inversion (n.)
1550s, "act of inverting;" 1590s, "state of being inverted," from Latin inversionem (nominative inversio) "an inversion," noun of action from past participle stem of invertere "turn about, turn upside-down" (see invert). Meteorological sense is from 1902. In old psychology, "homosexuality" (1895, short for sexual inversion) but in later psychology "identification with the opposite sex" (1958).
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homosexual (adj.)

1892, in C.G. Chaddock's translation of Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis," from German homosexual, homosexuale (by 1880, in Gustav Jäger), from Greek homos "same" (see homo- (1)) + Latin-based sexual.

'Homosexual' is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it. It is, however, convenient, and now widely used. 'Homogenic' has been suggested as a substitute. [H. Havelock Ellis, "Studies in Psychology," 1897]

Sexual inversion (1883, later simply inversion, by 1895) was an earlier clinical term for "homosexuality" in English, said by Ellis to have originated in Italian psychology writing. See also uranian. Unnatural love was used 18c.-19c. for homosexuality as well as pederasty and incest. In 17c.-18c., pathic was used as a noun and adjective in reference to a man that submits to sexual intercourse with another man. Related: Homosexually.

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peckerwood (n.)

1859, U.S. Southern black dialectal inversion of woodpecker; in folklore, taken as the type of white people, especially poor whites (1929), and symbolically contrasted with blackbird.

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shelta (n.)
secret language of Irish tinkers, 1876, of unknown origin. According to OED it mostly consists of Irish or Gaelic words with inversion or arbitrary substitution of initial consonants.
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chiasmus (n.)

in grammar, "the arrangement of repeated, parallel, or contrasted words or phrases in pairs with inversion of word order," 1850, Latinized from Greek khiasmos "a placing crosswise, diagonal arrangement" (see chi).

Adam, first of men,
To first of women, Eve.
["Paradise Lost"]
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anastrophe (n.)
"inversion of usual word order," 1570s, from Greek anastrophe "a turning back, a turning upside down," from anastrephein "to turn up, turn back, turn upside-down," from ana "back" (see ana-) + strephein "to turn" (from PIE root *streb(h)- "to wind, turn").
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merrymaking (n.)

also merry-making, "a convivial entertainment, a mirthful festival," 1714, from an inversion of the verbal phrase make merry "be happy, be cheerful, be joyous, frolic" (late 14c.); see make (v.) + merry (adj.). The earlier noun was merry-make (1570s). Related: Merry-maker (1827).

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gramophone (n.)

"machine for recording and reproducing sounds by needle-tracing on some solid material," 1887, trademark by German-born U.S. inventor Emil Berliner (1851-1929), an inversion of phonogram (1884) "the tracing made by a phonograph needle," which was coined from Greek phōnē "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" + gramma "something written" (see -gram).

Berliner's machine used a flat disc and succeeded with the public. Edison's phonograph used a cylinder and did not. Despised by linguistic purists (Weekley calls gramophone "An atrocity formed by reversing phonogram") who tried at least to amend it to grammophone, it was replaced by record player after mid-1950s. There also was a graphophone (1886).

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cherub (n.)

late 14c. as an order of angels, from Late Latin cherub, from Greek cheroub, from Hebrew kerubh (plural kerubhim) "winged angel," which according to Klein is perhaps related to Akkadian karubu "to bless," karibu "one who blesses," an epithet of the bull-colossus. Old English had cerubin, from the Greek plural. But there are other theories:

The cherubim, a common feature of ancient Near Eastern mythology, are not to be confused with the round-cheeked darlings of Renaissance iconography. The root of the terms either means "hybrid" or, by an inversion of consonants, "mount," "steed," and they are winged beasts, probably of awesome aspect, on which the sky god of the old Canaanite myths and of the poetry of Psalms goes riding through the air. [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004, commentary on Genesis iii.24]

Meaning "a beautiful child" is from 1705. The plural in this sense is cherubs.

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humor (n.)

mid-14c., "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Old North French humour "liquid, dampness; (medical) humor" (Old French humor, umor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false association with humus "earth"); related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet" (see humid).

In old medicine, "any of the four body fluids" (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile).

The human body had four humors—blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile—which, in turn, were associated with particular organs. Blood came from the heart, phlegm from the brain, yellow bile from the liver, and black bile from the spleen. Galen and Avicenna attributed certain elemental qualities to each humor. Blood was hot and moist, like air; phlegm was cold and moist, like water; yellow bile was hot and dry, like fire; and black bile was cold and dry, like earth. In effect, the human body was a microcosm of the larger world. [Robert S. Gottfried, "The Black Death," 1983]

 Their relative proportions were thought to determine physical condition and state of mind. This gave humor an extended sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (recorded from 1520s); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness, jocular turn of mind" is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" as determined by state of mind (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge (someone's) fancy or disposition." Modern French has them as doublets: humeur "disposition, mood, whim;" humour "humor." "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ..." [OED].

For aid in distinguishing the various devices that tend to be grouped under "humor," this guide, from Henry W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926] may be of use:

HUMOR: motive/aim: discovery; province: human nature; method/means: observation; audience: the sympathetic
WIT: motive/aim: throwing light; province: words & ideas; method/means: surprise; audience: the intelligent
SATIRE: motive/aim: amendment; province: morals & manners; method/means: accentuation; audience: the self-satisfied
SARCASM: motive/aim: inflicting pain; province: faults & foibles; method/means: inversion; audience: victim & bystander
INVECTIVE: motive/aim: discredit; province: misconduct; method/means: direct statement; audience: the public
IRONY: motive/aim: exclusiveness; province: statement of facts; method/means: mystification; audience: an inner circle
CYNICISM: motive/aim: self-justification; province: morals; method/means: exposure of nakedness; audience: the respectable
SARDONIC: motive/aim: self-relief; province: adversity; method/means: pessimism; audience: the self
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