branks (n.)

"scolding-bridle," an iron-frame headpiece with a flat iron piece to be inserted in the mouth to still the tongue, formerly used in Scotland and later in parts of England "for correcting scolding women" [Century Dictionary], 1590s, of unknown origin. Perhaps from a North Sea Germanic language. Earlier as a verb, "to bridle, restrain" (1570s).

Paide for caring a woman throughe the towne for skoulding, with branks, 4d. ["Municipal Accounts of Newcastle," 1595]
Ungallant, and unmercifully severe, as this species of torture seems to be, Dr. Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, much prefers it to the cucking stool, which, he says, "not only endangers the health of the party, but also gives the tongue liberty 'twixt every dip." [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]
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dive (v.)

c. 1200, diven, "descend or plunge headfirst into water," from a merger of Old English dufan "to dive, duck, sink" (intransitive, class II strong verb; past tense deaf, past participle dofen) and dyfan "to dip, submerge" (weak, transitive), from Proto-Germanic verb *dubijan, from PIE *dheub- "deep, hollow" (see deep (adj.)).

In the merger of verbs the weak forms predominated and the strong inflections were obsolete by 1300. The past tense remained dived into 19c., but in that century dove emerged, perhaps on analogy of drive/drove. The change began to be noted in the late 1850s by Canadian and U.S. editors: Bartlett (1859) notes it as an Americanism, "Very common among seamen and not confined to them," and a paper read before the Canadian Institute in 1857 reports it in Canadian English. All note its use by Longfellow in "Hiawatha" (1855).

From early 13c. as "to make a plunge" in any way; of submarines by 1872; of airplanes by 1908 (hence dive-bombing, dive-bomber, both 1931). Figurative sense of "plunge entirely into something that engrosses the attention" is from 1580s. In Middle English also transitive, "to submerge (something), make to sink down."

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sink (v.)

Middle English sinken, from Old English sincan (intransitive) "become submerged, go under, subside" (past tense sanc, past participle suncen), from Proto-Germanic *senkwan (source also of Old Saxon sinkan, Old Norse sökkva, Middle Dutch sinken, Dutch zinken, Old High German sinkan, German sinken, Gothic sigqan), from PIE root *sengw- "to sink."

The transitive use "force or drag gradually downward" (attested from late 12c.) supplanted Middle English sench (compare drink/drench) which died out 14c. The sense of "go in, penetrate" (of a blow, a weapon, etc.) is from c. 1300; by early 14c. as "make a penetrating impression on the mind." Related: Sank; sunk; sinking.

From early 14c. as "be reduced to a lower or worse state;" late 14c. as "fall or fail as from weakness or under a heavy blow." From 1590s as "decrease, be reduced in value, amount, etc." Of the sun, moon, etc., "to set," c. 1600. Of land, "dip downward gradually," by 1726.

Contrasted with swim (v.) since 14c.; the adjectival phrase sink or swim is from 1660s. To sink without a trace is World War I military jargon, translating German spurlos versenkt.

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double (adj.)

c. 1300, "twice as much or as large," also "repeated, occurring twice," also "of extra weight, thickness, size, or strength; of two layers," from Old French doble (10c.) "double, two-fold; two-faced, deceitful," from Latin duplus "twofold, twice as much," from duo "two" (from PIE root *dwo- "two") + -plus "more" (see -plus).

From early 14c. as "having a twofold character or relation," also "consisting of two in a set together; being a pair, coupled." From mid-14c. as "characterized by duplicity." The earliest recorded use in English is c. 1200, in double-feast "important Church festival."

Double-chinned is from late 14c.; double-jointed, of persons, is by 1828. Military double time (1833) originally was 130 steps per minute; double quick (adj.) "very quick, hurried" (1822) originally was military, "performed at double time."

The photographic double exposure is by 1872. The cinematic double feature is by 1916. Double figures "numbers that must be represented numerically by two figures" is by 1833. Double-vision is by 1714. Double indemnity in insurance is by 1832; double jeopardy is by 1817. The baseball double play is by 1866.

Double trouble "twice the trouble" is by 1520s; in 19c. America it was the name of a characteristic step of a rustic dance or breakdown, derived from slave dancing on plantations. A double-dip (n.) originally was an ice-cream cone made with two scoops (1936); the figurative sense is by 1940. Double bed "bed made to sleep two persons" is by 1779. Double life "a sustaining of two different characters in life" (typically one virtuous or respectable, the other not) is by 1888.

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