roller-coaster (n.)

also rollercoaster, and originally roller coaster, by 1884, from roller + coaster. As a verb by 1959.

Men not yet very old can remember when the street railway was a curiosity, patronized at first very much as the roller coaster is now, for the novelty of the thing. [editorial in St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Aug. 17, 1884]
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banana (n.)

edible fruit of an endogenous plant of the tropics, 1590s; in reference to the plant itself, 1690s; borrowed by Spanish or Portuguese from a West African word, possibly Wolof banana. The plant seems to be native to Southeast Asia and the East Indies; it was introduced in Africa in prehistoric times and brought to the New World from Africa in 1516.

Banana-skin is from 1851, banana-peel from 1874, both originally with reference to them being left carelessly on the ground and liable to cause a pratfall when trodden upon. The nuisance was a frequent complaint in cities, and there seems to have been a regular insurance scam targeting streetcar lines in the 1890s.

The companies that have paid damages for fraudulent claims are the Manhattan Elevated Company, New York; West End Street Railway, Boston; Chicago City Railway Company, Chicago; Illinois Central Railroad Company, Chicago. The alleged injury was the same in each case, paralysis of the lower limbs, caused by slipping on a banana peel. [Street Railway Review, Jan. 15, 1895]

Banana split is attested from 1905. Banana oil "nonsense" is slang from c. 1910; probably from earlier use as the name of a chemical substance (also called banana liquid and essence of banana) used by 1873, one of the earliest artificial flavorings. Top banana, second banana, etc. are 1950s, from show business slang use of banana for "comedian," especially in a burlesque show.

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simonize (v.)
1921, from Simoniz, trademark for a type of car polish invented by George Simons, who along with Elmer Rich of the Great Northern Railway organized Simons Manufacturing Company to sell it in Chicago, U.S.A., in 1910. Rich and his brother, R.J. Rich, acquired sole ownership two years later.
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dead end (n.)

"closed end of a passage," 1851 in reference to drainpipes, 1874 in reference to railway lines; by 1886 of streets; from dead (adj.) + end (n.). Figurative use, "course of action that leads nowhere," is by 1914. As an adjective in the figurative sense by 1917; as a verb by 1921. Related: Dead-ended; dead-ending; deadender (by 1996).

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Pullman (n.)

sleeping car on a passenger train, 1867, Pullman car, in recognition of U.S. inventor George M. Pullman (1831-1897) of Chicago, who designed a railroad car with folding berths.

The Pullman Sleeping Car.—"The Western World." This splendid specimen of car architecture, being one of a number of sleeping-cars to be completed for the Michigan Central road, by Mr. Pullman, has created a great sensation among railway circles east. ... The car itself is admitted by all who have seen it to be, in the matter of sleeping and cooking accessories, and superb finish, the ne plus ultra of perfection. Nothing before has been seen to equal, much less surpass it. [Western Railroad Gazette, Chicago, quoted in Appleton's Illustrated Railway and Steam Navigation Guide, New York, June, 1867]
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bumper (n.)
1670s, "glass filled to the brim;" perhaps from notion of bumping as "large," or from a related sense of "booming" (see bump (v.)). Meaning "anything unusually large" (as in bumper crop) is from 1759, originally slang. Agent-noun meaning "buffer of a car" is from 1839, American English, originally in reference to railway cars; 1901 of automobiles (in phrase bumper-to-bumper, in reference to a hypothetical situation; of actual traffic jams by 1908).
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car (n.)
Origin and meaning of car
c. 1300, "wheeled vehicle," from Anglo-French carre, Old North French carre, from Vulgar Latin *carra, related to Latin carrum, carrus (plural carra), originally "two-wheeled Celtic war chariot," from Gaulish karros, a Celtic word (compare Old Irish and Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot"), from PIE *krsos, from root *kers- "to run."

"From 16th to 19th c. chiefly poetic, with associations of dignity, solemnity, or splendour ..." [OED]. Used in U.S. by 1826 of railway freight carriages and of passenger coaches on a railway by 1830; by 1862 of streetcars or tramway cars. Extension to "automobile" is by 1896, but from 1831 to the first decade of 20c. the cars meant "railroad train." Car bomb first attested 1972, in reference to Northern Ireland. The Latin word also is the source of Italian and Spanish carro, French char.
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book (v.)
Origin and meaning of book
Old English bocian "to grant or assign by charter," from book (n.). Meaning "to enter into a book, record" is early 13c. Meaning "to register a name for a seat or place; issue (railway) tickets" is from 1841; "to engage a performer as a guest" is from 1872. U.S. student slang meaning "to depart hastily, go fast" is by 1977, of uncertain signification. Related: Booked; booking.
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gondola (n.)
1540s, "long, narrow flat-bottomed boat used in Venice," from Italian (Venetian) gondola, earlier in English as goundel, from Old Italian gondula, of unknown origin; according to Barnhart, perhaps a diminutive of gonda, a name of a kind of boat. Used of flat, open railway cars by 1871. Meaning "cabin of an airship" is from 1896, though it was used hypothetically in 1881 in a futurism piece titled "300 Years Hence." Of ski-lifts from 1957.
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runaway (n.)

1540s (late 13c. as a surname), "one who flees or departs; a fugitive, deserter," from the verbal phrase run away "flee in the face of danger" (late 14c.); see run (v.) + away (adv.). From c. 1600 as "horse which bolts while being driven or ridden," later extended to railway trains, etc. The meaning "an act of running away" is from 1724.

As an adjective, "acting the part of a runaway, escaping from restraint or control," 1540s; in modern use especially of conditions, forces, reactions, etc., from 1925.

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