Etymology
Advertisement
bureau (n.)
1690s, "desk with drawers for papers, writing desk," from French bureau (plural bureaux) "office; desk, writing table," originally "cloth covering for a desk," from burel "coarse woolen cloth" (as a cover for writing desks), Old French diminutive of bure "dark brown cloth," which is perhaps either from Latin burrus "red" (see burro) or from Late Latin burra "wool, shaggy garment" (which is of unknown origin).

Bureau desks being the common furniture of offices, the meaning expanded by 1720 to "office or place where business is transacted," and by 1796 to "division of a government." Meaning "chest of drawers for clothes, etc.," is from 1770, said to be American English but early in British use.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
burgeon (v.)
early 14c., "grow, sprout, blossom," from Anglo-French burjuner, Old French borjoner "to bud, sprout," from borjon "a bud, shoot, pimple" (Modern French bourgeon), a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *burrionem (nominative *burrio), from Late Latin burra "flock of wool," itself of uncertain origin. Some sources (Kitchin, Gamillscheg) say either the French word or the Vulgar Latin one is from Germanic (compare Old High German burjan "to raise, lift up"). The English verb is perhaps instead a native development from burjoin (n.) "a bud" (c. 1300), from Old French. According to OED, it died out by 18c. except as a technical term in gardening, and was revived early 19c. in poetry. Related: Burgeoned; burgeoning.
Related entries & more 
blanket (n.)

c. 1300, "coarse white woolen stuff," also "a large oblong piece of woolen cloth used for warmth as a bed-covering" (also as a cover for horses), from Old French blanchet "light wool or flannel cloth; an article made of this material," diminutive of blanc "white" (see blank (adj.)), which had a secondary sense of "a white cloth."

As an adjective, "providing for a number of contingencies," 1886 (blanket-clause in a contract). Wet blanket (1830) is from the notion of a person who throws a damper on social situations in the way a wet blanket smothers a fire. In U.S. history, a blanket Indian (1859) was one using the traditional garment instead of wearing Western dress.

Only 26,000 blanket Indians are left in the United States. [Atlantic Monthly, March 1906]
Related entries & more 
comb (n.)

Old English camb (later Anglian comb) "thin strip of toothed, stiff material" (for dressing the hair), also "fleshy crest growing on the head of the domestic fowl" (so called for its serrations), hence "crest of a hat, helmet, etc.;" also "honeycomb" (for which see honeycomb (n.)) , from Proto-Germanic *kambaz (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German camb, German Kamm, Middle Dutch cam, Dutch kam, Old Norse kambr), literally "toothed object," from PIE *gombhos, from root *gembh- "tooth, nail."

From c. 1300 as a tool for carding wool (probably earlier; Comber as a surname is from c. 1200). Comb-paper (1866) is marbled paper in which the design is produced mostly by use of a comb.

Related entries & more 
steel (n.)
modified form of iron with a small portion of carbon, not found in nature but known in ancient times, Old English style "steel," from noun use of Proto-Germanic adjective *stakhlijan "made of steel" (source also of Old Saxon stehli, Old Norse, Middle Low German stal, Danish staal, Swedish stål, Middle Dutch stael, Dutch staal, Old High German stahal, German Stahl), related to *stakhla "standing fast," from PIE *stek-lo-, from root *stak- "to stand, place, be firm" (see stay (n.1)). The notion is perhaps "that which stands firm." No corresponding word exists outside Germanic except those likely borrowed from Germanic languages.

As an adjective from c. 1200 (Old English used stylen "*steel-en." Steel wool is attested from 1896. Steel drum is from 1952.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
pack (n.)

early 13c., pak, pake, "a bundle or package (of cloth, merchandise, etc.)," also "a bag or purse for carrying things," probably from a Low German word (compare Middle Dutch pac, pack "bundle," Middle Low German pak, Middle Flemish pac, attested from late 12c.) and taken into English from the wool traders in Flanders; or possibly from Old Norse pakki. All are of unknown origin. Italian pacco is a Dutch loan word; French pacque probably is from Flemish.

Especially a bundle enclosed in a wrapping and bound fast with cords. Meaning "set of persons" (usually of a low character) is from late 14c. and is older than sense of "group of instinctively herding hunting animals" (mid-15c.). Extended to "complete set of playing cards" (1590s), floating ice (1791), bundled cigarettes (1865), and submarines (1943).

Meaning "knapsack on a frame" is attested from 1916. Pack of lies is attested from 1763. Meaning "a person of low character" (usually with naughty) is by 1520s.

Related entries & more 
jean (n.)

"twilled cotton cloth," mid-15c., Geayne, short for Gene fustian, from French jean fustian "fustian (a type of twilled cotton cloth) of Genoa," the Italian city, from Old French Jannes "Genoa," from Latin Genua (see Genoa). Compare obsolete jane, name of a small silver coin of Genoa that circulated in England 15c. The plural form jeans became standard by mid-19c. In the sense "trousers made of jeans" it is attested by 1908; noted as characteristic of teenagers from 1959. Not originally blue.

After sheep could be protected from the wolves, the people fared better in the matter of clothing. Flannel and linsey were woven for the wear of women and children, while jeans was woven for the men. For want of other dye-stuffs, the wool for the jeans was almost invariably colored with the bark or young shoots of the walnut; hence the inevitable "butternut" worn so extensively in the West for many years. ["History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois," 1879]
Related entries & more 
leather (n.)

Old English leðer (only in compounds) "tanned or otherwise dressed hide or skin of an animal," from Proto-Germanic *lethran (source also of Old Norse leðr, Old Frisian lether, Old Saxon lethar, Middle Dutch, Dutch leder, Old High German ledar, German Leder), from PIE *letro- "leather" (source also of Old Irish lethar, Welsh lledr, Breton lezr). As an adjective from early 14c.; it acquired a secondary sense of "sado-masochistic" 1980s, having achieved that status in homosexual jargon in the 1970s.

In commercial and popular usage leather does not include skins dressed with the hair or fur on: such skins are usually distinguished by compounding the word skin with the name of the animal from which they are taken: as sealskin, bearskin, otter skin, etc. In the untanned state skins valued for their fur, hair, or wool and destined to be tawed and dressed for furriers' and analogous uses, are called pelts or peltry. [Century Dictionary, 1900]
Related entries & more 
blouse (n.)

"light, loose upper garment of linen or cotton," 1828 (from 1822 as a French word in English), from French blouse, "workman's or peasant's smock" (1788), origin unknown. Perhaps akin to Provençal (lano) blouso "short (wool)" [Gamillscheg]. Another suggestion [Klein] is that it is from Medieval Latin pelusia, from Pelusium, a city in Upper Egypt, supposedly a clothing manufacturing center in the Middle Ages. At first a garment worn by French working-men as a protection from dust, etc., later adopted fashionably for women and children, not without objection:

In Paris, a very slovenly, loose, drawn frock, with most capacious sleeves, had been introduced called a blouse. Some of our priestesses of the toilet seemed emulous of copying this deshabille, with some slight alterations, but we never wish to see it on the symmetrical form of a British lady. ["Summary of Fashion for 1822," in Museum of Foreign Literature and Science, Jan.-June 1823]
Related entries & more 
crisp (adj.)

Old English crisp "curly, crimped, wavy" (of hair, wool, etc.) from Latin crispus "curled, wrinkled, having curly hair," from PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend."

It began to mean "brittle" 1520s, for obscure reasons, perhaps based on what happens to flat things when they are cooked. Sense of "neat, brisk, having a fresh appearance" (1814) is perhaps a figurative use, or perhaps a separate word. Of air, "chill, bracing" by 1869.

As a noun from mid-14c., originally the name of a light, crinkly material formerly used for kerchiefs, veils, etc.; late 14c. as a kind of pastry. By 1826 as "overdone piece of anything cooked" (as in burned to a crisp). Potato crisps (now the British version of U.S. potato chips, but not originally exclusively British) is by 1897; as simply crisps by 1935. In U.S., crisps began to be used by 1903 in trade names of breakfast cereals. Related: Crisply; crispness.

Related entries & more 

Page 8