Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of "stir up, rouse to activity" is from c. 1600.
Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.). Related: Awakening.
1610s, "to lay waste, devastate" (obsolete); 1620s, "to vex by repeated attacks," from French harasser "tire out, vex" (16c.), which is of uncertain origin; possibly from Old French harer "stir up, provoke; set a dog on" (according to Watkins, from Frankish *hara "over here, hither," from Proto-Germanic *hi‑, from PIE *ki-, variant form of root *ko-, the stem of demonstrative pronoun meaning "this"), and perhaps blended with Old French harier "to harry, draw, drag" [Barnhart]. Related: Harassed; harassing.
Harass, as applied to mind or body, suggests the infliction of the weariness that comes from the continuance or repetition of trying experiences, so that there is not time for rest. Torment implies the infliction of acute pain, physical or mental, and is frequently used in the sense of harassing by frequent return. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of." The older sense of "lift, carry" survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Figurative sense of "to consider, ponder" (in reference to words, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c. To weigh in in the literal sense is from 1868, originally of jockeys; figurative meaning "bring one's influence to bear" is from 1909.
"A word, app. of U.S. coinage, used to express the ideas of bewilderment or confusion, rapid stir and bustle, riotous jollity or intoxication, etc. Also, deception, fraud; extravagant publicity" [OED], 1886, American English slang, varied reduplication of dazzle (q.v.).
My confrère, The Chevalier, last month gave a new name to the scarfs of disjointed pattern when he called them the razzle-dazzle. The name was evidently a hit of the most patent character, for in several avenue and Broadway stores the clerks have thrown out a display of broken figures before me and explained that the ruling style at present was the razzle-dazzle, and the word seems to have been equally effective with the public, for when it is quoted by the live salesman, the customer, I am told is at once interested and caught by it. [Clothier and Furnisher magazine, January 1889]
Meaning "state of confusion" is from 1889.
1540s, "to shake up and down," perhaps altered from Middle English shoggen "to shake, jolt, move with a jerk" (late 14c.), a word of uncertain origin. Meanings "touch or push slightly," "stir up or stimulate by hint or push," and "walk or ride with a jolting pace" all are from 16c.
The modern sense in reference to running as training mostly dates from 1948; at first a regimen for athletes, it became a popular fad c. 1967. Perhaps this sense is extended from its use in horsemanship.
Jogging. The act of exercising, or working a horse to keep him in condition, or to prepare him for a race. There is no development in jogging, and it is wholly a preliminary exercise to bring the muscular organization to the point of sustained, determined action. [Samuel L. Boardman, "Handbook of the Turf," New York, 1910]
Related: Jogged; jogging.
[to sway, move backward and forward] Middle English rokken "rock (a cradle), cause to sway back and forth; rock (someone) in a cradle," from late Old English roccian "move a child gently to and fro" in a cradle, which is related to Old Norse rykkja "to pull, tear, move," Swedish rycka "to pull, pluck," Middle Dutch rucken, Old High German rucchan, German rücken "to move jerkily."
The earliest associations of the word were with slumber, rest, security. The sense of of "sway to and fro under some impact or stress" is from late 14c., especially of vessels in the waves (1510s); hence rock the boat in the figurative sense "stir up trouble" (1914). The sense of "swing to and fro in or as in a rocking chair" is by 1795.
Middle English priken, from Old English prician "to pierce with a sharp point, prick out, place a point, dot, or mark upon; sting; cause a pricking sensation," from West Germanic *prikojan (source also of Low German pricken, Dutch prikken "to prick"), of uncertain origin. Danish prikke "to mark with dots," Swedish pricka "to point, prick, mark with dots" probably are from Low German. Related: Pricked; pricking.
From c. 1200 in a figurative sense of "to cause agitation, to distress, to trouble;" late 14c. as "incite, stir to action." Pricklouse (c. 1500) was a derisive name for a tailor. To prick up (one's) ears is 1580s, originally of animals with pointed ears (prycke-eared, of foxes or horses or dogs, is from early 15c.).
thou prick-ear'd cur of Iceland!
["Henry V," ii. 1. 44.]
Prick-me-dainty (1520s) was an old term for one who is affectedly finical.
Middle English reren, from Old English ræran "to raise, lift something, cause to rise;" also "to build up, create, set on end; to arouse, excite, stir up," from Proto-Germanic *raizijanau "to raise," causative of *risanan "to rise" (source of Old English risan; see rise (v.)). The second -r- is by rhotacism.
Meaning "bring into being, bring up" (as a child) is recorded by early 15c., perhaps late 14c.; at first it is not easy to distinguish the sense from simply "beget;" the meaning "bring up (animals or persons) by proper nourishment and attention, develop or train physically or mentally" had developed by late 16c.
The intransitive meaning "raise up on the hind legs" is first recorded late 14c. (compare rare (v.)). As what one does in raising or holding high the head, by 1667 ("Rear'd high thir flourisht heads" - Milton); with ugly by 1851. Related: Reared; rearing.
Other uses of rear in Middle English were "set" (fire); "draw" (blood); "wage" (war); "raise" (revenue, tithes); "gather, collect" (a flock of sheep).
late 14c., "a thing done," from Latin actus "a doing; a driving, impulse, a setting in motion; a part in a play," and actum "a thing done" (originally a legal term), both from agere "to set in motion, drive, drive forward," hence "to do, perform," figuratively "incite to action; keep in movement, stir up," a verb with a broad range of meaning in Latin, including "act on stage, play the part of; plead a cause at law; chase; carry off, steal;" from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move."
Theatrical ("part of a play," 1510s) and legislative (early 15c.) senses of the word also were in Latin. Meaning "one of a series of performances in a variety show" is from 1890. Meaning "display of exaggerated behavior" is from 1928, extended from the theatrical sense. In the act "in the process" is from 1590s, perhaps originally from late 16c. sense of the act as "sexual intercourse." Act of God "uncontrollable natural force" recorded by 1726.
An act of God is an accident which arises from a cause which operates without interference or aid from man (1 Pars. on Cont. 635); the loss arising wherefrom cannot be guarded against by the ordinary exertions of human skill and prudence so as to prevent its effect. [William Wait, "General Principles of the Law," Albany, 1879]
To get into the act "participate" is from 1947; to get (one's) act together "organize one's (disorderly) life" is by 1976.
Of the earth in earthquakes, c. 1300. Meaning "seize and shake (someone or something else)" is from early 14c. In reference to mixing ingredients, etc., by shaking a container from late 14c. Meaning "to rid oneself of by abrupt twists" is from c. 1200, also in Middle English in reference to evading responsibility, etc. Meaning "weaken, impair" is from late 14c., on notion of "make unstable."
To shake hands dates from 1530s. Shake a (loose) leg "hurry up" first recorded 1904; shake a heel (sometimes foot) was an old way to say "to dance" (1660s); to shake (one's) elbow (1620s) meant "to gamble at dice." Phrase more _____ than you can shake a stick at is attested from 1818, American English. To shake (one's) head as a sign of disapproval is recorded from c. 1300.