"turned or turning to the left," 1839, a word wanted by the botanists to describe the direction of spiral structures in nature, from Latin sinistrorsus "toward the left side," from sinister "left" (see sinister) + versus "turned," past participle of vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
By 1837 in French. It was paired with dextrorse, but confusion over what was the proper point of view to reckon leftward or rightward spiraling (the observer or the observed) prevented the word being as useful as it might have been. The earlier adjective was sinistrorsal (by 1823).
mid-14c., nouel, nowel, "pillar from which steps of a winding stair radiate, stone cut to form a step and a section of the central pillar of a spiral stair," from Old French noel, noiel, novel "knob, newel, kernel, stone" (Modern French noyau), from Vulgar Latin *nodellus "little knot," diminutive of Latin nodulus, itself a diminutive of nodus "knot" (from PIE root *ned- "to bind, tie").
Klein's sources suggest the French word may be from Gallo-Roman *nucale, from Latin nux "nut." The carpentry meaning "tall and more or less ornamental post at the top or bottom of a staircase" is from 1833 (newel-post in this sense is from 1798).
c. 1400, scroule, scrowell, "roll of parchment or paper" used for writing, an altered (by association with rolle "roll") of scrowe (c. 1200), from Anglo-French escrowe, Old French escroe, escroele "scrap, strip or roll of parchment," from Frankish *skroda "shred" or a similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (source also of Old English screada "piece cut off, cutting, scrap"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *sker- (1) "to cut." Also compare shred (v.)). As a spiral-shaped decorative device, resembling a partly unrolled scroll, by early 15c. on garments, by 1610s on furniture or in architecture.
"cylinder of wood or metal with a spiral ridge (the thread) round it," c. 1400, scrue, from Old Frenchescröe, escroue "nut, cylindrical socket, screw-hole," a word of uncertain etymology; not found in other Romanic languages.
Perhaps via Gallo-Roman *scroba or West Germanic *scruva from Vulgar Latin scrobis "screw-head groove," in classical Latin "ditch, trench," also "vagina" (Diez, though OED finds this "phonologically impossible"). OED Seems to lean toward a group of apparently cognate Germanic words (Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schruve, Dutch schroef, German Schraube, Swedish skrufva "screw"), but these are said elsewhere to be French loan-words.
Kluge, Watkins and others trace it to Latin scrofa "breeding sow," perhaps on some fancied resemblance of the holes or furrows left by a rooting swine (compare Portuguese porca, Spanish perca "a female screw," from Latin porca "sow"). Latin scrofa in the "sow" sense is a specific Medieval Latin use; the word is literally "digger, rooter" (from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut").
Originally an apparatus for lifting weight or pressing with it, hence its later consideration as one of the mechanical powers. The meaning "metal pin or tapered bolt with a spiral ridge, used to join articles of wood or metal," is by 1620s (specifically as wood-screw by 1841). The meaning "a twist or turn to one side" is by 1709.
The sense of "means of pressure or coercion" is from 1640s, often the screws, probably in reference to instruments of torture (as in thumbscrews). Meaning "prison guard, warder" is by 1812 in underworld slang, originally in reference to the key they carried (screw as slang for "key" is attested by 1795). In student slang, "professor or tutor who requires students to work hard" (1851).
The meaning "metal instrument with a winding or spiral shape or motion, used to draw corks from bottles" is by 1650s. As short for screw-propeller, by 1838. The sense of "small portion (of a commodity) wrapped up in a twist of paper" is by 1836. The British slang sense of "salary, wages: is by 1858, but the notion in it is obscure. The slang meaning "an act of copulation" is recorded from 1929 (canting sense of "a prostitute" is attested from 1725). Slang phrase have a screw loose "have a dangerous (usually mental) weakness" is recorded from 1810.
fem. proper name, from French Catherine, from Medieval Latin Katerina, from Latin Ecaterina, from Greek Aikaterinē. The -h- was introduced 16c., probably by folk etymology from Greek katharos "pure" (see catharsis). The initial Greek vowel is preserved in Russian form Ekaterina.
As the name of a type of pear, attested from 1640s. Catherine wheel (early 13c.) originally was the spiked wheel on which St. Catherine of Alexandria (martyred 307), legendary virgin from the time of Maximinus, was tortured and thus became the patron saint of spinners. Her name day is Nov. 25; a popular saint in the Middle Ages, which accounts for the enduring popularity of the given name. It was applied from 1760 to a kind of fireworks shooting from a revolving spiral tube.
c. 1400, "cave; mine; pit dug in the earth" (late 13c. in place names), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse grod "pit," or from Middle Dutch groeve "furrow, ditch" (Modern Dutch groef), both from Proto-Germanic *grobo (source also of Old Norse grof "brook, river bed," Old High German gruoba "ditch," German Grube "a pit, hole, ditch, grave," Gothic groba "pit, cave," Old English græf "ditch, grave"), from PIE root *ghrebh- (2) "to dig, bury, scratch" (see grave (n.)). Sense of "long, narrow channel or furrow," especially as cut by a tool, is 1650s. Meaning "spiral cut in a phonograph record" is from 1902. Figurative sense of "routine" is from 1842, often deprecatory at first, "a rut."
"portable firearm having a barrel or barrels with a spirally grooved bore," by 1775; the word was used earlier of the grooves themselves (1751), and is a noun use from rifled pistol, 1680s, from the verb rifle meaning "to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel); see rifle (v.2).
The spirals impart rotation to the projectile, making its flight more accurate. Rifles "troops armed with rifles," sometimes as part of a unit name, is by 1843. Rifle-range is from 1850 as "distance a rifle-ball will carry" (also, and earlier rifle-shot, 1803); the meaning "place for rifle shooting" is by 1862. Rifle-ball is by 1884; the word continued in use after cylindrical bullets with conical heads replaced round ones.
late 14c., from French galaxie or directly from Late Latin galaxias "the Milky Way" as a feature in the night sky (in classical Latin via lactea or circulus lacteus), from Greek galaxias (adj.), in galaxias kyklos, literally "milky circle," from gala (genitive galaktos) "milk" (from PIE root *g(a)lag- "milk").
The technical astronomical sense in reference to the discrete stellar aggregate including the sun and all visible stars emerged by 1848. Figurative sense of "brilliant assembly of persons" is from 1580s. Milky Way is a translation of Latin via lactea.
See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt. [Chaucer, "House of Fame"]
Originally ours was the only one known. Astronomers began to speculate by mid-19c. that some of the spiral nebulae they could see in telescopes were actually immense and immensely distant structures the size and shape of the Milky Way. But the matter was not settled in the affirmative until the 1920s.
Old English þræd "fine cord, especially when twisted" (related to þrawan "to twist"), from Proto-Germanic *thredu- "twisted yarn" (source also of Old Saxon thrad, Old Frisian thred, Middle Dutch draet, Dutch draad, Old High German drat, German Draht, Old Norse þraðr), literally "twisted," from suffixed form of PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn." Meaning "spiral ridge of a screw" is from 1670s. Threads, slang for "clothes" is 1926, American English.
The silk line, as spun by the worm, is about the 5000th part of an inch thick; but a spider's line is perhaps six times finer, or only the 30,000th part of an inch in diameter, insomuch, that a single pound of this attenuated substance might be sufficient to encompass our globe. [John Leslie, "Elements of Natural Philosophy," Edinburgh, 1823]
Nuts and bolts you know as little things that put big things together. Actually, our whole industrial civilization hangs by a thread—a screw thread. [Popular Science, March 1949]
c. 1300, "limbless reptile," also the tempter in Genesis iii.1-5, from Old French serpent, sarpent "snake, serpent" (12c.), from Latin serpentem (nominative serpens) "snake; creeping thing," also the name of a constellation, from present participle of serpere "to creep."
This is reconstructed to be from PIE *serp- "to crawl, creep" (source also of Sanskrit sarpati "creeps," sarpah "serpent;" Greek herpein "to creep," herpeton "serpent;" Albanian garper "serpent").
Serpent and snake now mean precisely the same thing ; but the word serpent is somewhat more formal or technical than snake, so that it seldom applies to the limbless lizards, many of which are popularly mistaken for and called snakes, and snake had originally a specific meaning. [Century Dictionary, 1902]
Used figuratively of things spiral or regularly sinuous, such as a type of musical instrument with a twisting tube (1730). Serpent's tongue as figurative of venomous or stinging speech is from mistaken medieval notion that the serpent's tongue was its "sting." Serpent's tongue also was a name given to fossil shark's teeth (c. 1600). Serpent-charmer is by 1861.