Etymology
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Pyrenees 

chain of mountains between France and Spain, 1550s, from French Pyrénées, from Latin Pyrenæi montes, from Greek Pyrēnē, name of a daughter of Bebryx/Bebrycius who was beloved of Herakles; she is said to be buried in these mountains (or that the mountains are the tomb Herakles reared over her corpse).

The name is said to mean literally "fruit-stone," but Room says it might be Greek pyr "fire" + eneos "dumb, speechless," which perhaps translates or folk-etymologizes a Celtic goddess name. "In medieval times there was no overall name for the range and local people would have known only the names of individual mountains and valleys" [Adrian Room, "Place Names of the World," 2nd ed., 2006]. Related: Pyrenean.

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Mesopotamia 

ancient name for the land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers north of Babylon (in modern Iraq), from Greek mesopotamia (khōra), literally "a country between two rivers," from fem. of mesopotamos, from mesos "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + potamos "river" (see potamo-).

In 19c. the word sometimes was used in the sense of "anything which gives irrational or inexplicable comfort to the hearer," based on the story of the old woman who told her pastor that she "found great support in that comfortable word Mesopotamia" ["Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable," 1870]. The place was Mespot (1917) to British soldiers serving there in World War I. Related: Mesopotamian.

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Basque 

1811 (adj. and n.), from French, from Spanish vasco (adj.), from vascon (n.), from Latin Vascones (Vasconia was the Roman name for the up-country of the western Pyrenees), said by von Humboldt to originally mean "foresters" but more likely a Latinized version of the people's name for themselves, euskara or eskuara.

This contains a basic element -sk- which is believed to relate to maritime people or sailors, and which is also found in the name of the Etruscans .... [Room, "Placenames of the World," 2006]

Earlier in English was Basquish (1610s, noun and adjective); Baskles (plural noun, late 14c.; compare Old French Basclois); Baskon (n., mid-15c.). Biscayan also was used. In Middle English Basques were not always distinguished from Spaniards and Gascons.

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Aquarius 
faint constellation and 11th zodiac sign, late Old English, from Latin aquarius, literally "water carrier," properly an adjective, "pertaining to water" (see aquarium); a loan-translation of Greek Hydrokhoos "the water-pourer," the old Greek name of this constellation.

Aquarians were a former Christian sect that used water instead of wine at the Lord's Supper. Aquarian Age (alluded to from 1913) is an astrological epoch (based on precession of the equinoxes) supposed to have begun in the 20th century (though in one estimate, 1848), embodying the traits of this sign and characterized by world peace and human brotherhood. It would last approximately 2,160 years. The term and the concept probably got a boost in popular use from the rock song Age of Aquarius (1967) and when An Aquarian Exposition was used as the sub-name of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (1969).
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Elgin Marbles (n.)

1809, a collection of sculptures and marbles (especially from the frieze of the Parthenon) brought from Greece to England and sold to the British government by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841).

The removal of the marbles, many of which were torn violently from their original positions upon the Parthenon, to the further damage of that monument, was in itself an act of vandalism; but their transportation to England at a time when Greece was accessible with difficulty opened the eyes of the world to the preeminence of Greek work. It was one of the first steps toward securing an accurate knowledge of Hellenic ideals, and has thus influenced contemporary civilization. [Century Dictionary]

The place is in Scotland, literally "little Ireland," from Ealg, an early Gaelic name for Ireland, with diminutive suffix -in. "The name would have denoted a colony of Scots who had emigrated here from Ireland ..." [Room].

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Johnny 
pet form of masc. proper name John, with -y (3). Used as a contemptuous or humorous designation for some class or group of men from 1670s.

It was the typical name in the North and the Northern armies for a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War, and the Southern soldiers were, collectively Johnnies, generically Johnny Reb. In the Mediterranean, it was a typical name for an Englishman by c. 1800. In the Crimean War it became the typical name among the English for "a Turk" (also Johnny Turk), later it was extended to Arabs; by World War II the Arabs were using Johnny as the typical name for "a British man"). Johnny Crapaud as a derogatory generic name for a Frenchman or France is from 1818.

Johnny-come-lately "a new arrival" first attested 1839. Johnny-on-the-spot is from 1896. Johnny-jump-up as an American English name for the pansy is from 1837. Johnny-cocks, a colloquial name for the early purple orchid (Orchis mascula) is attested from 1883.
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Archibald 

masc. proper name, from Old High German Erchanbald, literally "genuine-bold," from erchan "genuine" + bald (see bold). Archie, British World War I military slang for "German anti-aircraft fire" or the guns that produce it (1915) is said in contemporary sources to be from the airmen dodging hostile fire and thinking of the refrain of a then-popular music hall song.

It's no use me denying facts, I'm henpecked, you can see!
'Twas on our wedding day my wife commenced to peck at me
The wedding breakfast over, I said, "We'll start off today
Upon our honeymoon."
Then she yelled, "What! waste time that way?"
[chorus] "Archibald, certainly not!
Get back to work at once, sir, like a shot.
When single you could waste time spooning
But lose work now for honeymooning!
Archibald, certainly not!"
[John L. St. John & Alfred Glover, "Archibald, Certainly Not"]
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French fries (n.)

1903, American English, earlier French fried potatoes (by 1856); see French (adj.) + fry (v.). Literally "potatoes fried in the French style." The name is from the method of making them by immersion in fat, which was then considered a peculiarity of French cooking.

There are 2 ways of frying known to cooks as (1) wet frying, sometimes called French frying or frying in a kettle of hot fat; and (2) dry frying or cooking in a frying pan. The best results are undoubtedly obtained by the first method, although it is little used in this country. ["The Household Cook Book," Chicago, 1902]

French frieds (1944) never caught on. Simple short form fries attested by 1973. In the Upper Midwest of the U.S., sometimes called, with greater accuracy, American fries (1950), and briefly during a period of mutual ill feeling, an attempt was made at freedom fries (2003; compare liberty-cabbage for sauerkraut during World War I). Related: French-fry.

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Apache 

1745, from American Spanish (where it is attested by 1598), probably from Yavapai (a Yuman language) 'epache "people." Sometimes derived from Zuni apachu "enemy" (see F.W. Hodge, "American Indians," 1907), but this seems to have been the Zuni name for the Navajo.

In French, the sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" first is attested 1902, said to have been coined by journalist Victor Moris; it was in English by 1908. Apache dance was the World War I-era equivalent of 1990s' brutal "slam dancing." Fenimore Cooper's Indian novels were enormously popular in Europe throughout the 19c., and comparisons of Cooper's fictional Indian ways in the wilderness and underworld life in European cities go back to Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by German author Karl May that Apaches replaced Mohicans as the quintessential savages in European popular imagination. Also compare Mohawk.

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Vinland 
name supposedly given by Leif Erikssson to lands he explored in northeastern North America c. 1000; it could mean either "vine-land" or "meadow-land," and either way was perhaps coined to encourage settlement (compare Greenland).

That others might have found the New World before Columbus was popular knowledge: Irving's "History of New York" (1809) lists Noah along with Phoenician, Carthaginian, Tyrean, Chinese, German, and Welsh candidates, along with "the Norwegians, in 1002, under Biorn." Evidence in the old sagas of a Norse discovery of North America had been noticed from time to time by those who could read them. In early 19c. the notion was seriously debated by von Humboldt and other European scholars before winning their general acceptance by the 1830s. The case for the identification of Vinland with North America began to be laid out in English-language publications in 1840. Lowell wrote a poem about it ("Hakon's Lay," 1855). Thoreau knew of it ("Ktaadn," 1864). Physical evidence of the Norse discovery was uncovered by the excavations at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960.
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