also help-meet, a ghost word from the 1611 "King James" translation of the Bible, in which it was at first a two-word noun-adjective phrase translating Latin adjutorium simile sibi [Genesis ii.18] as "an help meet for him," and meaning literally "a helper like himself."
Robert Alter ("The Five Books of Moses," 2004) suggests sustainer beside him as the closest possible in English to the original:
The Hebrew 'ezer kenegdo (King James Version "help meet") is notoriously difficult to translate. The second term means "alongside him," "opposite him," "a counterpart to him." "Help" is too weak because it suggests a mere auxiliary function, whereas 'ezer elsewhere connotes active intervention on behalf of someone, especially in military contexts, as often in Psalms. ["Five Books of Moses," footnote to Gen. ii.18].
c. 1200, "illustrious, distinguished, of high rank or birth," from Old French noble "of noble bearing or birth," from Latin nobilis "well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth," earlier *gnobilis, literally "knowable," from gnoscere "to come to know" (from PIE root *gno- "to know"). The prominent Roman families, which were "well known," provided most of the Republic's public officials.
Sense of "distinguished by splendor, magnificence, or stateliness" is from late 13c. Meaning "worthy of honor or respect " is from mid-14c. Sense of "having lofty character, having high moral qualities" is from c. 1600. Noble savage is "primitive man conceived of as morally superior to civilized man;" the phrase itself is from Dryden; the idea developed in the 18c.
I am as free as Nature first made Man,
Ere the base Laws of Servitude began,
When wild in Woods the noble Savage ran.
[Dryden, "Conquest of Granada," 1672]
A noble gas (1902) is so called for its inactivity or inertness; a use of the word that had been applied in Middle English to precious stones, metals, etc., that did not alter or oxidize when exposed to air (late 14c.), with noble in the sense of "having admirable properties" (c. 1300).
"figure of speech by which a characteristic of one object is assigned to another, different but resembling it or analogous to it; comparison by transference of a descriptive word or phrase," late 15c., methaphoris (plural), from French metaphore (Old French metafore, 13c.) and directly from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally "a carrying over," from metapherein "to transfer, carry over; change, alter; to use a word in a strange sense," from meta "over, across" (see meta-) + pherein "to carry, bear" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").
But a metaphor is no argument, though it be sometimes the gunpowder to drive one home and imbed it in the memory. [James Russell Lowell, "Democracy," 1884]
It is a great thing, indeed, to make a proper use of the poetical forms, as also of compounds and strange words. But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars. [Aristotle, "Poetics," 1459a 3-8]
coined 1899 in German as a trademark name by German chemist Heinrich Dreser, from Latin Spiraea (ulmaria) "meadow-sweet," the plant in whose flowers or leaves the processed acid in the medicine is naturally found, + common chemical ending -in (see -ine (2)). Spiraea (Tournefort, 1700) is from Latinized form of Greek speiraia "meadow-sweet," so called from the shape of its follicles (see spiral (adj.)). The initial -a- is to acknowledge acetylation; Dreser said the word was a contraction of acetylierte spirsäure, the German name of the acid, which now is obsolete, replaced by salicylic acid.
Die Bezeichnung Aspirin ist abgeleitet aus "Spirsäure" — alter Name der Salicylsäure und A = Acetyl; statt: Acetylirte Spirsäure, kurzweg "Aspirin". [H, Dreser, "Pharmakologisches über Aspirin (Acetylsalicylsäure)," in "Archiv für die Gesammte Physiologie des Menschen und der Thiere," 1899, p.307]
The custom of giving commercial names to medicinal products began in Germany in the late 19th century, when nascent pharmaceutical firms were discovering medical uses for common, easily made chemicals. To discourage competitors they would market the substance under a short trademarked name a doctor could remember, rather than the long chemical compound word. German law required prescriptions to be filled exactly as written.
late 14c., in the most basic sense, "to make fit for eating by the action of heat," but especially "to prepare in an appetizing way by various combinations of material and flavoring," from cook (n.).
Old English had gecocnian, cognate with Old High German cochon, German kochen, all verbs from nouns, but the Middle English word seems to be a fresh formation from the noun in English. The figurative sense of "to manipulate, falsify, alter, doctor" is from 1630s (phrase cook the books is attested by 1954). Related: Cooked, cooking. Phrase what's cooking? "what's up, what's going on" is attested by 1942. To cook with gas "do well, act or think correctly" is 1930s jive talk.
The expression "NOW YOU'RE COOKING WITH GAS" has bobbed up again — this time as a front page streamer on the Roper Ranger, and as the banner line in the current advertising series of the Nashville (Tenn.) Gas and Heating Company, cleverly tying gas cooking to local food products and restaurants. "Now you're cooking with gas" literally took the gas industry by the ears around December 1939 — Remember? — when it flashed forth in brilliant repartee from the radio programs of the Maxwell Coffee Hour, Jack Benny, Chase and Sanborn, Johnson Wax, Bob Hope and sundry others. [American Gas Association Monthly, vol. xxiii, 1941]
Old English oþer "second, the second of two; additional, further" (adj.), also as a pronoun, "one of the two; a different person or thing from the one in view," from Proto-Germanic *anthera- (source also of Old Saxon athar, Old Frisian other, Old Norse annarr, Middle Dutch and Dutch ander, Old High German andar, German ander, Gothic anþar "second, other").
These are from PIE *an-tero-(source of Lithuanian antras, Old Prussian anters "other, second), which is perhaps a variant of *al-tero- "the other of two" (source of Latin alter), from root *al- "beyond" + adjectival comparative suffix *-tero-. Or the first element might be the pronoun *eno-, *ono- [Boutkan]. The Old English, Old Saxon, and Old Frisian forms show "a normal loss of n before fricatives" [Barnhart].
The sense of "second" was detached from this word in English (which now uses second (adj.), which is from Latin) and German (zweiter, from zwei "two") to avoid ambiguity. In Scandinavian, however, the second floor is still the "other" floor (Swedish andra, Danish anden). Also compare Old English oþergeara "next year."
As an adverb, "secondly" (late Old English); "otherwise" (c. 1200); "in addition" (mid-14c.).
The other woman "a woman with whom a man begins a love affair while he is already committed" is from 1855. The other day originally (late Old English) was "the next day;" later (c. 1300) "yesterday;" and now, loosely, "a day or two ago" (early 15c.). OED notes that the other place was euphemistic for Hell or "Oxford as regarded in Cambridge (and vice versa)." Phrase other half in reference to either the poor or the rich, is recorded from c. 1600.
La moitié du monde ne sçayt comment l'aultre vit. [Rabelais, "Pantagruel," 1532]
Halfe the world knowes not how the other halfe li[v]es. [George Herbert, "Outlandish Proverbs," 1640]
Old English lagu (plural laga, combining form lah-) "ordinance, rule prescribed by authority, regulation; district governed by the same laws;" also sometimes "right, legal privilege," from Old Norse *lagu "law," collective plural of lag "layer, measure, stroke," literally "something laid down, that which is fixed or set."
Rare in Old English, it ousted the more usual ae and also gesetnes, which also were etymologically "something placed or set."
In physics, "a proposition which expresses the regular order of things," from 1660s. Law and order have been coupled since 1796. To lay down the law (1752) is pleonastic (the "law" in the figure is biblical law, laid down from the pulpit). Poor laws provided for the support of paupers at public expense; sumptuary laws restrained excesses in apparel, food, or luxuries.
It is more common for Indo-European languages to use different words for "a specific law" and for "law" in the general sense of "institution or body of laws," for example Latin lex "a law," ius "a right," especially "legal right, law."
Indo-European words for "a law" are most commonly from verbs for "to put, place, set, lay," such as Greek thesmos (from tithemi "to put, place"), Old English dom (from PIE *dhe- "to put, place, set"), Lithuanian įstatymas (from statyti "cause to stand, set up, establish"), Polish ustawa (from stać "stand"). Also compare Old English gesetnes (above), statute, from Latin statuere; German Gesetz "a law, statute," from Old High German gisatzida "a fixing, determination, assessment," with sezzen (modern German setzen) "to make sit, set, put."
Words for "law" in the general sense mostly mean etymologically "what is right" and often are connected with adjectives for "right" (themselves often figurative uses of words for "straight," "upright," "true," "fitting," or "usage, custom." Such are Greek nomos (as in numismatic); French droit, Spanish derecho, from Latin directus; Polish prawo, Russian pravo (from Old Church Slavonic pravŭ "straight," in the daughter languages "right"); also Old Norse rettr, Old English riht, Dutch recht, German Recht (see right (adj.1)).
[L]earn to obey good laws before you seek to alter bad ones [Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera"]