"attack, aggression, assault," 1620s, anslaight, apparently somehow from or on analogy of Dutch aanslag "attack," from Middle Dutch aenslach, from aen "on" (see on) + slach "blow," related to slaen "slay." Early sources say the word was from Dutch, but the forms do not correspond well. The spelling would have been influenced by English slaught (n.) "slaughter," from Old English sleaht (see slaughter (n.)), but this word, obsolete since c. 1400, can't be the source of the modern one unless the record is imperfect. There is no record of onslaught in 18c.; apparently the word was revived by Scott.
c. 1300, "bring about, cause, effect," from Old French procurer "care for, be occupied with; bring about, cause; acquire, provide" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin procurare "manage, take care of;" from pro "in behalf of" (see pro-) + curare "care for" (see cure (v.)).
The main modern sense of "obtain; recruit" (late 14c.) is via the meaning "take pains to get or bring about" (mid-14c.). It had broader meanings in Middle English: to procure to slay was "cause to be slain;" procure to break, "cause to be broken," etc. The meaning "to obtain (women) for sexual gratification" of others is attested from c. 1600. Related: Procured; procuring.
c. 1300, wirien, "to slay, kill or injure by biting and shaking the throat" (as a dog or wolf does), from Old English wyrgan "to strangle," from Proto-Germanic *wurgjan (source also of Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen "to strangle," Old Norse virgill "rope"), from *wergh-, from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend."
The "strangle" sense generally was obsolete in English after c. 1600; the figurative meaning "to annoy, bother, vex" is by c. 1400. Meaning "to cause mental distress or trouble" is attested from 1822; intransitive sense of "to feel anxiety or mental trouble" is attested by 1860. Related: Worried; worrier; worrying.
kind of mortar or other substance that hardens as it dries, used to bind, c. 1300, from Old French ciment "cement, mortar, pitch," from Latin cæmenta "stone chips used for making mortar" (singular caementum), from caedere "to cut down, chop, beat, hew, fell, slay" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). The sense evolution from "small broken stones" to "powdered stones used in construction" took place before the word reached English. Cement-mixer is from 1875.
The term properly includes papier maché, gums, glues, mucilages, limes, mortars, and a great number of compounds of such nature as to admit of their assuming, under certain conditions, sticky, tenacious, or stone-like consistency. [Century Dictionary]
*kaə-id-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to strike."
It forms all or part of: abscise; avicide; biocide; caesarian; caesura; cement; chisel; -cide; circumcise; circumcision; concise; decide; decision; deicide; excise (v.); excision; felicide; feticide; filicide; floricide; fratricide; fungicide; gallinicide; genocide; germicide; herbicide; homicide; incise; incision; incisor; infanticide; insecticide; legicide; liberticide; libricide; matricide; parricide; patricide; pesticide; precise; precision; prolicide; scissors; senicide; spermicide; suicide; uxoricide; verbicide.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit skhidati "beats, tears;" Latin caedere "to strike down, fell, slay;" Lithuanian kaišti "shave;" Armenian xait'em "to stab;" Albanian qeth "to shave;" Middle Dutch heien "to drive piles," Old High German heia "wooden hammer," German heien "beat."
mid-13c., defenden, "to shield from attack, guard against assault or injury," from Old French defendre (12c.) "defend, resist," and directly from Latin defendere "ward off, protect, guard, allege in defense," from de "from, away" (see de-) + -fendere "to strike, hit, push," attested only in compounds (such as offendere "to strike against; encounter;" infensus "aggressive, hostile"), from PIE root *gwhend- "to strike, kill" (source also of Hittite kue(n)zi "to kill," Sanskrit ghnanti "to kill; Greek theino "to slay, to kill;" Armenian jnem "to strike;" Lithuanian ginti "to protect, defend;" Old Irish gonaid "wounds, kills;" Welsh gwan "to thrust, hit;" Old Breton goanaff "to punish, sting").
It is attested from c. 1300 as "fight in defense of" (someone or something). From mid-14c. as "defend with words, speak in support of, vindicate, uphold, maintain." In Middle English it also could mean "forbid, prohibit; restrain, prevent." In the Mercian hymns, Latin defendet is glossed by Old English gescildeð. Related: Defended; defending.
Middle English kerven (the initial -k- is from influence of Scandinavian forms), from Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) "to cut," also "cut down, slay; cut out," from West Germanic *kerbanan (source also of Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben "to cut, notch"), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch," making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein "to write," originally "to scratch" on clay tablets with a stylus.
Once extensively used and the general verb for "to cut;" most senses now have passed to cut (v.) and since 16c. carve has been restricted to specialized senses such as "cut (solid material) into the representation of an object or a design" (late Old English); "cut (meat, etc.) into pieces or slices" (early 13c.); "produce by cutting" (mid-13c.); "decorate by carving" (late 14c.). Related: Carved; carving. The original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic past-participle adjective carven lingers poetically.
"deliberate killing of oneself," 1650s, from Modern Latin suicidium "suicide," from Latin sui "of oneself" (genitive of se "self"), from PIE *s(u)w-o- "one's own," from root *s(w)e- (see idiom) + -cidium "a killing," from caedere "to slay" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike").
Probably an English coinage; much maligned by Latin purists because it "may as well seem to participate of sus, a sow, as of the pronoun sui" [Phillips]. The meaning "person who kills himself deliberately" is from 1728. In Anglo-Latin, the term for "one who commits suicide" was felo-de-se, literally "one guilty concerning himself."
Even in 1749, in the full blaze of the philosophic movement, we find a suicide named Portier dragged through the streets of Paris with his face to the ground, hung from a gallows by his feet, and then thrown into the sewers; and the laws were not abrogated till the Revolution, which, having founded so many other forms of freedom, accorded the liberty of death. [W.E.H. Lecky, "History of European Morals," 1869]
In England, suicides were legally criminal if of age and sane, but not if judged to have been mentally deranged. The criminal ones were mutilated by stake and given degrading burial in highways until 1823. Suicide blonde (one who has "dyed by her own hand") first attested 1921. Baseball suicide squeeze is attested from 1937.
Old English -istre, from Proto-Germanic *-istrijon, feminine agent suffix used as the equivalent of masculine -ere (see -er (1)). Also used in Middle English to form nouns of action (meaning "a person who ...") without regard for gender.
The genderless agent noun use apparently was a broader application of the original feminine suffix, beginning in the north of England, but linguists disagree over whether this indicates female domination of weaving and baking trades, as represented in surnames such as Webster, Baxter, Brewster, etc. (though modern spinster probably carries an originally female ending).
Also compare whitester "one who bleaches cloth;" kempster (c. 1400; Halliwell has it as kembster) "woman who cleans wool." Chaucer ("Merchant's Tale") has chidester "an angry woman" (the 17c. had scoldster). Also compare Middle English shepster (late 14c.) "dressmaker, female cutter-out," literally "shapester," sleestere (mid-15c.) "murderess, female killer" ("slay-ster"). Sewster "seamstress" (Middle English seuestre, late 13c. as a surname, also used of men) is still in Jonson but was obsolete or provincial after 17c. In Modern English, the suffix has been productive in forming derivative nouns (gamester, roadster, punster, rodster "angler," etc.).
"to hit, strike, give a hard blow; beat with the hand, a stick, etc.," late 12c., smiten, from Old English smitan, which however is attested only as "to daub, smear on; soil, pollute, blemish, defile" (strong verb, past tense smat, past participle smiten, smiton). This is from Proto-Germanic *smitan (source also of Swedish smita, Danish smide "to smear, fling," Old Frisian smita, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch smiten "to cast, fling," Dutch smijten "to throw," Old High German smizan "to rub, strike," German schmeißen "to cast, fling," Gothic bismeitan "to spread, smear").
"The development of the various senses is not quite clear, but that of throwing is perh. the original one" [OED]. Watkins suggests "the semantic channel may have been slapping mud on walls in wattle and daub construction" and connects it with PIE *sme- "to smear;" Klein's sources also say this.
The word was formerly derived, as 'he that smiteth' (sc. with the hammer), from smite, v.; but this is etymologically untenable. [Century Dictionary]
It is attested by c. 1200 as "strike with any sort of weapon." The sense has been extended by Biblical use, which accounts for the now somewhat archaic meanings "visit disastrously, bring about affliction, etc." (c. 1200), "slay in combat, destroy the life of" (c. 1300, from Biblical expression smite to death). The figurative meaning "touch the heart, strike with passion or emotion" is from c. 1200.