Etymology
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rattle (n.)

c. 1500, "rapid succession of short, sharp sounds," from rattle (v.). As a child's toy or other instrument contrived to make a rattling sound, from 1510s. As a sound made in the throat (especially of one near death) from 1752.

The watchman's rattle, formerly used for giving an alarm, and the child's toy resembling it, consist of a vibrating tongue slipping over the teeth of a rotating ratchet-wheel, and producing much noise when rapidly twirled by the handle. [Century Dictionary]
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seriously (adv.)

c. 1500, "in a serious manner, with serious thought or application," from serious (adj.) + -ly (2). By 1765 as "to a serious extent, so as to give grounds for alarm." To take (something) seriously "be earnest in one's attitude toward" is from 1782.

Middle English also had seriousli "minutely, in detail" (late 14c., now obsolete), from Medieval Latin seriose "item by item, in detail," which reflects the confusion with the stem of series, for which confusion see serious (adj.). Caxton (mid-15c.) uses seriately for "attentively, earnestly."

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backward (adv.)
"with the face to the rear, in the direction behind," c. 1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.), and compare aback) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward).

Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c. 1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c. 1400); Old English had earsling.
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scream (n.)

c. 1500, "a sharp, piercing sound or cry," expressive of pain, alarm, etc., from scream (v.).

And (as they say) lamentings heard i' th' Ayre; Strange Schreemes of Death. ["Macbeth," II.iii.61]

That spelling probably reflects "sk-" as spelled in words from Latin (such as school; see sch); his early editions also have schreene for screen. The slang meaning "something very great, excellent, or exciting," especially "something that evokes a cry of laughter" is by 1888; screamer in this sense is from 1831.

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wait (n.)
early 13c., "a watcher, onlooker," from Old North French wait (Old French gait "look-out, watch, sentry"), from Old North French waitier (Old French gaitier; see wait (v.)). Compare Old High German wahta, German Wacht "a watchman." From late 14c. as "an ambush, a trap" (as in lie in wait). From 1855 as "time occupied in waiting;" 1873 as "an act of waiting." From the sense "civic employee responsible for signaling the hour or an alarm by sounding on a trumpet, etc." comes the old sense "town musicians" (mid-15c.).
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ramshackle (adj.)

"loosely joined, ill-made or out of good condition; chaotic or likely to collapse," 1809, an alternative form of ramshackled, earlier ranshackled (1670s), an alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle (from the same source as ransack). "Said chiefly of carriages and houses" [OED]. This form of the word seems to have been originally Scottish.

Reading over this note to an American gentleman, he seemed to take alarm, lest the word ramshackle should be palmed on his country. I take it home willingly, as a Scotticism, and one well applied, as may be afterwards shown. [Robert Gourlay, "General Introduction to a Statistical Account of Upper Canada," London, 1822]

Jamieson's "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" (1825) has it as a noun meaning "thoughtless, ignorant fellow."

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smoke (n.1)

late Old English smoca (rare) "fumes and volatile material given off by burning substances," related to smeocan "give off smoke," from Proto-Germanic *smuk- (source also of Middle Dutch smooc, Dutch smook, Middle High German smouch, German Schmauch), from PIE root *smeug- "to smoke; smoke" (source also of Armenian mux "smoke," Greek smykhein "to burn with smoldering flame," Old Irish much, Welsh mwg "smoke").

There is no fyre without some smoke [Heywood, 1562]

The more usual noun was Old English smec, which became dialectal smeech. Abusive meaning "black person" attested from 1913, American English. Smoke-eater "firefighter" is c. 1930. Figurative phrase go up in smoke "be destroyed" (as if by fire) is from 1933. Smoke-alarm first attested 1936; smoke-detector from 1957.

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affray (n.)

c. 1300, "fear, terror, state of alarm produced by a sudden disturbance," from Old French affrai, effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from esfreer (v.) "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exfridare, a hybrid word meaning literally "to take out of peace."

The first element is from Latin ex "out of" (see ex-). The second is Frankish *frithu "peace," from Proto-Germanic *frithuz "peace, consideration, forbearance" (source also of Old Saxon frithu, Old English friðu, Old High German fridu "peace, truce," German Friede "peace"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, to love."

Meaning "breach of the peace, riotous fight in public" is from late 15c., via the notion of "disturbance causing terror." The French verb also entered Middle English, as afrey "to terrify, frighten" (early 14c.), but it survives almost exclusively in its past participle, afraid (q.v.).

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false (adj.)

late Old English, "intentionally untrue, lying," of religion, "not of the true faith, not in accord with Christian doctrines," from Old French fals, faus "false, fake; incorrect, mistaken; treacherous, deceitful" (12c., Modern French faux), from Latin falsus "deceptive, feigned, deceitful, pretend," also "deceived, erroneous, mistaken," past participle of fallere "deceive, disappoint," which is of uncertain origin (see fail (v.)).

Adopted into other Germanic languages (cognates: German falsch, Dutch valsch, Old Frisian falsk, Danish falsk), though English is the only one in which the active sense of "deceitful" (a secondary sense in Latin) has predominated. From c. 1200 as "deceitful, disloyal, treacherous; not genuine;" from early 14c. as "contrary to fact or reason, erroneous, wrong." False alarm recorded from 1570s. False step (1700) translates French faux pas. To bear false witness is attested from mid-13c. False prophet "one who prophecies without divine commission or by evil spirits," is attested from late 13c.

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hoop (n.)

late 12c., "circular band, flattened ring," probably from an unrecorded Old English *hop, from Proto-Germanic *hōp (source also of Old Frisian hop "a hoop, band," Middle Dutch and Dutch hoep "hoop," Old Norse hop "a small bay"). The original meaning must have been "curve; ring," but the IE etymology is uncertain.

As a child's plaything by 1792. In basketball from 1893. As something someone jumps through (on horseback) as a circus trick, by 1793; figurative use of jump through hoops is by 1917. As "circular band serving to expand the skirt of a woman's dress" from 1540s. They have been in and out of style over the centuries. Hoop-petticoat (one stiffened or expanded by hoops of ratan, whalebone, etc,) is attested from 1711; hoop-skirt in the same sense is from 1856, figurative of old-fashioned ways by 1893, when there was a general alarm at their rumored return to fashion. The U.S. Southern hoop snake (1784) is fabled to take its tail in its mouth and roll along like a hoop. Related: Hoops.

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