Etymology
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many (adj.)

"being or consisting of a large number of units or individuals," Middle English mani, manige "indefinitely numerous, many a, much," from Old English monig, manig, from Proto-Germanic *managaz (source also of Old Saxon manag, Swedish mången, Old Frisian manich, Dutch menig, Old High German manag, German manch, Gothic manags), perhaps from a PIE *menegh- "copious" (source also of Old Church Slavonic munogu "much, many," Old Irish menicc, Welsh mynych "frequent," Old Irish magham "gift"), or perhaps a northern European substratum word also borrowed in Uralic (compare Finnish moni).

The pronunciation was altered by influence of any (see manifold). Middle English had comparative and superlative manier, maniest, also an adverbial form manygates "in many ways." Many honden maken liʒt werk is in "How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter" (c. 1350).

The angels keep their ancient places—
Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estrangèd faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.
[from "In No Strange Land (The Kingdom of God is within you)" by Francis Thompson, 1907]
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reflection (n.)

late 14c., refleccioun, reflexioun, reflectioun, of surfaces or bodies, "the action of throwing back light or heat," from Old French reflexion, refleccion, and directly from Late Latin reflexionem (nominative reflexio) "a reflection," literally "a bending back," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin reflectere "to bend back, bend backwards, turn away," from re- "back" (see re-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible).

Meaning "an image produced by the action of a mirror, etc." is from 1580s. Of the mind, "turning of the thought back upon past experiences or ideas," from 1670s. Meaning "remark made after turning back one's thought on some subject" is from 1640s. Spelling with -ct- recorded from late 14c., established 18c., by influence of the verb. OED considers the version with -x- to be "the etymological spelling," but Fowler (1926) points out that -ct- is usual in the general senses and even technical ones.

A clear differentiation being out of the question, & the variation of form being without essential significance, the best thing to do is to use the commoner spelling, reflection, in all senses. [Fowler, "Modern English Usage," 1926]
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bid (v.)

probably an early Middle English mutual influence or confusion of two older words: The sense in bid farewell is from Old English biddan "to ask, entreat, beg, pray, beseech; order" (class V strong verb, past tense bæd, past participle beden), from Proto-Germanic *bedjanan "to pray, entreat" (source also of German bitten "to ask," attested in Old High German from 8c., also Old Saxon biddian, Old Frisian bidda"ask, request command," Old Norse biðja, Gothic bidjan "request"). This, according to Kluge and Watkins, is from a PIE root *gwhedh- "to ask, pray" (see bead (n.)).

To bid at an auction, meanwhile, is from Old English beodan "offer, proclaim" (class II strong verb; past tense bead, past participle boden), from Proto-Germanic *beudanan "to stretch out, reach out, offer, present," (source also of German bieten "to offer," Old High German biatan, also Old Saxon biodan, Old Frisian biada, Old Norse bjoða, Gothic anabiudan "to command"). This is (with a shift of meaning) from PIE root *bheudh- "be aware, make aware" (source also of bode (v.)).

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catawampus (adj.)

also catawampous, cattywampus, catiwampus, etc. (see "Dictionary of American Slang" for more), American colloquial. The first element perhaps is from obsolete cater "to set or move diagonally" (see catty-cornered); the second element perhaps is related to Scottish wampish "to wriggle, twist, or swerve about." Or perhaps the whole is simply the sort of jocular pseudo-classical formation popular in the slang of 1830s America, with the first element suggesting cata-.

Earliest use seems to be in adverbial form, catawampusly (1834), expressing no certain meaning but adding intensity to the action: "utterly, completely; with avidity, fiercely, eagerly." It appears as a noun from 1843, as a name for an imaginary hobgoblin or fright, perhaps from influence of catamount. The adjective is attested from the 1840s as an intensive, but this is only in British lampoons of American speech and might not be authentic. It was used in the U.S. by 1864 in a sense of "askew, awry, wrong" and by 1873 (noted as a peculiarity of North Carolina speech) as "in a diagonal position, on a bias, crooked."

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fourth (adj., n.)

"next in order after the third; an ordinal numeral; being one of four equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" mid-15c., alteration (by influence of four), of ferthe, from Old English feorða "fourth," from Proto-Germanic *feurthan (source also of Old Saxon fiortho, Old Norse fiorðe, Dutch vierde, Old High German fiordo, German vierte); see four + -th (1). As a noun from 1590s, both of fractions and in music.

Among the old Quakers, who rejected the pagan weekday names, fourth day was Wednesday, often a secondary day of meeting for worship. Fourth-dimension attested from 1844. The theatrical fourth wall is from 1807. The celebration of the Fourth of July as the epoch of American independence is attested from 1777.

That there is due to Daniel Smith, of the city tavern, for his bill of expences of Congress, on the 4 of July last, including a balance of an old account, the sum of 729 68/90 dollars; also a bill for materials, workmanship, &c furnished for the fire works on the 4 July, the sum of 102 69/90 dollars .... [Auditor General's report, Aug. 8, 1777, Journals of Congress, vol. VII]
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ass-kissing (adj.)

"currying favor," by 1946 (as arse-kissing), apparently from or popularized by military slang in World War II. Ass-kisser is by 1943. Grose's 1788 "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" has "A kiss mine arse fellow," defined as "a sycophant." As for the verbal phrase, the Towneley Plays, c. 1460, has Cain telling off Abel with "Com kis myne ars." A 1668 book of "Songs Alamode, Composed by the most Refined Wits of this Age" has a song with the line "And thou maist kiss mine Arse," and of course the Miller's Tale.

In early 20c. American-English ass-licker may have been more common than ass-kisser, at least in print sources, perhaps from German influence. "Leck mich im Arsch" is at least 18c., the title of a Mozart party song, the phrase having been branded into the minds of German readers by Goethe in "Götz von Berlichingen" (1773), where it is the hero's dramatic reply to a call to surrender. (E.g. the reply of Tjaden to the bullying NCO in "All Quiet on the Western Front," where Remarque euphemistically describes it as "dem bekanntesten Klassikerzitat.")

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fast (adv.)

Old English fæste "firmly, securely; strictly;" also, perhaps, "speedily," from Proto-Germanic *fasto (source also of Old Saxon fasto, Old Frisian feste, Dutch vast, Old High German fasto, German fast "almost," but in earlier use "firmly, immovably, strongly, very"), from *fastu- (adj.) "firm, fast" (see fast (adj.)).

The meaning "quickly, swiftly, rapidly" was perhaps in Old English, certainly by c. 1200, probably from or developed under influence of Old Norse fast "firmly, fast." This sense developed, apparently in Scandinavian, from that of "firmly, strongly, vigorously" (to run hard means the same as to run fast; also compare fast asleep, also compare Old Norse drekka fast "to drink hard," telja fast "to give (someone) a severe lesson"). Or perhaps from the notion of a runner who "sticks" close to whatever he is chasing (compare Old Danish fast "much, swiftly, at once, near to, almost," and sense evolution of German fix "fast, fixed; fast, quick, nimble," from Latin fixus). The expression fast by "near, close, beside" also is said to be from Scandinavian. To fast talk someone (v.) is recorded by 1946.

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render (v.)

late 14c., rendren, rendre, "repeat, say again, recite; translate," from Old French rendre "give back, present, yield" (10c.) and Medieval Latin rendere, from Vulgar Latin *rendere, a variant of Latin reddere "give back, return, restore," from red- "back" (see re-) + combining form of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give").

The alteration in Vulgar Latin was perhaps simply nasalization or perhaps on analogy of its antonym, prendre "to take" (itself a contraction of prehendere). The irregular retention of -er in a French verb in English is perhaps to avoid confusion with native rend (v.) or by influence of a Middle English legalese noun render "a payment of rent," which is in part from French noun use of the infinitive.

The sense of "reduce," in reference to fats, "clarify by boiling or steaming" also is from late 14c. The meaning "hand over, yield up, deliver" is recorded from c. 1400; sense of "to return" (thanks, a verdict, etc.) is attested from late 15c., as is that of "make or cause to be) in a certain state; the meaning "represent, depict" is attested from 1590s. Related: Rendered; renderer; rendering. Also compare rendition, rent (n.1).

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sneeze (v.)

late 15c., from Old English fneosan "to snort, sneeze," from Proto-Germanic *fneusanan (compare: Middle Dutch fniesen, Dutch fniezen "to sneeze;" Old Norse fnysa "to snort;" Old Norse hnjosa, Swedish nysa "to sneeze;" Old High German niosan, German niesen "to sneeze"), from Proto-Germanic base *fneu-s- "sneeze," of imitative origin, as is PIE *pneu- "to breathe" (source of Greek pnein "to breathe").

Other imitative words for it, perhaps in various ways related to each other, include Latin sternuere (source of Italian starnutare, French éternuer, Spanish estornudar), Breton strevia, Sanskrit ksu-, Lithuanian čiaudėti, Polish kichać, Russian čichat'.

English forms in sn- might be due to a misreading of the uncommon fn- (represented in only eight words in Clark Hall, mostly in words to do with breathing), or from Norse influence. OED suggests Middle English fnese had been reduced to simple nese by early 15c., and sneeze is a "strengthened form" of this, "assisted by its phonetic appropriateness." Related: Sneezed; sneezing. To sneeze at "to regard as of little value" (usually with negative) is attested from 1806.

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believe (v.)
Origin and meaning of believe

Middle English bileven, from Old English belyfan "to have faith or confidence" (in a person), earlier geleafa (Mercian), gelefa (Northumbrian), gelyfan (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *ga-laubjan "to believe," perhaps literally "hold dear (or valuable, or satisfactory), to love" (source also of Old Saxon gilobian "believe," Dutch geloven, Old High German gilouben, German glauben), ultimately a compound based on PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (see belief).

The meaning "be persuaded of the truth of" (a doctrine, system, religion, etc.) is from mid-13c.; the meaning "credit upon the grounds of authority or testimony without complete demonstration, accept as true" is from early 14c. The general sense of "be of the opinion, think" is from c. 1300. Related: Believed (formerly occasionally beleft); believing.

The form beleeve was common till 17c., the spelling then changed, perhaps by influence of relieve, etc. To believe on instead of in was more common in 16c. but now is a peculiarity of theology; believe of also sometimes was used in 17c. The expression believe it or not is attested by 1874; Robert Ripley's newspaper cartoon of the same name is from 1918. Emphatic you better believe attested from 1854.

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