Middle English bon, from Old English ban "bone, tusk, hard animal tissue forming the substance of the skeleton; one of the parts which make up the skeleton," from Proto-Germanic *bainan (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon ben, Old Norse bein, Danish ben, German Bein). Absent in Gothic, with no cognates outside Germanic (the common PIE root is *ost-); the Norse, Dutch, and German cognates also mean "shank of the leg," and this is the main meaning in Modern German, but English seems never to have had this sense.
To work (one's) fingers to the bone is from 1809. To have a bone to pick (1560s) is an image of a dog struggling to crack or gnaw a bone (to pick a bone "strip a bone by picking or gnawing" is attested from late 15c.); to be a bone of contention (1560s) is of two dogs fighting over a bone; the images seem to have become somewhat merged. Also compare bones.
Bone-china, which is mixed with bone-dust, is so called by 1854. Bone-shaker (1874) was an old name for the early type of bicycle, before rubber tires.
mid-14c., "a charge, an onrush," from shake (v.). The meaning "a hard shock, concussion" is from 1560s; it is attested from 1580s as "act of shaking, a rapid jolt or jerk one way and then another;" by 1660s as "irregular vibration."
The hand-grip salutation is so called by 1712. A shake as a figure of a brief moment or instantaneous action is recorded by 1816; the exact shake intended is uncertain. OED's 1816 citation is in the shake of a hand and might be partly literal. The noun also meant "a trill in music." The version two (or three) shakes of a lamb's tail (1852) seems to be a U.S. dialect elaboration of the older use, earlier of a sheep's tail (Boston Weekly Globe, March 29, 1843, which identifies it as "a homely adage").
The phrase fair shake "an honest deal" is attested from 1830, American English (Bartlett calls it "A New England vulgarism"). The shakes "nervous agitation" is from 1620s; the sense of "trembling fit; intermittent fever" is by 1782. Shake as short for milk shake is attested by 1911. Dismissive phrase no great shakes (1816, Byron), indicating things of no account, perhaps is from dicing.
1590s, in a now-obsolete meaning "mischievous, malicious;" also in 17c., "careless, incautious; unreliable, not to be trusted," from un- (1) "not" + canny (q.v.) in its old Scots and Northern English sense of "skillful, prudent, lucky" (it is a doublet of cunning).
Canny had also a sense of "superstitiously lucky; skilled in magic." In Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) the first sense of uncanny as used in Scotland and the North is "awkward, unskilful; careless; imprudent; inconvenient." The second is "Unearthly, ghostly, dangerous from supernatural causes ; ominous, unlucky ; of a person : possessed of supernatural powers".
From 1773, uncanny appears in popular literature from the North (Robert Fergusson, Scott), with reference to persons and in a sense of "not quite safe to trust or deal with through association with the supernatural." By 1843 it had a general sense in English of "having a supernatural character, weird, mysterious, strange." (OED notes this as "Common from c 1850"; Borges considers it untranslatable but notes that German unheimlich answers to it.)
The Scottish writers also use it with the meanings "unpleasantly hard; dangerous, unsafe."
"one of a class of spiritual beings, attendants and messengers of God," a c. 1300 fusion of Old English engel (with hard -g-) and Old French angele. Both are from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally "messenger, envoy, one that announces," in the New Testament "divine messenger," which is possibly related to angaros "mounted courier," both from an unknown Oriental word (Watkins compares Sanskrit ajira- "swift;" Klein suggests Semitic sources).
The Greek word was used in Scriptural translations for Hebrew mal'akh (yehowah) "messenger (of Jehovah)," from base l-'-k "to send." An Old English word for it was aerendgast, literally "errand-spirit."
Of persons, "one who is loving, gracious, or lovely," by 1590s. The medieval English gold coin (a new issue of the noble, first struck 1465 by Edward VI) was so called for the image of archangel Michael slaying the dragon, which was stamped on it. It was the coin given to patients who had been "touched" for the King's Evil. Angel food cake is from 1881; angel dust "phencyclidine" is from 1968.
alteration of freese, friese, from Middle English fresen, from Old English freosan (intransitive) "turn to ice" (class II strong verb; past tense freas, past participle froren), from Proto-Germanic *freusan "to freeze" (source also of Dutch vriezen, Old Norse frjosa, Old High German friosan, German frieren "to freeze," and related to Gothic frius "frost"), from Proto-Germanic *freus-, equivalent to PIE root *preus- "to freeze," also "to burn" (source also of Sanskrit prusva, Latin pruina "hoarfrost," Welsh rhew "frost," Sanskrit prustah "burnt," Albanian prus "burning coals," Latin pruna "a live coal").
Of weather, "be cold enough to freeze," 13c. Meaning "perish from cold" is c. 1300. Transitive sense "harden into ice, congeal as if by frost" first recorded late 14c.; figurative sense late 14c., "make hard or unfeeling." Intransitive meaning "become rigid or motionless" attested by 1720. Sense of "fix at a certain level" is from 1933; of assets, "make non-transactable," from 1922. Freeze frame is from 1960, originally "a briefly Frozen Shot after the Jingle to allow ample time for Change over at the end of a T.V. 'Commercial.' " ["ABC of Film & TV," 1960].
c. 1300, "to fall (into water) or strike with a full impact," a common Low German word, from or related to Middle Dutch and Dutch plompen, East Frisian plumpen, Middle Low German plumpen, probably more or less imitative of something hard striking something soft. Perhaps influenced by or merged with Middle English plumben "immerse (in liquid)," late 14c., from plumb (n.) in the "weight" sense. Hence plump (n.) "a firm blow," in pugilism usually one to the belly.
To plump; to strike, or shoot. I'll give you a plump in the bread basket, or the victualling office; I'll give you a blow in the stomach. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
Or, even if any of them should suspect me, I know how to bring myself off. It is but pretending to be affronted, stripping directly, challenging him to fight, and before he can be on his guard, hitting him a plump in the bread-basket, that shall make him throw up his accounts; and I'll engage he will have but very little stomach to accuse me after. ["The Reverie: or A Flight to the Paradise of Fools," London, 1763]
As an adverb, "at once," as in a sudden fall, from 1590s.
c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), sturdi, "hard to manage, reckless, violent; fierce, cruel; bold, strong in fighting; stern, severe; ill-humored; disobedient, rebellious," from Old French estordi (11c., Modern French étourdi) "violent," originally "dazed," past participle of estordir, estordiir "to daze, stun, stupefy," from Vulgar Latin *exturdire (source also of Spanish atordir "to stun, daze," earlier estordir), which some presume to be from Latin intensive prefix ex- (see ex-) + turdus "thrush" (see thrush (n.1)).
The usual suggestion for that proposed origin is that the image is of thrushes eating grape remnants at wineries and then acting drunk. Klein notes that Italian tordo "thrush" also means "simpleton," and French has the expression soûl comme une grive "drunk as a thrush." OED, however, regards all this as "open to grave objection." Century Dictionary compares Latin torpidus "dull" (Lewis & Short has an *ex-torpesco).
In reference to a person, the sense of "solidly built, strong and hardy" is from late 14c. Related: Sturdily; sturdiness. Sturdy-boots "obstinate person" is from 1762; a sturdy beggar in old language was one capable of work (c. 1400).
c. 1300, "a kind of sausage: the stomach or one of the entrails of a pig, sheep, etc., stuffed with minced meat, suet, blood, and seasoning, boiled and kept till needed," perhaps from a West Germanic stem *pud- "to swell" (source also of Old English puduc "a wen," Westphalian dialect puddek "lump, pudding," Low German pudde-wurst "black pudding," English dialectal pod "belly;" also see pudgy).
The other possibility is the traditional one [also in Middle English Compendium] that it is from Old French boudin "sausage," from Vulgar Latin *botellinus, from Latin botellus "sausage" (the proposed change of French b- to English p- presents difficulties, but compare purse (n.)).
The sense of "dish consisting of flour, milk, eggs, etc., originally boiled in a bag until semi-hard, often enriched with raisins or other fruit" had emerged by 1670, from extension to other foods boiled or steamed in a bag or sack (16c.). German pudding, French pouding, Swedish pudding, Irish putog are from English. Pudding-pie as a type of pastry, especially one with meat baked in it, is attested from 1590s.
Middle English bitwene, from Old English betweonum, Mercian betwinum, "in the space which separates, midway, in the midst, among; by turns," from bi- "by" (see by) + tweonum dative plural of *tweon "two each" (compare Gothic tweih-nai "two each;" from PIE root *dwo- "two").
Between is literally applicable only to two objects; but it may be and commonly is used of more than two where they are spoken of distributively, or so that they can be thought of as divided into two parts or categories, or with reference to the action or being of each individually as compared with that of any other or all the others. When more than two objects are spoken of collectively or in divisibly, among is the proper word. [Century Dictionary]
In all senses, between has been from its earliest appearance, extended to more than two. [OED]
Between a rock and a hard place "caught in a dilemma, in a difficult situation" is from 1940s, originally cowboy slang (earlier was between the beetle (hammer) and the block, late 19c.). Between-whiles "at intervals" is from 1670s.
"a very hard stone," mid-14c., adamant, adamaunt, from Old French adamant "diamond; magnet" or directly from Latin adamantem (nominative adamas) "adamant, hardest iron, steel," also used figuratively, of character, from Greek adamas (genitive adamantos), the name of a hypothetical hardest material.
It is a noun use of an adjective meaning "unbreakable, inflexible," which was metaphoric of anything unalterable (such as Hades) and is of uncertain origin. It is perhaps literally "invincible, indomitable," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + daman "to conquer, to tame," from PIE root *deme- "to constrain, force, break (horses)," for which see tame (adj.). "But semantically, the etymology is rather strange," according to Beekes, who suggests it might be a foreign word altered in Greek by folk etymology, and compares Akkadian (Semitic) adamu.
Applied in antiquity to a metal resembling gold (Plato), white sapphire (Pliny), magnet (Ovid, perhaps through confusion with Latin adamare "to love passionately"), steel, emery stone, and especially diamond, which is a variant of this word. "The name has thus always been of indefinite and fluctuating sense" [Century Dictionary]. The word had been in Old English as aðamans, but the modern word is a re-borrowing.