Etymology
Advertisement
keen (adj.)

c. 1200, kene, from Old English cene "bold, brave, fearless," in later Old English "clever, prudent, wise, intelligent," common Germanic (cognate with Old Norse kænn "skillful, wise," Middle Dutch coene "bold," Dutch koen, Old High German kuon "pugnacious, strong," German kühn "bold, daring"), but according to OED there are no cognates outside Germanic and the original meaning is "somewhat obscure"; it seem to have been both "brave" and "skilled." Perhaps the connection notion was "to be able" and the word is connected to the source of can (v.1).

Sense of "eager (to do something), vehement, ardent" is from c. 1300. The physical meaning "sharp, sharp-pointed, sharp-edged" (c. 1200) is peculiar to English. Extended senses from c. 1300: Of sounds, "loud, shrill;" of cold, fire, wind, etc. "biting, bitter, cutting." Of eyesight c. 1720. A popular word of approval in teenager and student slang from c. 1900. Keener was 19c. U.S. Western slang for a person considered sharp or shrewd in bargaining.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
chimera (n.)

fabulous monster of Greek mythology, slain by Bellerophon, late 14c., from Old French chimere or directly from Medieval Latin chimera, from Latin Chimaera, from Greek khimaira, name of a mythical fire-breathing creature, slain by Bellerophon, with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail; literally "year-old she-goat" (masc. khimaros), from kheima "winter season," from PIE root *gheim- "winter."

Supposedly a personification of snow or winter, but the connection to winter might be no more than the ancient habit of reckoning years as "winters." It was held by the ancients to represent a volcano; perhaps it was a symbol of "winter storms" (another sense of Greek kheima)  and generally of destructive natural forces. The word was used generically for "any grotesque monster formed from parts of other animals;" hence the figurative meaning "wild fantasy" first recorded 1580s in English (13c. in French).

Beestis clepid chymeres, that han a part of ech beest, and suche ben not, no but oonly in opynyoun. [Wyclif, "Prologue"]
Related entries & more 
rage (n.)

c. 1300, "madness, insanity; fit of frenzy; rashness, foolhardiness, intense or violent emotion, anger, wrath; fierceness in battle; violence" (of storms, fire, etc.), from Old French rage, raige "spirit, passion, rage, fury, madness" (11c.), from Medieval Latin rabia, from Latin rabies "madness, rage, fury," related to rabere "be mad, rave" (compare rabies, which originally had this sense). This is said by some sources to be from PIE *rebh- "violent, impetuous" (source also of Old English rabbian "to rage"), but de Vaan finds this uncertain and sees no convincing etymology.

Similarly, Welsh (cynddaredd) and Breton (kounnar) words for "rage, fury" originally meant "hydrophobia" and are compounds based on the word for "dog" (Welsh ci, plural cwn; Breton ki).

It is attested from late 14c. in the sense of "fit of carnal lust or sexual desire." In 15c.-16c. it also could mean "rabies." Other Middle English senses, now obsolete, include "come to a boil; grieve, mourn, lament; flirt, make love." The rage "fashion, vogue" dates from 1785.

Related entries & more 
stamp (v.)

Old English stempan "to pound in a mortar," from Proto-Germanic *stamp- (source also of Old Norse stappa, Danish stampe, Middle Dutch stampen, Old High German stampfon, German stampfen "to stamp with the foot, beat, pound," German Stampfe "pestle"), from nasalized form of PIE root *stebh- "to support, place firmly on" (source also of Greek stembein "to trample, misuse;" see staff (n.)). The vowel altered in Middle English, perhaps by influence of Scandinavian forms.

Sense of "strike the foot forcibly downwards" is from mid-14c. The meaning "impress or mark (something) with a die" is first recorded 1550s. Italian stampa "stamp, impression," Spanish estampar "to stamp, print," French étamper (13c., Old French estamper) "to stamp, impress" are Germanic loan-words. Related: Stamped; stamping. To stamp out originally was "extinguish a fire by stamping on it;" attested from 1851 in the figurative sense. Stamping ground "one's particular territory" (1821) is from the notion of animals. A stamped addressed envelope (1873) was one you enclosed in a letter to speed or elicit a reply.

Related entries & more 
build (v.)

Middle English bilden, from late Old English byldan "construct a house," verb form of bold "house," from Proto-Germanic *buthla- (source also of Old Saxon bodl, Old Frisian bodel "building, house"), from PIE *bhu- "to dwell," from root*bheue- "to be, exist, grow."

Rare in Old English; in Middle English it won out over the more common Old English timbran (see timber). The modern spelling is unexplained. Figurative use is from mid-15c. Of physical things other than buildings from late 16c. Related: Builded (archaic); built; building.

In the United States, this verb is used with much more latitude than in England. There, as Fennimore Cooper puts it, everything is BUILT. The priest BUILDS up a flock; the speculator a fortune; the lawyer a reputation; the landlord a town; and the tailor, as in England, BUILDS up a suit of clothes. A fire is BUILT instead of made, and the expression is even extended to individuals, to be BUILT being used with the meaning of formed. [Farmer, "Slang and Its Analogues," 1890]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
seethe (v.)

Middle English sethen, from Old English seoþan "to boil, be heated to the boiling point, prepare (food) by boiling," also figurative, "be troubled in mind, brood" (class II strong verb; past tense seaþ, past participle soden), from Proto-Germanic *seuthan (source also of Old Norse sjoða, Old Frisian siatha, Dutch zieden, Old High German siodan, German sieden "to seethe"), from PIE root *seut- "to seethe, boil."

Driven out of its literal meaning by boil (v.); it survives largely in metaphoric extensions. Of a liquid, "to rise, surge, or foam" without reference to heat, from 1530s. Figurative use, of persons or populations, "to be in a state of inward agitation" is recorded from 1580s (implied in seething). It had transitive figurative uses in Old English, such as "to try by fire, to afflict with cares, be tossed about as in turbulent water." Now conjugated as a weak verb, its old past participle sodden (q.v.) is no longer felt as connected.

Related entries & more 
fever (n.)

earlier also feaver, late Old English fefor, fefer "fever, temperature of the body higher than normal," from Latin febris "fever," related to fovere "to warm, heat," which is probably from PIE root *dhegh- "burn" (source also of Gothic dags, Old English dæg "day," originally "the heat;" Greek tephra "ashes;" Lithuanian dāgas "heat," Old Prussian dagis "summer;" Middle Irish daig "fire"); but some suggest a reduplication of a root represented by Sanskrit *bhur- "to be restless."

The Latin word was adopted into most of the Germanic languages (German Fieber, Swedish feber, Danish feber), but not Dutch. English spelling was influenced by Old French fievre.

An alternative word for "fever" was Old English hrið, hriðing (which is cognate with Old High German hritto, Irish crith, Welsh cryd, Lithuanian skriečiù, skriesti); Latin febris also was glossed by bryneadl. The extended sense of "intense nervous excitement" is from 1580s. Also as a verb in Old English, feferian.

Related entries & more 
comprehend (v.)
Origin and meaning of comprehend

mid-14c., "to understand, take into the mind, grasp by understanding," late 14c., "to take in, include;" from Latin comprehendere "to take together, to unite; include; seize" (of catching fire or the arrest of criminals); also "to comprehend, perceive" (to seize or take in the mind), from com "with, together," here probably "completely" (see com-) + prehendere "to catch hold of, seize."

The (partial) range of senses in Latin prehendere was "to lay hold of, to grasp, snatch, seize, catch; occupy violently; take by surprise, catch in the act; to reach, arrive at;" of trees, "to take root;" of the mind, "to seize, apprehend, comprehend," though this last sense is marked "very rare" in Lewis & Short.

It is a compound of  prae- "before" (see pre-) + -hendere, found only in compounds, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take." De Vaan regards the compound as Proto-Italic. Related: Comprehended; comprehending.

Compare the sense development in German begriefen, literally "to seize," but, through the writings of the 14c. mystics, "to seize with the mind, to comprehend."

Related entries & more 
bowery (n.)

"farm, plantation," from Dutch bowerij "homestead farm" (from the same source as bower); a Dutch word probably little used in America outside New York, and there soon limited to the name of one road, The Bowery (so called by 1787), running from the built-up part of the city out to the plantations in middle Manhattan; the city's growth soon overran it, and by 1840 it was a commercial district notorious for squalor, rowdiness, and low life. The Bowery boy as an American comic type had a heyday in the 1850s and again around 1900.

Bowery Boy, the typical New York tough of a generation or two ago, named from the street which he chiefly affected .... He rather prided himself on his uncouthness, his ignorance, and his desperado readiness to fight, but he also loved to have attention called to his courage, his gallantry to women, his patriotic enthusiasm, and his innate tenderness of heart. A fire and a thrilling melodrama called out all his energies and emotions. [Walsh, 1892]
Related entries & more 
rear (v.1)

Middle English reren, from Old English ræran "to raise, lift something, cause to rise;" also "to build up, create, set on end; to arouse, excite, stir up," from Proto-Germanic *raizijanau "to raise," causative of *risanan "to rise" (source of Old English risan; see rise (v.)). The second -r- is by rhotacism.

Meaning "bring into being, bring up" (as a child) is recorded by early 15c., perhaps late 14c.; at first it is not easy to distinguish the sense from simply "beget;" the meaning "bring up (animals or persons) by proper nourishment and attention, develop or train physically or mentally" had developed by late 16c.

The intransitive meaning "raise up on the hind legs" is first recorded late 14c. (compare rare (v.)). As what one does in raising or holding high the head, by 1667 ("Rear'd high thir flourisht heads" - Milton); with ugly by 1851. Related: Reared; rearing.

Other uses of rear in Middle English were "set" (fire); "draw" (blood); "wage" (war); "raise" (revenue, tithes); "gather, collect" (a flock of sheep).

Related entries & more 

Page 32