masc. proper name, from Latin Ambrosius, from Greek ambrosios "immortal, belonging to the immortals" (see ambrosia). The Ambrosian Library in Milan, founded 1609 by Cardinal Borromeo, is named for Saint Ambrose (obit 397), bishop of Milan.
"polish by the application of Simoniz," 1921, from Simoniz, trademark for a type of car polish invented by George Simons, who in 1910 along with Elmer Rich of the Great Northern Railway organized Simons Manufacturing Company in Chicago to sell the stuff. Rich and his brother, R.J. Rich, acquired sole ownership two years later.
"weakly sentimental, affectedly nice, insipidly pretty," 1745, from the satiric nickname of English poet Ambrose Philips (1674-1749), "a good Whig and a middling poet" [Macaulay] mocking his sentimental pastorals addressed to infant members of the nobility. Used first in 1726 in a farce credited to Carey (Pope also used it). Related: Namby-pambical.
style of facial hair consisting of side whiskers and a mustache (but clean-shaven chin), 1875 (singular; plural form from 1878; many early uses are in college and university magazines), a reference to U.S. Army Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881) of Civil War fame, who wore them and inspired the style. Compare sideburns.
"habitually lewd or profligate person, one addicted to vicious indulgence in sensual pleasures," 1660s, from French débauché "debauched (person)," noun use of past participle of debaucher (see debauch).
Debauchee, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
1640s (Browne, from Gilbert's Modern Latin), from electric (q.v.) + -ity. Originally in reference to friction.
Electricity seems destined to play a most important part in the arts and industries. The question of its economical application to some purposes is still unsettled, but experiment has already proved that it will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more light than a horse. [Ambrose Bierce, "The Cynic's Word Book," 1906]
also Laocoön name of a Trojan priest of Apollo, from Latin Laocoon, from Greek Laukoun, from laos "people" (see lay (adj.)) + koeo "I mark, perceive."
Laocoön, n. A famous piece of antique sculpture representing a priest of that time and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up in their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
1820, "member of the progressive and reformist political party of Great Britain, an anti-Whig," from liberal (adj.). General meaning "person of liberal political principles or tendencies" (without reference to party) is by 1832; in reference to persons of a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c. 1920. Also used from early 20c. of ministers from less-dogmatic Christian churches.
Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
"the young of the domestic hen," also of some other birds, mid-14c., probably originally a shortening of chicken (n.).
Extended 14c. to human offspring, "person of tender years" (often in alliterative pairing chick and child) and thence used as a term of endearment. As modern slang for "young woman" it is recorded by 1927 (in "Elmer Gantry"), supposedly from African-American vernacular. In British use in this sense by c. 1940; popularized by Beatniks late 1950s (chicken in this sense is by 1860). Sometimes c. 1600-1900 chicken was taken as a plural, chick as a singular (compare child/children) for the domestic fowl.
"great hunter," 1712, a reference to the biblical son of Cush, referred to (Genesis x.8-9) as "a mighty hunter before the Lord." In Middle English he was Nembrot (mid-13c.), founder of cities and builder of the tower of Babel (though Genesis does not name him as such). In 16c.-17c. his name was synonymous with "a tyrant." The word came to mean "geek, klutz" by 1983 in teenager slang, for unknown reasons. (Amateur theories include its occasional use in "Bugs Bunny" cartoon episodes featuring rabbit-hunting Elmer Fudd as a foil; its alleged ironic use, among hunters, for a clumsy member of their fraternity; or a stereotype of deer hunters by the non-hunting population in the U.S.)