"to kick a ball dropped from the hands before it hits the ground," 1845, first in a Rugby list of football rules, of obscure origin; perhaps from dialectal punt "to push, strike," alteration of Midlands dialect bunt "to push, butt with the head," of unknown origin, perhaps echoic (compare bunt).
Student slang meaning "give up, drop a course so as not to fail," 1970s, is because a U.S. football team punts when it cannot advance the ball. Related: Punted; punting.
"first appearance in public or before society," 1751, from French début "first appearance," a figurative use from débuter "make the first stroke at billiards," also "to lead off at bowls" (a game akin to bowling), 16c., from but "mark, goal," from Old French but "end" (see butt (n.3)). The verb is first attested 1830. Related: Debuted; debuting.
Début can only be pronounced as French, and should not be used by anyone who shrinks from the necessary effort. [Fowler]
MAKE WEIGHT. A small candle: a term applied to a little slender man. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
For the formation, compare makeshift, also make-sport (1610s), makegame (1762) "a laughing stock, a butt for jokes;" makebate "one who excites contentions and quarrels" (1520s); makepeace "a peace-maker, one who reconciles persons at variance" (early 13c. as a surname).
a shortened form of cockroach, on the mistaken notion that it is a compound, attested by 1830.
In contemporary writing the shortening sometimes is credited to a polite desire to avoid the sexual connotation in the first syllable of the full word, especially among Americans, but this seems to be another English fiction and early uses typically are in natural history publications.
The Translator must ask pardon of any American lady, into whose hands this book may by chance fall, for making use of so vulgar a term. "Cock-roaches" in the United States, as we are told by one of the numerous English travellers through that country, are always called "roaches" by the fair sex, for the sake of euphony. [B.D. Walsh, footnote in translation of "The Acharnians," 1848]
The meaning "butt of a marijuana cigarette" is recorded by 1938, perhaps from resemblance to the insect but rather this might be a different word entirely. Related: Roach-clip (by 1968).
mid-15c., Scottish gouf, usually taken as an alteration of Middle Dutch colf, colve "stick, club, bat," from Proto-Germanic *kulth- (source also of Old Norse kolfr "clapper of a bell," German Kolben "mace, club, butt-end of a gun"). The game is from 14c., the word is first mentioned (along with fut-bol) in a 1457 Scottish statute on forbidden games (a later ordinance decrees, "That in na place of the realme thair be vsit fut-ballis, golf, or vther sic unprofitabill sportis" [Acts James IV, 1491, c.53]). Despite what you read on the internet, "golf" is not an acronym (this story seems to date back no earlier than 1997). Golf ball attested from 1540s; the motorized golf-cart from 1951. Golf widow is from 1890.
Oh! who a golfer's bride would be,
Fast mated with a laddie
Who every day goes out to tee
And with him takes the caddie.
["The Golf Widow's Lament," in Golf magazine, Oct. 31, 1890]
small city in Illinois, U.S., originally the name of a subdivision of the Miami/Illinois people (1673), from native /peewaareewa/. Their own name is said to mean "carriers." The place name also is found in Oklahoma and Iowa, but it is the Illinois city that has been proverbially regarded as the typical measure of U.S. cultural and intellectual standards at least since Ambrose Bierce (c. 1890). Also the butt of baseball player jokes (c. 1920-40, when a team there was part of the St. Louis Cardinals farm system) and popularized in the catchphrase It'll play in Peoria (often negative), meaning "the average American will approve," which was popular in the Nixon White House (1969-74) but seems to have had a vaudeville origin. Personification in little old lady in Peoria is said to be from Harold Ross of the New Yorker. Peoria's rivals as embodiment of U.S. small city values and standards include Dubuque, Iowa; Hoboken and Hackensack, N.J.; Oakland (Gertrude Stein: "When you get there, there isn't any there there") and Burbank, Calif., and the entire state of North Dakota.