Etymology
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weasel (v.)

"to deprive (a word or phrase) of its meaning," 1900, from weasel (n.); so used because the weasel sucks out the contents of eggs, leaving the shell intact. Both this and weasel-word are first attested in "The Stained-Glass Political Platform," a short story by Stewart Chaplin, first printed in Century Magazine, June 1900:

"Why, weasel words are words that suck all the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks an egg and leaves the shell. If you heft the egg afterward it's as light as a feather, and not very filling when you're hungry; but a basketful of them would make quite a show, and would bamboozle the unwary."

They were picked up at once in American political slang. The sense of "extricate oneself (from a difficult place) like a weasel" is first recorded 1925; that of "to evade and equivocate" is from 1956. Related: Weasled; weasling.

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mousse (n.)

1892, in cookery sense in reference to a frothy dish stiffened with egg whites, etc., from French mousse, from Old French mousse "froth, scum," from Late Latin mulsa "mead," from Latin mulsum "honey wine, mead," from neuter of mulsus "mixed with honey," related to mel "honey" (from PIE root *melit- "honey"). Meaning "preparation for hair" is from 1977, so called for resemblance of the substance. As a verb in this sense from 1984. Related: Moussed.

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nest (n.)

"structure built by a bird or domestic fowl for the insulation and rearing of its young," Old English nest "bird's nest; snug retreat," also "young bird, brood," from Proto-Germanic *nistaz (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch nest, German Nest; not found in Scandinavian or Gothic), from PIE *nizdo- (source also of Sanskrit nidah "resting place, nest," Latin nidus "nest," Old Church Slavonic gnezdo, Old Irish net, Welsh nyth, Breton nez "nest"), probably from *ni "down" + from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit."

From c. 1200 of an animal or insect. Used since Middle English in reference to various accumulations of things, especially of diminishing sizes, each fitting within the next (such as a nest of drawers, early 18c.). Nest egg "retirement savings" is from 1700; it was originally "a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce the hen to go on laying there" (nest ei, early 14c.), hence "something laid up as the beginning of a continued growth."

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tercel (n.)
"male falcon," late 14c., from Old French tercel (c. 1200), from Medieval Latin tertiolus, from Latin tertius "third, a third," from root of tres "three" (see three). Various theories as to why it is called this; one says it's because the males are a third smaller than the females, another because a third egg in the nest (smaller than the other two) is believed always to produce a male bird.
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surrogate (n.)
early 15c., from Latin surrogatus, past participle of surrogare/subrogare "put in another's place, substitute," from assimilated form of sub "in the place of, under" (see sub-) + rogare "to ask, propose," apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from root *reg- "move in a straight line." Meaning "woman pregnant with the fertilized egg of another woman" is attested from 1978 (from 1972 of animals; surrogate mother in a psychological sense is from 1971). As an adjective from 1630s.
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metamorphosis (n.)

1530s, "change of form or structure, action or process of changing in form," originally especially by witchcraft, from Latin metamorphosis, from Greek metamorphōsis "a transforming, a transformation," from metamorphoun "to transform, to be transfigured," from meta, here indicating "change" (see meta-) + morphē "shape, form," a word of uncertain etymology.

The biological sense of "extensive transformations an animal (especially an insect) undergoes after it leaves the egg" is from 1660s. As the title of Ovid's work, late 14c., Metamorphoseos, from Latin Metamorphoses (plural).

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Humpty-dumpty (n.)

French nursery rhyme hero (the rhyme first attested in English 1810), earlier "a short, clumsy person of either sex" (1785), probably a reduplication of Humpty, a pet form of Humphrey. Compare Georgy-porgy, etc. Originally, humpty-dumpty was a drink (1690s), "ale boiled with brandy," probably from hump and dump, but the connection is obscure and there might not be one.

'It's very provoking,' Humpty Dumpty said, ... 'to be called an egg — very!' ["Through the Looking-Glass," 1872]
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hull (n.2)
"body of a ship," 1550s, usually said to be identical with hull (n.1) on fancied resemblance of ship keels to open peapods. Compare Latin carina "keel of a ship," originally "shell of a nut;" Greek phaselus "light passenger ship, yacht," literally "bean pod;" French coque "hull of a ship; shell of a walnut or egg." The alternative etymology is from Middle English hoole "ship's keel" (mid-15c.), from the same source as hold (n.) and conformed to hull (n.1).
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poulter (n.)

the earlier form of poulterer (q.v.). Poetic poulter's measure (1570s), a combination of lines of 12 and 14 syllables, is said to be so called for suggesting "the poulter's old practice of giving an extra egg with the second dozen." [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," 1986].

The commonest sort of verse which we vse now adayes (viz. the long verse of twelue and fourtene sillables) I know not certainly howe to name it, vnlesse I should say that it doth consist of Poulter's measure, which giueth xii. for one dozen and xiiij. for another. [George Gascoigne]
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germ (n.)

mid-15c., "bud, sprout;" 1640s, "rudiment of a new organism in an existing one," from French germe "germ (of egg); bud, seed, fruit; offering," from Latin germen (genitive germinis) "spring, offshoot; sprout, bud," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

The older sense is preserved in wheat germ and germ of an idea; sense of "seed of a disease" first recorded 1796 in English; that of "harmful micro-organism" dates from 1871. Germ warfare is recorded from 1919.

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