Etymology
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Cadmean victory (n.)

c. 1600, "victory involving one's own ruin," translating Greek Kadmeia nikē, from Cadmus (Greek Kadmos), legendary hero-founder of Thebes in Boeotia and bringer of the original sixteen-letter alphabet to Greece. Probably a reference to the story of Cadmus and the "Sown-Men," who fought each other till only a handful were left alive. Compare Pyrrhic (adj.1).

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cafe au lait (n.)
1763, French café au lait, literally "coffee with milk," from lait "milk" (12c.), from Latin lactis, genitive of lac "milk" (see lacto-). As opposed to café noir "black coffee."
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camera obscura (n.)
1725, "a darkened room;" c. 1730, "a device for project pictures;" see camera.
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capital letter (n.)
late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.
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Capri pants 
1956 (said to have been designed c. 1948), from Capri, Italian island; so called perhaps because they were first popular in Capri, which was emerging as a European holiday destination about this time (compare Bermuda shorts).
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carbon dioxide (n.)
1869, so called because it consists of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. The chemical was known since mid-18c. under the name fixed air; later as carbonic acid gas (1791). "The term dioxide for an oxide containing two atoms of oxygen came into use in the middle of the 19th century." [Flood].
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carbon monoxide (n.)
1869, so called because it consists of one carbon and one oxygen atom (as opposed to carbon dioxide, which has two of the latter). An older name for it was carbonic oxide gas.
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cardinal number (n.)
1590s, "one, two, three," etc. as opposed to ordinal numbers "first, second, third," etc.; so called because they are the principal numbers and the ordinals depend on them (see cardinal (adj.)).
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care package (n.)
1945, originally CARE package, supplies sent out by "Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe," established 1945 by U.S. private charities to coordinate delivery of aid packages to displaced persons in Europe after World War II and obviously named for the sake of the acronym. Name reupholstered late 1940s to "Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere," to reflect its expanded mission.
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carpe diem 
1786, Latin, "enjoy the day," literally "pluck the day (while it is ripe)," an aphorism from Horace ("Odes" I.xi). From second person present imperative of carpere "seize" (from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest") + accusative of dies "day" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine").
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