"so-so," 1945, from French comme ci, comme ça, literally "like this, like that."
1793, cauvaut, "to prance, bustle nimbly or eagerly," American English, of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be an alteration of curvet "a leap by a horse," a word from French that is related to curve (v.). Or perhaps from ca-, ka-, colloquial intensive prefix + vault (v.) "to jump, leap." Modern form attested by 1829. Related: Cavorted; cavorting.
colloquial for "the French language," 1754, from French parlez-vous (français?) "do you speak (French?)" From parlez, second person plural of parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)) + vous, from Latin vos, plural of tu "thou" (see thou). Also used as a verb, "to speak French." It got another boost in U.S. after World War I, along with other mangled French terms brought home by the doughboys, such as san fairy ann, a jocular expression of indifference, representing French ça ne fait rien "it does not matter."
common name of a strong-scented European plant long cultivated for its medicinal properties, c. 1300, camomille, from Old French camemile, from Late Latin camomilla, from Latin chamomilla, from Greek chamaimelon, literally "earth apple," from chamai "on the ground" (also "dwarf;" akin to chthon "earth," from PIE root *dhghem- "earth") + mēlon "apple" (see malic). So called for its scent. Old English had it as camemalon.
Fowler (1927) writes that "Ca- is the literary & popular form; cha-, which represents the Latin & Greek spelling but has no chance of general acceptance, would be better abandoned in pharmacy also." But for this once his pessimism seems to have been undue; British English kept the older spelling, American English favored the classically correct one, and on the internet the American spelling seems to have prevailed.
"utterance, recitation, action of the verb 'say,' " c. 1300, verbal noun from say (v.); meaning "something that has been said" (usually by someone thought important) is from c. 1300; sense of "a proverbial expression, an adage" is attested from mid-15c.
Phrase it goes without saying is attested from 1862 in a French context, used in English and American newspapers from c. 1868 and much complained of at first as without obvious sense.
Ça va sans dire, a familiar French locution, whose English equivalent might be "that is a matter of course," or "that may be taken for granted." But recently it has become the tendency to translate it literally, "that goes without saying," and these words, though originally uncouth and almost unmeaning to the unpractised ear, are gradually acquiring the exact meaning of the French. [Walsh, 1892]
digraph used in Old French for the "tsh" sound. In some French dialects, including that of Paris (but not that of Picardy), Latin ca- became French "tsha." This was introduced to English after the Norman Conquest, in words borrowed from Old French such as chaste, charity, chief (adj.). Under French influence, -ch- also was inserted into Anglo-Saxon words that had the same sound (such as bleach, chest, church) which in Old English still was written with a simple -c-, and into those that had formerly been spelled with a -c- and pronounced "k" such as chin and much.
It turns up as well in words from classical languages (chaos, echo, etc.). Most uses of -ch- in Roman Latin were in words from Greek, which in Greek would be pronounced correctly as /k/ + /h/, as in modern blockhead, but most Romans would have said merely /k/, and this was the regular pronunciation in English. Before c. 1500 such words were regularly spelled with a -c- (Crist, cronicle, scoole), but Modern English has preserved or restored the etymological spelling in most of them (chemical, chorus, monarch).
Sometimes ch- is written to keep -c- hard before a front vowel, as still in modern Italian. In some languages (Welsh, Spanish, Czech) ch- can be treated as a separate letter and words in it are alphabetized after -c- (or, in Czech and Slovak, after -h-). The sound also is heard in words from more distant languages (as in cheetah, chintz), and the digraph also is used to represent the sound in Scottish loch.