fifth month of the modern calendar, early 12c., Mai, from Old French mai and directly from Latin Majus, Maius mensis "month of May," possibly from Maja, Maia, a Roman earth goddess (wife of Vulcan) whose name is of unknown origin; possibly from PIE *mag-ya "she who is great," fem. suffixed form of root *meg- "great" (cognate with Latin magnus).
"[R]eckoned on the continent of Europe and in America as the last month of spring, but in Great Britain as the first of summer" [Century Dictionary, 1897]. Replaced Old English þrimilce, month in which cows can be milked three times a day. May marriages have been considered unlucky at least since Ovid's day. May-apple, perennial herb native to North America, so called for its time of blooming and its yellowish fruit, is attested from 1733, American English.
of or pertaining to the large group of native people of the Yucatan, or to their ancient civilization, at its peak c. 250 C.E. to 9c., noted for its fully developed written script, mathematics (which included zero), and astronomy; 1822, from the native name. Related: Mayan (1831).
city in northern England, Old English Eoforwic, earlier Eborakon (c. 150), an ancient Celtic name, probably meaning "Yew-Tree Estate," but Eburos may also be a personal name. Related: Yorkist; Yorkish; Yorker. Yorkshire pudding is recorded from 1747; Yorkshire terrier first attested 1872; short form Yorkie is from 1950.
Al þe longage of þe Norþhumbres, and specialych at Õork, ys so scharp, slyttyng, and frotyng, and vnschape, þat we souþeron men may þat longage vnneþe vndurstonde. [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s]
traditional poetic name for a shepherd or rustic swain, from Latin Corydon, from Greek Korydon, name of a shepherd in Theocritus and Virgil, from korydos "crested lark." Beekes writes that "The connection with [korys] 'helmet' may be correct, but only as a variant of the same Pre-Greek word."
1690s, capital of the Philippines, said to be from Tagalog may "there is" + nila "shrub of the indigo family," but this last element would not be a native word. It gave its name (with altered spelling) to manilla hemp (1814), the original source of manilla paper (1832); see manilla (1).