name of the temple of Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis in Athens, from Greek Parthenōn, literally "temple of the virgin goddess" (Athene), also, in a general sense, "the young women's apartments in a house," from parthenos "virgin, maiden, girl," a word of unknown origin. Beekes finds "acceptable" its derivation from IE *psteno- "breast" on the notion of "having protruding breasts." The temple was completed about 438 B.C.E., later served as a church and then a mosque under the Turks, and was shattered by an explosion of gunpowder stored there in 1687 during the Venetian siege.
female proper name, shortened form of Mollie, Molly, itself a familiar of Mary. Used from c. 1600 for "prostitute," but in low slang by early 19c. it also meant "female companion not bound by ties of marriage, but often a life-mate" [Century Dictionary]. It became a general word for "woman" in old underworld slang, for instance Moll-buzzer "pickpocket who specializes in women;" Moll-tooler "female pick-pocket." U.S. sense of "a gangster's girlfriend" is by 1923.
masc. proper name, variant of Marcus (q.v.). Among the top 10 names given to boy babies born in the U.S. between 1955 and 1970.
Mark Twain is the pseudonym of American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), who had been a riverboat pilot; he took his pen name from the cry mark twain, the call indicating a depth of two fathoms, from mark (n.1) in a specialized sense of "measured notification (a piece of knotted cloth, etc.) on a lead-line indicating fathoms of depth" (1769) + twain.
late 14c., nowel, nouel "Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity," from Old French noel "the Christmas season," variant of nael, from Latin natalis (dies) "birth (day)," used in Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget." The modern word in English, with the sense "a Christmas carol" (1811) probably is a separate borrowing from French. As a masc. proper name, it is from Old French, probably literally "of or born on Christmas."
surname, from Gaelic Maolagan, Old Irish Maelecan, a double diminutive of mael "bald," hence "the little bald (or shaven) one," probably often a reference to a monk or disciple. As "stew made with whatever's available" (1904) it is hobo slang, probably from the proper name. The golf sense of "extra stroke after a poor shot" (1949) is sometimes said to be from the name of a Canadian golfer in the 1920s whose friends gave him an extra shot in gratitude for driving them over rough roads to their weekly foursome at St. Lambert Country Club near Montreal.
fem. given name, invented by Philip Sidney in "Arcadia," published in the 1590s; it is presumed to have been coined from Greek pan- "all" (before a labialpam-; see pan-) + meli "honey" (also the first element in Melissa; from PIE *melit-ya, suffixed form of root *melit- "honey") with the sense "all-sweetness," but this is conjecture. It was boosted by Samuel Richardson's novel "Pamela" (1741) but did not become popular until the 1920s; it was a top-20 name for girls born in the U.S. from 1947 to 1968.
c. 1200, "holy man;" early 13c., "a native or resident of Nazareth," childhood home of Jesus, from Late Latin Nazarenus, from Greek Nazarenos, from Hebrew Natzerath. As an adjective from late 13c. As "a follower of Jesus" from late 14c. In Talmudic Hebrew notzri, literally "of Nazareth," was used dismissively for "a Christian;" likewise Arabic Nasrani (plural Nasara). In Christian use, however, it can be a nickname for Jesus, or refer to an early Jewish Christian sect (1680s in English), or, in modern use, to a member of the Church of the Nazarene, a U.S.-based Protestant denomination (1898 in this sense).