cable (v.)

c. 1500, "to tie up with cables," from cable (n.). As "to transmit by telegraph cable," 1868. Related: Cabled; cabling.

We have done our part lately to bring into use the verb cabled, as applied to a message over the Atlantic cable. It is proper to say "it has been cabled," instead of "it has been telegraphed over the Atlantic cable." [The Mechanics Magazine, London, Sept. 11, 1868]

But other British sources list it as an Americanism.

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electrical (adj.)

1630s, "giving off electricity when rubbed," from electric + -al (1). Meaning "relating to electricity, run by electricity" is from 1746. Related: Electrically.

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cable (n.)

c. 1200, "large, strong rope or chain used on a ship," from Old North French cable, from Medieval Latin capulum "lasso, rope, halter for cattle," from Latin capere "to take, seize," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."

Technically, in nautical use, a rope 10 or more inches around, to hold the ship when at anchor; in non-nautical use, a rope of wire (not hemp or fiber). It was given a new range of senses in 19c. in telegraphy (1850s), traction-railroads (1880s), etc. The meaning "message received by telegraphic cable" is from 1883, short for cable message (1870), cablegram (1868), cable dispatch (1864). Cable television is attested by 1963; shortened form cable in this sense is from 1970.

Speed, speed the Cable; let it run,
   A loving girdle round the earth,
Till all the nations 'neath the sun
   Shall be as brothers at one hearth;
[T. Buchanan Read, "The Cable," 1858]
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cable-car (n.)

"car on a cable railroad," 1879, from cable (n.) + car. A streetcar moved by an endless cable which is cased in a small tunnel under the railway and kept in motion by a remote stationary engine.

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coil (n.)

1620s, "length of rope or cable," a specialized nautical sense from coil (v.). General sense "ring or series of rings in which a pliant body is wound" is from 1660s; hence, such a form forced onto a non-pliant body (1826). Specific sense "electrical conductor wound in a coil" is from 1849. Related: Coils.

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bitter end (n.)

by 1759 in lexicons of nautical language, "the part of a cable which is round about the bitts" (the two great timbers used to belay cables) when the ship is at anchor (see bitt).

Bitter end of the Cable, the End which is wound about the Bitts. ["The News-Readers Pocket-Book: Or, a Military Dictionary," London, 1759]

When a cable is played out to the bitter end, there is no more left to play. Hence the term began to be used c. 1835 in non-nautical language and with probable influence of if not displacement by bitter (adj.).

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lossy (adj.)

"characterized by loss," 1948, a term in electrical engineering, from loss + -y (2).

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zapper (n.)

electrical pest-killer, 1970, from zap.

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pulser (n.)

by 1940, "device that gives electrical pulses," agent noun from pulse (v.).

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street-car (n.)

"passenger car for city travel," horse-drawn at first, later cable-powered, 1859, American English, from street (n.) + car (n.).

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