puerility (n.)

late 15c., puerilite, "a childish or silly act or expression," from Old French puérilité (15c.), from Latin puerilitatem (nominative puerilitas) "childishness," from puerilis "boyish, youthful; childish, trivial, silly," from puer "child, boy" (from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little," with sense extended to "small, young;" source also of Latin putus "boy," Sanskrit putrah "son, boy," Avestan puthra- "son, child"). Meaning "puerile character or condition, boyishness" is by 1570s.

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quotidian (adj.)

mid-14c., coitidian, "daily, occurring or returning daily," from Old French cotidiien (Modern French quotidien), from Latin cottidianus, quotidianus "daily," from Latin quotus "how many? which in order or number?" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + dies "day" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine").

The qu- spelling in English dates from 16c. Meaning "ordinary, commonplace, trivial" is from mid-15c. Quotidian fever "intermittent fever" is from late 14c. The noun meaning "something that returns or is expected every day" is from c. 1400, originally of fevers.

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quibble (n.)

1610s, "a pun, a play on words," probably a diminutive of obsolete quib "evasion of a point at issue" (1540s), which is based on Latin quibus? "by what (things)?" Its extensive use in legal writing supposedly gave it the association with trivial argument: "a word of frequent occurrence in legal documents ... hence associated with the 'quirks and quillets' of the law." [OED].

Latin quibus is dative or ablative plural of quid "in what respect? to what extent?; how? why?," neuter of relative pronoun quis (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).

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fantastic (adj.)

late 14c., "existing only in imagination, produced by (mental) fantasy," from Old French fantastique (14c.), from Medieval Latin fantasticus, from Late Latin phantasticus "imaginary," from Greek phantastikos "able to imagine," from phantazein "make visible" (middle voice phantazesthai "picture to oneself"); see phantasm. Trivial sense of "wonderful, marvelous" recorded by 1938. Old French had a different adjective form, fantasieus "weird; insane; make-believe." Medieval Latin also used fantasticus as a noun, "a lunatic," and Shakespeare and his contemporaries had it in Italian form fantastico "one who acts ridiculously."

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highway (n.)

Old English heahweg "main road from one town to another;" see high (adj.) in sense of "main" + way (n.).

High street (Old English heahstræte) was the word before 17c. applied to highways and main roads, whether in the country or town, especially one of the Roman roads. In more recent usage, it generally is the proper name of the street of a town which is built upon a highway and was the principal street of the place.

Highway robbery, robbery committed near a highway, is from 1707, formerly the only sort punishable in common law by death; as a trivial expression for something too costly, by 1886.

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misfortune (n.)

mid-15c., "unfortunate event or circumstance," from mis- (1) "bad, wrong" + fortune. From c. 1500 as "adversity or ill fortune for which the sufferer is not directly responsible." In 19c., it was a euphemism for "illegitimate child." Related: Misfortunate.

Mischance is the lightest word for that which is really disagreeable; a mishap may be comparatively a trivial thing; both generally apply to the experience of individuals. Misfortune is the most general of these words; a misfortune is a really serious matter; it may befall a person, family, or nation. A very serious misfortune affecting large numbers is a calamity, the central idea of which is wide-spread and general mischief. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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peanut (n.)

1807; see pea + nut. Earlier, and still commonly in England, ground nut, ground pea (1769). The plant is native to South America; Portuguese traders took peanuts from Brazil and Peru to Africa by 1502 and it is known to have been cultivated in Chekiang Province in China by 1573, probably arriving with Portuguese sailors who made stops in Brazil en route to the Orient.

Peanut butter is attested by 1892; peanut brittle "hard toffee with peanuts roasted in it" is from 1894. Peanut gallery "topmost (and cheapest) rows of a theater" is from 1874, American English, from the peanuts sold as inexpensive snacks; peanuts "trivial sum" is from 1934; peanut for "small or unimportant person" is by 1942. The Peanuts newspaper comic strip by U.S. cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) debuted under that name on Oct. 2, 1950.

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myth (n.)

1830, from French mythe (1818) and directly from Modern Latin mythus, from Greek mythos "speech, thought, word, discourse, conversation; story, saga, tale, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth," a word of unknown origin. Beekes finds it "quite possibly Pre-Greek."

Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]

General sense of "untrue story, rumor, imaginary or fictitious object or individual" is from 1840.

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rinky-dink (adj.)

"trivial, old-fashioned, worthless," 1913 (from 1912 as a noun, "antiquated or worthless object"), said to be carnival slang and imitative of the sound of banjo music at parades [Barnhart]; compare ricky-tick "old-fashioned jazz" (1938). But early records suggest otherwise unless there are two words. The earliest senses seem to be as a noun, "maltreatment," especially robbery:

So I felt and saw that I was robbed and I went to look after an officer. I found an officer on the corner of Twenty-fifth street and Sixth avenue. I said, "Officer, I have got the rinky-dink." He knew what it meant all right. He said, "Where? Down at that wench house?" I said, "I guess that is right." [testimony dated New York August 9, 1899, published 1900]

And this chorus from the "Yale Literary Magazine," Feb. 1896:

Rinky dinky, rinky dink,
Stand him up for another drink.
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give (v.)

Old English giefan (West Saxon) "to give, bestow, deliver to another; allot, grant; commit, devote, entrust," class V strong verb (past tense geaf, past participle giefen), from Proto-Germanic *geban (source also of Old Frisian jeva, Middle Dutch gheven, Dutch geven, Old High German geban, German geben, Gothic giban), from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive." It became yiven in Middle English, but changed to guttural "g" by influence of Old Norse gefa "to give," Old Danish givæ.

Meaning "to yield to pressure" is from 1570s. Give in "yield" is from 1610s; give out is mid-14c. as "publish, announce;" meaning "run out, break down" is from 1520s. Give up "surrender, resign, quit" is mid-12c. To give (someone) a cold seems to reflect the old belief that one could be cured of disease by deliberately infecting others. What gives? "what is happening?" is attested from 1940. To not give a (some thing regarded as trivial and valueless) is from c. 1300 (early examples were a straw, a grass, a mite).

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