early 14c., "quilted material worn under chain mail," from Old French estoffe "quilted material, furniture, provisions" (Modern French étoffe), from estoffer "to equip or stock," which according to French sources is from Old High German stopfon "to plug, stuff," or from a related Frankish word (see stop (v.)), but OED has "strong objections" to this.
Sense extended to material for working with in various trades (c. 1400), then "matter of an unspecified kind" (1570s). Meaning "narcotic, dope, drug" is attested from 1929. To know (one's) stuff "have a grasp on a subject" is recorded from 1927.
1807, American English, "sauce, gravy; any thick liquid," from Dutch doop "thick dipping sauce," from doopen "to dip" (see dip (v.)). Used generally by late 19c. for any mixture or preparation of unknown ingredients.
Extension to "narcotic drug" is by 1889, from practice of smoking semi-liquid opium preparation. Meaning "foolish, stupid person" is older than this (1851) and may be from the notion of "thick-headed," later associated with the idea of "stupefied by narcotics."
Sense of "inside information" (1901) may come from knowing before the race which horse had been drugged to influence performance (to dope (v.) in this sense is attested by 1900). Dope-fiend is attested from 1896, "a victim of the opium habit."
mid-14c., junke "old cable or rope," cut in bits and used for caulking, etc., a nautical word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French junc "rush, reed," also used figuratively as a type of something of little value, from Latin iuncus "rush, reed" (but OED finds "no evidence of connexion").
It was extended to "old refuse from boats and ships" (1660s), then to "old or discarded articles of any kind" (1884), usually with a suggestion of reusability. Meaning "salt meat used on long voyages" is from 1762. Meaning "narcotic drug" is from 1925. Junk food is from 1971; junk art is from 1961; junk mail first attested 1954; junk bond from 1979.
plant of the genus papaver, having showy flowers and milky juice with narcotic properties, from late Old English popig, popæg, from West Germanic *papua-, probably from Vulgar Latin *papavum, from Latin papaver "poppy," perhaps a reduplicated form of imitative root *pap- "to swell."
Associated with battlefields and war dead at least since Waterloo (1815), an association cemented by John McCrae's World War I poem, they do not typically grow well in the soil of Flanders but were said to have been noticeably abundant on the mass graves of the fallen French after 1815, no doubt nourished by the nutriments below. Poppy-seed is from early 15c.; in 17c. it also was a small unit of length (less than one-twelfth of an inch).
Middle English drope, from Old English dropa "a small, spherical mass of liquid," from Proto-Germanic *drupon (source also of Old Saxon dropo, Old Norse dropi, Dutch drop, Old High German tropfo, German Tropfen (n.)); see drop (v.).
Sense of "minute quantity of anything, least possible amount" is from c. 1200. Meaning "an act of dropping" is from 1630s; of immaterial things (prices, temperatures, etc.) from mid-19c. Meaning "lozenge, hard candy" is 1723, from resemblance in shape. Meaning "secret place where things can be left illicitly and picked up later" is from 1931. Theatrical meaning "painted curtain dropped between scenes to conceal the stage from the audience" is by 1779.
Drop in the bucket (late 14c.) is from Isaiah xl.15 [KJV]. At the drop of a hat "suddenly" is from 1854. To get the drop on "be prepared before one's antagonist" originally was Old West gunslinger slang (1869).
late 12c., "loss, lack; " c. 1200, "regret occasioned by loss or absence," from Old English miss "absence, loss," from source of missan "to miss" (see miss (v.)). Meaning "an act or fact of missing; a being without" is from late 15c.; meaning "a failure to hit or attain" is 1550s.
Phrase a miss is as good as a mile (1761) was originally an inch, in a miss, is as good as an ell (1610s; see ell). To give (something) a miss "to abstain from, avoid" is attested by 1919, perhaps from earlier use of the term in billiards, "to avoid hitting the object ball" (1807).
There are few of the niceties of the game that require more care than that of "giving a miss," and particularly when the player wishes to mask the ball. I recollect a game I played with Mr. Burke, of Cheltenham. He went off, and doubled, as was his custom, the red ball nearly over the baulk corner pocket. Not feeling disposed, against so skilful an antagonist, to run the risk of playing for a canon off his ball, I gave a miss, thinking I had masked the ball. His eye, keen and penetrating, discovered at a glance that I had just left him room to pass. He played at the red ball and holed his own ball off it by a fine cut, and scored forty points from the break. [Edward Russell Mardon, "Billiards," London, 1849]
deleterious weed growing in grain fields, c. 1300, from northern dialectal French darnelle; according to one theory the the second element is Old French neelle (Modern French nielle) "cockle," from Vulgar Latin *nigella "black-seeded," from fem. of Latin nigellus "blackish."
But perhaps rather the word is related to Middle Dutch verdaernt, verdarnt "stunned, dumbfounded, angry," Walloon darne, derne "stunned, dazed, drunk," the weed being so called from its well-known inebriating quality (actually caused by a fungus growing on the plant); the French word for it is ivraie, from Latin ebriacus "intoxicated," and the botanical name, Lolium temulentum, is from Latin temulent "drunken," though this sometimes is said to be "from the heavy seed heads lolling over under their own weight."
In some parts of continental Europe it appears the seeds of darnel have the reputation of causing intoxication in men, beasts, and birds, the effects being sometimes so violent as to produce convulsions. In Scotland the name of Sleepies, is applied to darnel, from the seeds causing narcotic effects. [Gouverneur Emerson, "The American Farmer's Encyclopedia," New York, 1860. It also mentions that "Haller speaks of them as communicating these properties to beer."]
Old English dwellan "to lead into error, deceive, mislead," related to dwelian "to be led into error, go wrong in belief or judgment," from Proto-Germanic *dwaljana "to delay, hesitate," *dwelana "go astray" (source also of Old Norse dvelja "to retard, delay," Danish dvæle “to linger, dwell,” Swedish dväljas “to dwell, reside;” Middle Dutch dwellen "to stun, perplex;" Old High German twellen "to hinder, delay") from PIE *dhwel-, extended form of root *dheu- (1) "dust, cloud, vapor, smoke" (also forming words with the related notions of "defective perception or wits").
The apparent sense evolution in Middle English was through "to procrastinate, delay, be tardy in coming" (late 12c.), to "linger, remain, stay, sojourn," to "make a home, abide as a permanent resident" (mid-14c.). From late 14c. as "remain (in a certain condition or status)," as in phrase dwell upon "keep the attention fixed on." Related: Dwelled; dwelt (for which see went); dwells.
It had a noun form in Old English, gedweola "error, heresy, madness." Also compare Middle English dwale "deception, trickery," from Old English dwala or from a Scandinavian cognate (such as Danish dvale "trance, stupor, stupefaction"); dwale survived into late Middle English as "a sleeping potion, narcotic drink, deadly nightshade."
narcotic Old World plant, early 14c., mondrake, also mandragge, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English and Middle English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place, though perhaps with little meaning attached to it. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and was said to shriek when pulled from the ground. The plant has been regarded as an aphrodisiac.
Meanwhile it should not be forgotten that there was one magical possession, an idol of domestic superstition in mediaeval German households, which is said to have passed at the father's death to the youngest son upon condition that he performed certain heathenish rites in relation to the father's funeral. The "mandrake," a plant with broad leaves and bright yellow flowers and with a root which grew in a semi-human form, was found beneath the public gallows and was dragged from the ground and carried home with many extraordinary ceremonies. When secured it became a familiar spirit, speaking in oracles if properly consulted and bringing good luck to the household in which it was enshrined. [Charles Elton, "Origins of English History," 1882]
late Old English scoru "twenty," from Old Norse skor "mark, notch, incision; a rift in rock," also, in Icelandic, "twenty," from Proto-Germanic *skur-, from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."
The notion probably is of counting large numbers (of a passing flock of sheep, etc.) by making a notch in a stick for each 20. The prehistoric sense of the Germanic word, then, likely was "straight mark like a scratch, line drawn by a sharp instrument." That way of counting, called vigesimalism, is widespread and also exists in France and left its trace in the language: In Old French, "twenty" (vint) or a multiple of it could be used as a base, as in vint et doze ("32"), dous vinz et diz ("50"). Vigesimalism was or is a feature of Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Breton (as well as non-IE Basque), and it is speculated that the English and the French learned it from the Celts. Compare tally (n.).
By early 13c. it is attested in the sense of "a financial record" (perhaps one kept by tallies), and it is attested from early 14c. as "reckoning, total amount." The specific sense of "a reckoning or account kept by means of tallies" is clearly attested by c. 1400, especially (1590s) "mark made (by chalk, on a taproom door, etc.) to keep count of a customer's drinks."
This was extended by c. 1600 to "amount due, one's debt," and by 1670s to "mark made for purpose of recording a point in a game or match," and thus "aggregate of points made by contestants in certain games and matches" (1742, in whist).
The sporting score-card is by 1877 (in cricket). The newspaper sports section score line is by 1965. Score-keeping in sports is by 1905. From the tavern-keeping sense comes the meaning "amount on an innkeeper's bill" (c. 1600) and thus the figurative verbal expression settle scores (1775; as cut scores, 1610s).
Meaning "printed piece of music" is recorded by 1701, said to be from the practice of connecting related staves by scores (in the "line drawn" sense). Especially "music composed for a film" (1927). In underworld slang, "money obtained in a crime," 1914. Meaning "an act of obtaining narcotic drugs" is by 1951.
The meaning "a cut, notch, scratch or line made by a sharp instrument," without reference to counting, is attested from c. 1400. By c. 1600 as "a line drawn."