Etymology
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missile (n.)

"thing thrown or discharged as a weapon for the purpose of hitting something," 1650s, from missile (adj.), 1610s, "capable of being thrown," chiefly in phrase missile weapon, from French missile and directly from Latin missilis "that may be thrown or hurled" (also, in plural, as a noun, "weapons that can be thrown, darts, javelins"), from missus "a throwing, hurling," past participle of mittere "to release, let go; send, throw" (see mission). Sense of "self-propelled rocket or bomb" is first recorded 1738; in reference to modern rocket-propelled, remote-guidance projectiles by 1945.

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skyrocket (n.)

1680s, type of firework that flies high, from sky (n.) + rocket (n.2). The verb, in the figurative sense of "to rise abruptly and rapidly" (often with suggestion of "and then explode and vanish") is attested from 1895. As rhyming slang for "pocket," by 1879.

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Congreve 

in reference to solid-fuel rockets (1809) or matches (1839), a reference to English inventor Sir William Congreve (1772-1828), who learned the tactic of rocket warfare while serving in India. He was a descendant of the family of William Congreve the Restoration playwright (1670-1729), being probably his great-great-nephew.

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bazooka (n.)

"metal tube rocket launcher," 1942, transferred from the name of a junkyard musical instrument used (c. 1935) as a prop by U.S. comedian Bob Burns (1896-1956); the word is an extension of bazoo, a slang term for "mouth" or "boastful talk" (1877), which is probably from Dutch bazuin "trumpet."

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retro (adj.)

1974, from French rétro (1973), supposedly first used of a revival c. 1968 of Eva Peron-inspired fashions and short for rétrograde (see retrograde). There is an isolated use in English from 1768, and the word apparently was used in 19c. French as a term in billiards. As a noun, short for retro-rocket (1948) from 1961.

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diptych (n.)

1620s, "hinged, two-leaved tablet of wood, ivory, etc., with waxed inner surfaces, used by the Greeks and Romans for writing with the style," from Latin diptycha (plural), from late Greek diptykha, neuter plural of diptykhos "double-folded, doubled," from di- "two" (see di- (1)) + ptykhe "fold," which is of uncertain etymology. In art, "a pair of pictures or carvings on two panels hinged together," by 1852.

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romaine (adj.)

type of lettuce, 1876, from French romaine (in laitue romaine, literally "Roman lettuce"), from fem. of Old French romain "Roman," from Latin Romanus (see Roman). Ayto ["Diner's Dictionary," 1990] defines it as "The American term for the long-leaved lettuce usually known to British-speakers as the cos lettuce," and writes that the name probably arose because it was imported into Western Europe from the eastern Mediterranean at first via the port of Rome. He compares Italian lattuga romana and notes that "the earliest English term for it, dating from the beginning of the seventeenth century, was Roman lettuce."

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ratchet (n.)

"pivoted piece designed to fit into the teeth of a ratchet-wheel, permitting the wheel to rotate in one direction but not in the other," 1650s, rochet, from French rochet "bobbin, spindle," from Italian rocchetto "spool, ratchet," diminutive of rocca "distaff," possibly from a Germanic source (compare Old High German rocko "distaff," Old Norse rokkr), from Proto-Germanic *rukka-, from PIE root *ruk- "fabric, spun yarn." Compare rocket (n.2). The current spelling in English dates from 1721, influenced by synonymous ratch, which perhaps is borrowed from German Rätsche "ratchet."

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mullein (n.)

tall weed of the figwort family, used medicinally, early 14c., molein, probably from Anglo-French moleine (Modern French molène), perhaps literally "the soft-leaved plant," from French mol "soft," from Latin mollis "soft" (from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft"). This connection was felt in Middle English, and the word soft was used as an alternate name for the plant (early 14c.)

There is an Old English word molegn or moleȝn, which Cockayne identifies as mullein. The word is glossed in a manuscript with Latin calmum and Old English windelstreow, both of which suggest something straw-like, though this does not necessarily exclude mullein with its tall stalk and little stubble-like hairs. If the identification is correct, this would upset the French etymology.

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clover (n.)

plant of the genus Trifolium, widely cultivated as fodder, Middle English claver, from Old English clafre, clæfre "clover," from Proto-Germanic *klaibron (source also of Old Saxon kle, Middle Low German klever, Middle Dutch claver, Dutch klaver, Old High German kleo, German Klee "clover"), which is of uncertain origin. Klein and Liberman write that it is probably from West Germanic *klaiwaz- "sticky pap" (see clay), and Liberman adds, "The sticky juice of clover was the base of the most popular sort of honey."

The modern spelling prevailed after c. 1700. The exact phrase four-leafed clover attested from 1831; first reference in English to the supposed luck of a four-leaf clover is from c. 1500 ("The Gospelles of Dystaues"). The ratio of four- to three-leaved clovers is said to be 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 5,000. To be in clover "live luxuriously" is 1710, "clover being extremely delicious and fattening to cattle" [Johnson].

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