Etymology
Advertisement
animal (n.)

early 14c., "any sentient living creature" (including humans), from Latin animale "living being, being which breathes," noun use of neuter of animalis (adj.) "animate, living; of the air," from anima "breath, soul; a current of air" (from PIE root *ane- "to breathe;" for sense development, compare deer).

A rare word in English before c. 1600, and not in KJV (1611). Commonly only of non-human creatures. It drove out the older beast in common usage. Used derisively of brutish humans (in which the "animal," or non-rational, non-spiritual nature is ascendant) from 1580s.

Quid est homo? A dedlych best and resonable, animal racionale. ["Battlefield Grammar," c. 1450]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
animal (adj.)

late 14c., "pertaining to the animal spirit of man," that is, "pertaining to the merely sentient (as distinguished from the intellectual, rational, or spiritual) qualities of a human being," from Latin animalis, from animale "living being" (see animal (n.)).

From 1540s as "pertaining to sensation;" by 1630s as "pertaining to or derived from beasts;" 1640s as "pertaining to the animal kingdom" (as opposed to vegetable or mineral); 1650s as "having life, living."

Animal rights is attested from 1879; animal liberation from 1973. Animal magnetism originally (1784) referred to mesmerism.

Related entries & more 
skin (v.)

late 14c., "to remove the skin from" (originally of circumcision), from skin (n.). As "to have (a particular kind of) skin" from c. 1400. In 19c. U.S. colloquial use, "to strip, fleece, plunder;" hence skin-game, one in which one player has no chance against the others (as with a stacked deck), the type of con game played in a skin-house. Skin the cat in gymnastics is from 1845. Related: Skinned; skinning.

Related entries & more 
skin (n.)

c. 1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from Old Norse skinn "animal hide, fur," from Proto-Germanic *skinth- (source also of Old English scinn (rare), Old High German scinten, German schinden "to flay, skin;" German dialectal schind "skin of a fruit," Flemish schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "to peel off, flay" (source also of Breton scant "scale of a fish," Irish scainim "I tear, I burst"), extended form of root *sek- "to cut."

Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon. [hymn, c. 1430]

The usual Anglo-Saxon word is hide (n.1). Meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from early 14c.; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. late 14c. Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. Meaning "a skinhead" is from 1970. As an adjective, it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868); sense of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. Skin deep is first attested in this:

All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep. [Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]

The skin of one's teeth as the narrowest of margins is attested from 1550s in the Geneva Bible literal translation of the Hebrew text in Job xix.20. To get under (someone's) skin "annoy" is from 1896. Skin-graft is from 1871. Skin merchant "recruiting officer" is from 1792.

Related entries & more 
eel-skin (n.)

1560s, from eel + skin (n.). "Formerly used as a casing for the cue or pigtail of the hair or the wig, especially by sailors." [Century Dictionary]

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
oil-skin (n.)

also oilskin, "cloth of cotton, linen, etc., prepared with oil to make it water-proof," by 1714, from oil (n.) + skin (n.).

Related entries & more 
skin-tight (adj.)

"fitting like skin," 1885, originally of men's clothing, from skin (n.) + tight (adj.).

Related entries & more 
wine-skin (n.)

also wineskin, by 1749, from wine (n.) + skin (n.).

Related entries & more 
*pel- (3)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "skin, hide."

It forms all or part of: erysipelas; fell (n.2) "skin or hide of an animal;" film; pell; pellagra; pellicle; pelt (n.) "skin of a fur-bearing animal;" pillion; surplice.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pella, Latin pellis "skin;" Old English filmen "membrane, thin skin, foreskin."

Related entries & more 
epizoon (n.)

"parasitic animal on the surface or in the skin of another," 1836, from epi- "on" + Greek zōon "animal" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live").

Related entries & more