late 14c., "fixed in place," from Old French dormant (12c.), present participle of dormir "to sleep," from Latin dormire "to sleep," from PIE root *drem- "to sleep" (source also of Old Church Slavonic dremati "to sleep, doze," Greek edrathon "I slept," Sanskrit drati "sleeps").
Meaning "in a resting situation, lying down with the head on the forepaws" (in heraldry, of beasts) is from c. 1500. Meaning "sleeping, asleep" is from 1620s. General sense of "in a state of rest or inactivity" is from c. 1600. Of volcanoes from 1760.
The Neapolitans are never so much afraid of this fiery Mountain as when its Flames lie, as 'twere, dormant ; for then it is that they live in constant Fear of a fresh huge Eruption, or, much worse, an Earthquake. [from the entry for "Vesuvius" in Brice's "Grand Gazetter Or Topographic Dictionary," 1760]
mid-14c., "temporary wooden framework upon which workmen stand in erecting a building, etc.," a shortening of an Old North French variant of Old French eschafaut "scaffold" (Modern French échafaud), probably altered (by influence of eschace "a prop, support") from chaffaut, from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum.
This is from Greek kata- "down" (see cata-), used in Medieval Latin with a sense of "beside, alongside" + fala "scaffolding, wooden siege tower," a word said to be of Etruscan origin.
From late 14c. as "raised platform on a stage in a play;" the general sense of "viewing stand" is from c. 1400. The meaning "platform for a hanging" is from 1550s (as a platform for a beheading from mid-15c.). Dutch schavot, German Schafott, Danish skafot are from French.
As a verb from mid-15c., scaffolden, "construct a scaffold;" by 1660s as "put a scaffold up to" (a building).
mid-14c., "having a defect or flaw of any kind, inferior, in bad condition," from Old French défectif (14c.) and directly from Late Latin defectivus "imperfect," from defect-, past-participle stem of deficere "to desert, revolt, fail," from de "down, away" (see de-) + combining form of facere "to do, make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
[D]efective generally takes the sense of lacking some important or essential quality; deficient, that of lacking in quantity: as defective teeth, timber, character; deficient supplies, means, intellect. The same difference is found between deficiency and defectiveness. [Century Dictionary]
In grammar, "wanting some of the usual forms of declension or conjugation" (late 15c.). Used in the sense of "mentally ill" from 1854 to c. 1935; as a noun, "person wanting in some physical or mental power," by 1869. Related: Defectively; defectiveness.
"a gun which by means of a mechanism delivers a continuous fire of projectiles," 1870, from machine (n.) + gun (n.). As a verb, "to shoot down or kill by means of a machine gun," it is attested by 1915. Related: Machine-gunned; machine-gunning; machine-gunner.
A man is entitled to the fruits of his labor, and to assert a just claim is a duty as well as a right. In the year 1861 I first conceived the idea of a machine gun, which has been ever since the great controlling idea of my life; and it certainly cannot be regarded as egotism when I express the belief that I am the originator of the first successful weapon of the kind ever invented. [R.J. Gatling, quoted in Scientific American, Oct. 15, 1870]
Though in the light of subsequent advancements Gatling's invention of 1862 is not considered a modern machine-gun.
"period of dry, hot weather at the height of summer," 1530s, from Latin dies caniculares, the idea, though not the phrase, from Greek; so called because they occur around the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (kyōn seirios). Noted as the hottest and most unwholesome time of the year; often reckoned as July 3 to August 11, but variously calculated, depending on latitude and on whether the greater Dog-star (Sirius) or the lesser one (Procyon) is reckoned.
The heliacal rising of Sirius has shifted down the calendar with the precession of the equinoxes; in ancient Egypt c. 3000 B.C.E. it coincided with the summer solstice, which also was the new year and the beginning of the inundation of the Nile. The "dog" association apparently began here (the star's hieroglyph was a dog), but the reasons for it are now obscure.
mid-13c., from Old French torche "torch," also "handful of straw" (for wiping or cleaning, hence French torcher "to wipe, wipe down"), originally "twisted thing," then "torch formed of twisted tow dipped in wax," probably from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Late Latin torqua, from Latin torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").
In Britain, also applied to the battery-driven version (in U.S., a flashlight). To pass the torch is an ancient metaphor from the Greek torch-races (lampadedromia) where the goal was to reach the finish line with the torch still burning. Torch-bearer "leader of a cause" is from 1530s. Torch song is 1927 ("My Melancholy Baby," performed by Tommy Lyman, is said to have been the first so called), from carry a torch "suffer an unrequited love" (also 1927), Broadway slang, but the sense is obscure.
late 15c., "floating platform of timber lashed or fastened together," from earlier meaning "rafter, beam" (c. 1300), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse raptr "log" (Old Norse -pt- pronounced as -ft-), Old Danish raft, related to Middle Low German rafter, rachter "rafter" (see rafter (n.1)).
In North America, rafts are constructed of immense size, and comprise timber, boards, staves, etc. They are floated down from the interior to the tide-waters, being propelled by the force of the current, assisted by large oars and sails, to their place of destination. The men employed on these rafts construct rude huts upon them, in which they often dwell for several weeks before arriving at the places where they are taken to pieces for shipping to foreign parts. [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 2nd ed., 1859]
c. 1200, "exempt, free from guilt" (as in Sheer Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week, the day before the Crucifixion); later schiere "thin, sparse" (c. 1400), a variant of skere, from late Old English scir "bright, clear, gleaming; translucent; pure, unmixed." The Middle English word might also be from or influenced by the Old Norse cognate scær "bright, clean, pure." Both of these are from Proto-Germanic *skeran (source also of Old Saxon skiri, Old Frisian skire, German schier, Gothic skeirs "clean, pure"), from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."
The sense of "absolute, utter" (sheer nonsense) developed by 1580s, probably from the notion of "unmixed, uncombined with anything else;" that of "very steep, straight up and down" (a sheer cliff) is recorded from 1800, probably from notion of "continued without halting." Especially of textile fabrics, "diaphanous, very thin and delicate," from 1560s. As an adverb from c. 1600; also sheerly.
from Latin Europa "Europe," from Greek Europe, which is of uncertain origin; as a geographic name first recorded in the Homeric hymn to Apollo (522 B.C.E. or earlier):
"Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles."
Often explained as "broad face," from eurys "wide" (see eury-) + ops "face," literally "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). But also traditionally linked with Europa, Phoenician princess in Greek mythology. Klein (citing Heinrich Lewy) suggests a possible Semitic origin in Akkad. erebu "to go down, set" (in reference to the sun) which would parallel occident. Another suggestion along those lines is Phoenician 'ereb "evening," hence "west."
early 14c., from Old French flaut, flaute (musical) "flute" (12c.), from Old Provençal flaut, which is of uncertain origin; perhaps imitative or from Latin flare "to blow" (from PIE root *bhle- "to blow"); perhaps influenced by Provençal laut "lute." The other Germanic words (such as German flöte) are likewise borrowings from French.
Ancient flutes were direct, blown straight through a mouthpiece but held away from the player's mouth; the modern transverse or German flute developed 18c. The older style then sometimes were called flûte-a-bec (French, literally "flute with a beak"). The modern design and key system of the concert flute were perfected 1834 by Theobald Boehm. The architectural sense of "furrow in a pillar" (1650s) is from fancied resemblance to the inside of a flute split down the middle. Meaning "tall, slender wine glass" is from 1640s.