Etymology
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apology (n.)
Origin and meaning of apology

early 15c., "defense, justification," from Late Latin apologia, from Greek apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo "away from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech" (see Logos).

In classical Greek, "a well-reasoned reply; a 'thought-out response' to the accusations made," as that of Socrates. The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," attested by 1590s, but this was not the main sense until 18c. In Johnson's dictionary it is defined as "Defence; excuse," and adds, "Apology generally signifies rather excuse than vindication, and tends rather to extenuate the fault, than prove innocence," which might indicate the path of the sense shift. The old sense has since tended to go with the Latin form apologia (1784), a word known from early Christian writings in defense of the faith.

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apron (n.)

"apparel for covering the front of a person" (especially while at work, to keep clothes clean), mid-15c., faulty separation (as also in adder, auger, umpire) of a napron (c. 1300), from Old French naperon "small table-cloth," diminutive of nappe "cloth," from Latin mappa "napkin." Napron was still in use late 16c. The shift of Latin -m- to -n- was a tendency in Old French (conter from computare, printemps from primum, natte "mat, matting," from matta).

The word was extended 17c. to things which resemble or function like an apron. It has been symbolic of "a wife's business" from 1610s; apron-string tenure in old law was in reference to property held in virtue of one's wife, or during her lifetime only.

Even at his age, he ought not to be always tied to his mother's apron string. [Anne Brontë, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," 1848]
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tomb (n.)
c. 1200, tumbe, early 14c. tomb, from Anglo-French tumbe and directly from Old French tombe "tomb, monument, tombstone" (12c.), from Late Latin tumba (also source of Italian tomba, Spanish tumba), from Greek tymbos "mound, burial mound," generally "grave, tomb."

Watkins suggests it is perhaps from PIE root *teue- "to swell," but Beekes writes that it is probably a Pre-Greek (non-IE) word. He writes that Latin tumulus "earth-hill" and Armenian t'umb "landfill, earthen wall" "may contain the same Pre-Greek/Mediterranean word," and suggests further connections to Middle Irish tomm "small hill," Middle Welsh tom "dung, mound."

The final -b began to be silent about the time of the spelling shift (compare lamb, dumb). Modern French tombeau is from Vulgar Latin diminutive *tumbellus. The Tombs, slang for "New York City prison" is recorded from 1840.
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hear (v.)

Old English heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (West Saxon) "to hear, perceive by the ear, listen (to), obey, follow; accede to, grant; judge," from Proto-Germanic *hausejanan (source also of Old Norse heyra, Old Frisian hera, hora, Dutch horen, German hören, Gothic hausjan "to hear"), from PIE root *kous- "to hear" (source also of Greek koein "to mark, perceive, hear;" see acoustic). The shift from *-s- to -r- is a regular feature in some Germanic languages. For the vowels, see head (n.).

Spelling distinction between hear and here developed 1200-1550. Meaning "be told, learn by report" is from early 14c. Old English also had the excellent adjective hiersum "ready to hear, obedient," literally "hear-some" with suffix from handsome, etc. Hear, hear! (1680s) originally was imperative, an exclamation to call attention to a speaker's words ("hear him!"); now a general cheer of approval. To not hear of "have nothing to do with" is from 1754.

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refute (v.)

1510s, "refuse, reject" someone or something, a sense now obsolete, from French réfuter (16c.) and directly from Latin refutare "to drive back; rebut, disprove; to repress, repel, resist, oppose," from re- "back" (see re-) + *futare "to beat" (from PIE root *bhau- "to strike").

The meaning "prove (someone) wrong, prove (someone) to be in error, disprove and overthrow by argument or countervailing proof" is from 1540s; of statements, opinions, etc., by 1590s. Many have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards "to deny," which occurred as the word came to be used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.

For people who still use the word in its older sense it is rather shocking to hear on the B.B.C., which has a reputation for political impartiality, a news-report that Politician A has refuted the arguments of Politician B. [Charles L. Barber, "Linguistic Change in Present-day English," 1964]
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fortune (n.)

c. 1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly ultimately from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children," which is supported by de Vaan even though "The semantic shift from 'load' or 'the carrying' to 'chance, luck' is not obvious ...." The sense might be "that which is brought."

Sense of "owned wealth" is first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth, large estate" itself. Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Soldier of fortune is attested by 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine. Fortune-hunter "one who seeks to marry for wealth" is from 1680s.

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fagus (n.)

botanical genus of beech trees, from Latin fagus "beech," from PIE root *bhago- "beech tree" (source also of Greek phegos "oak," Latin fagus "beech," Russian buzina "elder," Old English bece, Old Norse bok, German Buche "beech"), perhaps with a ground sense of "edible" (and connected with the root of Greek phagein "to eat," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share"). Beech mast was an ancient food source for agricultural animals across a wide stretch of Europe.

The restriction to western IE languages and the reference to different trees have suggested to some scholars that this word was not PIE, but a later loanword. In the Balkans, from which the beech started to spread after 6000 BC, the [Greek] word means 'oak,' not 'beech.' Yet 'oak' and 'beech' are both 'fruit-bearing trees,' so that a semantic shift from 'oak' to 'beech' appears quite conceivable. The word itself may then have been PIE after all. [de Vaan]
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melodrama (n.)

1784 (1782 as melo drame), "a dramatic composition in which music is used," from French mélodrame (1772), from Greek melos "song" (see melody) + French drame "drama" (see drama).

In early 19th century use, a stage-play (usually romantic and sentimental in plot and incident) in which songs were interspersed and in which the action was accompanied by orchestral music appropriate to the situations. In later use the musical element gradually ceased to be an essential feature of the 'melodrama', and the name now denotes a dramatic piece characterized by sensational incidents and violent appeals to the emotions, but with a happy ending. [OED]

The shift toward "a romantic and sensational dramatic piece with a happy ending" is evident by 1883. Also from French are Spanish melodrama, Italian melodramma, German melodram. Related: Melodramatize.

The melodramatist's task is to get his characters labelled good & wicked in his audience's minds, & to provide striking situations that shall provoke & relieve anxieties on behalf of poetic justice. [Fowler]
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arbor (n.1)

c. 1300, herber, "herb garden, pleasure garden," from Old French erbier "field, meadow; kitchen garden," from Latin herba "grass, herb" (see herb). Later "a grassy plot" (mid-14c., a sense also in Old French), "shaded nook, bower formed by intertwining of trees, shrubs, or vines" (mid-14c.). It is probably not from Latin arbor "tree" (see arbor (n.2)), though perhaps that word has influenced its spelling:

[O]riginally signifying a place for the cultivation of herbs, a pleasure-ground, garden, subsequently applied to the bower or rustic shelter which commonly occupied the most conspicuous situation in the garden ; and thus the etymological reference to herbs being no longer apparent, the spelling was probably accommodated to the notion of being sheltered by trees or shrubs (arbor). [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859]

But the change from er- to ar- before consonants in Middle English also reflects a pronunciation shift: compare farm from ferme, harbor from Old English herebeorg.

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leper (n.)
"one afflicted with leprosy," late 14c., earlier "the disease leprosy," from Late Latin lepra, from Greek lepra "leprosy," noun use of fem. of lepros (adj.) "scaly, scabby, rough, leprous," related to lepein "to peel," from lepos, lepis "a scale," from PIE root *lep- (1) "to peel," which also yields words for "something delicate and weak," via the notion of "small shaving, flake, scale" (cognates: Latin lepidus "pleasant, charming, fine, elegant, effeminate," lepos "pleasantness, agreeableness;" Old English læfer "rush, reed; metal plate;" Lithuanian lopas "patch, rag, cloth," lepus "soft, weak, effeminate").

Originally in Middle English this was the word for the disease itself (mid-13c., via Old French lepre); the shift in meaning to "person with leprosy" perhaps developed in Anglo-French, or is because the -er ending resembled an agent-noun affix. By mid-15c. other nouns for the disease were being coined (see leprosy). In English lepra also was an old name for psoriasis (late 14c.).
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