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epoch (n.)
1610s, epocha, "point marking the start of a new period in time" (such as the founding of Rome, the birth of Christ, the Hegira), from Medieval Latin epocha, from Greek epokhe "stoppage, fixed point of time," from epekhein "to pause, take up a position," from epi "on" (see epi-) + ekhein "to hold" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold"). Transferred sense of "a period of time" is 1620s; geological usage (not a precise measurement) is from 1802.
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era (n.)
1716, earlier aera (1610s), from Late Latin aera, era "an era or epoch from which time is reckoned" (7c.), probably identical with Latin aera "counters used for calculation," plural of aes (genitive aeris) "brass, copper, money" (see ore, also compare copper). The Latin word's use in chronology said to have begun in 5c. Spain (where the local era, aera Hispanica, began 38 B.C.E.; some say because of a tax levied that year). Other ancient eras included the Chaldean (autumn of 311 B.C.E.), the Era of Actium (31 B.C.E.), of Antioch (49 B.C.E.), of Tyre (126 B.C.E.), the Olympiadic (July 1, 776 B.C.E.) and the Seleucidan (autumn 312 B.C.E.). In English it originally meant "the starting point of an age" (compare epoch); meaning "system of chronological notation" is from 1640s; that of "historical period" is from 1741, as in the U.S. Era of Good Feeling (1817) was anything but.
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*segh- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to hold."

It forms all or part of: Antioch; asseverate; asthenia; asthenosphere; cachectic; cachexia; calisthenics; cathexis; entelechy; eunuch; epoch; hectic; Hector; ischemia; myasthenia; neurasthenia; Ophiuchus; persevere; schema; schematic; scheme; scholar; scholastic; school (n.1) "place of instruction;" severe; severity; Siegfried.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sahate "he masters, overcomes," sahah "power, victory;" Avestan hazah "power, victory;" Greek skhema "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get," ekhein "to have, hold; be in a given state or condition;" Gothic sigis, Old High German sigu, Old Norse sigr, Old English sige "victory."
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Holocene (adj.)

in reference to the epoch that began 10,000 years ago and continues today, 1897, from French holocène (1867), from Greek holos "whole" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept") + -cene. The notion is "entirely new."

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Paleocene (adj.)

in reference to the geological epoch preceding the Eocene, 1874, from French paléocène, coined 1874 by French paleobotanist Wilhelm Philippe Schimper from paleo- + Latinized form of Greek kainos "new" (see recent), on model of earlier Miocene, Eocene, etc. It is, thus, the "old new" age.

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Permian 

1841, "pertaining to the uppermost strata of the Paleozoic era," named by British geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) for the region of Perm in northwestern Russia, where Murchison had studied rocks from this epoch. His original definition of the rock system was somewhat broader in each direction, chronologically, than the current one.

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pre-electric (adj.)

"occurring or pertaining to the time before the use of electricity," 1879, from pre- + electric.

Just as her father was thus summoned away, Lotty saw Fred in the distance, waving his arms, and looking like an animated semaphore of the pre-electric epoch. [Arthur Locker, "Tollit's Tragedy," in The Graphic, summer 1879]
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quaternary (adj.)

early 15c., "consisting of four parts," from Latin quaternarius "of four each, containing four," from quaterni "four each, by fours," from quater "four times," related to quattuor "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four"). Also as a noun, "the number four" (mid-15c.), from Latin quaternarius.

In geological sense, with capital Q-, attested from 1843 in English, proposed 1829 by French geologist Jules Pierre François Stanislas Desnoyers (1800-1887) as name for "the fourth great epoch of geological time," but because it comprises only the age of man (now reckoned as the last 2.6 million years), and the other epochs are reckoned in the tens of millions of years, not all accepted it. Compare Tertiary.

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ice age (n.)
1855, from ice (n.) + age (n.). Perhaps translating German Eiszeit (1837). An earlier term in the same sense was glacial epoch (1841). Local scientific men had noticed from the late 18c. evidence that the Alpine glaciers once had been much larger; in the 1830s stray boulders, moraines, and polished bedrock in northern Europe (formerly interpreted as relics of catastrophic floods) began to be understood as revealing the former presence of a large ice cap there. When Agassiz, a convert to the theory, came to America in 1846 he found similar evidence in New England. The glacial theory and the notion that there had been several worldwide ice ages seems to have been generally accepted by the 1870s.
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