1872, trademark for an ointment made from petroleum and marketed by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., coined from German Wasser "water" + Greek elaion "oil" + scientific-sounded ending -ine. Robert A. Chesebrough was of the opinion that petroleum was a product of the underground decomposition of water.
The name is of mixed origin, being derived from Wasser, water, and elaion [Greek in the original], oil (water-oil), and indicates the belief of the discoverer that petroleum, the mother of Vaseline, is produced by the agency of heat and pressure from the carbon of certain rocks, and the hydrogen of water. [The Monthly Review of Dental Surgery, February 1877]
1640s, "dowsing, use of a divining rod" (especially to find things hidden in the earth, ores or underground water), with -mancy "divination by means of" (from Greek manteia "divination, oracle") + Greek rhabdos "rod, wand; magic wand; fishing rod; spear-shaft; a staff of office; a rod for chastisement; twig, stick." Greek rhabdos is from PIE *wer- (2), base of roots meaning "to turn, bend" (source also of Lithuanian virbas "twig, branch, scion, rod," Latin verbena "leaves and branches of laurel").
The Greek noun was used to represent Roman fasces. Related: Rhabdomantic; rhabdomancer.
early 15c., cripte, "grotto, cavern," from Latin crypta "vault, cavern," from Greek krypte "a vault, crypt" (short for krypte kamara "hidden vault"), fem. of kryptos "hidden," verbal adjective from kryptein "to hide," which is of uncertain origin. Comparison has been made to Old Church Slavonic kryjo, kryti "to hide," Lithuanian kráuti "to pile up." Beekes writes that krypto "is formally and semantically reminiscent of [kalypto]; the verbs may have influenced each other." For this, see calypto-. But he adds, "However, since there is no good IE etymology, the word could be Pre-Greek." Meaning "underground burial vault or chapel in a church" is attested by 1789.
1972 (also as a verb), originally in phone phreak, one of a set of technically creative people who electronically hacked or defrauded telephone companies of the day.
The phreaks first appeared on the US scene in the early 1960s, when a group of MIT students were found to have conducted a late night dialling experiment on the Defense Department's secret network. They were rewarded with jobs when they explained their system to Bell investigators. ... The name "phone phreak" identified the enthisiasts with the common underground usage of freak as someone who was cool and used drugs. [New Scientist, Dec. 13, 1973]
The ph- in phone may have suggested the alteration, and this seems to be the original of the 1990s slang fad for substituting ph- for f- (as in phat).
one of an ancient people formerly inhabiting the Highlands of Scotland and other parts of the British Isles beyond the reach of the Romans, late 14c. (replacing Old English plural Peohtas), from Late Latin Picti (late 3c., probably a nickname given them by Roman soldiers), usually taken as derived from picti "painted," but probably ultimately from the Celtic name of the tribe, perhaps Pehta, Peihta, literally "the fighters" (compare Gaulish Pictavi, a different people, who gave the name to the French city of Poitiers). They painted and tattooed themselves, which may have suggested a Roman folk-etymology alteration of the name.
In Scottish folk-lore, the Pechts are often represented as a dark pygmy race, or an underground people; and sometimes identified with elves, brownies, or fairies. [OED]
Related: Pictish; Pictland.
Pluto was infernus rex, and Latin inferi meant "the inhabitants of the infernal regions, the dead." Association of the word with fire and heat is via the Christian conception of Hell. Meaning "devilish, hateful" is from early 15c.; meaning "suitable for or appropriate to Hell" is from c. 1600. As a name of Hell, or a word for things which resemble it, the Italian form inferno has been used in English since 1834, via Dante. Related: Infernally.
late 14c., "to go about, stroll," later (early 15c.) "roll from side to side, trundle," probably from Old French troller, a hunting term, "wander, to go in quest of game without purpose" (Modern French trôler), from a Germanic source (compare Old High German trollen "to walk with short steps"), from Proto-Germanic *truzlanan.
Sense of "sing in a full, rolling voice" (first attested 1570s) and that of "fish with a moving line" (c. 1600) both are extended technical uses from the general sense of "roll, trundle," the former from "sing in the manner of a catch or round," the latter perhaps confused with trail or trawl. Figurative sense of "to lure on as with a moving bait, entice, allure" is from 1560s. Meaning "to cruise in search of sexual encounters" is recorded from 1967, originally in homosexual slang.
The internet sense (everyone seems to have his own definition of it) seems to date to the late 1980s or early 1990s and the Newsgroups era, and the verbal use is perhaps older than the noun. It seems to combine troll (v.) in the "fish with a moving line" sense (itself confused with trawl) and troll (n.1) "troublesome imp supposed to live underground."
"chaste, pure, virgin," 1590s, originally (early 15c.) "belonging to or dedicated to Vesta," Roman goddess of hearth and home, from Latin vestalis. The noun is recorded from 1570s, short for Vestal virgin, one of four (later six) priestesses (Latin virgines Vestales) in charge of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta in Rome. From 1580s in reference to any virgin or chaste woman.
They entered the service of the goddess at from six to ten years of age, their term of service lasting thirty years. They were then permitted to retire and to marry, but few did so, for, as vestals, they were treated with great honor, and had important public privileges. Their persons were inviolable, any offense against them being punished with death, and they were treated in all their relations with the highest distinction and reverence. A vestal who broke her vow of chastity was immured alive in an underground vault amid public mourning. There were very few such instances; in one of them, under Domitian, the chief of the vestals was put to death under a false charge trumped up by the emperor. [Century Dictionary]