Etymology
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crunch (v.)

1814, "crush with the teeth," a variant of craunch (1630s), which probably is of imitative origin. Meaning "act or proceed with a sound of crunching" is by 1849. Related: Crunched; crunching.

The noun is 1836, "an act of crunching," from the verb; the sense of "critical moment" was popularized 1939 by Winston Churchill, who had used it in his 1938 biography of Marlborough.

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brittle (adj.)
"breaking easily and suddenly," late 14c., britel, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English adjective *brytel, related to brytan "to crush, pound, to break to pieces," from Proto-Germanic stem *brutila- "brittle," from *breutan "to break up" (source also of Old Norse brjota "to break," Old High German brodi "fragile"), from PIE *bhreu- "to cut, break up" (see bruise (v.)). With -le, suffix forming adjectives with meaning "liable to." Related: Brittleness.
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afflict (v.)
late 14c., "to cast down" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French aflicter, from Latin afflictare "to damage, harass, torment," frequentative of affligere (past participle afflictus) "to dash down, overthrow," from ad "to" (see ad-) + fligere (past participle flictus) "to strike," from PIE root *bhlig- "to strike" (source also of Greek phlibein "to press, crush," Czech blizna "scar," Welsh blif "catapult").

The weakened or transferred meaning "to trouble in body or mind, harass, distress," is attested from 1530s. Related: Afflicted; afflicting.
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pound (v.)

Middle English pounen, "pulverize (a herb or an ingredient of a medicine or perfume), grind (grain)," from Old English punian "crush by beating, pulverize, beat, bruise," from West Germanic *puno- (source also of Low German pun, Dutch puin "fragments"). With unetymological -d- from 16c. Meaning "to beat, strike, punch (someone)" is from early 14c. Sense of "beat or thrash as with the fists or a heavy instrument" is by 1790. Related: Pounded; pounding.

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scotch (v.)
"stamp out, crush," 1825, earlier "make harmless for a time" (1798; a sense that derives from an uncertain reading of "Macbeth" III.ii.13), from scocchen "to cut, score, gash, make an incision" (early 15c.), of unknown origin, perhaps [Barnhart] from Anglo-French escocher, Old French cocher "to notch, nick," from coche "a notch, groove," perhaps from Latin coccum "berry of the scarlet oak," which appears notched, from Greek kokkos. Related: Scotched; scotching.
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amyl (n.)
hydrocarbon radical, 1850 (amyle), from Latin amylum "starch," from Greek amylon "fine meal, starch," noun use of neuter of adjective amylos "not ground at the mill," that is, "ground by hand," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + myle "mill" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind"). So called because first obtained from the distilled spirits of potato or grain starch (though it also is obtained from other sources). In 16c. English amyl meant "starch, fine flour."
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ormolu (n.)

1765, "an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin resembling gold," from French or moulu, literally "ground gold," from or "gold" (from Latin aurum, from PIE *aus- (2) "gold;" see aureate) + moulu "ground up," past participle of moudre "to grind," from Latin molere "to grind" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind"). The sense of the word before it reached English began as "gold leaf prepared for gilding bronze, brass, etc.," then shifted to "gilded bronze," then to various prepared metallic substances resembling it.

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mallet (n.)

"small wooden hammer," chiefly used for driving another tool, late 14c., from Old French maillet "mallet, small wooden hammer, door-knocker," diminutive of mail, from Latin malleus "a hammer, mallet," from Proto-Italic *molalo-, *molklo- "hammer," from PIE *molkh-tlo- "crushing instrument," source also of Russian molot, Czech mlat "hammer," from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." It is wielded with one hand, while the heavier mall or maul requires both.

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emolument (n.)

mid-15c., "the profit arising from office or employment, that which is given as compensation for services," from Old French émolument "advantage, gain, benefit; income, revenue" (13c.) and directly from Latin emolumentum "profit, gain, advantage, benefit," perhaps originally "payment to a miller for grinding corn," from emolere "grind out," from assimilated form of ex "out" (see ex-) + molere "to grind" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind"). Formerly also "profit, advantage, gain in general, that which promotes the good of any person or thing" (1630s).

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grind (v.)

Old English grindan "to rub together, crush into powder, grate, scrape," forgrindan "destroy by crushing" (class III strong verb; past tense grand, past participle grunden), from Proto-Germanic *grindanan (source also of Dutch grenden), related to ground (v.), from PIE *ghrendh- "to grind" (source also of Latin frendere "to gnash the teeth," Greek khondros "corn, grain," Lithuanian grendu, gręsti "to scrape, scratch"). Meaning "to make smooth or sharp by friction" is from c. 1300. Most other Germanic languages use a verb cognate with Latin molere (compare Dutch malen, Old Norse mala, German mahlen).

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