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cord (n.)

c. 1300, corde, "a string or small rope composed of several strands twisted or woven together; bowstring, hangman's rope," from Old French corde "rope, string, twist, cord," from Latin chorda "string of a musical instrument, cat-gut," from Greek khorde "string, catgut, chord, cord," from PIE root *ghere- "intestine."

Also from c. 1300 as "string of a musical instrument." From c. 1400 as "a tendon or muscle." Figurative sense of "anything which binds or restrains" is from late 14c. Meaning "raised, cord-like rib on the surface of cloth" is from 1776. As a measure of wood of 128 cubic feet (eight feet long, four feet high and wide) first recorded 1610s, so called because it was measured with a cord of rope.

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cord-wood (n.)

"cut wood sold by the cord for fuel," 1630s, from cord in the wood-measure sense + wood (n.).

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cordless (adj.)

of electrical devices or appliances, "working without a cord, battery-powered," 1905, from cord + -less.

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cordage (n.)

"ropes and cords collectively," especially on a ship, late 15c., from Old French cordage, from corde "cord" (see cord).

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cordite (n.)

type of smokeless explosive, 1889, from cord + -ite (2); so called for its "curiously string-like appearance" in the words of a newspaper of the day.

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quirt (n.)

"short-handled braided leather riding whip" used in the Western U.S.,, 1845, from Mexican Spanish cuarta "rope," related to Spanish cuerda "rope," from Latin corda (see cord (n.)).

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harpsichord (n.)

1610s, from French harpechorde "harp string," from Modern Latin harpichordium (source also of Italian arpicordo), from harpa (see harp (n.)) + chorda "string" (see cord). The unexplained, unetymological -s- in the English word is there by 1660s.

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cordillera (n.)

"continuous ridge or range of mountains," 1704, from Spanish cordillera, "mountain chain," from cordilla, in Old Spanish "string, rope" (in modern Spanish "guts of sheep"), diminutive of cuerda, from Latin chorda "cord, rope" (see cord). Originally applied by the Spaniards to the Andes. Related: Cordilleran.

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clavichord (n.)

keyboard musical instrument with strings, invented in the Middle Ages and in general use in Germany, mid-15c., from Medieval Latin clavicordium (15c.), from Latin clavis "a key" (from PIE root *klau- "hook") + chorda "a string" (see cord (n.) and compare clavier). It was replaced 18c. by the pianoforte.

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vocal (adj.)

late 14c., "spoken, oral," from Old French vocal (13c.), from Latin vocalis "sounding, sonorous, speaking," as a noun, "a vowel," from vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak"). In reference to music (as opposed to instrumental), first recorded 1580s; meaning "outspoken" first attested 1871. Vocal cords is from 1872; see cord.

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