1898, from German Heroin, coined 1898 as trademark registered by Friedrich Bayer & Co. for their morphine substitute. According to tradition the word was coined with chemical suffix -ine (2) (German -in) + Greek hērōs "hero" (see hero (n.1)) because of the euphoric feeling the drug provides, but no evidence for this seems to have been found so far.
A new hypnotic, to which the name of 'heroin' has been given, has been tried in the medical clinic of Professor Gerhardt in Berlin. [The Lancet, Dec. 3, 1898]
"heroin," 1942, American English slang, probably an alteration of schmeck "a drug," especially heroin (1932), from Yiddish schmeck "a sniff," from Germanic (see smack (n.1)).
"heroin," 1967, American English, earlier "cigarette" (1915), of unknown origin.
"without preparation," 1910; narrower sense of "withdrawal from an addictive substance" (originally heroin) first recorded 1921. Cold turkey is a food that requires little preparation, so "to quit like cold turkey" is to do so suddenly and without preparation. Compare cold shoulder. To do something cold "without preparation" is attested from 1896.
something that brings one to alertness or out of sleep, 1965, often in the 1960s in reference to a shot of heroin in the morning. Phrase wake-up call is attested from 1968, originally a call one received from the hotel desk in the morning. Verbal phrase wake up is from 1530s; earlier the adverb was out (late 14c.)
surname, literally "John's (child);" see John. Phrase keep up with the Joneses (1917, American English) is from Keeping Up with the Joneses, the title of a popular newspaper comic strip by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand (1886-1987) which debuted in 1913 and chronicled the doings of the McGinnis family in its bid to match the living style of the Joneses. The slang sense "intense desire, addiction" (1968) probably arose from earlier use of Jones as a synonym for "heroin," presumably from the proper name, but the connection, if any, is obscure. Related: Jonesing.
consonant cluster that can represent five distinct sounds in English; it first was used by Middle English writers to render Old English sc-, a sound now generally pronounced (and spelled) "-sh-." Sometimes it was miswritten for ch. It also was taken in from German (schnapps) and Yiddish (schlemiel). In words derived from classical languages (school (n.1)), it represents Latin sch-, Greek skh-, but in some of these words the spelling is a restoration and the pronunciation does not follow it (as in schism; Middle English sisme, cisme).
The Yiddish words with it, often derisive or dismissive, tended to come into 20c. American English. In addition to those with entries here, Saul Bellow used schmegeggy, "Portnoy's Complaint" has schmatte "a ragged garment;" schmeck "a sniff" figures in heroin jargon, and schmutz "dirt, filth" has been used. Directly to English from German also are some specialized words: Schmelz "enamel," schmerz "grief, pain, sorrow,"
Old English sped "success, a successful course; prosperity, riches, wealth; luck; opportunity, advancement," from Proto-Germanic *spodiz (source also of Old Saxon spod "success," Dutch spoed "haste, speed," Old High German spuot "success," Old Saxon spodian "to cause to succeed," Middle Dutch spoeden, Old High German spuoten "to haste"), from PIE *spo-ti-, from root *spes- or *speh- "prosperity" (source also of Hittite išpai- "get full, be satiated;" Sanskrit sphira "fat," sphayate "increases;" Latin spes "hope," sperare "to hope;" Old Church Slavonic spechu "endeavor," spĕti "to succeed," Russian spet' "to ripen;" Lithuanian spėju, spėti "to have leisure;" Old English spōwan "to prosper").
Meaning "rapidity of movement, quickness, swiftness" emerged in late Old English (at first usually adverbially, in dative plural, as in spedum feran). Meaning "rate of motion or progress" (whether fast or slow) is from c. 1200. Meaning "gear of a machine" is attested from 1866. Meaning "methamphetamine, or a related drug," first attested 1967, from its effect on users.
Speed limit is from 1879 (originally of locomotives); speed-trap is from 1908. Speed bump is 1975; figurative sense is 1990s. Full speed is recorded from late 14c. Speed reading first attested 1965. Speedball "mix of cocaine and morphine or heroin" is recorded from 1909.
coined 1958 by San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen (1916-1997) during the heyday of -nik suffixes in the wake of Sputnik. The first element is from Beat generation (1952), which is associated with beat (n.) in its meaning "rhythm (especially in jazz)" as well as beat (adj.) "worn out, exhausted." Century Dictionary (1902) has slang beat (n.) "a worthless, dishonest, shiftless fellow." Originator Jack Kerouac in 1958 connected it with beatitude.
The origins of the word beat are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than the feeling of weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of the mind. [New York Times Magazine, Oct. 2, 1952]
"Beat" is old carny slang. According to Beat Movement legend (and it is a movement with a deep inventory of legend), Ginsberg and Kerouac picked it up from a character named Herbert Huncke, a gay street hustler and drug addict from Chicago who began hanging around Times Square in 1939 (and who introduced William Burroughs to heroin, an important cultural moment). The term has nothing to do with music; it names the condition of being beaten down, poor, exhausted, at the bottom of the world. [Louis Menand, New Yorker, Oct. 1, 2007]