"cataclysmic final conflict," 1811, figurative use of the place-name in Revelation xvi.16, site of the great and final conflict, from Hebrew Har Megiddon "Mount of Megiddo," a city in central Palestine, site of important Israelite battles.
"The measure soon ceases to be Spenser's except in its mere anatomy of rhyme-arrangement" [Elton, "Survey of English Literature 1770-1880," 1920]; it is the meter in Butler's "Hudibras," Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and notably the "Childe Harold" of Byron, who found (quoting Beattie) that it allowed him to be "either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me; for, if I mistake not, the measure which I have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition."
organized as a U.S. territory 1819, admitted as a state 1836; it was named for the Arkansas River, which was named for a Siouan tribe.
The spelling of the term represents a French plural, Arcansas, of a name applied to the Quapaw people who lived on the Arkansas River; their name was also written in early times as Akancea, Acansea, Acansa (Dickinson, 1995). This was not the name used by the Quapaws themselves, however. The term /akansa/ was applied to them by Algonquian speakers; this consists of /a-/, an Algonquian prefix found in the names of ethnic groups, plus /kká:ze, a Siouan term referring to members of the Dhegiha branch of the Siouan family. This stem is also the origin for the name of the Kansa tribe and of the state of Kansas; thus the placenames Arkansas and Kansas indirectly have the same origin. [William Bright, "Native American Placenames of the United States," 2004]
The silent final -s, perhaps originally from the French pronunciation, was made official in 1881 by an act of the state legislature.
10th letter of the English alphabet, pronounced "jay," as in "kay" for -k-, but formerly written out as jy, rhyming with -i- and corresponding to French ji.
One of the most stable English letters (it has almost always the same sound), it is a latecomer to the alphabet and originally had no sound value. The letter itself began as a scribal modification of Roman -i- in continental Medieval Latin. The scribes added a "hook" to small -i-, especially in the final position in a word or roman numeral, to distinguish it from the strokes of other letters. The dot on the -i- (and thus the -j-) and the capitalization of the pronoun I are other solutions to the same problems.
In English, -j- was used as a roman numeral throughout Middle English, but the letter -y- was used to spell words ending an "i" sound, so -j- was not needed to represent a sound. Instead, it was introduced into English c. 1600-1640 to take up the consonantal sound that had evolved from the Roman i- since Late Latin times. In Italian, g- was used to represent this, but in other languages j- took the job. This usage is attested earliest in Spanish, where it was in place before 1600.
No word beginning with J is of Old English derivation. [OED]
English dictionaries did not distinguish words beginning in -i- and -j- until 19c., and -j- formerly was skipped when letters were used to express serial order.
In Latin texts printed in modern times, -j- often is used to represent Latin -i- before -a-, -e-, -o-, -u- in the same syllable, which in Latin was sounded as the consonant in Modern English you, yam, etc., but the custom has been controversial among Latinists:
The character J, j, which represents the letter sound in some school-books, is an invention of the seventeenth century, and is not found in MSS., nor in the best texts of the Latin authors. [Lewis]
In English words from Hebrew, -j- represents yodh, which was equivalent to English consonantal y (hence hallelujah) but many of the Hebrew names later were conformed in sound to the modern -j- (compare Jesus).