Etymology
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spam (n.)
proprietary name registered by Geo. A. Hormel & Co. in U.S., 1937; probably a conflation of spiced ham. Soon extended to other kinds of canned meat.

In the sense of "internet junk mail" it was coined by Usenet users after March 31, 1993, when Usenet administrator Richard Depew inadvertently posted the same message 200 times to a discussion group. The term had been used in online text games, and ultimately it is from a 1970 sketch on the British TV show "Monty Python's Flying Circus" wherein a reading of a restaurant's menu devolves into endless repetitions of "spam."
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carnival (n.)
1540s, "time of merrymaking before Lent," from French carnaval, from Italian carnevale "Shrove Tuesday," from older Italian forms such as Milanese *carnelevale, Old Pisan carnelevare "to remove meat," literally "raising flesh," from Latin caro "flesh" (originally "a piece of flesh," from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut") + levare "lighten, raise, remove" (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight").

Folk etymology is from Medieval Latin carne vale " 'flesh, farewell!' " From 1590s in figurative sense "feasting or revelry in general." Meaning "a circus or amusement fair" is attested by 1926 in American English.
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ballyhoo (n.)

"publicity, hype," 1908, from circus slang, "a short sample of a sideshow" used to lure customers (1901), which is of unknown origin. The word seems to have been in use in various colloquial senses in the 1890s. To catch ballyhoo is attested from 1895 in sense "be in trouble." There is a village of Ballyhooly in County Cork, Ireland, (the Bally- is a common Irish place-name element meaning "a town, village") but there is no evident sense connection to it. In nautical lingo, ballahou or ballahoo (1867, perhaps 1836) was a sailor's contemptuous word for any vessel they disliked (from Spanish balahu "schooner"). As a verb from 1901 (implied in ballyhooer).

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faction (n.1)

c. 1500, from French faction (14c.) and directly from Latin factionem (nominative factio) "political party, class of persons," literally "a making or doing," noun of action from past participle stem of facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). In ancient Rome, originally "one of the four teams of contenders for the chariot races in the circus," distinguished by the color of their dress. Later "oligarchy, usurping faction, party seeking by irregular means to bring about a change in government."

A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses for which they would blush in a private capacity. [Hamilton, "The Federalist," No. 15]
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shill (n.)

"one who acts as a decoy for a gambler, auctioneer, etc.," by 1911, in newspaper exposés of fake auctions, perhaps originally a word from U.S. circus or carnival argot and a shortened form of shilaber, shillaber (1908) "one who attempts to lure or customers," itself of unknown origin and also a surname. Carny slang often is deeply obscure. The verb, "act as a shill," is attested by 1914. Related: Shilled; shilling.

The auction game, as practice in Chicago on South State street, for instance, is a sordid affair, run according to cut and dried rules which admit of no freshness or originality. The list of employees is made up of one backer, or proprietor, two auctioneers, one pretty girl cashier, and from two to ten "shills," whose business it is to stand around in the crowd and make fake bids for the articles on sale. [The Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 12, 1912]
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cop (n.)

"policeman," 1859, abbreviation (said to be originally thieves' slang) of earlier copper (n.2), which is attested from 1846, agent noun from cop (v.) "to capture or arrest as a prisoner." Cop-shop "police station" is attested from 1941. The children's game of cops and robbers is attested from 1900.

Each child in Heaven's playground knows each other child by name.
They choose up sides as all take part in some exciting game
Like Hide=and=Seek, Red Rover, Cops and Robbers, Pris'ner's Base.
Our Lord is glad to referee their every game and race.

[John Bernard Kelly, "Heaven is a Circus," 1900]

English has many nouns cop, some archaic or obsolete, many connected more or less obscurely to Old English cop "top, summit," which is related to the source of cup (n.).

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three (adj., n.)

"1 more than two; the number which is one more than two; a symbol representing this number;" Old English þreo, fem. and neuter (masc. þri, þrie), from Proto-Germanic *thrijiz (source also of Old Saxon thria, Old Frisian thre, Middle Dutch and Dutch drie, Old High German dri, German drei, Old Norse þrir, Danish tre), from nominative plural of PIE root *trei- "three" (source also of Sanskrit trayas, Avestan thri, Greek treis, Latin tres, Lithuanian trys, Old Church Slavonic trye, Irish and Welsh tri "three").

3-D first attested 1952, abbreviation of three-dimensional (1878). Three-piece suit is recorded from 1909. Three cheers for ______ is recorded from 1751. Three-martini lunch is attested from 1972. Three-ring circus is recorded by 1898. Three-sixty "complete turnaround" is from 1927, originally among aviators, in reference to the number of degrees in a full circle. Three musketeers translates French les trois mousquetaires, title of the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas père.

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double (v.)

c. 1200, doublen, "to make double; increase, enlarge, or extend by adding an equal portion, measure, or value to," from Old French dobler, from Latin duplare, from duplus "twofold, twice as much" (see double (adj.)). Intransitive sense of "to become twice as great" is from late 14c.

From mid-14c. as "to duplicate;" from late 14c. as "to repeat, do twice;" from c. 1400 in the transitive sense of "lay or fold one part of upon another." By 1540s as "to pass round or by." Sense of "turn in the opposite direction" is from 1590s. Meaning "to bend or fold" (a part of the body) is from early 15c.; to double up bodily is from 1814.

A blow on the stomach "doubles up" the boxer, and occasions that gasping and crowing which sufficiently indicate the cause of the injury .... [Donald Walker, "Defensive Exercises," 1840]

Meaning "to work as, in addition to one's regular job" is c. 1920, circus slang, from performers who also played in the band. Related: Doubled; doubling.

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big (adj.)

c. 1300, at first found chiefly in northern England and north Midlands writing, "powerful, strong," of obscure origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian dialectal bugge "great man"). Old English used micel (see much) in many of the same senses. It came into general use c. 1400. Meaning "of great size" is late 14c.; that of "full-grown, grown up" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "important, influential, powerful" is from c. 1400. Meaning "haughty, inflated with pride" is from 1570s. Meaning "generous" is U.S. colloquial by 1913.

Big band as a musical style is from 1926. Slang big head "conceit" is first recorded 1850. Big business "large commercial firms collectively" is from 1913 (before that it meant "a profitable income in business"). Big top "main tent of a circus" is from 1895. Big game "large animals hunted for sport" is from 1864. Big house "penitentiary" is U.S. underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, "a workhouse," 1851). In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956. Big lie is from Hitler's grosse Lüge.

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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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