masc. proper name, Germanic, perhaps from Proto-Germanic *fardi-nanth- and meaning literally "adventurer," with first element perhaps Proto-Germanic *fardiz "journey," abstract noun related to or from *far- "to fare, travel" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over"); second element is Proto-Germanic *nanthiz "risk," related to Old English neðan, Old High German nendan "to risk, venture."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to lead, pass over." A verbal root associated with *per- (1), which forms prepositions and preverbs with the basic meaning "forward, through; in front of, before," etc.
It forms all or part of: aporia; asportation; comport; deport; disport; emporium; Euphrates; export; fare; farewell; fartlek; Ferdinand; fere; fern; ferry; firth; fjord; ford; Fuhrer; gaberdine; import; important; importune; opportune; opportunity; passport; porch; pore (n.) "minute opening;" port (n.1) "harbor;" port (n.2) "gateway, entrance;" port (n.3) "bearing, mien;" port (v.) "to carry;" portable; portage; portal; portcullis; porter (n.1) "person who carries;" porter (n.2) "doorkeeper, janitor;" portfolio; portico; portiere; purport; practical; rapport; report; sport; support; transport; warfare; wayfarer; welfare.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit parayati "carries over;" Greek poros "journey, passage, way," peirein "to pierce, pass through, run through;" Latin portare "to carry," porta "gate, door," portus "port, harbor," originally "entrance, passage," peritus "experienced;" Avestan peretush "passage, ford, bridge;" Armenian hordan "go forward;" Old Welsh rit, Welsh rhyd "ford;" Old Church Slavonic pariti "to fly;" Old English faran "to go, journey," Old Norse fjörðr "inlet, estuary."
also Moebius, 1904 in reference to the Mobius strip (earlier Moebius unilateral paper strip, 1899), named for German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868), professor at Leipzig, who devised it and described it in 1865 ("über die Bestimmung des Inhalts eines Polyeders", Nov. 27, 1865).
"rod-shaped bacterium," 1877, medical Latin, from Late Latin bacillus "wand," literally "little staff," diminutive of baculum "a stick, staff, walking stick," from PIE *bak- "staff" (also source of Greek bakterion; see bacteria) + instrumentive suffix -culo (see -cule). It was introduced as a term in bacteriology in 1853 by German botanist Ferdinand Cohn (1828-1898).
1867, in music, "a harmonic, an upper partial tone," from over- + tone (n.); a loan-translation of German Oberton, which was first used by German physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) as a contraction of Overpartialton "upper partial tone." Figurative sense of "subtle implication" is from 1890, in William James.
sea-storm of severest intensity, 1550s, a partially deformed adoption of Spanish huracan (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, "Historia General y Natural de las Indias," 1547-9), furacan (in the works of Pedro Mártir De Anghiera, chaplain to the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and historian of Spanish explorations), from an Arawakan (West Indies) word. In Portuguese, it became furacão. For confusion of initial -f- and -h- in Spanish, see hacienda. The word is first in English in Richard Eden's "Decades of the New World":
These tempestes of the ayer (which the Grecians caule Tiphones ...) they caule furacanes.
OED records 39 different spellings, mostly from the late 16c., including forcane, herrycano, harrycain, hurlecane. The modern form became frequent from 1650 and was established after 1688. Shakespeare uses hurricano ("King Lear," "Troilus and Cressida"), but in reference to waterspouts.