early 15c., decepcioun, "act of misleading, a lie, a falsehood," from Old French déception (13c., decepcion) or directly from Late Latin deceptionem (nominative deceptio) "a deceiving," noun of state or action from past-participle stem of Latin decipere "to ensnare, take in, beguile, cheat," from de "from" or pejorative (see de-) + capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."
From mid-15c. as "state of being deceived; error, mistake;" from 1794 as "artifice, cheat, that which deceives."
"modest, bashful," 1550s, folk etymology alteration of shamefast, from Old English scamfæst "bashful," literally "restrained by shame," or else "firm in modesty," from shame (n.) + -fæst, adjectival suffix (see fast (adj.)). Related: Shamefacedly; shamefacedness.
shamefaced, -fast. It is true that the second is the original form, that -faced is due to a mistake, & that the notion attached to the word is necessarily affected in some slight degree by the change. But those who, in the flush of this discovery, would revert to -fast in ordinary use are rightly rewarded with the name of pedants .... [Fowler]
1765, from Late Latin Scandinavia (Pliny), Skandinovia (Pomponius Mela), name of a large and fruitful island vaguely located in northern Europe, a mistake (with unetymological -n-) for Scadinavia, which is from a Germanic source (compare Old English Scedenig, Old Norse Skaney "south end of Sweden"), from Proto-Germanic *skadinaujo "Scadia island." The first element is of uncertain origin; the second element is from *aujo "thing on the water" (from PIE root *akwā- "water;" see aqua-). It might have been an island when the word was formed; the coastlines and drainage of the Baltic Sea changed dramatically after the melting of the ice caps.
c. 1600, "action of criticizing, discrimination or discussion of merit, character or quality; a critical remark or disquisition," from critic + -ism. Meaning "art of judging of and defining the qualities or merits of a thing," especially "estimating literary or artistic worth" is from 1670s. Meaning "inquiry into the history and authenticity of a text" (the sense in higher criticism) is from 1660s.
In the first place, I must take leave to tell them that they wholly mistake the Nature of Criticism who think its business is principally to find fault. Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant a Standard of judging well. The chiefest part of which is, to observe those Excellencies which should delight a reasonable Reader. [Dryden, preface to "State of Innocence," 1677]
"gross grammatical error" (as I done it for I did it); loosely "a small blunder in speech; any absurdity or incongruity, a violation of the conventional rules of society," 1570s, from French solécisme (16c.), from Latin soloecismus "mistake in speaking or writing," from Greek soloikismos "a speaking (Greek) incorrectly," from soloikos "speaking incorrectly, using provincialisms," also "awkward or rude in manners," said to have meant originally "speaking like the people of Soloi," a Greek colony in Cilicia (modern Mezitli in Turkey), whose dialect the Athenians considered barbarous. Related: Solecize; solecist; solecistic; solecistical.
Any hard, very dark rock would do as a touchstone; the assayer compared the streak left by the alleged gold with that of real gold or baser metals. From the noun in Greek came Greek basanizein "to be put to the test, be examined closely, be cross-examined, be put to torture." Not connected with salt. Related: Basaltic.
"to set or place apart, to detach so as to make alone," by 1786, a back-formation from isolated (q.v.).
The translation of this work is well performed, excepting that fault from which few translations are wholly exempt, and which is daily tending to corrupt our language, the adoption of French expressions. We have here evasion for escape, twice or more times repeated; brigands very frequently; we have the unnecessary and foolish word isolate; and, if we mistake not, paralize, which at least has crept in through a similar channel. Translators cannot be too careful on this point, as it is a temptation to which they are constantly exposed. [The British Critic, April 1799]
As a noun, "something isolated," 1890; from earlier adjectival use (1819), which is from Italian isolato or Medieval Latin insulatus.
1800, "animal that howls," originally in reference to the South American monkey, agent noun from howl (v.). Meaning "glaring blunder, ridiculous mistake" is first recorded 1890. In early telephony (1886 - c. 1920) the name of a device used by the exchange to produce a loud howl in the receiver to attract a subscriber who has not hung up his end of the connection.
Telephone companies are oftentimes annoyed by subscribers leaving the receivers off the hook—time is lost and the service is more or less impaired. The Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company has recently issued a four-page folder descriptive of their "howler" equipment which is effectively used in remedying this evil. [Journal of Electricity, Power & Gas, vol. xxix, no. 6, Aug. 10, 1912]
female pudendum, 1650s, of unknown origin. A general term of abuse since 1920s.
The T-word occupies a special niche in literary history, however, thanks to a horrible mistake by Robert Browning, who included it in 'Pippa Passes' (1841) without knowing its true meaning. 'The[n] owls and bats,/Cowls and twats,/Monks and nuns,/In a cloister's moods.' Poor Robert! He had been misled into thinking the word meant 'hat' by its appearance in 'Vanity of Vanities,' a poem of 1660, containing the treacherous lines: 'They'd talk't of his having a Cardinalls Hat,/They'd send him as soon an Old Nuns Twat.' (There is a lesson here about not using words unless one is very sure of their meaning.) [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1989]