father of Icarus in Greek mythology, builder of the Cretan labyrinth, from Latin Daedelus, from Greek Daidalos, literally "the cunning worker," from or related to daidallein "to work artfully, embellish," a word of disputed etymology. Beekes writes, "we should consider Pre-Greek origin." Related: Daedalian.
"of or pertaining to an uncle," 1789, from Latin avunculus "maternal uncle," diminutive of avus (see uncle) + -ar. Used humorously for "of a pawnbroker" (uncle was slang for "pawnbroker" from c. 1600 through 19c.).
Being in genteel society, we would not, of course, hint that any one of our readers can remember so very low and humiliating a thing as the first visit to "my Uncle"—the first pawnbroker. We have been assured though, by those whose necessities have sometimes compelled them to resort, for assistance, to their avuncular relation, that the first visit—the primary pawning—can never be forgotten. [Household Words, May 15, 1852]
word-forming element meaning "wax, waxy," from Latinized form of Greek kēros "beeswax," a word of unknown origin with no obvious ulterior connections. "As there is no evidence for Indo-European apiculture, we have to reckon with foreign origin for κηρός" [Beekes].
Originally intransitive (with genitive of the object: we abidon his "we waited for him"); transitive sense "endure, sustain, stay firm under," also "tolerate, bear, put up with" (now usually with a negative) is from c. 1200. Related: Abided; abiding. The historical conjugation was abide, abode, abidden, but in Modern English the formation generally is weak. Abide with "stay with (someone); live with; remain in the service of" is from c. 1300.
fem. proper name, fem. of Harry.
We think that gentlemen lose a particle of their respect for young ladies who allow their names to be abbreviated into such cognomens as Kate, Madge, Bess, Nell, &c. Surely it is more lady-like to be called Catharine, Margaret, Eliza, or Ellen. We have heard the beautiful name Virginia degraded into Jinny; and Harriet called Hatty, or even Hadge. [Eliza Leslie, "Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book," Philadelphia, 1839]
Nautical slang Harriet Lane "preserved meat" (1896) is the name of the victim of a notorious murder in which it was alleged the killer chopped up her body.
1841 in cookery, reborrowing from French of the same word that had been taken 14c. and Englished as fillet (q.v.). Filet mignon (literally "dainty fillet") for "small, round, tender cut of meat from the center of the fillet" is attested as a French word in English from 1815.
The 'Chateaubriand,' the 'entrecôte,' and the 'filet mignon' (of mutton), with other forms, are all due to the more enlarged sympathies of the French butcher for what is perfect. We must entirely change the mode of cutting up the carcase before we can arrive at the same perfection in form of meat purchasable, and as that is hopeless, so is it useless to insist further on the subject on behalf of the public. ["The Kitchen and the Cellar," Quarterly Review, April 1877]
also crack-down, "legal or disciplinary severity," 1935, from the verbal phrase (1915), from crack (v.) + down (adv.); perhaps from crack (v.) in the sense of "to shoot at (by 1913), or from the figurative notion in crack the whip.
These scab contractors probably think that they have us whipped, but they are badly mistaken. With the reorganization of the Building Trades Council, which is progressing nicely, we will be in a position to cope with them and when we do crack down on them they will have to come across or get out. [Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators, September 1915]
masc. proper name, from Latin, from Octavius, from octavus "eighth," from octo (see eight).
But although we find so marked differences in the use of the numerals as names, it is impossible to believe that this use did not arise in the same way for all; that is, that they were at first used to distinguish children by the order of birth. But when we find them as praenomina in historical times it is evident that they no longer referred to order of birth. [George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina," in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 1897]
"the middle period in the history of the English language," 1830; see middle (adj.) + English (n.). The term comes from Jakob Grimm's division of Germanic languages into Old, Middle and New in "Deutsche Grammatik" (1819). But for English he retained Anglo-Saxon, then already established, for what we call Old English, and used Old English for what we call early Middle English. Thus his Mittelenglisch, and the Middle English of mid-19th century English writers, tends to refer to the period c. 1400 to c. 1550. The confusion was sorted out, and the modern terminology established (with Middle English for the language from c. 1100 to c. 1500), mostly in the 1870.