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14 entries found.
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positively (adv.)

mid-15c., "in a definite way, expressly," from positive (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "absolutely" is from 1777.

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flat (adv.)
1550s, "absolutely, downright;" 1570s, "plainly, positively," from flat (adj.). Flat-out (adv.) "openly, directly" is from 1932, originally in motor racing, picked up in World War II by the airmen; earlier it was a noun meaning "total failure" (1870, U.S. colloquial).
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asseverate (v.)
"affirm positively or solemnly," 1791, from Latin asseveratus/adseveratus, past participle of asseverare/adseverare "to affirm, insist on, maintain," from ad "to" (see ad-) + severus "serious, grave, strict, austere," which is probably from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold," on the notion of "steadfastness, toughness." Related: Asseverated; asseverating.
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pilaf (n.)

oriental dish of rice boiled with meat, 1610s, pilau (which remains the commoner form in British English), from Turkish pilav, from Persian pilaw. The form perhaps has been influenced by Modern Greek pilafi, which is from the Turkish word, but Ayto ("Diner's Dictionary") writes that from the beginning "the spelling of the word was positively anarchic" and that pilaf "represents a modern Turkish pronunciation."

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diction (n.)

1540s, "a word," a sense now obsolete, from Late Latin dictionem (nominative dictio) "a saying, expression; a word; kind of delivery, style," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin dicere "to say, state, proclaim, make known, allege, declare positively" (source of French dire "to say"), which is related to dicare "to talk, speak, utter, make speech; pronounce, articulate," both from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly." The meaning "manner of saying," especially in reference to the choice of words, is from 1700.

Latin dicere and dicare are presumed to have been originally the same word. De Vann writes that "the verb dicāre may well have been backformed from compounds in -dicāre." The basic sense in both is "to talk, speak, declare." They seem to have divided, imperfectly, the secondary senses between them: dicere "to say, state, proclaim, make known, allege, declare positively; plead (a case);" in religion, "to dedicate, consecrate," hence, transferred from the religion sense, "give up, set apart, appropriate;" dicare "to talk, speak, utter, make speech; pronounce, articulate; to mean, intend; describe; to call, to name; appoint, set apart."

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malfeasance (n.)

"wrongful conduct, the doing of that which ought not to be done," especially "official misconduct, violation of a public trust or obligation," 1690s, from French malfaisance "wrongdoing," from malfaisant, from mal- "badly" (see mal-) + faisant, present participle of faire "to do," from Latin facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").

[S]pecifically, the doing of an act which is positively unlawful or wrongful, in contradistinction to misfeasance, or the doing of a lawful act in a wrongful manner. The term is often inappropriately used instead of misfeasance. [Century Dictionary]

 Malfeasor "wrong-doer" is attested from early 14c. Related: Malfeasant.

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affirm (v.)

Middle English affermen, affirmen, "to decide upon" (c. 1300); "to state positively" (late 14c.), from Old French afermer (Modern French affirmer) "affirm, confirm; strengthen, consolidate," from Latin affirmare "to make steady, strengthen," figuratively "confirm, corroborate," from ad "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support").

The spelling was refashioned 16c. in French and English on Latin model. Legal sense "declare solemnly (as before a court) but without an oath" is from early 15c. Related: Affirmed; affirming.

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allege (v.)
c. 1300, "make a formal declaration in court;" mid-14c., "pronounce positively, claim as true," with or without proof; it has the form of one French verb and the meaning of another. The form is Anglo-French aleger, Old French eslegier "to clear at law" (from a compound of Latin ex "out of;" see ex- + litigare "bring suit" (see litigation).

However eslegier meant "acquit, clear of charges in a lawsuit," and the Middle English word somehow acquired the meaning of French alléguer, from Latin allegare/adlegare "send for, bring forth, name, produce in evidence, send on business," from ad "to" (see ad-) + legare "to depute, send" (see legate). Related: Alleged; alleging.
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nucleus (n.)

1704, "kernel of a nut;" 1708, "head of a comet;" from Latin nucleus "kernel," from nucula "little nut," diminutive of nux (genitive nucis) "nut," from PIE *kneu- "nut" (source also of Middle Irish cnu, Welsh cneuen, Middle Breton knoen "nut," Old Norse hnot, Old English hnutu "nut").

The general sense of "central mass or thing, about which others cluster or matter collects," is from 1762. In biology, "dense, typically rounded structure in a cell, bounded by membranes," from 1831. Later they were found to contain the genetic material. Modern meaning in physics, "positively charged central core of an atom," is from 1912, by Ernest Rutherford, though theoretical use for "central point of an atom" is from 1844, in Faraday.

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pastime (n.)

"amusement, diversion, that which serves to make the time pass agreeably," late 15c., passe tyme "recreation, diversion, amusement, sport," from pass (v.) + time (n.). Formed on model of French passe-temps (15c.), from passe, imperative of passer "to pass" + temps "time," from Latin tempus (see temporal).

The central idea of a pastime is that it is so positively agreeable that it lets time slip by unnoticed: as, to turn work into pastime. Amusement has the double meaning of being kept from ennui and of finding occasion of mirth .... Recreation is that sort of play or agreeable occupation which refreshes the tired person, making him as good as new. Diversion is a stronger word than recreation, representing that which turns one aside from ordinary serious work or thought, and amuses him greatly. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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