Etymology
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railroad (v.)

"to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly," 1873, American English, from railroad (n.) as the then-fastest form of travel.

A person knowing more than might be desirable of the affairs, or perhaps the previous life of some powerful individual, high in authority, might some day ventilate his knowledge, possibly before a court of justice; but if his wisdom is railroaded to State's prison, his evidence becomes harmless. ["Wanderings of a Vagabond," New York, 1873]

Related: Railroaded; railroading. An earlier verb sense was "to have a mania for building railroads" (1847).

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owl (n.)

"raptorial nocturnal bird of prey of the family Strigidæ," Middle English oule, from Old English ule "owl," from Proto-Germanic *uwwalon- (source also of Middle Dutch, Dutch uil, Old High German uwila, German Eule, Old Norse ugla), a diminutive of PIE root *u(wa)l-, which is imitative of a wail or an owl's hoot (compare howl and Latin ulula "owl;" also see ululation).

The bird was used in proverbs and figures of speech in reference to its nocturnal habits, but also in Middle English for ugliness (late 14c.), spiritual blindness (c. 1400), and maliciousness (mid-15c.). It was a name for Satan in early 15c. The association with gravity and wisdom comes later, after the revival of classical learning: A small, brown type of owl is common on the Acropolis and about Athens and was hence taken in ancient times as an emblem of the city and by extension of its patron deity, Athene, goddess of wisdom. Hence also the saying bring (or send) owls to Athens "perform unnecessary labor."

By 1895 in reference to a person whose pleasure or business is to be up at night. Owl-flight "twilight" is from late 15c. The name of the trickster Till Eulenspiegel (literally "owl-mirror") of the popular German tales was rendered in English as Owlglass when they were first translated c. 1560; Jonson and Scott use the half-translated Owl-spiegle.

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mistake (n.)

"an error in action, opinion, or judgment," 1630s, from mistake (v.). The earlier noun was mistaking (c. 1300).

An error is a wandering from truth, primarily in impression, judgment, or calculation and, by extension of the idea, in conduct; it may be a state. A mistake is a false judgment or choice; it does not, as error sometimes does, imply moral obliquity, the defect being placed wholly in the wisdom of the actor, and in its treatment of this defect the word is altogether gentle. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

Meaning "unintended pregnancy" is from 1957. No mistake "no doubt" is by 1818.

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crone (n.)

late 14c., "a feeble and withered old woman," in Middle English a strong term of abuse, from Anglo-French carogne "carrion, carcass; an old ewe," also a term of abuse, from Old North French carogne, Old French charogne, term of abuse for a cantankerous or withered woman, also "old sheep," literally "carrion," from Vulgar Latin *caronia (see carrion).

Perhaps the "old ewe" sense is older than the "old woman" one in French, but the former is attested in English only from 16c. Since mid-20c. the word has been somewhat reclaimed in feminism and neo-paganism as a symbol of mature female wisdom and power.

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cognizance (n.)

mid-14c., conisance, "device or mark by which something or someone is known," from Anglo-French conysance "recognition," later, "knowledge," from Old French conoissance "acquaintance, recognition; knowledge, wisdom" (Modern French connaissance), from past participle of conoistre "to know," from Latin cognoscere "to get to know, recognize," from assimilated form of com "together" (see co-) + gnoscere "to know" (from PIE root *gno- "to know").

Meaning "knowledge by observation or notice, understanding, information" is from c. 1400. In law, "the exercise of jurisdiction, the right to try a case" (mid-15c.). Meaning "acknowledgment, admission" is from 1560s. The -g- was restored in English spelling 15c. and has gradually affected the pronunciation, which was always "con-." The old pronunciation lingered longest in legal use.

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*(s)mer- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to remember." 

It forms all or part of: commemorate; commemoration; mourn; memo; memoir; memorable; memorandum; memorial; memorious; memorize; memory; remember.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit smarati "remembers;" Avestan mimara "mindful;" Greek merimna "care, thought," mermeros "causing anxiety, mischievous, baneful;" Latin memoria "memory, remembrance, faculty of remembering," memor "mindful, remembering;" Serbo-Croatian mariti "to care for;" Welsh marth "sadness, anxiety;" Old Norse Mimir, name of the giant who guards the Well of Wisdom; Old English gemimor "known," murnan "to mourn, remember sorrowfully;" Dutch mijmeren "to ponder."

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Rosicrucian (n.)

member of a supposed secret society possessing ancient occult wisdom, 1620s, from Modern Latin rosa crucis (DuCange) or crux, in either case a Latinization of German Rosenkreuz, French rosecroix, in either case from the name of the society's reputed founder, Christian Rosenkreuz, said to date from 1484 but not mentioned before 1614. As an adjective from 1660s. Related: Rosicrucianism.

The book describing the Rosicrucians ("Fama Fraternitatis," published in 1614) is generally regarded as merely an elaborate satire on the charlatanry and credulity of the times. Books of Rosicrucian pretensions were formerly numerous in England as well as in Germany, and several have lately reappeared in the United States. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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philosophy (n.)
Origin and meaning of philosophy

c. 1300, philosophie, "knowledge, learning, scholarship, scholarly works, body of knowledge," from Old French filosofie "philosophy, knowledge" (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia, from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned;" a word of unknown origin [Beekes]. With many spelling variants in Middle English (filozofie, phelosophie, etc.).

From mid-14c. as "the discipline of dealing in rational speculation or contemplation;" from late 14c. as "natural science," also "alchemy, occult knowledge;" in the Middle Ages the word was understood to embrace all speculative sciences. Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771. The modern sense of "the body of highest truth, the science of the most fundamental matters" is from 1794.

Nec quicquam aliud est philosophia, si interpretari velis, praeter studium sapientiae; sapientia autem est rerum divinarum et humanarum causarumque quibus eae res continentur scientia. [Cicero, "De Officiis"]
[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]
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theosophy (n.)
1640s (implied in theosophical), "knowledge of divine things obtained through mystic study," from Medieval Latin theosophia (c.880), from Late Greek theosophia (c.500) "wisdom concerning God or things divine," from Greek theosophos "one wise about God," from theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + sophia "skill, knowledge of, acquaintance with; philosophy," from sophos "wise, learned" (see sophist).

Applied variously over the years, including to the followers of Swedenborg. Taken as the name of a modern philosophical system (sometimes called Esoteric Buddhism), founded in New York 1875 as "Theosophical Society" by Madame Blavatsky and others, which has elements of Hinduism and Buddhism and claims supernatural knowledge of the divinity and his words deeper than that obtained from empiricism. Related: Theosophist.
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ignorant (adj.)
late 14c., "lacking wisdom or knowledge; unaware," from Old French ignorant (14c.), from Latin ignorantem (nominative ignorans) "not knowing, ignorant," present participle of ignorare "not to know, to be unacquainted; mistake, misunderstand; take no notice of, pay no attention to," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + Old Latin gnarus "aware, acquainted with" (source also of Classical Latin noscere "to know," notus "known"), from Proto-Latin suffixed form *gno-ro-, suffixed form of PIE root *gno- "to know." Also see uncouth.

Form influenced by related Latin ignotus "unknown, strange, unrecognized, unfamiliar." Colloquial sense of "ill-mannered, uncouth, knowing nothing of good manners" attested by 1886. As a noun, "ignorant person," from mid-15c. Related: Ignorantly.
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