"Shrove Tuesday, last day of carnival, day of eating and merrymaking before the fasting season of Lent," 1690s, French, literally "fat Tuesday," from mardi "Tuesday" (12c. in Old French, from Latin Martis diem "day of the planet Mars;" see Tuesday) + gras "fat," from Latin crassus, "thick," which is of unknown origin.
1818, French, short for pâté de foie gras (1827 in English), literally "pie of fat liver;" originally served in a pastry (as still in Alsace), the phrase now chiefly in English with reference to the filling. French foie "liver" is cognate with Italian fegato, from Latin *ficatum. For pâté see pâté (n.2); for gras see grease (n.).
"putrefaction or necrosis of soft tissues," 1540s, cancrena, from Latin gangraena (Medieval Latin cancrena), from medical Greek gangraina "an eating or gnawing sore," literally "that which eats away," a dissimilated, reduplicated form of gran- "to gnaw," from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric).
1706, "small pie or pastry," from French pâté, from Old French paste, earlier pastée, from paste (see paste (n.)). Especially pâté de foie gras (1827), which was originally a pie or pastry filled with fatted goose liver; the word now generally is used of the filling itself.
Old English græs, gærs "herb, plant, grass," from Proto-Germanic *grasan (source also of Old Frisian gers "grass, turf, kind of grass," Old Norse, Old Saxon, Dutch, Old High German, German, Gothic gras, Swedish gräs"grass"), which, according to Watkins, is from PIE *ghros- "young shoot, sprout," from root *ghre- "to grow, become green," thus related to grow and green, but not to Latin grāmen "grass, plant, herb." But Boutkan considers grāmen the only reliable cognate and proposes a substrate origin.
As a color name (especially grass-green, Old English græsgrene) by c. 1300. Sense of "marijuana" is recorded by 1932, American English. The grass skirt worn by people native to tropical regions is mentioned by 1874; the warning to keep off the grass by 1843 (in New York City's Central Park). Grass-fed of cattle, etc., (opposed to stall-fed) is from 1774.
common name for a plant of the mustard family, Old English cresse, originally cærse, from Proto-Germanic *krasjon- (source also of Middle Low German kerse, karse; Middle Dutch kersse; Old High German kresso, German Kresse), from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric). It underwent a metathesis similar to that of grass. French cresson, Italian crescione are Germanic loan-words.
Middle English mirie, from Old English myrge "pleasing, agreeable, pleasant, sweet, exciting feelings of enjoyment and gladness" (said of grass, trees, the world, music, song); also as an adverb, "pleasantly, melodiously," from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz, which probably originally meant "short-lasting," (compare Old High German murg "short," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten"), from PIE root *mregh-u- "short." The only exact cognate for meaning outside English was Middle Dutch mergelijc "joyful."
The connection to "pleasure" likely was via the notion of "making time fly, that which makes the time seem to pass quickly" (compare German Kurzweil "pastime," literally "a short time;" Old Norse skemta "to amuse, entertain, amuse oneself," from skamt, neuter of skammr "short"). There also was a verbal form in Old English, myrgan "be merry, rejoice." For vowel evolution, see bury (v.).
Not originally applied to humorous moods or speech or conduct, yet the word had a much wider senses in Middle English than modern: "pleasant-sounding" (of animal voices), "fine" (of weather), "handsome" (of dress), "pleasant-tasting" (of herbs). The evolution of the modern senses is probably via the meaning "pleased by a certain event or situation or state of things" (c. 1200). Of persons, "cheerful by disposition or nature; playfully cheerful, enlivened with gladness or good spirits," by mid-14c.
Merry-bout "an incident of sexual intercourse" was low slang from 1780. Merry-begot "illegitimate" (adj.), also "bastard" (n.) are in Grose (1785). Merrie England (now frequently satirical or ironic) is c. 1400, meri ingland, originally in a broader sense of "bountiful, prosperous." Merry Monday was a 16c. term for "the Monday before Shrove Tuesday" (Mardi Gras).