Etymology
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Phoenician (n.)

late 14c., phenicienes (plural), "native or inhabitant of the ancient country of Phoenicia" on the coast of Syria, from Old French phenicien or formed from Latin Phoenice, Phoenices, on the model of Persian, etc. The Latin word is from Greek Phoinike "Phoenicia" (including its colony Carthage), which is perhaps of Pre-Greek origin [Beekes].

Compare phoenix, which seems to be unrelated. Greek phoinix also meant "(the color) purple," perhaps "the Phoenician color," because the Greeks obtained purple dyes from the Phoenicians, but scholars disagree about this (Greek also had phoinos "red, blood red," which is of uncertain etymology). Greek phoinix was also "palm-tree," especially "the date," fruit and tree, probably literally "the Phoenician (tree)," because the palm originated in the East and the Greeks traded with the Phoenicians for dates. It also was the name of a stringed instrument, probably also a reference to a Phoenician origin.

In reference to the Semitic language spoken by the people, from 1836; as an adjective, from c. 1600.

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sports (n.)

atheltic games and contests, 1590s, from sport (n.). Meaning "sports section of a newspaper" is 1913. As an adjective from 1897. Sports fan attested from 1921. Sports car attested by 1914; so called for its speed and power:

I have just returned from the south of France, passing through Lyons, where I visited the [Berliet] works with my car, and was shown the new model 25 h.p. "sports" car, and was so impressed with this that I immediately ordered one on my return to London. [letter in The Autocar, Jan. 7, 1914]
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tennis (n.)

mid-14c., most likely from Anglo-French tenetz "hold! receive! take!," from Old French tenez, imperative of tenir "to hold, receive, take" (see tenet), which was used as a call from the server to his opponent. The original version of the game (a favorite sport of medieval French knights) was played by striking the ball with the palm of the hand, and in Old French was called la paulme, literally "the palm," but to an onlooker the service cry would naturally seem to identify the game. Century Dictionary says all of this is "purely imaginary."

The use of the word for the modern game is from 1874, short for lawn tennis, which originally was called sphairistike (1873), from Greek sphairistike (tekhnē) "(skill) in playing at ball," from the root of sphere. It was invented, and named, by Maj. Walter C. Wingfield and first played at a garden party in Wales, inspired by the popularity of badminton.

The name 'sphairistike,' however, was impossible (if only because people would pronounce it as a word of three syllables to rhyme with 'pike') and it was soon rechristened. [Times of London, June 10, 1927]

Tennis ball attested from mid-15c.; tennis court from 1560s; tennis elbow from 1883; tennis shoes from 1887.

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*pele- (2)

*pelə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "flat; to spread."

It forms all or part of: airplane; dysplasia; ectoplasm; effleurage; esplanade; explain; explanation; feldspar; field; flaneur; floor; llano; palm (n.1) "flat of the hand;" palm (n.2) "tropical tree;" palmy; piano; pianoforte; plain; plan; planar; Planaria; plane (n.1) "flat surface;" plane (n.3) "tool for smoothing surfaces;" plane (v.2) "soar, glide on motionless wings;" planet; plani-; planisphere; plano-; -plasia; plasma; plasmid; plasm; -plasm; -plast; plaster; plastic; plastid; -plasty; Polack; Poland; Pole; polka; protoplasm; veldt.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek plassein "to mold," plasma "something molded or created;" Latin planus "flat, level, even, plain, clear;" Lithuanian plonas "thin;" Celtic *lanon "plain;" Old Church Slavonic polje "flat land, field," Russian polyi "open;" Old English feld, Middle Dutch veld "field."

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ventilate (v.)

early 15c., "to scatter, disperse (as the wind does)," from Latin ventilatus, past participle of ventilare "to brandish, toss in the air, winnow, fan, agitate, set in motion," from ventulus "a breeze," diminutive of ventus "wind" (from PIE *wē-nt-o‑ "blowing," suffixed (participial) form of root *we- "to blow").

Original notion is of cleaning grain by tossing it in the air and letting the wind blow away the chaff. Meaning "supply a room with fresh air" first recorded 1743, a verbal derivative of ventilation. Formerly with diverse slang senses, including "shoot" (someone), recorded from 1875, on the notion of "make holes in." Related: Ventilated; ventilating.

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naff (v.)

British slang word with varied senses, not all of them certainly connected; see Partridge, who lists two noun uses: "female pudenda" (c. 1845), which might be back-slang from fan, shortening of fanny (in the British sense); and "nothing," in prostitutes' slang from c. 1940; a verbal use, a euphemism for fuck (v.) in oaths, imprecations, expletives (as in naff off), 1959, "making it slightly less obvious than eff" [Partridge]; and an adjective naff "vulgar, common, despicable," which is said to have been used in 1960s British gay slang for "unlovely" and thence adopted into the jargons of the theater and the armed forces.

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ray (n.2)

"a skate, type of fish related to sharks and noted for its broad, flat body," early 14c., raie, from Old French raie (13c.) and directly from Latin raia. De Vaan describes this as a word of unknown origin but with apparent cognates in Germanic (Middle Dutch rogghe, Old English reohhe), perhaps a loan-word from a substrate language. The old etymology (Century Dictionary, etc.) was that the fish was so called from its resemblance to the rays of a fan and from the source of ray (n.1).

All skates are rays, but all rays are not called skates, this name being applied chiefly to certain small rays of the restricted genus Raia, of both Europe and America. [Century Dictionary]
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wharf (n.)

late Old English hwearf "shore, bank where ships can tie up," earlier "dam, embankment," from Proto-Germanic *hwarfaz (source also of Middle Low German werf "mole, dam, wharf," German Werft "shipyard, dockyard"); related to Old English hwearfian "to turn," perhaps in a sense implying "busy activity," from PIE root *kwerp- "to turn, revolve" (source also of Old Norse hverfa "to turn round," German werben "to enlist, solicit, court, woo," Gothic hvairban "to wander," Greek karpos "wrist," Sanskrit surpam "winnowing fan"). Wharf rat is from 1812 as "type of rat common on ships and docks;" extended sense "person who hangs around docks" is recorded from 1836.

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luff (n.)

also loof, in sailing, c. 1200, "contrivance for altering a ship's course," also "part of a ship's bow where the sides begin to curve," from Old French lof "spar," or some other nautical device, "point of sail," also "windward side," of uncertain origin and sense development, probably ultimately from Germanic (compare Middle Dutch lof "windward side of a ship" (Dutch loef), which might also be the direct source of the English word).

This is from Proto-Germanic *lofo (source also of Old Norse lofi, Gothic lofa "palm of the hand," Danish lab, Swedish labb "paw"), from PIE *lep- (2) "to be flat" (see glove (n.)). As a verb, "bring the head of a sailing-ship nearer the wind," from late 14c., from the noun.

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bushel (n.)

early 14c., busshel, measure of capacity containing four pecks or eight gallons, from Old French boissel "bushel" (13c., Modern French boisseau), probably from boisse, a grain measure based on Gallo-Roman *bostia "handful," from Gaulish *bosta "palm of the hand" (compare Irish bass, Breton boz "the hollow of the hand").

The exact measure varied from place to place and according to commodity, and though in 19c. in Britain it acquired a precise legal definition, it varied in U.S. from state to state. It has been used since late 14c. loosely to mean "a large quantity or number." Attested from late 14c. as "a bushel basket." To hide (one's) light under a bushel is from Matthew v.15.

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