Etymology
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a la 
from French à la, literally "to the," hence "in the manner of, according to," from à, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + la, fem. of definite article le "the," from Latin ille (fem. illa; see le). Attested in English in French terms from fashion or cookery since late 16c.; since c. 1800 used in native formations with English words or names.
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a la carte 
"ordered by separate items" (itemized on a bill); distinguished from a table d'hôte, indicating a meal served at a fixed, inclusive price; 1826, from French à la carte, literally "by the card" (see a la + card (n.1)).
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a la mode (adv.)
also alamode, 1640s, from French à la mode (15c.), literally "in the (prevailing) fashion" (see a la + mode (n.2)). In 17c., sometimes nativized as all-a-mode. Cookery sense in reference to a dessert served with ice cream is 1903, American English; earlier it was used of a kind of beef stew or soup (1753).
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a posteriori 
17c., in reference to reasoning from a consequent to its antecedent, from an effect to its cause; Latin, literally "from what comes after;" from a "off, away from," usual form of ab before consonants (see ab-) + posteriori, neuter ablative of posterius, comparative of posterus "after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Opposed to a priori. In modern use (from c. 1830, based on Kant) roughly equivalent to "from experience."
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a priori 
1710, "from cause to effect," a Latin term in logic from c. 1300, in reference to reasoning from antecedent to consequent, based on causes and first principles, literally "from what comes first," from priori, ablative of prior "first" (see prior (adj.)). Opposed to a posteriori. Since c. 1840, based on Kant, used more loosely for "cognitions which, though they may come to us in experience, have their origin in the nature of the mind, and are independent of experience" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Apriorist; apriorism; aprioristic. The a is the usual form of Latin ab "off, of, away from" before consonants (see ab-).
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A-1 

also A1, A-one, "first-rate," 1837 (in Dickens); a figurative use from Lloyd's of London marine insurance company's system for selective rating of merchant vessels ("Register of British and Foreign Shipping"), where it is the designation for ships in first-class condition. The letter refers to the condition of the hull of the ship itself, and the number rating to the equipment. Also used in equivalent ratings in U.S., where colloquially it is sometimes expanded to A No. 1 (which is attested by 1848 as top rating of entries in an agricultural fair).

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A.A. 

also AA, abbreviation of Alcoholics Anonymous, attested by 1941, American English. The group name was the title of a book published in 1938 by the founder, Bill W. From 1914 as an abbreviation of anti-aircraft guns.

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A.A.A. 
also AAA, abbreviation of American Automobile Association, attested 1902, American English, the year the organization was founded.
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aardvark (n.)

also aard-vark, South African groundhog, 1833 (in German from 1824), from Afrikaans Dutch aardvark, literally "earth-pig" (it burrows), from aard "earth," from Proto-Germanic *ertho- (see earth (n.)) + vark "pig," from Middle Dutch varken "small pig," which is from Proto-Germanic *farhaz (source also of Old High German farah, German Ferkel "young pig, sucking pig," a diminutive form; Old English fearh), from PIE root *porko- "young pig."

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aardwolf (n.)
Origin and meaning of aardwolf

also aard-wolf, "small, insectivorous mammal native to East and Southern Africa, related to the hyena," 1833, from Afrikaans Dutch aardwolf, literally "earth-wolf," from aard "earth" (see earth (n.)) + wolf "wolf" (see wolf (n.)).

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