Etymology
Advertisement
asbestos (n.)

1650s, earlier albeston, abestus (c. 1100), name of a fabulous stone, which, set afire, could not be extinguished; from Old French abeste, abestos (Modern French asbeste), from Latin asbestos "quicklime" (which "burns" when cold water is poured on it), from Greek asbestos, literally "inextinguishable," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sbestos, verbal adjective from sbennynai "to quench," from PIE root *(s)gwes- "to quench, extinguish" (source also of Lithuanian gesti "to go out," Old Church Slavonic gaso, Hittite kishtari "is being put out").

The Greek word was used by Dioscorides as a noun meaning "quicklime." "Erroneously applied by Pliny to an incombustible fibre, which he believed to be vegetable, but which was really the amiantos of the Greeks" [OED]. Asbestos in this "fibrous mineral capable of being woven into incombustible fabric" sense is in English from c. 1600; earlier this had been called amiant (early 15c.), from the Greek word mentioned above, which means "undefiled" (because it showed no mark or stain when thrown into fire). Supposed in the Middle Ages to be salamanders' wool; another old name for it in English was fossil linen (18c.). Prester John, the Emperor of India, and Pope Alexander III were said to have had robes or tunics made of it.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
astrology (n.)

late 14c., "calculation and foretelling based on observation of heavenly bodies," from Latin astrologia "astronomy, the science of the heavenly bodies," from Greek astrologia "astronomy," literally "a telling of the stars," from astron "star" (from PIE root *ster- (2) "star") + -logia "treating of" (see -logy).

Originally identical with astronomy and including scientific observation and description. The special sense of "astronomy applied to prediction of events" was divided into natural astrology "the calculation and foretelling of natural phenomenon" (tides, eclipses, dates of Church festivals, etc.), and judicial astrology "the art of judging occult influences of stars and planets on human affairs."

In Latin and later Greek, astronomia tended to be more scientific than astrologia.  In English, the differentiation between astrology and astronomy began late 1400s and by late 17c. this word was limited to the sense of "reading influences of the stars and their effects on human destiny."

And consequently, an Astrology in the World before Astronomy, either in Name or Science. so that (Non obstante whatever any Astronomer shall oppose to the contrary) Astrology hath the right of Primogeniture. And all the Sober and Judiciously Learned must needs acknowledge the Truth hereof.—Howbeit, it were to be wished that the Astrologer understood Astronomy, and that the Astronomer were acquainted with Astrology: Although I do in truth despair of ever finding many to be so happily Accomplished. [John Gadbury, introduction to "Ephemerides of the Celestial Motions," London, 1672]
It is ... an extremely just observation of M. Comte, that [the study of astrology] marks the first systematic effort to frame a philosophy of history by reducing the apparently capricious phenomena of human actions within the domain of law. It may, however, I think, be no less justly regarded as one of the last struggles of human egotism against the depressing sense of insignificance which the immensity of the universe must produce. [W.E.H. Lecky, "History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe," 1866] 
Related entries & more 
aspersion (n.)

mid-15c., aspercion, originally in theology, "the shedding of Christ's blood," from Latin aspersionem (nominative aspersio) "a sprinkling," noun of action from past-participle stem of aspergere "to sprinkle on," from ad "to" (see ad-) + spargere "sprinkle, strew" (see sparse). The non-theological sense of "a bespattering with slander, derogatory criticism" is attested from 1590s. To cast aspersions was in Fielding (1749).

Related entries & more 
aspirate (n.)

1725, "a sound of or resembling or involving the letter 'H'," especially at the beginning of a word, from Latin aspirationem (nominative aspiratio) "a breathing, exhalation; the pronunciation of the letter H," from aspirare (see aspire).

Related entries & more 
aspire (v.)

"strive for, seek eagerly to attain, long to reach," c. 1400, aspiren, from Old French aspirer "aspire to; inspire; breathe, breathe on" (12c.), from Latin aspirare "to breathe upon, blow upon, to breathe," also, in transferred senses, "to be favorable to, assist; to climb up to, to endeavor to obtain, to reach to, to seek to reach; infuse," from ad "to" (see ad-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)).

The notion is of "panting with desire," or perhaps of rising smoke. The literal sense of "breathe, exhale" (1530s) is rare in English. Related: Aspired; aspiring.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
assay (v.)

c. 1300, "to try, endeavor, strive; test the quality of," from Anglo-French assaier, from assai (n.), from Old French assai, variant of essai "trial" (see essay (n.)). Related: Assayed; assaying.

Related entries & more 
assiento (n.)

1714, "contract between the King of Spain and another power," especially that made at the Peace of Utrecht, 1713, with Great Britain for furnishing African slaves to the Spanish colonies in the Americas (abrogated in 1750), from Spanish asiento, formerly assiento "a compact or treaty; a seat in court, a seat," from asentar/assentar "to adjust, settle, establish," literally "to place on a seat," from a sentar, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + sedens, present participle of sedere "to sit" (from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit").

Related entries & more 
assign (v.)

c. 1300, "to transfer, convey, bequeath (property); appoint (to someone a task to be done); order, direct (someone to do something); fix, settle, determine; appoint or set (a time); indicate, point out," from Old French assigner "assign, set (a date, etc.); appoint legally; allot" (13c.), from Latin assignare/adsignare "to mark out, to allot by sign, assign, award," from ad "to" (see ad-) + signare "make a sign," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Its original use was in legal transfers of personal property. Related: Assigned; assigning.

Related entries & more 
assuage (v.)

"to soften," usually figuratively, of pain, anger, passion, grief, etc., c. 1300, from Anglo-French assuager, Old French assoagier "soften, moderate, alleviate, calm, soothe, pacify," from Vulgar Latin *adsuaviare, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + suavis "sweet, agreeable" (from PIE root *swād- "sweet, pleasant;" see sweet (adj.)). For sound development in French, compare deluge from Latin diluvium, abridge from abbreviare. Related: Assuaged; assuaging.

Related entries & more 
Assyria 

Middle English, from Latin Assyria, from Greek Assyria, short for Assyria ge "the Assyrian land," from fem. of Assyrios "pertaining to Assyria," from Akkadian Ashshur, name of the chief city of the kingdom and also of a god, probably from Assyrian sar "prince." Compare Syria. Related: Assyrian.

Related entries & more 

Page 9