"a primitive form, original, or model after which anything is formed," c. 1600, from French prototype (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prototypus "original, primitive," from Greek prōtotypon "a first or primitive form," noun use of neuter singular of prōtotypos "original, primitive," from prōtos "first" (see proto-) + typos "impression, mold, pattern" (see type (n.)). In English from 1590s as prototypon.
1957, trademark registered 1959 by Wham-O Company; the prototype was modeled on pie tins from Mrs. Frisbie's Pies, made by the Frisbie Bakery of Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S. Middlebury College students began tossing them around in the 1930s (though Yale and Princeton also claim to have discovered their aerodynamic qualities).
Thirteen years ago the Wham-O Manufacturing Company of San Gabriel, Calif., ... brought out the first Frisbee. Wham-O purchased the rights from a Los Angeles building inspector named Fred Morrison, who in turn had been inspired by the airworthy pie tins of the Frisbie Bakery in Bridgeport, Conn. (which went out of business in March of 1958). He changed the spelling to avoid legal problems. [Sports Illustrated, Aug. 3, 1970]
The family name is attested in English records from 1226, from a place name in Leicestershire (Frisby on the Wreak), attested from 1086, from Old Danish, meaning "farmstead or village of the Frisians" (Old Norse Frisa, genitive plural of Frisr; see Frisian). Also see by (prep.).
1510s, "one who steers a ship," especially one who has charge of the helm when the ship is passing in or out of harbor, from French pillote (16c.), from Italian piloto, supposed to be an alteration of Old Italian pedoto, which usually is said to be from Medieval Greek *pedotes "rudder, helmsman," from Greek pedon "steering oar," related to pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." The change of -d- to -l- in Latin-derived languages ("Sabine -l-") parallels that in odor/olfactory; see lachrymose.
The transferred or figurative sense "a guide, a director of the course of others" is by 1590s. The literal sense was extended by 1848 to "one who controls a balloon," and by 1907 to "one who flies an airplane."
As an adjective, 1788 as "pertaining to a pilot;" from 1928 as "serving as a prototype," thus the noun pilot meaning "pilot episode" (etc.), attested from 1962. A pilot light (by 1890) is a very small light kept burning beside a large burner to automatically light the main burner when the flow is turned on.
1883, "fastidious man," New York City slang of unknown origin; recent research suggests it is a shortening of Yankee Doodle, based on the song's notion of "foppish, over-fastidious male" (compare macaroni). The vogue word of 1883, originally used in reference to the devotees of the "aesthetic" craze, later applied to city slickers, especially Easterners vacationing in the West (as in dude ranch "ranch which entertains guests and tourists for pay," attested by 1921). "The term has no antecedent record, and is prob. merely one of the spontaneous products of popular slang" [Century Dictionary].
Now, "tenderfoot" is not to be construed as the Western equivalent of that much evolved and more abused specimen of mankind, familiarly styled "dude." For even the Montana cowboy recognizes the latter. Not that he has ever seen the true prototype of a class that was erstwhile so numerous among us. But he is convinced that a person caught in the act of wearing a white linen collar, and who looks as though he might have recently shaved or washed his face, must be a dude, true and proper. ["Random Notes and Observations of a Trip through the Great Northwest," The Medical Record, Oct. 20, 1883]
Application to any male is recorded by 1966, U.S., originally in African-American vernacular.
Old English Carles wægn, a star-group associated in medieval times with Charlemagne, but originally with the nearby bright star Arcturus, which is linked by folk etymology to Latin Arturus "Arthur." Which places the seven-star asterism at the crux of the legendary association (or confusion) of Arthur and Charlemagne. Evidence from Dutch (cited in Grimm, "Teutonic Mythology") suggests that it might originally have been Woden's wagon. More recent names for it are the Plough (by 15c., chiefly British) and the Dipper (1833, chiefly American).
It is called "the Wagon" in a Mesopotamian text from 1700 B.C.E., and it is mentioned in the Biblical Book of Job. The seven bright stars in the modern constellation Ursa Major have borne a dual identity in Western history at least since Homer's time, being seen as both a wagon and a bear: as in Latin plaustrum "freight-wagon, ox cart" and arctos "bear," both used of the seven-star pattern, as were equivalent Greek amaxa (Attic hamaxa) and arktos.
The identification with a wagon is easy to see, with four stars as the body and three as the pole. The identification with a bear is more difficult, as the figure has a tail longer than its body. As Allen writes, "The conformation of the seven stars in no way resembles the animal,--indeed the contrary ...." But he suggests the identification "may have arisen from Aristotle's idea that its prototype was the only creature that dared invade the frozen north." The seven stars never were below the horizon in the latitude of the Mediterranean in Homeric and classical times (though not today, due to precession of the equinoxes). See also arctic for the identification of the bear and the north in classical times.
A variety of French and English sources from the early colonial period independently note that many native North American tribes in the northeast had long seen the seven-star group as a bear tracked by three hunters (or a hunter and his two dogs).
Among the Teutonic peoples, it seems to have been only a wagon, not a bear. A 10c. Anglo-Saxon astronomy manual uses the Greek-derived Aretos, but mentions that "unlearned men" call it "Charles's Wain":
Arheton hatte an tungol on norð dæle, se haefð seofon steorran, & is for ði oþrum naman ge-hatan septemtrio, þone hatað læwede meon carles-wæn. ["Anglo-Saxon Manual of Astronomy"]
[Septemtrio, the seven oxen, was yet another Roman name.] The star picture was not surely identified as a bear in English before late 14c.
The unlearned of today are corrected that the seven stars are not the Great Bear but form only a part of that large constellation. But those who applied the name "Bear" apparently did so originally only to these seven stars, and from Homer's time down to Thales, "the Bear" meant just the seven stars. From Rome to Anglo-Saxon England to Arabia to India, ancient astronomy texts mention a supposed duplicate constellation to the northern bear in the Southern Hemisphere, never visible from the north. This perhaps is based on sailors' tales of the Southern Cross.