1796, from Italian Accademia della Crusca, literally "Academy of the Chaff," "the name of an Academy established at Florence in 1582, mainly with the object of sifting and purifying the Italian language; whence its name, and its emblem, a sieve" [OED]. From della "of the" (from Latin de "of" + illa "that") + crusca "bran." Related: Della-Cruscan.
large peninsula in northwestern North America, purchased by U.S. from Russia in 1867, a state since 1959. The name first was applied 18c. by Russian explorers, from Aleut alaxsxaq, literally "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed" [Bright]. Related: Alaskan. Baked Alaska is attested by 1896, so called either for its whiteness or for being cold inside.
English river running past Liverpool, c. 1000, Mærse, probably "boundary river," from Old English mæres (genitive singular of mære "boundary, object indicating a boundary;" see mere (n.2)) + ea "river." Related: Merseysider. Mersey beat, in reference to the popular music style associated with the Beatles, is by 1963.
mausoleum at Agra, India, built by Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, from Persian, perhaps "the best of buildings," with second element, mahal, from Urdu mahall "private apartments; summer house or palace," from Arabic halla "to lodge." But some authorities hold that the name of the mausoleum is a corruption of the name of the woman interred in it, Mumtaz (in Persian, literally "chosen one") Mahal, who died in 1631. Persian taj is literally "crown, diadem, ornamental headdress," but here denoting an object of distinguished excellence. Figurative use of Taj Mahal in English as a name denoting anything surpassing or excellent is attested from 1895.
Applied by the Romans to Greek Aphrodite, Egyptian Hathor, etc. Applied in English to any beautiful, attractive woman by 1570s. As the name of the most brilliant planet from late 13c., from this sense in Latin (Old English called it morgensteorra and æfensteorra). The venus fly-trap (Dionæa muscipula) was discovered 1760 by Gov. Arthur Dobbs in North Carolina and description sent to Collinson in England. The Central Atlantic Coast Algonquian name for the plant, /titipiwitshik/, yielded regional American English tippity wichity.
That others might have found the New World before Columbus was popular knowledge: Irving's "History of New York" (1809) lists Noah along with Phoenician, Carthaginian, Tyrean, Chinese, German, and Welsh candidates, along with "the Norwegians, in 1002, under Biorn." Evidence in the old sagas of a Norse discovery of North America had been noticed from time to time by those who could read them. In early 19c. the notion was seriously debated by von Humboldt and other European scholars before winning their general acceptance by the 1830s. The case for the identification of Vinland with North America began to be laid out in English-language publications in 1840. Lowell wrote a poem about it ("Hakon's Lay," 1855). Thoreau knew of it ("Ktaadn," 1864). Physical evidence of the Norse discovery was uncovered by the excavations at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960.
"an emperor, a ruler, a dictator," late 14c., cesar, from Cæsar, originally a surname of the Julian gens in Rome, elevated to a title after Caius Julius Caesar (100 B.C.E.-44 B.C.E.) became dictator; it was used as a title of emperors down to Hadrian (138 C.E.). The name is of uncertain origin; Pliny derives it from caesaries "head of hair," because the future dictator was born with a full one; Century Dictionary suggests Latin caesius "bluish-gray" (of the eyes), also used as a proper name. Also compare caesarian.
Old English had casere, which would have yielded modern *coser, but it was replaced in Middle English by keiser (c. 1200), from Norse or Low German, and later by the French or Latin form of the name. Cæsar also is the root of German Kaiser and Russian tsar (see czar). He competes as progenitor of words for "king" with Charlemagne (Latin Carolus), as in Lithuanian karalius, Polish krol.
The use in reference to "temporal power as the object of obedience" (contrasted with God) is from Matthew xxii.21. Caesar's wife (1570s) as the figure of a person who should be above suspicion is from Plutarch. In U.S. slang c. 1900, a sheriff was Great Seizer.
place in Wiltshire, Middle English Salesbury, Old English Searobyrg, Searesbyrig, Roman Sorbiodoni, Sorvioduni. The first element is a British Celtic word of uncertain sense; the second is *dunon "a hill, fort" or else Gaulish *duro- "fort, walled town." The first element was altered in Old English by folk etymology and the second replaced by its native translation, burh.
Salisbury steak (1885) is named for J.H. Salisbury (1823-1905), U.S. physician and food specialist, who promoted it.
In the Philadelphia Medical Reporter for January 10th, Dr. Hepburn describes the way in which the steak is prepared in the "Salisbury" treatment, which has acquired a great reputation in America for disordered digestion, and widely different diseases of a chronic kind, few drugs being employed simultaneously, and those chiefly of a tonic kind. The best slices of a round of beef are chopped off with dull knives, the object being rather to pound than to cut the meat. [from a report reprinted in several U.S. and British medical journals in 1885 that goes on to describe the method; this version from Homeopathic World, Aug. 1, 1885]
Incorrect use for "hamburger" generally traces to World War I and the deliberate attempt to purify American English of German loan words.
eighth letter of the alphabet; it comes from Phoenician, via Greek and Latin. In Phoenician it originally had a rough guttural sound like German Reich or Scottish loch. In Greek at first it had the value of Modern English -h-, and with this value it passed into the Latin alphabet via Greek colonies in Italy. Subsequently in Greek it came to be used for a long "e" sound; the "h" sound being indicated by a fragment of the letter, which later was reduced to the aspiration mark.
In Germanic it was used for the voiceless breath sound when at the beginning of words, and in the middle or at the end of words for the rough guttural sound, which later came to be written -gh.
The sound became totally silent in Vulgar Latin and in the languages that emerged from it; thus the letter was omitted in Old French and Italian, but it was restored pedantically in French and Middle English spelling, and often later in English pronunciation. Thus Modern English has words ultimately from Latin with missing -h- (able, from Latin habile); with a silent -h- (heir, hour); with a formerly silent -h- now often vocalized (humble, humor, herb); and even a few with an unetymological -h- fitted in confusion to words that never had one (hostage, hermit). Relics of the formerly unvoiced -h- persist in pedantic insistence on an historical (object) and in obsolete mine host.
The pronunciation "aitch" was in Old French (ache "name of the letter H"), and is from a presumed Late Latin *accha (compare Italian effe, elle, emme), with the central sound approximating the rough, guttural value of the letter in Germanic. In earlier Latin the letter was called ha. The use in digraphs (as in -sh-, -th-) goes back to the ancient Greek alphabet, which used it in -ph-, -th-, -kh- until -H- took on the value of a long "e" and the digraphs acquired their own characters. The letter passed into Roman use before this evolution, and thus retained there more of its original Semitic value.