"projecting block or bracket from a building supporting a molding, balcony, etc.," 1660s, probably from cant (n.2) + lever, but earliest form (c. 1610) was cantlapper. First element also might be Spanish can "dog" as an architect's term for an end of timber jutting out of a wall, on which beams rested. Related: Cantilevered.
[card game] 1886 (perhaps as early as 1843), an alteration of biritch, but the source and meaning of that are obscure. "Probably of Levantine origin, since some form of the game appears to have been long known in the Near East" [OED]. One guess is that it represents Turkish *bir-üç "one-three," because one hand is exposed and three are concealed. The game also was known early as Russian whist (attested in English from 1839).
[structure that affords passage over a ravine or river] Middle English brigge, from Old English brycge, from Proto-Germanic *brugjo (source also of Old Saxon bruggia, Old Norse bryggja, Old Frisian brigge, Dutch brug, Old High German brucca, German Brücke), from PIE root *bhru "log, beam," hence "wooden causeway" (source also of Gaulish briva "bridge," Old Church Slavonic bruvuno "beam," Serbian brv "footbridge").
The original notion is of a beam or log laid down for crossing. Compare Old Church Slavonic mostu, Serbo-Croatian most "bridge," probably originally "beam" and a loanword from Germanic, related to English mast (n.1). For the vowel evolution, see bury.
The meaning "bony upper part of the nose" is from early 15c.; of stringed instruments from late 14c. The bridge of a ship (by 1843) originally was a "narrow raised platform athwart the ship whence the Captain issues his orders" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages"].
Bridge in steam-vessels is the connection between the paddle-boxes, from which the officer in charge directs the motion of the vessel. [Smyth, "The Sailor's Word-book," 1867]
"build a bridge on or over, span with a bridge," Old English brycgian "to bridge, make a causeway," from bridge (n.). Figurative use is by 1831. Related: Bridged; bridging.
"flat-bottomed boat" (especially, in military engineering, one to support a temporary bridge over a river), 1670s, from French pontoon, from Old French ponton (14c.) "bridge, drawbridge, boat-bridge; flat-bottomed boat," from Latin pontonem (nominative ponto) "flat-bottomed boat," from pons "bridge" (see pons). Pontoon bridge "roadway supported on pontoons" is recorded by 1778. Related: Pontooneer (n.).
city in modern Belgium, from plural of Flemish brug "bridge," from the Proto-Germanic source of English bridge (n.).
member of the supreme college of priests in ancient Rome, 1570s, from Latin pontifex "high priest, chief of the priests," probably from pont-, stem of pons "bridge" (see pons) + -fex "maker," from facere "to do, make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
If so, the word originally meant "bridge-maker," or "path-maker." It was felt as such; the sense of "bridge-builder" was in the Medieval Latin word, and Milton uses pontifical (adj.) in this sense. Sense was extended in Church Latin to "a bishop," in Medieval Latin to "the Pope." In Old English, pontifex is glossed in the Durham Ritual (Old Northumbrian dialect) as brycgwyrcende "bridge-maker."
Weekley points out that, "bridge-building has always been regarded as a pious work of divine inspiration." Century Dictionary speculates it had its origins as "having charge of the making or maintenance of a bridge — it is said of the Sublician bridge built over the Tiber by Ancus Marcius." Or the term may be metaphoric of bridging the earthly world and the realm of the gods. Other suggestions trace it to Oscan-Umbrian puntis "propitiary offering," or to a lost Etruscan word; in either case it would have been altered by folk etymology to resemble the Latin for "bridge-maker."