Etymology
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pupa (n.)

"post-larval stage of a metamorphosizing insect," 1773, a special use by Linnæus (1758) of Latin pupa "girl, doll, puppet" (see pupil (n.1)) on notion of "undeveloped creature." Related: Pupal; pupiform.

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jimmy (n.)

"burglar's crowbar," 1848, variant of jemmy, name for a type of crowbar much used by burglars, special use of Jemmy, familiar form of proper name James (compare the mechanical uses of jack (n.)).

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enthusiast (n.)

1560s, pejorative, "one who believes himself possessed of divine revelations or special communication from God," from Greek enthousiastes "a person inspired," from enthousiazein (see enthusiasm). General sense (not always entirely pejorative) is from mid-18c.

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gnosis (n.)

"knowledge," especially "special knowledge of spiritual mysteries," 1703, from Greek gnōsis "a knowing, knowledge; a judicial inquiry, investigation; a being known," in Christian writers, "higher knowledge of spiritual things," from PIE *gnō-ti-, from root *gno- "to know."

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peculiar (adj.)

mid-15c., "belonging exclusively to one person," also "special, particular," from Old French peculiaire and directly from Latin peculiaris "of one's own (property)," from peculium "private property," literally "property in cattle" (in ancient times the most important form of property), from pecu "cattle, flock," related to pecus "cattle" (see pecuniary).

The meaning "unusual, uncommon, odd" is by c. 1600 (earlier "distinguished, special, particular, select," 1580s; for sense development, compare idiom). The euphemistic phrase peculiar institution for U.S. slavery is by 1838. Related: Peculiarly.

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evade (v.)

1510s, "escape," from French evader, from Latin evadere "to escape, get away," from assimilated form of ex "away" (see ex-) + vadere "to go, walk" (see vamoose). Special sense of "escape by trickery" is from 1530s. Related: Evaded; evading.

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morph 

as a noun, in biology, "genetic variant of an animal," 1955; as a verb, in cinematic special effects, c. 1987, short for metamorphosis. Related: Morphed; morphing. Earlier it was a slang shortening of morphine (1912).

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whiz (n.)

"clever person," 1914, probably a special use of whiz "something remarkable" (1908), an extended sense of whizz; or perhaps a shortened and altered form of wizard. Noun phrase whiz kid is from 1930s, a take-off on a radio show's quiz kid.

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potence (n.)

"potency, power, strength," early 15c., from Old French potence "power," from Latin potentia,from potis "powerful, able, capable," from PIE root *poti- "powerful; lord." The potence in watch-making, etc. (1670s) is from a special sense of French potence "a crutch."

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detach (v.)

1680s, "unfasten, disunite" (transitive), especially "separate for a special purpose or service," from French détacher "to detach, untie," from Old French destachier, from des- "apart" (see des-) + attachier "attach" (see attach). Related: Detached; detaching.

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