"trivial, old-fashioned, worthless," 1913 (from 1912 as a noun, "antiquated or worthless object"), said to be carnival slang and imitative of the sound of banjo music at parades [Barnhart]; compare ricky-tick "old-fashioned jazz" (1938). But early records suggest otherwise unless there are two words. The earliest senses seem to be as a noun, "maltreatment," especially robbery:
So I felt and saw that I was robbed and I went to look after an officer. I found an officer on the corner of Twenty-fifth street and Sixth avenue. I said, "Officer, I have got the rinky-dink." He knew what it meant all right. He said, "Where? Down at that wench house?" I said, "I guess that is right." [testimony dated New York August 9, 1899, published 1900]
And this chorus from the "Yale Literary Magazine," Feb. 1896:
Rinky dinky, rinky dink,
Stand him up for another drink.
also formerly expence, late 14c., "action of spending or giving away, a laying out or expending," also "funds provided for expenses, expense money; damage or loss from any cause," from Anglo-French expense, Old French espense "money provided for expenses," from Late Latin expensa "disbursement, outlay, expense," noun use of neuter plural past participle of Latin expendere "weigh out money, pay down," from ex "out, out of" (see ex-) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). For the financial sense of the Latin verb, see pound (n.1).
Latin spensa also yielded Medieval Latin spe(n)sa, the sense of which specialized to "outlay for provisions," then "provisions, food" before it was borrowed into Old High German as spisa and became the root of German Speise "food," now mostly meaning prepared food, and speisen "to eat." Expense account is from 1872.
Old English werian "to clothe, put on, cover up," from Proto-Germanic *wasīn- (source also of Old Norse verja, Old High German werian, Gothic gawasjan "to clothe"), from PIE *wos-eyo-, suffixed form of *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress."
The Germanic forms "were homonyms of the vb. for 'prevent, ward off, protect' (Goth. warjan, O.E. werian, etc.), and this was prob. a factor in their early displacement in most of the Gmc. languages" [Buck]. It shifted from a weak verb (past tense and past participle wered) to a strong one (past tense wore, past participle worn) in 14c. on analogy of rhyming strong verbs such as bear and tear. Secondary sense of "use up, gradually damage" (late 13c.) is from effect of continued use on clothes. To wear down (transitive) "overcome by steady force" is from 1843. To wear off "diminish by attrition or use" is from 1690s.
name of a large venomous snake of sub-Saharan Africa, attested by 1859, from Zulu (i)mamba or Swahili mamba.
"Now about snakes. I have never forgotten your quiet, dignified unbelief in my snake histories, and have taken every opportunity of finding out all I can about them; more particularly of the 'mamba' or chasing snake. It is a most vicious creature, and will chase you a mile. You must ride hard if one makes for you. It reaches sixteen or eighteen feet, and has the power of erecting itself on its tail when in pursuit of its object; then throwing itself down and rushing on twenty yards or so, and then rearing up again: and so on, till it comes to some bush or tree, round which it throws its strong tail, and then strikes right and left at its enemies." [Journal of the Society of Arts, March 11, 1859]
"glove," early 15c., gantelet, from Old French gantelet (13c.) "gauntlet worn by a knight in armor," also a token of one's personality or person, and in medieval custom symbolizing a challenge, as in tendre son gantelet "throw down the gauntlet" (a sense found in English by 1540s). The Old French word is a semi-diminutive or double-diminutive of gant "glove" (12c.), earlier wantos (7c.), from Frankish *wanth-, from Proto-Germanic *wantuz "glove" (source also of Middle Dutch want "mitten," East Frisian want, wante, Old Norse vöttr "glove," Danish vante "mitten"), which apparently is related to Old High German wintan, Old English windan "turn around, wind" (see wind (v.1)).
The name must orig. have applied to a strip of cloth wrapped about the hand to protect it from sword-blows, a frequent practice in the Icelandic sagas. [Buck]
Italian guanto, Spanish guante likewise are ultimately from Germanic. The spelling with -u- was established from 1500s.
c. 1200, "great in quantity or extent" (also "great in size, big, large," a sense now obsolete), a worn-down form (by loss of unaccented last syllable) of Middle English muchel "large, tall; many, in a large amount; great, formidable," from Old English micel "great in amount or extent," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz, from PIE root *meg- "great."
As a noun, "a large quantity, a great deal," and as an adverb, "in a great degree, intensely, extensively," from c. 1200. Since 17c. the adverb has been much-used as a prefix to participial forms to make compound adjectives. For vowel evolution, see bury. Too much was used from late 14c. in the senses "astonishing, incredible," also "too offensive, unforgivable." Much-what "various things, this and that" (late 14c.) was "Very common in the 17th c." [OED] and turns up in an 1899 book of Virginia folk-speech as well as "Ulysses."
c. 1300, dismaien, "become or be alarmed, upset, or frightened; to confound, break down the courage of by danger or difficulty or fear of calamity, fill with despairing apprehension;" perhaps formed in Anglo-French or Middle English from dis-, here probably intensive (see dis-), + amaien, esmaien, from Old French esmaier "to trouble, disturb."
This is from Vulgar Latin *exmagare "divest of power or ability" (source of Italian smagare "to weaken, dismay, discourage"), from ex- (see ex-) + Proto-Germanic *magan "to be able" (source also of Old High German magen "to be powerful or able"), from PIE root *magh- "to be able, have power."
There also was an Old French *desmaier (attested only in past participle dismaye), from de-, intensive prefix, + Old French esmaier, which also might be the source of the Middle English word. Spanish desmayer "to be dispirited" is a loan word from Old French. Related: Dismayed; dismaying.
"in a position above and in contact with; in such a position as to be supported by;" also noting the goal to which some action is or has been directed; "about, concerning, regarding; in a position to cover;" as an adverb, "in or into a position in contact with and supported by the top or upper part of something; in or into place; in place for use or action; into movement or action; in operation," Old English on, unstressed variant of an "in, on, into," from Proto-Germanic *ana "on" (source also of Dutch aan, German an, Gothic ana "on, upon"), from PIE root *an- (1) "on" (source also of Avestan ana "on," Greek ana "on, upon," Latin an-, Old Church Slavonic na, Lithuanian nuo "down from").
Also used in Old English in many places where we now would use in. From 16c.-18c. (and still in northern England dialect) often reduced to o'. Phrase on to "aware" is from 1877.
also gipsy, c. 1600, alteration of gypcian, a worn-down Middle English dialectal form of egypcien "Egyptian," from the supposed origin of the people. As an adjective, from 1620s. Compare British gippy (1889) a modern shortened colloquial form of Egyptian.
Cognate with Spanish Gitano and close in sense to Turkish and Arabic Kipti "gypsy," literally "Coptic;" but in Middle French they were Bohémien (see bohemian), and in Spanish also Flamenco "from Flanders." "The gipsies seem doomed to be associated with countries with which they have nothing to do" [Weekley]. Zingari, the Italian and German name, is of unknown origin. Romany is from the people's own language, a plural adjective form of rom "man." Gipsy was the preferred spelling in England. The name is also in extended use applied to "a person exhibiting any of the qualities attributed to Gipsies, as darkness of complexion, trickery in trade, arts of cajolery, and, especially as applied to a young woman, playful freedom or innocent roguishness of action or manner" [Century Dictionary]. As an adjective from 1620s with a sense "unconventional; outdoor."
With past tense sat, formerly also set, now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic; and past participle sat, formerly sitten. In reference to a legislative assembly, from 1510s. Meaning "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1966.
To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands was originally "to withhold applause" (1926); later, "to do nothing" (1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part" is from 1650s. Sitting pretty is from 1916.