panda (n.)

1835, in reference to a carnivorous raccoon-like mammal (the lesser panda) of the Himalayas, from French, apparently from the Nepalese name of the animal. The first reference in English to the Giant Panda is from 1901; since its discovery in 1869 by French missionary Armand David (1826-1900) it had been known as parti-colored bear, but the name was changed after the zoological relationship to the red panda was established.

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spiffy (adj.)

1853, of uncertain origin, probably related to spiff "well-dressed man." Uncertain relationship to spiff (n.) "percentage allowed by drapers to their young men when they effect sale of old fashioned or undesirable stock" (1859), or to spiflicate "confound, overcome completely," a cant word from 1749 that was "common in the 19th century" [OED], preserved in American English and yielded slang spiflicated "drunk," first recorded in that sense 1902.

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croon (v.)

c. 1400, "to speak or sing softly," originally Scottish; compare Middle Dutch kronen "to lament, mourn," Old High German kronen "babble." The relationship among them is obscure, perhaps all are imitative. In early use also "to bellow like a bull" as well as "to utter a low, murmuring sound" (mid-15c.). Popularized by Robert Burns. The medieval sense evolution might be from "to lament" to "sing softly and sadly." Related: Crooned; crooning.

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sisterhood (n.)

late 14c., susterhede, "state of being or having a sister; sisterly relationship," also figurative; from sister + -hood. The meaning "a society of sisters" (usually a religious order) is from mid-15c.; the sense of "women having some common characteristic or calling" is by c. 1600. Sisternity, on the model of fraternity, also was used in 17c. for the "institution or convent society" sense; sistership was tried form this from 1840.

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brotherhood (n.)

14c., "fraternal relation, relationship between sons of the same father or mother," from brother + -hood; earlier was brotherhede (c. 1300), with ending as in maidenhead; and Old English had broþerrede, with ending as in kindred. The modern form of the word prevailed from 15c.

Originally "relationship of a brother," also "friendly companionship." The concrete sense of "an association of men for any purpose, a fraternity" is from mid-14c. in the Middle English word (later also "labor union," 1880s). The meaning "a class of individuals of the same kind" is from 1728. The meaning "community feeling uniting all humankind" is from 1784. Old English also had broðorscipe "brothership," broðorsibb "kinship of brothers."

What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose
Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art,
To cut the link of brotherhood, by which
One common Maker bound me to the kind?
[Cowper, from "The Task," 1785]


Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
And everybody hates the Jews.
[Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week" lyrics, 1965]
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lag (v.)

"move slowly, fail to keep pace," 1520s, earlier as a noun meaning "last person" (1510s), later also as an adjective, "slow, tardy, coming behind" (1550s, as in lag-mon "last man"). All are of uncertain relationship and origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian lagga "go slowly"), or some dialectal version of last, lack, or delay. Related: Lag; lagging.

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pin (v.)

mid-14c., pinnen, "to affix with a pin," from pin (n.). Figurative uses, on the notion of "seize and hold fast in the same spot or position" are from 1570s. Related: Pinned; pinning. Sense of "to hold someone or something down so he or it cannot escape" is attested from 1740. In U.S. colleges, as a reference to the bestowal of a fraternity pin on a female student as an indication of a relationship, it is attested by 1938. Phrase pin down "define" is from 1951.

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hospice (n.)

1818, "rest house for travelers," especially the houses of refuge and shelter kept by monks in the passes of the Alps, from French hospice "hospital, almshouse" (Old French ospice "hospice, shelter," also "hospitality," 13c.), from Latin hospitium "hospitable reception, entertainment; hospitality, bonds of hospitality, relationship of guest and host;" also "place of entertainment, lodging, inn, guest-house," from hospes (genitive hospitis) "guest; host," also "a stranger, foreigner" (see host (n.1)).

Sense of "home for the aged and terminally ill " is from 1879; hospice movement first attested 1978.

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clientele (n.)

1560s, "body of professed adherents, clients collectively under the patronage of someone," from French clientèle (16c.), from Latin clientela "relationship between dependent and patron; body of clients," from clientem (nominative cliens, "follower, retainer;" see client).

The word is said in OED to apparently have become obsolete after 17c., and the main modern meaning "customers, those who regularly patronize a business or professional" is from 1857, perhaps a reborrowing from French (it was used in English in italics as a foreign word from 1836).

Clientage is attested from 1630s as "a body of clients;" clientship from 1640s as "condition of being a client."

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stove (n.)

mid-15c., "heated room, bath-room," from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch stove, both meaning "heated room," which was the original sense in English; a general West Germanic word (Old English stofa "bath-room," Old High German stuba, German Stube "sitting room").

Of uncertain relationship to similar words in Romance languages (Italian stufa, French étuve "sweating-room;" see stew (v.)). One theory traces them all to Vulgar Latin *extufare "take a steam bath." The meaning "device for heating or cooking" is first recorded 1610s.

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