Etymology
Advertisement
anacoluthon (n.)

"want of grammatical sequence; changing constructions in mid-clause," whether arbitrary or intentional, 1706, from Latinized form of Greek anakoluthon, neuter of anakolouthos "inconsequent," from an- "not" (see an- (1)) + akolouthos "following," from copulative prefix a- expressing union or likeness (see a- (3)) + keleuthos "way, road, track, path, course, journey," which is of unknown etymology. "As a figure of speech it has propriety and force only so far as it suggests that the emotion of the speaker is so great as to make him forget how he began his sentence" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Anacoluthic.

Anacoluthon, though a grammatical defect, is a rhetorical beauty, if naturally produced or imitated; as, "If thou art he—but oh ! how fallen!" "He who hath seen life in all its shapes, and fully knows its good and evil—No ! there is nothing on earth which can make a wise man desire a greater length of days than heaven appoints." These are instances in which the break down is the effect of emotion. [James R. Boyd, "Elements of English Composition," 1874]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Uranus 

first planet discovered that was not known in ancient times, named for the god of Heaven, husband of Gaia, the Earth, from Latin Uranus, from Greek Ouranos literally "heaven, the sky;" in Greek cosmology, the god who personifies the heavens, father of the titans.

The planet was discovered and identified as such in 1781 by Sir William Herschel (it had been observed before, but mistaken for a star; in 1690 John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri); Herschel proposed calling it Georgium Sidus, literally "George's Star," in honour of his patron, King George III of England.

I cannot but wish to take this opportunity of expressing my sense of gratitude, by giving the name of Georgium Sidus ... to a star which (with respect to us) first began to shine under His auspicious reign. [Sir William Herschel, 1783]

The planet was known in English in 1780s as the Georgian Planet; French astronomers began calling Herschel, and ultimately German astronomer Johann Bode proposed Uranus as in conformity with other planet names. However, the name didn't come into common usage until c. 1850.

Related entries & more 
cucumber (n.)

"common running garden plant," cultivated from earliest times in many Old World countries, also the long, fleshy fruit of the plant, late 14c., cucomer, from Old French cocombre (13c., Modern French concombre), from Latin cucumerem (nominative cucumis), perhaps from a pre-Italic Mediterranean language. The Latin word also is the source of Italian cocomero, Spanish cohombro, Portuguese cogombro. Replaced Old English eorþæppla (plural), literally "earth-apples."

Cowcumber was the common form of the word in 17c.-18c., in good literary use and representing the modern evolution of the Middle English form. Cucumber is an attempted reversion to Latin. In 1790s the pronunciation "cowcumber" was standard except in western England dialects and "coocumber" was considered pedantic, but 30 years later, with the spread of literacy and education "cowcumber" was limited to the ignorant and old-fashioned.

It was planted as a garden vegetable by 1609 by Jamestown colonists. Short form cuke is attested by 1977. Phrase cool as a cucumber (c. 1732) embodies ancient folk knowledge confirmed by science in 1970: inside of a field cucumber on a warm day is 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature. The sea-cucumber (1841) is so called for the shape of some species.

Related entries & more 
age (n.)

late 13c., "long but indefinite period in human history," from Old French aage, eage (12c., Modern French âge) "age; life, lifetime, lifespan; maturity," earlier edage (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *aetaticum (source also of Spanish edad, Italian eta, Portuguese idade "age"), extended form of Latin aetatem (nominative aetas), "period of life, age, lifetime, years," from aevum "lifetime, eternity, age," from PIE root *aiw- "vital force, life; long life, eternity"

Expelled native eld (Old English eald) "old age; an age; age as a period of life." Meaning "time something has lived, particular length or stage of life" is from early 14c. Used especially for "old age" since early 14c.; meaning "effects of old age" (feebleness, senility, etc.) is from mid-15c. In geology, in reference to great periods in the history of the earth, 1855; in archaeology, from 1865 (Stone Age, etc.) naming periods for the materials employed for weapons and tools. Sometimes in early modern English "a century" (similar to French siècle "century," literally "an age"), hence plural use in Dark Ages, Middle Ages. To act (one's) age "behave with appropriate maturity" is attested by 1927.

Related entries & more 
humor (n.)

mid-14c., "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Old North French humour "liquid, dampness; (medical) humor" (Old French humor, umor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false association with humus "earth"); related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet" (see humid).

In old medicine, "any of the four body fluids" (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile).

The human body had four humors—blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile—which, in turn, were associated with particular organs. Blood came from the heart, phlegm from the brain, yellow bile from the liver, and black bile from the spleen. Galen and Avicenna attributed certain elemental qualities to each humor. Blood was hot and moist, like air; phlegm was cold and moist, like water; yellow bile was hot and dry, like fire; and black bile was cold and dry, like earth. In effect, the human body was a microcosm of the larger world. [Robert S. Gottfried, "The Black Death," 1983]

 Their relative proportions were thought to determine physical condition and state of mind. This gave humor an extended sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (recorded from 1520s); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness, jocular turn of mind" is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" as determined by state of mind (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge (someone's) fancy or disposition." Modern French has them as doublets: humeur "disposition, mood, whim;" humour "humor." "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ..." [OED].

For aid in distinguishing the various devices that tend to be grouped under "humor," this guide, from Henry W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926] may be of use:

HUMOR: motive/aim: discovery; province: human nature; method/means: observation; audience: the sympathetic
WIT: motive/aim: throwing light; province: words & ideas; method/means: surprise; audience: the intelligent
SATIRE: motive/aim: amendment; province: morals & manners; method/means: accentuation; audience: the self-satisfied
SARCASM: motive/aim: inflicting pain; province: faults & foibles; method/means: inversion; audience: victim & bystander
INVECTIVE: motive/aim: discredit; province: misconduct; method/means: direct statement; audience: the public
IRONY: motive/aim: exclusiveness; province: statement of facts; method/means: mystification; audience: an inner circle
CYNICISM: motive/aim: self-justification; province: morals; method/means: exposure of nakedness; audience: the respectable
SARDONIC: motive/aim: self-relief; province: adversity; method/means: pessimism; audience: the self
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
grave (n.)

"excavation in earth for reception of a dead body," Old English græf "grave; ditch, trench; cave," from Proto-Germanic *grafa-/graba- (source also of Old Saxon graf, Old Frisian gref, Old High German grab "grave, tomb;" Old Norse gröf "cave," Gothic graba "ditch"), cognate with Old Church Slavonic grobu "grave, tomb," and perhaps from a PIE root *ghrebh- (2) "to dig, to scratch, to scrape," related to Old English grafan "to dig" (see grave (v.)). Or perhaps a substratum word in Germanic and Balto-Slavic.

The normal mod. representation of OE. græf would be graff; the ME. disyllable grave, from which the standard mod. form descends, was prob. due to the especially frequent occurrence of the word in the dat. (locative) case. [OED]

From Middle Ages to 17c., they were temporary, crudely marked repositories from which the bones were removed to ossuaries after some years and the grave used for a fresh burial. "Perpetual graves" became common from c. 1650. Grave-side (n.) is from 1744. Grave-robber attested from 1757. To make (someone)turn in his grave "behave in some way that would have offended the dead person" is first recorded 1888.

Related entries & more 
speculation (n.)

late 14c., "intelligent contemplation, consideration; act of looking," from Old French speculacion "close observation, rapt attention," and directly from Late Latin speculationem (nominative speculatio) "contemplation, observation," noun of action from speculatus, past participle of Latin speculari "observe," from specere "to look at, view" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").

The meaning "pursuit of the truth by means of thinking" is from mid-15c. The disparaging sense of "mere conjecture" is recorded from 1570s. The meaning "buying and selling in search of profit from rise and fall of market value" is recorded from 1774; its short form spec is attested from 1794.

Protestant clergy were at least as bigoted as Catholic ecclesiastics, nevertheless there soon came to be much more liberty of speculation in Protestant than in Catholic countries, because in Protestant countries the clergy had less power. The important aspect of Protestantism was schism, not heresy, for schism led to national Churches were not strong enough to control the lay government. This was wholly a gain, for the Churches, everywhere, opposed as long as they could practically every invention that made for an increase of happiness or knowledge here on earth.  [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy," 1945]
Related entries & more 
deep (adj.)

Old English deop "having considerable extension downward," especially as measured from the top or surface, also figuratively, "profound, awful, mysterious; serious, solemn," from Proto-Germanic *deupaz (source also of Old Saxon diop, Old Frisian diap, Dutch diep, Old High German tiof, German tief, Old Norse djupr, Danish dyb, Swedish djup, Gothic diups "deep"), from PIE root *dheub- "deep, hollow" (source also of Lithuanian dubus "deep, hollow," Old Church Slavonic duno "bottom, foundation," Welsh dwfn "deep," Old Irish domun "world," via sense development from "bottom" to "foundation" to "earth" to "world").

By early 14c. "extensive in any direction analogous to downward," as measured from the front. From late 14c. of sound, "low in pitch, grave," also of color, "intense." By c. 1200, of persons, "sagacious, of penetrating mind." From 1560s, of debt., etc., "closely involved, far advanced."

Deep pocket as figurative of wealth is from 1951. To go off the deep end "lose control of oneself" is slang recorded by 1921, probably in reference to the deep end of a swimming pool, where a person on the surface can no longer touch bottom. When 3-D films seemed destined to be the next wave and the biggest thing to hit cinema since talkies, they were known as deepies (1953)., hard to understand

Related entries & more 
clay (n.)

Old English clæg "stiff, sticky earth; clay," from Proto-Germanic *klaijaz (source also of Old High German kliwa "bran," German Kleie, Old Frisian klai, Old Saxon klei, Middle Dutch clei, Danish klæg "clay;" also Old English clæman, Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleiman "to cover with clay").

Some sources see these as being from a common PIE root meaning "slime; glue" also forming words for "clay" and verbs for "stick together." Compared words include Latin gluten "glue, beeswax;" Greek gloios "sticky matter;" Lithuanian glitus "sticky," glitas "mucus;" Old Church Slavonic glina "clay," glenu "slime, mucus;" Old Irish glenim "I cleave, adhere;" Old English cliða "plaster." But Beekes writes that "Not all comparisons are convincing," and notes that most words cited are from Balto-Slavic or Germanic, "which suggests European substrate origin."

In Scripture, the stuff from which the body of the first man was formed; hence "human body" (especially when dead). As an adjective, "formed of clay," 1520s. Clay-pigeon "saucer of baked clay used as a flying target in trap-shooting," in place of live birds, is from 1881. Feet of clay "fundamental weakness" is from Daniel ii.33.

Related entries & more 
end (n.)

Old English ende "end, conclusion, boundary, district, species, class," from Proto-Germanic *andiaz (source also of Old Frisian enda, Old Dutch ende, Dutch einde, Old Norse endir "end;" Old High German enti "top, forehead, end," German Ende, Gothic andeis "end"), originally "the opposite side," from PIE *antjo "end, boundary," from root *ant- "front, forehead," with derivatives meaning "in front of, before."

Worldly wealth he cared not for, desiring onely to make both ends meet. [Thomas Fuller, "The History of the Worthies of England," 1662]

Original sense of "outermost part" is obsolete except in phrase ends of the earth. Sense of "destruction, death" was in Old English. Meaning "division or quarter of a town" was in Old English. The end "the last straw, the limit" (in a disparaging sense) is from 1929. The end-man in minstrel troupes was one of the two at the ends of the semicircle of performers, who told funny stories and cracked jokes with the middle-man. U.S. football end zone is from 1909 (end for "side of the field occupied by one team" is from 1851). The noun phrase end-run is attested from 1893 in U.S. football; extended to military tactics by 1940. End time in reference to the end of the world is from 1917. To end it all "commit suicide" is attested by 1911. Be-all and end-all is from Shakespeare ("Macbeth" I.vii.5).

Related entries & more 

Page 33