c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), "a sea-robber, sea-plunderer, one who without authority and by violence seizes or interferes with the ship or property of another on the sea," especially one who is habitually engaged in such robbery or sails the seas for the robbery and plunder of merchant vessels, from Old French pirate and directly from Medieval Latin pirata "sailor, corsair, sea robber" (source also of Spanish, Italian pirata, Dutch piraat, German Pirat), from classical Latin, from Greek peiratēs "brigand, pirate," literally "one who attacks" (ships), from peiran "to attack, make a hostile attempt on, try," from peira "trial, an attempt, attack" (from PIE *per-ya-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk").
An Old English word for it was sæsceaða ("sea-scather"); a pirate-ship was a ðeofscip ("thief-ship"). Figurative sense of "plunderer, despoiler" is from late 15c. Meaning "one who takes another's work without permission" first recorded 1701; sense of "unlicensed radio broadcaster" (generally transmitting from a ship outside territorial waters) is from 1913.
also corner-stone, late 13c., "stone which lies at the corner of two walls and unites them" (often the starting point of a building), hence, figuratively, "that on which anything is founded;" from corner (n.) + stone (n.). The figurative use is biblical (Isaiah xxvii.16, Job xxxviii.6, Ephesians ii.20), rendering Latin lapis angularis.
In U.S. history, Alexander H. Stephens's Cornerstone speech explaining the new Confederate constitution was given at Savannah, Georgia, March 21, 1861. The image is older in U.S. political discourse and originally referred to the federal union.
I endorse without reserve the much abused sentiment of Governor M'Duffie, that "Slavery is the corner-stone of our republican edifice;" while I repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded but nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, that "all men are born equal." No society has ever yet existed, and I have already incidentally quoted the highest authority to show that none ever will exist, without a natural variety of classes. [James H. Hammond, "Letter to an English Abolitionist" 1845]
"one of the people who inhabit most of Eastern Europe," late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c. 800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c. 580), from a shortening of Proto-Slavic *sloveninu "a Slav," which is probably related to *slovo "word, speech," which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (compare Old Church Slavonic Nemici "Germans," related to nemu "dumb;" Greek heterophonos "foreign," literally "of different voice;" and Old English þeode, which meant both "race" and "language").
Max Vasmer, the authority for Slavic etymologies, rejects a connection to *slava "glory, fame," which, however, influenced Slav via folk etymology. This word is the -slav in personal names (such as Russian Miroslav, literally "peaceful fame;" Mstislav "vengeful fame;" Jaroslav "famed for fury;" Czech Bohuslav "God's glory;" Latinized Wenceslas "having greater glory"), and is perhaps from PIE root *kleu- "to hear."
The reduction of scl- to sl- is regular in English (compare slate). In late 18c. and early 19c. The spelling Slav is by 1866; in English it also was spelled Slave, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective, belonging to or characteristics of Slavs, from 1876.
long, loose outer garment, c. 1300, from Old French goune "robe, coat; (nun's) habit, gown," related to Late Latin gunna "leather garment, skin, hide," of unknown origin. Used by St. Boniface (8c.) for a fur garment permitted for old or infirm monks. Klein writes that it is probably "a word adopted from a language of the Apennine or the Balkan Peninsula." OED points to Byzantine Greek gouna, a word for a coarse garment sometimes made of skins, but also notes "some scholars regard it as of Celtic origin."
In 18c., gown was the common word for what now usually is styled a dress. It was maintained more in the U.S. than in Britain, but was somewhat revived 20c. in fashion senses and in combinations (such as bridal gown, nightgown). Meaning "flowing robe worn on official occasions as a badge of office or authority" is from late 14c. As collective singular for "residents of a university" (1650s) it typically is used in rhyming opposition to town.
c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source (Old Norse þeir, Old Danish, Old Swedish þer, þair), originally masculine plural demonstrative pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *thai, nominative plural pronoun, from PIE *to-, demonstrative pronoun (see that). Gradually replaced Old English hi, hie, plurals of he, heo "she," hit "it" by c. 1400. Colloquial use for "anonymous people in authority" is attested from 1886. They say for "it is said" is in Milton.
The most important importation of this kind [from Scandinavian to English] was that of the pronomial forms they, them and their, which entered readily into the system of English pronouns beginning with the same sound (the, that, this) and were felt to be more distinct than the old native forms which they supplanted. Indeed these were liable to constant confusion with some forms of the singular number (he, him, her) after the vowels has become obscured, so that he and hie, him and heom, her (hire) and heora could no longer be kept easily apart. [Jespersen, "Growth and Structure of the English Language"]
1570s, in ancient Roman architecture, "entrance-hall," the most important and usually the most splendid apartment of a house. from Latin atrium "central court or first main room of a house, room which contains the hearth," from Proto-Italic *atro-, sometimes said (on authority of Varro, "De Lingua Latina") to be Etruscan.
Watkins suggests it is from PIE root *ater- "fire," on notion of "place where smoke from the hearth escapes" (through a hole in the roof). De Vaan finds this not very compelling, "since soot is black, but not the fire itself," and prefers a different PIE root, *hert-r- "fireplace," with cognates in Old Irish aith, Welsh odyn "furnace, oven," Avestan atarš "fire."
The appurtenance of atrium depends on the interpretation that this room originally contained the fireplace. This etymology was already current in ancient times, but there is no independent evidence for it. Still, there is no good alternative. [de Vaan]
The anatomical sense of "either of the upper cavities of the heart" is recorded by 1870. The meaning "sky-lit central court in a public building" is attested by 1967.
c. 1200, professioun, "vows taken upon entering a religious order," from Old French profession (12c.) and directly from Latin professionem (nominative professio) "public declaration," noun of action from past-participle stem of profiteri "declare openly" (see profess).
The meaning "any solemn declaration" is from mid-14c. Meaning "occupation one professes to be skilled in, a calling" is from early 15c.; meaning "body of persons engaged in some occupation" is from 1610; as a euphemism for "prostitution" (compare oldest profession) it is recorded from 1888.
Formerly theology, law, and medicine were specifically known as the professions; but, as the applications of science and learning are extended to other departments of affairs, other vocations also receive the name. The word implies professed attainments in special knowledge, as distinguished from mere skill; a practical dealing with affairs, as distinguished from mere study or investigation; and an application of such knowledge to uses for others as a vocation, as distinguished from its pursuit for one's own purposes. In professions strictly so called a preliminary examination as to qualifications is usually demanded by law or usage, and a license or other official authority founded thereon required. [Century Dictionary]
late 14c., "the forefinger," from Latin index (genitive indicis) "one who points out, discloser, discoverer, informer; forefinger (because used in pointing); pointer, sign; title, inscription, list," literally "anything which points out," from indicare "to point out," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + dicare "proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly," and see diction). Related: Indexical.
Obsolete in English in its original sense (index finger is recorded from 1768). Meaning "alphabetical list of a book's contents with directions where in the text to find them" is from late 16c., from Latin phrases such as Index Nominum "Index of Names."
Meaning "object serving as a pointer on an instrument, hand of a clock or watch" is from 1590s. Scientific sense (refractive index, etc.) is from 1829, from notion of "an indicator." Economic sense (cost-of-living index, etc.) is from 1870, from the scientific usage.
The Church sense of "forbidden books" is from index librorum prohibitorum, first published 1564 by authority of Pius IV. The Index Expurgatorius was the catalogue of books that Catholics were forbidden to read unless certain passages were deleted, first printed 1571.
late 14c., "person who has power of judging absolutely according to his own pleasure in a dispute or issue," from Old French arbitre "arbiter, judge" (13c.) and directly from Latin arbiter "one who goes somewhere (as witness or judge)," in classical Latin used of spectators and eye-witnesses; specifically in law, "he who hears and decides a case, a judge, umpire, mediator;" from ad "to" (see ad-) + baetere "to come, go," a word of unknown etymology.
The attestations suggest that baetō was the original form which sometimes became bētō, while -bītō was regular in non-initial syllables (especially in Plautus). Where bītō occurs independently (4x in Plautus), it must be a decompounded form. [de Vaan]
The specific sense of "one chosen by two disputing parties to decide the matter" is from 1540s. Compare arbitrator. The earliest form of the word attested in English is the fem. noun arbitress (mid-14c.) "a woman who settles disputes." Gaius Petronius Arbiter (circa 27-66 C.E.) was a friend of Nero, noted voluptuary, reputed author of the "Satyricon," and an authority on matters of taste and style (elegantiae arbiter, punning on the name).
word-forming element meaning variously "above; highest; across; higher in power or authority; too much; above normal; outer; beyond in time, too long," from Old English ofer (from PIE root *uper "over"). Over and its Germanic relations were widely used as prefixes, and sometimes could be used with negative force. This is rare in Modern English, but compare Gothic ufarmunnon "to forget," ufar-swaran "to swear falsely;" Old English ofercræft "fraud."
In some of its uses, moreover, over is a movable element, which can be prefixed at will to almost any verb or adjective of suitable sense, as freely as an adjective can be placed before a substantive or an adverb before an adjective. [OED]
Among the old words not now existing are Old English oferlufu (Middle English oferlufe), literally "over-love," hence "excessive or immoderate love." Over- in Middle English also could carry a sense of "too little, below normal," as in over-lyght "of too little weight" (c. 1400), overlitel "too small" (mid-14c.), oversmall (mid-13c.), overshort, etc.