mid-13c., "abundance; as much as one could desire; an ample supply," from Old French plentee, earlier plentet "abundance, profusion" (12c., Modern French dialectal plenté), from Latin plenitatem (nominative plenitas) "fullness," from plenus "full, filled, greatly crowded; stout, pregnant; abundant, abounding; complete," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill."
From early 14c. as "a large amount, a great deal." The meaning "condition of general abundance" is from late 14c. The colloquial adverb meaning "very much" is first attested 1842. Middle English had parallel formation plenteth, from the older Old French form of the word.
c. 1200, "a way, a road, space for passage," from Old French rute "road, way, path" (12c.), from Latin rupta (via) "(a road) opened by force," broken or cut through a forest, etc., from rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)).
The sense of "fixed or regular course for carrying things" (originally and for long especially postal, as in mail route) is from 1792, an extension of the meaning "customary path of animals" (early 15c.) itself later extended to sales, collections, delivery of milk or newspapers, etc. OED says the pronunciation that rhymes with "stout" appeared early 19c.
"A deformed language in which the initial consonants of contiguous words are transposed" [OED], 1863, said to derive from the proper name of a Polish count. Compare spoonerism, which describes the same thing.
MARROWSKYING, subs. (general).—At the London University they had a way of disguising English (described by Albert Smith, in Mr. Ledbury, 1848, as the 'Gower-street dialect'), which consisted in transposing the initials of words; as 'poke a smipe' = smoke a pipe; 'flutter-by' = butterfly; 'stint of pout' = pint of stout; etc. This is often termed MARROWSKYING. [Farmer and Henley, "Slang and Its Analogues," 1896]
Old English þuma, from Proto-Germanic *thūman- (source also of Old Frisian thuma, Old Saxon, Old High German thumo, German Daumen, Dutch duim "thumb," Old Norse þumall "thumb of a glove"), literally "the stout or thick (finger)," from PIE *tum- "swell," from root *teue- "to swell." Unetymological spelling with -b (attested from late 13c.) is perhaps by influence of dumb; also compare limb (n.1).
In some of the IE languages there is a single word for "thumb," which is called the "big finger," like NE big toe. Many of the single words are of similar semantic origin, based on the notion of "stout, thick." [Buck]
Compare Greek megas daktylos "thumb," but Greek also had antikheir, literally "what is opposite the fingers." Italian pollice, French pouce are from Latin pollex, perhaps formed (on analogy of index) from pollere "to be strong."
Phrase rule of thumb attested by 1680s (the thumb as a rough measure of an inch is attested from c. 1500). To be under (someone's) thumb "be totally controlled by that person" is recorded from 1580s.
Thumbs up (1887) and thumbs down (1906) were said to be from expressions of approval or the opposite in ancient amphitheaters, especially gladiator shows, where the gesture decided whether a defeated combatant was spared or slain. But the Roman gesture was merely one of hiding the thumb in the hand or extending it. Perhaps the modern gesture is from the usual coachmen's way of greeting while the hands are occupied with the reins.
Meaning "requiring or exhibiting courage" is from mid-13c. Also in a bad sense, "audacious, presumptuous, overstepping usual bounds" (c. 1200). From 1670s as "standing out to view, striking the eye." Of flavors (coffee, etc.) from 1829. The noun meaning "those who are bold" is from c. 1300 in both admiring and disparaging senses. Old French and Provençal baut "bold," Italian baldo "bold, daring, fearless" are Germanic loan-words. Related: Boldly; boldness.
c. 1300, "to put, place (somewhere)," verbal use of Old English noun stow "a place, spot, site, locality" (common in place names), from Proto-Germanic *stowo- (source also of Old Frisian sto "place," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stouwen, Dutch stuwen "to stow," Old High German stouwen "to stop, check," German stauen "to stow, pack; bring to a halt, hem in"), from PIE *stau- "stout, standing, strong," extended form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm" (source also of Old Church Slavonic stavljo "to place," Lithuanian stoviu, stovėti "to stand"). The nautical sense of "put away to be stored, pack" (1550s) was enforced by Dutch stouwen "to cram, pack up close." Related: Stowed; stowing.
Old English brun "dark, dusky," developing a definite color sense only 13c., from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (source also of Old Norse brunn, Danish brun, Old Frisian and Old High German brun, Dutch bruin, German braun), from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown."
The Old English word also had a sense of "brightness, shining," preserved only in burnish. The Germanic word was adopted into Romanic (Middle Latin brunus, Italian and Spanish bruno, French brun). Brown sugar is from 1704. Brown Bess, slang name for old British Army flintlock musket, is first recorded 1785. Brown study "state of mental abstraction or meditation" is from 1530s; OED says the notion is "gloomy." Brown-paper "kind of coarse, stout, unbleached paper used for wrapping" is from 1650s.
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.
late Old English hrung "rod, cross-bar; stout, rounded stick," from Proto-Germanic *khrungo (source also of Middle Low German runge, Old High German runga "stake, stud, stave," German Runge "stake, stud, stave," Middle Dutch ronghe, Dutch rong "rung," Gothic hrugga "staff"), a word of unknown origin with no connections outside Germanic if as is supposed the Celtic words are from English.
The sense in English narrowed to mean usually "round or stave of a ladder" (attested from late 13c.), but usage of cognate words remains more general in other Germanic languages.
This [rungs] has generally been considered as a mere corruption of rounds; and people of education use only this latter word. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary or Collection of Words and Phrases which have been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]
c. 1400, tyght "dense, close, compact," from Middle English thight, from Old Norse þettr "watertight, close in texture, solid," and also from Old English -þiht (compare second element in meteþiht "stout from eating"), both from Proto-Germanic *thinhta- (source also of Middle High German dihte "dense, thick," German dicht "dense, tight," Old High German gidigan, German gediegen "genuine, solid, worthy"), from PIE root *tenk- (2) "to become firm, curdle, thicken" (source also of Irish techt "curdled, coagulated," Lithuanian tankus "close, tight," Persian tang "tight," Sanskrit tanakti "draws together, contracts").
Sense of "drawn, stretched" is from 1570s; meaning "fitting closely" (as of garments) is from 1779; that of "evenly matched" (of a contest, bargain, etc.) is from 1828, American English; that of "drunk" is from 1830. Of persons, "close, intimate, sympathetic" from 1956. From 1670s as an adverb; to sit tight is from 1738; sleep tight as a farewell in sending someone off to bed is by 1871. Related: Tightly; tightness. Tight-assed "unwilling to relax" is attested from 1903. Tight-laced is recorded from 1741 in both the literal and figurative senses. Tight-lipped is first attested 1872.