Etymology
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devise (v.)

early 13c., devisen, "to form, fashion;" c. 1300, "to plan, contrive, think or study out, elaborate in the mind," from Old French deviser "dispose in portions, arrange, plan, contrive" (in Modern French, "to chat, gossip"), from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)).

Sense of "give, assign, or transmit by will" is from late 14c. in English, from Old French, via the notion of "to arrange a division." As a noun, "act of bequeathing by will" (1540s), also "a will or testament." Compare device. Related: Devised; devising.

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knockoff (n.)

also knock-off, "cheap imitation," 1966, from the verbal phrase knock off "do hastily" (1817), in reference to the casual way the things are made. The verbal phrase knock off is attested from 1640s as "desist, stop" (work, study, etc.), hence knockoff (n.) "act of leaving work" (1899) and, probably, the command knock it off "stop it" (1880), which was perhaps reinforced by the auctioneer's use of the term for "dispose of quickly." To knock (someone) off in the underworld slang sense of "kill, murder" is from 1919. See knock (v.) + off (adv.).

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dispensation (n.)
Origin and meaning of dispensation

late 14c., dispensacioun, "power to dispose of," also "act of dispensing or dealing out," also "a relaxation of the law in some particular case," from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation) and directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past-participle stem of dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Related: Dispensational.

Theological sense "method or scheme by which God has developed his purposes and revealed himself to man" (late 14c.) is from the use of the Latin word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration" (see economy). Hence "particular period during which a religious system has prevailed" (1640s), with Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian, etc. Also "a particular distribution (for good or ill) by divine providence" (1650s).

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dispense (v.)
Origin and meaning of dispense

mid-14c., dispensen, "to dispose of, deal or divide out," from Old French dispenser "give out" (13c.), from Latin dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)," frequentative of dispendere "pay out," from dis- "out" (see dis-) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").

In Medieval Latin, dispendere was used in the ecclesiastical sense of "grant licence to do what is forbidden or omit what is required" (a power of popes, bishops, etc.), and thus acquired a sense of "grant remission from punishment or exemption from law," hence the use of the English verb in the senses "to do away with" (1570s), "do without" (c. 1600). The older sense is preserved in dispensary. Related: Dispensed; dispensing.

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shuffle (v.)

1530s, "put together hastily," probably from Middle English shovelen "to move with dragging feet," itself probably a frequentative form of shoven (see shove (v.) and compare scuffle). Or perhaps from Low German schuffeln "to walk clumsily, deal dishonestly."

In reference to playing cards in a pack, "change the relative position of so that they may fall to players in an irregular and unknown order," it is recorded by 1560s, frequently figurative. The meaning "move the feet along the floor without lifting them" is from 1570s.

The meaning "push along gradually, shove little by little" is from 1560s. The meaning "move from one place to another" is from 1690s. The sense of "do a shuffle dance" is by 1818 (Scott, in reference to a dancing bear). Related: Shuffled; shuffling. To shuffle off "get rid of, dispose of" is from Shakespeare (1601).

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cosmos (n.)

c. 1200, "the universe, the world" (but not popular until 1848, when it was taken as the English equivalent to Humboldt's Kosmos in translations from German), from Latinized form of Greek kosmos "order, good order, orderly arrangement," a word with several main senses rooted in those notions: The verb kosmein meant generally "to dispose, prepare," but especially "to order and arrange (troops for battle), to set (an army) in array;" also "to establish (a government or regime);" "to deck, adorn, equip, dress" (especially of women). Thus kosmos had an important secondary sense of "ornaments of a woman's dress, decoration" (compare kosmokomes "dressing the hair," and cosmetic) as well as "the universe, the world."

Pythagoras is said to have been the first to apply this word to "the universe," perhaps originally meaning "the starry firmament," but it later was extended to the whole physical world, including the earth. For specific reference to "the world of people," the classical phrase was he oikoumene (ge) "the inhabited (earth)." Septuagint uses both kosmos and oikoumene. Kosmos also was used in Christian religious writing with a sense of "worldly life, this world (as opposed to the afterlife)," but the more frequent word for this was aiōn, literally "lifetime, age."

The word cosmos often suggested especially "the universe as an embodiment of order and harmony."

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shift (v.)

Middle English shiften, from Old English sciftan, scyftan "arrange, place, put in order" (a sense now obsolete), also "divide, separate, partition; distribute, allot, share" (now obsolete or provincial), from Proto-Germanic *skiftan (source also of Old Norse skipta "to divide, change, separate," Old Frisian skifta "to decide, determine, test," Dutch schiften "to divide, turn," German schichten "to classify," Schicht "shift"). This is said to be related to the source of Old English sceadan "divide, separate" (see shed (v.)).

By c. 1200 as "to dispose; make ready; set in order, control," also intransitive, "take care of oneself." Thus "manage to succeed, make out a livelihood" (as in shift for oneself, 1510s; also compare makeshift).

The sense of "to alter, to change" appeared by mid-13c. (compare shiftless). Also from mid-13c. in the transitive sense of "remove and replace with another or others," originally especially of clothing, hence "put on and replace one's clothes" (c.1400).

From c. 1300 as "to go, move, depart; move (someone or something), transport" as from one place or position to another. The meaning "change the gear setting of an engine" is from 1910; to shift gears in the figurative sense is from 1961. Related: Shifted; shifting.

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scavenger (n.)

1540s, originally "person hired to remove refuse from streets," a modification of Middle English scavager, scawageour (late 14c.), the title of a London official who originally was charged with collecting tax on goods sold by foreign merchants.

This is from Middle English scavage, scauage (Anglo-French scawage) "toll or duty exacted by a local official on goods offered for sale in one's precinct" (c. 1400), from Old North French escauwage "inspection," from a Germanic source (compare Old High German scouwon, Old English sceawian "to look at, inspect;" see show (v.)).

The scavenger later was charged with inspection and maintenance of streets: Blount's description ("Glossographia," 1656) is "an Officer well known in London, that makes clean the streets, by scraping up and carrying away the dust and durt." The modern general sense of the word "one who collects and consumes or puts to use what has been discarded" evolved through the notion of "collect and dispose of rubbish."

The word came to be regarded as an agent noun in -er, but the verb scavenge (q.v.) is a late back-formation from the noun. For the unetymological -n- (c. 1500), compare harbinger, passenger, messenger, etc. Extended 1590s to animals that feed on decaying matter. Scavenger hunt is attested from 1937. Mayhew (1851) has scavagery "street-cleaning, removal of filth from streets."

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sell (v.)

Middle English sellen, from Old English sellan "to give (something to someone), furnish, supply, lend; surrender, give up; deliver to; promise," from Proto-Germanic *saljanan "offer up, deliver" (source also of Old Norse selja "to hand over, deliver, sell;" Old Frisian sella, Old High German sellen "to give, hand over, sell;" Gothic saljan "to offer a sacrifice"), ultimately from PIE root *sel- (3) "to take, grasp."

Meaning "to give up for money,  accept a price or reward for" had emerged by late Old English, but in Chaucer selle still can mean "to give." Students of Old English learn early that the word they encounter that looks like sell usually means "give." An Old English word for "to sell" was bebycgan, from bycgan "to buy."

The meaning "betray for gain" is from c. 1200. Slang meaning "to swindle" is from 1590s. To sell off "dispose of by sale, sell all of" is by 1700. To sell one's soul "make a contract with the devil," often figurative, is from c. 1570. Sell-by in reference to dates stamped on perishable packaged foods is from 1972. To sell like hot cakes is from 1839. To sell (someone) down the river figuratively is by 1927, probably from or with recollection of slavery days, on notion of sale from the Upper South to the cotton plantations of the Deep South (attested in this literal sense since 1851).

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hot (adj.)

Old English hat "hot, flaming, opposite of cold," used of the sun or air, of fire, of objects made hot; also "fervent, fierce, intense, excited," from Proto-Germanic *haita- (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian het, Old Norse heitr, Middle Dutch and Dutch heet, German heiß "hot," Gothic heito "heat of a fever"), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Lithuanian kaisti "to grow hot;" both could be from a substratum word.

With a long vowel in Middle English (rhyming with boat, wrote) which shortened in modern English, perhaps from influence of comparative hotter. As an adverb, Old English hote.

Hot as "full of sexual desire, lustful" is from c. 1500; the sense of "inciting desire" is 18c. Taste sense of "pungent, acrid, biting" is from 1540s. Sense of "exciting, remarkable, very good" is 1895; that of "stolen" is first recorded 1925 (originally with overtones of "easily identified and difficult to dispose of"); that of "radioactive" is from 1942. Of jazz music or combos from 1924.

Hot flashes in the menopausal sense attested from 1887. Hot stuff for anything good or excellent is by 1889, American English. Hot seat is from 1933. Hot potato in figurative sense is from 1846 (from being baked in the fire coals and pulled out hot). Hot cake is from 1680s; to sell like hot cakes is from 1839.

The hot and cold in hide-and-seek or guessing games (19c.) are from hunting (1640s), with notion of tracking a scent. Hot and bothered is by 1921. Hot under the collar in the figurative sense is from 1895.

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