Etymology
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drake (n.1)

"male of the duck," c. 1300, unrecorded in Old English, but it might have existed, from West Germanic *drako (source also of Low German drake, second element of Old High German anutrehho, German Enterich, dialectal German Drache).

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drake (n.2)

"dragon," c. 1200, from Old English draca "dragon, sea monster, huge serpent," from Proto-Germanic *drako (source also of Middle Dutch and Old Frisian drake, Dutch draak, Old High German trahho, German drache), an early borrowing from Latin draco (see dragon).

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sheldrake (n.)
early 14c., from sheld- "variegated" + drake "male duck." First element cognate with Middle Dutch schillede "separated, variegated," West Flemish schilde, from schillen (Dutch verschillen "to make different"), from Proto-Germanic *skeli-, from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." This is the origin considered most likely, though English sheld by itself is a dialect word attested only from c. 1500. OED finds derivation from shield (n.), on resemblance to the patterns on shields, "improbable."
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dragon (n.)

mid-13c., dragoun, a fabulous animal common to the conceptions of many races and peoples, from Old French dragon and directly from Latin draconem (nominative draco) "huge serpent, dragon," from Greek drakon (genitive drakontos) "serpent, giant seafish," apparently from drak-, strong aorist stem of derkesthai "to see clearly," from PIE *derk- "to see" (source also of Sanskrit darsata- "visible;" Old Irish adcondarc "I have seen;" Gothic gatarhjan "characterize;" Old English torht, Old High German zoraht "light, clear;" Albanian dritë "light").

Perhaps the literal sense is "the one with the (deadly) glance." The young are dragonets (c. 1300). Fem. form dragoness is attested from 1630s. Obsolete drake (n.2) "dragon" is an older borrowing of the same word, and a later form in another sense is dragoon. Used in the Bible generally for creatures of great size and fierceness; it translates Hebrew tannin "a great sea-monster," and tan, a desert mammal now believed to be the jackal.

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mandrake (n.)

narcotic Old World plant, early 14c., mondrake, also mandragge, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English and Middle English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place, though perhaps with little meaning attached to it. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and was said to shriek when pulled from the ground. The plant has been regarded as an aphrodisiac.

Meanwhile it should not be forgotten that there was one magical possession, an idol of domestic superstition in mediaeval German households, which is said to have passed at the father's death to the youngest son upon condition that he performed certain heathenish rites in relation to the father's funeral. The "mandrake," a plant with broad leaves and bright yellow flowers and with a root which grew in a semi-human form, was found beneath the public gallows and was dragged from the ground and carried home with many extraordinary ceremonies. When secured it became a familiar spirit, speaking in oracles if properly consulted and bringing good luck to the household in which it was enshrined. [Charles Elton, "Origins of English History," 1882]
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mallard (n.)

c. 1300, "wild drake or duck," from Old French malart (12c.) or Medieval Latin mallardus, apparently from male, from Latin masculus (see male), in which case the original sense probably was not of a specific species but of any male wild duck, though the specific sense of "male of the wild duck" is not attested in English until early 14c.

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penguin (n.)

1570s, originally used of the great auk of Newfoundland (now extinct; the last two known birds were killed in 1844); the shift in meaning to the Antarctic swimming bird (which looks something like it, observed by Drake in Magellan's Straits in 1578) is from 1580s. The word itself is of unknown origin, though it often is asserted to be from Welsh pen "head" (see pen-) + gwyn "white" (see Gwendolyn). The great auk had a large white patch between its bill and eye. The French and Breton versions of the word ultimately are from English. A similarity to Latin pinguis "fat (adj.), juicy," figuratively "dull, gross, heavy," has been noted.

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duck (n.1)

waterfowl, natatorial bird of the family Anatidae, Old English duce (found only in genitive ducan) "a duck," literally "a ducker," presumed to be from Old English *ducan "to duck, dive" (see duck (v.)). Replaced Old English ened as the name for the bird, this being from PIE *aneti-, the root of the "duck" noun in most Indo-European languages.

In the domestic state the females greatly exceed in number, hence duck serves at once as the name of the female and of the race, drake being a specific term of sex. [OED]

As a term of endearment, attested from 1580s (see ducky). duck-walk, a squatting waddle done by a person, in imitation of a duck, is by 1915; duck soup, slang for "anything easily done," is by 1899. Duck's ass haircut is from 1951. Ducks-and-drakes, skipping flat stones on water, is from 1580s; the figurative sense of "throwing something away recklessly" is c. 1600.

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abstract (adj.)
Origin and meaning of abstract

late 14c., originally in grammar (in reference to certain nouns that do not name concrete things), from Latin abstractus "drawn away," past participle of abstrahere "to drag away, detach, pull away, divert;" also figuratively, from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + trahere "to draw," from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move" (see tract (n.1)).

The meaning in philosophy, "withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters" (opposed to concrete) is from mid-15c. That of "difficult to understand, abstruse" is from c. 1400.

In the fine arts, "characterized by lack of representational qualities" by 1914; it had been a term in music at least since 1847 for music without accompanying lyrics. Abstract expressionism as an American-based uninhibited approach to art exemplified by Jackson Pollock is from 1952, but the term itself had been used in the 1920s of Kandinsky and others.

Oswald Herzog, in an article on "Der Abstrakte Expressionismus" (Sturm, heft 50, 1919) gives us a statement which with equal felicity may be applied to the artistic attitude of the Dadaists. "Abstract Expressionism is perfect Expressionism," he writes. "It is pure creation. It casts spiritual processes into a corporeal mould. It does not borrow objects from the real world; it creates its own objects .... The abstract reveals the will of the artist; it becomes expression. ..." [William A. Drake, "The Life and Deeds of Dada," 1922]
Then, that art we have called "abstract" for want of any possible descriptive term, with which we have been patient, and, even, appreciative, getting high stimulation by the new Guggenheim "non-objective" Art Museum, is reflected in our examples of "surrealism," "dadaism," and what-not, to assert our acquaintance in every art, fine or other. [Report of the Art Reference Department of Pratt Institute Free Library for year ending June 30, 1937]
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