also pizzaz; pizzazz, a vogue word from 1937 in the current sense of (more or less) "energetic and exciting quality," probably originally college or show-biz slang.
Pizazz, to quote the editor of the Harvard Lampoon, is an indefinable dynamic quality, the je ne sais quoi of function; as for instance, adding Scotch puts pizazz into a drink. Certain clothes have it, too. [Harper's Bazaar, March 1937]
There is an earlier use, with an uncertain (but seemingly negative) sense, in a satirical Chicago Journal newspaper piece written in supposed current slang in 1912 ["Nix on the Rough Stuff: Chicago's Clean Language League Throws the Kibosh Into Low-Brow Lingo"]:
Brother Russel declared, bo, that his crowd had already framed it up with some of the big guys in the music world to put the kibosh on this line of junk, and that it was only a question of time before they would have such pieces as "When I Get You Alone Tonight" completely on the pizzazz.
also top notch, "best quality, most stylish," 1840, something of a vogue phrase about 1841, from top (adj.) + notch (n.). Figurative of the "highest point" of something, but the exact mechanical image is uncertain and never seems to be mentioned. At the time it was the name of a part in umbrella patents.
If a young blade drives his vehicle so as to pass others who are in his party, he is said to "tip them the go by."—If his dress consists of articles which are "all the rage," he is "quite the top notch." It is remarkable that these and similar phrases are most in use among people who claim distinction in the fashionable world. [Boston Weekly Magazine, June 12, 1841]
Malgre the dislike of others to an extensive cultivation of cranial shrubbery, I consider long hair an honor unto a man, his glory and his charm. The beauty of the willow is its branches. Deprived of these and all its gracefulness has departed. The tassel of some vegetables is the top notch of their loveliness. ["Long Hair" in Rural Repository (Hudson, N.Y.), July 18, 1840]
c. 1300, pushen, "to shove, move onward, strike with a thrusting motion, thrust forcibly against for the purpose of impelling," from Old French poulser (Modern French pousser), from Latin pulsare "to beat, strike, push," frequentative of pellere (past participle pulsus) "to push, drive, beat" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive").
Transitive meaning "urge, incite, press" is by 1570s; that of "promote, advance or extend by persistence or diligent effort" is from 1714; intransitive sense of "make one's way with force and persistence (against obstacles, etc.)" is by 1718. The meaning "approach a certain age" is from 1937. For palatization of -s-, OED compares brush (n.1); quash. Related: Pushed; pushing.
To push up daisies "be dead and buried" is from World War I, but variants with the same meaning date back to 1842.
"Pushing up the daisies now," said a soldier of his dead comrade. [The American Florist, vol. xlviii, March 31, 1917]
To push (someone) around "bully, browbeat, domineer" is by 1923. To push (one's) luck is from 1754. To push the envelope in the figurative sense is by late 1980s.
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.
It forms all or part of: abiogenesis; aerobic; amphibian; anaerobic; azo-; azoic; azotemia; bio-; biography; biology; biome; bionics; biopsy; biota; biotic; cenobite; Cenozoic; convivial; couch-grass; epizoic; epizoon; epizootic; macrobiotic; Mesozoic; microbe; Protozoa; protozoic; quick; quicken; quicksand; quicksilver; quiver (v.) "to tremble;" revive; survive; symbiosis; viable; viand; viper; vita; vital; vitamin; victuals; viva; vivace; vivacious; vivarium; vivid; vivify; viviparous; vivisection; whiskey; wyvern; zodiac; Zoe; zoetrope; zoic; zoo-; zoolatry; zoology; zoon; zoophilia; zoophobia; zooplankton.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit jivah "alive, living;" Old Persian *jivaka- "alive," Middle Persian zhiwak "alive;" Greek bios "one's life, course or way of living, lifetime," zoe "animal life, organic life;" Old English cwic, cwicu "living, alive;" Latin vivus "living, alive," vita "life;" Old Church Slavonic zivo "to live;" Lithuanian gyvas "living, alive," gyvata "(eternal) life;" Old Irish bethu "life," bith "age;" Welsh byd "world."
"suicide flier," 1945, Japanese, literally "divine wind," from kami "god, providence" (see kami) + kaze "wind." Said to have been originally the name given in folklore to a typhoon which saved Japan from Mongol invasion by wrecking Kublai Khan's fleet (August 1281). The World War II attacks began in October 1944 off the Philippines. As an adjective from 1946.
As an aside, at war's end, the Japanese had, by actual count, a total of 16,397 aircraft still available for service, including 6,374 operational fighters and bombers, and if they had used only the fighters and bombers for kamikaze missions, they might have realized, additionally, 900 ships sunk or damaged and 22,000 sailors killed or injured. In fact, however, the Japanese had outfitted many aircraft, including trainers, as potential suicide attackers. As intelligence estimates indicated, the Japanese believed they could inflict at least 50,000 casualties to an invasion force by kamikaze attacks alone. [Richard P. Hallion, "Military Technology and the Pacific War," 1995]
also juke-box, "machine that automatically plays selected recorded music when a coin is inserted," 1939, earlier jook organ (1937), from jook joint "roadhouse, brothel" (1935), African-American vernacular, from juke, joog "wicked, disorderly," a word in Gullah (the creolized English of the coastlands of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida). This is probably from an African source, such as Wolof and Bambara dzug "unsavory." The adjective is said to have originated in central Florida (see "A Note on Juke," Florida Review, vol. vii, no. 3, spring 1938). The spelling with a -u- might represent a deliberate attempt to put distance between the word and its origins.
For a long time the commercial juke trade resisted the name juke box and even tried to raise a big publicity fund to wage a national campaign against it, but "juke box" turned out to be the biggest advertising term that could ever have been invented for the commercial phonograph and spread to the ends of the world during the war as American soldiers went abroad but remembered the juke boxes back home. ["Billboard," Sept. 15, 1945]
1857, "mathematical condition of being at right angles, state or fact of being normal in geometry," from normal + -cy. The word has been associated since 1920 with U.S. president Warren G. Harding (who campaigned that year under the slogan "Return to Normalcy," meaning pre-World War I conditions). Previously normalcy was used mostly in the mathematical sense and the word preferred by purists for "a normal situation" is normality. Harding's use of it was derided during his administration as an example of his much-belittled incompetence with the language (Democratic politician William G. McAdoo Jr. called Harding’s speeches "an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea").
America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality. [Harding, "Readjustment" speech, May 24, 1920]
popularized 1871, American English, (identified throughout the 1870s as "a California word") "young street rowdy, loafer," especially one involved in violence against Chinese immigrants, "young criminal, gangster;" it appears to have been in use locally from a slightly earlier date and may have begun as a specific name of a gang:
The police have recently been investigating the proceedings of a gang of thieving boys who denominate themselves and are known to the world as the Hoodlum Gang. [San Francisco Golden Era newspaper, Feb. 16, 1868, p.4]
Of unknown origin, though newspapers of the day printed myriad fanciful stories concocted to account for it. A guess perhaps better than average is that it is from German dialectal (Bavarian) Huddellump "ragamuffin" [Barnhart].
What the derivation of the word "hoodlum" is we could never satisfactorily ascertain, though several derivations have been proposed; and it would appear that the word has not been very many years in use. But, however obscure the word may be, there is nothing mysterious about the thing; .... [Walter M. Fisher, "The Californians," London, 1876]
Old English nædl "small, pointed instrument for carrying a thread through woven fabric, leather, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *næthlo (source also of Old Saxon nathla, Old Norse nal, Old Frisian nedle, Old High German nadala, German Nadel, Gothic neþla "needle"), literally "a tool for sewing," from PIE *net-la-, from root *(s)ne- "to sew, to spin" (source also of Sanskrit snayati "wraps up," Greek nein "to spin," Latin nere "to spin," German nähen "to sew," Old Church Slavonic niti "thread," Old Irish snathat "needle," Welsh nyddu "to sew," nodwydd "needle") + instrumental suffix *-tla.
To seke out one lyne in all hys bookes wer to go looke a nedle in a meadow. [Thomas More, c. 1530]
Meaning "piece of magnetized steel in a compass" is from late 14c. (on a dial or indicator from 1928); the surgical instrument so called from 1727; phonographic sense from 1902; sense of "leaf of a fir or pine tree" first attested 1797. Needledom "the world of sewing" is from 1847. Needle's eye, figurative of a minute opening, often is a reference to Matthew xix.24.