Etymology
Advertisement
screw (v.)

1590s, transitive, "twist (something) like a screw, turn or cause to turn by the sort of pressure that advances a screw," " from screw (n.). From 1610s as "to attach or tighten with a screw."

Meaning "defraud, cheat" is from 1900; earlier it was "press hard upon, oppress" (1620s). Related: Screwed; screwing.

The slang meaning "to copulate" dates from at least 1725, originally usually of the action of the male, on the notion of driving a screw into something; screw is recorded by 1949 in exclamations as a euphemism. To screw up "to blunder" is recorded from 1942, earlier it was "to raise (rent or payment) exorbitantly" (1630s). The U.S. slang noun screw-up "a blunder, a mess" is by 1960, from the verbal phrase. Expression to have (one's) head screwed on the right (or wrong) way is from 1821. Screw your courage to the sticking place is Lady Macbeth.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
hole (n.)

Old English hol (adj.) "hollow, concave;" as a noun, "hollow place; cave; orifice; perforation," from Proto-Germanic *hulan (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German hol, Middle Dutch hool, Old Norse holr, German hohl "hollow," Gothic us-hulon "to hollow out"), from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save." As an adjective, it has been displaced by hollow, which in Old English was only a noun, meaning "excavated habitation of certain wild animals."

As a contemptuous word for "small dingy lodging or abode" it is attested from 1610s. Meaning "a fix, scrape, mess" is from 1760. Obscene slang use for "vulva" is implied from mid-14c. Golfing hole-in-one is from 1914; as a verbal phrase from 1913. To need (something) like a hole in the head, applied to something useless or detrimental, first recorded 1944 in entertainment publications, probably a translation of a Yiddish expression such as ich darf es vi a loch in kop.

Related entries & more 
done 

past participle of do (v.); from Old English past participle gedon (a vestige of the prefix is in ado). As a past-participle adjective meaning "completed, finished, performed, accomplished" from early 15c. As a word of acceptance of a deal or wager, 1590s.

U.S. Southern use of done in phrases such as done gone (or "Octopots done got Albert!") is attested by 1827, according to OED: "a perfective auxiliary or with adverbial force in the sense 'already; completely.' " Century Dictionary writes that it was "originally causal after have or had, followed by an object infinitive ; in present use the have or had is often omitted and the infinitive turned into a preterit, leaving done as a mere preterit sign" and calls it "a characteristic of negro idiom."

To be done in "exhausted" is by 1917. Slang done for "doomed" is by 1803 (colloquial do for "ruin, damage" is from 1740). To have done it "to have been very foolish, made a mess of things" is from 1837.

Related entries & more 
egg-nog (n.)

also eggnog, "sweet, rich, and stimulating cold drink made of eggs, milk, sugar, and spirits," c. 1775, American English, from egg (n.) + nog "strong ale." Old recipes for the drink could be made with weak alcoholic beverages like beer or wine in lieu of the milk.

… And Bryan O'Bluster made love to egg nog, 
And pester’d the ladies to taste of his grog; 
Without it (said Bryan) I never can dine, 
’Tis better by far than your balderdash wine,
It braces the nerves and it strengthens the brain,
A world and no grog is a prison of pain,
And MAN the most wretched of all that are found 
To creep in the dust, or to move on the ground!
It is, of all physic, the best I have seen 
To keep out the cold, and to cut up the spleen —
Here madam — miss Cynthia — ’tis good — you’ll confess — 
Now taste — and you’ll wish you had been in my mess.
[Philip Freneau, The Passage to Burlington, ca. 1790]
Related entries & more 
higgledy-piggledy 

"confusedly, hurriedly," 1590s, a "vocal gesture" [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (as in hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children's game, attested from c. 1600).

Edward Moor, "Suffolk Words and Phrases" (London, 1823), quotes a list of "conceited rhyming words or reduplications" from the 1768 edition of John Ray's "Collection of English Words Not Generally Used," all said to "signify any confusion or mixture;" the list has higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, hodge-podge, mingle-mangle, arsy-versy, kim-kam, hub-bub, crawly-mauly, and hab-nab. "To which he might have added," Moor writes, crincum-crankum, crinkle-crankle, flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, gibble-gabble, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hiccup-suickup, hocus-pocus, hotch-potch, hugger-mugger, humdrum, hum-strum, hurry-scurry, jibber-jabber, prittle-prattle, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, and topsy-turvy. Many of these date to the 16th century. Miss Burney (1778) has skimper-scamper "in hurry and confusion."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
mystery (n.1)

early 14c., misterie, in a theological sense, "religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth," from Anglo-French *misterie, Old French mistere "secret, mystery, hidden meaning" (Modern French mystère) and directly from Latin mysterium "secret rite, secret worship; a sacrament, a secret thing."

This is from Greek mystērion (usually in plural mysteria) "secret rite or doctrine (known and practiced by certain initiated persons only), consisting of purifications, sacrificial offerings, processions, songs, etc.," from mystēs "one who has been initiated," from myein "to close, shut" (see mute (adj.)); perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites).

The Greek word was used in Septuagint for "secret counsel of God," translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, "a hidden or secret thing; a fact, matter, etc., of which the meaning explanation, or cause is unknown," is from late 14c. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s. Meaning "detective story" is recorded by 1908. Mystery meat, slang for "unidentifiable meat served in a military mess, student dining hall, etc." is by 1949, probably from World War II armed services.

Related entries & more 
ranch (n.)

1808, "country house," from American Spanish rancho "small farm, group of farm huts," from Spanish rancho "small farm, hamlet," earlier "mess-room," originally, "group of people who eat together," from ranchear "to lodge or station," from Old French ranger "install in position," from rang "row, line," from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hringaz "circle, ring, something curved" (from nasalized form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend"). The evolution would seem to be from "group of people who eat together" to "group of people who work and live together." The earlier form of the word in English was rancheria (c. 1600).

The sense of "large stock-farm and herding establishment" is by 1847. In Spanish America, the rancho was a herding operation, distinguished from the hacienda, a cultivated farm or plantation. Meanwhile, back at the ranch as a cliche narration for scene shifts in old Western serials and movies is by 1957.

Ranch-house "principle dwelling house on a ranch" is attested from 1862. By 1947 it was the name given to the modernistic type of low, long homes popular among U.S. suburban builders and buyers after World War II, hence ranch, of houses, "single-story, split-level" (adj.); as a noun, "a modern ranch-style house," by 1952, also rancher (1955); diminutive ranchette is attested by 1948.

Ranch dressing is from 1970, originally in reference to popular Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix, sold by mail order.

Related entries & more 
foot (n.)

"terminal part of the leg of a vertebrate animal," Old English fot "foot," from Proto-Germanic *fōts (source also of Old Frisian fot, Old Saxon fot, Old Norse fotr, Danish fod, Swedish fot, Dutch voet, Old High German fuoz, German Fuß, Gothic fotus "foot"), from PIE root *ped- "foot." Plural form feet is an instance of i-mutation.

The linear measure was in Old English (the exact length has varied over time), this being considered the length of a man's foot; a unit of measure used widely and anciently. In this sense the plural is often foot. The current inch and foot are implied from measurements in 12c. English churches (Flinders Petrie, "Inductive Metrology"), but the most usual length of a "foot" in medieval England was the foot of 13.2 inches common throughout the ancient Mediterranean. The Anglo-Saxon foot apparently was between the two. All three correspond to units used by the Romans, and possibly all three lengths were picked up by the Anglo-Saxons from the Romano-Britons. "That the Saxon units should descend to mediæval times is most probable, as the Normans were a ruling, and not a working, class." [Flinders Petrie, 1877]. The medieval Paul's Foot (late 14c.) was a measuring standard cut into the base of a column at the old St. Paul's cathedral in London. The metrical foot (late Old English, translating Latin pes, Greek pous in the same sense) is commonly taken to represent one rise and one fall of a foot: keeping time according to some, dancing according to others.

In Middle English also "a person" (c. 1200), hence non-foot "nobody." Meaning "bottom or lowest part of anything eminent or upright" is from c. 1200. Of a bed, grave, etc., from c. 1300. On foot "by walking" is from c. 1300. To get off on the wrong foot is from 1905 (the right foot is by 1907); to put one's best foot foremost first recorded 1849 (Shakespeare has the better foot before, 1596); Middle English had evil-foot (adv.) "through mischance, unluckily." To put one's foot in (one's) mouth "say something stupid" is attested by 1942; the expression put (one's) foot in something "make a mess of it" is from 1823. To have one foot in the grave "be near death" is from 1844. Colloquial exclamation my foot! expressing "contemptuous contradiction" [OED] is attested by 1923, probably euphemistic for my ass in the same sense, which dates to 1796 (also see eyewash).

Related entries & more 

Page 3