"sideshow freak," 1916, U.S. carnival and circus slang, perhaps a variant of geck "a fool, dupe, simpleton" (1510s), apparently from Dutch gek or Low German geck, from an imitative verb found in North Sea Germanic and Scandinavian meaning "to croak, cackle," and also "to mock, cheat" (Dutch gekken, German gecken, Danish gjække, Swedish gäcka). The modern form and the popular use with reference to circus sideshow "wild men" is from 1946, in William Lindsay Gresham's novel "Nightmare Alley" (made into a film in 1947 starring Tyrone Power).
"An ordinary geek doesn't actually eat snakes, just bites off chunks of 'em, chicken heads and rats." [Arthur H. Lewis, "Carnival," 1970]
By c. 1983, used in teenager slang in reference to peers who lacked social graces but were obsessed with new technology and computers (such as the Anthony Michael Hall character in 1984's "Sixteen Candles").
geek out vi. To temporarily enter techno-nerd mode while in a non-hackish context, for example at parties held near computer equipment. [Eric S. Raymond, "The New Hacker's Dictionary," 1996]
"class, sort, variety," from Old English gecynd "kind, nature, race," related to cynn "family" (see kin), from Proto-Germanic *kundjaz "family, race," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
Ælfric's rendition of "the Book of Genesis" into Old English came out gecyndboc. The prefix disappeared 1150-1250. No exact cognates beyond English, but it corresponds to adjective endings such as Goth -kunds, Old High German -kund. Also in English as a suffix (mankind, etc., also compare godcund "divine"). Other earlier, now obsolete, senses included "character, quality derived from birth" and "manner or way natural or proper to anyone."
Phrase a kind of (1590s) indicating something like or similar to something else led to the colloquial extension as adverb (1804) in phrases such as kind of stupid "a kind of stupid (person), (one) not far from stupidity." However "good usage" once condemned as inaccurate the use as an adjective as in our kind of people, some kind of joke. All kinds is Old English alles cynnes, in Middle English sometimes contracted to alkins.
1660s, kind of tights-like garment for men (consisting of breeches and stockings in one; originally a French fashion and execrated as such by late 17c. English writers), associated with Pantaloun,Pantaloon (1580s), the silly old man character in Italian comedy, who wore spectacles, slippers, and tight trousers over his skinny legs.
His name is from Italian Pantalone, from San Pantaleone, a Christian martyr who was a popular saint in Venice (Pantaloon in the comedies represents the Venetian). The name, a favorite one among the Venetians, is of Greek origin and means "all-compassionate" (Littré), or, according to Klein, Century Dictionary, etc., "entirely lion," perhaps in reference to the lion symbolic of St. Mark.
By 1798 the word was revived in reference to tight long trousers buttoned or tied below the knee (replacing knee-breeches), worn by men of fashion. These were gradually replaced by modern trousers, but the name persisted. Pants is a shortened form attested by 1840. The diminutive pantalettes for "loose drawers with frills at the bottoms of the legs, worn by young girls," is by 1834.
1797, contraction of and per se and, meaning "(the character) '&' by itself is 'and' " (a hybrid phrase, partly in Latin, partly in English). An earlier form of it was colloquial ampassy (1706). The distinction is to avoid confusion with & in such formations as &c., a once common way of writing etc. (the et in et cetera is Latin for "and"). The letters a, I, and o also formerly (15c.-16c.) were written a per se, etc., especially when standing alone as words.
The symbol is based on the Latin word et "and," and comes from an old Roman system of shorthand signs (ligatures) attested in Pompeiian graffiti, and not (as sometimes stated) from the Tironian Notes, which was a different form of shorthand, probably invented by Cicero's companion Marcus Tullius Tiro, which used a different symbol, something like a reversed capital gamma, to indicate et. This Tironian symbol was maintained by some medieval scribes, including Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, who sprinkled their works with a symbol like a numeral 7 to indicate the word and.
In old schoolbooks the ampersand was printed at the end of the alphabet and thus by 1880s the word ampersand had acquired a slang sense of "posterior, rear end, hindquarters."
late 14c., "wicked," from Old French pervers "unnatural, degenerate; perverse, contrary" (12c.) and directly from Latin perversus "turned away, contrary, askew," figuratively, "turned away from what is right, wrong, malicious, spiteful," past participle of pervertere "to corrupt" (see pervert (v.)).
The Latin word is glossed in Old English by forcerred, from past participle of forcyrran "to avoid," from cierran "to turn, return." The meaning "wrong, not in accord with what is accepted or standard, turned away from what is right" is from 1560s; the sense of "obstinate in the wrong, stubborn" is from 1570s. It keeps the non-sexual senses of pervert (v.) and allows the psychological ones to go with perverted. Related: Perversely; perverseness.
Perverse has reference to one's attitude, in both conduct and opinion. The perverse person is settled in habit and disposition of contrariness; he not only likes or dislikes, acts or refuses to act, by the rule of contradiction to the wishes, commands, or opinions of others, especially of those whom he ought to consider, but be is likely even to take pains to do or say that which he knows to be offensive or painful to them. Perversity may be found in a child, but it is so settled an element of character as to be rather the mark of an adult. [Century Dictionary]
late 14c., nasti, "foul, filthy, dirty, unclean," literally or figuratively, a word of uncertain origin. Middle English Compendium says from Old Norse (compare Swedish dialectal and Danish naskug, nasket "dirty, nasty") with Middle English adjectival suffix -i. There was a variant nasky in early Modern English.
Barnhart suggests Old French nastre "miserly, envious, malicious, spiteful," shortened form of villenastre "infamous, bad," from vilain "villain" (see villain) + -astre, pejorative suffix, from Latin -aster. Another alternative etymology [mentioned in OED] is from Dutch nestig "dirty," literally "like a bird's nest."
From c. 1600 as "indecent, obscene" ("morally filthy"). Of weather, "foul, stormy," from 1630s; of things generally, "unpleasant, offensive; troublesome, annoying," from 1705. Of people, "ill-tempered, mean," from 1825. The noun meaning "something nasty" is from 1935. Related: Nastily; nastiness.
Nasty, in England frequently meaning ill-tempered or cross-grained (Slang Dictionary, p. 186), and in this sense admitted into good society, denotes in America something disgusting in point of smell, taste, or even moral character, and is not considered a proper word to be used in the presence of ladies. [M. Schele De Vere, "Americanisms," 1872]
c. 1300, "young man;" also "youthful knight, novice in arms," from Old French bacheler, bachelor, bachelier (11c.) "knight bachelor," a young squire in training for knighthood, also "young man; unmarried man," and a university title. Of uncertain origin.
Perhaps from Medieval Latin baccalarius "vassal farmer, adult serf without a landholding," one who helps or tends a baccalaria "field or land in the lord's demesne" (according to old French sources, perhaps from an alteration of vacca "a cow" and originally "grazing land" [Kitchin]). But Wedgwood points out that the baccalarii "were reckoned as rustici, and were bound to certain duty work for their lord. There is no appearance in the passages cited of their having had any military character whatever." (He favored a Celtic origin).
Or perhaps from Latin baculum "a stick," because the squire would practice with a staff, not a sword. "Perhaps several independent words have become confused in form" [Century Dictionary].
The meaning in English expanded by early 14c. to "young unmarried man," late 14c. to "one who has taken the lowest degree in a university." Bachelor party as a pre-wedding ritual is by 1882.
late 13c., "to rub down a horse," from Anglo-French curreier "to curry-comb a horse," from Old French correier "put in order, prepare, curry," from con-, intensive prefix (see com-), + reier "arrange," from a Germanic source (see ready). Related: Curried; currying.
To curry favor "flatter, seek favor by officious show of courtesy or kindness" is an early 16c. folk-etymology alteration of curry favel (c. 1400) from Old French correier fauvel "to be false, hypocritical," literally "to curry the chestnut horse," chestnut horses in medieval French allegories being symbols of cunning and deceit. Compare German den falben (hengst) streichen "to flatter, cajole," literally "to stroke the dun-colored horse."
Old French fauvel (later fauveau) "fallow, dun," though the exact color intended in the early uses is vague, is a diminutive of fauve "fawn-colored horse, dark-colored thing, dull," for which see Fauvist. The secondary sense here is entangled with similar-sounding Old French favele "lying, deception," from Latin fabella, diminutive of fabula (see fable (n.)). In Middle English, favel was a common name for a horse, while the identical favel or fauvel (from Old French favele) meant "flattery, insincerity; duplicity, guile, intrigue," and was the name of a character in "Piers Plowman."
late 13c., "separate, distinct; various;" late 14c., "different in kind or character" (the sense now in diverse), from Old French divers (11c.) "different, various; singular, odd, exceptional; wretched, treacherous, perverse," from Latin diversus "turned different ways," in Late Latin "various," past participle of divertere "to turn in different directions," from assimilated form of dis- "aside" (see dis-) + vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
The sense of "several, sundry, more than one but not a great number" emerged by c. 1400, referring "originally and in form to the variety of objects; but, as variety implies number, becoming an indefinite numeral word expressing multiplicity" [OED].
Middle English used the spellings divers and diverse indifferently. In later use, diverse became more associated with Latin diversus "turned different ways," and after c.1700 the differentiation in form and sense was complete.
Divers implies difference only, and is always used with a plural noun; diverse (with either a singular or a plural noun) denotes difference with opposition. Thus, the evangelists narrate the same events in divers manners, but not in diverse. [Century Dictionary]
late 14c., resolucioun, "a breaking or reducing into parts; process of breaking up, dissolution," from Old French resolution (14c.) and directly from Latin resolutionem (nominative resolutio) "process of reducing things into simpler forms," noun of action from past participle stem of resolvere "to loosen" (see resolve (v.)).
From the notion of "process of resolving or reducing a non-material thing into simpler forms" (late 14c.) as a method of problem-solving comes the sense of "a solving" (as of mathematical problems), recorded by 1540s, as is that of "power of holding firmly, character of acting with a fixed purpose" (compare resolute (adj.)). The meaning "steadfastness of purpose" is by 1580s. The meaning "effect of an optical instrument in rendering component parts of objects distinguishable" is by 1860. In Middle English it also could mean "a paraphrase" (as a breaking up and rearranging of a text or translation).
In mid-15c. it also meant "frame of mind," often implying a pious or moral determination. By 1580s as "a statement upon some matter;" hence "formal decision or expression of a meeting or assembly," c. 1600. New Year's resolution in reference to a specific intention to better oneself is from at least the 1780s, and through 19c. they generally were of a pious nature.