early 12c., "a meeting at a fixed time for buying and selling livestock and provisions, an occasion on which goods are publicly exposed for sale and buyers assemble to purchase," from Old North French market "marketplace, trade, commerce" (Old French marchiet, Modern French marché), from Latin mercatus "trading, buying and selling; trade; market" (source of Italian mercato, Spanish mercado, Dutch markt, German Markt), from past participle of mercari "to trade, deal in, buy," from merx (genitive mercis) "wares, merchandise." This is from an Italic root *merk-, possibly from Etruscan, referring to various aspects of economics.
The god Mercurius was probably the god of exchange. According to [Walde-Hoffmann], the god's name was borrowed from Etruscan; in principle, the same is possible for the stem *merk- altogether. [de Vaan]
Meaning "public building or space where markets are held" is attested from late 13c. Meaning "a city, country or region considered as a place where things are bought or sold" is from 1610s. Sense of "sale as controlled by supply and demand" is from 1680s. Market-garden "plot of land on which vegetables are grown for market" is by 1789. Market-basket "large basket used to carry marketing" is by 1798. Market price "price a commodity will bring when sold in open market" is from mid-15c.; market value "value established or shown by sales" (1690s) is first attested in the writings of John Locke. Market economy is from 1948; market research is from 1921.
Old English hyrdel "frame of intertwined twigs used as a temporary barrier," diminutive of hyrd "door," from Proto-Germanic *hurdiz "wickerwork frame, hurdle" (source also of Old Saxon hurth "plaiting, netting," Dutch horde "wickerwork," German Hürde "hurdle, fold, pen;" Old Norse hurð, Gothic haurds "door"), from PIE *krtis (source also of Latin cratis "hurdle, wickerwork," Greek kartalos "a kind of basket," kyrtos "fishing creel"), from root *kert- "to weave, twist together" (source also of Sanskrit krt "to spin").
Used as temporary fencing in agriculture. Sense of "barrier to jump in a race" is by 1822 (hurdle-race also is from 1822); hurdles as a type of race (originally horse race) with hurdles as obstacles is attested by 1836. Figurative sense of "obstacle" is 1924.
device to make an air current, Old English fann (West Saxon) "a basket or shovel for winnowing grain" (by tossing it in the air), from Latin vannus, perhaps related to ventus "wind" (see wind (n.1)), or from PIE root *wet- (1) "to blow" (also "to inspire, spiritually arouse;" see wood (adj.)). Old English did not have a letter -v-, hence the change in the initial consonant.
The chaff, being lighter, would blow off. Sense of "device for moving air" first recorded late 14c.; the hand-held version is first attested 1550s. A fan-light (1819) was shaped like a lady's fan. The automobile's fan-belt is from 1909. Fan-dance is from 1872 in a Japanese context; by 1937 as a type of burlesque performance.
c. 1200, "two-wheeled vehicle," usually for one horse and often without springs, from Old Norse kartr or a similar Scandinavian source, akin to and replacing Old English cræt "cart, wagon, chariot," perhaps originally "body of a cart made of wickerwork, hamper" and related to Middle Dutch cratte "woven mat, hamper," Dutch krat "basket," Old English cradol (see cradle (n.)).
Many old allusions are from the cart being used to convey offenders to the gallows (and sometimes serving as a drop for hangings) or for public exposure, especially of lewd women, either in the cart or tied to its tail. Compare tumbrel. To put the cart before the horse in a figurative sense "reverse the natural or proper order of things" is from 1510s in those words; the image in other words dates to mid-14c.: put the plow (sull) before the oxen.
1748 (in Chesterfield's "Letters"), but the thing itself apparently was rare before c. 1800 as an English institution [OED]; it originally meant "a fashionable social affair (not necessarily out of doors) in which every partaker contributed something to the general table;" from French piquenique (1690s), perhaps a reduplication of piquer "to pick, peck," from Old French (see pike (n.1)), or the second element may be nique "worthless thing," from a Germanic source.
As in many other riming names, the elements are used without precision, but the lit. sense is appar. 'a picking or nibbling of bits,' a snatch, snack .... [Century Dictionary]
The word also turns up 18c. in German, Danish, Swedish. Later "pleasure party the members of which carry provisions with them on an excursion, as to some place in the country." Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1886. Picnic basket is by 1857. Picnic table is by 1858, originally a folding table used for outdoor dining.
late 14c., "a cot, a humble habitation," as of a farm-laborer, from Old French cote "hut, cottage" + Anglo-French suffix -age (according to OED the whole probably denotes "the entire property attached to a cote"). Old French cot is probably from Old Norse kot "hut," cognate of Old English cot, cote "cottage, hut," from Proto-Germanic *kutan (source also of Middle Dutch cot, Dutch kot).
Meaning "small country residence or detached suburban house" (without suggestion of poverty or tenancy) is from 1765. Modern French cottage is a 19c. reborrowing from English. Cottage industry, one that can be done at home, is attested from 1854. Cottage cheese, the U.S. name for a kind of soft, white cheese, is attested from 1831, earliest in reference to Philadelphia:
There was a plate of rye-bread, and a plate of wheat, and a basket of crackers; another plate with half a dozen paltry cakes that looked as if they had been bought under the old Court House; some morsels of dried beef on two little tea-cup plates: and a small glass dish of that preparation of curds, which in vulgar language is called smear-case, but whose nom de guerre is cottage-cheese, at least that was the appellation given it by our hostess. ["Miss Leslie," "Country Lodgings," Godey's Lady's Book, July 1831]
1815, "small pellets made of lime or soft plaster, used in Italy during carnival by the revelers for pelting one another in the streets," from Italian plural of confetto "sweetmeat," via Old French, from Latin confectum, confectus (see confection).
The little balls (which left white marks) were substitutes for the small sugar-plum candies that traditionally were thrown during Italian carnivals; the custom was adopted in England by early 19c. for weddings and other occasions, with symbolic tossing of little bits of paper (which are called confetti by 1846).
The chief amusement of the Carnival consists in throwing the confetti—a very ancient practice, and which, with a little research, may be traced up through the Italian Chronicles to the time of the Romans. The confetti were originally of sugar, and the nobility still pique themselves on adhering to so costly a material. The people have degraded them to small balls of lime, which allows more sport, and takes in a much greater number of combatants. [Dr. Abraham Eldon, "The Continental Traveller's Oracle; or, Maxims for Foreign Locomotion," London, 1828]
[The Roman ladies] are generally provided with a small basket of confetti, and as their acquaintance and admirers pass in review, they must be prepared to receive a volley of them. It is thought quite the supreme bon ton for a Roman beau, to mark how many distinguished beauties he is in favour with, by having both his coat and hat covered as white as a miller with the flour of these confetti. [John Bramsen, "Letters of a Prussian Traveller," 1818]
"the body formed in the females of all animals (with the exception of a few of the lowest type) in which by impregnation the development of the fetus takes place," mid-14c., egge, mostly in northern England dialect, from Old Norse egg, from Proto-Germanic *ajja(m) (source also of Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German, German ei, Gothic ada), probably from PIE *owyo-/*oyyo- "egg" (source also of Old Church Slavonic aja, Russian jajco, Breton ui, Welsh wy, Greek ōon, Latin ovum); possibly derived from root *awi- "bird."
This Norse-derived northern word vied in Middle English with native cognates eye, eai, from Old English æg, until finally displacing the others after c. 1500. Caxton (15c.) writes of a merchant (probably a north-country man) in a public house on the Thames who asked for eggs:
And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, for he also coude speke no frenshe, but wolde have hadde egges, and she understode hym not.
She did, however, recognize another customer's request for "eyren." Used of persons from c. 1600. Bad egg in the figurative sense is from 1855; bad eggs aren't always obvious to outward view (there was an old proverb, "bad bird, bad egg"). To have egg on (one's) face "look foolish" is attested by 1948.
[Young & Rubincam] realize full well that a crew can sometimes make or break a show. It can do little things to ruin a program or else, by giving it its best, can really get that all-important rating. They are mindful of an emcee of a variety show who already has been tabbed "old egg in your face" because the crew has managed to get him in such awkward positions on the TV screen. [Billboard, March 5, 1949]
We don't have egg on our face. We have omelet all over our suits. [NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, some time past 3 a.m. ET on Nov. 8, 2000, after the U.S. television networks called a winner, then retracted the call, in the Bush-Gore presidential election]
Eggs Benedict is attested by 1898; various Benedicts are cited as the eponym, and the dish itself is said to have originated in the Waldorf-Astoria or Delmonico's, both in New York. The figure of speech represented in to have (or put) all (one's) eggs in one basket "to venture all one has in one speculation or investment" is attested by 1660s. The conundrum of the chicken (or hen) and the egg is attested from 1875.
Bumble, bramble, which came first, sir,
Eggs or chickens? Who can tell?
I'll never believe that the first egg burst, sir,
Before its mother was out of her shell.
[Mary Mapes Dodge, "Rhymes and Jingles," N.Y., 1875]