soft sandstone used to scrub decks of sailing ships, 1777, despite the spelling, probably so called perhaps because it is full of holes, and thus from hole (n.). The other theory is that it was used for cleaning decks on Sundays. As a verb, by 1828.
Six days shalt thou labor as hard as thou art able
And on the seventh holystone the decks and scrape the cable
["The Philadelphia Catechism," Dana, c. 1830]
1550s, "regular geometric body with six square faces," also "product obtained by multiplying the square of a quantity by the quantity itself," from French cube (13c.) and directly from Latin cubus, from Greek kybos "a six-sided die," used metaphorically of dice-like blocks of any sort, also "cake; piece of salted fish; vertebra," of uncertain origin. Beekes points out that "words for dice are often loans" and that "the Lydians claimed to have invented the game" of kybos.
The mathematical also was in the ancient Greek word: the Greeks threw with three dice; the highest possible roll was three sixes. The word was attested in English from late 14c. in Latin form. The 1960s slang sense of "extremely conventional person" (1959) is from the notion of a square squared. Cube-root is from 1550s (in Middle English this was simply a cubick).
To understand the principle of Peaucellier's link-work, it is convenient to consider previously certain properties of a linkage, (to coin a new and useful word of general application), consisting of an arrangement of six links, obtained in the following manner ... (etc.). ["Recent Discoveries in Mechanical Conservation of Motion," in "Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engineering Magazine," vol. xi, July-December 1874]
"lute-like musical instrument with four to six single or double metallic strings stretched over an almond-shaped body and fretted neck," 1707, from French mandoline, from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola, a larger kind of mandolin, altered from Late Latin pandura "three-stringed lute," from Greek pandoura, a three-stringed musical instrument, which is of unknown origin but probably foreign. Beekes compares Armenian p'andir, Georgian panturi. "The tone is tinkling, but penetrating and agreeable" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Mandolinist.
also quarter-staff, 1540s (quarter-stroke "stroke with a quarterstaff" is attested from early 15c.), an old weapon formed from a stout pole, six to eight feet long (six-and-a-half sometimes is given as the standard length), tipped with iron, formerly a weapon characteristic of the English peasantry. From staff (n.); the quarter in it is of uncertain signification. According to one theory, favored by fencing manuals, etc., it likely is in reference to operation of the weapon:
It was grasped by one hand in the middle, and by the other between the middle and the end. In the attack the latter hand shifted from one quarter of the staff to the other, giving the weapon a rapid circular motion, which brought the ends on the adversary at unexpected points. [Century Dictionary]
Linguists tend to prefer an explanation from woodcutting, perhaps a reference to a cut of lumber known as a quarter, but contemporary evidence is wanting for either conjecture.
1839, a trade name for a type of woolen fabric:
MICHAEL NOWAK, alias John Mazurkiewiez, was indicted for stealing on the 15th of April 2 ¼ yards of woollen cloth, called tweed, value 12s., and 2 ¼ yards of woollen cloth, called doe skin, value 17s., the goods of George Priestley Heap. [London Central Criminal Court minutes of evidence from 1839]
This apparently developed from the "Tweed Fishing or Travelling Trousers" advertised in numerous publications from 1834-1838 by the clothing house of Doudney & Son, 49 Lombard Street.
So celebrated has amateur rod-fishing in the Tweed become, that the proper costume of the sportsman has now become an object of speculation among the London tailors, one of whom advertises among other articles of dress "Tweed Fishing Trousers." The anglers who have so long established their head-quarters at Kelso, for the purpose of enjoying the amusement of salmon fishing in the Tweed, have had excellent sport lately : some of the most skilful having caught five or six salmon a day, weighing from six to fourteen pounds each. [New Sporting Magazine, June 1837]
Thus ultimately named for the River Tweed in Scotland. The place name has not been explained, and it is perhaps pre-Celtic and non-Indo-European.
mid-15c., "small weight of apothecary's measure," a phonetic spelling, from Anglo-Latin dragma, Old French drame, from Late Latin dragma, from Latin drachma "drachma," from Greek drakhma "measure of weight," also, "silver coin," literally "handful" (of six obols, the least valuable coins in ancient Athens), akin to drassesthai "to grasp" (see drachma). The fluid dram is one-eighth of a fluid ounce, hence "a small drink of liquor" (1713). Hence dram shop (1725), where liquor was sold by the shot.