Old English walu "ridge, bank" of earth or stone, later "ridge made on flesh by a lash" (related to weal (n.2)); from Proto-Germanic *walu- (source also of Low German wale "weal," Old Frisian walu "rod," Old Norse völr "round piece of wood," Gothic walus "a staff, stick," Dutch wortel, German wurzel "root"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." The common notion perhaps is "raised line." Used in reference to the ridges of textile fabric from 1580s. Wales "horizontal planks which extend along a ship's sides" is attested from late 13c.
Sense in comic strip is from 1920. Airport sense is from 1936; race track sense from 1941. Meaning "street noted for clubs, bars, etc." is attested from 1939, originally in reference to Los Angeles' Sunset Strip. Strip mine (n.) attested by 1892, as a verb by 1916; so called because the surface material is removed in successive parallel strips.
common name of a type of trees noted for majestic height and the wide-spreading and gracefully curving branches, Old English elm, from Proto-Germanic *elmaz (source also of Danish elm, Old Norse almr, Old High German elme), perhaps from PIE root *el- (2) "red, brown" (see elk); cognate with Latin ulmus, Old Irish lem. German Ulme, Dutch olm are from or influenced by the Latin word. The toughest native European wood, used for ship-building, wheel-naves, etc. Middle English had adjective forms elmen, elmin, which survived longer in poetry. New Haven was informally the Elm City (1871).
For modern tree names from adjectives, compare aspen. OED suggests the use of the adjective as a noun is at least partly creditable to "translations of a German romance" (German linden is the plural form and the form used in compounds).
1630s, in theological writing, "reason, rationale," from Latin ratio "a reckoning, account, a numbering, calculation," hence also "a business affair; course, conduct, procedure," also in a transferred sense, of mental action, "reason, reasoning, judgment, understanding, that faculty of the mind which forms the basis of computation and calculation." This is from rat-, past-participle stem of reri "to reckon, calculate," also "to think, believe" (from PIE root *re- "to think, reason, count").
Latin ratio often was used to represent or translate Greek logos ("computation, account, esteem, reason") in works of philosophy, though the range of senses in the two do not overlap (ratio lacks the key "speech, word, statement" meaning in the Greek word; see Logos).
The mathematical sense of "relation between two similar magnitudes in respect to quantity," measured by the number of times one contains the other, is attested in English from 1650s (it also was a sense in Greek logos). The general or extended sense of "corresponding relationship between things not precisely measurable" is by 1808.
According to Indo-Europeanists Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, "The semantics of the term clearly points to a connection between 'oak' and mountainous regions, which is the basis for the ancient European term applied to forested mountains" (such as Gothic fairgunni "mountainous region," Old English firgen "mountain forest," Middle High German Virgunt "mountain forest; Sudetes"). In the period 3300 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E., conifers and birches gradually displaced oaks in northern European forests. "Hence it is no surprise that in the early history of the Germanic languages the ancient term for mountain oak and oak forest shifts to denote conifers and coniferous forests." [Thomas V. Gamkrelidze, Vjaceslav V. Ivanov, "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans," Berlin, 1994]
city in California, named c. 1866 for George Berkeley (1685-1753), Bishop of Cloyne, who denied the objective reality of the material world. The college there opened in 1873. The surname (also Barclay) is the birch-tree wood or clearing. The transuranic element berkelium (1950) is named for the laboratory there, where it was discovered. It does not occur naturally.
Whether they knew or not
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard's eye.
[Yeats, from "The Seven Sages"]
1560s, in geometry, "a solid whose bases or ends are any similar, equal, and parallel plane polygons, and whose sides are parallelograms" (not always triangular), from Late Latin prisma, from Greek prisma "a geometrical prism, trilateral column," (Euclid), literally "something sawed (as a block of wood), sawdust," from prizein, priein "to saw" (related to prion "a saw"), which is of uncertain origin. Euclid chose the word, apparently, on the image of a column with the sides sawn off.
Specific sense in optics, "an instrument (usually triangular) with well-polished sides of glass, quartz, etc., which refracts light and spreads it in a spectrum," is attested from 1610s.
Middle English mous, from Old English mus "small rodent," also "muscle of the arm" (compare muscle (n.)); from Proto-Germanic *mus (source also of Old Norse, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Danish, Swedish mus, Dutch muis, German Maus "mouse"), from PIE *mus-, the old Indo-European name of the mouse, retained in several language families (source also of Sanskrit mus "mouse, rat," Old Persian mush "mouse," Old Church Slavonic mysu, Latin mus, Lithuanian muse "mouse," Greek mys "mouse, muscle").
Plural form mice (Old English mys) shows effects of i-mutation. As a type of something timid or weak, from late 14c. Contrasted with man (n.) from 1620s (nor man nor mouse). Meaning "black eye" (or other discolored lump on the body) is from 1842. Computer sense of "small device moved by the hand over a flat surface to maneuver a cursor or arrow on a display screen" is from 1965, though the word was applied to other things resembling a mouse in shape since 1750, mainly in nautical use.
Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus [Horace]
1580s, "stupid person, blockhead, dunce, numbskull," perhaps from dialectal logger "heavy block of wood" + head (n.). Later it meant a type of thick-headed iron tool (1680s), a type of cannon shot, a post in the stern of a whale-boat, and a type of turtle (1650s). Loggerheads "fighting, fisticuffs" is from 1670s, but the exact notion in the compound is uncertain, perhaps it suggests the heavy tool used as a weapon. The phrase at loggerheads "in disagreement" is first recorded 1670s.
[W]e three loggerheads be: a sentence frequently written under two heads, and the reader by repeating it makes himself the third. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]