"ponder, turn over in one's mind," 1873, perhaps from a figurative use of mull (v.) "grind to powder" (which survived into 19c. in dialect), from Middle English mullyn, mollen "grind to powder, soften by pulverizing," also "to fondle or pet" (late 14c.), from Old French moillier and directly from Medieval Latin molliare,mulliare, from Latin molere "to grind," from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind."
Of uncertain connection to the mull (v.) defined in Webster's (1879) as "to work steadily without accomplishing much," and the earlier identical word in athletics meaning "to botch, muff" (1862). Related: Mulled; mulling.
Old English brysan "to crush, pound, injure by a blow which discolors the skin," from Proto-Germanic *brusjan, from PIE root *bhreu- "to smash, cut, break up" (source also of Old Irish bronnaim "I wrong, I hurt;" Breton brezel "war," Vulgar Latin *brisare "to break"). Merged by 17c. with Anglo-French bruiser "to break, smash," from Old French bruisier "to break, shatter," perhaps from Gaulish *brus-, from the same PIE root. Of fruits from early 14c. Intransitive sense "become bruised" is by 1912. Related: Bruised; bruising.
"club-shaped instrument used for pounding and breaking materials in a mortar," mid-14c. pestel, (as a surname late 13c.), from Old French pestel and directly from Latin pistillum (Medieval Latin pestellum) "pounder, pestle," related to pinsere "to pound," from PIE *pis-to-, suffixed form of root *peis- "to crush" (source also of Sanskrit pinasti "pounds, crushes," pistah "anything ground, meal," Greek ptissein "to winnow," Old Church Slavonic pišo, pichati "to push, thrust, strike," pišenica "wheat," Russian pseno "millet").
Also in old use "the leg of certain animals used for food" (14c.), hence pestle of a lark "a trifle, an unimportant matter" (1590s).
"the edible part of ground grain;" Middle English mēle, from Old English melu, from Proto-Germanic *melwan "grind" (source also of Old Frisian mele "meal," Old Saxon melo, Middle Dutch mele, Dutch meel, Old High German melo, German Mehl, Old Norse mjöl "meal;" literally "what is ground;" Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic malan, German mahlen "to grind"), from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." The verb form is not found in Old English. Forms with an -a- begin in late Middle English. "Now commonly understood to exclude the product of wheat (this being called FLOUR)" [OED].
c. 1300, "to condemn, curse," also "to destroy utterly;" from Anglo-French confoundre, Old French confondre (12c.) "crush, ruin, disgrace, throw into disorder," from Latin confundere "to confuse, jumble together, bring into disorder," especially of the mind or senses, "disconcert, perplex," properly "to pour, mingle, or mix together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + fundere "to pour" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour").
From mid-14c. as "to put to shame, disgrace." The figurative sense of "confuse the mind, perplex" emerged in Latin, passed into French and thence to English by late 14c. The Latin past participle confusus, meanwhile, became confused (q.v.). The meaning "treat or regard erroneously as identical" is from 1580s.
mid-14c., oppressioun, "cruel or unjust use of power or authority," from Old French opression (12c.), from Latin oppressionem (nominative oppressio) "a pressing down; violence, oppression," noun of action from past-participle stem of opprimere "press against, press together, press down;" figuratively "crush, put down, subdue, prosecute relentlessly" (in Late Latin "to rape"), from assimilated form of ob"against" (see ob-) + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike").
Meaning "action of weighing on someone's mind or spirits" is from late 14c. Sense of "whatever oppresses or causes hardship" is from late 14c. In Middle English also "rape."
1680s (Hakluyt, 1560s, has Malestrand), name of a famous tidal whirlpool off the northwest coast of Norway, supposed to suck in and destroy everything that approached it at all times (in fact it is not dangerous except under certain conditions), from Danish malstrøm (1673), from older Dutch Maelstrom (modern maalstroom), literally "grinding-stream," from malen "to grind" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind") + stroom "stream" (from PIE root *sreu- "to flow").
The name was used by Dutch cartographers (for example Mercator, 1595). OED says it is perhaps originally from Færoic mal(u)streymur. Popularized as a synonym for "whirlpool" from c. 1841, the year of Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom."
"fine, soft, loose earth," Old English molde "earth, sand, dust, soil; land, country, world," from Proto-Germanic *mulda (source also of Old Frisian molde "earth, soil," Old Norse mold "earth," Middle Dutch moude, Dutch moude, Old High German molta "dust, earth," Gothic mulda "dust"), from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." Specifically, since late (Christian) Old English, "the earth of the grave." Also, from c. 1300 as "earth as the substance out of which God made man; the 'dust' to which human flesh returns."
The proper spelling is mold, like gold (which is exactly parallel phonetically); but mould has long been in use, and is still commonly preferred in Great Britain. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
["convincing, weighty, pithy, full of meaning"] late 14c., "cogent, convincing, compelling" (of evidence, an argument, etc.); c. 1400 as "full of meaning;" from Old French preignant "pregnant, pithy, ready capable," which is probably from Latin praegnans "with child, pregnant, full" and thus the same word as pregnant (adj.1).
All uses seem to be derivable from the sense of "with child." But in some sources this English pregnant has been referred to French prenant, present participle of prendre "to take," or to the French present participle of preindre "press, squeeze, stamp, crush," from earlier priembre, from Latin premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress." The two English adjectives are so confused as to be practically one word, if they were not always so.