mid-14c., Babilon, representing the Greek rendition of Akkadian Bab-ilani "the gate of the gods," from bab "gate" + ilani, plural of ilu "god" (compare Babel). The Old Persian form, Babiru-, shows characteristic transformation of -l- to -r- in words assimilated from Semitic.
The English word also was formerly applied by Protestants to the Church in Rome, in reference to the woman "arrayed in purple and scarlet" in Revelation xvii.5 ("And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth").
city in northern England, Old English Eoforwic, earlier Eborakon (c. 150), an ancient Celtic name, probably meaning "Yew-Tree Estate," but Eburos may also be a personal name. Related: Yorkist; Yorkish; Yorker. Yorkshire pudding is recorded from 1747; Yorkshire terrier first attested 1872; short form Yorkie is from 1950.
Al þe longage of þe Norþhumbres, and specialych at Õork, ys so scharp, slyttyng, and frotyng, and vnschape, þat we souþeron men may þat longage vnneþe vndurstonde. [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s]
surname, early 13c., probably an agent noun from walk (v.) in the sense "to full cloth." preserves the cloth-fulling sense (walker with this meaning is attested from c. 1300). "Walker" or "Hookey Walker" was a common slang retort of incredulity in early and mid-19c. London, for which "Various problematic explanations have been offered" [Century Dictionary].
"Is it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy it."
"Walk-ER!" exclaimed the boy.
"No, no," said Scrooge. "I am in earnest" (etc.)
[Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"]
in classical mythology a nymph, mother of Arcas by Zeus, turned to a bear by Hera, from Greek kallistos, superlative of kalos "beautiful, beauteous, noble, good," and its derived noun kallos "beauty," from *kal-wo-, which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Sanskrit kalyana "beautiful." The usual combining form in Greek was kalli- "beautiful, fine, happy, favorable;" kalo- was a later, rarer alternative form. Also a name given to the fourth moon of Jupiter in 17c. but not widely used before mid-19c. Feminized as a proper name as Callista.
fem. personal name, originally another form of Jane, Janey and a diminutive of Jane or Janet; in modern use (mid-20c.) typically a shortening of Jennifer. Jenny is attested from c. 1600 as female equivalent of jack (n.), and like it applied to animals (especially of birds, of a heron, a jay, but especially Jenny wren, 1640s, in bird-fables the consort of Robin Redbreast). Also like jack used of machinery; Akrwright's spinning jenny (1783) is said to have been named for his wife, but is perhaps rather a corruption of gin (n.2) "engine."
fourth day of the week, Old English wodnesdæg "Woden's day," a Germanic loan-translation of Latin dies Mercurii "day of Mercury" (compare Old Norse Oðinsdagr, Swedish Onsdag, Old Frisian Wonsdei, Middle Dutch Wudensdach). For Woden, see Odin.
Contracted pronunciation is recorded from 15c. The Odin-based name is missing in German (mittwoch, from Old High German mittwocha, literally "mid-week"), probably by influence of Gothic, which seems to have adopted a pure ecclesiastical (i.e. non-astrological) week from Greek missionaries. The Gothic model also seems to be the source of Polish środa, Russian sreda "Wednesday," literally "middle."
fem. proper name, mid-12c., from Old French Agnes, from Greek Hagnē "pure, chaste," fem. of hagnos "holy, sacred" (of places); "chaste, pure; guiltless, morally upright" (of persons), from PIE *yag-no-, suffixed form of root *yag- "to worship, reverence" (see hagiology).
St. Agnes, martyred 303 C.E., is patron saint of young girls, hence the folk connection of St. Agnes' Eve (Jan. 20-21) with love divinations. In Middle English, the name was frequently written phonetically as Annis, Annys. In U.S., among the top 50 names for girls born between 1887 and 1919.
capital city of Sweden; it arose mid-13c. from a fishing village; the second element in the name is holm "island" (see holm); the first is either stäk "bay" or stock "stake, pole." Related: Stockholmer.
Stockholm Syndrome is from 1978, a psychologists' term; the name derives from the Aug. 23, 1973, violent armed robbery of Sveriges Kreditbank in Stockholm, after which four bank employees were held hostage in a vault for more than five days. The hostages developed a dramatic attachment to their abuser, and a fear of would-be rescuers, that they could not explain.
generic or mock-heroic name for a horse, mid-14c., from Old French Baiard, name of the bay-colored magic steed given by Charlemagne to Renaud in the legends, from Old French baiart "bay-colored" (see bay (adj.)). Also by early 14c. proverbial as a blind person or thing, for now-unknown reasons.
The name later was used attributively of gentlemen of exceptional courage and integrity, in this sense from Pierre du Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1473-1524), French knight celebrated as Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche. The surname is perhaps in reference to hair color.
bright star in the left shoulder of Orion, from Latin bellatrix "female warrior," frequently used as an adjective, "warlike, skilled in war," fem. of bellator "to wage war," from bellum "war" (see bellicose). The Latin name, from the Alfonsine Tables (mid-13c.), very loosely translates the Arabic name for the star, Al Najid "the conqueror."
In astrology it was the natal star of all destined to great civil or military honors, and rendered women born under its influence lucky and loquacious; or as old Thomas Hood said, "Women born under this constellation shall have mighty tongues." [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," 1899]