Etymology
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local (adj.)

late 14c., "pertaining to position," originally medical: "confined to a particular part of the body;" from Old French local "local" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin localis "pertaining to a place," from Latin locus "a place, spot" (see locus).

The meaning "limited to a particular place" is from c. 1500. Local color is from 1721, originally a term in painting; the meaning "anything picturesque" is from c. 1900. Local option (1868, American English) is from the prohibition movement: "the right of a community to vote on whether to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor there." Local talent "attractive women thereabouts" is from 1947 in UK slang; earlier it was used in reference to entertainment acts in shows, radio broadcast, etc.

Thus, with the local talent, we have many factors which help "sell" is in quantities far beyond what the commercial market would carry. Pride in children, interest in relatives and friends, and pride in locality all give impetus to the development of home talent. [Horace Boies Hawthorn, "The Sociology of Rural Life," 1926]
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reprisal (n.)

early 15c., reprisail, "the seizing of property or citizens of another nation in equivalent retaliation for loss inflicted on one's own," from Anglo-French reprisaille (mid-14c.), Old French reprisaille (Modern French représaille), from early Italian ripresaglia, from ripreso, past participle of riprendere "to take back," from Latin reprendere, earlier reprehendere "to seize, restrain," literally "pull back, hold back" (see reprehend).

First in letters of mark and reprisal, the official warrant authorizing it. The general sense of "act of retaliation" is from 1710.

Reprisals differ from retorsion in this, that the essence of the former consists in seizing the property of another nation by way of security, until it shall have listened to the just reclamations of the offended party, while retorsion includes all kinds of measures which do an injury to another, similar and equivalent to that which we have experienced from him. Embargo, therefore, is a species of reprisals. [Theodore Dwight Woolsey, "Introduction to the Study of International Law," Boston: 1860]
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down (adv.)

"in a descending direction, from a higher to a lower place, degree, or condition," late Old English shortened form of Old English ofdune "downwards," originally of dune "off from (the) hill," from dune "from the hill," dative of dun "hill" (see down (n.2)). The "hill" word is general in Germanic, but this sense development is peculiar to English. As a preposition, "in a descending direction upon or along,"  from late 14c.

To be down on "express disapproval of" is by 1851. Down home is from 1828 as "in one's home region," as an adjective phrase meaning "unpretentious" by 1931, American English. Down the hatch as a toast is from 1931. Down to the wire is 1901, from horse-racing.

Down Under "Australia and New Zealand" attested from 1886; Down East "Maine" is from 1825; Down South "in the Southern states of the U.S." is attested by 1834. Down the road "in the future" is by 1964, U.S. colloquial. Down-to-earth "everyday, ordinary, realistic" is by 1932.

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metaphysics (n.)

"the science of the inward and essential nature of things," 1560s, plural of Middle English metaphisik, methaphesik (late 14c.), "branch of speculation which deals with the first causes of things," from Medieval Latin metaphysica, neuter plural of Medieval Greek (ta) metaphysika, from Greek ta meta ta physika "the (works) after the Physics," title of the 13 treatises which traditionally were arranged after those on physics and natural sciences in Aristotle's writings. See meta- + physics.  

The name was given c.70 B.C.E. by Andronicus of Rhodes, and was a reference to the customary ordering of the books, but it was misinterpreted by Latin writers as meaning "the science of what is beyond the physical." The word originally was used in English in the singular; the plural form predominated after 17c., but singular made a comeback late 19c. in certain usages under German influence. From 17c. also sometimes "philosophy in general," especially "the philosophical study of the mind, psychology."

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mortuary (n.)

late 14c., mortuarie, "customary gift due to the minister of a parish on the death of a parishioner," from Anglo-French mortuarie (early 14c.), from Medieval Latin mortuarium, noun use of neuter of Late Latin adjective mortuarius "pertaining to the dead," from Latin mortuus, past participle of mori "to die" (from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm," also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death).

Selden says that the usage anciently was, bringing the mortuary along with the corpse when it came to be buried, and to offer it to the church as a satisfaction for the supposed negligence and omissions the defunct had been guilty of, in not paying his personal tithes; and from thence it was called a corse-present; a term which bespeaks it to have been once a voluntary donation. [Sir Thomas Edlyne Tomlins, "The Law Dictionary," London, 1835]

From mid-15c. as "a funeral service." Meaning "place where bodies of the dead are kept temporarily" is recorded by 1865, a euphemism for earlier deadhouse.

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mustache (n.)

also moustache (chiefly British), "the hair that grows upon the upper lip of men," 1580s, from French moustache (15c.), from Italian mostaccio, from Medieval Greek moustakion, diminutive of Doric mystax (genitive mystakos) "upper lip, mustache," related to mastax "jaws, mouth," literally "that with which one chews" (perhaps from PIE root *mendh- "to chew;" see mandible), but Beekes says this whole group of Greek words may be of Pre-Greek origin.

Borrowed earlier (1550s) as mostacchi, from the Italian word or its Spanish derivative mostacho. The plural form of this, mustachios, lingers in English (the mustache sometimes was considered as the hair on either side of the lip, hence the use of the plural form). Slang shortening stache attested from 1985. Old English had cenep "mustache," which is related to cnafa "boy" (see knave). Mustache-cup, one with a fixed cover over part of its top, allowing one to drink without dipping the mustache, is by 1868.

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shower (n.1)

Old English scur "a short fall of rain, storm, tempest; fall of missiles or blows; struggle, commotion; breeze," from Proto-Germanic *skuraz (source also of Old Norse skur, Old Saxon and Old Frisian scur "fit of illness;" Old High German scur, German Schauer "shower, downpour;" Gothic skura, in skura windis "windstorm"), from PIE root *kew-(e)ro- "north, north wind" (source also of Latin caurus "northwest wind;" Old Church Slavonic severu "north, north wind;" Lithuanian šiaurus "raging, stormy," šiaurys "north wind," šiaurė "north").

Of blood, tears, etc., from c. 1400. Of meteors from 1835. Sense of "bath in which water is poured from above" first recorded 1851 (short for shower-bath, itself attested from 1803). Meaning "large number of gifts bestowed on a bride" (1904, American English colloquial) later was extended to the party at which it happens (1926). Shower curtain attested from 1914.

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-ance 

word-forming element attached to verbs to form abstract nouns of process or fact (convergence from converge), or of state or quality (absence from absent); ultimately from Latin -antia and -entia, which depended on the vowel in the stem word, from PIE *-nt-, adjectival suffix.

Latin present-participle endings for verbs stems in -a- were distinguished from those in -i- and -e-. Hence Modern English protestant, opponent, obedient from Latin protestare, opponere, obedire.

As Old French evolved from Latin, these were leveled to -ance, but later French borrowings from Latin (some of them subsequently passed to English) used the appropriate Latin form of the ending, as did words borrowed by English directly from Latin (diligence,absence).

English thus inherited a confused mass of words from French (crescent/croissant), and further confused it since c. 1500 by restoring -ence selectively in some forms of these words to conform with Latin. Thus dependant, but independence, etc.

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cold shoulder (n.)

1816, in the figurative sense of "icy reception, studied neglect or indifference," first in Sir Walter Scott, probably originally a literal figure (see cold (adj.)), but commonly used with a punning reference to "cold shoulder of mutton," considered a poor man's dish and thus, perhaps, something one would set out for an unwanted guest with deliberate intention to convey displeasure.

How often have we admired the poor knight, who, to avoid the snares of bribery and dependence, was found making a second dinner from a cold shoulder of mutton, above the most affluent courtier, who had sold himself to others for a splendid pension! ["No Fiction," 1820]

Originally with to show, later to give. As a verb from 1845; related: cold-shouldered. Also compare cold roast, old slang for "something insignificant." Cold pig was a 19c. term for throwing cold water on a sleeping person to wake him or her.

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comedy (n.)

late 14c., "narrative with a happy ending; any composition intended for amusement," from Old French comedie (14c.), "a poem" (not in the theatrical sense) and directly from Latin comoedia, from Greek kōmōidia "a comedy, amusing spectacle," probably [Beekes] from kōmōidos "actor or singer in the revels," from kōmos "revel, carousal, merry-making, festival" + aoidos "singer, poet," from aeidein "to sing," which is related to ōidē (see ode).

The passage on the nature of comedy in the Poetic of Aristotle is unfortunately lost, but if we can trust stray hints on the subject, his definition of comedy (which applied mainly to Menander) ran parallel to that of tragedy, and described the art as a purification of certain affections of our nature, not by terror and pity, but by laughter and ridicule. [Rev. J.P. Mahaffy, "A History of Classical Greek Literature," London, 1895]

The origin of Greek komos is uncertain; perhaps it is from a PIE *komso- "praise," and cognate with Sanskrit samsa "praise, judgment." Beekes suggests Pre-Greek. The old derivation from kome "village" is not now regarded.

The classical sense of the word was "amusing play or performance with a happy ending," which is similar to the modern one, but in the Middle Ages the word meant poems and stories generally (albeit ones with happy endings), such as Dante's "Commedia." The revival of learning 16c. recovered the ancient comedies and shifted the sense of the word to "branch of drama addressing primarily the humorous and ridiculous" (opposed to tragedy). In 18c. this was somewhat restricted to "humorous, but not grossly comical, drama" (opposed to farce).

Comedy aims at entertaining by the fidelity with which it presents life as we know it, farce at raising laughter by the outrageous absurdity of the situation or characters exhibited, & burlesque at tickling the fancy of the audience by caricaturing plays or actors with whose style it is familiar. [Fowler]

Meaning "comic play or drama" is from 1550s (the first modern comedy in English was said to be Nicholas Udall's "Roister Doister"). Extended sense "humorous or comic incident or events in life" is from 1560s. Generalized sense of "quality of being amusing" dates from 1877. 

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