Etymology
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gherkin (n.)

small cucumber used for pickling (either a small, prickly type of cucumber produced by a certain plant (Cucumis anguria), or a green or immature common cucumber), 1660s, from early modern Dutch gurken, augurken (late 16c.) "small pickled cucumber," from East Frisian augurk "cucumber," probably from a Balto-Slavic source (compare Polish ogórek "cucumber," Lithuanian agurkas, Russian oguretsŭ), possibly ultimately from Medieval Greek angourion "a kind of cucumber," which is said to be from Persian angarah [Klein, etc.], but OED seems to regard this as unlikely. A Dutch source says the Greek is from a word for "immature" and that the vegetable originated in northern India and came to Eastern Europe via the Byzantine Empire.

The Dutch suffix is perhaps the diminutive -kin, though some regard it as a plural affix, with the Dutch word mistaken for a singular in English. The -h- was added 1800s to preserve the hard "g" pronunciation.

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aborigine (n.)

"person, animal, or plant that has been in a country or region from earliest times," 1858, mistaken singular of aborigines (1540s; aboriginal is considered the correct singular in English), from Latin aborigines "the first inhabitants," especially of Latium, hence "the first ancestors of the Romans;" possibly a tribal name, or from or made to conform to the Latin phrase ab origine, which means literally "from the beginning."

This is from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + ablative of origo "a rise, commencement, beginning, source; descent, lineage, birth," from stem of oriri "arise, rise; be born, be descended, receive life" (see origin). Extended 1789 to natives of other countries which Europeans have colonized, especially "aboriginal inhabitant of Australia." Australian slang shortening Abo attested from 1922 (n.), 1906 (adj.).

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riddle (n.1)

"A word game or joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording" [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], early 13c., redels, from Old English rædels "riddle; counsel; conjecture; imagination; discussion," common Germanic (Old Frisian riedsal "riddle," Old Saxon radisli, Middle Dutch raetsel, Dutch raadsel, Old High German radisle, German Rätsel "riddle").

The first element is from Proto-Germanic *redaz- (from PIE *re-dh-, from root *re- "to reason, count"). The ending is Old English noun suffix -els, the -s of which later was mistaken for a plural affix and stripped off in early Modern English. The meaning "anything which puzzles or perplexes" is from late 14c.

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hush (v.)

1540s (trans.), 1560s (intrans.), variant of Middle English huisht (late 14c.), probably of imitative origin, with terminal -t lost probably by being mistaken for a past tense suffix. The sounds chosen presumably for "being sibilations requiring the least muscular effort and admitting of the faintest utterance" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Hushed; hushing.

Figurative use from 1630s. As an interjection meaning "be quiet," attested by c. 1600. To hush (one's) mouth "be quiet" is attested from 1878. Hush up "suppress talk for secrecy's sake" is from 1630s. Hush-money "bribe paid to ensure silence" is attested from 1709. Hush-puppy "deep-fried ball of cornmeal batter" first attested 1899; as a type of lightweight soft shoe, it is a proprietary name, registered 1961.

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afford (v.)

Middle English aforth, from Old English geforðian "to put forth, contribute; further, advance; carry out, accomplish," from ge- completive prefix (which in Middle English regularly reduces to a-; see a- (1)) + forðian "to further," from forð "forward, onward" (see forth).

The prefix shift to af- took place 16c. under mistaken belief that it was a Latin word in ad-; change of -th- to -d- took place late 16c. (and also transformed burthen, spither, murther, etc. into their modern forms).

The notion of "accomplish" (late Old English) gradually became "be able to bear the expense of, have enough money" to do something (late 14c.), and the original senses became obsolete. Of things, "be capable of yielding," 1580s, which is the sense in afford (one) an opportunity. Related: Afforded; affording.

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pea (n.)

"the seed of a hardy leguminous vine," a well-known article of food, early or mid-17c., a false singular from Middle English pease (plural pesen), which was both single and collective (as wheat, corn) but the "s" sound was mistaken for the plural inflection. From Old English pise (West Saxon), piose (Mercian) "pea," from Late Latin pisa, variant of Latin pisum "pea," probably a loan-word from Greek pison "the pea," a word of unknown origin (Klein suggests it is from Thracian or Phrygian).

In Southern U.S. and the Caribbean, used of other legumes as well. Pea soup "soup made from peas" is recorded by 1711 (as pease-soup); the term was applied to London fogs at least since 1849. Pea-green as a hue resembling fresh peas is by 1752. Pea-shooter "toy consisting of a long straw or tube through which dried peas may be blown" is attested from 1803.

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roach (n.1)

a shortened form of cockroach, on the mistaken notion that it is a compound, attested by 1830.

In contemporary writing the shortening sometimes is credited to a polite desire to avoid the sexual connotation in the first syllable of the full word, especially among Americans, but this seems to be another English fiction and early uses typically are in natural history publications.

The Translator must ask pardon of any American lady, into whose hands this book may by chance fall, for making use of so vulgar a term. "Cock-roaches" in the United States, as we are told by one of the numerous English travellers through that country, are always called "roaches" by the fair sex, for the sake of euphony. [B.D. Walsh, footnote in translation of "The Acharnians," 1848] 

The meaning "butt of a marijuana cigarette" is recorded by 1938, perhaps from resemblance to the insect but rather this might be a different word entirely. Related: Roach-clip (by 1968).

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laureate (adj.)

"crowned with laurels" (as a mark of distinction), late 14c., earliest reference is to poetic distinction, from Latin laureatus "crowned with laurels," from laurea "laurel crown" (emblematic of victory or distinction in poetry), from fem. of laureus "of laurel," from laurus "laurel" (see laurel (n.)).

Laureat poete is first found in "Canterbury Tales" (in reference to Petrarch — Fraunceys Petrak); it also was used in Middle English of Aesop and, by early 15c., of Chaucer. Inverted form poet laureate, in imitation of Latin word order, is from c. 1400 in English); the first official one probably was Ben Jonson (1638), though the first recorded one was Dryden (1668). Extended 1947 to Nobel prize winners. As a noun, 1520s, from the adjective or from a mistaken reading of poet laureate. Related: Laureateship (1732), laureation.

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shawm (n.)

medieval oboe-like instrument, late 14c., shalemyes (plural), also schallemele, from Old French chalemie, chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus, literally "a small reed," diminutive of Latin calamus "reed," from Greek kalamos "reed, grass-stalk," often metaphoric of objects made of reed ("flute of reed, fishing rod, reed pen," etc.).

The Greek word is from PIE *kole-mo- "grass, reed," source also of Old English healm, Old High German halm "straw;" Latin culmus "stalk;" Old Prussian salme "straw," Latvian salms; Russian soloma. Sanskrit kalama- "writing reed," Arabic qalam are said by Beekes to have been borrowed from the Greek word.

Mistaken as a plural and trimmed of its "-s" ending from mid-15c.  Perhaps also influenced along the way by Old French muse as the name of a wind instrument (as in the Middle English variant shalmuse). Related: Shawmist. Shawm also was used as a verb c. 1500, of ducks, "to honk" (make a noise like a shawm).

 

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anthropo- 

before a vowel, anthrop-, word-forming element meaning "pertaining to man or human beings," from Greek anthrōpos "man; human being" (including women), as opposed to the gods, from andra (genitive andros), Attic form of Greek anēr "man" (as opposed to a woman, a god, or a boy), from PIE root *ner- (2) "man," also "vigorous, vital, strong."

Anthropos sometimes is explained as a compound of anēr and ōps (genitive ōpos) "eye, face;" so literally "he who has the face of a man." The change of -d- to -th- is difficult to explain; perhaps it is from some lost dialectal variant, or the mistaken belief that there was an aspiration sign over the vowel in the second element (as though *-dhropo-), which mistake might have come about by influence of common verbs such as horao "to see." But Beekes writes, "As no IE explanation has been found, the word is probably of substrate origin."

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