1530s, "one who robs or plunders," agent noun from spoil (v.). Meaning "one who mars another's chance at victory" is attested from 1950 in U.S. politics, perhaps from boxing. Aeronautics sense is from 1928, because the flap thwarts the "lift" on the plane; transferred to structures serving a similar purpose on speedboats (1957) and motor vehicles (1963). Meaning "information about the plot of a movie, etc., which might 'spoil' it for one who has not seen it" is attested by 1982.
"edifice or project requiring constant outlay of cash with little to show for it," 1986 (year of a movie of the same name); see money (n.) + pit (n.). Before that (1930s), it was used for the shaft on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, that supposedly leads to treasure buried by Capt. Kidd or some other pirate. "Whether that name refers to the treasure or the several million dollars spent trying to get the treasure out is unclear." [Popular Mechanics, Sept. 1976]
second letter of the Latin alphabet, corresponding to Greek beta, Phoenician beth, literally "house." It "has nothing of that variety of pronunciation shown by most English letters" [Century Dictionary]. The Germanic "b" is said to represent a "bh" sound in Proto-Indo-European, which continued as "bh" in Sanskrit, became "ph" in Greek (brother/Greek phrater; bear (v.)/Greek pherein) and "f" in Latin (frater, ferre).
Often indicating "second in order." B-movie is by 1939, usually said to be so called from being the second, or supporting, film in a double feature. Some film industry sources say it was so called for being the second of the two films major studios generally made in a year, and the one cast with less headline talent and released with less promotion. And early usage varies with grade-B movie, suggesting a perceived association with quality.
B-side of a gramophone single is by 1962 (flip-side is by 1949). B-girl, abbreviation of bar girl, U.S. slang for a woman paid to encourage customers at a bar to buy her drinks, is by 1936.
1725, "the need very badly to urinate," from Latin micturitum, from past participle of micturire "to desire to urinate," desiderative of mingere "to urinate," from PIE root *meigh- "to urinate." As during the final 20 minutes of a 4-hour film after drinking a 32-ounce Mountain Dew from the snack bar and the movie ends with a drawn-out farewell scene while Frodo is standing on the pier and wavelets lap audibly on the dock the whole time as if the director was a sadist set on compounding your torment. Also used, incorrectly, for "act of urinating."
by 1910, American English underworld slang, from hobo slang, "naive young boy," but especially "a catamite;" specifically "a young male kept as a sexual companion, especially by an older tramp," from Yiddish genzel, from German Gänslein "gosling, young goose" (see goose (n.)). The secondary, non-sexual meaning "young hoodlum" seems to be entirely traceable to Dashiell Hammett, who sneaked it into "The Maltese Falcon" (1929) while warring with his editor over the book's racy language:
"Another thing," Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: "Keep that gunsel away from me while you're making up your mind. I'll kill him."
The context implies some connection with gun and a sense of "gunman," and evidently that is what the editor believed it to mean. The word was retained in the script of the 1941 movie made from the book, so evidently the Motion Picture Production Code censors didn't know it either.
The relationship between Kasper Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet) and his young hit-man companion, Wilmer Cook (Elisha Cook, Jr.), is made fairly clear in the movie, but the overt mention of sexual perversion would have been deleted if the censors hadn't made the same mistaken assumption as Hammett's editor. [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1989, p.184]
late 14c., "one to whom special duty is entrusted by a higher power," from Medieval Latin commissarius, from Latin commissus "entrusted," past participle of committere (see commit).
Originally especially ecclesiastical, "one who performs a bishop's duties in distant places or when he is absent;" the military sense of "official in charge of supply of food, stores, and transport" dates to late 15c. Hence "storeroom" (1882, U.S. military), especially for selling articles to persons engaged in a particular line of work, and then "dining room in a larger facility" (1924, American English), such as a movie studio.
seventh letter of the alphabet, invented by the Romans; a modified gamma introduced c. 250 B.C.E. to restore a dedicated symbol for the "g" sound. For fuller history, see C.
Before the vowels -e-, -i-, and -y-, Old English initial g- changed its sound and is represented in Modern English by consonantal y- (year, yard, yellow, young, yes, etc.). In get and give, however, the initial g- seems to have been preserved by Scandinavian influence. Also see gu-.
1899, "movie hall," from French cinéma, shortened from cinématographe "device for projecting a series of photographs in rapid succession so as to produce the illusion of movement," coined 1890s by Lumiere brothers, who invented the technology, from Latinized form of Greek kinēmat-, combining form of kinēma "movement," from kinein "to move" (from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion"). For the second element in the French compound, see -graphy.
The word was earlier in English in its fuller form, cinematograph (1896), but this has been displaced by the short form. Other old words for such a system were vitascope (Edison, 1895), animatograph (1898). The meaning "movies collectively, especially as an art form" recorded by 1914. Cinéma vérité is 1963, from French.
"elongated seed vessel of beans, peas, etc.," 1680s, a word of uncertain origin; found earlier in podware "seed of legumes, seed grain" (mid-15c.), which had a parallel form codware "husked or seeded plants" (late 14c.), related to cod "husk of seeded plants," which was in Old English. In reference to a round belly from 1825; in reference to pregnancy from 1890. Meaning "detachable body of an aircraft" is from 1950.
Pod people (1956) was popularized by the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," based on the 1954 novel by U.S. author Jack Finney about a plant-like alien life form that arrives on Earth as pods and are capable of replicating people.
late 12c., probably from Old English stagga "a stag," from Proto-Germanic *stag-, from PIE root *stegh- "to stick, prick, sting." The Old Norse equivalent was used of male foxes, tomcats, and dragons; and the Germanic root word perhaps originally meant "male animal in its prime."
Adjectival meaning "pertaining to or composed of males only" (as in stag party) is American English slang from 1848. Compare bull-dance, slang for one performed by men only (1845); gander (n.) also was used in the same sense. Stag film "pornographic movie" is attested from 1968. Stag beetle, so called for its" horns," is from 1680s.