Etymology
Advertisement
basket (n.)

early 13c., from Anglo-French bascat; of obscure origin despite much speculation. On one theory, it is from Latin bascauda "kettle, table-vessel," said by the Roman poet Martial to be from Celtic British and perhaps cognate with Latin fascis "bundle, faggot," in which case it probably originally meant "wicker basket." But OED frowns on this, and there is no evidence of such a word in Celtic unless later words in Irish and Welsh, sometimes counted as borrowings from English, are original. As "a goal in the game of basketball," 1892; as "a score in basketball," by 1898.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
testimony (n.)
c. 1400, "proof or demonstration of some fact, evidence, piece of evidence;" early 15c., "legal testimony, sworn statement of a witness," from Old North French testimonie (Old French testimoine 11c.), from Latin testimonium "evidence, proof, witness, attestation," from testis "a witness, one who attests" (see testament) + -monium, suffix signifying action, state, condition. Despite the common modern assertion, the sense of the word is unlikely to have anything to do with testicles (see testis).

Earliest attested sense in English is "the Ten Commandments" (late 14c.), from Vulgate use of Late Latin testimonium, along with Greek to martyrion (Septuagint), translations of Hebrew 'eduth "attestation, testimony" (of the Decalogue), from 'ed "witness."
Related entries & more 
enlightenment (n.)

1660s, "action of enlightening," from enlighten + -ment. Used only in figurative sense, of spiritual enlightenment, etc. Attested from 1865 as a translation of German Aufklärung, a name for the spirit of independent thought and rationalistic system of 18c. Continental philosophers.

For the philosophes, man was not a sinner, at least not by nature; human nature — and this argument was subversive, in fact revolutionary, in their day — is by origin good, or at least neutral. Despite the undeniable power of man's antisocial passions, therefore, the individual may hope for improvement through his own efforts — through education, participation in politics, activity in behalf of reform, but not through prayer. [Peter Gay, "The Enlightenment"]
Related entries & more 
jolie laide (n.)

"girl or woman whose attractiveness defies standards of beauty," 1849, a French expression (by 1780 in French), from fem. singular of joli "pretty" (see jolly) + laid "ugly," from Frankish *laid (see loath (adj.)).

Of beauty, as we narrowly understand it in England, [the 18c. French woman of society] had but little; but she possessed so many other witcheries that her habitual want of features and complexion ceased to count against her. Expression redeemed the absence of prettiness and the designation jolie laide was invented for her in order to express her power of pleasing despite her ugliness. ["The Decadence of French Women," Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, October 1881]
Related entries & more 
fencing (n.)
mid-15c., "defending, act of protecting or keeping (something) in proper condition" (short for defencing); 1580s in the sense "art of using a sword or foil in attack and defense" (also fence-play); verbal noun from fence (v.). Meaning "putting up of fences" is from 1620s; that of "an enclosure" is from 1580s; meaning "receiving stolen goods" is from 1851 (see fence (n.)); meaning "materials for an enclosure" is from 1856.

Despite the re-enactment in 1285 of the Assize of Arms of 1181, fencing was regarded as unlawful in England. The keeping of fencing schools was forbidden in the City of London, "as fools who delight in mischief do learn to fence with buckler, and thereby are encouraged in their follies."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
prejudice (n.)

c. 1300, "despite, contempt," from Old French prejudice "a prejudice, prejudgment; damage" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prejudicium "injustice," from Latin praeiudicium "prior judgment, judicial examination before trial; damage, harm," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + iudicium "judgment," from iudex (genitive iudicis) "a judge" (see judge (n.)).

Meaning "injury, physical harm" is mid-14c., as is the legal sense of "detriment or damage caused by the violation of a legal right." Meaning "preconceived opinion" (especially but not necessarily unfavorable) is from late 14c. in English; now usually "decision formed without due examination of the facts or arguments necessary to a just and impartial decision." To terminate with extreme prejudice "kill" is by 1972, said to be CIA jargon.

Related entries & more 
gem (n.)

"a precious stone" (especially when cut or polished), c. 1300, probably from Old French gemme (12c.), from Latin gemma "precious stone, jewel," originally "bud," from Proto-Italic *gebma- "bud, sprout," from PIE *geb-m- "sprout, bud" (source also of Lithuanian žembėti "to germinate, sprout," Old Church Slavonic prozebnoti "to germinate").

The two competing traditional etymologies trace it either to the root *gembh- "tooth, nail" [Watkins] or *gem- "'to press." De Vaan finds the second "semantically unconvincing" and leans toward the first despite the difficult sense connection.

Of persons, "a rare or excellent example (of something)" from late 13c. Alternative forms iemme, gimme persisted into 14c. and might represent a survival of Old English gimm "precious stone, gem, jewel," also "eye," which was borrowed directly from Latin gemma.

Related entries & more 
rhomb (n.)

geometric figure, "oblique-angled equilateral parallelogram," 1570s, from French rhombe, from Latin rhombus "a magician's circle," also a kind of fish, which in Late Latin took on also the geometric sense. This is from Greek rhombos "circular movement, spinning motion; spinning-top; magic wheel used by sorcerers; tambourine;" also "a geometrical rhomb," also the name of a flatfish.

Watkins has this from rhembesthai "to spin, whirl," from PIE *wrembh-, from *werbh- "to turn, twist, bend" (source also of Old English weorpan "to throw away"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend" (see versus). But Beekes connects rhombos to rhembomai "to go about, wander, roam about, act random," despite this being attested "much later," a word of no clear etymology.

In general use in reference to any lozenge-shaped object. Related: Rhombic.

Related entries & more 
kibosh (n.)

1836, kye-bosk, in British English slang phrase put the kibosh on, of unknown origin, despite intense speculation. The earliest citation is in Dickens. Looks Yiddish, but its original appearance in a piece set in the heavily Irish "Seven Dials" neighborhood in the West End of London seems to argue against this.

One candidate is Irish caip bháis, caipín báis "cap of death," sometimes said to be the black cap a judge would don when pronouncing a death sentence, but in other sources this is identified as a gruesome method of execution "employed by Brit. forces against 1798 insurgents" [Bernard Share, "Slanguage, A Dictionary of Irish Slang"]. Coles' dictionary of "difficult terms" (1684) has cabos'd "having the head cut off close to the shoulders." Or the word might somehow be connected with Turkish bosh (see bosh).

Related entries & more 
luncheon (n.)
"light repast between mealtimes," 1650s (lunching; spelling luncheon by 1706); earlier "thick piece, hunk (of bread)," 1570s (luncheon), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps it is based on northern English dialectal lunch "hunk of bread or cheese" (1580s; said to be probably from Spanish lonja "a slice," literally "loin"), blended with or influenced by nuncheon (Middle English nonechenche, mid-14c.) "light mid-day meal," from none "noon" (see noon) + schench "drink," from Old English scenc, from scencan "pour out."

Despite the form lunching in the 1650s source OED discounts that it possibly could be from lunch (v.), which is first attested more than a century later. It suggests perhaps an analogy with truncheon, etc., or to simulate a French origin. Especially in reference to an early afternoon meal eaten by those who have a noontime dinner.
Related entries & more 

Page 4