Etymology
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grand (n.)
"thousand dollars," 1915, American English underworld slang, from grand (adj.).
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grand (adj.)

late 14c., grant "large, big" (early 12c. in surnames), from Anglo-French graunt and directly from Old French grant, grand (10c., Modern French grand) "large, tall; grown-up; great, powerful, important; strict, severe; extensive; numerous," from Latin grandis "big, great; full, abundant," also "full-grown;" figuratively "strong, powerful, weighty, severe," of unknown origin.

In Vulgar Latin it supplanted magnus and continued in the Romanic languages. The connotations of "noble, sublime, lofty, dignified," etc., were in Latin. In English it developed a special sense of "imposing." Meaning "principal, chief, most important" (especially in titles) is from 1560s; that of "of very high or noble quality" is from 1712. As a general term of admiration, "magnificent, splendid," from 1816. Related: Grander; grandest.

Grand jury is late 15c. Grand piano from 1797. The grand tour of the principal sites of continental Europe, as part of a gentleman's education, is attested by that name from 1660s. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in western U.S. was so called by 1869, popularized by Maj. John Wesley Powell, scientific adventurer, who explored it; earlier it had been known as Big Canyon. For grand slam see slam (n.2).

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grand- 
a special use of grand (adj.) in genealogical compounds, originally with the sense of "a generation older than," first attested c. 1200, in Anglo-French graund dame "grandmother," also grandsire (late 13c.), from such use of Old French grand-, which perhaps is modeled on Latin avunculus magnus "great uncle." The partly-Englished grandmother, grandfather are from 15c. Other such words in European languages are formed with the adjectives for "old" or "best" (Danish bedstefar) or as diminutives or pet names (Greek pappos, Welsh taid). The French formation also is the model for such words in German and Dutch. Spanish abuelo is from Latin avus "grandfather" (from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father;" see uncle), via Vulgar Latin *aviolus, a diminutive or adjective substitution for the noun.

The extension of the sense to corresponding relationships of descent, "a generation younger than" (grandson, granddaughter) is from Elizabethan times. The inherited PIE root, *nepot- "grandchild" (see nephew) has shifted to "nephew; niece" in English and other languages (Spanish nieto, nieta). Old English used suna sunu ("son's son"), dohtor sunu ("son's daughter").
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circle (v.)

late 14c., cerclen, "to shape like a globe," also "to encompass or surround with a circle," from circle (n.). From c. 1400 as "to set in a circular pattern;" mid-15c. as "to move round in a circle." Related: Circled; circling. To circle the wagons, figuratively, "assume an alert defensive stance" is from 1969, from old Western movies.

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circle (n.)

c. 1300, "figure of a circle, a plane figure whose periphery is everywhere equidistant from its center point," from Old French cercle "circle, ring (for the finger); hoop of a helmet or barrel" (12c.), from Latin circulus "circular figure; small ring, hoop; circular orbit" (also source of Italian cerchio), diminutive of circus "ring" (see circus).

Replaced Old English trendel and hring. Late Old English used circul, from Latin, but only in an astronomical sense. Also used of things felt to be analogous to a circle: The meaning "group of persons surrounding a center of interest" is from 1714 (it also was a secondary sense of Latin circulus); that of "coterie" is from 1640s (a sense also found in Latin circulus).

To come full circle is in Shakespeare. Sense in logic, "inconclusive argument in which unproved statements are used to prove each other" is from 1640s. Meaning "dark mark around or beneath the eyes" is from 1848.

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grand prix 
1863, French, literally "great prize," originally in English in reference to the Grand Prix de Paris, international horse race for three-year-olds, run every June at Longchamps beginning in 1863.
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Arctic Circle 

1550s in astronomy, in reference to a celestial circle, a line around the sky which, in any location, bounds the stars which are ever-visible from that latitude (in the Northern Hemisphere its center point is the celestial north pole); the concept goes back to the ancient Greeks, for whom this set of constellations included most prominently the two bears (arktoi), hence the name for the circle (see arctic). In Middle English it was the north cercle (late 14c.).

In geography, from 1620s as "the circle roughly 66 degrees 32 minutes north of the equator" (based on obliquity of the ecliptic of 23 degrees 28 minutes), marking the southern extremity of the polar day, when the sun at least theoretically passes the north point without setting on at least one summer day and does not rise on at least one winter one.

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grand mal 
"convulsive epilepsy" (with loss of consciousness), 1842 as a French term in English, from French grand mal, literally "great sickness" (see grand (adj.)). Opposed to petit mal.
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