Etymology
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weigh (v.)

Old English wegan (class V strong verb, past tense wæg, past participle wægon) "find the weight of, measure; have weight; lift, carry, support, sustain, bear; move," from Proto-Germanic *wegan (source also of Old Saxon wegan, Old Frisian wega, Dutch wegen "to weigh;" Old Norse vega, Old High German wegan "to move, carry, weigh;" German wiegen "to weigh," bewegen "to move, stir"), from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move, transport in a vehicle."

The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of." The older sense of "lift, carry" survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Figurative sense of "to consider, ponder" (in reference to words, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c. To weigh in in the literal sense is from 1868, originally of jockeys; figurative meaning "bring one's influence to bear" is from 1909.

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down (adj.)

1560s, "directed downward," from down (adv.). Sense of "depressed mentally" is attested from c. 1600. Slang sense of "aware, wide awake" is attested from 1812. Computer crash sense is from 1965. Down-and-out "completely without resources" is from 1889, American English, from situation of a beaten prizefighter.

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down (adv.)

"in a descending direction, from a higher to a lower place, degree, or condition," late Old English shortened form of Old English ofdune "downwards," originally of dune "off from (the) hill," from dune "from the hill," dative of dun "hill" (see down (n.2)). The "hill" word is general in Germanic, but this sense development is peculiar to English. As a preposition, "in a descending direction upon or along,"  from late 14c.

To be down on "express disapproval of" is by 1851. Down home is from 1828 as "in one's home region," as an adjective phrase meaning "unpretentious" by 1931, American English. Down the hatch as a toast is from 1931. Down to the wire is 1901, from horse-racing.

Down Under "Australia and New Zealand" attested from 1886; Down East "Maine" is from 1825; Down South "in the Southern states of the U.S." is attested by 1834. Down the road "in the future" is by 1964, U.S. colloquial. Down-to-earth "everyday, ordinary, realistic" is by 1932.

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down (n.3)

1710, "a downward movement," from down (adv.). Football sense of "an attempt to advance the ball" is by 1882.

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down (n.1)

"first feathers of a baby bird; soft covering of fowls under the feathers, the under-plumage of birds," used for stuffing pillows and feather-beds, mid-14c., from Old Norse dunn, which is of uncertain origin. Extended in Modern English to the soft hair of the human face and fine soft pubescence upon plants and some fruit.

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down (n.2)

"a hill of moderate elevation and more or less rounded outline," Old English dun "height, hill, moor," from Proto-Germanic *dunaz- (source also of Middle Dutch dunen "sandy hill," Dutch duin), "probably a pre-insular loan-word from Celtic" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names], in other words, borrowed at a very early period, before the Anglo-Saxon migration, perhaps from PIE root *dheue- "to close, finish, come full circle."

The more general meaning "elevated rolling grassland; high, rolling region not covered by forest" is from c. 1400. Specifically of certain natural pastureland districts of south and southeast England (the Downs) by mid-15c.

The non-English Germanic words tend to mean "dune, sand bank" (see dune), while the Celtic cognates tend to mean "hill, citadel" (compare Old Irish dun "hill, hill fort;" Welsh din "fortress, hill fort;" and second element in place names London, Verdun, etc.). German Düne, French dune, Italian, Spanish duna are said to be loan-words from Dutch.

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down (v.)

1560s, "cause to go down," from down (adv.). Meaning "swallow hastily" is by 1860; football sense of "bring down (an opposing player) by tackling" is attested by 1887. Figurative sense of "defeat, get the better of" is by 1898. Related: Downed; downing.

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down-hearted (adj.)

also downhearted, "dejected, depressed, discouraged," 1774 (downheartedly is attested from 1650s), a figurative image from down (adv.) + -hearted.

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down-market (adj.)

"on the cheaper end of what is available," 1970, from down (adj.) + market (n.).

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clamp-down (n.)

also clampdown, 1940 in the figurative sense "a firm, oppressive or harsh suppression or preventive action," from verbal phrase clamp down "use pressure to keep down" (1924). The verbal phrase in the figurative sense is recorded from 1941. See clamp (v.) + down (adv.).

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