wife of Hades, queen of the netherworld, identified with Kore, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, from Greek Persephone. De Vaan writes that "The name was always considered obscure" until a thorough investigation published in 2006 reported that the original form was persophatta, "as found in eight attestations, seven of which are on 5th c. BC Attic vases (by seven different painters)." He analyzes it as *perso-, cognate with Sanskrit parsa- "sheaf of corn," + a second element from the PIE root *gwhen- "to hit, strike" (see bane) thus "a female thresher of corn."
c. 1400, "nasal tumor," from Old French polype and directly from Latin polypus "cuttlefish," also "nasal tumor," from Greek (Doric, Aeolic) polypos "octopus, cuttlefish," from polys "many" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + pous "foot" (from PIE root *ped- "foot"). The etymological sense was revived 1742 as a name for hydras and sea anemones (earlier polypus, early 16c.). The Latin word is the source of French poulpe "octopus," and polyp was used in English from 1580s for "octopus, cuttlefish, eight- or ten-armed cephalopod," though this sense seems now to be obsolete.
"1 more than fifteen, twice eight; the number which is one more than fifteen; a symbol representing this number;" Old English sixtyne, from siex (see six) + -teen. Similar formation in Old Frisian sextine, Middle Dutch sestien, Dutch zestien, German sechzehn, Old Norse sextan.
The age of the gods is always sixteen. Sixteen represents the number of perfection, of plenitude. In man it is after the sixteenth year that the first elements of decay begin to appear, and when the moon reaches the sixteenth digit it begins to decrease. [Alain Daniélou, "The Myths and Gods of India"]
From Latin contracted form sexdecim, sedecim come Italian sedici, French seize.
also latchkey, "a key to raise or draw back the latch of a door" and allow one to enter from outside, 1825, from latch (n.) + key (n.1). Latchkey child first recorded 1944, American English, in reference to children coming home from school while both parents are away at work.
Many elementary school principals and teachers have always known the "latchkey" child or the "eight-hour orphan." [New York State Teachers Association, "New York State Education," 1944]
The older or simpler device was a latch-string, which could be pulled in to lock up; having it out was symbolic of openness.
"unit of money or weight," late Old English marc, a unit of weight (chiefly for gold or silver) equal to about eight ounces, probably from Old Norse mörk "unit of weight," cognate with German Mark and probably ultimately a derivative of mark (n.1), perhaps in a sense of "imprinted weight or coin." It was a unit of account in England into 18c., perhaps originally introduced by the Danes, but never the name of a particular coin.
The word is found in all the Germanic and Romanic languages (compare Old Frisian merk, Dutch mark, Medieval Latin marca, French marc (11c.), Spanish and Italian marco); in English it was used from 18c. in reference to various continental coinages, especially the silver money of Germany first issued 1875.
c. 1300, corde, "a string or small rope composed of several strands twisted or woven together; bowstring, hangman's rope," from Old French corde "rope, string, twist, cord," from Latin chorda "string of a musical instrument, cat-gut," from Greek khorde "string, catgut, chord, cord," from PIE root *ghere- "intestine."
Also from c. 1300 as "string of a musical instrument." From c. 1400 as "a tendon or muscle." Figurative sense of "anything which binds or restrains" is from late 14c. Meaning "raised, cord-like rib on the surface of cloth" is from 1776. As a measure of wood of 128 cubic feet (eight feet long, four feet high and wide) first recorded 1610s, so called because it was measured with a cord of rope.
Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the Midlands, Latinized from Old English Mierce "men of the Marches," from mearc (see march (n.2)). Related: Mercian. Mercian law (Medieval Latin Lex Merciorum, Middle English Mercene laue, mid-12c.) was the law code of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia (perhaps codified by Offa, but it survives only in fragments quoted in later English laws). Eight shires in the old Mercia still were governed under it in Middle English times, and the laws of William the Conqueror and Henry I set different penalties for breaches of the peace between the Mercian law, the Dane law, and the West Saxon law. Through some whim or error, Geoffrey of Monmouth and other later Middle English writers invented a British queen, Marcia, and attributed the laws to her.
The exact measure varied from place to place and according to commodity, and though in 19c. in Britain it acquired a precise legal definition, it varied in U.S. from state to state. Used since late 14c. loosely to mean "a large quantity or number." From late 14c. as "a bushel basket." To hide (one's) light under a bushel is from Matthew v.15.