before vowels xanth-, word-forming element meaning "yellow," from Greek xanthos "yellow" of various shades; used especially of hair and horses, of unknown origin. Used in scientific words; such as xanthein (1857) "soluble yellow coloring matter in flowers," xanthophyll (1838) "yellow coloring matter in autumn leaves." Also Huxley's Xanthochroi (1867) "blond, light-skinned races of Europe" (with ōkhros "pale").
1560s, "act of staining," from stain (v.). Meaning "a stain mark, discoloration produced by foreign matter" is from 1580s. Meaning "dye used in staining" is from 1758.
"those who are sick, persons suffering from illness," Old English seoce, from the source of sick (adj.). Colloquial sense of "vomited matter" is by 1959.
"matter used in vaccination," 1846, from French vaccin, noun use of adjective, from Latin vaccina, fem. of vaccinus "pertaining to a cow" (see vaccination). Related: Vaccinal; vaccinic.
mid-14c., "what in the world," emphatic of what, with ever. From late 14c. as "anything at all; all of; no matter what or who." From late 14c. as an adjective, "any sort of, any, every; no matter what, regardless of what." From 1870 as "whatever may be the cause, at any event," which could be the source of the modern teen slang dismissive use, which Partridge dates to 1989.
"corruption, rottenness, putrid matter," 1630s, from Medieval Latin putriditas, from Latin putridus (see putrid). In this sense Middle English had putrede (c. 1400).