sanitary (adj.)

1823, "pertaining to health or hygiene," from French sanitaire (1812), from Latin sanitas "health," from sanus "healthy; sane" (see sane). In reference to menstrual devices, by 1881 (in sanitary towel). In U.S. history the Sanitary Commission, created by the Secretary of War in 1861, provided relief to soldiers and oversaw military lodging and hospitals. Sanitarian is by 1859 as "promoter of, or one versed in, sanitary measures or reforms;" sanitarist in that sense also is by 1859.

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fractal (n.)

"never-ending pattern," 1975, from French fractal, ultimately from Latin fractus "interrupted, irregular," literally "broken," past participle of frangere "to break" (from PIE root *bhreg- "to break"). Coined by French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot (1924-2010) in "Les Objets Fractals."

Many important spatial patterns of Nature are either irregular or fragmented to such an extreme degree that ... classical geometry ... is hardly of any help in describing their form. ... I hope to show that it is possible in many cases to remedy this absence of geometric representation by using a family of shapes I propose to call fractals — or fractal sets. [Mandelbrot, "Fractals," 1977]

The term was suggested earlier in Mandelbrot's 1967 book, "How Long is the Coast of Britain -- Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension."

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ramshackle (adj.)

"loosely joined, ill-made or out of good condition; chaotic or likely to collapse," 1809, an alternative form of ramshackled, earlier ranshackled (1670s), an alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle (from the same source as ransack). "Said chiefly of carriages and houses" [OED]. This form of the word seems to have been originally Scottish.

Reading over this note to an American gentleman, he seemed to take alarm, lest the word ramshackle should be palmed on his country. I take it home willingly, as a Scotticism, and one well applied, as may be afterwards shown. [Robert Gourlay, "General Introduction to a Statistical Account of Upper Canada," London, 1822]

Jamieson's "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" (1825) has it as a noun meaning "thoughtless, ignorant fellow."

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delegate (n.)

late 15c., "person appointed and sent by another or others with power to transact business as a representative," from the past-participle adjective (early 15c.), from Old French delegat or directly from Latin delegatus, past participle of delegare "to send as a representative," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + legare "send with a commission," possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather."

Sense of "person sent with representative powers to a convention, conference, etc." is from c. 1600. In U.S., "person elected or appointed to represent a territory in Congress," by 1825.

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conservancy (n.)

1755, "commission with jurisdiction over a port or river," from -cy + Latin conservant-, present-participle stem of conservare "to keep, preserve, keep intact, guard," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + servare "keep watch, maintain" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect").

Earlier was conservacy "preservation under law, protection" (mid-15c., Anglo-French conservacie). The meaning "official preservation of undeveloped land" dates from 1859 (first reference is to the protection of bo trees in Ceylon). General sense of "act of preserving" is by 1832. Meaning "institution concerned with the preservation of nature, undeveloped land, etc." is by 1949.

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epistle (n.)

partly from Old English epistol and in part directly from Old French epistle, epistre (Modern French épitre), from Latin epistola "a letter," from Greek epistole "message, letter, command, commission," whether verbal or in writing, from epistellein "send to, send as a message or letter," from epi "to" (see epi-) + stellein in its secondary sense of "to dispatch, send," from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place. Also acquired in Old English directly from Latin as pistol. Specific sense of "letter from an apostle forming part of canonical scripture" is c. 1200.

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piracy (n.)

early 15c., "robbery upon the sea, the practice of robbing on the high seas," from Medieval Latin piratia, from classical Latin, Greek peirateia "piracy," from peiratēs "brigand, pirate" (see pirate (n.)).

Specifically, in the law of nations, the crime of depredations or wilful and aggressive destruction of life or property committed on the seas by persons having no commission or authority from any established state. As commonly used it implies something more than a simple theft with violence at sea, and includes something of the idea of general hostility to law. According to the opinion of some, it implies only unlawful interference with a vessel ; according to others, it includes also depredations on the coast by a force landing from the sea. [Century Dictionary]
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sample (n.)

c. 1300, saumple, "something which confirms a proposition or statement, an instance serving as an illustration" (a sense now obsolete in this word), from Anglo-French saumple, which is a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum "a sample," or a shortening of Middle English ensaumple (see example (n.)).

The meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (later usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c. The sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is by 1878; the sense in statistics, "a portion drawn from a population for study to make statistical estimates of the whole," is by 1903. As an adjective from 1820.

The word also was used in Middle English in many of the senses now only found in example, such as "an incident that teaches a lesson; a model of action or conduct to be imitated."

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warrant (n.)

c. 1200, "protector, defender," from Old North French warant "defender; surety, pledge; justifying evidence" (Old French garant), from Frankish *warand, from Proto-Germanic *war- "to warn, guard, protect" (source also of Old High German werento "guarantor," noun use of present participle of weren "to authorize, warrant;" German gewähren "to grant"), from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."

Sense evolved via notion of "permission from a superior which protects one from blame or responsibility" (early 14c.) to "document conveying authority" (1510s). A warrant officer in the military is one who holds office by warrant (as from a government department), rather than by commission (from a head of state).

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bell (n.)

"hollow metallic instrument which rings when struck," Old English belle, which has cognates in Middle Dutch belle, Middle Low German belle but is not found elsewhere in Germanic (except as a borrowing); apparently from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, roar" (compare Old English bellan "to roar," and see bellow).

As a division of daily time aboard a ship, by 1804, from its being marked by bells struck every half hour. Statistical bell curve is by 1920, said to have been coined was coined 1870s in French. Of glasses in the shape of a bell from 1640s. Bell pepper is from 1707, so called for its shape. Bell, book, and candle is a reference to a form of excommunication (the bells were rung out of order and all together to signify the loss of grace and order in the soul of the excommunicated).

To ring a bell "awaken a memory" (1934) is perhaps a reference to Pavlovian experiments; it also was a signal to summon a servant (1782).

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