Etymology
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catalyze (v.)

1871, back-formation from catalysis on model of analyze/analysis. Related: Catalyzed; catalyzing. Probably influenced by French catalyser (1842).

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catamaran (n.)

East Indies log raft, 1670s, from Hindi or Malayalam, from Tamil (Dravidian) kattu-maram "tied wood," from kattu "tie, binding" + maram "wood, tree." It also was used in the West Indies and South America.

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catamite (n.)
"boy used in pederasty," 1590s, from Latin Catamitus, corruption of Ganymedes, the name of the beloved cup-bearer of Jupiter (see Ganymede). Cicero used it as a contemptuous insult against Antonius.
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catamount (n.)

1660s as a shortening of cat-o'-mountain (1610s), from cat of the mountain (mid-15c.), a name aplied to various large wild cats of the Old World. From 1794 in reference to the lynx, puma, or cougar of the United States and Canada.

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cataphract (n.)

1580s, "scale-like metal armor for the body," from Latin cataphractes "breastplate of iron scales," from Greek kataphraktes "coat of mail," from kataphraktos "mailed, protected, covered up," from kataphrassein "to fortify," from kata "entirely" (see cata-) + phrassein "to fence around, enclose, defend" (see diaphragm). From 1670s as "a soldier in full armor" (probably from Latin cataphracti "mailed soldiers"). Related: Cataphractic.

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cataplexy (n.)

"sudden nervous shock and paralysis, the state of an animal when it is feigning death," 1880, from German Kataplexie(1878), from Greek kataplexis "stupefaction, amazement, consternation," from kataplēssein "to strike down" (with fear, etc.), from kata "down" (see cata-) + plēssein "to strike, hit" (from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike"). The German word was coined by William Thierry Preyer (1841-1897), English-born German physiologist, in "Die Kataplexie und der thierische Hypnotismus" (Jena). Related: Cataplectic.

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catapult (v.)
1848, "to throw with a catapult," from catapult (n.). Intransitive sense by 1928. Related: Catapulted; catapulting.
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catapult (n.)

1570s, from French catapulte and directly from Latin catapulta "war machine for throwing," from Greek katapeltes, from kata "against" in reference to walls, or perhaps "through" in reference to armor (see cata-) + base of pallein "to toss, hurl" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive"). In ancient times a Roman military engine for throwing huge darts.

Its construction is nowhere explained with any fullness, and it is uncertain whether its action was that of a crossbow or whether springs were the propelling power. By later authors the catapult and ballista seem to be confounded. In the middle ages the name is hardly used, except where a writer is evidently seeking to give a classical form to his composition. [Century Dictionary]

 As an airplane-launching device on an aircraft-carrier by 1927.

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cataract (n.)

early 15c., "a waterfall, floodgate, furious rush of water," from Latin cataracta "waterfall," from Greek katarhaktes "waterfall, broken water; a kind of portcullis," noun use of an adjective compound meaning "swooping, down-rushing," from kata "down" (see cata-). The second element is traced either to arhattein "to strike hard" (in which case the compound is kat-arrhattein), or to rhattein "to dash, break."

Its alternative sense in Latin of "portcullis" probably passed through French and gave English the meaning "eye disease characterized by opacity of the lens" (early 15c.), on the notion of "obstruction" (to eyesight). Related: Cataractous.

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catarrh (n.)

"disease characterized by inflammation of, and discharge from, a mucous membrane; a cold in the head or chest," late 14c., from Medieval Latin catarrus, from Late Latin catarrhus, from Greek katarrhous "a catarrh, a head cold," literally "a flowing down," earlier kata rrhoos, ultimately from kata "down" (see cata-) + rhein "to flow" (from PIE root *sreu- "to flow"). Related: Catarrhal; catarrhous.

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