"irritable, short-tempered," 1906, from snark (v.) "to find fault with, nag" (1882), literally "to snort" (1866), from an imitative source akin to Low German snarken, North Frisian snarke, Swedish snarka; and compare snarl (v.2), sneer (v.). Also compare narky "bad-tempered, sarcastic" (1895), British slang from earlier nark "annoying, quarrelsome, or unpleasant person" (1846), from nark (q.v.).
It seems to have emerged anew as a vogue word c. 1997 to indicate a "hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt." The back-formation snark (n.) "caustic, opinionated, and critical rhetoric" is by c. 2002 (compare snark (n.)). Related: Snarkily; snarkiness.
1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), "critical examination of the truth of an opinion, formal reason and logic applied to rhetoric and refutation," from Old French dialectique (12c.) and directly from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect).
Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant ("the theory of false argumentation leading to contradictions and fallacies), then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character to attain higher truths." Used generally in 20c. Marxism for "evolution by means of contradictions." Related: Dialectics.
1770, from German Terminologie, a hybrid coined by Christian Gottfried Schütz (1747-1832), professor of poetry and rhetoric at Jena, from Medieval Latin terminus "word, expression" (see terminus) + Greek -logia "a dealing with, a speaking of" (see -logy). Related: Terminological.
Decandolle and others use the term Glossology instead of Terminology, to avoid the blemish of a word compounded of two parts taken from different languages. The convenience of treating the termination ology (and a few other parts of compounds) as not restricted to Greek combinations, is so great, that I shall venture, in these cases, to disregard this philological scruple. [William Whewell, "The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences," 1847]
in rhetoric, a trope or figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for that of another that is suggested by or closely associated with it (such as the bottle for "alcoholic drink," the Kremlin for "the Russian government"); 1560s, from French métonymie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin metonymia, from Greek metōnymia, literally "change of name," related to metonomazein "to call by a new name; to take a new name," from meta "change" (see meta-) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). It often serves to call up associations not suggested by the literal name. Related: Metonymic; metonymical; metonymically.
The earliest use of the word in English was early 15c., a separate borrowing in the academic sense "of the trivium" (the first three liberal arts -- grammar, rhetoric, and logic); from Medieval Latin use of trivialis in the sense "of the first three liberal arts," from trivium, neuter of the Latin adjective trivius "of three roads, of the crossroads." Related: Trivially. For sense evolution to "pertaining to useless information," see trivia.
late 14c., exclamacioun, "a calling or crying aloud; that which is uttered with emphasis or passion, a vehement speech or saying," from Latin exclamationem (nominative exclamatio) "an exclamation" (in rhetoric), "a loud calling or crying out," noun of action from past-participle stem of exclamare "cry out loud" (see exclaim).
The punctuation symbol known as the exclamation point (1824) or exclamation mark (1926) was earliest called an exclamation note or note of exclamation (1650s); Shakespeare has note of admiration (1611). Another name for it was shriek-mark (1864). The mark itself is said to date to c. 1400 among writers in Italy and to represent the Latin io!, an exclamation of delight or triumph, written with the -i- above the -o-.
1570s, "intensity of expression," from Latin emphasis, from Greek emphasis "an appearing in, outward appearance;" in rhetoric, "significance, indirect meaning," from emphainein "to present, exhibit, display, let (a thing) be seen; be reflected (in a mirror), become visible," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + phainein "to show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine").
In Greek and Latin, originally a figure of expression implying, in context, more than would ordinarily be meant by the words. Hence "the mode of delivery appropriate to suggestive expression, rhetorical stress," and thence, in general, extra stress or force of voice given to the utterance of a word, phrase, or part of a word in speech as a clue that it implies something more than literal meaning. In pure Latin, significatio.
1580s, in the rhetorical sense ("a chain of reasoning in graduating steps from weaker to stronger"), from Late Latin climax (genitive climacis), from Greek klimax "propositions rising in effectiveness," literally "ladder," from suffixed form of PIE root *klei- "to lean."
Originally in rhetoric an arrangement of successive clauses so that the last important word of one is repeated as the first important word of the next, as in Romans v.3-5: "... but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed ...." Compare anadiplosis. From the rhetorical meaning, the word evolved through "series of steps by which a goal is achieved," to "escalating steps," to (1789) "high point of intensity or development," a usage credited by the OED to "popular ignorance."
The meaning "sexual orgasm" is recorded by 1880 (also in terms such as climax of orgasm), and is said to have been promoted from c. 1900 by birth-control pioneer Marie Stopes (1880-1958) and others as a more accessible word than orgasm (n.).
"redundancy in words," 1580s, from Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein "to be more than enough, to be superfluous," in grammatical use, "to add superfluously," from combining form of pleon "more" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill"). Not necessarily a flaw in rhetoric and sometimes used effectively for emphasis. As Fowler writes, "The writer who uses [pleonasm] in that way must be judged by whether he does produce his effect & whether the occasion is worthy of it."
The first surplusage the Greekes call Pleonasmus, I call him [too full speech] and is no great fault, as if one should say, I heard it with mine eares, and saw it with mine eyes, as if a man could heare with his heeles, or see with his nose. We our selues ysed this superfluous speech in a verse written of our mistresse, neuertheles, not much to be misliked, for euen a vice sometime being seasonably vsed, hath a pretie grace. [George Puttenham, "The Arte of English Poesie, 1589]
1890s, of unknown origin, according to OED, first found in British newspaper police-court reports in the summer of 1898, almost certainly from the variant form of the Irish surname Houlihan, which figured as a characteristic comic Irish name in music hall songs and newspapers of the 1880s and '90s.
As an "inventor" and adapter to general purposes of the tools used by navvies and hodmen, "Hooligan" is an Irish character who occupies week by week the front of a comic literary journal called Nuggets, one of the series of papers published by Mr. James Henderson at Red Lion House. Previous to publication in London, "Hooligan" appears, I believe, in New York in a comic weekly, and in London he is set off against "Schneider," a German, whose contrainventions and adaptations appear in the Garland (a very similar paper to Nuggets), which also comes from Mr. Henderson's office. "Hooligan" and "Schneider" have been running, I should think, for four or five years. [Notes and Queries, Oct. 15, 1898]
Internationalized 20c. in communist rhetoric as Russian khuligan, opprobrium for "scofflaws, political dissenters, etc."