late 14c., phitonesse, Phitonissa, "woman with the power of soothsaying," from Old French phitonise (13c.) and Medieval Latin phitonissa, from Late Latin pythonissa, used in Vulgate of the Witch of Endor (I Samuel xxviii.7), and often treated as her proper name. It is the fem. of pytho "familiar spirit;" which ultimately is connected with the title of the prophetess of the Delphic Oracle, Greek pythia hiereia, from Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pythō, an older name of the region of Delphi (see python). The classical spelling was restored 16c.
Roman god of the underworld, early 14c., from Latin Pluto, Pluton, from Greek Ploutōn "god of wealth," from ploutos "wealth, riches," probably originally "overflowing," from PIE root *pleu- "to flow." The alternative Greek name or epithet of Hades in his function as the god of wealth (precious metals and gems, coming from beneath the earth, form part of his realm). The planet (since downgraded) was discovered 1930 by U.S. astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh; Minerva also was suggested as a name for it. The cartoon dog first appeared in Walt Disney's "Moose Hunt," released April 1931.
"period of four years" (between Olympic games), late 14c., from Old French olimpiade "period of four years," from Latin Olympiadem, from Greek olympiados, genitive of Olympias "Olympian, of or pertaining to Olympus," an epithet of the muses, as a noun, "the Olympic games; a victor at Olympia; the space of four years between the celebrations of the Olympic games"(see Olympic). Used by ancient Greeks as a unit in computing time. Revived in modern usage with revival of the games, 1896. Related: Olympiadic.
To turn an Olympiad into a year B.C, multiply by 4, add the year of the Olympiad less 1, and subtract from 780. [Century Dictionary]
1580s, Latin form of Greek lykeion, name of a grove or garden with covered walks in the eastern suburb of ancient Athens, also the site of an athletic facility. Aristotle taught there. The name is from the neuter of Lykeios, an epithet of Apollo under which he had a temple nearby, which probably meant or was understood to mean "wolfish" (the exact legend appears to have become muddled), from lykos "wolf" (see wolf (n.)). Frazer (Pausanias) notes "The same epithet was applied to Apollo at Sicyon and Argos," and adds that "Wolves were dear to Apollo ... and they frequently appear in the myths told of him," and lists several.
But what gives the Lyceum its chief interest is that here, pacing the shady walks of the gymnasium, Aristotle expounded to his disciples that philosophy which was destined to influence so profoundly the course of European thought for two thousand years. [Frazer, "Pausanias's Description of Greece"]
Hence lycée, name given in France to secondary schools maintained by the state (a pupil is a lycéen). In England, early 19c., lyceum was the name taken by a number of literary societies (based on a similar use in late 18c. French); in U.S., after c. 1820, it was taken by institutes that sponsored popular lectures in science and literature, and their halls. Related: Lyceal
1630s, "Any rhyming verse in which the meter is forced into metronomic regularity by the stressing of normally unstressed syllables and in which rhyme is forced or banal" [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry"]. Earlier as an adjective (rim doggerel, late 14c.), an epithet applied to loose, irregular verse in burlesque poetry.
Probably from pejorative suffix -rel + dog (n.), but the sense connection is not obvious. Perhaps it was applied to bad poetry with a suggestion of puppyish clumsiness, or being fit only for dogs, or from the "mean, contemptible" associations of dog in Middle English. Attested as a surname from late 13c., but the sense is not evident. Related: Doggerelist.
Italian family that ruled Florence during the 15c., originally the plural of medico "a physician," from Latin medicus (see medical (adj.)). Related: Medicean.
[A]n illustrious family of Florence, appearing first as merchants of the medieval republic, and at the dawn of the Renaissance, in the fifteenth century, raised to supreme power through their liberality and merit. From this time on for three centuries, amid fortunes of varying brilliancy, this family produced popes, sovereigns, and tyrants, and it occupies a large place in the history of Europe. In the fine arts and literature the epithet has particular reference to Cosimo dei Medici, known as Cosimo the Elder, and to Lorenzo the Magnificent. [Century Dictionary]
"small, hanging piece from a garment," c. 1400, of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian tagg "point, prong, barb," Swedish tagg "prickle, thorn") and related to Middle Low German tagge "branch, twig, spike"), from Proto-Germanic *tag-. The sense development might be "point of metal at the end of a cord, string, etc.," hence "part hanging loose." Or perhaps ultimately from PIE *dek-, a root forming words referring to "fringe; horsetail; locks of hair" (see tail (n.1)).
Meaning "a label" is first recorded 1835; sense of "automobile license-plate" is recorded from 1935, originally underworld slang. Meaning "an epithet, popular designation" is recorded from 1961, hence slang verb meaning "write graffiti in public places" (1990).
1580s, with a capital -c-, "resembling Cynic philosophers," from cynic + -al (1). By 1660s (with a lower-case -c-) the meaning had shaded into the general one of "disposed to disbelieve or doubt the sincerity or value of social usages or personal character or motives and to express it by sarcasm and sneers, disparaging of the motives of others, captious, peevish." Related: Cynically.
Cynical expresses a perverse disposition to put an unfavorable interpretation upon conduct, or to exercise austerity under profession of a belief in the worthlessness of any offered form of enjoyment. Misanthropic expresses a hatred of mankind as a race. Pessimistic is primarily and generally a philosophical epithet, applying to those who hold that the tendency of things is only or on the whole toward evil. [Century Dictionary]
c. 1500, "resplendent" (obsolete), from Latin flagrantem (nominative flagrans) "burning, blazing, glowing," figuratively "glowing with passion, eager, vehement," present participle of flagrare "to burn, blaze, glow," from Proto-Italic *flagro- "burning" (source also of Oscan flagio-, an epithet of Iuppiter), corresponding to PIE *bhleg-ro-, from *bhleg- "to shine, flash, burn" (source also of Greek phlegein "to burn, scorch," Latin fulgere "to shine"), from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn." Sense of "glaringly offensive, scandalous" (rarely used of persons) first recorded 1706, probably from common legalese phrase flagrante delicto "while the crime is being committed, red-handed," literally "with the crime still blazing." Related: Flagrantly.