Etymology
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sarsaparilla (n.)

tropical American plant, also its root used as a medicinal preparation, 1570s, from Spanish zarzaparrilla, from zarza "bramble" (from Arabic sharas "thorny plant" or Basque sartzia "bramble") + parrilla, diminutive of parra "vine," which is of unknown origin.

In 16c.-17c. the dried roots were held to be efficient in treatment of syphilis. From mid-19c. applied to a sweet soft drink made with the root extract (originally with suggestion of medicinal benefit).

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dentist (n.)

"one whose profession is to clean and extract teeth, repair them when diseased, and replace them when necessary with artificial ones," 1759, from French dentiste, from dent "tooth," from Latin dens (from PIE root *dent- "tooth") + -ist.

Dentist figures it now in our newspapers, and may do well enough for a French puffer, but we fancy Rutter is content with being called a tooth-drawer. [Edinburgh Chronicle, Sept. 15, 1759]

(Tooth-drawer is attested from late 14c.). Related: Dentistic; dentistical.

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mine (v.1)

c. 1300, minen, "to dig a tunnel under fortifications to overthrow them," from mine (n.1) or from Old French miner "to dig, mine; exterminate," from the French noun. From mid-14c. as "to dig in the earth" (in order to obtain minerals, treasure, etc.). Figurative meaning "ruin or destroy by slow or secret methods" is from mid-14c. Transitive sense of "to extract by mining" is from late 14c. For the sense of "to lay (explosive) mines," see mine (v.2). Related: Mined; mining.

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distill (v.)

also distil, late 14c., distillen, "to let fall in drops" (transitive); early 15c., "to drop, trickle, drip, fall in drops" (intransitive), from Old French distiller (14c.), from Latin distillare "trickle down in minute drops," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + stillare "to drip, drop," from stilla "drop," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from a PIE root *sti-. De Vaan compares Greek stile "drop;" Lithuanian styri "to become stiff," Old Norse stira "to be rigid, stiff," but has doubts about all of them. From late 14c. as "obtain or extract by distillation;" from c. 1400 as "subject to distillation." Related: Distilled; distilling.

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racer (n.)

"one who or that which races," 1640s of persons, 1660s of horses, 1793 of vehicles, by 1809 in American English in reference to a type of snake; agent nouns from race (v.).

WHEN a lad, I lived with my father in the then province of New Jersey, where the black snake, with a white throat, commonly called the racer, as well as the rattle snake, and other serpents, are frequently met with ; and I never remember to have heard any one dispute the power of charming belonging to several species of serpents, but more common to the black snake, called the racer, which I have twice seen in the operation. ["Extract from a letter from Samuel Beach, dated Whiting, July 24, 1795," in appendix to Samuel Williams, "The Natural and Civil History of Vermont," 2nd ed., 1809]
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orchid (n.)

1845, introduced by John Lindley in the third edition of "School Botany," from Modern Latin Orchideæ (Linnaeus), the plant's family name, from Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) "orchid," literally "testicle," from PIE *h(o)rghi-, the standard Indo-European word for "testicle" (source also of Avestan erezi, Armenian orjik'"testicles," Old Irish uirge, Hittite arki- "testicle," Lithuanian eržilas "stallion").

The plant so called because of the shape of its root; Greek orkhis also was the name of a kind of olive, also so called for its shape. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c. 1300; see ballocks). The modern word is marred by an extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem. Related: Orchidaceous.

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long pig (n.)

"human being eaten as food," by 1848, in stories from the Fiji Islands, said to be a literal rendering of a local term, in one version puaka balava.

Bau literally stank for many days, human flesh having been cooked in every house, and the entrails thrown outside as food for pigs, or left to putrefy in the sun. The Somosomo people were fed with human flesh during their stay at Bau, they being on a visit at that time; and some of the Chiefs of other towns, when bringing their food, carried a cooked human being on one shoulder, and a pig on the other; but they always preferred the "long pig," as they call a man when baked. ["FEEJEE.—Extract of a Letter from the Rev. John Watsford, dated Ono, October 6th, 1846." in "Wesleyan Missionary Notices," Sept. 1847]
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viper (n.)

early 15c., from Old French vipere, earlier in English as vipera (c. 1200), directly from Latin vipera "viper, snake, serpent," contraction of *vivipera, from vivus "alive, living" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + parire "bring forth, bear" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, bring forth"). In common with many snake species in cooler climates, in most cases the viper's eggs are kept inside the mother until hatching.

Applied to persons of spiteful character at least since 1590s. The only venomous snake found in Great Britain, but not especially dangerous. The word replaced native adder. "The flesh of the viper was formerly regarded as possessing great nutritive or restorative properties, and was frequently used medicinally" [OED]; hence viper-wine, wine medicated with some kind of extract from vipers, used 17c. by "gray-bearded gallants" in a bid "to feele new lust, and youthfull flames agin." [Massinger]

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cola (n.)

1795, genus of small evergreen trees native to west Africa, introduced and nativized in New World tropics, from a Latinized form of a West African name of the tree (compare Temne kola, Mandingo kolo). The cola-nut contains much caffeine.

Meaning "carbonated soft drink" is 1919, short for Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and their many imitators. A 1900 publication ("Alcohol," by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union) lists the names of drinks found to contain caffeine and extract of coca leaf:

Afri Cola, Ala Cola, Cafe Coca, Carre Cola, Celery Cola, Chan Ola, Chera Cola, Coca Beta, Coca Cola, Pilsbury's Coke, Cola Coke, Cream Cola, Dope, Four Kola, Hayo Kola, Heck's Cola, Kaye Ola, Koca Nola, Koke, Kola Ade, Kola Kola, Kola Phos, Koloko, Kos Kola, Lime Cola, Lima Ola, Mellow Nip, Nerv Ola, Revive Ola, Rocola, Rye Ola, Standard Cola, Toka Tona, Tokola, Vim-O, French Wine of Coca, Wise Ola.
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quintessence (n.)

early 15c., quint-essence, in ancient philosophy and medieval alchemy, "a pure essence latent in all things, and the substance of which the heavenly bodies are composed," literally "fifth essence," from Old French quinte essence (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin quinta essentia, from Latin quinta, fem. of quintus "fifth" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + essentia "being, essence," abstract noun formed (to translate Greek ousia "being, essence") from essent-, present-participle stem of esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be").

The Latin term is a loan-translation of Greek pempte ousia, the "ether" that was added by Aristotle (perhaps following the Pythagoreans) to the four known elements (water, earth, fire, air) and said to permeate all things. It was naturally bright, incorruptible, and endowed with circular motion. Its extraction was one of the chief goals of alchemy.

The transferred or figurative sense of "purest essence" (of a situation, character, etc.), "an extract from anything containing in a small quantity its virtues or most essential part" is by 1560s.

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