surname, later masc. proper name, attested from late 12c., from Maxwell, name of a town on the River Tweed on the Scottish borders (the name is probably "the well of Macc or Macca"). In physics, usually a reference to James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), as in Maxwell's demon (1879; as Maxwell's "intelligent demons" from 1874).
The definition of a "demon," according to the use of this word by Maxwell, is an intelligent being endowed with free will, and fine enough tactile and perceptive organisation to give him the faculty of observing and influencing individual molecules of matter. ["Nature," April 9, 1874]
surname, from marshal (n.). The city in Texas, U.S., was named in 1841 for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall (1755-1835). The Marshall Plan, "U.S. assistance to aid certain Western European nations recovering from World War II," is from 1947, named for its initiator, George C. Marshall (1880-1959), who was U.S. Secretary of State 1947-49. The Marshall Islands in the western Pacific were explored in 1788 by British naval captains John Marshall (1748-1819) and Thomas Gilbert, and named for the former (for the latter, see Kiribati). Related: Marshallese.
late 14c., polet, "young fowl" (late 13c. as a surname), from Anglo-French pullet, Old French poulette, poilette, diminutive of poule, poille "hen," from Vulgar Latin *pulla, fem. of Latin pullus "young animal," especially "young fowl" (source also of Spanish pollo "chicken," Italian pollo "fowl;" from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little." Compare pony.
A cockerel is a male bird under one year old, a cock over one year old. A hen is a female over one year old and a pullet under one year old. [U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Practical Poultry Production," 1920]
mid-14c., receivour (mid-13c. as a surname, probably in the "government clerk" sense), "a recipient; a receiver (of stolen goods); person who knowingly harbors criminals," also "government official appointed to collect or receive money due," agent noun from receive, or from Old French recevere (Modern French receveur), agent noun from recievere.
From late 14c. as "receptacle, container." As a telephone apparatus, from 1877; in reference to a radio unit, from 1891; in U.S. football sense, from 1897. Middle English also has receitour in the sense "receiver of stolen goods" (late 14c.); also compare receptor.
early 15c., "fixed standard of measure" (surname Gageman is early 14c.), from Old North French gauge "gauging rod" (see gauge (v.)). Meaning "instrument for measuring" is from 1670s; meaning "distance between rails on a railway" is from 1841.
Railway-gage, the distance between perpendiculars on the insides of the heads of the two rails of a track. Standard gage is 4 feet 8 1/2 inches; anything less than this is narrow gage; anything broader is broad gage. The dimension was fixed for the United States by the wheels of the British locomotive imported from the Stephenson Works in 1829. [Century Dictionary]
type of hinged sash-window that swings open like doors, early 15c., originally "hollow molding, frame for glass," probably a shortening of Old French dialectal enchassement "window frame" (Modern French enchâssement), from en- "in," prefix forming verbs, + casse "case, frame" (see case (n.2)) + -ment. Or possibly from Anglo-Latin cassementum, from casse. The "window" sense is from 1550s in English. Old folk etymology tended to make it gazement.
The Irish surname is originally Mc Casmonde (attested from 1429), from a misdivision of Mac Asmundr, from Irish mac "son of" + Old Norse Asmundr "god protector."
c. 1400, "natural transient small dent in some soft part of the human body," especially that produced in the cheek of a young person by the act of smiling, perhaps from an Old English as a word meaning "pothole," perhaps ultimately from Proto-Germanic *dumpilaz, which has yielded words in other languages meaning "small pit, little pool" (such as German Tümpel "pool," Middle Low German dümpelen, Dutch dompelen "to plunge").
In place-names from c. 1200; as a surname from late 13c. Meaning "slight indentation or impression in any surface" is from 1630s. Related: Dimples.
late 14c., megre (late 12c. as a surname), "lean, thin, emaciated" (of persons or animals), from Old French megre, maigre "thin" (12c.), from Latin macrum (nominative macer) "lean, thin" (source of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian magro), from PIE root *mak- "long, thin." Compare emaciate.
Of material things (land, food, etc.) from early 15c. Cognate Germanic words (Old Norse magr "thin," Old High German magar, German mager, Middle Dutch magher, Dutch mager, Old English mæger) come directly from the PIE root via Proto-Germanic *magras and are not from Latin.
c. 1300 (c. 1200 as a surname), percen, "make a hole in; force one's way through; thrust through with or as with a sharp or pointed instrument," from Anglo-French perser, Old French percier "pierce, transfix, drive through" (12c., Modern French percer), probably from Vulgar Latin *pertusiare, frequentative of Latin pertusus, past participle of pertundere "to thrust or bore through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + tundere "to beat, pound," from PIE *tund-, from root *(s)teu- "to push, strike, knock, beat, thrust" (see obtuse). Related: Pierced; piercing.
title of a county or municipal officer with certain duties, mid-14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), corouner, from Anglo-French curuner, from Anglo-Latin custos placitorum coronae (late 12c.), originally the title of the officer with the duty of protecting the private property of the royal family, from Latin corona, literally "crown" (see crown (n.)).
In the Middle English period an elected county or borough officer charged with the supervision of pleas of the Crown and the administration of criminal justice. The duties of the office gradually narrowed and by 17c. the chief function was to determine the cause of death in cases not obviously natural.