West African nation, literally "lion mountains," from Spanish sierra "mountain range" (see sierra) + leon "lion" (see lion). Attested from mid-15c. in Portuguese explorers' accounts, and a very early explanation of the name derives it from the "roaring" of thunder in the mountains. Related: Sierra Leonean.
1842, in reference to the alphabet adopted by Slavic people belonging to the Eastern Church, from St. Cyril, 9c. apostle of the Slavs, who supposedly invented it. The alphabet replaced earlier Glagolitic. The name Cyril is Late Latin Cyrillus, from Greek Kyrillos, literally "lordly, masterful," related to kyrios "lord, master" (see church).
It is believed to have superseded the Glagolitic as being easier both for the copyist to write and for the foreigner to acquire. Some of its signs are modified from the Glagolitic, but those which Greek and Slavic have in common are taken from the Greek. It was brought into general use by St. Cyril's pupil, Clement, first bishop of Bulgaria. The Russian alphabet is a slight modification of it. [Century Dictionary]
literally "January River," named by explorer Amerigo Vespucci because he discovered it on Jan. 1, 1502, and so called because he incorrectly thought the bay was the estuary of a large river. See January.
from Latin Hibernia, the Roman name for Ireland, also in forms Iverna, Juverna, Ierne, etc., all ultimately from Old Celtic *Iveriu "Ireland" (see Irish (n.)). This particular form of the name was altered in Latin as though it meant "land of winter" (see hibernation).
fem. given name, invented by Philip Sidney in "Arcadia," published in the 1590s; it is presumed to have been coined from Greek pan- "all" (before a labialpam-; see pan-) + meli "honey" (also the first element in Melissa; from PIE *melit-ya, suffixed form of root *melit- "honey") with the sense "all-sweetness," but this is conjecture. It was boosted by Samuel Richardson's novel "Pamela" (1741) but did not become popular until the 1920s; it was a top-20 name for girls born in the U.S. from 1947 to 1968.
"pertaining to (a) Pope Sixtus," from Italian sistino, from Sixtus, the name of five popes, from Latin sextus "sixth" (see Sextus). The "chapel" (called Sistine in English from 1771) is named for Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), pope 1471-84, who had it built. The painting by Raphael known as the Sistine Madonna is so called because it also shows Sixtus II, a 3c. martyr and saint; it is better known now for the two cherubs at the bottom of the picture who by 1900 were well-known in isolation from the rest of the picture in engravings, etc.
Greek hero of the Trojan War stories, bravest, swiftest, and handsomest of Agamemnon's army before Troy, he was son of Thetis and Peleus. His name is perhaps a compound of akhos "pain, grief" (see awe) + laos "the people, a people" (see lay (adj.)); or else it is from Pre-Greek (non-IE). Related: Achillean.
Middle English North-se, from Old English norþsæ, norðsæ, usually meaning "the Bristol Channel" (see north + sea). The application to the body of waternow so called, east of England (late 13c.) is from Dutch (Noordzee, Middle Dutch Noortzee); it lies to the north of Holland, where it was contrasted with the inland Zuider Zee, literally "Southern Sea"). To the Danes, it sometimes was Vesterhavet "West Sea." In English, this had been typically called the "German Sea" or "German Ocean," which follows the Roman name for it, Oceanus Germanicus. "German" persisted on some British maps at least into the 1830s. North Sea in Middle English also could mean "the northern portion of the ocean believed to surround the earth" (late 14c.).
material which in thin sheets produces a high degree of plane polarization of light passing through it, 1936, proprietary name (Sheet Polarizer Co., Union City, N.J.). For the elements, see polarize + -oid. As a type of camera producing prints rapidly it is attested from 1961. A trademarked brand name, and, if you omit that, their lawyers will send you The Letter, a la Photoshop, Dumpster, Taser, Wiffle Ball, Xerox, etc.