Etymology
Advertisement
Wellington (n.)
boot so called from 1817, for Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), who also in his lifetime had a style of coat, hat, and trousers named for him as well as a variety of apple and pine tree.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
bluchers (n.)
type of old-style boots, by 1837, from Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Blücher (1742-1819), in the later campaigns against Napoleon commander of the Prussian army, who is said to have taken an interest in the footwear of his soldiery. Prince Blucher demi boots were described in 1815 as "military (or half-boots), of royal purple, or dark blue morocco or kid leather, also of purple satin; a small scarlet star, embroidered on the instep, and scarlet bound; red leather buttons (covered red); thin narrow soles, made right and left; broad duck-web toes." Compare Wellington.
Related entries & more 
wimp (n.)
1920 (but not attested again until 1960), perhaps a clipped form of whimper (cf whimp, 1540s), perhaps influenced by J. Wellington Wimpy, comparatively unaggressive character in "Popeye" comics.
Related entries & more 
peninsular (adj.)

"of or pertaining to a peninsula; in the form of a peninsula; carried on in a peninsula," 1610s, from peninsula + -ar or from French péninsulaire (16c.). Related: Peninsularity.

The Peninsular War was the successful military operations in Spain and Portugal 1808-14 by the British and allied local forces, largely under Wellington, to drive the French from the Iberian peninsula. The Peninsular Campaign in the American Civil War was the unsuccessful attempt by the Army of the Potomac, under McClellan, in the spring and early summer of 1862 to capture Richmond, Va., by advancing up the peninsula between the Rappahannock and James rivers.

Related entries & more 
sequoia (n.)
large American coniferous tree, 1857, from Modern Latin tree genus name given 1847 by Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849), originally to a different tree, the coast redwood, apparently in honor of Sequoya (a.k.a. George Guess, 1760-1843), Cherokee man who invented a system of writing for his people's language, whose name is from Cherokee (Iroquoian) Sikwayi, a word of unknown etymology.

Endlicher was a specialist in conifers, and he also was a philologist. But he never gave an etymology of this name and a search of his papers discovered no mention of Sequoya or the Cherokee writing system, and the connection is an assumption that some botanists have challenged, though no better candidate for a source has yet been found.

The giant sequoia was unseen by Europeans until 1833 and unknown to scientists until 1852. In May 1855, a pair of American botanists named it Taxodium giganteum, but that name was deemed inappropriate for several scientific reasons. Meanwhile, English botanist John Lindley, who had never been to California, in 1853 named it Wellingtonia in honor of the Duke of Wellington. "As high as Wellington towers above his contemporaries, as high towers this California tree above the forest surrounding it. Therefore, it shall bear for all time to come the name Wellingtonia gigantea." This sat poorly with the Americans, and much ink was spilled until a French botanist provided the solution by transferring Endlicher's name. In Britain still popularly called Wellingtonia.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
iron (n.)

Middle English iron, iren, yron, from Old English iren, variant (with rhotacism of -s-) of isen, later form of isern, isærn "the metal iron; an iron weapon or instrument," from Proto-Germanic *isarn (source also of Old Saxon isarn, Old Frisian isern, Old Norse isarn, Middle Dutch iser, Old High German isarn, German Eisen).

This perhaps is an early borrowing of Celtic *isarnon (compare Old Irish iarn, Welsh haiarn), which Watkins suggests is from PIE *is-(e)ro- "powerful, holy," from PIE *eis "strong" (source also of Sanskrit isirah "vigorous, strong," Greek ieros "strong"), on the notion of "holy metal" or "strong metal" (in contrast to softer bronze).

It was both an adjective and a noun in Old English, but in form it is an adjective. The alternative isen survived into early Middle English as izen. In southern England the Middle English word tended to be ire, yre, with loss of -n, perhaps regarded as an inflection; in the north and Scotland, however, the word tended to be contracted to irn, yrn, still detectable in dialect.

Right so as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte. [Chaucer, c. 1386]

Chemical symbol Fe is from the Latin word for the metal, ferrum (see ferro-). Meaning "metal device used to press or smooth clothes" is from 1610s. Meaning "golf club with an iron head, 1842. To have (too) many irons in the fire "to be doing too much at once" is from 1540s. Iron lung "artificial respiration tank" is from 1932. The iron crown was that of the ancient kings of Lombardy, with a thin band of iron in the gold, said to have been forged from a nail of Christ's Cross. Iron horse "railroad locomotive" is from an 1839 poem. Iron maiden, instrument of torture, is from 1837 (probably translating German eiserne jungfrau). The unidentified French political prisoner known as the man in the iron mask died in the Bastille in 1703. In British history, Wellington was called the Iron Duke by 1832.

Related entries & more