Etymology
Advertisement
son of a bitch 

1707 as a direct phrase, but implied much earlier, and Old Norse had bikkju-sonr. Abbreviated form SOB from 1918; form sumbitch attested in writing by 1969.

Abide þou þef malicious!
Biche-sone þou drawest amis
þou schalt abigge it ywis!
["Of Arthour & of Merlin," c. 1330]

"Probably the most common American vulgarity from about the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth" [Rawson].

Our maid-of-all-work in that department [indecency] is son-of-a-bitch, which seems as pale and ineffectual to a Slav or a Latin as fudge does to us. There is simply no lift in it, no shock, no sis-boom-ah. The dumbest policeman in Palermo thinks of a dozen better ones between breakfast and the noon whistle. [H.L. Mencken, "The American Language," 4th ed., 1936, p.317-8]

Elsewhere, complaining of the tepidity of the American vocabulary of profanity, Mencken writes that the toned-down form son-of-a-gun "is so lacking in punch that the Italians among us have borrowed it as a satirical name for an American: la sanemagogna is what they call him, and by it they indicate their contempt for his backwardness in the art that is one of their great glories."

It was in 1934 also that the New York Daily News, with commendable frankness, in reporting a hearing in Washington at which Senator Huey P. Long featured, forsook the old-time dashes and abbreviations and printed the complete epithet "son of a bitch." [Stanley Walker, "City Editor," 1934]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
par excellence 

French, from Latin per excellentiam "by the way of excellence." French par "by, through, by way of, by means of" is from Latin per (see per). For second element, see excellence.

Related entries & more 
dead end (n.)

"closed end of a passage," 1851 in reference to drainpipes, 1874 in reference to railway lines; by 1886 of streets; from dead (adj.) + end (n.). Figurative use, "course of action that leads nowhere," is by 1914. As an adjective in the figurative sense by 1917; as a verb by 1921. Related: Dead-ended; dead-ending; deadender (by 1996).

Related entries & more 
per capita 

1680s, Latin, "by the head, by heads," from per (see per) + capita "head" (see capital).

Related entries & more 
Double Dutch 

"gibberish, incomprehensible language," by 1847 (High Dutch for "incomprehensible language" is recorded by 1789); from double (adj.) + Dutch.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
beat off (v.)
"drive (something) away by violent blows," 1640s, from beat (v.) + off (adv.). Meaning "masturbate" is recorded by 1960s.
Related entries & more 
Q and A 

also Q & A, 1954 (adj.), abbreviation of question and answer (itself attested by 1817 as a noun, by 1839 as an adjective).

Related entries & more 
blind date (n.)
by 1921, U.S. college student slang, from blind (adj.) + date (n.3). Earliest attested use is in reference to the person; of the event by 1925.
Related entries & more 
bow tie (n.)
by 1887, from bow (n.) in the sense "ribbon or other fabric tied in a bow-knot" (by 1874) + tie (n.).
Related entries & more 
boot camp (n.)
"training station for recruits," by 1941, U.S. Marines slang, said to be from boot (n.1) as slang for "recruit," which is attested by 1915 and supposedly dates from the Spanish-American War and is a synecdoche from boots "leggings worn by U.S. sailors."
Related entries & more