"perplex or embarrass by suddenly exciting the conscience, discomfit, make ashamed," late 14c., abaishen, earlier "lose one's composure, be upset" (early 14c.), from Old French esbaiss-, present stem of esbaer "lose one's composure, be startled, be stunned."
Originally, to put to confusion from any strong emotion, whether of fear, of wonder, shame, or admiration, but restricted in modern times to effect of shame. [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859]
The first element is es "out" (from Latin ex; see ex-). The second may be ba(y)er "to be open, gape" (if the notion is "gaping with astonishment"), possibly ultimately imitative of opening the lips. Middle English Compendium also compares Old French abaissier "bow, diminish, lower oneself" (source of abase). Related: Abashed; abashing. Bashful is a 16c. derivative.
late 14c., kitoun, "the young of a domesticated cat," probably from an Anglo-French variant of Old French chaton, chitoun (Old North French caton) "little cat," a diminutive of chat "cat," from Late Latin cattus (see cat (n.)). In playful use, "a young girl, a sweetheart," from 1870. As a verb, "bring forth kittens," late 15c. To have kittens "lose one's composure" is from 1908.
"corpse, dead body," 1859, slang, from stiff (adj.) which had been associated with notion of rigor mortis since c. 1200. Meaning "working man" first recorded 1930, from earlier genitive sense of "contemptible person," but sometimes merely "man, fellow" (1882). Slang meaning "something or someone bound to lose" is 1890 (originally of racehorses), from notion of "corpse."
"confuse as to direction," 1650s, from French désorienter "to cause to lose one's bearings," literally "to turn from the east," from dés- (see dis-) + orienter (see orient (v.)). Related: Disoriented; disorienting.
At the end of this labyrinth, when he had little guess where he had been conducted, and was, according to the French phrase, totally desorienté, (etc.). [Scott, "Redgauntlet," 1824]
"stimulate through the nerves," 1870, a back-formation from innervation "sending of a stimulus through the nerves" (1828), which is perhaps modeled on French innervation; see in- (2) "in" + nerve (n.) + -ate. Related: Innervated. Earlier in English the same word (but from the other in-) meant "to lose feeling or sensation" (1848), and, as an adjective, "without feeling" (1737). Innervation in psychology is from 1880, translated from German Innervationsgefühl.
1832, "public street carriage," originally a colloquial abbreviation of omnibus (q.v.). The modern English noun is nothing but a Latin dative plural ending. To miss the bus, in the figurative sense of "lose an opportunity," is from 1901, Australian English (OED has a figurative miss the omnibus from 1886). Busman's holiday "leisure time spent participating in what one does for a living" (1893) probably is a reference to London omnibus drivers riding the buses on their days off.
Sometimes a new play opens, and we have a wild yearning to see it. So we ask for a holiday, and spend the holiday seeing the other show. You know the London omnibus driver, when he takes a holiday, enjoys it by riding around on another omnibus. So we call it a 'busman's holiday' when we recuperate at another theater! [English actress Lily Elise in "The Girl Who Made Good," Cosmopolitan, December 1911]
"to be subjected to or exposed to, to endure without complaint," now Scottish and Northern English dialect, from Old English þolian "to suffer, endure, undergo; remain, survive; to lose, lack, forfeit," from Proto-Germanic stem *thul- (source also of Old Saxon tholon, Old High German dolon, Old Norse þola, Gothic þulan "to suffer," German geduld "patience"), from PIE *tele- "to bear, carry" (see extol).
[A] strong lobbyist will permit himself to lose heavily at the poker-table, under the assumption that the great Congressman who wins the stake will look leniently upon the little appropriation he means to ask for. [George A. Townsend, "Events at the National Capital and the Campaign of 1876," Hartford, Conn., 1876]
early 14c., "lose brightness, grow pale," from Old French fader "become weak, wilt, wither," from fade (adj.) "pale, weak; insipid, tasteless" (12c.), probably from Vulgar Latin *fatidus, which is said to be a blending of Latin fatuus "silly, tasteless" and vapidus "flat, flavorless." Related: Faded; fading. Of sounds, by 1819. Transitive sense from 1590s; in cinematography from 1918.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:" Do I wake or sleep?
[Keats, from "Ode to a Nightingale"]
1900, "to put into a tank," from tank (n.). Meaning "to lose or fail" attested from 1976 in a general sense, apparently originally in tennis jargon, specifically in an interview with Billie Jean King in Life magazine, Sept. 22, 1967:
"When our men don't feel like trying," she says, "They 'tank' [give up]. I never tanked a match in my life and I never saw a girl do it. The men do it all the time in minor tournaments when they don't feel like hustling. You have to be horribly competitive to win in big-time tennis."
Sometimes said to be from boxing, in some sense, perhaps from the notion of "taking a dive," but evidence for this is wanting. Related: Tanked; tanking. Adjective tanked "drunk" is from 1893.