"hanging formation of carbonite of lime from the roof of a cave," 1670s, Englished from Modern Latin stalactites (used 1654 by Olaus Wormius), from Greek stalaktos "dripping, oozing out in drops," from stalassein "to trickle," from PIE root *stag- "to seep, drip, drop" (source also of German stallen, Lithuanian telžiu, telžti "to urinate") + noun suffix -ite (1). Related: Stalactic; stalactitic.
before vowels mast-, word-forming element meaning "female breast, mammary gland," from Greek mastos "woman's breast," from madan "to be wet, to flow," from PIE *mad- "wet, moist, dripping" (source also of Latin madere "be moist;" Albanian mend "suckle;" see mast (n.2)).
c. 1300, drippen, "to fall in drops; let fall in drops," from Old English drypan, also dryppan, from Proto-Germanic *drupjanan (source also of Old Norse dreypa, Middle Danish drippe, Dutch druipen, Old High German troufen, German triefen), perhaps from a PIE root *dhreu-. Related to droop and drop. Related: Dripped; dripping.
fem. proper name, German, literally "battle-maid," from fem. of Old High German hild "war, battle, fight, combat," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle" (source also of Old English (poetic) hild "war, battle," Old Saxon hild, Old High German hilt, Old Norse hildr), from PIE *keldh-, from root *kel- "to strike, cut" (see holt). Hild-/-hild was a common Germanic name-forming element; compare Hildebrand, Brunhild, Matilda.
Old English hild figured widely in kenning compounds: Hildbedd "deathbed;" hildegicel "blood dripping from a sword," literally "battle-icicle;" hildenædre "arrow, lance, spear," literally "war-adder;" hildesæd "weary of fighting, battle-worn," literally "battle-sad."
Old English dreorig "sad, sorrowful," originally "cruel, bloody, blood-stained," from dreor "gore, blood," from (ge)dreosan (past participle droren) "fall, decline, fail," used of rain, snow, dew, fruit, and the slain, from Proto-Germanic *dreuzas (source also of Old Norse dreyrigr "gory, bloody," and more remotely, Old Saxon drorag, Middle High German troric "bloody;" German traurig "sad, sorrowful"), from PIE root *dhreu- "to fall, flow, drip, droop" (see drip (v.)).
The word has lost its original sense and the notion of "dripping blood." Sense of "lonesomely dismal, gloomy" first recorded 1667 in "Paradise Lost," but Old English had a related verb drysmian "become gloomy." Weakened sense of "causing a feeling of tedium, tiresomely monotonous" is by 1871. Related: Drearily.
Old English sape "soap, salve" (originally a reddish hair dye used by Germanic warriors to give a frightening appearance), from Proto-Germanic *saipon "dripping thing, resin" (source also of Middle Low German sepe, West Frisian sjippe, Dutch zeep, Old High German seiffa, German seife "soap," Old High German seifar "foam," Old English sipian "to drip"), from PIE *soi-bon-, from root *seib- "to pour out, drip, trickle" (source also of Latin sebum "tallow, suet, grease").
Romans and Greeks used oil to clean skin; the Romance words for "soap" (Italian sapone, French savon, Spanish jabon) are from Late Latin sapo "pomade for coloring the hair" (first mentioned in Pliny), which is a Germanic loan-word, as is Finnish saippua. The meaning "flattery" is recorded from 1853.
Soap opera is recorded from 1939, as a disparaging reference to daytime radio dramas sponsored by soap manufacturers.
early 15c., trophe, "an overwhelming victory;" 1510s, "a spoil or prize of war," from Old French trophée (15c.) from Latin trophaeum "a sign of victory, monument," originally tropaeum, from Greek tropaion "monument of an enemy's defeat," noun use of neuter of adjective tropaios "of defeat, causing a rout," from trope "a rout," originally "a turning" (of the enemy); from PIE root *trep- "to turn."
In ancient Greece, spoils or arms taken in battle and set up on the field and dedicated to a god. Figurative extension to any token or memorial of victory is first recorded 1560s. As "a symbolic representation of a classical trophy" from 1630s.
Trophy wife "a second, attractive and generally younger, wife of a successful man who acquires her as a status symbol" was a trending phrase in media from 1988 ("Fortune" magazine did a cover story on it in 1989), but is older in isolated instances.
Variations on this theme ['convenience-wife'] include the HOSTESS-WIFE of a businessman who entertains extensively and seeks a higher-level, home-branch version of his secretary; the TROPHY-WIFE — the woman who was hard to get because of birth or wealth or beauty — to be kept on exhibition like a mammoth tusk or prime Picasso ... [Phyllis I. Rosenteur, excerpt from "The Single Women," published in Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 12, 1961]
The excerpt distinguishes the trophy wife from the "showcase wife," "chosen for her pulchritude and constantly displayed in public places, dripping mink and dangling diamonds," which seems more to suit the later use of trophy wife.