Etymology
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fat (n.)

"fat part of anything," mid-14c., from fat (v.). Cognate with Dutch vet, German Fett, Swedish fett, Danish fedt. As a component of animal bodies, 1530s. Figurative sense of "best or most rewarding part" is from 1560s. Expression the fat is in the fire originally meant "the plan has failed" (1560s).

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cell (n.)

early 12c., "small monastery, subordinate monastery" (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later "small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit's dwelling" (c. 1300), from Latin cella "small room, store room, hut," related to Latin celare "to hide, conceal" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save").

From "monastic room" the sense was extended to "prison room" (1722). The word was used in 14c., figuratively, of brain "compartments" as the abode of some faculty; it was used in biology by 17c. of various cavities (wood structure, segments of fruit, bee combs), gradually focusing to the modern sense of "basic structure of all living organisms" (which OED dates to 1845).

Electric battery sense is from 1828, based on the "compartments" in very early types. The meaning "small group of people working within a larger organization" is from 1925. Cell-body is from 1851, cell-division from 1846, cell-membrane from 1837 (cellular membrane is by 1732), cell wall is attested from 1842.

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fat (adj.)

Old English fætt "fat, fatted, plump, obese," originally a contracted past participle of fættian "to cram, stuff," from Proto-Germanic *faitida "fatted," from verb *faitjan "to fatten," from *faita- "plump, fat" (source also of Old Frisian fatt, Old Norse feitr, Dutch vet, German feist "fat"), from PIE *poid- "to abound in water, milk, fat, etc." (source also of Greek piduein "to gush forth"), from root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (source also of Sanskrit payate "swells, exuberates," pituh "juice, sap, resin;" Lithuanian pienas "milk;" Greek pion "fat; wealthy;" Latin pinguis "fat").

Meaning "abounding in comforts, prosperous" is late 14c. Teen slang meaning "attractive, up to date" (also later phat) is attested from 1951. Fat cat "privileged and rich person" is from 1928; fat chance "no chance at all" attested from 1905, perhaps ironic (the expression is found earlier in the sense "good opportunity"). Fathead is from 1842; fat-witted is from 1590s; fatso is first recorded 1943. Expression the fat is in the fire originally meant "the plan has failed" (1560s).

Spanish gordo "fat, thick," is from Latin gurdus "stupid, doltish; heavy, clumsy," which also is the source of French gourd "stiff, benumbed" (12c.), engourdir "to dull, stupefy, benumb" (13c.).

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fat (v.)

Old English fættian "to become fat, fatten," from the source of fat (adj.). Replaced by fatten except in Biblical fatted calf.

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non-fat (adj.)

also nonfat, "containing no fat, with the fat removed," 1945, from non- + fat.

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fat-back (n.)

also fatback, cut of pork, 1903, from fat + back (n.). So called because taken from the back of the animal.

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cellulite (n.)

"lumpy, dimpled fat," 1968, from French cellulite, from cellule "a small cell" (16c., from Latin cellula "little cell," diminutive of cella; see cell) + -ite (see -ite (1)). The word appeared mainly in fashion magazines and advertisements for beauty treatments.

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fatten (v.)

1550s, "to make fat," from fat + -en (1). Intransitive sense from 1630s. Related: Fattened; fattener. The earlier verb was simply fat (v.).

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oocyte (n.)

"an egg mother-cell," 1895, from oo- "egg" + -cyte "cell."

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lymphocyte (n.)

cell found in the lymph, 1890, from lympho- "lymph" (see lymph) + -cyte "a cell."

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