Etymology
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caduceus (n.)

in ancient Greece or Rome, "herald's staff," 1590s, from Latin caduceus, alteration of Doric Greek karykeion "herald's staff," from kēryx (genitive kērykos) "a herald," probably a Pre-Greek word. Token of a peaceful embassy; originally an olive branch. Later especially the wand carried by Mercury, messenger of the gods, usually represented with two serpents twined round it and wings. Related: Caducean.

The caduceus is a symbol of peace and prosperity, and in modern times figures as a symbol of commerce, Mercury being the god of commerce. The rod represents power; the serpents represent wisdom; and the two wings, diligence and activity. [Century Dictionary]

Sometimes used mistakenly as a symbol of medicine by confusion with the Rod ofAsclepius, Greek god of medicine, which also features a serpent entwined about a rod but only a single serpent.

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providence (n.)

late 14c., "foresight, prudent anticipation, timely care or preparation," from Old French providence "divine providence, foresight" (12c.) and directly from Latin providentia "foresight, precaution, foreknowledge," abstract noun from present-participle stem of providere "look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight," which is from pro "ahead" (see pro-) + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see").

Providence (usually capitalized) "God as beneficent caretaker of his creatures," is recorded c. 1600, from earlier use of the word for "God's beneficent care, guardianship, or guidance" (late 14c., short for divine providence, etc.). The noun in classical Latin occasionally was used as the name of a goddess and in Late Latin as "God; the government of the world by God's infinite wisdom and foresight."

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Minerva 

in ancient Roman mythology, one of the three chief divinities (with Jupiter and Juno), a virgin goddess of arts, crafts, and sciences; wisdom, sense, and reflection (later identified with Greek Athene), late 14c., Mynerfe, minerve, from Latin Minerva, from Old Latin Menerva, from Proto-Italic *menes-wo- "intelligent, understanding," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think, remember," with derivatives referring to qualities of mind or states of thought (see mind (n.)). Compare Sanskrit Manasvini, name of the mother of the Moon, manasvin "full of mind or sense." Related: Minerval.

Minerva Press, a printing-press formerly in Leadenhall Street, London; also a class of ultra-sentimental novels, remarkable for their intricate plots, published from about 1790 to 1810 at this press, and other productions of similar character. [Century Dictionary]
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policy (n.1)
Origin and meaning of policy

["way of management"], late 14c., policie, "study or practice of government; good government;" from Old French policie (14c.) "political organization, civil administration," from Late Latin politia "the state, civil administration," from Greek politeia "state, administration, government, citizenship," from politēs "citizen," from polis "city, state" (see polis).

From early 15c. as "an organized state, organized or established system of government or administration of a state," but this sense has gone with polity. Also from early 15c. as "object or course of conduct, or the principles to be observed in conduct," and thus "prudence or wisdom in action" generally, but especially "the system of measures or the line of conduct which a ruler, minister, government, or party adopts as best for the interests of the country in domestic or foreign affairs."

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Main Street (n.)

"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810, from main (adj.) + street. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., a sense reinforced by the publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).

But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. ["Main Street"]
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after (adv., prep.)

Old English æfter "behind; later in time" (adv.); "behind in place; later than in time; in pursuit, following with intent to overtake" (prep.), from of "off" (see off (adv.)) + -ter, a comparative suffix; thus the original meaning was "more away, farther off." Compare Old Norse eptir "after," Old Frisian efter, Dutch achter, Old High German aftar, Gothic aftra "behind;" also see aft. Cognate with Greek apotero "farther off," Old Persian apataram "further."

From c. 1300 as "in imitation of." As a conjunction, "subsequent to the time that," from late Old English. After hours "hours after regular working hours" is from 1814. Afterwit "wisdom that comes too late" is attested from c. 1500 but seems to have fallen from use. After you as an expression in yielding precedence is recorded by 1650.

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quaint (adj.)

c. 1200, cointe, cwointe, "cunning, artful, ingenious; proud," in both good and bad senses, from Old French cointe, queinte "knowledgeable, well-informed; clever; arrogant, proud; elegant, gracious," from Latin cognitus "known, approved," past participle of cognoscere "get or come to know well" (see cognizance). Modern spelling is from early 14c. (see Q).

The old senses all are archaic or obsolete. Perhaps the fuzziness of the good and bad senses in the word contributed to this. Compare Middle English queintise (n.) "wisdom, knowledge," also "guile, cunning, deceit" (c. 1300).

Later in English, quaint came to mean "elaborate, skillfully made" (c. 1300); "strange and clever, fanciful, odd whimsical" (mid-14c.). The sense of "unusual or old-fashioned but charming or agreeable" is attested by 1782, and at that time could describe the word itself, which had become rare after c. 1700 (though it soon recovered popularity in this secondary sense). Related: Quaintly; quaintness.

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politics (n.)
Origin and meaning of politics

1520s, "science and art of government," from politic (n.) "the political state of a country or government (early 15c.), from Old French politique and Medieval Latin politica; see politic (adj.). The plural form probably was modeled on Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state" (plural), the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as (The Book of) Polettiques or Polytykys. Also see -ics.

Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men's view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed. [Fisher Ames (1758-1808), "British Alliance," in the Boston Repertory, November 1806]

The sense of "political actions or practice" is from 1640s. Meaning "political allegiances or opinions of a person or party" is from 1769.

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philosopher (n.)

early 14c., philosophre, "scholar, learned person, wise person; one devoted to the search for universal truth, a student of metaphysical and moral sciences," replacing Old English philosophe, from Latin philosophus "philosopher," from Greek philosophos "philosopher, sage, one who speculates on the nature of things and truth," literally "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" (see philo-) + sophos "wise; a sage" (see sophist). The form with -er is from an Anglo-French or Old French variant of philosophe with an agent-noun ending. Fem. forms were philosophress (1630s), philosophess (1660s).

Pythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty. [Klein]

Philosopher in the Middle Ages also could be "alchemist, magician, diviner," hence Philosophers' stone (late 14c., translating Medieval Latin lapis philosophorum, early 12c.), a reputed solid substance supposed by alchemists to change baser metals into gold or silver; also identified with the elixir and thus given the attribute of prolonging life indefinitely and curing wounds and disease. In French pierre philosophale, in German der Stein der Weisen.

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quack (n.1)

"medical charlatan, impudent and fraudulent pretender to medical skill," 1630s, short for quacksalver (1570s), from obsolete Dutch quacksalver (modern kwakzalver), literally "hawker of salve," from Middle Dutch quacken "to brag, boast," literally "to croak" (see quack (v.)) + salf "salve," salven "to rub with ointment" (see salve (n.)). As an adjective from 1650s.

The oldest attested form of this quack in English is as a verb, "to play the quack" (1620s). The Dutch word also is the source of German Quacksalber, Danish kvaksalver, Swedish kvacksalvare.

A quack is, by derivation, one who talks much without wisdom, and, specifically, talks of his own power to heal ; hence, any ignorant pretender to medical knowledge or skill. Empiric is a more elevated term for one who goes by mere experience in the trial of remedies, and is without knowledge of the medical sciences or of the clinical observations and opinions of others; hence, an incompetent, self-confident practitioner. A mountebank is generally a quack, but may be a pretender in any line. Charlatan (literally 'chatterer') is primarily applied, not to a person belonging to any particular profession or occupation, but to a pretentious cheat of any sort. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

 Also "one who pretends to knowledge of any kind" (1630s).

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