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grammar (n.)

late 14c., "Latin grammar, rules of Latin," from Old French gramaire "grammar; learning," especially Latin and philology, also "(magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo" (12c., Modern French grammaire), an "irregular semi-popular adoption" [OED] of Latin grammatica "grammar, philology," perhaps via an unrecorded Medieval Latin form *grammaria. The classical Latin word is from Greek grammatike (tekhnē) "(art) of letters," referring both to philology and to literature in the broadest sense, fem. of grammatikos (adj.) "pertaining to or versed in letters or learning," from gramma "letter" (see -gram). An Old English gloss of it was stæfcræft (see staff (n.)).

A much broader word in Latin and Greek; restriction of the meaning to "systematic account of the rules and usages of language" is a post-classical development. Until 16c. limited to Latin; in reference to English usage by late 16c., thence "rules of a language to which speakers and writers must conform" (1580s). Meaning "a treatise on grammar" is from 1520s. For the "magic" sense, compare gramary. The sense evolution is characteristic of the Dark Ages: "learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes," which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of "occult knowledge" (late 15c. in English), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.).

A grammar-school (late 14c.) originally was a school for learning Latin, which was begun by memorizing the grammar. In U.S. (1842) the term was put to use in the graded system for a school between primary and secondary where English grammar is one of the subjects taught. The word is attested earlier in surnames (late 12c.) such as Robertus Gramaticus, Richard le Gramarie, whence the modern surname Grammer.

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grammarian (n.)
late 14c., "writer on (Latin) grammar; philologist, etymologist;" in general use, "learned man," from Old French gramairien "wise man, person who knows Latin; magician" (Modern French grammairien), agent noun from grammaire (see grammar).
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grimoire (n.)
magician's manual for invoking demons, 1849, from French grimoire, altered from grammaire "incantation; grammar" (see grammar). Also compare gramary, glamour.
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grammatical (adj.)

1520s, "of or pertaining to grammar," from French grammatical and directly from Late Latin grammaticalis "of a scholar," from grammaticus "pertaining to grammar" (see grammar). Related: Grammatically (c. 1400).

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gramary (n.)
early 14c., gramarye, "grammar," also "learning, erudition," hence "magic, enchantment" (late 15c.), a variant of grammar; perhaps from Old French gramare, gramaire "grammar," also "book of conjuring or magic" (hence Modern French grimaire "gibberish, incomprehensible nonsense"). Gramarye was revived by Scott ("Lay of the Last Minstrel," 1805) in the "dark magic" sense.
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glamour (n.)
1720, Scottish, "magic, enchantment" (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scottish gramarye "magic, enchantment, spell," said to be an alteration of English grammar (q.v.) in a specialized use of that word's medieval sense of "any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning," the latter sense attested from c. 1500 in English but said to have been more common in Medieval Latin. Popularized in English by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of "magical beauty, alluring charm" first recorded 1840. As that quality of attractiveness especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

Jamieson's 1825 supplement to his "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" has glamour-gift "the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination." Jamieson's original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga's Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni "illusion," probably from the same root as gleam.
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accidence (n.)
late 14c., in philosophy, "non-essential or incidental characteristic," also "part of grammar dealing with inflection" (mid-15c.), in some cases a misspelling of accidents, or else directly from Latin accidentia (used as a term in grammar by Quintilian), neuter plural of accidens, present participle of accidere "to happen, fall out; fall upon" (see accident). The grammar sense is because they are qualities which change in accordance with use (as gender, number, tense, case) but are not essential to the primary signification.
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indeclinable (adj.)
late 14c., originally in grammar, from French indéclinable or directly from Latin indeclinabilis "unchangeable," also in grammar, from indeclinatus "unchanged, constant," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + declinatus, from declinare "to lower; avoid, deviate; bend from, inflect" (see decline (v.)). Related: Indeclinably.
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hypotaxis (n.)

in grammar, "dependent construction" (opposed to parataxis), 1844, earlier in German; see hypo- + taxis. Related: Hypotactic.

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inchoative (adj.)
1630s, "indicating beginning or inception;" see inchoate + -ive. Especially in grammar, of verbs, "denoting the beginning of action, inceptive," 1660s.
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