1580s, in rhetoric, "professed doubt as to where to begin," from Latin, from Greek aporia "difficulty, perplexity, want of means, poverty," abstract noun from aporos "impassable, impracticable, very difficult; hard to deal with; at a loss," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + poros "passage" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over"). The meaning "equality of reasons for or against" is by 1893.
late 14c., "want of easiness, that quality which makes something laborious or perplexing," from Anglo-French difficulté and directly from Latin difficultatem (nominative difficultas) "difficulty, distress, poverty," from difficilis "hard," from dis- "not, away from" (see dis-) + facilis "easy to do," from facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). From 1610s as "that which is difficult." Related: Difficulties.
1580s, "reduce (a place) to ruin," transitive, from ruin (n.) or from French ruiner (14c.). From 1610s as "inflict disaster upon" (someone). The meaning "bring to ruin, damage essentially and irreparably" is by 1650s. The intransitive sense of "fall into ruin" is from c. 1600, now rare or obsolete. The financial sense of "reduce to poverty, wreck the finances of" is attested from 1650s. Related: Ruined; ruining.
late 15c., embushe, "troops concealed to surprise an enemy," from the English verb or from Old French embusche "an ambush, a trap" (13c., Modern French embûche), from embuschier "to lay an ambush" (see ambush (v.)). Non-military sense from 1570s. Figurative use by 1590s. Earlier was ambushment (late 14c.), from Old French embuschement, Medieval Latin imboscamentum.
early 15c., destitucioun, "deprivation, loss, absence of something desired," from Old French destitution and directly from Latin destitutionem (nominative destitutio) "a forsaking, deserting," from destitutus, past participle of destituere "forsake," from de "away" (see de-) + statuere "put, place," causative of stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Meaning "absence of means or resources, indigence, poverty" is from c. 1600.
1919, American English, originally a reference to rumors of quadriplegics as a result of catastrophic wounds suffered in World War I (the U.S. military authorities vehemently denied there were any such in its hospitals), from basket (n.) + case (n.2). Probably literal, i.e., stuck in a basket, but basket had colloquial connotations of poverty (begging) and helplessness long before this. The figurative sense of "person emotionally unable to cope" is from 1921.
c. 1600, from Arabic faqir "a poor man," from faqura "he was poor." Term for Muslim holy man who lived by begging, supposedly from a saying of Muhammad's, el fakr fakhri ("poverty is my pride"). Misapplied in 19c. English (possibly under influence of faker) to Hindu ascetics. Arabic plural form fuqara may have led to variant early English forms such as fuckeire (1630s).
c. 1200, "to entrap;" c. 1300, "to set about (to do)," from under + take (v.). Similar formation in French entreprendre "to undertake," from entre "between, among" + prendre "to take." The under in this word may be the same one that also may form the first element of understand. Old English had underniman "to trap, accept" (cognate with Dutch ondernemen, German unternehmen).
late 14c., "device to hold a latch of a door," also "a trap;" also "a fishing vessel," from catch (v.). The meaning "action of catching" is attested from 1570s. The meaning "that which is caught or worth catching" (later especially of spouses) is from 1590s. The sense of "hidden cost, qualification, etc.; something by which the unwary may be entrapped" is slang first attested 1855 in writings of P.T. Barnum.
Old English nunne "woman devoted to religious life under vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience to a superior," also "vestal, pagan priestess," from Late Latin nonna "nun, tutor," originally (along with masc. nonnus) a term of address to elderly persons, perhaps from children's speech, reminiscent of nana (compare Sanskrit nona, Persian nana "mother," Greek nanna "aunt," Serbo-Croatian nena "mother," Italian nonna, Welsh nain "grandmother;" see nanny).