Etymology
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corner (n.)

late 13c., "place where streets or walls meet;" early 14c., "intersection of any two converging lines or surfaces; an angle," from Anglo-French cornere (Old French corner, corniere), from Old French corne "horn; corner," from Vulgar Latin *corna, from Latin cornua, plural of cornu "horn, hard growth on the head of many mammals," from PIE root *ker- (1) "horn; head."

Latin cornu was used of pointed or stiff things but not of corners, for which angulus was the word. Meaning "a region or district" is from late 14c.; the four corners of the known earth is from late 14c. Sense of "either of the places where the upper and lower eyelids meet" is from late 14c. Meaning "a small, secret, or retired place" is from late 14c.

In boxing, from 1853. In soccer, short for corner-kick, by 1882. Sense of "a monopolizing of the market supply of a stock or commodity" is from 1853. As an adjective, from 1530s. Corner-shop is from late 13c.

To turn the corner "change direction," literally or figuratively, is from 1680s. To be just around the corner in the extended sense of "about to happen" is by 1905. To cut corners is by 1847 as "pass round a corner or corners as closely as possible;" figurative use, in reference to an easy or economical but risky course of action, is by 1882.

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time (n.)

Old English tima "limited space of time," from Proto-Germanic *timon- "time" (source also of Old Norse timi "time, proper time," Swedish timme "an hour"), from PIE *di-mon-, suffixed form of root *da- "to divide."

Abstract sense of "time as an indefinite continuous duration" is recorded from late 14c. Personified at least since 1509 as an aged bald man (but with a forelock) carrying a scythe and an hour-glass. In English, a single word encompasses time as "extent" and "point" (French temps/fois, German zeit/mal) as well as "hour" (as in "what time is it?" compare French heure, German Uhr). Extended senses such as "occasion," "the right time," "leisure," or times (v.) "multiplied by" developed in Old and Middle English, probably as a natural outgrowth of such phrases as "He commends her a hundred times to God" (Old French La comande a Deu cent foiz).

to have a good time ( = a time of enjoyment) was common in Eng. from c 1520 to c 1688; it was app. retained in America, whence readopted in Britain in 19th c. [OED]

Time of day (now mainly preserved in negation, i.e. what someone won't give you if he doesn't like you) was a popular 17c. salutation (as in "Good time of day vnto your Royall Grace," "Richard III," I.iii.18), hence to give (one) the time of day "greet socially" (1590s); earlier was give good day (mid-14c.). The times "the current age" is from 1590s. Behind the times "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1831. Times as the name of a newspaper dates from 1788.

Time warp first attested 1954; time-traveling in the science fiction sense first recorded 1895 in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." Time capsule first recorded 1938, in reference to the one "deemed capable of resisting the effects of time for five thousand years preserving an account of universal achievements embedded in the grounds of the New York World's fair."

Jones [archaeologist of A.D. 5139] potters about for a while in the region which we have come to regard as New York, finds countless ruins, but little of interest to the historian except a calcified direction sheet to something called a "Time Capsule." Jones finds the capsule but cannot open it, and decides, after considerable prying at the lid, that it is merely evidence of an archaic tribal ceremony called a "publicity gag" of which he has already found many examples. [Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 14, 1939]

To do time "serve a prison sentence" is from 1865. Time frame is attested by 1964; time-limit is from 1880. About time, ironically for "long past due time," is recorded from 1920. To be on time is by 1854 in railroading.

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spell (v.1)

early 14c., "read letter by letter, write or say the letters of;" c. 1400, "form words by means of letters," apparently a French word that merged with or displaced a native Old English one; both are from the same Germanic root, but the French word had evolved a different sense. The native word is Old English spellian "to tell, speak, discourse, talk," from Proto-Germanic *spellam (source also of Old High German spellon "to tell," Old Norse spjalla, Gothic spillon "to talk, tell"), from PIE *spel- (2) "to say aloud, recite."

But the current senses seem to come from Anglo-French espeller, Old French espelir "mean, signify, explain, interpret," also "spell out letters, pronounce, recite," from Frankish *spellon "to tell" or some other Germanic source, ultimately identical with the native word.

Related: Spelled; spelling. In early Middle English still "to speak, preach, talk, tell," hence such expressions as hear spell "hear (something) told or talked about," spell the wind "talk in vain" (both 15c.). Meaning "form words with proper letters" is from 1580s. Spell out "explain step-by-step" is first recorded 1940, American English. Shakespeare has spell (someone) backwards "reverse the character of, explain in a contrary sense, portray with determined negativity."

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cotton-picking (adj.)

as a deprecatory term first recorded in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but a similar noun cotton-picker meaning "contemptible person" dates to around 1919, perhaps with racist overtones that have faded over the years. Before mechanization, cotton picking was the most difficult labor on a plantation.

I drove out to a number of the farms near Denison and found many very young white children working all day in the hot sun picking and dragging sacks of cotton. In one field the labor corps consisted of one woman and six children, one of them 5 years, one 6 years, one 7 years, one 9 years, and two about 11. The father was plowing. The 5 and 6 year olds worked all day as did the rest. The 7-year-old said he picked 50 pounds a day and the 9 year old 75 pounds. (A good picker averages several hundred a day.) School begins late on account of the cotton picking, but the children nearly all prefer school to the picking. Picking hours are long, hot, and deadly monotonous. While the very young children seem to enjoy it, very soon their distaste for it grows into all-absorbing hatred for all work. ["Field Notes of Lewis W. Hine, Child-Labor Conditions in Texas," report to U.S. Congressional Commission on Industrial Relations, 1916]
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owl (n.)

"raptorial nocturnal bird of prey of the family Strigidæ," Middle English oule, from Old English ule "owl," from Proto-Germanic *uwwalon- (source also of Middle Dutch, Dutch uil, Old High German uwila, German Eule, Old Norse ugla), a diminutive of PIE root *u(wa)l-, which is imitative of a wail or an owl's hoot (compare howl and Latin ulula "owl;" also see ululation).

The bird was used in proverbs and figures of speech in reference to its nocturnal habits, but also in Middle English for ugliness (late 14c.), spiritual blindness (c. 1400), and maliciousness (mid-15c.). It was a name for Satan in early 15c. The association with gravity and wisdom comes later, after the revival of classical learning: A small, brown type of owl is common on the Acropolis and about Athens and was hence taken in ancient times as an emblem of the city and by extension of its patron deity, Athene, goddess of wisdom. Hence also the saying bring (or send) owls to Athens "perform unnecessary labor."

By 1895 in reference to a person whose pleasure or business is to be up at night. Owl-flight "twilight" is from late 15c. The name of the trickster Till Eulenspiegel (literally "owl-mirror") of the popular German tales was rendered in English as Owlglass when they were first translated c. 1560; Jonson and Scott use the half-translated Owl-spiegle.

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wake (v.)

"to become awake," a Middle English merger of Old English wacan "to become awake, arise, be born, originate," and Old English wacian "to be or remain awake," both from Proto-Germanic *wakjanan (source also of Old Saxon wakon, Old Norse vaka, Danish vaage, Old Frisian waka, Dutch waken, Old High German wahhen, German wachen "to be awake," Gothic wakan "to watch"), from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively."

Causative sense "to rouse from sleep" is attested from c. 1300. It has past tense woke, rarely waked (and that usually in the transitive sense) and past participle waked, rarely woke or woken. Related: Waking.

These usage guides for awake, awaken, wake, waken are distilled from those in Fowler and Century Dictionary:

1. Wake is the ordinary working verb; it alone has the sense "be or remain awake" (chiefly in waking).

2. Awake and awaken are chiefly used in figurative or transferred applications (A rude awakening).

3. Waken and awaken tend to be restricted to the transitive sense, awake being preferred in the senses related to arousing from actual sleep.

4. In the passive, awaken and waken are preferred, perhaps owing to uncertainty about the past participle of forms of awake and wake. (The colloquial 2010s use of woke in relation to political and social awareness is an exception.)

5. Up is commonly used with wake, but rarely with the others.

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redhead (n.)

"person having red hair," mid-13c. (1256 as a surname), from red (adj.1) + head (n.). Red (adj.), of persons, "having red hair" is from late Old English. Both Cain and Judas formerly were reputed to have had red or reddish-yellow beards.

The Carrot pate be sure you hate, for she'l be true to no man,
But put her too 't and she will do 't, and oft turns very common:
She that is red upon the head will doubtless ne'r forsake it,
But wanton be, assuredly, and willingly will take it.
["The True Lover's Admonition," Roxburghe Ballads, c. 1680]
Traditional ideas about red-haired people are not complimentary. Physically, they are said to sweat easily, bleed copiously, have a strong foxy smell, and such bad breath that they can raise blisters on other people simply by breathing over them. Morally, they are expected to be 'bad children' who cause nothing but trouble; they will be hot-tempered, treacherous, and highly sexed. The medieval notion that Judas, Cain, and Mary Magdalene were red-heads arose from these beliefs, and helped to perpetuate them. ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore," 2000]

As an adjective, "having red hair," from 1660s. Red-headed is attested from 1660s; red-haired from c. 1500.

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idiom (n.)

1580s, "form of speech peculiar to a people or place;" meaning "phrase or expression peculiar to a language" is from 1620s; from French idiome (16c.) and directly from Late Latin idioma "a peculiarity in language," from Greek idioma "peculiarity, peculiar phraseology" (Fowler writes that "A manifestation of the peculiar" is "the closest possible translation of the Greek word"), from idioumai "to appropriate to oneself," from idios "personal, private," properly "particular to oneself."

This is from PIE *swed-yo-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (source also of Sanskrit svah, Avestan hva-, Old Persian huva "one's own," khva-data "lord," literally "created from oneself;" Greek hos "he, she, it;" Latin suescere "to accustom, get accustomed," sodalis "companion;" Old Church Slavonic svoji "his, her, its," svojaku "relative, kinsman;" Gothic swes "one's own;" Old Norse sik "oneself;" German Sein; Old Irish fein "self, himself").

[G]rammar & idiom are independent categories; being applicable to the same material, they sometimes agree & sometimes disagree about particular specimens of it; the most can be said is that what is idiomatic is far more often grammatical than ungrammatical, but that is worth saying, because grammar & idiom are sometimes treated as incompatibles .... [Fowler]
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snide (adj.)

1859, thieves' slang, "counterfeit, sham, bad, spurious," of unknown origin. Century Dictionary suggests it is a dialectal variant of snithe, itself a dialectal adjective meaning "sharp, cutting," used of the wind, from the Middle English verb snithen "to cut," from Old English snithan, which is cognate with German schneiden.

In earliest use it seems to have been most commonly applied to counterfeit coin. Farmer and Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues," 1903) has it as "bad, wretched, contemptible, or (army) dirty." Of persons, "characterized by low cunning and sharp practice," by 1874 (Hotten). Sense of "sneering" is attested by 1928, perhaps via the earlier noun sense of "hypocrisy, malicious gossip" (1902). Related: Snidely.

The tradition that a first-rate man is less a first-rate man if, encountering a snide detraction of himself that has no respect for the facts, he makes a critical riposte, strikes me as being just about as silly as anything I have run across during many years spent in this silly world. I speak, of course and obviously enough, not of snide criticism written by essentially snide men, but of the species of snide criticism that is every once in a while written by men who should know better. [George Jean Nathan, "Clinical Notes," The American Mercury, June 1928]
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reck (v.)

Middle English recchen "to care, heed, have a mind, be concerned about" (later usually with of), from Old English reccan (2) "take care of, be interested in, care for; have regard to, take heed of; to care, heed; desire (to do something)" (strong verb, past tense rohte, past participle rought), from West Germanic *rokjan, from Proto-Germanic *rokja- (source also of Old Saxon rokjan, Middle Dutch roeken, Old Norse rækja "to care for," Old High German giruochan "to care for, have regard to," German geruhen "to deign," which is influenced by ruhen "to rest").

This is reconstructed to be from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule." The -k- sound is probably a northern influence from Norse. No known cognates outside Germanic. "From its earliest appearance in Eng., reck is almost exclusively employed in negative or interrogative clauses" [OED]. Related: Recked; recking. Also compare reckless.

And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn. [J.R.R. Tolkien, "Return of the King," 1955]
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