Etymology
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phrenology (n.)

"the theory that the mental powers of the individual consist of independent faculties, each of which has its seat in a different brain region, whose size is commensurate with the power of the faculty," 1815, literally "mental science," from phreno- "mind" (q.v.) + -logy "study of." Applied to the theory of mental faculties originated by Gall and Spurzheim that led to the 1840s mania for reading personality clues in the shape of a subject's skull and the "bumps" of the head. It was most popular from about 1810 to 1840. Related: Phrenological; phrenologist.

This theory, which originated at the close of the eighteenth century, assumes, moreover, as an essential part, the plasticity of the cranial envelop, by which the skull conforms externally, in the normal subject, to the shape and configuration of the brain within, so that its form and faculties may be determined, with sufficient exactness, from the skull itself, whether in the skeleton or in the living person. [Century Dictionary]
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diluvian (adj.)

"relating to or of the nature of a flood," 1650s, from Latin diluvium "flood, inundation," from diluere "wash away," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + -luere, combining form of lavere "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash"). Related: Diluvianism (1816) "geological theory supposing the occurrence of a former universal deluge."

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speculative (adj.)
late 14c., "contemplative," also "purely scientific, in theory only" (opposed to practical), from Old French speculatif "worth great attention; theoretical," or directly from Late Latin speculativus, from past participle stem of speculari (see speculation). Meaning "given to (financial) speculation" is from 1763. Related: Speculatively.
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postmodernism (n.)
also post-modernism, by 1977, from post- + modernism. Defined by Terry Eagleton as "the contemporary movement of thought which rejects ... the possibility of objective knowledge" and is therefore "skeptical of truth, unity, and progress" ["After Theory," 2003]. Related: post-modernist (1965).
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fixate (v.)
1885, "to fix, make stable," from fix (v.) + -ate. Meaning "to gaze upon" is from 1889. Psychological sense is from 1926, originally in Freudian theory, in this case perhaps a back-formation from fixation. Meaning "become fixed" is from 1888. Related: Fixated; fixating.
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mechanics (n.)

"the theory of machines," also, "the mathematical doctrine of the motions of particles and systems (especially rigid bodies) under the influence of force and constraints," 1640s, based on Late Latin mechanica, from Greek mekhanike, mekhanika (see mechanic (adj.)); also see -ics.

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proactive (adj.)

also pro-active, of persons or policies, as an opposition to reactive, "taking the initiative in a situation, anticipating events" as opposed to responding to them, 1921, from pro- + active. From 1933, in psychology (learning theory). Related: Proactively; proactiveness; proactivity.

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saunter (v.)

c. 1500, santren "to muse, be in reverie," a word of uncertain origin. The meaning "walk with a leisurely gait" is from 1660s, and may be a different word which, despite many absurd speculations, also is of unknown origin. Klein prints the theory (held by Skeat and Murray) that this sense of the word derives via Anglo-French sauntrer (mid-14c.) from French s'aventurer "to take risks." Century Dictionary finds the theory involves difficulties but "it is the only one that has any plausibility," but OED finds it "unlikely." Also see here. Related: Sauntered; saunterer; sauntering.

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Darwinism (n.)

1864, "body of biological doctrine proposed by Charles Darwin," especially "the theory of species evolution by natural selection," from the name of English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). His major works were "The Origin of Species" (1859) and "The Descent of Man" (1871), + -ism.

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charcoal (n.)

"coal made by subjecting wood to smothered combustion," mid-14c., charcole, first element is either Old French charbon "charcoal," or, on the current theory, obsolete charren "to turn" (from Old English cerran) + cole "coal," thus, "to turn to coal."

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