Etymology
Advertisement
Black Death (n.)

"bubonic/pneumonic plague epidemic of 1347-51 in Europe," a modern name, introduced in English 1823 by Elizabeth Penrose's history of England. The contemporary 14c. name for it in most European languages was something like "the great dying" or simply "the plague;" in English it was the pestilence (or, looking back after its return in 1361-2, the first pestilence).

The term "Black Death" first turns up in 16c. Swedish and Danish chronicles, but it is used in reference to a visitation of plague in Iceland (which had been spared in the earlier outbreaks) in 1402-3 that carried off much of the population there. The exact sense of "black" is not clear. The term appears in English translations of the Scandinavian works from 1750s. It was picked up in German c. 1770 and applied to the earlier outbreak and was taken from there into English in that sense.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Kali 
a name of Devi, the Hindu mother-goddess, in her black-skinned death-aspect, 1798, from Sanskrit kali, literally "the black one," fem. of kalah "blue-black, black," a word from a Dravidian language. Also taken as the fem. of kala "time" (as destroyer).
Related entries & more 
Abkhasia 
land on the northeast coast of the Black Sea, named for its people. Related: Abkhasian.
Related entries & more 
Cuffy 

also Cuffee, a characteristic name among slaves, by 1713. Also sometimes in 19c. "a black bear."

Related entries & more 
Adriatic 
sea east of Italy, from Latin Adriaticus, properly Hadriaticus, from town of Atria/Hatria (modern Adria) in Picenum, near Venice, once a seaport but now more than 12 miles inland. The name is perhaps from atra, neuter of atrum "black," hence "the black city;" or else it represents Illyrian adur "water, sea."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Zanzibar 
island off East Africa, from Zengi, name of a local people, said to mean "black," + Arabic barr "coast, shore." Related: Zanzibari.
Related entries & more 
Sochi 
Black Sea resort in Russia, ultimately from the name of the Cherkess (Circassian) people who live in the region, whose name is of uncertain origin.
Related entries & more 
Moldova 

country in Eastern Europe, named for the river through it, probably from a PIE word meaning "dark, darkish color, soiled, black" (see melano-).

Related entries & more 
Stepin Fetchit 
type of stereotypical black roles in Hollywood, or in popular culture generally, from stage name (a play on step and fetch it) of popular black vaudeville actor Lincoln Theodore Perry (1902-1985), who first appeared in films under that name in "In Old Kentucky" (1927). Perry said he took the name from a racehorse on which he'd won some money.
Related entries & more 
Montenegro 
Adriatic coastal nation, from Venetian Italian (Tuscan monte nero), literally "black mountain," a loan-translation of the local Slavonic name, Crnagora. Related: Montenegrine.
Related entries & more