Etymology
Advertisement
double (n.)

late 14c., "an amount twice as great, a twofold quantity or size," from double (adj.). From mid-15c. as "a duplicate copy, something precisely like another."

Sense of "a backward turn to escape pursuers" is from 1590s. Stage sense of "performer or singer fitted to supply the place of a principal in an emergency" is by 1800, originally in opera. The Hollywood stunt double is by 1945. Meaning "an alcoholic drink with twice as much liquor as usual" is by 1922 (double drink is from 1901).  Tennis sense of "game played by two on each side" is by 1884. Baseball sense of "a hit in which the batter safely reaches second base" is by 1938. In betting, double or nothing is by 1899 (double or quit is from 1570s).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
creek (n.)

mid-15c., creke "narrow inlet in a coastline," altered from kryk (early 13c.; in place names from 12c.), probably from Old Norse kriki "corner, nook," perhaps influenced by Anglo-French crique, itself from a Scandinavian source via Norman. Perhaps ultimately related to crook and with an original notion of "full of bends and turns" (compare dialectal Swedish krik "corner, bend; creek, cove").

Extended to "inlet or short arm of a river" by 1570s, which probably led to use for "small stream, brook" in American English (1620s). In U.S. commonly pronounced and formerly sometimes spelled crick. Also used there and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand for "branch of a main river," possibly from explorers moving up main rivers and seeing and noting mouths of tributaries without knowing they often were extensive rivers of their own.

Slang phrase up the creek "in trouble" (often especially "pregnant") is attested by 1941, perhaps originally armed forces slang for "lost while on patrol," or perhaps a cleaned-up version of the older up shit creek in the same sense.

Related entries & more 
mouse (n.)

Middle English mous, from Old English mus "small rodent," also "muscle of the arm" (compare muscle (n.)); from Proto-Germanic *mus (source also of Old Norse, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Danish, Swedish mus, Dutch muis, German Maus "mouse"), from PIE *mus-, the old Indo-European name of the mouse, retained in several language families (source also of Sanskrit mus "mouse, rat," Old Persian mush "mouse," Old Church Slavonic mysu, Latin mus, Lithuanian muse "mouse," Greek mys "mouse, muscle").

Plural form mice (Old English mys) shows effects of i-mutation. As a type of something timid or weak, from late 14c. Contrasted with man (n.) from 1620s (nor man nor mouse). Meaning "black eye" (or other discolored lump on the body) is from 1842. Computer sense of "small device moved by the hand over a flat surface to maneuver a cursor or arrow on a display screen" is from 1965, though the word was applied to other things resembling a mouse in shape since 1750, mainly in nautical use.

Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus [Horace]
Related entries & more 
pessimism (n.)

1794 "worst condition possible, point of greatest deterioration" (a sense now rare or obsolete), borrowed (by Coleridge) from French pessimisme, formed (on model of French optimisme) from Latin pessimus "worst," perhaps originally "bottom-most," from PIE *ped-samo-, suffixed (superlative) form of *ped- "to walk, stumble, impair," from root *ped- "foot." Compare Latin pessum "downward, to the ground."

As a name given to the metaphysical doctrines of Schopenhauer, Hartmann, etc., that this is the worst possible world, or that everything tends toward evil, it is recorded in English by 1835, from German pessimismus (Schopenhauer, 1819). As "tendency to exaggerate in thought the evils of life or to look only on the dark side," by 1815. The attempt to make a verb of it as pessimize (1862) did not succeed.

Related entries & more 
poise (n.)

early 15c., pois, "weight, quality of being heavy," later "significance, importance" (mid-15c.), from Old French pois "weight, balance, consideration" (12c., Modern French poids, with -d- added 16c. on supposed derivation from Latin pondus "weight"), from Medieval Latin pesum "weight," from Latin pensum "something weighted or weighed," (source of Provençal and Catalan pes, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian peso), noun use of neuter past participle of pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").

Original senses are obsolete. The figurative sense (in reference to abstract things) of "steadiness, balance, equilibrium, composure" is recorded from 1640s, from the sense of "a state of of being equally weighted on either side" (1550s). The meaning "way in which the body is carried" is from 1770.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
fence (n.)
early 14c., "action of defending, resistance; means of protection, fortification," shortening of defens (see defense). The same pattern also yielded fend, fender; and obsolete fensive "defensive" (late 16c.). Spelling alternated between -c- and -s- in Middle English. Sense of "enclosure" is first recorded mid-15c. on notion of "that which serves as a defense." Sense of "dealer in stolen goods" is thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from notion of such transactions taking place under defense of secrecy.

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].
Related entries & more 
neutral (adj.)

1540s, in alchemy, "composed of contrasting elements which, in proper proportion, neutralize each other," also, of states, rulers, etc., "refraining from taking sides in a fight, not engaged on or interfering with either side" (probably from a similar meaning of neutralis in Medieval Latin), from Latin neutralis, from neuter "neither the one nor the other, neither of two" (see neuter (adj.)).

By 1550s of persons. Chemistry sense of "exhibiting neither acid nor alkaline qualities" is from 1660s. From 1711 in the sense of "of or belonging to a power not taking sides in a war or conflict." Of colors, "of low chroma, without positive quality of color," from 1821. Neutral corner is from boxing (1908), indicating the two corners of the ring not used between rounds by the fighters and their seconds.

Related entries & more 
yard (n.2)

measure of length, Old English gerd (Mercian), gierd (West Saxon) "rod, staff, stick; measure of length," from West Germanic *gazdijo, from Proto-Germanic *gazdjo "stick, rod" (source also of Old Saxon gerda, Old Frisian ierde, Dutch gard "rod;" Old High German garta, German gerte "switch, twig," Old Norse gaddr "spike, sting, nail"), from PIE root *ghazdh-o- "rod, staff, pole" (source also of Latin hasta "shaft, staff"). The nautical yard-arm retains the original sense of "stick."

Originally in Anglo-Saxon times a land measure of roughly 5 meters (a length later called rod, pole, or perch). Modern measure of "three feet" is attested from late 14c. (earlier rough equivalent was the ell of 45 inches, and the verge). In Middle English and after, the word also was a euphemism for "penis" (as in "Love's Labour's Lost," V.ii.676). Slang meaning "one hundred dollars" first attested 1926, American English. Middle English yerd (Old English gierd) also was "yard-land, yard of land," a varying measure but often about 30 acres or a quarter of a hide.

Related entries & more 
frigate (n.)

1580s, from French frégate (1520s), from Italian fregata (Neapolitan fregate), which with many names for types of sea vessels is of unknown origin. It is common to the Mediterranean languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan fragata). Originally a small, swift vessel; the word was applied to progressively larger types over the years.

[A] light nimble vessel built for speed; employed in particular for the gleaning of intelligence and the protection and assault of trade-routes. In battle the frigates took station on the disengaged side of the fleet, where they repeated signals, sped on messages, and succoured the distressed. [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]

In the old sailing navy usually they carried guns on a raised quarter-deck and forecastle, hence frigate-built (1650s) of a vessel having the quarter-deck and forecastle raised above the main-deck.

Related entries & more 
livid (adj.)

early 15c., "of a bluish-leaden color," from Old French livide (13c.) and directly from Latin lividus "of a bluish color, black-and-blue," figuratively "envious, spiteful, malicious," from livere "be bluish," earlier *slivere, from PIE *sliwo-, suffixed form of root *sleiə- "bluish" (source also of Old Church Slavonic and Russian sliva "plum;" Lithuanian slyvas "plum;" Old Irish li, Welsh lliw "color, splendor," Old English sla "sloe").

Somehow it has come to be associated with "pale, colorless." The sense of "furiously angry" (1912) is from the notion of being livid with rage. Perhaps this is the key to the meaning shift. Rage makes some dark-red-faced; purple with rage is not uncommon in old novels (" 'My money! ye pirate! or I'll strangle you.' And he advanced upon him purple with rage, and shot out his long threatening arm, and brown fingers working in the air.") while it makes others go pale, also a figure in old novels ("At this juncture, the door opened, and, pale with rage, her eyes flashing fire, Lady Audley stood before them.")

Related entries & more 

Page 47