Etymology
Advertisement
white trash (n.)

1824, originally in African-American vernacular in the South.

The slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as 'poor white trash.' [Fanny Kemble, journal, Jan. 6, 1833]
[T]he term [poor white] is rather loosely applied by Northern writers even to mountaineers and to small farmers who live on a precarious footing. But in the Southern conception, not everyone who is both poor and white is a "poor white." To the Southerner, the "poor white" in the strictest sense is a being beyond the pale of even the most generous democratic recognition; in the negro's term, "po' white trash," or so much social débris. [Robert Penn Warren, "The Briar Patch," 1930, footnote]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
harpy (n.)

winged monster of ancient mythology, late 14c., from Old French harpie (14c.), from Latin harpyia, from Greek Harpyia (plural), literally "snatchers," which is probably related to harpazein "to snatch" (see rapid (adj.)). Metaphoric extension to "repulsively greedy person" is c. 1400.

In Homer they are merely personified storm winds, who were believed to have carried off any person that had suddenly disappeared. In Hesiod they are fair-haired and winged maidens who surpass the winds in swiftness, and are called Aello and Ocypete; but in later writers they are represented as disgusting monsters, with heads like maidens, faces pale with hunger, and claws like those of birds. The harpies ministered to the gods as the executors of vengeance. ["American Cyclopædia," 1874]
Related entries & more 
poliomyelitis (n.)

1874, also polio-myelitis, coined by German physician Adolph Kussmaul (1822-1902) from Greek polios "grey" (from PIE root *pel- (1) "pale") + myelos "marrow" (a word of unknown origin) + -itis "inflammation." So called because the gray matter in the spinal cord is inflamed, which causes paralysis. The earlier name was infantile paralysis (1843).

In many respects, also, this affection resembles the acute spinal paralysis of infancy, which, from the researches of Charcot, Joffroy, and others, have been shown pathologically to be an acute myelitis of the anterior cornua. Hence, for these forms of paralysis, Professor Kussmaul suggests the name of 'poliomyelitis anterior.' [London Medical Record, Dec. 9, 1874]

Polioencephalitis (also poliencephalitis) "inflammation of the gray matter of the brain" is by 1885.

Related entries & more 
cream (n.)

early 14c., creyme, "the rich and buttery part of milk," from Old French cresme, craime, creme "chrism, holy oil" (13c., Modern French crème). This word is a blend of Late Latin chrisma "ointment" (from Greek khrisma "unguent;" from PIE root *ghrei- "to rub") and Late Latin cramum "cream," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from Gaulish. The French word replaced Old English ream; it was re-borrowed 19c. as creme.

From early 15c. as "dish or confection made from or resembling cream." The figurative sense of "most excellent element or part" is from 1580s. It is attested from 1660s as "any part that separates from the rest and rises to the surface" and also in its application to substances resembling cream. Cream-cheese is from 1580s. Cream-soda is attested by from 1854. Cream-colored (also cream-coloured) "having the pale, yellowish-white color of cream," is from 1707.

Related entries & more 
cholera (n.)

late 14c., "bile, melancholy" (originally the same as choler), from French cholera or directly from Late Latin cholera, from Greek kholera "a type of disease characterized by diarrhea, supposedly caused by bile" (Celsus), from khole "gall, bile," so called for its color, related to khloazein "to be green," khlōros "pale green, greenish-yellow," from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting "green, yellow," and thus "bile, gall." But another sense of khole was "drainpipe, gutter."

Revived 1560s in classical sense as a name for a severe digestive disorder (rarely fatal to adults); and 1704 (especially as cholera morbus), for a highly lethal disease endemic in India, periodically breaking out in global epidemics, especially that reaching Britain and America in the early 1830s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
*bhel- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white" and forming words for bright colors.

It forms all or part of: beluga; Beltane; black; blancmange; blanch; blank; blanket; blaze (n.1) "bright flame, fire;" bleach; bleak; blemish; blench; blende; blend; blind; blindfold; blitzkrieg; blond; blue (adj.1); blush; conflagration; deflagration; effulgence; effulgent; flagrant; flambe; flambeau; flamboyant; flame; flamingo; flammable; Flavian; Flavius; fulgent; fulminate; inflame; inflammable; phlegm; phlegmatic; phlogiston; phlox; purblind; refulgent; riboflavin.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhrajate "shines;" Greek phlegein "to burn;" Latin flamma "flame," fulmen "lightning," fulgere "to shine, flash," flagrare "to burn, blaze, glow;" Old Church Slavonic belu "white;" Lithuanian balnas "pale."

Related entries & more 
falcon (n.)

mid-13c., faucon, from Old French faucon "falcon" (12c.), from Late Latin falconem (nominative falco) "falcon" (source also of Old Spanish falcon, Portuguese falcão, Italian falcone, Old High German falcho, German Falke, Dutch valk), probably from Latin falx (genitive falcis) "curved blade, pruning hook, sickle, war-scythe" (see falcate); the bird said to be so called for the shape of its talons, legs, or beak, but also possibly from the shape of its spread wings.

The other theory is that the Latin bird name falx is of Germanic origin and means "gray bird" (from PIE root *pel- (1) "pale"), which is supported by the antiquity of the word in Germanic but opposed by those who point out that falconry by all evidences was imported from the East, and the Germans got it from the Romans, not the other way round.

Related entries & more 
lemon (n.1)

"ovate, pale yellow citrus fruit," c. 1400, lymon, from Old French limon "citrus fruit" (12c.), which comes via Provençal or Italian from Arabic laimun, Persian limun. Apparently brought from India to the Levant by the Arabs 9c. or 10c.; the word is perhaps ultimately from an Austronesian word of the Malay archipelago, such as Balinese limo "lemon," Malay limaw "citrus fruit, lime" (compare lime (n.2)).

Meaning "person with a tart disposition" is from 1863. For the sense "worthless thing," see lemon (n.2). Slang meaning "a Quaalude" is 1960s, from Lemmon, name of a pharmaceutical company that once manufactured the drug. The surname is from Middle English leman "sweetheart, lover." Lemon-juice is attested from 1610s; the candy lemon-drop from 1807. The East Indian lemon-grass (1837) is so called for its smell.

Related entries & more 
bleach (v.)

Old English blæcan, of cloth or fabric, "to make white by removing color, whiten" (by exposure to chemical agents or the sun), from Proto-Germanic *blaikjan "to make white" (source also of Old Saxon blek, Old Norse bleikr, Dutch bleek, Old High German bleih, German bleich "pale;" Old Norse bleikja, Dutch bleken, German bleichen "to make white, cause to fade"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white."

The same root probably produced black, perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated in different ways with burning. Compare Old English scimian meaning both "to shine" and "to dim, grow dusky, grow dark," which is related to the source of shine. Intransitive sense "become white" is from 1610s. Related: Bleached; bleaching. The past participle in Middle English was sometimes blaught.

Related entries & more 
dusk (n.)

"partial darkness, state between light and darkness, twilight," 1620s, from an earlier adjective dusk, from Middle English dosc (c. 1200) "obscure, not bright; tending to darkness, shadowy," having more to do with color than light, which is of uncertain origin, not found in Old English. Middle English also had it as a verb, dusken "to become dark." The Middle English noun was dusknesse "darkness" (late 14c.).

Perhaps it is from a Northumbrian variant of Old English dox "dark-haired, dark from the absence of light," with transposition of -k- and -s-, (compare colloquial ax for ask). But OED notes that "few of our words in -sk are of OE origin." Old English dox is from PIE *dus-ko- "dark-colored" (source also of Swedish duska "be misty," Latin fuscus "dark," Sanskrit dhusarah "dust-colored;" also compare Old English dosan "chestnut-brown," Old Saxon dosan, Old High German tusin "pale yellow").

Related entries & more 

Page 9