"eagle's nest," 1580s (attested in Anglo-Latin from early 13c.), from Old French aire "nest," Medieval Latin area "nest of a bird of prey" (12c.), perhaps from Latin area "level ground, garden bed" [Littré], though some doubt this [Klein]. Another theory connects it to atrium. Formerly spelled eyrie (1660s) on the mistaken assumption that it derived from Middle English ey "egg."
"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."
"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.
Old English brod "offspring of egg-laying animals, hatchlings, young birds hatched in one nest," from Proto-Germanic *brod (source also of Middle Dutch broet, Old High German bruot, German Brut "brood"), etymologically "that which is hatched by heat," from *bro- "to warm, heat," from PIE *bhre- "burn, heat, incubate," from root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn." The meaning "human offspring, children of one family" is from c. 1300.
"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.
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.
"strong, stimulating, cold American drink," first attested 1806; H.L. Mencken lists seven versions of its origin, perhaps the most durable traces it to French coquetier "egg-cup" (15c.; in English cocktay). In New Orleans, c. 1795, Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary (and inventor of Peychaud bitters) held Masonic social gatherings at his pharmacy, where he mixed brandy toddies with his own bitters and served them in an egg-cup. On this theory, the drink took the name of the cup.
Ayto ("Diner's Dictionary") derives it from cocktail "horse with a docked tail" (one cut short, which makes it stand up somewhat like a cock's comb) because such a method of dressing the tail was given to ordinary horses, the word came to be extended to "horse of mixed pedigree" (not a thoroughbred) by 1800, and this, it is surmised, was extended to the drink on the notion of "adulteration, mixture."
Used from 1920s of any mix of substances (fruit, Molotov). Cocktail party attested by 1907.
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).
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]
"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).