"touching, meeting or joining at a surface or border," 1610s, from Latin contiguus "near, touching, bordering upon," from root of contingere "to touch upon" (see contact (n.)). Earlier form, now obsolete, was contiguate (mid-15c.); contigue (1540s). Related: Contiguously; contiguousness.
c. 1300, "unite (something to something else), ally" (a sense now obsolete); late 14c. as "be contiguous with, be adjacent to," from Old French ajoin- stem of ajoindre "join together, unite," from Latin adiungere "fasten on, harness, join to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + iungere "to bind together" (from a nasalized form of PIE root *yeug- "to join"). The meaning "be contiguous with, be in contact with" is from late 14c. The French word was Latinized 16c. to Modern French adjoindre. Related: Adjoined; adjoining.
c. 1600, "separate, separated from others that are similar or contiguous" (a sense now obsolete), past-participle adjective from distinguish. Sense of "better known than others in the same class, separated from the generality by superior abilities, character or achievement," hence "famous, celebrated," is by 1714; meaning "having an air of distinction" is from 1748.
Middle English lawar, lower, lougher, earlier lahre (c. 1200), comparative of lah "low" (see low (adj.)). As an adverb from 1540s. Lower-class is from 1772. Lower 48, "the forty-eight contiguous states of the United States of America, excluding Alaska and Hawaii," is by 1961 in an Alaska context (Hawaii actually is "lower" on the globe than all of them).
"A deformed language in which the initial consonants of contiguous words are transposed" [OED], 1863, said to derive from the proper name of a Polish count. Compare spoonerism, which describes the same thing.
MARROWSKYING, subs. (general).—At the London University they had a way of disguising English (described by Albert Smith, in Mr. Ledbury, 1848, as the 'Gower-street dialect'), which consisted in transposing the initials of words; as 'poke a smipe' = smoke a pipe; 'flutter-by' = butterfly; 'stint of pout' = pint of stout; etc. This is often termed MARROWSKYING. [Farmer and Henley, "Slang and Its Analogues," 1896]
1560s, "to stand in front of, be facing," from French confronter (15c.), from Medieval Latin confrontare "assign limits to; adjoin," and confrontari "be contiguous to," from assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see con-) + frontem (nominative frons) "forehead" (see front (n.)).
Sense of "to face in defiance or hostility, stand in direct opposition to" is from 1580s. Transitive sense of "bring face to face" (with another, the evidence, etc.) is from 1620s. Related: Confronted; confronting.
Meaning "to join at the end, be contiguous" is from 1660s, partly a shortening of abut. To butt in "rudely intrude" is American English slang, attested from 1900. Related: Butted; butting.