"a giving off of a bright, unsteady light," 1814, from flare (v.). This led to the sense of "signal fire" (1883). The astronomy sense is from 1937. Meaning "a gradual widening or spreading" is from 1910; hence flares "flared trousers" (1964).
early 14c., curfeu, "evening signal, ringing of a bell at a fixed hour" as a signal to extinguish fires and lights, from Anglo-French coeverfu (late 13c.), from Old French cuevrefeu, literally "cover fire" (Modern French couvre-feu), from cuevre, imperative of covrir "to cover" (see cover (v.)) + feu "fire" (see focus (n.)). Related: Curfew-bell (early 14c.).
The medieval practice of ringing a bell (usually at 8 or 9 p.m.) as an order to bank the hearths and prepare for sleep was to prevent conflagrations from untended fires. The modern extended sense of "periodic restriction of movement" had evolved by 1800s.
"to push slightly with the elbow," 1670s, perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Norwegian nugge, nyggje "to jostle, rub;" Icelandic nugga "to rub, massage"). Figurative sense of "give a hint or signal to," as by a covert touch, is by 1831. Related: Nudged; nudging.
"mechanical apparatus for signaling to distant points," 1814, from French sémaphore, etymologically, "a bearer of signals," ultimately from Greek sēma "sign, signal" (see semantic) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry"). Related: Semaphoric (1808); semaphorist.
type of alcoholic drink, 1898, probably from ball "drink of whiskey;" high (adj.) because it is served in a tall glass. The word also was in use around the same time as railway jargon for the signal to proceed (originally by lifting a ball).
also S.O.S., universal signal of extreme distress, 1910, from International Morse code letters chosen arbitrarily as being easy to transmit and difficult to mistake. Not an initialism (acronym) for "save our ship" or anything else. It won out over alternative suggestion C.Q.D., which is said to mean "come quickly, distress," or "CQ," the general all-stations call for alerting other ships that a message follows, and "D" for danger.
SOS is the telegraphic distress signal only; the oral equivalent is mayday. The figurative sense of "urgent appeal for help" is by 1918. As a jocular abbreviation of same old s___, attested by 1918, military.
early 15c., "formal inspection or survey" (of land); mid-15c., "visual perception," from Anglo-French vewe "view," Old French veue "light, brightness; look, appearance; eyesight, vision," noun use of fem. past participle of veoir "to see," from Latin videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Sense of "manner of regarding something" attested from early 15c. Meaning "sight or prospect of a landscape, etc." is recorded from c. 1600.