Etymology
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breath (n.)
Old English bræð "odor, scent, stink, exhalation, vapor" (Old English word for "air exhaled from the lungs" was æðm), from Proto-Germanic *bræthaz "smell, exhalation" (source also of Old High German bradam, German Brodem "breath, steam"), perhaps from a PIE root *gwhre- "to breathe; smell."

The original long vowel (preserved in breathe) has become short. Meaning "ability to breathe," hence "life" is from c. 1300. Meaning "a single act of breathing" is from late 15c.; sense of "the duration of a breath, a moment, a short time" is from early 13c. Meaning "a breeze, a movement of free air" is from late 14c.
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foil (v.1)
c. 1300, foilen "to spoil a trace or scent by running over it" (more commonly defoilen), irregularly from Old French foler, fuler "trample on, injure, maim; ill-treat, deceive, get the better of" (13c., Modern French fouler), from Vulgar Latin *fullare "to clean cloth" (by treading on it), from Latin fullo "one who cleans cloth, a fuller," which is of unknown origin. Compare full (v.).

Hence, "to overthrow, defeat" (1540s; as a noun in this sense from late 15c.); "frustrate the efforts of" (1560s). Related: Foiled; foiling. Foiled again! as a cry of defeat and dismay is from at least 1847.
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pathfinder (n.)

"one who discovers a way, an explorer or pioneer," 1839 (Cooper), from path + finder.

"Pathfinder!"
"So they call me, young woman, and many a great lord has got a title that he did not half so well merit; though, if truth be said, I rather pride myself in finding my way where there is no path, than in finding it where there is. But the regular troops are by no means particular, and half the time they don't know the difference between a trail and a path, though one is a matter for the eye, while the other is little more than scent."
[Cooper, "The Pathfinder"]
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loss (n.)
Old English los "ruin, destruction," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"), with an etymological sense of "dissolution." But this seems scarcely to have survived in Middle English, and the modern word, with a weaker sense, "failure to hold, keep, or preserve what was in one's possession; failure to gain or win," probably evolved 14c. from lost, the past participle of lose.

Phrase at a loss "confused, uncertain" (1590s) is a phrase from hunting, in reference to hounds losing the scent. To cut (one's) losses is from 1885, originally in finance. The retailer's loss-leader "advertised product sold at cost or below" (to entice customers in to buy other things as well) is from 1922.
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lavender (n.)

"fragrant plant of the mint family," c. 1300, from Anglo-French lavendre, Old French lavendre "the lavender plant," from Medieval Latin lavendula "lavender" (10c.), perhaps from Latin lividus "bluish, livid" (see livid). If so, it probably was associated with French lavande, Italian lavanda "a washing" (from Latin lavare "to wash;" from PIE root *leue- "to wash") because it was used to scent washed fabrics and as a bath perfume.

The adjective meaning "of a pale purple color, of the color of lavender flowers" is from 1840; as a noun in the color sense from 1882. An identical Middle English word meant "laundress, washerwoman;" also, apparently, "prostitute, whore; camp follower" and is attested as a surname from early 13c.

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relish (n.)

1520s, "a sensation of taste, a flavor distinctive of anything," alteration of reles "scent, taste, aftertaste," (c. 1300), from Old French relais, reles, "something remaining, that which is left behind," from relaisser "to leave behind," from Latin relaxare "loosen, stretch out," from re- "back" (see re-) + laxare "loosen" (from PIE root *sleg- "be slack, be languid").

Especially "a pleasing taste," hence "pleasing quality" in general. The meaning "enjoyment of the taste or flavor of something" is attested from 1640s. The sense of "condiment, that which is used to impart a flavor to plain food to increase the pleasure of eating it" is recorded by 1797, especially a piquant sauce or pickle: The modern stuff you put on hot dogs (or don't) is a sweet green pickle relish.

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quest (v.)

mid-14c., questen, "to seek game, hunt" (in reference to dogs, etc.), from quest (n.) and from Old French quester "to search, hunt," from queste (n.). Related: Quested; questing. Of persons, in the general sense of "go in search, make inquiry," by 1620s. Of hunting dogs, "to bark, bay," as when on the scent of game, mid-14c., hence the questing beast, fabulous animal in Arthurian romances, which was so-called according to Malory for the sound it made:

I am the knyght that folowyth the glatysaunte beste, that is in Englysh to sey the questynge beste, for the beste quested in the bealy with suche a noyse as hit had bene a thirty couple of howndis. ["Le Morte Darthur"]
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chamomile (n.)

common name of a strong-scented European plant long cultivated for its medicinal properties, c. 1300, camomille, from Old French camemile, from Late Latin camomilla, from Latin chamomilla, from Greek chamaimelon, literally "earth apple," from chamai "on the ground" (also "dwarf;" akin to chthon "earth," from PIE root *dhghem- "earth") + mēlon "apple" (see malic). So called for its scent. Old English had it as camemalon.

Fowler (1927) writes that "Ca- is the literary & popular form; cha-, which represents the Latin & Greek spelling but has no chance of general acceptance, would be better abandoned in pharmacy also." But for this once his pessimism seems to have been undue; British English kept the older spelling, American English favored the classically correct one, and on the internet the American spelling seems to have prevailed.

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gimlet (n.)

type of boring tool, mid-14c., gymbelette, from Anglo-French and Old French guimbelet, guibelet (12c., Modern French gibelet), which is probably of Germanic origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch wimmelkijn (with substitute of French diminutive suffix), diminutive of wimmel "auger, drill," which is perhaps from a nasalized form of PIE root *weip- "to turn" on the notion of "That which turns in boring." Middle English also had wimble in the same sense (mid-13c.), probably from an Old North French form of the same word.

As the name of a cocktail made with gin or vodka and (Rose's) lime juice, by 1927, apparently originally nautical, presumably from its "penetrating" effects on the drinker (a gimlet was the tool used to tap casks). There also was a British Navy surgeon named Gimlette at the turn of the 20th century who was active in health matters. Popularized in the U.S. during prohibition as being quick and easy to mix, and the lime masked the scent.

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bison (n.)
c. 1600, "European wild ox," from French bison (15c.), from Latin bison "wild ox," borrowed from Proto-Germanic *wisand- "aurochs" (source also of Old Norse visundr, Old High German wisunt "bison," Old English/Middle English wesend, which is not attested after c. 1400). Possibly ultimately of Baltic or Slavic origin, and meaning "the stinking animal," in reference to its scent while rutting (see weasel).

The animal formerly was widespread on the continent, including the British Isles, but in 20c. survived in the wild only on a forest reserve in Poland. Not to be confused with the aurochs. The name was applied 1690s to the North American species commonly mis-called a buffalo, which formerly ranged as far as Virginia and Georgia but by 1902 was deemed by Century Dictionary "apparently soon to become extinct as a wild animal." It has since recovered numbers on federal land. Related: Bisontine
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