"to wash (gravel or sand) in a pan in search of gold," 1839, from pan (n.); thus to pan out "turn out, succeed" (1868) is a figurative use (the expression in the literal sense of "yield gold when washed out in a pan" is by 1849). The meaning "criticize severely" is from 1911, probably from the notion in contemporary slang expressions such as on the pan "under reprimand or criticism" (1923), probably from the notion of being roasted or fried. Related: Panned; panning.
"alloy of gold and up to 40% silver," late 14c. (in Old English elehtre), from Latin electrum "alloy of gold and silver," also "amber" (see electric). So called probably for its pale yellow color. "A word used by Greek and Latin authors in various meanings at various times" [Century Dictionary"]. In Greek, usually of amber but also of pure gold. The Romans used it of amber but also of the alloy. The sense of "amber" also occasionally is found in English. "At all times, and especially among the Latin writers, there is more or less uncertainty in regard to the meaning of this word" ["Century Dictionary"].
city in Alaska, settled 1881 and named for French-Canadian prospector Joe Juneau (1836-1899), who with Dick Harris founded the place shortly after gold was discovered nearby.
"important vein of an ore or mineral in rock," 1849, from mother (n.1) + lode (n.); said to be a translation of Mexican Spanish veta madre, a name given to rich silver veins. The American use is first in reference to a conspicuous vein of quartz rich in gold discovered during the gold rush in the Sierra Nevada of California. The colloquial or figurative sense of "richest source of something" is by 1916.
"of or pertaining to merchants, trade, or commerce," 1640s, from French mercantile (17c.), from Italian mercantile, from Medieval Latin mercantile, from Latin mercantem (nominative mercans) "a merchant," also "trading," present participle of mercari "to trade," from merx "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). Mercantile system first appears in Adam Smith (1776).
Mercantile system, in polit. econ., the belief generally held till the end of the last century, that all wealth consists in gold and silver, and that therefore the exportation of goods and importation of gold should be encouraged by the state, while the importation of goods and the exportation of gold should be forbidden, or at least restricted as much as possible. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
"money," 1520s, from German and Dutch gelt "gold, money," from Proto-Germanic *geldam "payment" (see geld (n.)). In some later uses from Yiddish gelt, from Old High German gelt "payment, reward," from the same source.
before vowels, erythr-, word-forming element meaning "red," from Greek erythros "red" (in Homer, also the color of copper and gold); from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy."
c. 1300, "made of gold," from gold (n.) + -en (2); replacing Middle English gilden, from Old English gyldan. Gold is one of the few Modern English nouns that form adjectives meaning "made of ______" by adding -en (as in wooden, leaden, waxen, olden); those that survive often do so in specialized senses. Old English also had silfren "made of silver," stænen "made of stone," etc.
From late 14c. as "of the color of gold." Figurative sense of "excellent, precious, best, most valuable" is from late 14c.; that of "favorable, auspicious" is from c. 1600. Golden mean "avoidance of excess" translates Latin aurea mediocritas (Horace). Golden age "period of past perfection" is from 1550s, from a concept found in Greek and Latin writers; in sense of "old age" it is recorded from 1961. San Francisco Bay's entrance channel was called the Golden Gate by John C. Fremont (1866). The moralistic golden rule earlier was the golden law (1670s).
Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them [Matthew vii.12]
Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. [George Bernard Shaw, 1898]