1540s, of persons, "having or indicating great strength, muscular, vigorous," from French robuste (14c.) and directly from Latin robustus "strong and hardy," literally "as strong as oak," originally "oaken," from robur, robus "hard timber, strength," also "a special kind of oak," named for its reddish heartwood, from Latin ruber "red" (related to robigo "rust"), from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy." Related: Robustly; robustness; robusticity.
Robustious (1540s) was an elaborated form common in 17c. (see "Hamlet" iii.2), with more of a sense of "rough, violent, rude;" according to OED it fell from use by mid-18c., but was somewhat revived by mid-19c. antiquarian writers. Related: Robustiously; robustiousness.
masc. proper name, from an Old North French form of Old High German Hrodberht "bright-fame, bright with glory," from hrod- "fame, glory" (from Proto-Germanic *hrothi-), + *berht "bright" (from PIE root *bhereg- "to shine; bright, white"). Never a king's name, though it was the name of William the Conqueror's rebellious oldest son. "It was introduced by Normans during the reign of Edward the Confessor and became very popular" ["Dictionary of English Surnames"].
In Middle English, from mid-13c., also "a designation for a robber, vagabond, or lowly person" ["Middle English Compendium"]; hence Robertes men "robbers, marauders;" Robert-renne-aboute "a wastrel, a good-for-nothing."
common small European songbird, 1540s, a shortening of Robin Redbreast (mid-15c.), from masc. personal name Robin, also (in reference to the bird) in the diminutive form robinet. Redbreast alone for the bird is from early 15c., and the Robin might have been added for the alliteration. It ousted the native ruddock. In North America, the name was applied to the red-breasted thrush by 1703.
Robin's egg as a shade of somewhat greenish blue is attested from 1881; it refers to the North American species; the English robin's eggs are pinkish-white and freckled with purplish-red.
masc. proper name, from Old French Robin, diminutive of Robert (q.v.). Robin Goodfellow, "sportive elf or domestic fairy of the English countryside," said to be the offspring of King Oberon of Fairyland and a mortal, is attested by 1530s (Tyndale), popular 16-17c.; Robin Hood is from at least late 14c.
1872, "miserly person," formerly "poor white migrant to California" (1860), earlier Pike (1854), perhaps originally "vagrant who wanders the pike (n.4)" (which is the notion in Sussex dialectal piker "vagrant, tramp, gypsy," 1838), but Barnhart, OED and others suggest the American English word ultimately is a reference to people from Pike County, Missouri. Its appearance seems too late to connect it with Middle English piker "robber, petty thief" (c. 1300, attested as late as 1549 in OED), from the source of pick (v.) in its sense of "steal, rob, plunder" (early 14c.) with its former long vowel.
"pursue stealthily," Old English -stealcian, as in bestealcian "to steal along, walk warily," from Proto-Germanic *stalkon, frequentative of PIE *stel-, possibly a variant of *ster- (3) "to rob, steal" (see steal (v.)). Compare hark/hear, talk/tell). In another view the Old English word might be by influenced of stalk (n.). Meaning "harass obsessively" first recorded 1991. Related: Stalked; stalking.
A stalking-horse in literal use was a horse draped in trappings and trained to allow a fowler to conceal himself behind it to get within range of the game; figurative sense of "person who participates in a proceeding to disguise its real purpose" is recorded from 1610s.
"seize forcibly or roughly," 1580s, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grabben "to grab," from Proto-Germanic *grab-, *grap- (source also of Old English græppian "to seize," Old Saxon garva, Old High German garba "sheaf," literally "that which is gathered up together"), from PIE *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach" (source also of Sanskrit grbhnati "seizes," Old Persian grab- "seize" as possession or prisoner, Old Church Slavonic grabiti "to seize, rob," Lithuanian grėbti "to rake"). Sense of "to get by unscrupulous methods" was reinforced by grab game, a kind of swindle, attested from 1846. Related: Grabbed; grabbing.
loose gown opening in front worn by women 17c.-18c. (also the name of a type of loose cloak worn by women c. 1850), 1670s, a corruption of French manteau "cloak, mantle," from Old French mantel (see mantle); form influenced in English by Mantua, name of the city in Italy. Mantua-maker (1690s) became by mid-18c. the general term for "dressmaker."
[The mantua-maker's] business is to make Night-Gowns, Mantuas, and Petticoats, Rob de Chambres, &c for the Ladies. She is Sister to the Taylor, and like him, must be a perfect Connoisieur in Dress and Fashions; and like the Stay-Maker, she must keep the Secrets she is entrusted with, as much as a woman can .... She must learn to flatter all Complexions, praise all Shapes, and, in a word, ought to be compleat Mistress of the Art of Dissimulation. It requires a vast Stock of Patience to bear the Tempers of most of their Customers, and no small Share of Ingenuity to execute their innumerable Whims. [R. Campbell, "The London Tradesman," 1747]
mid-15c., "pretend poverty," probably from Old French muchier, mucier "to hide, sulk, conceal, hide away, keep out of sight," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic or Germanic (Liberman prefers the latter, Klein the former). Also compare Middle English michen "to pilfer (small things)," mid-15c., perhaps from an Old English *mycan (compare Old High German muhhan "rob, ambush, waylay"). Or the word may be a variant of Middle English mucchen "to hoard, be stingy" (c. 1300), probably originally "to keep coins in one's nightcap," from mucche "nightcap," from Middle Dutch muste "cap, nightcap," ultimately from Medieval Latin almucia, also a word of unknown origin. Sense of "sponge off others" is recorded by 1857.
Whatever the distant origin of mooch, the [Germanic] verb *mycan and its cognates have been part of European slang for at least two millennia. [Liberman]
It appears to be a remarkably long-lived bit of slang. Related: Mooched; mooching. As a noun meaning "a moocher," from 1914; as "action of mooching," by 1867.