Etymology
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second (n.1)

"one-sixtieth of a minute of degree," also "sixtieth part of a minute of time," late 14c. in geometry and astronomy, seconde, from Old French seconde, from Medieval Latin secunda, short for secunda pars minuta "second diminished part," the result of the second division of the hour by sixty (the first being the "prime minute," now simply the minute), from Latin secunda, fem. of secundus "following, next in time or order" (see second (adj.)).

The second hand of a clock, the pointer indicating the passage of seconds, is attested by 1759.

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sieve (n.)

"instrument for separating the finer from the coarser parts of disintegrated matter by shaking it so as to force the former through meshes too small for the latter to pass," Old English sife, from Proto-Germanic *sib (source also of Middle Dutch seve, Dutch zeef, Old High German sib, German Sieb), from PIE *seib- "to pour out, sieve, drip, trickle" (see soap (n.)). Related to sift. The Sieve of Eratosthenes (1803) is a contrivance for finding prime numbers. Sieve and shears formerly were used in divination.

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flower (n.)

c. 1200, flour, also flur, flor, floer, floyer, flowre, "the blossom of a plant; a flowering plant," from Old French flor "flower, blossom; heyday, prime; fine flour; elite; innocence, virginity" (12c., Modern French fleur), from Latin florem (nominative flos) "flower" (source of Italian fiore, Spanish flor), from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom."

From late 14c. in English as "blossoming time," also, figuratively, "prime of life, height of one's glory or prosperity, state of anything that may be likened to the flowering state of a plant." As "the best, the most excellent; the best of its class or kind; embodiment of an ideal," early 13c. (of persons, mid-13c. of things); for example flour of milk "cream" (early 14c.); especially "wheat meal after bran and other coarse elements have been removed, the best part of wheat" (mid-13c.). Modern spelling and full differentiation from flour (n.) is from late 14c.

In the "blossom of a plant" sense it ousted its Old English cognate blostm (see blossom (n.)). Also used from Middle English as a symbol of transitoriness (early 14c.); "a beautiful woman" (c. 1300); "virginity" (early 14c.). Flower-box is from 1818. Flower-arrangement is from 1873. Flower child "gentle hippie" is from 1967.

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prim (adj.)

"formal, stiffly precise in speech or manners," 1709, the sole surviving sense of a word attested first as a verb (1680s) "to assume a formal, precise demeanor," a cant word of uncertain origin, perhaps from French prim "thin, small, delicate" (Old French prim "fine, delicate"), from Latin primus "finest," literally "first" (see prime (adj.)).

Later, "deck out with great nicety, dress to effect, form or dispose with affected preciseness" (1721). It also is attested as a noun from 1700, "formal, precise, or stuck-up person." Related: Primly; primness.

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stag (n.)
late 12c., probably from Old English stagga "a stag," from Proto-Germanic *stag-, from PIE root *stegh- "to stick, prick, sting." The Old Norse equivalent was used of male foxes, tomcats, and dragons; and the Germanic root word perhaps originally meant "male animal in its prime."

Adjectival meaning "pertaining to or composed of males only" (as in stag party) is American English slang from 1848. Compare bull-dance, slang for one performed by men only (1845); gander (n.) also was used in the same sense. Stag film "pornographic movie" is attested from 1968. Stag beetle, so called for its" horns," is from 1680s.
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primate (n.)

"high bishop, preeminent ecclesiastical official of a province," having a certain jurisdiction, as vicar of the pope, over other bishops in his province, c. 1200, from Old French primat and directly from Medieval Latin primatem (nominative primas) "church primate," noun use of Late Latin adjective primas "of the first rank, chief, principal," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).

The meaning "animal of the biological order including monkeys and humans" is attested from 1876, from Modern Latin Primates, the order name (Linnæus), from plural of Latin primas; so called for being regarded as the "highest" order of mammals (originally also including bats).

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primrose (n.)

late 14c., prymrose, a name given to several plants that flower in early spring, earlier primerole (early 14c.), from Old French primerose, primerole (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prima rosa, literally "first rose" (see prime (adj.)). As the name of a pale yellow color, by 1844.

The parallel name primula (c. 1100) is from Medieval Latin primula "primrose," shortened from primula veris "firstling of spring," thus properly fem. of Latin primulus, diminutive of primus; but primerole was used in Old French and Middle English of other flowers (cowslips, field daisies). The primrose path is from "Hamlet" I, iii.

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main (adj.)

early 13c., "notably large, bulky, or strong" (a sense now obsolete), from Old English mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (such as mægensibb "great love," mægenbyrðen "heavy burden;" see main (n.)), probably also in part from or influenced by cognate Old Norse megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful, mighty."

Sense of "chief, principal, prime" is from c. 1400. That of "principal or chief in size or extent" is from 1590s. Main chance "opportunity of enriching oneself" is by 1570s, from the game of hazard. Main course in the meal sense attested from 1829. Main man "favorite male friend; hero" is by 1967, African-American vernacular.

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primum mobile (n.)

"the first source of motion," mid-15c., from Medieval Latin (11c.), literally "the first movable thing;" see prime (adj.) + mobile.

In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the tenth or outermost of the revolving spheres of the universe, which was supposed to revolve from east to west in twenty-four hours, and to carry the others along with it in its motion; hence, any great or first source of motion. [Century Dictionary]

A translation of Arabic al-muharrik al-awwal "the first moving" (Avicenna). Englished by Chaucer as the firste Moeuyng (c. 1400). Old science also had primum frigidum "pure cold: an elementary substance, according to the doctrine of Parmenides."


 

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snooker (n.)
1889, the game and the word said in an oft-told story to have been invented in India by British officers as a diversion from billiards. The name is perhaps a reference (with regard to the rawness of play by a fellow officer) to British slang snooker "newly joined cadet, first-term student at the R.M. Academy" (1872). Tradition ascribes the coinage to Col. Sir Neville Chamberlain (not the later prime minister of the same name), at the time subaltern in the Devonshire Regiment in Jubbulpore. One of the first descriptions of the game is in A.W. Drayson's "The Art of Practical Billiards for Amateurs" (1889), which states in a footnote "The rules of the game of snooker are the copyright of Messrs. Burroughes & Watts, from whom they may be obtained," they being manufacturers of billiard tables.
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