c. 1400, "spiced sauce served with meat or fowl" (early 14c. as a surname), probably from Middle Dutch pekel "pickle, brine," or related words in Low German and East Frisian (Dutch pekel, East Frisian päkel, German pökel), which are of uncertain origin or original meaning. Klein suggests the name of a medieval Dutch fisherman who developed the process.
The meaning "cucumber preserved in pickle" first recorded 1707, via use of the word for the salty liquid in which meat, etc. was preserved (c. 1500). Colloquial figurative sense of "a sorry plight, a state or condition of difficulty or disorder" is recorded by 1560s, from the time when the word still meant a sauce served on meat about to be eaten. Meaning "troublesome boy" is from 1788, perhaps from the notion of being "imbued" with roguery.
in pathology, "loss of ability to speak," especially as result of brain injury or disorder, 1867, from Modern Latin aphasia, from Greek aphasia "speechlessness," abstract noun from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + phasis "utterance," from phanai "to speak," related to phēmē "voice, report, rumor" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").
APHASIA is the term which has recently been given to the loss of the faculty of articulate language, the organs of phonation and of articulation, as well as the intelligence, being unimpaired. The pathology of this affection is at the present time the subject of much discussion in the scientific world; the French Academy devoted several of their séances during the year 1865 to its special elucidation, and the Medical Journals of France and of our own country have lately contained a good deal of original matter bearing upon this obscure feature in cerebral pathology. [Frederic Bateman, M.D., "Aphasia," London, 1868]
1650s, "having no definite aim or purpose, haphazard, not sent in a special direction," from phrase at random (1560s), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"), from an alteration of the Middle English noun randon, randoun "impetuosity; speed" (c. 1300). This is from Old French randon "rush, disorder, force, impetuosity," from randir "to run fast," from Frankish *rant "a running" or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *randa (source also of Old High German rennen "to run," Old English rinnan "to flow, to run;" see run (v.)). For spelling shift of -n to -m, compare seldom, ransom.
In 1980s U.S. college student slang it began to acquire a sense of "inferior, undesirable." (A 1980 William Safire column describes it as a college slang noun meaning "person who does not belong on our dormitory floor.") Random access in reference to computer memory that need not be read sequentially is recorded from 1953. Related: Randomly; randomness.
late 14c., idroforbia, "dread of water, aversion to swallowing water," a symptom of rabies in man (sometimes used for the disease itself), from Late Latin hydrophobia, from Greek hydrophobos "dreading water," from hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (from suffixed form of PIE root *wed- (1) "water; wet") + phobos "dread, fear" (see phobia). So called because human sufferers show aversion to water and have difficulty swallowing it. In Old English as wæterfyrhtness. Related: Hydrophobe.
The term hydrophobia, which has been so generally applied to the Lyssa canina, has been deservedly reprobated, because the "dread of water," the literal meaning of the word, is not a pathognomonic mark of the disease. The older writers used the terms aerophobia, or a "dread of air," and pantophobia, or a "fear of all things," as appropriate names for the disease, because the impression cold air sometimes excites terror, and the disorder is marked, by a singular degree of general timidity and distrust. ["Encyclopaedia Londinensis," 1823]
late 14c., "gaping void; empty, immeasurable space," from Old French chaos (14c.) or directly from Latin chaos, from Greek khaos "abyss, that which gapes wide open, that which is vast and empty," from *khnwos, from PIE root *ghieh- "to yawn, gape, be wide open."
Meaning "utter confusion" (c. 1600) is an extended sense from theological use of chaos in the Vulgate version of "Genesis" (1530s in English) for "the void at the beginning of creation, the confused, formless, elementary state of the universe." The Greek for "disorder" was tarakhe, but the use of chaos here was rooted in Hesiod ("Theogony"), who describes khaos as the primeval emptiness of the Universe, and in Ovid ("Metamorphoses"), who opposes Khaos to Kosmos, "the ordered Universe." Sometimes it was personified as a god, begetter of Erebus and Nyx ("Night").
Meaning "orderless confusion" in human affairs is from c. 1600. Chaos theory in the modern mathematical sense is attested from c. 1977.
"confusedly, hurriedly," 1590s, a "vocal gesture" [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (as in hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children's game, attested from c. 1600).
Edward Moor, "Suffolk Words and Phrases" (London, 1823), quotes a list of "conceited rhyming words or reduplications" from the 1768 edition of John Ray's "Collection of English Words Not Generally Used," all said to "signify any confusion or mixture;" the list has higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, hodge-podge, mingle-mangle, arsy-versy, kim-kam, hub-bub, crawly-mauly, and hab-nab. "To which he might have added," Moor writes, crincum-crankum, crinkle-crankle, flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, gibble-gabble, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hiccup-suickup, hocus-pocus, hotch-potch, hugger-mugger, humdrum, hum-strum, hurry-scurry, jibber-jabber, prittle-prattle, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, and topsy-turvy. Many of these date to the 16th century.
1868, from German Entropie "measure of the disorder of a system," coined 1865 (on analogy of Energie) by German physicist Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888), in his work on the laws of thermodynamics, from Greek entropia "a turning toward," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + trope "a turning, a transformation" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn"). The notion is supposed to be "transformation contents." Related: Entropic.
It was not until 1865 that Clausius invented the word entropy as a suitable name for what he had been calling "the transformational content of the body." The new word made it possible to state the second law in the brief but portentous form: "The entropy of the universe tends toward a maximum," but Clausius did not view entropy as the basic concept for understanding that law. He preferred to express the physical meaning of the second law in terms of the concept of disgregation, another word that he coined, a concept that never became part of the accepted structure of thermodynamics. [Martin J. Klein, "The Scientific Style of Josiah Willard Gibbs," in "A Century of Mathematics in America," 1989]
early 14c., "discomfited, routed, defeated" (of groups), serving at first as an alternative past participle of confound, as Latin confusus was the past participle of confundere "to pour together, mix, mingle; to join together;" hence, figuratively, "to throw into disorder; to trouble, disturb, upset."
The Latin past participle also was used as an adjective, with reference to mental states, "troubled, embarrassed," and this passed into Old French as confus "dejected, downcast, undone, defeated, discomfited in mind or feeling," which passed to Middle English as confus (14c.; for example Chaucer's "I am so confus, that I may not seye"), which then was assimilated to the English past-participle pattern by addition of -ed. By mid-16c., the word evolved a back-formed verb in confuse. Few English etymologies are more confusing.
Of individuals, "discomfited in mind, perplexed," from mid-14c.; in logic, "indistinct, indistinguishable from other ideas from which it ought to be different," 1610s. Meaning "lacking orderly arrangement of parts" is from 1776. Related: Confusedly.
1540s, "words, clauses, etc. inserted into a sentence, not grammatically connected to it but explaining or qualifying a word," from French parenthèse (15c.) or directly from Medieval Latin parenthesis "addition of a letter to a syllable in a word," from Greek parenthesis, literally "a putting in beside," from parentithenai "put in beside," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + en- "in" + tithenai "to put, to place" (from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
By 1715 the sense was extended from the inserted words to the two upright curved brackets (parentheses) used by printers or writers to indicate the words inserted.
Your first figure of tollerable disorder is [Parenthesis] or by an English name the [Insertour] and is when ye will seeme for larger information or some other purpose, to peece or graffe in the middest of your tale an vnnecessary parcell of speach, which neuerthelesse may be thence without any detriment to the rest. [George Puttenham, "The Arte of English Poesie," 1589]
A wooden parenthesis; the pillory. An iron parenthesis; a prison. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
c. 1200, "the following of a wrong scent by hounds" (a sense now obsolete but in one phrase); early 14c., "debauchery, extravagance, wanton living," from Anglo-French rioute, Old French riot, riote (12c.) "dispute, quarrel, (tedious) talk, chattering, argument, domestic strife," also a euphemism for "sexual intercourse," of uncertain origin. Compare Italian riotta (Medieval Latin riota) "quarrel, dispute, uproar, riot." Perhaps from Latin rugire "to roar."
The meaning "civil disorder, violent disturbance of the peace, public disturbance arising from wanton and disorderly conduct" is attested by late 14c. The meaning "something spectacularly successful" first recorded 1909 in theater slang. The sense of "vivid display of colors" is by 1891.
To run riot "act or move without control or restraint" is by 1520s, a figurative extension of the oldest Middle English meaning of the word, in reference to hounds following the wrong scent. The Riot Act, part of which must be read to a mob before active measures can be taken, was passed 1714 (1 Geo. I, st.2, c.5). Riot girl and alternative form riot grrl first recorded 1992.