Etymology
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smear (v.)

Old English smerian, smierwan "to anoint or rub with grease, oil, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *smerwjan "to spread grease on" (source also of Old Norse smyrja "to anoint, rub with ointment," Danish smøre, Swedish smörja, Dutch smeren, Old High German smirwen "apply salve, smear," German schmieren "to smear;" Old Norse smör "butter"), from PIE *smeru- "grease" (source also of Greek myron "unguent, balsam," Old Irish smi(u)r "marrow," Old English smeoru "fat, grease, ointment, tallow, lard, suet," Lithuanian smarsas "fat").

Figurative sense of "assault a public reputation" is by 1835; especially "dishonor or besmirch with unsubstantiated charges." Related: Smeared; smearing. Smear-word, one used regardless of its literal meaning but invested with invective, is from 1938.

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crock (n.)

Middle English crokke, from Old English crocc, crocca "pot, earthen vessel, pitcher, or jar," from Proto-Germanic *krogu "pitcher, pot" (source also of Old Frisian krocha "pot," Old Saxon kruka, Middle Dutch cruke, Dutch kruik, Old High German kruog "pitcher," German Krug, Old Norse krukka "pot"). These all are perhaps from the same source as Middle Irish crocan "pot," Greek krossos "pitcher," Old Church Slavonic krugla "cup."

Specifically a receptacle for meal, butter, milk, etc., or in cooking; usually an earthen vessel but sometimes of brass or iron.

Used as an image of worthless rubbish since 19c., perhaps from the use of crockery as chamberpots. But there were other uses of crock, of uncertain relationship, such as "an old ewe" (1520s, Scottish), used contemptuously of debilitated or invalid persons (19c.). Also compare Middle English croke, crok "a hull, husk," figuratively "refuse," Low German krak "a thing of no value," colloquial English crock "soot, smut" (1650s).

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macaroni (n.)

"tube-shaped food made of dried wheaten paste" [Klein], 1590s, from southern Italian dialectal maccaroni (Italian maccheroni), plural of maccarone, name for a kind of pasty food made of flour, cheese, and butter, possibly from maccare "bruise, batter, crush," which is of unknown origin, or from late Greek makaria "food made from barley."

Originally known as a leading food of Italy (especially Naples and Genoa), it was used in English by 1769 to mean "a fop, a dandy" ("typical of elegant young men" would be the sense in "Yankee Doodle") because it was an exotic dish in England at a time when certain young men who had traveled the continent were affecting French and Italian fashions and accents (and were much mocked for it).

There is said to have been a Macaroni Club in Britain by 1764, composed of young men who sought to introduce elegancies of dress and bearing from the continent, which was the immediate source of this usage in English. Hence the extended use of macaroni as "a medley; something extravagant to please idle fancy" (by 1884).

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peanut (n.)

1807; see pea + nut. Earlier, and still commonly in England, ground nut, ground pea (1769). The plant is native to South America; Portuguese traders took peanuts from Brazil and Peru to Africa by 1502 and it is known to have been cultivated in Chekiang Province in China by 1573, probably arriving with Portuguese sailors who made stops in Brazil en route to the Orient.

Peanut butter is attested by 1892; peanut brittle "hard toffee with peanuts roasted in it" is from 1894. Peanut gallery "topmost (and cheapest) rows of a theater" is from 1874, American English, from the peanuts sold as inexpensive snacks; peanuts "trivial sum" is from 1934; peanut for "small or unimportant person" is by 1942. The Peanuts newspaper comic strip by U.S. cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) debuted under that name on Oct. 2, 1950.

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cover (n.)
Origin and meaning of cover

mid-14c., "something laid, placed or spread (on something else),"  from cover (v.). Sense of "something which veils or screens from sight" is from c. 1400. From c. 1500 as "shelter" of any kind, later especially in hunting, "shrubbery, brush, or thickets which conceal game" (1719).

Meaning "binding or wrapper of a book" is from 1590s; that of "envelope or wrapper for a letter" is by 1748. Meaning "recording of a song already recorded by another" is by 1970, short for cover version (1966). Cover-band "band that plays only cover songs" is by 1981. Cover girl is U.S. slang from 1915, shortening of magazine-cover girl (1899).

Cover-charge is attested by 1913. The immediate sense of cover in it appears to be the old one of "plate, knives, forks, spoons, napkin, wine glasses, etc., used at the table by one person," from French couvert, literally "a cover," in the same sense; supposedly they were so called because they were originally brought together in a case.

According to contemporary publications, cover came to include table condiments and bread and butter, and c. 1910 some restaurants began to charge extra for these. ["... a smart New York restauranteur recently made a 'cover charge' of twenty-five cents for bread and butter and ice-water. Others followed." - Edward Hungerford, "The Personality of American Cities," 1913]

In this sense, cover also probably involves the banquet service use of cover for a charge which includes ("covers") everything provided with the food — menu card, flowers, music, etc.

In recent years hotels, particularly those featuring entertainment in their restaurants, have made a so-called cover charge which includes entertainment in addition to the table service. For instance, at some of the larger hotels in New York, where there is dancing, or cabaret, or high-priced soloists, or entertainment of costly nature provided, there is a cover charge, sometimes as high as $1 the seat. [Hotel Monthly, December 1917]
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dey (n.1)

Old English dæge "female servant, woman who handles food in a household, housekeeper," from Proto-Germanic *daigjon (source also of Old Norse deigja "maid, female servant," Swedish deja "dairymaid"), from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build." Now obsolete (though OED says, "Still in living use in parts of Scotland"), it forms the first element of dairy and the second of lady.

OED says the ground sense of the ancient word seems to be "kneader, maker of bread;" it would have then advanced via Old Norse deigja and Middle English daie to mean "female servant, woman employed in a house or on a farm." By c. 1200 it had acquired the specific sense of "woman in charge of milking and making butter and cheese, dairy-maid." Dæge as "servant" is the second element in many surnames ending in -day (such as Faraday, and perhaps Doubleday, if it means "servant of the Twin," etc.).

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fetch (v.)

Middle English fecchen, from Old English feccan "to bring, bring to; seek, gain, take," apparently a variant of fetian, fatian "bring near, bring back, obtain; induce; marry," which is probably from Proto-Germanic *fetan (source also of Old Frisian fatia "to grasp, seize, contain," Old Norse feta "to find one's way," Middle Dutch vatten, Old High German sih faggon "to mount, climb," German fassen "to grasp, contain"). This would connect it to the PIE verb for "to walk" derived from root *ped- "foot."

With widespread sense development: to "reach," "deliver," "effect," "make (butter), churn" (19c.), "restore to consciousness" (1620s), also various nautical senses from 16c.-17c.; meaning "to bring in as equivalent or price" is from c. 1600. In 17c. writers on language didn't derive a word's etymology; they fetched it. As what a dog does, c. 1600, originally fetch-and-carry. Variant form fet, a derivation of the original Old English version of the word, survived as a competitor until 17c. Related: Fetched; fetching.

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scramble (v.)

1580s (intransitive), "make one's way by clambering, etc., struggle or wriggle along," also "strive with others or jostle and grasp rudely for a share or for mastery;" a word of obscure origin, perhaps a nasalized variant of scrabble (v.) "to struggle; to scrape quickly." OED points to dialectal scramb "pull together with the hands," a variant of scramp, which is probably a nasalized form of scrape.

Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a school, ... a real, honest, old fashioned boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way, and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies. [Jane Austen, "Emma"]

The transitive sense of "to stir or toss together randomly, cause to move confusedly" is from 1822. The transitive sense, in reference to radio signals, telephone voices, etc., "to make unintelligible," is attested from 1927, hence generally "to jumble, muddle." In U.S. football, in reference to a quarterback avoiding tacklers, by 1964. Related: Scrambled; scrambling. Scrambled eggs, broken into a pan, mixed with butter, salt, pepper, etc., and cooked slowly,is by 1843.

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cake (n.)

early 13c., "flat or comparatively thin mass of baked dough," from Old Norse kaka "cake," from West Germanic *kokon- (source also of Middle Dutch koke, Dutch koek "a cake, gingerbread, dumpling," Old High German kuohho, German Kuchen "a cake, a tart"). Not believed to be related to Latin coquere "to cook," as formerly supposed. Replaced its Old English cognate, coecel.

What man, I trow ye raue, Wolde ye bothe eate your cake and haue your cake? ["The Proverbs & Epigrams of John Heywood," 1562]

Extended mid-15c. to any flat, rounded mass. From early 15c. extended to "a light composition of flour, sugar, butter and other ingredients baked in any form." To take the cake "win all, rank first" (often ironic) is from 1847, American English; piece of cake "something easy" is from 1936. The let them eat cake story is found in Rousseau's "Confessions," in reference to an incident c. 1740, long before Marie Antoinette, though it has been associated with her since c. 1870; it apparently was a chestnut in the French royal family that had been told of other princesses and queens before her.

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flapper (n.)

1560s, "one who or that which flaps," agent noun from flap (v.). Sense of "forward young woman" is 1921 slang, but the exact connection is disputed. Perhaps from flapper "young wild-duck or partridge" (1747), with reference to flapping wings while learning to fly, many late 19c. examples of which are listed in Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900), including one that defines it as "A young partridge unable to fly. Applied in joke to a girl of the bread-and-butter age."

Other suggested sources include a late 19c. northern English dialectal use of the word for "teen-age girl" (on notion of one with the hair not yet put up), or an earlier meaning "prostitute" (1889), which is perhaps from dialectal flap "young woman of loose character" (1610s). Any or all of these might have converged in the 1920s sense. Wright also has flappy, of persons, "wild, unsteady, flighty," with the note that it also was "Applied to a person's character, as 'a flappy lass,'" and further on he lists flappy sket (n.) "an immoral woman." In Britain the word took on political tones in reference to the debate over voting rights.

"Flapper" is the popular press catch-word for an adult woman worker, aged twenty-one to thirty, when it is a question of giving her the vote under the same conditions as men of the same age. [Punch, Nov. 30, 1927]
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