mid-14c., "mockery, scorning, derision;" late 14c., "act of deception; deceptive appearance, apparition; delusion of the mind," from Old French illusion "a mocking, deceit, deception" (12c.), from Latin illusionem (nominative illusio) "a mocking, jesting, jeering; irony," from past-participle stem of illudere "mock at," literally "to play with," from assimilated form of in- "at, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Sense of "deceptive appearance" first developed in Church Latin. Related: Illusioned "full of illusions" (1920).
Probably influenced by Old French escorne "affront, disgrace," which is a back-formation from escorner, literally "to break off (someone's) horns," from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare "treat with contempt"), from Latin ex- "without" (see ex-) + cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).
1590s (first recorded use in English is in Ben Jonson), "literary work in which the form and expression of dignified writing are closely imitated but are made ridiculous by the ludicrously inappropriate subject or methods; a travesty that follows closely the form and expression of the original," from or in imitation of Latin parodia "parody," from Greek parōidia "burlesque song or poem," from para- "beside, parallel to" (see para- (1), in this case, "mock-") + ōidē "song, ode" (see ode). The meaning "a poor or feeble imitation" is from 1830. Related: Parodic; parodical.
also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by Texas politician Maury Maverick (1895-1954), a grandson of the inspiration for maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II, in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).
also hobby-horse, 1550s, "mock horse used in the morris-dance;" 1580s, "child's toy riding horse," from hobby (n.) + horse (n.). Transferred sense of "favorite pastime or avocation" first recorded 1670s (shortened to hobby by 1816). The connecting notion being "activity that doesn't go anywhere."
The hobbyhorse originally was a "Tourney Horse," a wooden or basketwork frame worn around the waist and held on with shoulder straps, with a fake tail and horse head attached, so the wearer appears to be riding a horse. These were part of church and civic celebrations at Midsummer and New Year's throughout England.
1590s, an abusive term for a person, perhaps meaning "a pedant;" c. 1600, "a whim;" 1640s, "pun or word-play," a word of unknown origin, said in 17c. to be Oxford University slang. Perhaps the sort of ponderous mock-Latin word that was once the height of humor in learned circles; Skeat suggests Latin conandrum "a thing to be attempted" as the source. Also spelled quonundrum.
From 1745 as "a riddle in which some odd resemblance is proposed between things quite unlike, the answer often involving a pun." (An example from 1745: "Why is a Sash-Window like a Woman in Labour? because 'tis full of Panes").
The name later was used attributively of gentlemen of exceptional courage and integrity, in this sense from Pierre du Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1473-1524), French knight celebrated as Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche. The surname is perhaps in reference to hair color.
late 13c., "be a sign of, indicate, mean," from Old French signifier (12c.), from Latin significare "to make signs, show by signs, point out, express; mean, signify; foreshadow, portend," from significus (adj.), from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)) + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Intransitive sense of "to be of importance" is attested from 1660s. Meaning "engage in mock-hostile banter" is African-American vernacular, by 1932.
...'signifying,' which in Harlemese means making a series of oblique remarks apparently addressed to no one in particular, but unmistakable in intention in such a close-knit circle. [Down Beat, March 7, 1968]
"a head-rest used by a person reclining," especially a soft, elastic cushion filled with down, feathers, etc., Middle English pilwe, from Old English pyle "cushion, bed-cushion, pillow," from West Germanic *pulwi(n) (source also of Old Saxon puli, Middle Dutch polu, Dutch peluw, Old High German pfuliwi, German Pfühl), an early borrowing (2c. or 3c.) from Latin pulvinus "little cushion, small pillow," of uncertain origin. The modern spelling in English is from mid-15c.
Pillow fight (n.) "mock combat using pillows as weapons" is attested from 1837; slang pillow talk (n.) "relaxed intimate conversation between a couple in bed" is recorded by 1939. Pillow-case "washable cloth drawn over a pillow" is by 1745. Pillow-sham is by 1867.