Etymology
Advertisement
polecat (n.)

"small, dark-brown, northern European predatory quadruped of the weasel family," noted as a chicken-thief and for its strong, offensive smell, early 14c., pol-cat, from cat (n.); the first element is perhaps Anglo-French pol, from Old French poule "fowl, hen" (see pullet (n.)); so called because it preys on poultry [Skeat]. The other alternative is that the first element is from Old French pulent "stinking." Originally the European Putorius foetidus; the name was extended to related North American skunks by 1680s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
*kan- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sing."

It forms all or part of: accent; cant (n.1); cantabile; cantata; cantatrice; canticle; canto; cantor; canzone; Carmen; chanson; chant; chanter; chanteuse; chanty; chanticleer; charm; concent; descant; enchant; enchantment; hen; incantation; incentive; oscine; precentor; recant.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek eikanos "cock," literally "bird who sings (for sunrise);" Latin cantare, canere "to sing;" Old Irish caniaid "sings," Welsh canu "sing;" Old English hana "cock."

Related entries & more 
*sen- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "old."

It forms all or part of: monseigneur; seignior; senate; senescent; seneschal; senicide; senile; senility; senior; seniority; senor; senora; senorita; shanachie; Shannon; signor; sir; sire; surly.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sanah "old;" Avestan hana- "old," Old Persian hanata- "old age, lapse of time;" Armenian hin "old;" Greek enos "old, of last year;" Latin senilis "of old age," senex "old, old man;" Lithuanian senas "old," senis "an old man;" Gothic sineigs "old" (used only of persons), sinistra "elder, senior;" Old Norse sina "dry standing grass from the previous year;" Old Irish sen, Old Welsh hen "old."

Related entries & more 
cuckold (n.)

derisive name for a man whose wife is false to him, "husband of an adulteress," early 13c., kukewald, cokewold, from Old French cucuault, from cocu (see cuckoo) + pejorative suffix -ault, of Germanic origin. So called from the female bird's alleged habit of changing mates, or her authentic habit of leaving eggs in another bird's nest.

In Modern French the identity is more obvious: Coucou for the bird and cocu for the betrayed husband. German Hahnrei (13c.), from Low German, is of obscure origin. The second element seems to be connected to words for "ardent," and suggests perhaps "sexually aggressive hen," with transferal to humans, but Kluge suggests rather a connection to words for "capon" and "castrated." The female equivalent, cuckquean, is attested by 1560s.

Related entries & more 
picnic (n.)

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.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
oryx (n.)

late 14c., orix, also in Middle English origen, from Latin oryx, from Greek oryx (genitive orygos), an old name of some sort of Libyan and Egyptian antelope with pointed horns, perhaps originally the gazelle; "the digging animal," literally "pick-axe," but according to Beekes this is probably a folk-etymologizing of a borrowed word Used in Greek and Latin bibles to render Hebrew tho, which early English Bibles misidentified as everything from a small hibernating animal or dormouse to a kind of bird like a guinea hen to a wild bull. Now applied to a specific genus of large antelopes of North Africa and Arabia.

Thou shalt eate no abhominacion. These are the beestes which ye shal eate: Oxen, shepe, Goates, Hert, Roo, Bugle, wylde goate, Unicorne, Origen, and Camelion. [Coverdale translation of the Bible, Deuteronomy xiv.5, 1535]
Related entries & more 
Archibald 

masc. proper name, from Old High German Erchanbald, literally "genuine-bold," from erchan "genuine" + bald (see bold). Archie, British World War I military slang for "German anti-aircraft fire" or the guns that produce it (1915) is said in contemporary sources to be from the airmen dodging hostile fire and thinking of the refrain of a then-popular music hall song.

It's no use me denying facts, I'm henpecked, you can see!
'Twas on our wedding day my wife commenced to peck at me
The wedding breakfast over, I said, "We'll start off today
Upon our honeymoon."
Then she yelled, "What! waste time that way?"
[chorus] "Archibald, certainly not!
Get back to work at once, sir, like a shot.
When single you could waste time spooning
But lose work now for honeymooning!
Archibald, certainly not!"
[John L. St. John & Alfred Glover, "Archibald, Certainly Not"]
Related entries & more 
moor (n.)

"tract of open, untilled, more or less elevated ground, often overrun with heath," c. 1200, from Old English mor "morass, swamp," from Proto-Germanic *mora- (source also of Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch meer "swamp," Old High German muor "swamp," also "sea," German Moor "moor," Old Norse mörr "moorland," marr "sea"), perhaps related to mere (n.1), or from root *mer- "to die," hence "dead land."

The basic sense in place names is 'marsh', a kind of low-lying wetland possibly regarded as less fertile than mersc 'marsh.' The development of the senses 'dry heathland, barren upland' is not fully accounted for but may be due to the idea of infertility. [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]

Hence moor-fowl "grouse" (c. 1500); moor-hen (mid-14c.); moor-cock (c. 1200 as a surname).

Related entries & more 

Page 6