Etymology
Advertisement
cold war (n.)

"nonhostile belligerency," used in print October 1945 by George Orwell; popularized in U.S. c. 1947 by U.S. statesman Bernard Baruch (1870-1965). Hence hot war (1947).

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. [Woody Allen, from "My Speech to the Graduates," 1979]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
world war (n.)

attested by 1898 as a speculation.

If through fear of entangling alliances the United States should return the Philippines to Spain, Mr. Page asserted that the predatory nations would swoop down upon them and a world war would result. [New York Times, Dec. 16, 1898]

Applied to the first one almost as soon as it began in 1914 ("England has Thrown Lot with France in World War" — headline, Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 2, 1914). World War I was coined 1939, replacing Great War as the most common name for it; First World War, World War II, and Second World War all also are from 1939. Old English had woruldgewinn, woruldgefeoht, both of which might be translated "world war," but with "world" in the sense of "earthly, secular."

Related entries & more 
War of 1812 
In reference to the conflict between the U.S. and Great Britain, so called in U.S. by 1815.
Related entries & more 
straw man (n.)

1590s, "doll or scarecrow made of bound straw," from straw (n.) + man (n.). Figuratively, in debates, by 1896, from man of straw "an easily refuted imaginary opponent in an argument," which is recorded from 1620s.

Related entries & more 
civil war (n.)

"battles among fellow citizens or within a community," from civil in a sense of "occurring among fellow citizens" attested from late 14c. in batayle ciuile "civil battle," etc. The exact phrase civil war is attested from late 15c. (the Latin phrase was bella civicus). An Old English word for it was ingewinn. Ancient Greek had polemos epidemios.

Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Later, in England, to the struggle between Parliament and Charles I (1641-1651); in U.S., to the War of Secession (1861-1865), an application often decried as wholly inaccurate but in use (among other names) in the North during the war and boosted by the popular "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" series published 1884-87 in "Century Magazine."

"The war between the States," which a good many Southerners prefer, is both bookish and inexact. "Civil war" is an utter misnomer. It was used and is still used by courteous people, the same people who are careful to say "Federal" and "Confederate." "War of the rebellion," which begs the very question at issue, has become the official designation of the struggle, but has found no acceptance with the vanquished. To this day no Southerner uses it except by way of quotation .... "The war of secession" is still used a good deal in foreign books, but it has no popular hold. "The war," without any further qualification, served the turn of Thucydides and Aristophanes for the Peloponnesian war. It will serve ours, let it be hoped, for some time to come. [Basil L. Gildersleeve, "The Creed of the Old South," 1915]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
point man (n.)

"one who leads a military patrol in formation in a jungle, etc.," 1944, said to be from point (n.) in military sense of "small leading party of an advance guard" (1580s) + man (n.). A more literal sense also is possible. Point (n.) in U.S. also meant "position at the front of a herd of cattle," and pointman in this sense is attested by 1903.

Related entries & more 
merry man (n.)

"companion in arms, follower of a knight, outlaw, etc.," late 14c., from merry (adj.) + man (n.). Related: Merry men.

Related entries & more 
wild man (n.)
c. 1200, "man lacking in self-restraint," from wild (adj.) + man (n.). From mid-13c. as "primitive, savage." Late 14c. as a surname.
Related entries & more 
casus belli (n.)

an act justifying war, 1840, from Latin casus "case" (see case (n.1)) + belli, genitive of bellum "war" (see bellicose).

Related entries & more 
annus mirabilis (n.)
1667, Latin, literally "wonderful year, year of wonders," title of a publication by Dryden, with reference to 1666, which was a year of calamities in London (plague, fire, war), but they were overcome and the nation scored important military victories in the war against the Dutch. From annus "year" (see annual (adj.)) + mirabilis "wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary; strange, singular" (see marvel (n.)).
Related entries & more