1530s, "freedom from exaggeration, self-control," from French modestie or directly from Latin modestia "moderation, sense of honor, correctness of conduct," from modestus "moderate, keeping due measure, sober, gentle, temperate," from modus "measure, manner" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Meaning "quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself, retiring demeanor, disinclination to presumption, unobtrusiveness" is from 1550s; that of "womanly propriety, purity or delicacy of thought or manner" is from 1560s.
In euery of these thinges and their semblable is Modestie; whiche worde nat beinge knowen in the englisshe tonge, ne of al them which under stode latin, except they had radde good autours, they improprely named this vertue discretion. [Sir Thomas Elyot, "The Boke Named The Gouernour," 1531]
La pudeur donne des plaisirs bien flatteurs à l'amant: elle lui fait sentir quelles lois l'on transgresse pour lui;(Modesty both pleases and flatters a lover, for it lays stress on the laws which are being transgressed for his sake.) [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
The pride which masks as modesty is the most perverse of all. [Marcus Aurelius]
early 14c., originally a legal term meaning "formally laid down, decreed or legislated by authority" (opposed to natural), from Old French positif (13c.) and directly from Latin positivus "settled by agreement, positive" (opposed to naturalis "natural"), from positus, past participle of ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)).
The sense of "absolute" is from mid-15c. Meaning in philosophy of "dealing only with facts" is from 1590s. Sense broadened to "expressed without qualification" (1590s), then, of persons, "confident in opinion" (1660s). The meaning "possessing definite characters of its own" is by 1610s. The mathematical use for "greater than zero" is by 1704. Psychological sense of "concentrating on what is constructive and good" is recorded from 1916. Positive thinking is attested from 1953. The sense in electricity is from 1755.
There are probably no two bodies differing in nature which are not capable of exhibiting electrical phaenomena, either by contact, pressure, or friction ; but the first substances in which the property was observed, were vitreous and resinous bodies ; and hence the different states were called states of resinous and vitreous electricity ; and resinous bodies bear the same relation to flint glass, as silk. The terms, negative and positive electricity, have been likewise adopted, on the idea, that the phaenomena depend upon a peculiar subtile fluid, which becomes in excess in the vitreous, and deficient in the resinous bodies ; and which is conceived by its motion and transfer, to produce the electrical phaenomena. [Sir Humphry Davy, "Elements of Chemical Philosophy," London, 1812]
late 14c., "to strike out with the foot," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse kikna "bend backwards, sink at the knees." "The doubts OED has about the Scandinavian origin of kick are probably unfounded" [Liberman]. Older sources guessed it to be from Celtic. Earliest in the biblical phrase that is now usually rendered as kick against the pricks. Related: Kicked; kicking.
Transitive sense "give a blow with the foot" is from 1580s. Meaning "to strike in recoiling" (as a gun, etc.) is from 1832. Figurative sense of "complain, protest, manifest strong objection, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is at least in part from the Bible verse. Slang sense of "die" is attested from 1725 (kick the wind was slang for "be hanged," 1590s; see also bucket). Meaning "to end one's drug habit" is from 1936.
Kick in "to break (something) down" is from 1876, sense of "contribute" is from 1908, American English; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick around (intransitive) "wander about" is from 1839; transitive sense of "treat contemptuously" is from 1871 on the notion of "kick in all directions." To be kicked upstairs "removed from action by ostensible promotion" is from 1750. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.
"A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks, and wills" [Century Dictionary], Middle English soule, from Old English sawol "spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence; life, living being," from Proto-Germanic *saiwalō (source also of Old Saxon seola, Old Norse sala, Old Frisian sele, Middle Dutch siele, Dutch ziel, Old High German seula, German Seele, Gothic saiwala), a word of uncertain origin.
It has been suspected to have meant originally "coming from or belonging to the sea," the supposed stopping place of the soul before birth or after death [Barnhart]; if so, it would be from Proto-Germanic *saiwaz (see sea). Klein explains this as "from the lake," as a dwelling-place of souls in ancient northern Europe.
The meaning "disembodied spirit of a deceased person" is attested in Old English. As a synonym for "person, individual, human being" (as in every living soul) it dates from early 14c. Soul-searching (n.) "deep self-reflection, examination of one's conscience" is attested from 1871, from the phrase used as a present-participle adjective (1610s). Distinguishing soul from spirit is a matter best left to theologians.
conspicuous constellation containing seven bright starts in a distinctive pattern, late 14c., orioun, ultimately from Greek Oriōn, Oariōn, name of a giant hunter in Greek mythology, loved by Aurora, slain by Artemis, a name of unknown origin, though some speculate on Akkadian Uru-anna "the Light of Heaven."
Another Greek name for the constellation was Kandaon, a title of Ares, god of war, and the star pattern is represented in many cultures as a giant (such as Old Irish Caomai "the Armed King," Old Norse Orwandil, Old Saxon Ebuðrung). A Mesopotamian text from 1700 B.C.E. calls it The True Shepherd of Anu. The Orionid meteors, which appear to radiate from the constellation, are so called by 1876.
I this day discovered a new particular of my own ignorance of things which I ought to have known these thirty years — One clear morning about a fortnight since I remarked from my bed-chamber window a certain group of stars forming a Constellation which I had not before observed and of which I knew not the name — I marked down their positions on a slip of paper with a view to remember them hereafter and to ascertain what they were — This day on looking into the Abridgment of La Lande's Astronomy, one of the first figures that struck my eye in the plates was that identical Constellation — It was Orion — That I should have lived nearly fifty years without knowing him, shews too clearly what sort of observer I have been. [John Quincy Adams, diary entry for Nov. 18, 1813, St. Petersburg, Russia]
"hard aromatic seed of the fruit of a tree found in the East Indies," used as a spice on cookery, c. 1300, note-mug, from Old North French or Anglo-French *noiz mugue, from Old French nois muguete, an unexplained alteration of nois muscade "nut smelling like musk," from nois "nut" (from Latin nux, from PIE *kneu- "nut;" see nucleus) + Latin muscada, fem. of muscat "musky" (see muscat). Probably influenced in English by Medieval Latin nux maga (compare unaltered Dutch muskaatnoot, German muscatnuß, Swedish muskotnöt).
American English colloquial wooden nutmeg "anything false or fraudulent" is from 1827; Connecticut is called the Nutmeg State "in allusion to the story that wooden nutmegs are there manufactured for exportation." [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
At a dinner party, the other day, during a little playful discussion of Yankee character, a bland and benevolent-looking old gentleman at my side informed me that he had come to the conclusion that the wooden-nutmeg story was neither more nor less than a mischievous satire. "For," said he, "there would be such an amount of minute carving required to make a successful imitation of the nutmeg, that the deception would hardly pay the workman. For myself, I do not believe the cheat was ever practised." I thanked him in the name of my country for the justice done her, and assured him that the story of the Yankee having whittled a large lot of unsaleable shoe-pegs into melon seeds, and sold them to the Canadians, was also a base fabrication of our enemies. [Grace Greenwood, "Haps and Mishaps of a Tour in Europe in 1853"]
"brother or sister," 1903, a modern revival (originally in anthropology) of Middle English and Old English sibling "relative, kinsman or kinswoman," from sibb "kinship, relationship; love, friendship, peace, happiness," from Proto-Germanic *sibja- "blood relation, relative," properly "one's own" (source also of Old Saxon sibba, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch sibbe, Old High German sippa, German Sippe, Gothic sibja "kin, kindred"), from PIE *s(w)e-bh(o)- (source also of Old Church Slavonic sobistvo, Russian sob "character, individuality"), an enlargement of the root *swe- "self" (see idiom). Compare the second element in gossip.
The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]
In Old English, sibb and its compounds covered senses of "brotherly love, familial affection" which tended later to lump into love (n.), as in sibsumnes "peace, concord, brotherly love," sibbian (v.) "bring together, reconcile," sibbecoss "kiss of peace." Sibship, however, is a modern formation (1908). Sib persisted through Middle English as a noun, adjective, and verb expressing kinship and relationship. Sibling group is by 1950; sibling rivalry by 1937.
"medical charlatan, impudent and fraudulent pretender to medical skill," 1630s, short for quacksalver (1570s), from obsolete Dutch quacksalver (modern kwakzalver), literally "hawker of salve," from Middle Dutch quacken "to brag, boast," literally "to croak" (see quack (v.)) + salf "salve," salven "to rub with ointment" (see salve (n.)). As an adjective from 1650s.
The oldest attested form of this quack in English is as a verb, "to play the quack" (1620s). The Dutch word also is the source of German Quacksalber, Danish kvaksalver, Swedish kvacksalvare.
A quack is, by derivation, one who talks much without wisdom, and, specifically, talks of his own power to heal ; hence, any ignorant pretender to medical knowledge or skill. Empiric is a more elevated term for one who goes by mere experience in the trial of remedies, and is without knowledge of the medical sciences or of the clinical observations and opinions of others; hence, an incompetent, self-confident practitioner. A mountebank is generally a quack, but may be a pretender in any line. Charlatan (literally 'chatterer') is primarily applied, not to a person belonging to any particular profession or occupation, but to a pretentious cheat of any sort. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
Also "one who pretends to knowledge of any kind" (1630s).
1520s, "concise statement of a principle" (especially in reference to the "Aphorisms of Hippocrates"), from French aphorisme (corrected from Old French aufforisme, 14c.), from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos "definition; short, pithy sentence," from aphorizein "to mark off, divide," from apo "from" (see apo-) + horizein "to bound" (see horizon).
The general sense of "short, pithy statement containing a truth of general import" (e.g. "life is short, and art is long") is from 1580s in English. Distinguished from an axiom, which is a statement of self-evident truth; an epigram is like an aphorism, but lacking in general import. Maxim and saying can be used as synonyms for aphorism, but maxims tend to be practical than aphorisms, and sayings tend to be more commonplace and have an author's name attached.
[F]or aphorisms, except they should be ridiculous, cannot be made but of the pith and heart of sciences ; for discourse of illustration is cut off ; recitals of examples are cut off ; discourse of connexion and order is cut off ; descriptions of practice are cut off. So there remaineth nothing to fill the aphorisms but some good quantity of observation : and therefore no man can suffice, nor in reason will attempt, to write aphorisms, but he that is sound and grounded. [Francis Bacon, "The Advancement of Learning," 1605]
Middle English prede, from late Old English pryto, Kentish prede, Mercian pride "unreasonable self-esteem, especially as one of the deadly sins; haughtiness, overbearing treatment of others; pomp, love of display," from prud (see proud (adj.)).
There is debate whether Scandinavian cognates (Old Norse pryði, Old Swedish prydhe, Danish pryd, etc.) are borrowed from Old French (which got it from Germanic) or from Old English.
In Middle English sometimes also positive, "proper pride, personal honor, good repute; exalted position; splendor," also "prowess or spirit in an animal." Used in reference to the erect penis from 15c. Meaning "that which makes a person or people most proud" is from c. 1300. First applied to groups of lions in a late 15c. book of terms, but not commonly so used until 20c. Paired with prejudice from 1610s.
Pride goþ befor contricioun, & befor falling þe spirit shall ben enhauncid. [Proverbs xvi.18, Wycliffe Bible, 1382]
Another late Old English/Middle English word for "pride, haughtiness, presumption" was orgol, orgel, which survived into 16c. as orgul, orgueil, from Old French orgoill (11c.), which is supposedly from a Germanic word meaning "renowned."