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gas (n.1)

1650s, from Dutch gas, probably from Greek khaos "empty space" (see chaos). The sound of Dutch "g" is roughly equivalent to that of Greek "kh." First used by Flemish chemist J.B. van Helmont (1577-1644), probably influenced by Paracelsus, who used khaos in an occult sense of "proper elements of spirits" or "ultra-rarified water," which was van Helmont's definition of gas.

Hunc spiritum, incognitum hactenus, novo nomine gas voco ("This vapor, hitherto unknown, I call by a new name, 'gas.'") [Helmont, Ortus Medicinae]

Modern scientific sense began 1779, with later secondary specialization to "combustible mix of vapors" (1794, originally coal gas); "anesthetic" (1894, originally nitrous oxide); and "poison gas" (1900). Meaning "intestinal vapors" is from 1882. "The success of this artificial word is unique" [Weekley]. Slang sense of "empty talk" is from 1847; slang meaning "something exciting or excellent" first attested 1953, from earlier hepster slang gasser in the same sense (1944). Gas also meant "fun, a joke" in Anglo-Irish and was used so by Joyce (1914). Gas-works is by 1817. Gas-oven is from 1851 as a kitchen appliance; gas-stove from 1848.

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gas (v.)
1886, "to supply with (illuminating) gas," from gas (n.1). Sense of "poison with gas" is from 1889 as an accidental thing, from 1915 as a military attack. In old slang also "talk nonsense, lie to." Related: Gassed; gassing; gasses.
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gas (n.2)
short for gasoline, American English, by 1905. Gas-pump is from 1925; gas-pedal "automobile accelerator" is by 1908; gas-station "fueling station for an automobile" is from 1916.
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gas-mask (n.)
1915, from (poison) gas (n.1) + mask (n.).
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gas-house (n.)
also gashouse, 1880 as a power-generating station, from gas (n.1) + house (n.). By 1926, emblematic of a run-down district of a U.S. city, a typical abode of criminals and gangsters.
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gas-light (n.)

also gaslight, "light, or a provision for light, produced by combustion of coal gas; a gas-jet," 1808, from (illuminating) gas (n.1) + light (n.). Related: Gas-lighted; gas-lighting; gaslighting

According to Wiktionary, "The verb sense derives from the 1938 stage play Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment."

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gaselier (n.)
"gas-burning chandelier," 1849, from gas (n.1) on model of chandelier.
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gassy (adj.)
1757, from gas (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Gassily; gassiness.
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gaseous (adj.)
"in the form of a gas," 1799, from gas (n.) + -ous. Related: Gaseousness.
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gasometer (n.)
1790, from gas (n.1) + -meter. Originally an instrument for measuring gases; as this also involves collecting and storing them, it came also to be used for "a storehouse for gas." Related: Gasometric; gasometry.
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