late 14c., optik, "of or pertaining to the eye as the organ of vision," from Old French optique, obtique (c. 1300) and directly from Medieval Latin opticus "of sight or seeing," from Greek optikos "of or having to do with sight," from optos "seen, visible," related to ōps "eye," from PIE root *okw- "to see." Meaning "relating to or pertaining to vision or sight" is from 1590s. Optics "eyes" is from 1640s; "formerly the learned and elegant term; afterwards pedantic, and now usually humorous" [OED].
Old English æftan "from behind, behind, farthest back," superlative of Old English æf, af, of "away, away from, off" (from PIE root *apo- "off, away"). Cognate with Old Frisian eft "later, afterwards; as well," Old Norse eft "after," Middle Dutch echter, efter "later, again," Gothic afta "behind, past." The Germanic superlative suffix *-ta corresponds to PIE *-to (compare Greek prōtos "first," superlative of pro "before"). The word is now purely nautical, "in, near, or toward the stern of a ship."
[The bed bug] is supposed to have been first introduced to this country in the fir timber that was brought over to rebuild London after it had suffered by the great fire; for it is generally said that Bugs were not known in England before that time, and many of them were found almost immediately afterwards in the new-built houses. [the Rev. W. Bingley, "Animal Biography; or Anecdotes of the Lives, Manners, and Economy of the Animal Creation," London, 1803]
"small-scale, petty" 1853, American English, colloquial, in reference to towns; see one + horse (n.). Probably from earlier use in reference to a carriage, sleigh, plow, etc., "drawn by a single horse" (1750); also "possessing only one horse" (of a farmer); hence "petty, on a small scale, of limited capacity or resources; inferior."
Shortly afterwards I took a stroll over the town. It was what is generally denominated a "one horse town," and I would think a pretty small pony at that. Two stores, one grocery, a stable, and four dwellings made up the sum of its buildings. ["Daguerreotyping in the Back Woods," in Yankee Notions, March, 1855]
sacred banner of St. Denis, mid-15c., oriflamble, from Old French orie flambe, from Latin aurea flamma "golden flame." The ancient battle standard of the kings of France, it was supposed to have been of red or orange-red silk, with two or three points, and was given to the kings by the abbot of St. Denis on setting out to war. Cotgrave says it was "borne at first onely in warres made against Infidells; but afterwards vsed in all other warres; and at length vtterly lost in a battell against the Flemings." It is last mentioned in an abbey inventory of 1534.
"to discredit a candidate for some position by savaging his or her career and beliefs," 1987, from name of U.S. jurist Robert H. Bork, whose Supreme Court nomination in 1987 was rejected after an intense counter-campaign. Similar instances had happened before:
[John Quincy Adams's] printed assault upon Jonathan Russell—who had been so ill-advised as to cast doubts upon the patriotism of Adams's conduct at Ghent—was so deadly that for many years afterwards the vocabulary of America was increased, though not enriched, by the transitive verb "to Jonathan-Russell," meaning to pulverize an opponent. [George Dangerfield, "The Era of Good Feeling," 1953]
1803, "to cut off in lumps," from junk (n.1). The meaning "to throw away as trash, to scrap" is from 1908. Related: Junked; junking.
New settlers (who should always be here as early in the spring as possible) begin to cut down the wood where they intend to erect their first house. As the trees are cut the branches are to be lopped off, and the trunks cut into lengths of 12 or 14 feet. This operation they call junking them; if they are not junked before fire is applied, they are much worse to junk afterwards. [letter dated Charlotte Town, Nov. 29, 1820, in "A Series of Letters Descriptive of Prince Edward Island," 1822]