"act of castrating," early 15c., castracioun, from Latin castrationem (nominative castratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of castrare "to castrate, emasculate," supposedly from a noun *castrum "knife, instrument that cuts," from PIE root *kes- "to cut." Freud's castration complex is attested from 1914 in English (translating German Kastrationsangst).
1727, "ornamental groove in sculpture or architecture," from French glyphe (1701), from Greek glyphē "a carving," from glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve," also "to note down" on tablets, from PIE root *gleubh- "to cut, slice, tear apart." Meaning "sculpted mark or symbol" (as in hieroglyph) is from 1825. Related: Glyphic.
"to deprive of the testicles, emasculate," 1610s (implied in castrated), back-formation from castration (q.v.), or from Latin castratus, past participle of castrare "to castrate, emasculate; to prune," supposedly from a noun *castrum "knife, instrument that cuts," from PIE root *kes- "to cut." The figurative sense "destroy the strength or vitality of" is attested earlier (1550s). Related: Castrating.
also cliffhanger, "suspenseful situation," 1950, a transferred use from an earlier meaning "movie serial" (1937), from cliff + hang (v.). In some U.S. continued-next-week silent cinema serials in the "Perils of Pauline" days, the episode often ended with the heroine "hanging over a cliff from a fraying rope through which the villain was sawing with a dull knife, to be saved by Crane Wilbur or Milton Sills" [Collier's magazine, July 6, 1946].
"shoot inserted into another plant," late 15c. alteration of Middle English graff (late 14c.), from Old French graife "grafting knife, carving tool; stylus, pen," from Latin graphium "stylus," from Greek grapheion "stylus," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). So called probably on resemblance of a stylus to the pencil-shaped shoots used in grafting. The terminal -t in the English word is not explained. Surgical sense is from 1871.
It forms all or part of: caret; cashier (v.) "dismiss;" cassation; caste; castellan; castellated; Castile; castle; castigate; castrate; castration; chaste; chastity; chateau; chatelaine; Chester; forecastle; incest; quash (v.) "make void, annul."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sastra- "knife, dagger;" Greek keazein "to split;" Latin carere "to be cut off from," cassus "empty, void;" Old Church Slavonic kosa "scythe."