c. 1200, norice, nurrice, "wet-nurse, woman who nourishes or suckles an infant; foster-mother to a young child," from Old French norrice "foster-mother, wet-nurse, nanny" (source of proper name Norris), from Late Latin *nutricia "nurse, governess, tutoress," noun use of fem. of Latin nutricius "that suckles, nourishes," from nutrix (genitive nutricis) "wet-nurse," from nutrire "to suckle" (see nourish).
The modern form of the English word is from late 14c. By 16c. also "female servant who has care of a child or children" (technically a dry-nurse). As "one who protects or that which nurtures, trains, or cherishes," from early 15c. Meaning "person (usually a woman) who takes care of sick or infirm persons" in English is recorded by 1580s.
"minute parasitic fungus that appears on plants or decaying organic matter," mid-14c., a transferred sense of a word that meant originally "nectar, honeydew" (the sugar-rich sticky stuff secreted by aphids feeding on plant sap); this is from mid-13c. as mildeu, from Old English meledeaw, from a Proto-Germanic compound of *melith "honey" (from PIE root *melit- "honey") + *dawwaz "dew" (see dew). Similar formation in Old Saxon milidou, Dutch meeldauw, Old High German miltou, German Meltau "mildew." The first element in many continental Germanic languages has been assimilated to forms of meal (n.2) "ground grain."
As a kind of morbid fungus or blight, it presumably is so called from its being sticky and growing on plants. As a verb, "to taint with mildew," from 1550s. Related: Mildewed; mildewy.
1530s, "a hanger-on, a toady, person who lives on others," from French parasite (16c.) or directly from Latin parasitus "toady, sponger," and directly from Greek parasitos "one who lives at another's expense, person who eats at the table of another," especially one who frequents the tables of the rich and earns his welcome by flattery, from noun use of an adjective meaning "feeding beside," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + sitos "grain, bread, food," a word of unknown origin.
Scientific meaning "animal or plant that lives on or in and at the expense of another" is first recorded 1640s (implied in parasitical).
There is scarcely any animal that may not or does not serve as the host of parasites, and some parasites are themselves the hosts of other parasites. ... Parasites form no technical group of animals, since representatives of almost any class or order, from protozoans to vertebrates, may be parasitic. Most of the leading divisions of animals, however, include some members, whether genera, families, orders, or even classes, whose habit is extensively or exclusively parasitic. [Century Dictionary]
"act or practice of feeding on horseflesh," 1823, from hippo- "horse" + -phagy "eating" (see -phagous). Ptolemy uses hippophagi of certain nomadic tribes of central Asia. Related: Hippophagous (1828).
Europeans have generally regarded horse-flesh as unfit for food; but hippophagy or horse-eating has always existed among some rude races, and has been advocated by many gastronomers in Europe. In Paris horse-flesh has long been surreptitiously dealt in as a cheap article of diet, and its sale, under strict official supervision, was authorized in 1866. The necessary use of it there during the siege of 1870-1 brought it into more general favor, which has been maintained. It is also eaten to some extent in other countries. [Century Dictionary, 1903]
"writing which avoids all words containing a particular letter" (an ancient literary pastime; in English typically -e-), 1711, abstracted from Greek lipogrammatikos, literally "wanting a letter," from stem of leipein "to leave, be lacking" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave") + gramma "a letter, character" (see -gram).
If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically, you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport. [Ernest Vincent Wright, "Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words without Using the Letter 'e'," Los Angeles: 1939]
late 13c., wenche "girl, young woman," especially if unmarried, also "female infant," shortened from wenchel "child," also in Middle English "girl, maiden," from Old English wencel, probably related to wancol "unsteady, fickle, weak," from Proto-Germanic *wankila- (source also of Old Norse vakr "child, weak person," Old High German wanchal "fickle"), from PIE *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)).
The wenche is nat dead, but slepith. [Wyclif, Matthew ix.24, c. 1380]
In Middle English occasionally with disparaging suggestion, and secondary sense of "concubine, strumpet" is attested by mid-14c. Also "serving-maid, bondwoman, young woman of a humble class" (late 14c.), a sense retained in the 19c. U.S. South in reference to slave women of any age. In Shakespeare's day a female flax-worker could be a flax-wench, flax-wife, or flax-woman.
class of Christians who regard infant baptism as invalid, 1530s, literally "one who baptizes over again," from Modern Latin anabaptista, from Late Latin anabaptismus "second baptism" (used in literal sense from 4c.), from Ecclesiastical Greek anabaptismos, from ana "again, anew" (see ana-) + baptismos "baptism" (see baptism).
Originally in English in reference to the sects that practiced adult baptism and arose in Germany from 1521. Probably so called because, as a new faith, they baptized converts who already had been baptized (as infants) in the older Catholic or older Protestant churches. Modern branches (notably Mennonites and Amish) baptize only once (adults) and do not actively seek converts. The name also was applied, usually opprobriously, to Baptists, perhaps due to the multiple immersions of their baptisms.
Middle English akorn, from Old English æcern "nut, mast of trees, acorn," a common Germanic word (cognates: Old Norse akarn, Dutch aker, Low German ecker "acorn," German Ecker, Gothic akran "fruit"), originally the mast of any forest tree. It is by most sources said to be related to Proto-Germanic *akraz, the source of Old English æcer "open land," Gothic akrs "field," Old French aigrun "fruits and vegetables" (from Frankish or some other Germanic source), perhaps on the notion of "fruit of the open or unenclosed land;" see acre.
The sense was gradually restricted in Low German, Scandinavian, and English to the most important of the forest produce for feeding swine: the mast of the oak tree. The regular modern form would be *akern; the current spelling emerged 15c.-16c. by folk etymology association with oak (Old English ac) and corn (n.1), neither of which has anything to do with it. Acorn squash is attested by 1937.
"pathological craving for substance unfit for food" (such as chalk), 1560s, from Medieval Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), probably translating Greek kissa, kitta "magpie, jay," also "false appetite." The connecting notion may be the birds' indiscriminate feeding. Compare geophagy.
As the magpie eats young birds, here is the bird to keep the sparrows' numbers in check, for it will live in towns and close to dwellings—just the localities sparrows frequent. The magpie's appetite is omnivorous, and it is charged with at times killing weakly lambs, and varying its diet by partaking of grain and fruit; but I never at Home heard any complaints of this bird from the farmers, whilst the gamekeepers had not a good word for it. The bird will eat carrion, so if one were disturbed taking a meal from a dead lamb it would probably be blamed for its death, which may have occurred from natural causes. [A. Bathgate, "The Sparrow Plague and its Remedy," in Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, 1903]
1540s, from Latin augur, a religious official in ancient Rome who foretold events by observing and interpreting signs and omens, perhaps originally meaning "an increase in crops enacted in ritual," in which case it probably is from Old Latin *augos (genitive *augeris) "increase," and is related to augere "increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase."
The more popular theory is that it is from Latin avis "bird," because the flights, singing, and feeding of birds were important objects of divination (compare auspex). In that case, the second element would be from garrire "to talk." Related: Augural; augurial.
These auspices were studied, with a fixed ceremonial, in the following classes of phenomena: (1) signs from the heavens, including thunder and lightning, and other meteorological manifestations; (2) signs from the direction of flight or the various cries of birds; (3) signs from the manner of eating of domestic hens kept for this purpose; (4) signs from the movements and attitudes of animals; (5) evil omens from various fortuitous incidents, such as the fall of any object, the gnawing of a mouse, the creaking of a chair, etc., occurring during the augural ceremonies or when these were about to begin. [Century Dictionary]