"one-twelfth part of a year; one of the twelve parts into which the calendar year is arbitrarily divided," Old English monað, from Proto-Germanic *menoth- (source also of Old Saxon manoth, Old Frisian monath, Middle Dutch manet, Dutch maand, Old High German manod, German Monat, Old Norse manaðr, Gothic menoþs "month"), which is related to *menon- "moon" (see moon (n.)). Originally the month was the interval between one new moon and the next (a sense attested from late Old English).
Its cognates mean only "month" in the Romance languages, but in Germanic they generally continue to do double duty. The development of the calendrical meaning for words from this root in Greek (mēn) and Latin (mensis) was accompanied by the creation of new words for "moon" (selēnē, luna). The phrase a month of Sundays "a very long time" is from 1832 (roughly 7 and a half months but never used literally).
c. 1300, "space, area, extent, circumference," from Old French compas "circle, radius; size, extent; pair of compasses" (12c.), from compasser "to go around, measure (with a compass); divide equally," from Vulgar Latin *compassare "to pace out," from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + passus "a step" (from PIE root *pete- "to spread").
The mathematical instrument for describing circles was so called in English from mid-14c. The mariners' directional tool (so called since early 15c.) took the name, perhaps, because it's round and has a point like the mathematical instrument.
Meaning "limits, boundary" is from 1550s. Sense of "range of notes which a given voice or instrument can produce" is from 1590s.
The word is in most European languages, with a mathematical sense in Romance, a nautical sense in Germanic, and both in English. In Middle English it also could mean "ingenuity, subtlety, cunning." Also an adverb in Middle English: to go compass was "go in a circle, go around."
Old English sape "soap, salve" (originally a reddish hair dye used by Germanic warriors to give a frightening appearance), from Proto-Germanic *saipon "dripping thing, resin" (source also of Middle Low German sepe, West Frisian sjippe, Dutch zeep, Old High German seiffa, German seife "soap," Old High German seifar "foam," Old English sipian "to drip"), from PIE *soi-bon-, from root *seib- "to pour out, drip, trickle" (perhaps also the source also of Latin sebum "tallow, suet, grease").
Romans and Greeks used oil to clean skin; the Romance words for "soap" (Italian sapone, French savon, Spanish jabon) are from Late Latin sapo "pomade for coloring the hair" (first mentioned in Pliny), which is a Germanic loan-word, as is Finnish saippua. The meaning "flattery" is recorded from 1853.
Soap opera is recorded from 1939, as a disparaging reference to daytime radio dramas sponsored by soap manufacturers.
c. 1300, "what one has to do, ordinary business," from Anglo-French afere, Old French afaire "business, event; rank, estate" (12c., Modern French affaire), from the infinitive phrase à faire "to do," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + facere "to do, make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
According to OED a Northern word originally, brought into general use and given a French spelling by Caxton (15c.). General sense of "vague proceedings" (in romance, war, etc.) first attested 1702. Meaning "an affair of the heart; a passionate episode" is from French affaire de coeur (itself attested as a French phrase in English from 1809); to have an affair with someone in this sense is by 1726, earlier have an affair of love:
'Tis manifeſtly contrary to the Law of Nature, that one Woman ſhould cohabit or have an Affair of Love with more than one Man at the ſame time. ["Pufendorf's Law of Nature and Nations," transl. J. Spavan, London, 1716]
c. 1200, pilegrim, "a person traveling to a holy place (as a penance or to discharge some vow or religious obligation, or seeking some miracle or spiritual benefit)," also "a traveler" generally, "a wayfarer," from Old French pelerin, peregrin "pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger" (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, a dissimilation of Latin peregrinus "foreigner, stranger, foreign resident" (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino, German Pilger), from peregre (adv.) "from abroad," from per- "beyond" + agri, locative case of ager "country, land" (from PIE root *agro- "field").
The change of the first -r- to -l- in most Romance languages is by dissimilation; the -m appears to be a Germanic modification. Pilgrim Fathers "English Separatists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower and founded Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1620" is attested by 1799. They sometimes wrote of themselves as Pilgrims from c. 1630, in reference to Hebrews xi.13. Pilgrim in U.S. Western slang for "an original settler" is by 1841, later "a newcomer, 'tenderfoot,'" perhaps originally in reference to the Mormon migrations.
late Old English curs "a prayer that evil or harm befall one; consignment of a person to an evil fate," of uncertain origin. No similar word exists in Germanic, Romance, or Celtic. Middle English Compendium says probably from Latin cursus "course" (see course (n.)) in the Christian sense "set of daily liturgical prayers" extended to "set of imprecations" as in the sentence of the great curse, "the formula read in churches four times a year, setting forth the various offenses which entailed automatic excommunication of the offender; also, the excommunication so imposed." Connection with cross is unlikely. Another suggested source is Old French curuz "anger."
Meaning "the evil which has been invoked upon one, that which causes severe trouble" is from early 14c. Curses as a histrionic exclamation ("curses upon him/her/it") is by 1680s. The curse in 19c. was the sentence imposed upon Adam and Eve in Genesis iii.16-19. The slang sense "menstruation" is from 1930. Curse of Scotland, the 9 of diamonds in cards, is attested from 1791, but the signification is obscure.
late 14c., "seacoast;" see marine (adj.). Meaning "collective shipping of a country" is from 1660s. Meaning "soldier who serves on a ship" is from 1670s, a separate borrowing from French marine, from the French adjective. Phrase tell that to the marines (1805) originally was the first half of a retort expressing disbelief in some statement made or story told:
"Upon my soul, sir," answered the lieutenant, "when I thought she scorned my passion, I wept like a child."
"Belay there!" cried the captain; "you may tell that to the marines, but I'll be d----d if the sailors will believe it." ["John Moore," "The Post-Captain; or, the Wooden Walls Well Manned," 1805]
The book, a rollicking sea romance/adventure novel, was popular in its day and the remark is a recurring punch line in it (repeated at least four times). It was written by naval veteran John Davis (1774-1854) but published under the pseudonym "John Moore." Walsh records that, among sailors, marines are "a proverbially gullible lot, capable of swallowing any yarn, in size varying from a yawl-boat to a full-rigged frigate."
"that roars or bellows; making or characterized by noise or disturbance," late 14c., present-participle adjective from roar (v.). Used of periods of years characterized by noisy revelry, especially roaring twenties (1930, which OED credits to "postwar buoyancy"); but also, in Australia, roaring fifties (1892, in reference to the New South Wales gold rush of 1851). Roaring Forties in reference to exceptionally rough seas between latitudes 40 and 50 south, is attested from 1841.
The "roaring fifties" are still remembered as the days when Australia held a prosperity never equalled in the world's history and a touch of romance as well. The gold fever never passed away from the land. [E.C. Buley, "Australian Life in Town and Country," 1905]
Roaring boys, roaring lads, swaggerers : ruffians : slang names applied, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, to the noisy, riotous roisterers who infested the taverns and the streets of London, and, in general, acted the part of the Mohocks of a century later. Roaring girls are also alluded to by the old dramatists, though much less frequently. [Century Dictionary]
This is from the use of roar (v.) in old London slang for "behave in a riotous and bullying manner" (1580s).
Latin liber (from Proto-Italic *lufro-) was originally "the inner bark of trees," and perhaps is from PIE *lubh-ro- "leaf, rind," a derivative of the PIE root *leub(h)- "to strip, to peel" (see leaf (n.)). Comparing Albanian labë "rind, cork;" Lithuanian luobas "bast," Latvian luobas "peel," Russian lub "bast," de Vaan writes that, "for want of a better alternative, we may surmise that liber is cognate with *lubh- and goes back to a PIE word or a European word 'leaf, rind.'"
The equivalent word in most Romance languages survives only in the sense "bookseller's shop" (French libraire, Italian libraria). Old English had bochord, literally "book hoard." As an adjective, Blount (1656) has librarious.
mountainous district in central Peloponnesus, a Latinized form of Greek Arkadia, which is traditionally from Arkas (genitive Arkadas), son of Zeus, name of the founder and first ruler of Arcadia.
The idealized Arcadia of later pastoral romance, "the home of piping shepherds and coy shepherdesses, where rustic simplicity and plenty satisfied the ambition of untutored hearts, and where ambition and its crimes were unknown" [John Mahaffy, "History of Classical Greek Literature," 1880] seems to have been inspired by "Arcadia," a description of shepherd life in prose and verse by Italian Renaissance poet Iacopo Sannazaro, published in 1502, which went through 60 editions in the century. It is exemplified in English by Sir Philip Sidney's poem, published in 1590, and in Spanish by Lope de Vega's, printed in 1598. Classical Arcadia, Mahaffy writes:
was only famed for the marketable valour of its hardy mountaineers, of whom the Tegeans had held their own even against the power of Sparta, and obtained an honourable place in her army. It was also noted for rude and primitive cults, of which later men praised the simplicity and homely piety—at times also, the stern gloominess, which did not shrink from the offering of human blood. ["Rambles and Studies in Greece," 1887]
Poetic Arcady is from 1580s.