1570s, "diseased, sickly" (a sense now obsolete); 1580s, "broken, impaired, full of cracks or flaws," from craze + -y (2). Meaning "deranged, demented, of unsound mind or behaving as so" is from 1610s. Jazz slang sense "cool, exciting" is attested by 1927. Related: Crazily; craziness.
To drive (someone) crazy is attested by 1873. To do something like crazy "with manic vigor or frequency" is by 1905. Phrase crazy like a fox has origins by 1935. Crazy Horse, name of the Teton Lakhota (Siouan) war leader (d. 1877), translates thašuka witko, literally "his horse is crazy." Crazy-quilt (1886) preserves the original "break to pieces" sense of craze (v.). Crazy bone as an alternative to funny bone is recorded by 1853.
of unknown origin; OED and Barnhart give earliest date as 1925, but the "Dictionary of American Slang" gives a first reference of 1874 (but without citation and I can't find it), which, if correct, would rule out the usual theory that it is from the proper name of T.W. Earp, a student at Oxford c. 1911, who kindled wrath "in the hearts of the rugger-playing stalwarts at Oxford, when he was president of the Union, by being the last, most charming, and wittiest of the 'decadents.' " [Rawson]
"Mean to say you never heard of Sinzy? Why, he's one of the greatest characters in this town. He's a terrible twerp to look at — got a face like bad news from home, but I guess he's the best jazz piano player in the world." [Julian Street, "Cross-Sections," 1923]
Use after a verb, for emphasis (as in did, too!) is attested from 1914. Slang too-too "excessive in social elegance" first recorded 1881. Too much is from 1530s as "more than can be endured;" sense of "excellent" first recorded 1937 in jazz slang. German zu unites the senses of English to and too.
"music form featuring flatted thirds and sevenths," possibly c. 1895 (though officially 1912, in W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues"). Blue note "minor interval where a major would be expected" is attested from 1919, and at first was suspected as a source of the term.
I am under the impression that these terms [blue note, blue chord] were contemporary with, if they did not precede and foreshadow, the period of our innumerable musical 'Blues.' What the uninitiated tried to define by that homely appellation was, perhaps, an indistinct association of the minor mode and dyspeptic intonation with poor digestion; in reality, it is the advent in popular music of something which the textbooks call ambiguous chords, altered notes, extraneous modulation, and deceptive cadence. [Carl Engel, "Jazz: A Musical Discussion," The Atlantic Monthly, August 1922]
early 14c., "containing four equal sides and right angles," from square (n.), or from Old French esquarre, past participle of esquarrer. Meaning "honest, fair," is first attested 1560s; that of "straight, direct" is from 1804. Of meals, from 1868.
Sense of "old-fashioned" is 1944, U.S. jazz slang, said to be from shape of a conductor's hand gestures in a regular four-beat rhythm. Square-toes meant nearly the same thing late 18c.: "precise, formal, old-fashioned person," from the style of men's shoes worn early 18c. and then fallen from fashion. Squaresville is attested from 1956. Square dance attested by 1831; originally one in which the couples faced inward from four sides; later of country dances generally.
[T]he old square dance is an abortive attempt at conversation while engaged in walking certain mathematical figures over a limited area. [The Mask, March 1868]
"trivial, old-fashioned, worthless," 1913 (from 1912 as a noun, "antiquated or worthless object"), said to be carnival slang and imitative of the sound of banjo music at parades [Barnhart]; compare ricky-tick "old-fashioned jazz" (1938). But early records suggest otherwise unless there are two words. The earliest senses seem to be as a noun, "maltreatment," especially robbery:
So I felt and saw that I was robbed and I went to look after an officer. I found an officer on the corner of Twenty-fifth street and Sixth avenue. I said, "Officer, I have got the rinky-dink." He knew what it meant all right. He said, "Where? Down at that wench house?" I said, "I guess that is right." [testimony dated New York August 9, 1899, published 1900]
And this chorus from the "Yale Literary Magazine," Feb. 1896:
Rinky dinky, rinky dink,
Stand him up for another drink.
Meaning "direction given by example" (as in follow (someone's) lead) is by 1863, that of "a clue to a solution" is by 1851, both from the notion of "thing to be followed." As an adjective, "leading," by 1846. Lead-time "time needed to produce something" is 1945, American English.
c. 1600, "characterized by advancement, going forward, moving onward" (in action, character, etc.), from progress (n.) + -ive, or else from French progressif, from past participle stem of Latin progredi. Specifically of taxation, from 1889. From the notion of "using one's efforts toward advancement or improvement" comes the meaning "characterized by striving for change and innovation, avant-garde, liberal" (in arts, etc.), from 1908; of jazz, from 1947.
In the socio-political sense "favoring reform; radically liberal" it emerged in various British contexts from the 1880s; in the U.S. it was given to a movement active in the 1890s and a generation thereafter, the name being taken again from time to time, most recently by some more liberal Democrats and other social activists, by c. 2000.
The noun in the sense "one who favors, promotes, or commends social and political change in the name of progress" is attested by 1865 (originally in Christianity). Earlier in a like sense were progressionist (1849, adjective; 1884, noun), progressist (1848). Related: Progressively; progressiveness.
an early 16c. alteration of the older word, rightwise, which is from Old English rihtwis, of actions, "characterized by justice, morally right," of persons, "just, upright; sinless, conforming to divine law," from riht (see right (adj.1)) + wis "wise, way, manner" (see wise (adj.)). The alteration of the ending is by influence of courteous, etc. As a noun, "those who are righteous," Old English rehtwisan. The meaning "genuine, excellent" is 1942 in jazz slang. Related: Righteously.
Upright gets force from the idea of physical perpendicularity, a standing up straight by the standard of right ; righteous carries up the idea of right to the standards, motives, and sanctions of religion ; rightful applies not to conduct, but to claims by right : as, he is the rightful owner of the land ; just suggests by derivation a written law, but presumes that the law is a right one, or that there is above it, and if necessary overruling it, a law of God. This last is the uniform Biblical usage. Just generally implies the exercise of some power or authority. [Century Dictionary]
Meaning "true, direct, honest" is from 1520s. Of communication, "clear, unambiguous," from 1862. Sense of "undiluted, uncompromising" (as in straight whiskey, 1874) is American English, first recorded 1856. As an adverb from c. 1300, "in a straight line, without swerving or deviating." Theatrical sense of "serious" (as opposed to popular or comic) is attested from 1895; vaudeville slang straight man first attested 1923.
Go straight in the underworld slang sense is from 1919; straighten up "become respectable" is from 1907. To play it straight is from 1906 in theater, 1907 in sports ("play fair"), with figurative extension; later perhaps also from jazz. Straight arrow "decent, conventional person" is 1969, from archetypal Native American brave name. Straight shooter is from 1928. Straight As "top grades" is from 1920.