"to attack persistently, worry, pester," 1790, from badger (n.), based on the behavior of the dogs in the medieval sport of badger-baiting, still practiced in late 19c. England as an attraction to low public houses. Related: Badgered; badgering.
A badger is put into a barrel, and one or more dogs are put in to drag him out. When this is effected he is returned to his barrel, to be similarly assailed by a fresh set of dogs. The badger usually makes a most determined and savage resistance. [Century Dictionary]
c. 1200, "illustrious, distinguished, of high rank or birth," from Old French noble "of noble bearing or birth," from Latin nobilis "well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth," earlier *gnobilis, literally "knowable," from gnoscere "to come to know" (from PIE root *gno- "to know"). The prominent Roman families, which were "well known," provided most of the Republic's public officials.
Sense of "distinguished by splendor, magnificence, or stateliness" is from late 13c. Meaning "worthy of honor or respect " is from mid-14c. Sense of "having lofty character, having high moral qualities" is from c. 1600. Noble savage is "primitive man conceived of as morally superior to civilized man;" the phrase itself is from Dryden; the idea developed in the 18c.
I am as free as Nature first made Man,
Ere the base Laws of Servitude began,
When wild in Woods the noble Savage ran.
[Dryden, "Conquest of Granada," 1672]
A noble gas (1902) is so called for its inactivity or inertness; a use of the word that had been applied in Middle English to precious stones, metals, etc., that did not alter or oxidize when exposed to air (late 14c.), with noble in the sense of "having admirable properties" (c. 1300).
1550s, "pertaining to the planet Saturn;" 1610s, "pertaining to the god Saturn or his reign," from French saturnien, from Latin saturnius, from Saturn (see Saturn).
As a noun, 1590s as "one born under the influence of Saturn;" by 1738 as "a native or inhabitant of Saturn."
Some cold Saturnian, when the lifted tube
Shows to his wond'ring eye our pensile globe,
Pities our thirsty soil, and sultry air,
And thanks the friendly pow'r that fix'd him there.
[Richard Savage, "The Genius of Liberty," dated 1734, published in Gentleman's Magazine, June 1738]
also orang-utan, orang-outang, "anthropoid ape of the lowlands of Borneo and Sumatra," 1690s, from French orang-ou-tang and directly from Dutch orang-outang (1631), from Malay (Austronesian) orang utan, literally "man of the woods," from orang "man" + utan, hutan "forest, wilderness, the wild." It is possible that the word originally was used by town-dwellers on Java to describe savage forest tribes of the Sunda Islands and that Europeans misunderstood it to mean the ape. The name is not now applied in Malay to the animal, but there is evidence that it was used so in 17c. [OED]
Old English hwit "whiteness, white food, white of an egg," from white (adj.). Also in late Old English "a highly luminous color devoid of chroma." Meaning "white part of the eyeball" is from c. 1400. Meaning "white man, person of a race distinguished by light complexion" is from 1670s; white man in this sense is from 1690s. White man's burden is from Kipling's 1899 poem:
Take up the White Man's burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
late 14c., "make or declare sacred by certain ceremonies or rites," from Latin consecratus, past participle of consecrare "to make holy, devote," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + sacrare "to make or declare sacred" (see sacred). Meaning "to devote or dedicate from profound feeling" is from 1550s. Related: Consecrated; consecrating.
Ah, what avails the sceptred race!
Ah, what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and sighs
I consecrate to thee.
[Walter Savage Landor]
1610s, "a beast" (as distinguished from a man), especially one of the higher quadrupeds, from brute (adj.). From 1660s as "a brutal person, a savage in disposition or manners."
Don't object "Why call him friend, then?" Power is power, my boy, and still
Marks a man,—God's gift magnific, exercised for good or ill.
You've your boot now on my hearth-rug, tread what was a tiger's skin:
Rarely such a royal monster as I lodged the bullet in!
True, he murdered half a village, so his own death came to pass;
Still, for size and beauty, cunning, courage—ah, the brute he was!
[Browning, from "Clive"]
"exhibiting courage or courageous endurance," late 15c., from French brave, "splendid, valiant," from Italian bravo "brave, bold," originally "wild, savage," a word of uncertain origin. Possibly from Medieval Latin bravus "cutthroat, villain," from Latin pravus "crooked, depraved;" a less likely etymology being from Latin barbarus (see barbarous). A Celtic origin (Irish breagh, Cornish bray) also has been suggested, and there may be a confusion of two or more words. Related: Bravely.
Old English words for this, some with overtones of "rashness," included modig (now "moody"), beald ("bold"), cene ("keen"), dyrstig ("daring"). Brave new world is from the title of Aldous Huxley's 1932 satirical utopian novel; he lifted the phrase from Shakespeare ("Tempest" v.i.183).
Original sense and language unknown (it looks like Greek "flower-eye," as if from anthos + ops, but that may be Greek folk etymology). It figures in heraldry, and also was known in Medieval Latin as talopus and calopus.
The natives were believed by the Europeans to be anthropophagites. Columbus, seeking evidence that he was in Asia, thought the name meant the natives were subjects of the Great Khan. The form was reinforced by later writers who connected it to Latin canis "dog," in reference to their supposed voracity, a coincidence which "naturally tickled the etymological fancy of the 16th c." [OED]. The Spanish word had reached French by 1515. Used of animals from 1796. An Old English word for "cannibal" was selfæta.