Etymology
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Azerbaijan 

country name, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old Persian Aturpatakan, from Greek Atropatenē, from the Persian satrap Atropates, who ruled there in the time of Alexander the Great; or from local azer "fire" + baydjan (Iranian baykan) "guardian," in reference to fire-worship. Related: Azerbaijani.

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Ajax 

name of two Greek heroes in the Trojan War (Great Ajax, son of Telamon, and Little Ajax, son of Oileus), Latin, from Greek Aias, perhaps originally the name of an earth-god, from aia "earth." The Elizabethans punned on the name as a jakes "a privy."

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Copernicus 

Latinized form of name of Mikolaj Koppernigk (1473-1543), Prussian Polish physician and canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg who promulgated the theory that the Earth and the planets revolve about the sun. His great work was "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium." Related: Copernican (1660s).

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Guelph (n.)

also Guelf, one of the two great parties in medieval Italian politics, characterized by support of the popes against the emperors (opposed to the Ghibellines), 1570s, from Italian Guelfo, from Old High German Welf, name of a princely family that became the ducal house of Brunswick, literally "whelp," originally the name of the founder (Welf I). The family are the ancestors of the present dynasty of Great Britain. The name is said to have been used as a war-cry at the Battle of Weinsberg (1140) by partisans of Henry the Lion, duke of Bavaria, who was of the family, against Emperor Conrad III; hence it was adopted in Italy as the name of the anti-imperial party in the Middle Ages.

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Comanche (n.)

Native-American people from the southwestern Great Plains, 1819, from Spanish, from a word in a Shoshonean language, such as Ute kimánci "enemy, foreigner." Their territory was Comancheria. Comanchero was a 19c. name given to Hispanic and American traders who dealt with the Comanches.

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Waterloo (n.)

village near Brussels; the great battle there took place June 18, 1815; extended sense of "a final, crushing defeat" is first attested 1816 in letter of Lord Byron. The second element in the place name is from Flemish loo "sacred wood" (see lea (n.)).

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Byzantium 

ancient Greek settlement in Thrace on the European side of the Bosphorus, said to be named for its 7c. B.C.E. founder, Byzas of Megara. A place of little consequence until 330 C.E., when Constantine the Great re-founded it and made it his capital (see Constantinople).

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Raphael 

masc. proper name, name of a Biblical archangel (Apocrypha), from Late Latin, from Greek Rhaphael, from Hebrew Repha'el, literally "God has healed," from rapha "he healed" + el "God." Raphaelesque (1832) is in reference to the great Renaissance painter Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520). Also see Pre-Raphaelite.

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Big Dipper (n.)

American English name for the seven-star asterism (known in England as the plough; see Charles's Wain) in the constellation Ursa Major, 1845; attested 1833 as simply the Dipper (sometimes Great Dipper, its companion constellation always being the Little Dipper). See dipper.

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Augustine (adj.)

c. 1400 in reference to members of the religious order named for St. Augustine the Great (354-430), bishop of Hippo. The name is Latin Augustinus, from augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble" (see august (adj.)) + name-forming element -inus (see -ine (1)). Related: Augustinian.

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