late 14c., filaterie, philateria, "small leathern box or badge containing four Old Testament texts, worn by Jews on the arm or forehead as a reminder of the obligation to keep the Law," from Old French filatiere (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin philaterium, from Late Latin phylacterium "reliquary," from Greek phylacterion "safeguard, amulet; a post for watchmen," noun use of neuter of adjective phylaktērios "serving as a protection," from phylaktēr "watcher, guard," from phylassein "to guard or ward off," from phylax (genitive phylakos) "guardian, watcher, protector," a word of unknown origin; Beekes writes that, based on the suffix -ax, "the word may well be pre-Greek." The custom of wearing it is based on a literal reading of scripture:
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. [Deuteronomy xi.18]
1530s, "pointing of the psalms" (for the purpose of singing them), from Medieval Latin punctuationem (nominative punctuatio) "a marking with points in writing," noun of action from past-participle stem of punctuare "to mark with points or dots," from Latin punctus, past participle of pungere "to prick, pierce" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick"). Meaning "system of inserting pauses in written matter" is recorded from 1660s.
The modern system of punctuation was gradually developed after the introduction of printing, primarily through the efforts of Aldus Manutius and his family. ... Long after the use of the present points became established, they were so indiscriminately employed that, if closely followed, they are often a hindrance rather than an aid in reading and understanding the text. There is still much uncertainty and arbitrariness in punctuation, but its chief office is now generally understood to be that of facilitating a clear comprehension of the sense. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
[P]unctuation is cold notation; it is not frustrated speech; it is typographic code. [Robert Bringhurst, "The Elements of Typographic Style," 2004]
1917, noun, verb, and adjective, from French camoufler, Parisian slang, "to disguise," from Italian camuffare "to disguise," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps a contraction of capo muffare "to muffle the head." Probably altered in French by influence of French camouflet "puff of smoke, smoke puffed into a sleeper's face" (itself of unknown origin) on the notion of "blow smoke in someone's face." The British navy in World War I called it dazzle-painting.
Since the war started the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY has published photographs of big British and French field pieces covered with shrubbery, railway trains "painted out" of the landscape, and all kinds of devices to hide the guns, trains, and the roads from the eyes of enemy aircraft.
Until recently there was no one word in any language to explain this war trick. Sometimes a whole paragraph was required to explain this military practice. Hereafter one word, a French word, will save all this needless writing and reading. Camouflage is the new word, and it means "fooling the enemy." [Popular Science Monthly, August 1917]
1530s (transitive), "to reject with scorn," from Latin explodere "drive out or off by clapping, hiss off, hoot off," originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence "drive out, reject, destroy the repute of" (a sense surviving in an exploded theory), from ex "out" (see ex-) + plaudere "to clap the hands, applaud," which is of uncertain origin. Athenian audiences were highly demonstrative. clapping and shouting approval, stamping, hissing, and hooting for disapproval. The Romans seem to have done likewise.
At the close of the performance of a comedy in the Roman theatre one of the actors dismissed the audience, with a request for their approbation, the expression being usually plaudite, vos plaudite, or vos valete et plaudite. [William Smith, "A First Latin Reading Book," 1890]
English used it to mean "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (1650s), later "cause to burst suddenly and noisily" (1794). Intransitive sense of "go off with a loud noise" is from 1790, American English; figurative sense of "to burst with destructive force" is by 1882; that of "burst into sudden activity" is from 1817; of population by 1959. Related: Exploded; exploding.
1560s, "an ellipse" in geometry, from Latin ellipsis, from Greek elleipsis "a falling short, defect, ellipse in grammar," noun of action from elleipein "to fall short, leave out," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + leipein "to leave" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave").
Grammatical and rhetorical sense in English first recorded 1610s: "a figure of syntax in which a part of a sentence or phrase is used for the whole, by the omission of one or more words, leaving the full form to be understood or completed by the reader or hearer."
In printing, "a mark or marks denoting the omission of letters, words, or sentences," by 1867. Dashes, asterisks, and period have been used to indicate it. In reading aloud, a short pause was proper at a grammatical ellipsis in the writing.
WHEN a word or words are omitted by the figure ellipsis, a pause is necessary where the ellipsis occurs. [Robert James Ball, "The Academic Cicero; or Exercises in Modern Oratory," Dublin, 1823]
Probably the association of the typographical symbol with a pause in speaking is why 20c. writers began to use the three periods to denote a pause or an interruption in dialogue, creating a potential confusion noted by 1939. Related: Ellipticity.
As slang for a fool, 1719, perhaps an extended form of goose (n.) in this sense, or a play on gooseberry fool in the cookery sense. Gooseberry also meant "a chaperon" (1837) and "a marvelous tale." Old Gooseberry for "the Devil" is recorded from 1796. In euphemistic explanations of reproduction to children, babies sometimes were said to be found under a gooseberry bush.
1824; said to have been given as a toast by Sir William Curtis (1752-1829), a beloved lord mayor of London in the 1820s, who seems to have been a figure of fun to whom many mangled phrases were attributed. Among the toasts he is alleged to have given at public dinners were "The Female Ladies of London;" "The three C's—Cox, King, and Curtis;" and "The three R's—Reading, Writing, and Rithmetic."
It has been very much the fashion amongst a class of persons to attribute to Sir W. C. ... a vulgarity and ignorance of speech which are by no means consistent with his character and conduct. The worthy and hospitable baronet has a rapid mode of speech, but it is always correct ; and although some eccentricities are mixed up in his composition, he is highly honourable, and has been a very useful member of society, particularly to his London constituents. [The Mirror, Jan. 29, 1825]
After listing some examples, the article continues:
It is, however, very certain, that at a city festival some years ago, having indulged very freely, he fell asleep, when some wag, choosing to consider him dead, wrote his epitaph, which was found next morning pinned to the baronet's dress coat:—
"Here lies the great Curtis,
Of London, Lord May'r:
He's left this here world,
And gone to that there."
Old English sped "success, a successful course; prosperity, riches, wealth; luck; opportunity, advancement," from Proto-Germanic *spodiz (source also of Old Saxon spod "success," Dutch spoed "haste, speed," Old High German spuot "success," Old Saxon spodian "to cause to succeed," Middle Dutch spoeden, Old High German spuoten "to haste"), from PIE *spo-ti-, from root *spes- or *speh- "prosperity" (source also of Hittite išpai- "get full, be satiated;" Sanskrit sphira "fat," sphayate "increases;" Latin spes "hope," sperare "to hope;" Old Church Slavonic spechu "endeavor," spĕti "to succeed," Russian spet' "to ripen;" Lithuanian spėju, spėti "to have leisure;" Old English spōwan "to prosper").
Meaning "rapidity of movement, quickness, swiftness" emerged in late Old English (at first usually adverbially, in dative plural, as in spedum feran). Meaning "rate of motion or progress" (whether fast or slow) is from c. 1200. Meaning "gear of a machine" is attested from 1866. Meaning "methamphetamine, or a related drug," first attested 1967, from its effect on users.
Speed limit is from 1879 (originally of locomotives); speed-trap is from 1908. Speed bump is 1975; figurative sense is 1990s. Full speed is recorded from late 14c. Speed reading first attested 1965. Speedball "mix of cocaine and morphine or heroin" is recorded from 1909.
c. 1200, religioun, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "action or conduct indicating a belief in a divine power and reverence for and desire to please it," from Anglo-French religiun (11c.), Old French religion, relegion "piety, devotion; religious community," and directly from Latin religionem (nominative religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods; conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation; fear of the gods; divine service, religious observance; a religion, a faith, a mode of worship, cult; sanctity, holiness," in Late Latin "monastic life" (5c.).
This noun of action was derived by Cicero from relegere "go through again" (in reading or in thought), from re- "again" (see re-) + legere "read" (see lecture (n.)). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (Servius, Lactantius, Augustine) and the interpretation of many modern writers connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via the notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." In that case, the re- would be intensive. Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens.
In English, the meaning "particular system of faith in the worship of a divine being or beings" is by c. 1300; the sense of "recognition of and allegiance in manner of life (perceived as justly due) to a higher, unseen power or powers" is from 1530s.
plural of man (n.). In common with German Männer, etc., it shows effects of i-mutation. Used as an indefinite pronoun ("one, people, they") from late Old English. Men's liberation first attested 1970. Men's room "a lavatory for men" is by 1908, American English. Earlier it had a more general sense:
men's room, n. "One end of this [cook and dining] room is partitioned off for a men's room, where the crew sit evenings, smoking, reading, singing, grinding their axes, telling stories, etc., before climbing the ladder to their night's rest in the bunk room ... For many years women have been employed in [logging] camps as cooks, hence the name men's room, for the crew are not allowed in the cook room except at meal time." [quoted in "Some Lumber and Other Words," in Dialect Notes, vol. II, part VI, 1904]
Menswear (also men's wear) "clothes for men" is by 1906. To separate the men from the boys in a figurative sense "distinguish the manly, mature, capable, etc. in a group from the rest" is from 1943; earliest uses tend to credit it to U.S. aviators in World War II.
One of the most expressive G.I. terms to come out of the late strife was "that's where they separate the men from the boys" — so stated by American aviators leaning from their cockpits to observe a beach-landing under fire on some Pacific island far below. ["Arts Magazine," 1947]