Etymology
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traps (n.1)

"expanse of dark igneous rock," 1794, from Swedish trapp (Torbern Bergman, 1766), from trappa "stair," related to Middle Low German trappe "staircase" (see trap (n.)). So called from the step-like appearance of the rock.

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meanness (n.)

1550s, "weakness," from mean (adj.1) + -ness. Sense of "baseness, poverty, want of dignity or distinction" is from 1650s; that of "sordid illiberality, stinginess" from 1755. The Middle English senses were "fellowship; land held in common," from Old English gemænnes.

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detrimental (adj.)

1650s, "injurious, hurtful, causing harm or damage;" see detriment + -al (1). In 19c. society slang also a noun, "an ineligible suitor, one who through poverty or unseriousness wastes the time of a young woman seeking marriage" (1831). Related: Detrimentally.

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penurious (adj.)

1590s, "in want, needy, poverty-stricken," a sense now obsolete, from penury + -ous, or else from Medieval Latin penuriosus, from Latin penuria "penury." The meaning "parsimonious, excessively saving or sparing in the use of money" is attested by 1630s. Related: Penuriously; penuriousness.

Penurious means literally in penury, but always feeling and acting as though one were in poverty, saving beyond reason; the word is rather stronger than parsimonious, and has perhaps rather more reference to the treatment of others. One may be parsimonious or penurious, through habits formed in times of having little, without being really miserly. [Century Dictionary]
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scandal (n.)

1580s, "damage to one's reputation," from French scandale, from Late Latin scandalum "cause for offense, stumbling block, temptation," from Greek skandalon "a stumbling block, offense; a trap or snare laid for an enemy."

The Greek noun in this form seems to be attested first in Septuagint (25 times) and the Greek New Testament (15 times) as "cause of moral stumblings," translating a Hebrew word meaning "a noose, a snare." The Biblical use is presumably figurative or metaphoric, and OED and others conclude that it is "certainly an old word meaning 'trap' " or a variant of one. Presumably, then, originally "trap with a springing device" (compare related skandalē "stick of a trap," the trigger which is pulled by the cord to spring it), if it is from PIE *skand- "to leap, climb" (see scan (v.), as is proposed in Watkins (Beekes is skeptical); also see slander (n.), which is another form of the same word.

The word is used in "Ancrene Riwle" (c. 1200), scandle, "discredit to religion resulting from bad behavior by a religious person," from Old French escandle, eschandle (12c.); Anglo-French scandle, and Latin scandalum. But the modern word likely is a new borrowing.

The meanings "malicious gossip" and "shameful condition, action, or event; that which causes scandal" are from 1590s; the sense of "person whose conduct is a disgrace" is by 1630s. Scandal sheet "sensational newspaper" is by 1884. Scandal-monger is from 1702.

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punji (n.)

sharpened and often poisoned bamboo stake set in a hole as a trap for animals or enemies, 1872, panja, a word of unknown origin, according to OED probably from a Tibeto-Burman language (first recorded in a Bengal context).

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wheedle (v.)

"to influence by flattery," 1660s, of uncertain origin, perhaps connected with Old English wædlian "to beg," from wædl "poverty" [OED], or borrowed by English soldiers in the Thirty Years' War from German wedeln "wag the tail," hence "fawn, flatter" (compare adulation). Related: Wheedled; wheedling.

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dervish (n.)

"Islamic monk or friar who has taken a vow of poverty and austerity," 1580s, from Turkish dervish, from Persian darvesh, darvish "beggar, poor," hence "religious mendicant;" equivalent of Arabic faqir (see fakir). The "whirling dervishes" are one order among many. Originally dervis; modern spelling is from mid-19c.

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rattletrap 

1766, originally a noun, a contemptuous term for a thing or things deemed trifling or of little value, from rattle (adj.) + trap, perhaps in the sense in traps (n.2). Hence, "a shabby, rattling object," especially a rickety coach or other vehicle (1822). The adjectival sense of "rickety" is recorded from 1834.

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