Etymology
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major (adj.)

c. 1300, majour, "greater, more important or effective, leading, principal," from Latin maior (earlier *magios), irregular comparative of magnus "large, great" (from PIE root *meg- "great"). From 1590s as "greater in quantity, number, or extent." Used in music (of modes, scales, or chords) since 1690s, on notion of an interval a half-tone "greater" than the minor; of modern modes, "characterized by the use of major tonality throughout," by 1811. Major league, in baseball, is attested by 1892.

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major (n.)

military rank above captain and below lieutenant colonel, 1640s, from French major, short for sergent-major, originally a higher rank than at present, from Medieval Latin major "chief officer, magnate, superior person," from Latin maior "an elder, adult," noun use of the adjective (see major (adj.)).

His chief duties consist in superintending the exercises of his regiment or battalion, and in putting in execution the commands of his superior officer. His ordinary position in the line is behind the left wing. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

The musical sense is attested by 1797.

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major (v.)

of a college or university student, "focus (one's) studies," 1910, American English, from major (n.) in sense of "subject of specialization" (by 1890). Related: Majored; majoring. Earlier as a verb, in Scottish, "to prance about, or walk backwards and forwards with a military air and step" [Jamieson, 1825] a sense derived from the military major.

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major-general (n.)

"military officer next in rank below a lieutenant-general," 1640s; see major (n.) + general (n.).

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major-domo (n.)

also majordomo, "man employed to superintend a household, especially that of a sovereign or other dignitary," 1580s, via Italian maggiordomo or Spanish mayordomo, from Medieval Latin major domus "chief of the household," also "mayor of the palace" under the Merovingians, from Latin maior "greater" (see major (adj.)) + genitive of domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").

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underdog (n.)

"the beaten dog in a fight," 1887, from under + dog (n.). Compare top dog "dominant person in a situation or hierarchy" (see top (adj.)). Its opposite, overdog, is attested by 1908.

I'm a poor underdog
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.
[from "Canis Major," Robert Frost, 1928] 
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Sirius (n.)

brightest star by magnitude, late 14c., from Latin Sirius "the Dog Star," from Greek Seirios, said to mean literally "scorching" or "the scorcher." But other related Greek words seem to derive from this use, and the name might be a folk-etymologized borrowing from some other language. An Egyptian name for it was Sothis. Beekes suggests it is from PIE root *twei- "to agitate, shake, toss; excite; sparkle" if the original meaning of the star-name is "sparkling, flickering."

The connection of the star with scorching heat is due to its ancient heliacal rising at the summer solstice (see dog days). Related: Sirian (1590s). The constellation Canis Major seems to have grown from the star.

Homer made much of it as [Kyōn], but his Dog doubtless was limited to the star Sirius, as among the ancients generally till, at some unknown date, the constellation was formed as we have it, — indeed till long afterwards, for we find many allusions to the Dog in which we are uncertain whether the constellation or its lucida is referred to. [Richard Hinckley Allen, Canis Major in "Star Names and Their Meanings," London: 1899]
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canivorous (adj.)

"dog-eating," 1835, from Latin canis "dog" (from PIE root *kwon- "dog") + -vorous "eating, devouring."

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canaille (n.)

"the rabble, the lowest order of people collectively," 1670s, from French canaille (16c.), from Italian canaglia, literally "a pack of dogs," from cane "dog," from Latin canis (from PIE root *kwon- "dog").

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canid (n.)

"a carnivorous mammal of the Canidae family" (dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals), 1879, from Modern Latin Canidae, from Latin canis "dog" (from PIE root *kwon- "dog") + -idae.

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