Old English wifel "small beetle," from Proto-Germanic *webilaz (source also of Old Saxon wibil, Old High German wibil, German Wiebel "beetle, chafer," Old Norse tordyfill "dung beetle"), cognate with Lithuanian vabalas "beetle," from PIE root *(h)uebh- "to weave," also "to move quickly" (see weave (v.)). The sense gradually narrowed by 15c. to a particular kind of beetle that, in larval or adult stages, bores into plants, often destroying them.
mid-13c., ris, "edible seeds or grains of the rice plant, one of the world's major food grains," from Old French ris, from Italian riso, from Latin oriza, from Greek oryza "rice," via an Indo-Iranian language (compare Pashto vriže, Old Persian brizi), ultimately from Sanskrit vrihi-s "rice."
The Greek word, directly or in indirectly, is the source of the European words for the grain (Welsh reis, German reis, Lithuanian ryžiai, Serbo-Croatian riza, Polish ryż, etc.). Evidence of semi-cultivated rice in Thailand dates to 5,500 years ago; introduced to the Mediterranean by the Arabs, it was introduced 1647 in the Carolinas.
Rice paper (1810), originally used in China, Japan, etc., is made from straw of rice; the name is sometimes misapplied to a delicate white film prepared from the pith of a certain East Asian shrub. Rice-pudding is by 1889. Rice Krispies is from 1936.
1620s, "rice plant," from Malay (Austronesian) padi "rice in the straw." Main modern meaning "rice field, ground where rice is growing" (1948) is a shortening of paddy field.
type of dog, named for a prefecture in northern Japan. The place name is said to mean literally "field of ripe rice," from aki "autumn, fall" + ta "field of rice."
rice cooked in broth with meat and cheese, 1848, from Italian risotto, from riso "rice" (see rice). At first in Italian contexts; it begins to appear in English cookery books c. 1880.
also Menomini, Algonquian people of Wisconsin, also of their language, from Ojibwa (Algonquian) Manoominii, literally "wild rice people," from manoomin "wild rice." Not their name for themselves.
Japanese dish based on small clumps of boiled rice, 1893, from Japanese, where it is said originally to refer to the vinegared rice, not the raw fish that commonly garnishes it.
Japanese fermented liquor made from rice, 1680s, from Japanese sake, literally "alcohol."
1823, from Japanese zori, from so "grass, (rice) straw" + ri "footwear, sole."