Etymology
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tangle (v.)

mid-14c., nasalized variant of tagilen "to involve in a difficult situation, entangle," from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Swedish taggla "to disorder," Old Norse þongull "seaweed"), from Proto-Germanic *thangul- (source also of Frisian tung, Dutch tang, German Tang "seaweed"); thus the original sense of the root evidently was "seaweed" as something that entangles (itself, or oars, or fishes, or nets). "The development of such a verb from a noun of limited use like tangle 1 is somewhat remarkable, and needs confirmation" [Century Dictionary]. In reference to material things, from c. 1500. Meaning "to fight with" is American English, first recorded 1928. Related: Tangled; tangling. Tanglefoot (1859) was Western American English slang for "strong whiskey."

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hypochondriasis (n.)

disease evidenced by lowness of spirits, sluggishness, indolence, loss of interest in amusements, a wish to be alone, etc., 1765, from hypochondria in its older sense of "melancholy without cause," treated here as a disorder of the body and given the medical ending -osis to denote "a state of disease." The definitions of hypochondria then expanded to include this sense and that has become the usual word for it.

To call the Hypochondriaſis a fanciful malady, is ignorant and cruel. It is a real, and a ſad diſeaſe : an obſtruction of the ſpleen by thickened and diſtempered blood ; extending itſelf often to the liver, and other parts ; and unhappily is in England very frequent : phyſick ſcarce knows one more fertile in ill ; or more difficult of cure. [J. Hill, M.D., "Hypochondriasis," London, 1766]
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remedy (n.)

c. 1200, remedie, "means of counteracting sin or evil of any kind; cure for a vice or temptation;" late 14c., "a cure for a disease or disorder, medicine or process which restores health;" from Anglo-French remedie, Old French remede "remedy, cure" (12c., Modern French remède) and directly from Latin remedium "a cure, remedy, medicine, antidote, that which restores health," from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (or perhaps literally, "again;" see re-), + mederi "to heal" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures").

Figurative use is from c. 1300. The meaning "legal redress; means for obtaining justice, redress, or compensation through a court" is by mid-15c.

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torture (n.)

early 15c., "contortion, twisting, distortion; a disorder characterized by contortion," from Old French torture "infliction of great pain; great pain, agony" (12c.), and directly from Late Latin tortura "a twisting, writhing," in Medieval Latin "pain inflicted by judicial or ecclesiastical authority as a means of punishment or persuasion," from stem of Latin torquere "to twist, turn, wind, wring, distort" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").

The meaning "infliction of severe bodily pain as a means of punishment or persuasion" in English is from 1550s. The theory behind judicial torture was that a guilty person could be made to confess, but an innocent one could not, by this means. Macaulay writes that it was last inflicted in England in May 1640.

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rummage (v.)

1540s, "arrange or stow (cargo) in a ship," from the noun rummage "act of arranging cargo in a ship" (1520s), a shortening of French arrumage "arrangement of cargo," from arrumer "to stow goods in the hold of a ship," from a- "to" + -rumer, which is probably from Germanic (compare Old Norse rum "compartment in a ship," Old High German rum "space," Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else the whole word is from English room (n.) + -age.

The meaning "hunt through or search closely" (the hold of a ship)" is by 1610s; that of "disarrange, disorder, rout out by searching" (reversing the original sense) is from 1590s. Related: Rummaged; rummaging. The noun in the sense of "an act of rummaging, an overhauling search" is by 1753. A rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.

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nervous (adj.)

late 14c., "containing nerves; affecting the sinews" (the latter sense now obsolete); from Latin nervosus "sinewy, vigorous," from nervus "sinew, nerve" (see nerve (n.)). The meaning "of or belonging to the nerves" in the modern anatomical sense is from 1660s.

From 1630s it was used (of writing style, etc.) in the sense of "possessing or manifesting vigor of mind, characterized by force or strength." But the opposite meaning "suffering disorder of the nervous system" is from 1734, hence the illogical sense "restless, agitated, lacking nerve, weak, timid, easily agitated" (1740). This and its widespread popular use as a euphemism for mental forced the medical community to coin neurological to replace nervous in the older sense "pertaining to the nerves." Nervous wreck first attested 1862; nervous breakdown 1866. Related: Nervously; nervousness.

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distract (v.)

late 14c., distracten, "to turn or draw (a person, the mind) aside or away from any object; divert (the attention) from any point toward another point," from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Sense of "to throw into a state of mind in which one knows not how to act, cause distraction in, confuse by diverse or opposing considerations" is from 1580s. Also formerly sometimes in a stronger sense, "disorder the reason of, render frantic or mad" (1590s). Literal senses of "pull apart in different directions and separate; cut into parts or sections" are from late 16c. but are rare or obsolete in English. Related: Distracted; distracting.

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persecution (n.)

mid-14c., persecucioun, "oppression for the holding of a belief or opinion," from Old French persecucion "persecution, damage, affliction, suffering" (12c.) and directly from Latin persecutionem (nominative persecutio), noun of action from past-participle stem of persequi "to follow, pursue, hunt down; proceed against, prosecute, start a legal action," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").

General senses of "malevolent oppression, harassing or oppressive treatment," also "a time of general or systematic oppression" are from late 14c. Psychological persecution complex in reference to an irrational sense of being victimized by malign forces as a feature of a mental disorder is recorded from 1961; the earlier phrase for it was persecution mania (1892).

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refugee (n.)

1680s, "one who flees to a refuge or shelter or place of safety; one who in times of persecution or political disorder flees to a foreign country for safety," from French refugié, a noun use of the past participle of refugier "to take shelter, protect," from Old French refuge "hiding place," from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)) + -ium , neuter ending in a sense of "place for."

In English, the word was first applied to French Huguenots who fled persecution in their native country after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "one seeking asylum" until 1914, when it evolved to mean "one fleeing home" (first applied in this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I). In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.

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conversion (n.)

mid-14c., originally of religion, "a radical and complete change in spirit, purpose, and direction of life away from sin and toward love of God," from Old French conversion "change, transformation, entry into religious life; way of life, behavior; dwelling, residence; sexual intercourse," from Latin conversionem (nominative conversio) "a turning round, revolving; alteration, change," noun of action from past-participle stem of convertere "to turn around; to transform," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").

Sense of "a change from one religion to another" (especially to Christianity) is from c. 1400 in English. General sense of "transformation, a turning or changing from one state to another" is from early 15c. In reference to the use of a building, from 1921. Conversion disorder "hysteria" (attested from 1946 but said to have been coined by Freud) was in DSM-IV (1994). Conversion therapy in reference to homosexuality is by 1979.

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