Etymology
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nuclear (adj.)

1841, "of or like the nucleus of a cell," from nucleus + -ar, probably by influence of French nucléaire. General sense of "central" is from 1912. In atomic physics, "of or belonging to the nucleus of an atom," from 1914; of weapons deriving their destructive power from nuclear reactions, by 1945.

Hence nuclear energy (1930), nuclear physics (1933), nuclear war (1954). Nuclear winter was coined by U.S. atmospheric scientist Richard Turco but is first attested in article by Carl Sagan in "Parade" magazine, Oct. 30, 1983. Nuclear family, originally a sociologists' term, is first attested 1949 in "Social Structure," by American anthropologist G.P. Murdock (1897-1985). Alternative adjective nucleal is recorded from 1840, probably from French.

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slice (v.)

late 15c., from French esclicier, from Old French escliz (see slice (n.)). Golfing sense is from 1890. Related: Sliced; slicing. Sliced bread is attested from 1929 and was touted in advertisements; greatest thing since ... first attested 1969.

With the advent of ready sliced bread the bread board, the bread knife and the slicing machine pass out of the picture. Sliced bread is a radical departure in the baking industry and although the Weber Baking Company will continue to supply the trade with unsliced loaves, the company anticipates an unusual run on the ready sliced loaf. [Western Hospital Review, vol. xiv, 1929]
No matter how thick or how thin you slice it it's still baloney. [Carl Sandburg, "The People, Yes," 1936]
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inflection (n.)

also inflexion, early 15c., from Latin inflexionem (nominative inflexio) "a bending, inflection, modification," noun of action from past participle stem of inflectere "to bend in, to change" (see inflect). For spelling, see connection. Grammatical sense "variation by declension or conjugation" is from 1660s; pronunciation sense "modulation of the voice" is from c. 1600.

"Derivation" can be defined as the process by which lexical items belonging to different word-classes are drawn from given bases. Derivation must be distinguished from inflexion, by which different paradigmatic forms are created from given stems. Inflexion describes plural formations, forms of comparison, etc. Inflexion processes do not change the word-class to which the lexical item under consideration belongs. [Alfred Bammesberger, "English Etymology," Heidelberg, Carl Winter, 1984]
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blues (n.1)

"music form featuring flatted thirds and sevenths," possibly c. 1895 (though officially 1912, in W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues"). Blue note "minor interval where a major would be expected" is attested from 1919, and at first was suspected as a source of the term.

I am under the impression that these terms [blue note, blue chord] were contemporary with, if they did not precede and foreshadow, the period of our innumerable musical 'Blues.' What the uninitiated tried to define by that homely appellation was, perhaps, an indistinct association of the minor mode and dyspeptic intonation with poor digestion; in reality, it is the advent in popular music of something which the textbooks call ambiguous chords, altered notes, extraneous modulation, and deceptive cadence. [Carl Engel, "Jazz: A Musical Discussion," The Atlantic Monthly, August 1922]
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folk-music (n.)

"music of the people," 1852 (Andrew Hamilton, "Sixteen Months in the Danish Isles"), from folk in the "of the people" sense (also see folklore) + music. Modeled on German Volksmusik. In reference to a branch of modern popular music imitative of the simple and artless style of music originating among the common people (originally associated with Greenwich Village in New York City) it dates from 1958.

Of airs properly national, it should be remembered, the composers are not known. They are found existing among the people, who are ignorant of their origin. They are, to borrow a German phrase, folk-music. [Richard Grant White, "National Hymns," New York, 1861]
The term National Music implies that music, which, appertaining to a nation or tribe, whose individual emotions and passions it expresses, exhibits certain peculiarities more or less characteristic, which distinguish it from the music of any other nation or tribe.*
* The Germans call it Volksmusik, a designation which is very appropriate, and which I should have rendered folk-music, had this word been admissible. [Carl Engel, "An Introduction to the Study of National Music," London, 1866]
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taste (v.)

c. 1300, "to touch, to handle," from Old French taster "to taste, sample by mouth; enjoy" (13c.), earlier "to feel, touch, pat, stroke" (12c., Modern French tâter), from Vulgar Latin *tastare, apparently an alteration (perhaps by influence of gustare) of taxtare, a frequentative form of Latin taxare "evaluate, handle" (see tax (v.)). Meaning "to take a little food or drink" is from c. 1300; that of "to perceive by sense of taste" is recorded from mid-14c. Of substances, "to have a certain taste or flavor," it is attested from 1550s (replaced native smack (v.3) in this sense). Another PIE root in this sense was *geus- "to taste; to choose."

The Hindus recognized six principal varieties of taste with sixty-three possible mixtures ... the Greeks eight .... These included the four that are now regarded as fundamental, namely 'sweet,' 'bitter,' 'acid,' 'salt.' ... The others were 'pungent' (Gk. drimys, Skt. katuka-), 'astringent' (Gk. stryphnos, Skt. kasaya-), and, for the Greeks, 'rough, harsh' (austeros), 'oily, greasy' (liparos), with the occasional addition of 'winy' (oinodes). [Carl Darling Buck, "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages," 1949]

Sense of "to know by experience" is from 1520s. Related: Tasted; tasting. Taste buds is from 1879; also taste goblets.

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patriotism (n.)

"love of one's country; the passion which moves a person to serve his country, either in defending it or in protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions," 1726, from patriot + -ism.

The patriotic quip My country, right or wrong traces to a toast given by U.S. War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur at a public dinner in Norfolk, Va., in April 1816, but the original seems to have been "Our country; in her intercourse with other nations may she be always right; and always successful, right or wrong." [as reported in the Pittsfield, Mass., "Sun," July 4, 1816], or similar words.

In 1823 and for a few years after, "Our Country—Right or Wrong" was printed in U.S. newspapers as the name of a song played on patriotic occasions [e.g., Pittsfield, Mass., "Sun," July 10, 1823], and by the fall of 1823 Decatur's toast was being quoted as "Our Country—right or wrong" [Hartford "Courant," Nov. 25, 1823].

The amendment often attributed to Carl Schurz in 1872, who did say it on the floor of the Senate, seems to be older:

The Hon. Israel Washburn, of Maine, gave the following felicitous sentiment at the late Bangor celebration on the Fourth:
"Our Country—Our country, right or wrong; when right, to be kept right; when wrong to be put right."
[Wheeling, W.Va., "Daily Intelligencer," July 21, 1859] 
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dance (v.)

c. 1300, dauncen, "move the body or feet rhythmically to music," from Old French dancier (12c., Modern French danser), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Low Frankish *dintjan and akin to Old Frisian dintje "tremble, quiver." Through French influence in arts and society, it has become the primary word for this activity from Spain to Russia (Italian danzare, Spanish danzar, Romanian dansa, Swedish dansa, German tanzen, modern Russian tancevat').

In part the loanword from French is used mainly with reference to fashionable dancing while the older native word persists in use with reference to folk-dancing, as definitively Russ. pljasat' vs. tancovat' [Carl Darling Buck, "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages," 1949].

In English it replaced Old English sealtian, itself a borrowing from Latin saltare "to dance," frequentative of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.); "dance" words frequently are derived from words meaning "jump, leap"). Native words used for the activity in Old English included tumbian (see tumble (v.)), hoppian(see hop (v.1)). Related: Danced; dancing.

Meaning "to leap or spring with regular or irregular steps as an expression of some emotion" is from late 14c. Of inanimate things, "move nimbly or quickly with irregular motion," 1560s. Transitive sense of "give a dancing motion to" is from c. 1500. To dance attendance "strive to please and gain favor by obsequiousness" is from late 15c.

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debunk (v.)

"expose false or nonsensical claims or sentiments," 1923, from de- + bunk (n.2); apparently first used by U.S. novelist William Woodward (1874-1950), in his best-seller "Bunk;" the notion being "to take the bunk out of things." It got a boost from Harold U. Faulkner's "Colonial History Debunked" [Harper's Magazine, December 1925], which article itself quickly was debunked, and the word was in vogue in America in the mid-1920s. Related: Debunked; debunking.

Wets and Drys, Fundamentalists and Modernists, are busily engaged in debunking one another to the delight and edification of a public which divides its time between automobiling and listening-in. Is it art, or education, or religion that you prefer? You have only to get the right station and what you last heard about the matter will be cleverly debunked while you wait. [Carl Vernon Tower, "Genealogy 'Debunked," in Annual Reports of the Tower Genealogical Society, 1925]

It was, naturally, execrated in England.

The origin of to debunk is doubtless the same as that of American jargon in general — the inability of an ill-educated and unintelligent democracy to assimilate long words. Its intrusion in our own tongue is due partly to the odious novelty of the word itself, and partly to the prevailing fear that to write exact English nowadays is to be put down as a pedant and a prig. [letter to the editor, London Daily Telegraph, March 2, 1935, cited in Mencken, "The American Language"]
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mirror (n.)

mid-13c., mirour, "polished surface (of metal, coated glass, etc.) used to reflect images of objects," especially the face of a person, from Old French mireoir "a reflecting glass, looking glass; observation, model, example," earlier miradoir (11c.), from mirer "look at" (oneself in a mirror), "observe, watch, contemplate," from Vulgar Latin *mirare "to look at," variant of Latin mirari "to wonder at, admire" (see miracle).

The Spanish cognate, mirador (from mirar "to look, look at, behold"), has come to mean "watch tower, gallery commanding an extensive view." Latin speculum "mirror" (or its Medieval Latin variant speglum) is the source of words for "mirror" in neighboring languages: Italian specchio, Spanish espejo, Old High German spiegal, German Spiegel, Dutch spiegel, Danish spejl, Swedish spegel. An ancient Germanic group of words for "mirror" is represented by Gothic skuggwa, Old Norse skuggsja, Old High German scucar, which are related to Old English scua "shade, shadow."

Words for 'mirror' are mostly from verbs for 'look', with a few words for 'shadow' or other sources. The common use of the word for the material 'glass' in the sense of 'mirror' seems to be peculiar to English. [Carl Darling Buck, "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages," 1949]

Figurative use, "that in or by which anything is shown or exemplified," hence "a model (of good or virtuous conduct)" is attested from c. 1300. Mirrors have been used in divination since classical and biblical times, and according to folklorists, in modern England they are the subject of at least 14 known superstitions. Belief that breaking one brings bad luck is attested from 1777. Mirror image "something identical to another but having right and left reversed" is by 1864. Mirror ball attested from 1968. To look in (the) mirror in the figurative sense of "examine oneself" is by early 15c.

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