Old English hætan "to make hot; to become hot," from Proto-Germanic *haita- (see heat (n.)). Related: Heated (with many variants in Middle English); heating. Bartlett ("Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848) reports that het, as past tense and past participle of heat, is "Often heard in the mouths of illiterate people." Compare Middle Dutch heeten, Dutch heten, German heizen "to heat."
c. 1200, name of the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (equivalent to our D), which was shaped like a triangle. The name is from Phoenician daleth "tent door." Sense of "triangular island or alluvial tract between the diverging branches of the mouth of a great river" is because Herodotus used it of the delta-shaped mouth of the Nile. It was so used in English from 1550s and applied to other river mouths, of whatever shape, by 1790. Related: Deltaic; deltification.
also prosopopoeia, 1560s, from Latin prosopopoeia, from Greek prosōpopoiia "the putting of speeches into the mouths of others," from prosōpon "person; face; dramatic character," etymologically "that which is toward the eyes," from pros "to" (see pros-) + ōps "eye, face" (from PIE root *okw- "to see") + poiein "to make, form, do" (see poet). Generally, a rhetorical figure in which an imaginary or absent person, or abstraction or inanimate character, is made to speak or act. Sometimes Englished as prosopopy (1570s).
command to a horse to go, 1909, probably an extended form of earlier giddap (1867), itself probably from get up. Compare gee.
The terms used to start horses in harness and to urge them to a better appreciation of the value of time comprise vulgar corruptions of ordinary speech and peculiar inarticulate sounds. Throughout England and the United States drivers start their horses by picking up the reins, drawing them gently against the animals' mouths, and exclaiming go 'long and get up; the latter appears in the forms get ap (a as in hat), giddap, and gee-hup or gee-up. [H. Carrington Bolton, "Talking to Domestic Animals," in The American Anthropologist, March 1897]
mid-15c., creke "narrow inlet in a coastline," altered from kryk (early 13c.; in place names from 12c.), probably from Old Norse kriki "corner, nook," perhaps influenced by Anglo-French crique, itself from a Scandinavian source via Norman. Perhaps ultimately related to crook and with an original notion of "full of bends and turns" (compare dialectal Swedish krik "corner, bend; creek, cove").
Extended to "inlet or short arm of a river" by 1570s, which probably led to use for "small stream, brook" in American English (1620s). In U.S. commonly pronounced and formerly sometimes spelled crick. Also used there and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand for "branch of a main river," possibly from explorers moving up main rivers and seeing and noting mouths of tributaries without knowing they often were extensive rivers of their own.
Slang phrase up the creek "in trouble" (often especially "pregnant") is attested by 1941, perhaps originally armed forces slang for "lost while on patrol," or perhaps a cleaned-up version of the older up shit creek in the same sense.
"of the nature of blood, pertaining to blood, bleeding, covered in blood," Old English blodig, adjective from blod (see blood). Common Germanic, compare Old Frisian blodich, Old Saxon blôdag, Dutch bloedig, Old High German bluotag, German blutig. From late 14c. as "involving bloodshed;" 1560s as "bloodthirsty, cruel, tainted with blood-crimes."
It has been a British intensive swear word at least since 1676. Weekley relates it to the purely intensive use of the cognate Dutch bloed, German Blut. But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of "rowdy young aristocrats" (see blood (n.)) via expressions such as bloody drunk "as drunk as a blood."
Partridge reports that it was "respectable" before c. 1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c. 1750-c. 1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it "very vulgar," and OED writes of it, "now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered 'a horrid word', on par with obscene or profane language."
The onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term's extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as "By our Lady" or "God's blood" seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century. [Rawson]
Shaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion" (1913), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as "the Shavian adjective." It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, was when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.