sclerosis of the spinal cord, causing atrophy of the muscles, 1874, in translations from French. Amyotropic is compounded from Greek elements: a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + combining form of mys "muscle" (see muscle (n.)) + trophikos "feeding," from trophe "nourishment" (see -trophy). Also ALS, and often known in U.S. as Lou Gehrig's disease, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with it in 1939 and died of it in 1941.
"weakly sentimental, affectedly nice, insipidly pretty," 1745, from the satiric nickname of English poet Ambrose Philips (1674-1749), "a good Whig and a middling poet" [Macaulay] mocking his sentimental pastorals addressed to infant members of the nobility. Used first in 1726 in a farce credited to Carey (Pope also used it). Related: Namby-pambical.
"Low Sunday," 1706, Quasimodo Sunday, from Latin quasi modo, first words of introit for the first Sunday after Easter: quasi modo geniti infantes "as newborn babes" (1 Peter ii.2). The hunchback in Hugo's novel was abandoned as an infant at Notre Dame on this day, hence his name. For first element, see quasi; for second, see mode (n.1).
Roman goddess of fertility, Latin Maia, literally "she who brings increase," from PIE *mag-ya- "she who is great" (suffixed form of root *meg- "great"). Maia, one of the Pleiades, is from Greek Maia, daughter of Atlas, mother of Hermes, literally "mother, good mother, dame; foster-mother, nurse, midwife," said by Watkins to be from infant babbling (see mamma). The maiasaura dinosaur is so called from 1979, in reference to the fossil preservation of its nesting colonies.
"A handsome and harmless serpent" [Century Dictionary], one of the larger snakes of the U.S., common in many states, by 1812, from milk (n.) + snake (n.). Also called chicken-snake (attested by 1793), house-snake, and thunder-and-lightning snake.
It [the milk-snake] sometimes in this county has been known to enter a grist-mill and remain a length of time for the apparent purpose of feeding on the mice which were there attainable. It is probable this is one principal object of his frequenting dwelling houses, and not always for the purpose of obtaining milk, as is generally supposed. [The American Journal of Science and Arts, April 1844]
1550s, "one given to change," from change (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling. Meaning "person or thing left in place of one secretly taken" is from 1560s; specific reference to an infant or young child (usually stupid, strange, or ugly) superstitiously believed to have been left by the faeries in place of a beautiful or charming one they have stolen away is from 1580s. An earlier word for it was oaf or auf.
1530s, "to suckle (an infant), nourish at the breast;" 1520s in the passive sense, "to bring up" (a child); alteration of Middle English nurshen, norishen "to supply with food and drink, feed; bring up, nurture" (c. 1300; see nourish), in part by influence of nurse (n.1). From 1540s as "promote growth or vigor in, encourage." Sense of "tend to in sickness or infirmity" is recorded by 1736. Related: Nursed; nursing.