Etymology
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A 

first letter of the Roman alphabet, based on Greek alpha (see alpha). In music from c. 1600 as the name of the sixth note of the natural scale; it is the note given by a fixed-tone instrument (usually oboe or organ) to which all the instruments of an orchestra are tuned. As a blood type, 1926, denoting A agglutinogens. The A side of a two-sided record (by 1962, see side (n.)) held the material chosen for promotion. A-bomb, short for atom bomb, was in newspaper headlines by Aug. 8, 1945.

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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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Aaron 
masc. proper name, in the Old Testament the brother of Moses, from Hebrew Aharon, which is said to be probably of Egyptian origin. The Arabic form is Harun. Related: Aaronic. Aaron's beard as a popular name for various plants (including St. John's wort and a kind of dwarf evergreen) deemed to look hairy in some way is from 1540s. Aaron's rod is from 1834 in botany, 1849 in ornamentation; the reference is biblical (Exodus vii.19, etc.).
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A.B. 

affixed to a name, abbreviation of Modern Latin Artium Baccalaureus "Bachelor of Arts" (see bachelor), 1773, American English. British English preferred B.A., perhaps because A.B. was used in Britain to mean able-bodied on seamen's papers.

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ABBA 
Swedish pop music group formed 1972, the name dates from 1973 and is an acronym from the first names of the four band members: Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog.
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Abbassid 
dynasty of caliphs of Baghdad (C.E. 750-1258) claiming descent from Abbas (566-652), uncle of the Prophet. His name is from the same Semitic source as abbot. With patronymic suffix.
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Abd 
element in many Arabic names, from Arabic (Semitic) abd "slave, servant," as in Abdallah "servant of God."
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Abel 
masc. proper name, in the Old Testament the second son of Adam and Eve, from Hebrew Hebhel, literally "breath," also "vanity;" "so called from his short life and sudden death" [Thayer].
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Abenaki 
also Abnaki, Algonquian people and language of northern New England and eastern Canada, 1721, from French abenaqui, from the people's name, East Abenaki wapanahki, literally "person of the dawn-land," hence "easterners." [Bright]
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Abigail 
fem. proper name, from Hebrew Abhigayil, literally "my father is rejoicing," from abh "father" + gil "to rejoice." In the Old Testament Abigail the Carmelitess was a wife of David. Used in general sense of "lady's maid" (1660s) from character of that name in Beaumont & Fletcher's "The Scornful Lady." Her traditional male counterpart was Andrew. The waiting maid association perhaps begins with I Samuel xxv, where David's wife often calls herself a "handmaid."
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