1726, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + describable. Related: Indescribably; indescribability (1797). In same sense, Old English had unasecgendlic. Indescribables for "trousers" (1819) was colloquial in England for a generation or so.
We cannot omit here to state, that, some years since, we recollect a rumour in the gallery [of the House of Commons], that Madame de Staël was sitting, en habit d'homme, in a surtout and military indescribables, listening to the debate, under the protection of Sir J. Macintosh. ["Privileges of Women," in Retrospective Review, London, 1824]
Of uncertain relationship to similar words in Romance languages (Italian stufa, French étuve "sweating-room;" see stew (v.)). One theory traces them all to Vulgar Latin *extufare "take a steam bath." The meaning "device for heating or cooking" is first recorded 1610s.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sit."
It forms all or part of: assess; assiduous; assiento; assize; banshee; beset; cathedra; cathedral; chair; cosset; dissident; dodecahedron; Eisteddfod; ephedra; ephedrine; ersatz; icosahedron; inset; insidious; nest; niche; nick (n.) "notch, groove, slit;" nidicolous; nidification; nidus; obsess; octahedron; piezo-; piezoelectric; polyhedron; possess; preside; reside; saddle; sanhedrim; seance; seat; sedan; sedate; (adj.) "calm, quiet;" sedative; sedentary; sederunt; sediment; see (n.) "throne of a bishop, archbishop, or pope;" sessile; session; set (v.); sett; settle (n.); settle (v.); siege; sit; sitz-bath; sitzkrieg; size; soil (n.1) "earth, dirt;" Somerset; soot; subside; subsidy; supersede; surcease; tanist; tetrahedron; Upanishad.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit a-sadat "sat down," sidati "sits," nidah "resting place, nest;" Old Persian hadis "abode;" Greek ezesthai "to sit," hedra "seat, chair, face of a geometric solid;" Latin sedere "to sit; occupy an official seat, preside; sit still, remain; be fixed or settled," nidus "nest;" Old Irish suide "seat, sitting," net "nest;" Welsh sedd "seat," eistedd "sitting," nyth "nest;" Old Church Slavonic sežda, sedeti "to sit," sedlo "saddle," gnezdo "nest;" Lithuanian sėdėti "to sit;" Russian sad "garden," Lithuanian sodinti "to plant;" Gothic sitan, Old English sittan "to sit."
c. 1300, parlur, "apartment in a monastery for conversations with outside persons," earlier "window through which confessions were made" (c. 1200), from Old French parleor "courtroom, judgment hall, auditorium" (12c., Modern French parloir), from parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)).
The sense developed by late 14c. to "room off a main hall offering some privacy," by early 15c. to "public room of a private house," by 16c. to "the ordinary sitting room of a family." The meaning "show room for a business" (as in ice cream parlor) is by 1884. As an adjective, "advocating radical views from a position of comfort" (as in parlor socialist) is by 1900.
"long wooden lever for propelling a boat," Middle English or, from Old English ar, from Proto-Germanic *airo (source also of Old Norse ar, Danish aare, Swedish åra), a word of unknown origin. Apparently unrelated to the IE root that is the source of Latin remus "oar," Greek eretēs "rower," eretmos "oar," English row (v.) and rudder. As "oar-like appendage of an animal," 1580s.
A long oar, used occasionally to assist a vessel in a calm, is a sweep, and is operated by two or more men. Small oars are sculls; one rower wielding a pair, sitting midlength of the thwart. ["Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary," 1884]
"hind-quarters, back-end, or buttocks of an animal," the part to which the tail is attached, mid-15c., from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish, Norwegian rumpe, Swedish rumpa), from or corresponding to Middle Dutch romp, German Rumpf "trunk, torso."
Specifically of this part used as food by late 15c. The figurative sense of "small remnant, tail-end of anything" derives from the notion of "tail" and is recorded from 1640s in reference to the English Rump Parliament (December 1648-April 1653), so called from sitting after the expulsion of the majority of members of the Long Parliament in Pride's Purge. As an adjective from c. 1600. Also in 18c. and 19c. a verb, "to turn one's back to" as a snub.
"1 more than twelve; the number which is one more than twelve; a symbol representing this number;" late 14c., metathesis of Middle English thrittene, from Old English þreotene (Mercian), þreotiene (West Saxon), from þreo "three" (see three) + -tene (see -teen). Similar formation in Old Saxon thriutein, Old Frisian thretten, Dutch dertien, German dreizehn, Old Norse threttan, Swedish tretton. As a noun from late Old English.
Not an unlucky number in medieval England, but associated rather with the customary "extra item" (as in baker's dozen). Superstitions began with association with the Last Supper, and the unluckiness of 13 sitting down together to dine (attested from 1690s). Most of the modern superstitions (buildings with floor "12-A," etc.) have developed since 1890.
To be figuratively on the fence "uncommitted" is from 1828, perhaps from the notion of spectators at a fight, or a simple literal image: "A man sitting on the top of a fence, can jump down on either side with equal facility." [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848].