The name is from Proto-Germanic *Langgobardoz, often said to mean literally "Long-beards" (see long (adj.) + beard (n.)), but according to OED the second element is perhaps rather from the proper name of the people (Latin Bardi). Their name in Old English was Langbeardas (plural), but also Heaðobeardan, from heaðo "war."
In Middle English the word meant "banker, money-changer, pawnbroker" (late 14c.), especially a Lombard or other Italian trading locally, before it was used in reference to the nationality. The name in Old French (Lombart, Lombert) also meant, in addition, "money-changer; usurer; coward." Lombards were noted throughout medieval Western Europe as bankers and money-lenders, also pawn-brokers. French also gave the word in this sense to Middle Dutch and Low German.
London's Lombard Street (c. 1200) originally was the site of the houses of Lombard (and other Italian) bankers, who dominated the London money-market into Elizabethan times. An old expression for "long odds, much against little" was Lombard Street to a China orange (1815, earlier to an egg-shell, 1763).
"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from the name of the title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).
His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]
Earlier the name was used in metallurgy (1857) in reference to a type of soft alloy (1875).
American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch (adj.) in reference to the German communities of the state, which retained their customs and language, is attested from 1824.
The right was regarded as auspicious (see left and dexterity). Also see Yemen, southpaw, and compare deasil "rightwise, turned toward the right," from Gaelic deiseil "toward the south; toward the right," from deas "right, right-hand; south." Also compare Sanskrit dakshina "right; south," and Welsh go-gledd "north," literally "left."
In reference to a favorite younger son it is from the story of Jacob's family in Genesis. With familiar forms Benjy, Benny. Slang meaning "money" (by 1999) is from the portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin on U.S. $100 bill. In some old uses in herb-lore, etc., it is a folk-etymology corruption of benzoin.
Spelling with J- predominated from 16c. Replaced Old English Iudeas "the Jews," which is from Latin. As an offensive and opprobrious term, "person who seeks gain by sordid means," c. 1600. Jews' harp "simple mouth harp" is from 1580s, earlier Jews' trump (1540s); the connection with Jewishness is obscure, unless it is somehow biblical.
In uneducated times, inexplicable ancient artifacts were credited to Jews, based on the biblical chronology of history: such as Jews' money (1570s) "Roman coins found in England." In Greece, after Christianity had erased the memory of classical glory, ruins of pagan temples were called "Jews' castles," and in Cornwall, Jews' houses was the name for the remains of ancient tin-smelting works.