Etymology
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incredible (adj.)
early 15c., "unbelievable, surpassing belief as to what is possible," from Latin incredibilis "not to be believed, extraordinary," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + credibilis "worthy of belief" (see credible). Used c. 1400 in a now-extinct sense of "unbelieving, incredulous." Related: Incredibly; incredibility.
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incroyable (n.)

1796, from French incroyable, literally "incredible" (15c.), from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + croire "to believe," from Latin credere "to believe" (see credo). A name for the French fop or dandy of the period of the Directory (1795-1799). Said to be so called from their extravagant dress, and also, according to OED, from a favorite expression among them ("C'est vraiment incroyable").

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paradox (n.)

1530s, "a statement contrary to common belief or expectation," from French paradoxe (14c.) and directly from Latin paradoxum "paradox, statement seemingly absurd yet really true," from Greek paradoxon "incredible statement or opinion," noun use of neuter of adjective paradoxos "contrary to expectation, incredible," from para- "contrary to" (see para- (1)) + doxa "opinion," from dokein "to appear, seem, think" (from PIE root *dek- "to take, accept").

Originally with notions of "absurd, fantastic." Meaning "statement that is seemingly self-contradictory yet not illogical or obviously untrue" is from 1560s. Specifically in logic, "a statement or proposition from an acceptable premise and following sound reasoning that yet leads to an illogical conclusion," by 1903.

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lubricity (n.)

late 15c., "lasciviousness," from French lubricité or directly from Medieval Latin lubricitatem (nominative lubricitas) "slipperiness," from Latin lubricus "slippery; easily moved, sliding, gliding;" figuratively "uncertain, hazardous, dangerous; seductive" (from suffixed form of PIE root *sleubh- "to slip, slide"). Sense of "oiliness, smoothness" in English is from 1540s; figurative sense of "shiftiness" is from 1610s.

The priests had excellent cause to forbid us lechery: this injunction, by reserving to them acquaintance with and absolution for these private sins, gave them an incredible ascendancy over women, and opened up to them a career of lubricity whose scope knew no limits. [Marquis de Sade, "Philosophy in the Bedroom"]
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idealist (n.)

"one who represents things in an ideal form," 1829, from ideal + -ist. Earlier (1796) in a philosophical sense "one who believes reality consists only in (Platonic) ideals" (see idealism).

It seems even incredible, that any Idealist in any age could forget himself so far as to run his head against a post, merely because he found in his system, that no external world does exist, and that therefore nothing could be without to hurt him. [F.A. Nitsch, "A General and Introductory View of Professor Kant's Principles," 1796]

Earlier still, "one who holds doctrines of philosophical idealism" (1701).

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fabulous (adj.)

early 15c., "mythical, legendary," from Latin fabulosus "celebrated in fable;" also "rich in myths," from fabula "story, tale" (see fable (n.)). Meaning "pertaining to fable" is from 1550s. Sense of "incredible" first recorded c. 1600, hence "enormous, immense, amazing," which was trivialized by 1950s to "marvelous, terrific." Slang shortening fab first recorded 1957; popularized in reference to The Beatles, c. 1963.

Fabulous (often contracted to fab(s)) and fantastic are also in that long list of words which boys and girls use for a time to express high commendation and then get tired of, such as, to go no farther back than the present century, topping, spiffing, ripping, wizard, super, posh, smashing. [Gower's 1965 revision of Fowler's "Modern English Usage"]

Related: Fabulously; fabulousness.

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chamois (n.)

1550s, "Alpine antelope;" 1570s, "soft leather," originally "skin of the chamois," from French chamois "Alpine antelope" (14c.), from Late Latin camox (genitive camocis), perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language that also produced Italian camoscio, Spanish camuza, Old High German gamiza, German Gemse (though some of these might be from Latin camox). As a verb, "to polish with chamois," from 1934. Compare shammy.

Its size is about that of a well-grown goat, and it is so agile that it can clear at a bound crevices 16 or 18 feet wide. The chamois is one of the most wary of antelopes, and possesses the power of scenting man at an almost incredible distance, so that the hunting of it is an occupation of extreme difficulty and much danger. [Century Dictionary]
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Balaam 
Biblical prophet (wicked, but not false) whose story is told in Numbers xxii-xxiv; figurative of "one who makes profession of religion for the sake of gain" from 1640s. Balaam's ass speaks in a human voice in Numbers xxii ("And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay."). In old newspaper jargon Balaam came to be used for paragraphs regarding marvelous or incredible events, used to fill out short columns (1826). The name is of uncertain origin.
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much (adj.)

c. 1200, "great in quantity or extent" (also "great in size, big, large," a sense now obsolete), a worn-down form (by loss of unaccented last syllable) of Middle English muchel "large, tall; many, in a large amount; great, formidable," from Old English micel "great in amount or extent," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz, from PIE root *meg- "great."

As a noun, "a large quantity, a great deal," and as an adverb, "in a great degree, intensely, extensively," from c. 1200. Since 17c. the adverb has been much-used as a prefix to participial forms to make compound adjectives. For vowel evolution, see bury. Too much was used from late 14c. in the senses "astonishing, incredible," also "too offensive, unforgivable." Much-what "various things, this and that" (late 14c.) was "Very common in the 17th c." [OED] and turns up in an 1899 book of Virginia folk-speech as well as "Ulysses."

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fish (n.)

"a vertebrate which has gills and fins adapting it for living in the water," Old English fisc "fish," from Proto-Germanic *fiskaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German fisc, Old Norse fiskr, Middle Dutch visc, Dutch vis, German Fisch, Gothic fisks), perhaps from PIE root *pisk- "a fish." But Boutkan on phonetic grounds thinks it might be a northwestern Europe substratum word.

Popularly, since Old English, "any animal that lives entirely in the water," hence shellfish, starfish (an early 15c. manuscript has fishes bestiales for "water animals other than fishes"). The plural is fishes, but in a collective sense, or in reference to fish meat as food, the singular fish generally serves for a plural. In reference to the constellation Pisces from late 14c.

Fish (n.) for "person" is from 1750 with a faintly dismissive sense; earlier it was used in reference to a person considered desirable to "catch" (1722). Figurative sense of fish out of water "person in an unfamiliar and awkward situation" attested by 1610s. To drink like a fish is from 1744. Fish-story "incredible or extravagant narration" is attested by 1819, U.S. colloquial, from the tendency to exaggerate the size of the catch (or the one that got away).

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish. ["Mark Twain," in "More Maxims of Mark" by Merle Johnson (1927)]

To have other fish to fry "other objects which invite or require attention" is from 1650s. Fish-eye as a type of lens is from 1961. Fish-and-chips is from 1876; fish-fingers from 1962.

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