood and breed is rejected by OED as "quite inadmissible." The metathesis of -r- and -i- was complete 15c. (compare wright).

Despite its early attestation, bridd is not necessarily the oldest form of bird. It is usually assumed that -ir- from -ri- arose by metathesis, but here, too, the Middle English form may go back to an ancient period. [Liberman]

Up to c. 1400 it still often was used in the specific sense "the young of a bird, fledgling, nestling, chick," and of the young of other animals (bees, fish, snakes) and human children. Compare the usual Balto-Slavic words for "bird" (Lithuanian paukštis, Old Church Slavonic pŭtica, Polish ptak, Russian ptica, etc.), said to be ultimately from the same root as Latin pullus "young of an animal."

The proper designation of the feathered creation is in E. fowl, which in course of time was specially applied to the gallinaceous tribe as the most important kind of bird for domestic use, and it was perhaps this appropriation of the word which led to the adoption of the name of the young animal as the general designation of the race. [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859]

The figurative sense of "secret source of information" is from 1540s. The colloquial meaning "man, fellow, person" is from 1799.

Bird-watching is attested from 1897. Bird's-eye view "the view as seen from above, as if by a bird in flight," is from 1762. Phrase for the birds in reference to anything undesirable is recorded from 1944, supposedly in allusion to birds eating from droppings of horses and cattle. The bird-spider (1800) of the American tropics is a large sort of tarantula that can capture and kill small birds.

A byrde yn honde ys better than three yn the wode. [c. 1530]

The form with bush is attested by 1630s.

Related entries & more 

Page 3