Etymology
Advertisement
Bow bells (n.)
"born within the sound of Bow Bells" is the traditional (since early 17c.) definition of a Cockney; the reference is to the bells of the church of St. Mary-le-Bow in London's Cheapside district. A church or chapel probably stood there in Anglo-Saxon times, and has been rebuilt many times (it was last destroyed in a 1941 air raid); the bells were noted for their sound from 16c., and a great bell hung there from 1762 to 1941. The church was noted from medieval times for its arches, hence the name, from bow (n.1).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Beguine (n.)
late 15c., from French béguine (13c.), Medieval Latin beguina, "a member of a women's spiritual order professing poverty and self-denial, founded c.1180 in Liege in the Low Countries." They are said to take their name from the surname of Lambert le Bègue "Lambert the Stammerer," a Liege priest who was instrumental in their founding, and it's likely the word was pejorative at first. French bègue is of unknown origin. Related: Beguinage.

The women's order, though sometimes persecuted, generally preserved its good reputation, but it quickly drew imposters who did not; nonetheless it eventually was condemned as heretical. A male order, called Beghards founded communities by the 1220s in imitation of them, but they soon degenerated (compare Old French beguin "(male) Beguin," also "hypocrite") and wandered begging in the guise of religion; they likely were the source of the words beg and beggar, though there is disagreement over whether Beghard produced Middle Dutch beggaert "mendicant" or was produced by it. The male order was condemned by the Church early 14c. and vanished by mid-16c.

Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" (1935) refers to a kind of popular dance of West Indian origin, from French colloquial béguin "an infatuation, boyfriend, girlfriend," earlier "child's bonnet," and before that "nun's headdress" (14c.), from Middle Dutch beggaert, ultimately the same word as the above. Compare English biggin "child's cap" (1520s), from the French word.
Related entries & more 
Bessemer (adj.)
by 1856 in reference to the process for decarbonizing and desiliconizing pig iron by passing air through the molten metal, named for engineer and inventor Sir Harry Bessemer (1813-1898) who invented it.
Related entries & more 
Bearnaise (n.)
"egg-and-butter sauce," 1877, from French sauce béarnaise, from fem. of béarnais "of Béarn," region in southwest France (named for the Benarni, a Gaulish tribe).
Related entries & more 
Beatrice 
fem. proper name, from French Béatrice, from Latin beatrix, fem. of beatricem "who makes happy," from beatus "happy, blessed," past participle of beare "make happy, bless," which is possibly from PIE *dweye-, suffixed form of root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor, revere." De Vaan finds the connection "semantically attractive, but the morphology is unclear."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Belial 
early 13c., from Late Latin, from Greek, from Hebrew bel'yya'al "destruction," literally "worthless," from b'li "without" + ya'al "use." Wickedness as an evil force (Deuteronomy xiii.13); later treated as a proper name of Satan (2 Corinthians vi.15), though Milton made him one of the fallen angels.
Related entries & more 
Berber 
1820 (n.); 1832 (adj.), from the Arabic name for the peoples living in the mountains and deserts of North Africa west of Egypt; perhaps ultimately from Greek barbaros "barbarians" (see Barbary). By 1854 as the name of their Hamitic language.
Related entries & more 
Berenice 

fem. proper name, from Latin Berenice, from Macedonian Greek Berenike (classical Greek Pherenike), literally "bringer of victory," from pherein "to bring" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry") + nikē "victory" (see Nike).

The constellation Berenice's Hair (Coma Berenices) is from the story of the pilfered amber locks of the wife of Ptolemy Euergetes, king of Egypt, c. 248 B.C.E., which the queen cut off as an offering to Venus. The constellation features a dim but visible star cluster; Ptolemy (the astronomer) regarded it as the tuft of fur at the end of Leo's tail, but German cartographer Caspar Vopel put it on his 1536 globe, and it endured. Berenice's Hair is also sometimes incorrectly given as an old name of the star Canopus based on Holland's mistranslation of Pliny in 1601.

Related entries & more 
Benin 
former West African kingdom, from the Bini people, whose name is perhaps related to Arabic bani "sons." Though the people now is associated with Nigeria, the name was taken 1974 by the former nation of Dahomey.
Related entries & more 
Betsy 
fem. pet name, a diminutive of Bet, itself short for Elizabet or Elizabeth. Betsy or Bessy (a variant form) as the typical pet-name for a favorite firearm is attested in American English by 1856 (compare Brown Bess, by 1785, British army slang for the old flintlock musket).
Related entries & more 

Page 4