"large, extinct species of shaggy elephant living in northern latitudes," 1706, from Russian mammot', probably from Ostyak, a Finno-Ugric language of northern Russia (compare Finnish maa "earth"). Because the remains were dug from the earth, the animal was believed to root like a mole.
As an adjective, "gigantic," it is attested from 1802; in this sense "the word appears to be originally American" [Thornton, "American Glossary"], and its first uses are in derogatory accounts of the cheese wheel, more than 4 feet in diameter, sent to President Jefferson by the ladies of the Baptist congregation in Cheshire, Massachusetts, as a present, engraved with the motto "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Federalist editors mocked the affair, and called up the word mammoth (known from Peale's exhibition) to characterize it.
"large, extinct, forest-dwelling elephant-like mammal of North and Central America," 1813, from Modern Latin genus name Mastodon (1806), coined by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) from Greek mastos "breast" (see masto-) + -odon "tooth" (from PIE root *dent- "tooth"); so called from the nipple-like projections on the crowns of the mammal's fossil molars. They died out about 10,500 years ago, probably hunted to extinction by humans. Their bones had been dug up in America since 1705, but at first they were confused with those of the mammoth. Related: Mastodontic.
"trifling bustle," 1701, originally colloquial, perhaps an alteration of force (n.), or "echoic of the sound of something sputtering or bubbling" [OED], or from Danish fjas "foolery, nonsense." First attested in Anglo-Irish writers, but there are no obvious connections to words in Irish. To make a fuss was earlier to keep a fuss (1726). Fuss and feathers "bustle and display" is from 1848, American English, suggestive of a game cock or a peacock, originally of U.S. Army Gen. Winfield Scott (1786-1866) in the Mexican-American War.
Gen. Scott is said to be as particular in matters of etiquette and dress as Gen. Taylor is careless. The soldiers call one "Old Rough and Ready," and the other "Old Fuss and Feathers." [The Mammoth, Nov. 15, 1848].
early 15c., trophe, "an overwhelming victory;" 1510s, "a spoil or prize of war," from Old French trophée (15c.) from Latin trophaeum "a sign of victory, monument," originally tropaeum, from Greek tropaion "monument of an enemy's defeat," noun use of neuter of adjective tropaios "of defeat, causing a rout," from trope "a rout," originally "a turning" (of the enemy); from PIE root *trep- "to turn."
In ancient Greece, spoils or arms taken in battle and set up on the field and dedicated to a god. Figurative extension to any token or memorial of victory is first recorded 1560s. As "a symbolic representation of a classical trophy" from 1630s.
Trophy wife "a second, attractive and generally younger, wife of a successful man who acquires her as a status symbol" was a trending phrase in media from 1988 ("Fortune" magazine did a cover story on it in 1989), but is older in isolated instances.
Variations on this theme ['convenience-wife'] include the HOSTESS-WIFE of a businessman who entertains extensively and seeks a higher-level, home-branch version of his secretary; the TROPHY-WIFE — the woman who was hard to get because of birth or wealth or beauty — to be kept on exhibition like a mammoth tusk or prime Picasso ... [Phyllis I. Rosenteur, excerpt from "The Single Women," published in Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 12, 1961]
The excerpt distinguishes the trophy wife from the "showcase wife," "chosen for her pulchritude and constantly displayed in public places, dripping mink and dangling diamonds," which seems more to suit the later use of trophy wife.