late 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French), countrefet, "spurious, forged, made in semblance of an original with a view to defraud," also "feigned, simulated, hypocritical," from Old French contrefait "imitated" (Modern French contrefait), past participle of contrefaire "imitate," from contre- "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + faire "to make, to do" (from Latin facere "to make, do," from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
As a noun, "an imitation or copy designed to pass as an original," late 14c., from the adjective.
mid-14c., manicle, "an iron fetter for the hand" (usually in plural), from Old French manicle "manacles, handcuffs; bracelet; armor for the hands," from Latin manicula "handle," literally "little hand," diminutive of manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs, manacles," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand"). Related: Manacles.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear
[Blake, "Songs of Experience"]
1530s, "action of battering," in law, "the unlawful beating of another," from French batterie, from Old French baterie "beating, thrashing, assault" (12c.), from batre "to beat," from Latin battuere (see batter (v.)).
Meaning shifted in French from "bombardment" ("heavy blows" upon city walls or fortresses) to "unit of artillery" (a sense recorded in English from 1550s). Extension to "electrical cell" (1748, first used by Ben Franklin) is perhaps from the artillery sense via notion of "discharges" of electricity. In Middle English, bateri meant only "forged metal ware." In obsolete baseball jargon battery was the word for "pitcher and catcher" considered as a unit (1867, originally only the pitcher).
c. 1300, Prestre Johan, legendary medieval Christian king and priest, said to have ruled either in the Far East or Ethiopia. Prestre (attested as a surname late 12c.) is from Vulgar Latin *prester, a transition between Latin presbyter and English priest. First mentioned in the West by mid-12c. chronicler Otto of Freising, who told how Johannes Presbyter won a great victory over the Persians and the Medes. Between 1165 and 1177 a forged letter purporting to be from him circulated in Europe. All this recalls the time when the Christian West was militarily threatened on its frontiers by Muslim powers, dreaming of a mythical deliverer. Compare Old French prestre Jehan (13c.), Italian prete Gianni.
(plural Cyclopes), in Greek mythology, a giant with one eye, circular and in the middle of the forehead, 1510s, from Latin Cyclops, from Greek kyklops, literally "round-eyed," from stem of kyklos "circle, circular body" (from PIE root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round") + ops "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see").
According to the Hesiodic legend, there were three Cyclopes of the race of Titans, sons of Uranus and Ge, who forged the thunderbolts of Zeus, Pluto's helmet, and Poseidon's trident, and were considered the primeval patrons of all smiths. Their workshops were afterward said to be under Mount Etna. [Century Dictionary]
But in the Odyssey they were lawless gigantic cannibal shepherds in Sicily under their chief Polyphemus, and in other ancient tales they were race of giants from Thrace under a king Cyclops, who built the prehistoric walls and fortresses of Greece. Related: Cyclopic.
Middle English iron, iren, yron, from Old English iren, variant (with rhotacism of -s-) of isen, later form of isern, isærn "the metal iron; an iron weapon or instrument," from Proto-Germanic *isarn (source also of Old Saxon isarn, Old Frisian isern, Old Norse isarn, Middle Dutch iser, Old High German isarn, German Eisen).
This perhaps is an early borrowing of Celtic *isarnon (compare Old Irish iarn, Welsh haiarn), which Watkins suggests is from PIE *is-(e)ro- "powerful, holy," from PIE *eis "strong" (source also of Sanskrit isirah "vigorous, strong," Greek ieros "strong"), on the notion of "holy metal" or "strong metal" (in contrast to softer bronze).
It was both an adjective and a noun in Old English, but in form it is an adjective. The alternative isen survived into early Middle English as izen. In southern England the Middle English word tended to be ire, yre, with loss of -n, perhaps regarded as an inflection; in the north and Scotland, however, the word tended to be contracted to irn, yrn, still detectable in dialect.
Right so as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte. [Chaucer, c. 1386]
Chemical symbol Fe is from the Latin word for the metal, ferrum (see ferro-). Meaning "metal device used to press or smooth clothes" is from 1610s. Meaning "golf club with an iron head, 1842. To have (too) many irons in the fire "to be doing too much at once" is from 1540s. Iron lung "artificial respiration tank" is from 1932. The iron crown was that of the ancient kings of Lombardy, with a thin band of iron in the gold, said to have been forged from a nail of Christ's Cross. Iron horse "railroad locomotive" is from an 1839 poem. Iron maiden, instrument of torture, is from 1837 (probably translating German eiserne jungfrau). The unidentified French political prisoner known as the man in the iron mask died in the Bastille in 1703. In British history, Wellington was called the Iron Duke by 1832.