late 13c., "make deliberate physical contact with," from Old French tochier "to touch, hit, knock; mention, deal with" (11c., Modern French toucher), from Vulgar Latin *toccare "to knock, strike" as a bell (source also of Spanish tocar, Italian toccare), perhaps of imitative origin. Related: Touched; touching.
From c. 1300 in the transitive sense "bring into physical contact," also "pertain to." Other senses attested from 14c. are "perceive by physical contact, examine by sense of touch," also "be or come into physical contact with; come to rest on; border on, be contiguous with;" also "use the sense of touch," and "mention, describe." From early 14c. as "affect or move mentally or emotionally," with notion of to "touch" the heart or mind. Also from early 14c. as "have sexual contact with." Meaning "to get or borrow money" first recorded 1760.
Touch-and-go (adj.) is recorded from 1812, apparently from the name of a tag-like game, first recorded 1650s (however, despite the coincidence, this in no way suggests an acronym origin for tag). Touch football is first attested 1933. Touch-me-not (1590s) translates Latin noli-me-tangere.
"interbreeding of races," applied originally and especially to sexual union between black and white individuals, 1863, coined irregularly by U.S. journalist David Goodman Croly from Latin miscere "to mix" (from PIE root *meik- "to mix") + genus "race," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. It first appeared in "Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro," a pretended anti-Abolitionist pamphlet Croly and others published anonymously in advance of the 1864 U.S. presidential election. The old word was amalgamation.
The design of "Miscegenation" was exceedingly ambitious, and the machinery employed was probably among the most ingenious and audacious ever put into operation to procure the indorsement of absurd theories and give the subject the widest notoriety. The object was to so make use of the prevailing ideas of the extremists of the Anti-Slavery party, as to induce them to accept doctrines which would be obnoxious to the great mass of the community, and which would, of course, be used in the political canvass which was to ensue. [P.T. Barnum, "The Humbugs of the World," 1866; he also writes that, despite the pamphlet being an ingenious and impudent literary hoax, the word "has passed into the language and no future dictionary will be complete without it."]
"the quince tree or its fruit," mid-14c., plural (construed as singular) of quoyn, coin (early 14c.), from Old French cooin (Modern French coing), from Vulgar Latin *codoneum, from Latin cotoneum mālum "quince fruit," probably a variant of cydonium malum (or a separate borrowing from the same source) from Greek kydōnion malon, which is traditionally "apple of Kydōnia" (modern Khania), a famous ancient seaport city on the north coast of Crete.
But Beekes says it is from "an older Anatolian word" and that connection with Kydōnia is Greek folk etymology. He also notes there was a Kytōnion on the Lydian border.
The plant is native to Persia, Anatolia, and Greece; the Greeks supposedly imported grafts for their native plants from a superior strain in Crete, hence the name. Kodu- also was the Lydian name for the fruit. Italian cotogno, German Quitte, etc. all are ultimately from the Greek word.
The quince has suffered a sad fall from favour in Britain. In medieval and Renaissance times it was in high popularity .... Perhaps it is the fruit's frequent intractable hardness, needing long cooking to overcome, which has led impatient British cooks to forsake it, despite its unrivalled perfume. [John Ayto, "Diner's Dictionary"]
"perform, execute, achieve, carry out, bring to pass by procedure of any kind," etc., etc., Middle English do, first person singular of Old English don "make, act, perform, cause; to put, to place," from West Germanic *doanan (source also of Old Saxon duan, Old Frisian dwa, Dutch doen, Old High German tuon, German tun), from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put, place."
Use as an auxiliary began in Middle English. Sense of "to put, place, lay" is obsolete except in phrases such as do away with. Periphrastic form in negative sentences (They did not think) replaced the Old English negative particles (Hie ne wendon).
Meaning "visit as a tourist" is from 1817. In old slang it meant "to hoax, cheat, swindle" (1640s). Slang meaning "to do the sex act with or to" is from 1913.
Slang do in "bring disaster upon, kill" is by 1905. To have to do with "have concern or connection with" is from late 13c. To do without "dispense with" is from 1713. Expression do or die indicating determination to succeed despite dangers or obstacles is attested from 1620s.
late 14c., "higher in position," from Old French superior "higher, upper" (Modern French superieur), from Latin superiorem (nominative superior) "higher," comparative of superus "situated above, upper," from super "above, over" (from PIE root *uper "over").
Meaning "higher in rank or dignity" is attested from late 15c.; sense of "of a higher nature or character" is attested from 1530s. Original sense was preserved more strongly in French (as in les étages supérieur "the upper stories"), and in Lake Superior, a loan-translation of French Lac Supérieur, literally "upper lake" (at 600 feet above sea-level it has the highest surface elevation of the five Great Lakes and is the furthest north).
Surprise a person of the class that is supposed to keep servants cleaning his own boots, & either he will go on with the job while he talks to you, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, or else he will explain that the bootboy or scullery-maid is ill & give you to understand that he is, despite appearances, superior to boot-cleaning. If he takes the second course, you conclude that he is not superior to it; if the first, that perhaps he is. [Fowler]
twentieth letter of the English alphabet; in the Phoenician alphabet the corresponding sign was the 22nd and last; everything after T in the modern alphabet represents European alterations or additions. The sound has been consistent throughout its history.
In Late Latin and Old French, -t- before -e- and -i- acquired the "s" value of -c- and words appeared in both spellings (nationem/nacionem) and often passed into Middle English with a -c- (nacioun). In most of these the spelling was restored to a -t- by or in the period of early Modern English, but sorting them out took time (Edmund Coote's "English Schoole-maister" (1596) noted malicious/malitious) and a few (space, place, coercion, suspicion) resisted the restoration.
To cross one's t's(and dot one's i's) "to be exact" is attested from 1849. Phrase to a T "exactly, with utmost exactness" is recorded from 1690s, though the exact signification remains uncertain despite much speculation. The measuring tool called a T-square (sometimes suggested as the source of this) is recorded by that name only from 1785. The T-cell (1970) so called because they are derived from the thymus. As a medieval numeral, T represented 160. A T was formerly branded on the hand of a convicted thief.
1868, earlier alla capella (1824), from Italian, "in the style of Church music, in the manner of the chapel," literally "according to the chapel," from cappella "chapel" (see chapel). Originally in reference to older church music (pre-1600) which was written for unaccompanied voices; applied 20c. to unaccompanied vocal music generally. Italian a is from Latin ad "to, toward; for; according to" (see ad-); alla is a la "to the." Sometimes in the Latin form a capella.
Also denoting "that instruments are to play in unison with the voices, or that one part is to be played by a number instruments." ["Chambers's' Encyclopaedia," 1868]
You are not the first person puzzled by the expression "A Capella," or, at any rate, unable to understand it should signify the exact reverse of what it literally does signify. The chorales in oratorios were invariably accompanied, either by double-bass or the whole band. Hence they were, with perfect correctness, said to be performed "a capella." But, as other chorales, sung as part of the church service, were written in the same and simple style the expression "a capella" came in time to be applied to them also, despite their being sung without any instrumental accompaniment whatever. [The Music World, Sept. 11, 1875]
Old English habban "to own, possess; be subject to, experience," from Proto-Germanic *habejanan (source also of Old Norse hafa, Old Saxon hebbjan, Old Frisian habba, German haben, Gothic haban "to have"), from PIE root *kap- "to grasp." Not related to Latin habere, despite similarity in form and sense; the Latin cognate is capere "seize.
Sense of "possess, have at one's disposal" (I have a book) is a shift from older languages, where the thing possessed was made the subject and the possessor took the dative case (as in Latin est mihi liber "I have a book," literally "there is to me a book"). Used as an auxiliary in Old English, too (especially to form present perfect tense); the word has taken on more functions over time; Modern English he had better would have been Old English him (dative) wære betere.
To have to for "must" (1570s) is from sense of "possess as a duty or thing to be done" (Old English). Phrase have a nice day as a salutation after a commercial transaction attested by 1970, American English. Phrase have (noun), will (verb) is from 1954, originally from comedian Bob Hope, in the form Have tux, will travel; Hope described this as typical of vaudevillians' ads in Variety, indicating a willingness and readiness to perform anywhere.
"to defecate," 1846, from a cluster of older nouns, now dialectal or obsolete, applied to things cast off or discarded (such as "weeds growing among corn" (early 15c.), "residue from renderings" (late 15c.), underworld slang for "money" (18c.), and in Shropshire, "dregs of beer or ale"), all probably from Middle English crappe "grain that was trodden underfoot in a barn, chaff" (mid-15c.), from French crape "siftings," from Old French crappe, from Medieval Latin crappa, crapinum "chaff." Related: Crapped; crapping.
For connection of the idea of defecation with that of shedding or casting off from the body, compare shit (v.). Despite the etymological legend, the word is not from the name of Thomas Crapper (1837-1910) who was, however, a busy plumber and may have had some minor role in the development of modern toilets. The name Crapper is a northern form of Cropper (attested from 1221), an occupational surname, obviously, but the exact reference is unclear. Crap (v.) as a variant of crop (v.) was noted early 19c, as a peculiarity of speech in Scotland and what was then the U.S. Southwest (Arkansas, etc.).
Draw out yere sword, thou vile South'ron!
Red wat wi' blude o' my kin!
That sword it crapped the bonniest flower
E'er lifted its head to the sun!
[Allan Cunningham (1784-1842), "The Young Maxwell"]
c. 1300, philosophie, "knowledge, learning, scholarship, scholarly works, body of knowledge," from Old French filosofie "philosophy, knowledge" (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia, from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned;" a word of unknown origin [Beekes]. With many spelling variants in Middle English (filozofie, phelosophie, etc.).
From mid-14c. as "the discipline of dealing in rational speculation or contemplation;" from late 14c. as "natural science," also "alchemy, occult knowledge;" in the Middle Ages the word was understood to embrace all speculative sciences. Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771. The modern sense of "the body of highest truth, the science of the most fundamental matters" is from 1794.
Nec quicquam aliud est philosophia, si interpretari velis, praeter studium sapientiae; sapientia autem est rerum divinarum et humanarum causarumque quibus eae res continentur scientia. [Cicero, "De Officiis"]
[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]