Etymology
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Missouri 

originally a name for a group of native peoples among Chiwere (Siouan) tribes, from an Algonquian word recorded c. 1700, said to mean literally "people of the big canoes." Formed as a U.S. territory in 1812 (out of the whole of the Louisiana Purchase not admitted that year as the state of Louisiana); admitted as a state 1821.

In U.S. history, the Missouri Compromise (1820) in Congress admitted Missouri as a slave state, along with Maine as a free one, but set a line westward from the main southern boundary of Missouri above which no new states would be admitted with slavery. The expression I'm from Missouri, you'll have to show me is attested from at least c. 1880. Related: Missourian.

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Prince Albert 

"piercing that consists of a ring which goes through the urethra and out behind the glans," mid-20c., supposedly so-called from the modern legend that Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861), prince consort of Queen Victoria, had one.

But the term seems to be not older than bodyart maven Doug Malloy and his circle, and the stories about the prince may be fantastical inventions, perhaps to explain the term. Perhaps, too, there is some connection with Albert underworld/pawnshop slang for "gold watch-chain" (1861), which probably is from the common portraits of the prince in which he is shown with a conspicuous gold watch chain. Many fashions in male dress made popular by him bore his name late 19c.

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Hezbollah (n.)

extremist Shiite group active in Lebanon, founded c. 1982, from Persian hezbollah, Arabic hizbullah, literally "Party of God," from hezb/hizb "party" + allah "God." An adherent is a Hezbollahi. The name of various Islamic groups in modern times, the name itself is attested in English by 1960 in reference to an Indonesian guerrilla battalion of 1945 that "grew out of a similarly named organization formed by the Japanese to give training in military drill to young Moslems."

In Modjokuto (like Masjumi itself, Hizbullah was Indonesia-wide but, also like Masjumi, it had little effective central organization) this group was led by the present head of Muhammadijah — the same man who a year or so before was going to Djakarta for propaganda training and studying to be a kamikaze. [Clifford Geertz, "The Religion of Java," Chicago, 1960]
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Hesperides 

1590s, from Greek, "daughters of the Hesperus," name given to the nymphs (variously numbered but originally three) who tended the garden with the golden apples. Their name has been mistakenly transferred to the garden itself.

The Gardens of the Hesperides with the golden apples were believed to exist in some island in the ocean, or, as it was sometimes thought, in the islands on the north or west coast of Africa. They were far-famed in antiquity; for it was there that springs of nectar flowed by the couch of Zeus, and there that the earth displayed the rarest blessings of the gods; it was another Eden. As knowledge increased with regard to western lands, it became necessary to move this paradise farther and farther out into the Western Ocean. [Alexander Murray, "Manual of Mythology," 1888]

Related: Hesperidean; Hesperidian.

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Columbia 

poetic name for United States of America, earlier for the British colonies there, 1730s, also the nation's female personification, from name of Christopher Columbus (also see Colombia) with Latin "country" ending -ia.

A popular name for places and institutions in the U.S. in the post-Revolutionary years, when former tributes to king and crown were out of fashion: such as Columbia University (New York, U.S.) founded in 1754 as King's College; re-named 1784. Also District of Columbia (1791, as Territory of Columbia); "Hail, Columbia," Joseph Hopkinson's patriotic song that served in 19c. as an unofficial national anthem (1798); "Columbiad," Joel Barlow's attempt to write an epic for the United States (1807). Columbiad also was the name of a heavy, cast-iron, smooth-bore cannon introduced in the U.S. in 1811. Related: Columbian.

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K 

eleventh Roman letter, from Greek kappa, from Phoenician kaph or a similar Semitic source, said to mean literally "hollow of the hand" and to be so called for its shape.

Little used in classical Latin, which at an early age conformed most of its words (the exceptions had ritual importance) to a spelling using -c- (a character derived from Greek gamma). In Late Latin, pronunciation of -c- shifted (in the direction of "s"). Greek names brought into Latin also were regularized with a -c- spelling, and then underwent the Late Latin sound-shift; hence the modern pronunciation of Cyrus, Circe. To keep their pronunciation clear, the many Greek words (often Church words) that entered Latin after this shift tended to take Latin -k- for Greek kappa.

K- thus became a supplementary letter to -c- in Medieval Latin, used with Greek and foreign words. But most of the languages descended from Latin had little need of it, having evolved other solutions to the sound shifts.

K- also was scarce in Old English. After the Norman conquest, new scribal habits restricted -c- and expanded the use of -k-, which began to be common in English spelling from 13c. This probably was done because the sound value of -c- was evolving in French and the other letter was available to clearly mark the "k" sound for scribes working in English. For more, see C.

In words transliterated from Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Hawaiian, etc., it represents several different sounds lumped. In modern use some of them are now with kh-; in older borrowings they often followed traditional English spelling and were written with a C- (Corea, Caaba, etc.).

As a symbol for potassium, it represents Latin kalium "potash." In CMYK as a color system for commercial printing it means "black" but seems to stand for key in a specialized printing sense. Slang meaning "one thousand dollars" is 1970s, from kilo-. K as a measure of capacity (especially in computer memory) meaning "one thousand" also is an abbreviation of kilo-.

As an indication of "strikeout" in baseball score-keeping it dates from 1874 and is said to represent the last letter of struck. The invention of the scorecard symbols is attributed to English-born U.S. newspaperman Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) principally of the old New York "Clipper," who had been writing baseball since 1858, and who explained it thus:

Smith was the first striker, and went out on three strikes, which is recorded by the figure "1" for the first out, and the letter K to indicate how put out, K being the last letter of the word "struck." The letter K is used in this instance as being easier to remember in connection with the word struck than S, the first letter, would be. [Henry Chadwick, "Chadwick's Base Ball Manual," London, 1874]
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Hessian (n.)
"resident of the former Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel," western Germany; its soldiers being hired out by the ruler to fight for other countries, especially the British during the American Revolution, the name Hessians by 1835 in U.S. became synonymous (unjustly) with "mercenaries." Hessian fly (Cecidomyia destructor) was a destructive parasite the ravaged U.S. crops late 18c., so named 1787 in erroneous belief that it was carried into America by the Hessians.

The place name is from Latin Hassi/Hatti/Chatti, the Latinized form of the name of the Germanic people the Romans met in northern Germany (Greek Khattoi). The meaning of the name is unknown. Part of Arminius's coalition at the Battle of Teutoburger Wald (9 C.E.), they later merged with the Franks. They are mentioned in Beowulf as the Hetwaras. The state was annexed to Prussia in 1866 and is not to be confused with the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt.
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March 

third month of our year, first month of the ancient Roman calendar, c. 1200, from Anglo-French marche, Old French marz, from Latin Martius (mensis) "(month) of Mars," from Mars (genitive Martis). The Latin word also is the source of Spanish marzo, Portuguese março, Italian marzo, German März, Dutch Maart, Danish Marts, etc.

Replaced Old English hreðmonaþ, the first part of which is of uncertain meaning, perhaps from hræd "quick, nimble, ready, active, alert, prompt." Another name for it was Lide, Lyde (c.1300), from Old English hlyda, which is perhaps literally "noisy" and related to hlud "loud" (see loud). This fell from general use 14c. but survived into 19c. in dialect.

For March hare, proverbial type of madness, see mad (adj.). The proverb about coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb is since 1630s. March weather has been figurative of changeableness since mid-15c.

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Saxon (n.)

c. 1200, Sexun, Saxun, "member of a people or tribe formerly living in northern Germania who invaded and settled in Britain 5c.-6c.," from Late Latin Saxonem (nominative Saxo; also source of Old French saisoigne, French Saxon, Spanish Sajon, Italian Sassone), usually found in plural Saxones, probably from a West Germanic tribal name (represented by Old English Seaxe, Old High German Sahsun, German Sachse "Saxon").

This is traditionally regarded as meaning "warrior with knives" (compare Middle English sax, Old English seax, Old Frisian, Old Norse sax "knife, short sword, dagger," Old High German Saxnot, name of a war-god), from Proto-Germanic *sahsa- "knife," from PIE root *sek- "to cut." But Watkins considers this doubtful.

The word figures in the oft-told tale, related by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who got it from Nennius, of the treacherous slaughter by the Anglo-Saxons of their British hosts:

Accordingly they all met at the time and place appointed, and began to treat of peace; and when a fit opportunity offered for executing his villany, Hengist cried out, "Nemet oure Saxas," and the same instant seized Vortigern, and held him by his cloak. The Saxons, upon the signal given, drew their daggers, and falling upon the princes, who little suspected any such design, assassinated them to the number of four hundred and sixty barons and consuls ....

The OED editors helpfully point out that the murderous shout in correct Old English (with an uninflected plural) would be nimað eowre seax. For other Germanic national names that may have derived from characteristic tribal weapons, see Frank, Lombard. Celtic languages used their form of the word to mean "an Englishman, one of the English race" or English-speaking person in Celtic lands (for example Welsh Sais, plural Seison "an Englishman;" Seisoneg "English;" compare Sassenach).

As an adjective from late 14c. (earlier was Saxish, c. 1200); in reference to the later German state of Saxony (German Sachsen, French Saxe) in central Germany it is attested by mid-14c. Bede distinguished the Anglo-Saxons, who conquered much of southern Britain, from the Ealdesaxe "Old Saxons," who stayed in Germany.

Saxon is the source of the -sex in Essex, Sussex, etc. (compare Middlesex, from Old English Middel-Seaxe "Middle Saxons").

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Arcturus 

late 14c., orange bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), from Latin Arcturus, from Greek Arktouros, literally "guardian of the bear" (the bright star was anciently associated with nearby Ursa Major, the "Big Dipper," which it seems to follow across the sky). For first element see arctic; second element is Greek ouros "watcher, guardian, ward," from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for." It is fourth-brightest of the fixed stars. The double nature of the great bear/wagon (see Big Dipper) has given two different names to the constellation that follows it: Arktouros "bear-ward" and Bootes "the wagoner" (from Greek, ultimately from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow").

Arcturus in the Bible (Job ix.9 and xxxviii.32) is a mistranslation by Jerome (continued in KJV) of Hebrew 'Ayish, which refers to what we see as the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. In Israel and Arabia, the seven stars of the Great Bear seem to have been a bier (the "bowl") followed by three mourners. In the Septuagint it was translated as Pleiada, which is equally incorrect.

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