Etymology
Advertisement
quintain (n.)

"target for tilting and jousting practice," c. 1400 (in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), from Old French quintaine or directly from Medieval Latin quintana; perhaps from Latin quintana "of the fifth" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five"), which as a noun meant "the business part of a camp," a street where the market and forum were located, on the supposition that this was where military exercises were done [OED].

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
pillar (n.)

c. 1200, piler, "a column or columnar mass, narrow in proportion to height, either weight-bearing or free-standing," from Old French piler "pillar, column, pier" (12c., Modern French pilier) and directly from Medieval Latin pilare, from Latin pila "pillar, stone barrier," a word of unknown etymology. The figurative sense of "prop or support of an institution or community" is recorded from early 14c. Related: Pillared.

In medieval architecture often made so as to give the appearance of several shafts around a central core; "by architects often distinguished from column, inasmuch as it may be of any shape in section, and is not subordinated to the rules of classic architecture" [Century Dictionary].

Phrase pillar to post "from one thing to another without apparent or definite purpose" is attested from c. 1600, late 15c. as post to pillar, mid-15c. as pillar and post; but the exact meaning is obscure. Earliest references seem to allude to tennis, but post and pillar is recorded as the name of a game of some sort c. 1450. The theory that the expression is from pillar as the raised ground at the center of a manège ring around which a horse turns is unlikely because that sense seem to date only to 18c.

The Pillars of Hercules are the two hills on opposite sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, Abyla in Africa and Calpe in Europe, said to have been torn asunder by Hercules.

Related entries & more 
quintessence (n.)

early 15c., quint-essence, in ancient philosophy and medieval alchemy, "a pure essence latent in all things, and the substance of which the heavenly bodies are composed," literally "fifth essence," from Old French quinte essence (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin quinta essentia, from Latin quinta, fem. of quintus "fifth" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + essentia "being, essence," abstract noun formed (to translate Greek ousia "being, essence") from essent-, present-participle stem of esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be").

The Latin term is a loan-translation of Greek pempte ousia, the "ether" that was added by Aristotle (perhaps following the Pythagoreans) to the four known elements (water, earth, fire, air) and said to permeate all things. It was naturally bright, incorruptible, and endowed with circular motion. Its extraction was one of the chief goals of alchemy.

The transferred or figurative sense of "purest essence" (of a situation, character, etc.), "an extract from anything containing in a small quantity its virtues or most essential part" is by 1560s.

Related entries & more 
flivver (n.)

"cheap car," later (after 1914) especially "Model-T Ford," by 1905, of uncertain origin. The word flivver was noted c. 1910 as a new theater slang word come into common use: "A flivver is something that is not a success, perhaps not an outright, hideous failure, but certainly a long way from the top." [Boston Globe, Feb. 20, 1910] A character in a comical column from The Philadelphia Inquirer of Aug. 16, 1909, says it is "... from the verb 'to fliv,' meaning a foul, a bungled miss."

Related entries & more 
legem pone (n.)
"payment of money, cash down," 1570s, old slang, from the title in the Anglican prayer-book of the psalm appointed for Matins on the 25th of the month; it was consequently associated especially with March 25, the new year of the old calendar and a quarter day, when payments and debts came due and money changed hands generally. The title is from the first two words of the fifth division of Psalm cxix: Legem pone mihi, Domine, viam justificationum tuarum "Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
*kel- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be prominent," also "hill."

It forms all or part of: colonel; colonnade; colophon; column; culminate; culmination; excel; excellence; excellent; excelsior; hill; holm.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kutam "top, skull;" Latin collis "hill," columna "projecting object," cellere "raise;" Greek kolōnos "hill," kolophōn "summit;" Lithuanian kalnas "mountain," kalnelis "hill," kelti "raise;" Old English hyll "hill," Old Norse hallr "stone," Gothic hallus "rock."

Related entries & more 
hart (n.)

Middle English hert, from Old English heorot "hart, stag, male of the red deer," from Proto-Germanic *herutaz (source also of Old Saxon hirot, Old Frisian and Dutch hert "stag, deer," Old High German hiruz, Old Norse hjörtr, German Hirsch "deer, stag, hart"), perhaps from PIE *keru-, extended form of root *ker- (1) "horn; head." For vowel change, see marsh.

In later times, a male deer after its fifth year, when the crown antler has appeared. The female is a hind (n.).

Related entries & more 
pedestal (n.)

1560s, "base supporting a column, statue, etc.; that which serves as a foot or support," from French piédestal (1540s), from Italian piedistallo "base of a pillar," from pie "foot" (from Latin pes "foot;" from PIE root *ped- "foot") + di "of" + Old Italian stallo "stall, place, seat," from a Germanic source (see stall (n.1)). The spelling in English was influenced by Latin pedem "foot." An Old English word for it was fotstan, literally "foot-stone." Figurative sense of put (someone) on a pedestal "regard as highly admirable" is attested by 1859.

Related entries & more 
attic (n.)
"top story under the roof of a house," by 1807, shortened from attic story (1724). Attic in classical architecture meant "a small, square decorative column of the type often used in a low story above a building's main facade," a feature associated with the region around Athens (see Attic). The word then was applied by architects to "a low decorative facade above the main story of a building" (1690s in English), and it then came to mean the space enclosed by such a structure. The modern use is via French attique. "An attic is upright, a garret is in a sloping roof" [Weekley].
Related entries & more 
dock (v.1)

"cut off or clip an animal's tail," late 14c., from dok (n.) "fleshy part of an animal's tail" (mid-14c.), which is from Old English -docca "muscle" or an Old Norse equivalent, from Proto-Germanic *dokko "something round, bundle" (source also of Old Norse dokka "bundle; girl," Danish dukke "a bundle, bunch, ball of twine, straw, etc.," also "doll," German Docke "small column, bundle; doll, smart girl").

The general meaning "deduct a part from," especially "to reduce (someone's) pay for some infraction" is recorded by 1815. Related: Docked; docking.

Related entries & more 

Page 5