Etymology
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Uncle Sam (n.)

symbol of the United States of America, 1813, coined during the war with Britain as a contrast to John Bull, and no doubt suggested by the initials U.S. in abbreviations. "[L]ater statements connecting it with different government officials of the name of Samuel appear to be unfounded" [OED]. The common figure of Uncle Sam began to appear in political cartoons c. 1850. Only gradually superseded earlier Brother Jonathan (1776), largely through the popularization of the figure by cartoonist Thomas Nast. British in World War I sometimes called U.S. soldiers Sammies.

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Acheron 

1580s, fabled river of the Lower World in Greek mythology, from Greek Akheron, the name of several real rivers in addition to being the mythical river of the Underworld. The name perhaps means "forming lakes" (compare Greek akherousai "marsh-like water"), from PIE root *eghero- "lake" (source of Lithuanian ežeras, ažeras, Old Prussian assaran, Old Church Slavonic jezero "lake").

The derivation from Greek akhos "woe" is considered folk etymology. The name later was given to certain rivers in Greece and Italy because they flowed through dismal surroundings or disappeared underground and were thought to be gateways to the Underworld. Related: Acherontic.

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Ku Klux Klan 

1867, American English, originally Kuklux Klan, a made-up name, supposedly from Greek kuklos, kyklos "circle" (see cycle (n.)) + English clan. Originally an organization of former Confederate officers and soldiers, it was put down by the U.S. military in the 1870s. Revived 1915 as a national racist Protestant fraternal organization, it grew to prominence but fractured in the 1930s. It had a smaller national revival 1950s as an anti-civil rights group, later with anti-government leanings. In late 19c. often simply Kuklux.

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Medici 

Italian family that ruled Florence during the 15c., originally the plural of medico "a physician," from Latin medicus (see medical (adj.)). Related: Medicean.

[A]n illustrious family of Florence, appearing first as merchants of the medieval republic, and at the dawn of the Renaissance, in the fifteenth century, raised to supreme power through their liberality and merit. From this time on for three centuries, amid fortunes of varying brilliancy, this family produced popes, sovereigns, and tyrants, and it occupies a large place in the history of Europe. In the fine arts and literature the epithet has particular reference to Cosimo dei Medici, known as Cosimo the Elder, and to Lorenzo the Magnificent. [Century Dictionary]
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Edith 

fem. proper name, Old English Eadgyð, from ead "riches, prosperity, good fortune, happiness" + guð "war." A fairly common name; it survived through the Middle Ages, probably on the popularity of St. Eadgyð of Wilton (962-84, abbess, daughter of King Edgar of England), fell from favor 16c., was revived in fashion late 19c. Old English ead (also in eadig "wealthy, prosperous, fortunate, happy, blessed; perfect;" eadnes "inner peace, ease, joy, prosperity") became Middle English edy, eadi "rich, wealthy; costly, expensive; happy, blessed," but was ousted by happy. Late Old English, in its grab-bag of alliterative pairings, had edye men and arme "rich men and poor."

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Algonquin 

one of a Native American people living near the Ottawa River in Canada, 1620s, from French Algonquin, perhaps a contraction of Algoumequin, from Micmac algoomeaking "at the place of spearing fish and eels." But Bright suggests Maliseet (Algonquian) elægomogwik "they are our relatives or allies."

Algonquian was the name taken late 19c. by ethnologists to describe a large group of North American Indian peoples, including this tribe. The Algonquin Hotel (59 W. 44th Street, Manhattan) opened 1902 and was named by manager Frank Case for the tribes that had lived in that area. A circle of journalists, authors, critics, and wits began meeting there daily in 1919 and continued through the twenties; they called themselves "The Vicious Circle," but to others they became "The Round Table."

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Douglas 

family name (late 12c.), later masc. personal name, from Gaelic Dubh ghlais "the dark water," name of a place in Lanarkshire. As a given name, in the top 40 for boys born in U.S. from 1942 to 1971. The name of the city that is the capital of the Isle of Man is the same Celtic compound.

The large, coniferous Douglas fir tree was named for David Douglas (1798-1834), Scottish botanist who first recorded it in Pacific Northwest, 1825. Douglas scheme, Douglas plan, Douglassite, etc. refer to "social credit" economic model put forth by British engineer Maj. Clifford Hugh Douglas (1879-1952).

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Manichaeism (n.)

1550s, "the religion of the Manichees" (late 14c.) a Gnostic Christian sect named for its founder, Mani (Latin Manichæus), c. 215-275, Syriac-speaking apostle from a Jesus cult in Mesopotamia in 240s, who taught a universal religion. Vegetarian and visionary, they saw "particles of light and goodness" trapped in evil matter and regarded Satan as co-eternal with God. The universe was a scene of struggle between good and evil.

The sect was characterized by dualism and a double-standard of perfectionist "elects" and a larger group of fellow travelers who would require several reincarnations before their particles of light would be liberated. It spread through the Roman Empire and survived at late as 7c.; its doctrines were revived or redeveloped by the Albigenses and Catharists.

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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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Rhode Island 

U.S. state, the region is traditionally said to have been named by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano when he passed through in 1524, based on an imagined similarity between modern Block Island and the Greek Isle of Rhodes. More likely it is from Roodt Eylandt, the name Dutch explorer Adriaen Block gave to Block Island c. 1614, literally "red island," so called for the color of its cliffs. Under this theory, the name was altered by 17c. English settlers by folk-etymology influence of the Greek island name (see Rhodes) and then extended to the mainland part of the colony. By 1685 the island had been renamed for Block. The Rhode Island red domestic fowl was so called by 1896, for its plumage.

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