Old English twinclian "to twinkle, wink," frequentative of twincan "to wink, blink," with -el (3). Twincan is related to Middle High German zwinken, German zwinkern, and probably somehow imitative. Related: Twinkled; twinkling. The noun is recorded from 1540s. Phrase in the twinkling of an eye "in a very brief time" is attested from c. 1300.
derivational suffix, also -le, used mostly with verbs but originally also with nouns, "often denoting diminutive, repetitive, or intensive actions or events" [The Middle English Compendium], from Old English. Compare brastlian alongside berstan (see burst); nestlian (see nestle) alongside nistan). It is likely also in wrestle, trample, draggle, struggle, twinkle, also noddle "to make frequent nods" (1733). New formations in Middle English might be native formations (jostle from joust) with this or borrowings from Dutch.
1620s, "to sparkle or twinkle," as the fixed stars do, and typically with reference to them, from Latin scintillatus, past participle of scintillare "to sparkle, glitter, gleam, flash," from scintilla "spark" (see scintilla). Figurative use is by 1751 (implied in scintillation). Related: Scintillated; scintillating.
"given to meddling, apt to interpose in the affairs of others," 1610s, from meddle + -some (1). Earlier was medlous "quarrelsome, meddlesome" (mid-15c.). Related: Meddlesomely; meddlesomeness. "Meddlesome Matty" is the title of a piece by Ann Taylor in "Original Poems for Infant Minds" (1806) about a little girl who, by meddling, breaks her grandmother's eye-glasses and gets a face-full of grandma's snuff.
Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore;
And 'tis a fact as I have heard.
She ever since has kept her word.
The book, which also included "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" by Ann's sister Jane, was very popular in its day.
autumn-flowering bulb, 1794, adopted by Linnaeus from Latin, from Greek Amaryllis, a typical name of a country girl or shepherdess (in Theocritus, Virgil, Ovid, etc.), from amaryssein "to sparkle, twinkle, glance," as the eye, a word which according to Beekes "may well be of Pre-Greek origin."
"the first part of the day, the morning," late 14c., contracted from Middle English morwen, morghen, from Old English (Mercian) margen (dative marne), earlier morgen (dative morgne) "morning, forenoon, sunrise," from Proto-Germanic *murgana- "morning" (source also of Old Saxon morgan, Old Frisian morgen, Middle Dutch morghen, Dutch morgen, Old High German morgan, German Morgen, Gothic maurgins), from PIE *merk-, perhaps from root *mer- "to blink, twinkle" (source of Lithuanian mirgėti "to blink"). By late 19c. relegated to poetry.
1580s, "nictitate, wink rapidly and repeatedly," perhaps from Middle Dutch blinken "to glitter," which is of uncertain origin, possibly, along with German blinken "to gleam, sparkle, twinkle," from a nasalized form of base found in Old English blican "to shine, glitter" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn").
Middle English had blynke (c. 1300) in the sense "a brief gleam or spark," perhaps a variant of blench "to move suddenly or sharply; to raise one's eyelids" (c. 1200), perhaps from the rare Old English blencan "deceive."
The word existed originally with a vague and shifting set of meanings, many now obsolete, having to do with motion of the eyes; in earlier use "the notion of 'glancing' predominates; in the latter, that of 'winking'" [OED].
Blink as "to wink" is attested by 1761. The meaning "cast a sudden, fleeting light" is from 1786; that of "shut the eyes momentarily and involuntarily" is from 1858. Related: Blinked; blinking. The last, as a euphemism for a stronger adjective, is attested by 1914.
c. 1300, broue, plural broues, brouen, "arch of hair over the eye," also extended to the prominent ridge over the eye (early 14c.), from Old English bru (plural brua), which probably originally meant "eyebrow" (but also was used in the sense of "eyelash"), from Proto-Germanic *brus- "eyebrow" (source also of Old Norse brun), from PIE *bhru- "eyebrow" (source also of Sanskrit bhrus "eyebrow," Greek ophrys, Old Church Slavonic bruvi, Lithuanian bruvis "brow," Old Irish bru "edge"). The -n- in the Old Norse (brun) and German (braune) forms of the word are from a genitive plural inflection.
The sense was extended by c. 1200 to "the forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude, hence "general expression of the face" (1590s). From c. 1400 as "the slope of a steep place."
Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). The extension of Old English bru to "eyelash," and later "eyelid" presumably was by association of the hair of the eyebrow with the hair of the eyelid. The eyebrows then became Old English oferbrua "overbrows" (early Middle English uvere breyhes or briges aboue þe eiges). The general word for "eyebrow" in Middle English was brew, breowen (c. 1200), from Old English bræw (West Saxon), *brew (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *bræwi- "blinker, twinkler" (source also of Old Frisian bre, Old Saxon brawa, Middle Dutch brauwe "eyelid," Old High German brawa "eyebrow," Old Norse bra "eyebrow," Gothic brahw "twinkle, blink," in phrase in brahwa augins "in the twinkling of an eye").