Etymology
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alembic (n.)
"distillation vessel used in old chemistry," late 14c., earlier limbeck (mid-14c.), from Old French alambic (13c.), via Old Spanish, from Arabic al-anbiq "distilling flask," via Persian, from Greek ambix "cup," a word of unknown, possibly Semitic, origin. Often spelled limbeck 15c.-17c. The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the."
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aleph (n.)
name for the Hebrew and Phoenician first letter, ancestor of A, c. 1300, from Semitic languages, pausal form of eleph "ox" (the character might have developed from a hieroglyph of an ox's head); also see alphabet.
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alert (adv.)

"on the watch," 1610s, from French alerte "vigilant" (17c.), from prepositional phrase à l'erte "on the watch," from Italian all'erta "to the height." Second element from erta "lookout, high tower," noun use of fem. of erto, past participle of ergere "raise up," from Latin erigere "raise" (see erect (adj.)).

The adjective is attested from 1712; the noun is from 1796 as "attitude of vigilance" (as in on the alert); 1803 as "a warning report." The verb is by 1864. Related: Alerted; alerting.

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Aleut 
native of the Aleutian Islands, 1780, of unknown origin, probably from a native word. First applied by Russian explorers c. 1750, perhaps from Alut, name of a coastal village in Kamchatka [Bright]. Their name for themselves is unangax. Related: Aleutian.
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alexia (n.)
"inability to read" as a result of some mental condition, 1878, from Greek a- "not" (see a- (3)) + abstract noun from lexis "a speaking or reading," from legein "to speak," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')."
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Alexandria 
city in Egypt, founded 332 B.C.E. by Alexander the Great, for whom it is named. Also see -ia. Related: Alexandrian.
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Alexandrine 
in reference to a type of verse line, 1580s (adj.); 1660s (n.), said to be from Old French Roman d'Alexandre, name of a poem about Alexander the Great that was popular in the Middle Ages, which used a 12-syllable line of 6 feet (the French heroic verse); it was used in English to vary the heroic verse of 5 feet. The name also sometimes is said to be from Alexandre de Paris, 13c. French poet, who used such a line (and who also wrote one of the popular Alexander the Great poems).
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smart aleck (n.)
1865, of unknown origin, perhaps in reference to Aleck Hoag, notorious pimp, thief, and confidence man in New York City in early 1840s [Barnhart]. See smart (adj.). Related: Smart-alecky.
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alectryomachy (n.)
also alectoromachy, "cock-fighting," 1650s, from Latinized form of Greek alektryon "cock" (see alectryomancy) + -machy.
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