Etymology
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astound (v.)

mid-15c., from Middle English astouned, astoned (c. 1300), past participle of astonen, astonien "to stun" (see astonish), with more of the original sense of Vulgar Latin *extonare. The unusual form is perhaps because the past participle was so much more common that it came to be taken for the infinitive, or/and by the same pattern which produced round (v.) from round (adj.), or by the intrusion of an unetymological -d as in sound (n.1). Related: Astounded; astounding.

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novelty (n.)

late 14c., novelte, "quality of being new," also "a new manner or fashion, an innovation; something new or unusual," from Old French novelete "newness, innovation, change; news, new fashion" (Modern French nouveauté), from novel "new" (see novel (adj.)). Meaning "newness" is attested from late 14c.; sense of "useless but decorative or amusing object" is attested by 1888 (as in novelty shop, by 1893). An earlier word was novelry (c. 1300).

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protract (v.)

"draw out or lengthen in time," 1530s, a back-formation from protraction and in part from Latin protractus, past participle of protrahere "to draw forth, prolong." Etymologically identical with portray, which is the same Latin verb altered in passing through French. Related: Protracted; protracting. The English verb survived chiefly in the past-participle adjective.

Protracted meeting, a revival meeting continued or protracted ; a series of meetings of unusual importance, often lasting for several days and attended by large numbers ; chiefly used by Congregationalists, Methodists, and Baptists. [Century Dictionary]

The phrase is attested by 1832.

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exceptional (adj.)

1828, "out of the ordinary course, forming an exception, unusual," from exception + -al (1). Related: Exceptionally. Exceptionalism "fact or quality of being exceptional" in some way, usually implying superiority to the unexceptional, is attested from 1864; the phrase American exceptionalism is attested by 1929, originally among communists, in reference to the argument about whether the United States is in some sense not subject to the historical rules of Marxism; it has been used in other ways since, often implying (and implicitly criticizing) a belief that the U.S. is somehow uniquely virtuous. Other noun forms include exceptionalness (1868), exceptionality (1851).

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special (adj.)

c. 1200, "given or granted in unusual circumstances, exceptional;" also "specific" as opposed to general or common; from Old French special, especial "special, particular, unusual" (12c., Modern French spécial) and directly from Latin specialis "individual, particular" (source also of Spanish especial, Italian speziale), from species "appearance, kind, sort" (see species).

Meaning "marked off from others by some distinguishing quality; dear, favored" is recorded from c. 1300. Also from c. 1300 is the sense of "selected for an important task; specially chosen." From mid-14c. as "extraordinary, distinguished, having a distinctive character," on the notion of "used for special occasions;" hence "excellent; precious."

From late 14c. as "individual, particular; characteristic." The meaning "limited as to function, operation, or purpose" is from 14c., but developed especially in the 19c. Special effects first attested 1951. Special interest in U.S. political sense is from 1910. Special pleading is recorded by 1680s, a term that had a sound legal meaning once but now is used generally and imprecisely. Special education in reference to those whose learning is impeded by some mental or physical handicap is from 1972.

Special pleading. (a) The allegation of special or new matter, as distinguished from a direct denial of matter previously alleged on the other side. ... (c) In popular use, the specious but unsound or unfair argumentation of one whose aim is victory rather than truth. [Century Dictionary]
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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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uncouth (adj.)
Old English uncuð "unknown, strange, unusual; uncertain, unfamiliar; unfriendly, unkind, rough," from un- (1) "not" + cuð "known, well-known," past participle of cunnan "to know" (see can (v.1)), from PIE root *gno- "to know." Meaning "strange, crude, clumsy" is first recorded 1510s. The compound (and the thing it describes) widespread in IE languages, such as Latin ignorantem, Old Norse ukuðr, Gothic unkunþs, Sanskrit ajnatah, Armenian ancanaut', Greek agnotos, Old Irish ingnad "unknown."
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singular (adj.)
mid-14c., "alone, apart; being a unit; special, unsurpassed," from Old French singuler "personal particular; distinctive; singular in number" (12c., Modern French singulier) or directly from Latin singularis "single, solitary, one by one, one at a time; peculiar, remarkable," from singulus "one, one to each, individual, separate" (see single (adj.)). Meaning "remarkably good, unusual, rare, separated from others (by excellence), uncommon" is from c. 1400 in English; this also was a common meaning of Latin singularis.
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strange (adj.)

late 13c., straunge, "from elsewhere, foreign, unknown, unfamiliar, not belonging to the place where found," from Old French estrange "foreign, alien, unusual, unfamiliar, curious; distant; inhospitable; estranged, separated" (Anglo-French estraunge, strange, straunge; Modern French étrange), from Latin extraneus "foreign, external, from without" (source also of Italian strano "strange, foreign," Spanish extraño), from extra "outside of" (see extra-). In early use also strounge. The surname Lestrange is attested from late 12c. Sense of "queer, surprising" is attested from c. 1300, also "aloof, reserved, distant; estranged." In nuclear physics, from 1956.

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blab (v.)
mid-15c., blabben, "to talk idly and foolishly, talk too much," apparently from Middle English noun blabbe "one who does not control his tongue" (late 13c.), which is probably echoic. Related: Blabbed; blabbing. From c. 1600 as "to talk indiscreetly."

The exact relationship between the noun and verb blab and blabber is difficult to determine. The noun was "[e]xceedingly common in 16th and 17th c.; unusual in literature since c 1750" [OED]. Middle English also had lab (v.) "talk foolishly, let out a secret" (late 14c.), said to be from continental Low Germanic; hence also labster (Middle English labestere, late 13c.) "female gossip, a scold."
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