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sherbet (n.)
c. 1600, zerbet, "drink made from diluted fruit juice and sugar," and cooled with fresh snow when possible, from Turkish serbet, from Persian sharbat, from Arabic sharba(t) "a drink," from shariba "he drank." Formerly also sherbert. Related to syrup, and compare sorbet.
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sorbet (n.)
1580s, "cooling drink of fruit juice and water," from French sorbet (16c.), probably from Italian sorbetto, from Turkish serbet (see sherbet). Perhaps influenced in form by Italian sorbire "to sip." Meaning "semi-liquid water ice as a dessert" first recorded 1864.
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syrup (n.)
late 14c., "thick, sweet liquid," from Old French sirop "sugared drink" (13c.), and perhaps from Italian siroppo, both from Arabic sharab "beverage, wine," literally "something drunk," from verb shariba "he drank" (compare sherbet). Spanish jarabe, jarope, Old Provençal eissarop are from Arabic; Italian sciroppo is via Medieval Latin sirupus. In English, formerly also sirup, sirop.
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float (n.)

apparently an early Middle English merger of three related Old English nouns, flota "boat, fleet," flote "troop, flock," flot "body of water, sea;" all from the source of float (v.). The early senses were the now-mostly-obsolete ones of the Old English words: "state of floating" (early 12c.), "swimming" (mid-13c.); "a fleet of ships; a company or troop" (c. 1300); "a stream, river" (early 14c.). From c. 1300 as an attachment for buoyancy on a fishing line or net; early 14c. as "raft." Meaning "platform on wheels used for displays in parades, etc." is from 1888, probably from earlier sense of "flat-bottomed boat" (1550s). As a type of fountain drink, by 1915.

Float.—An ade upon the top of which is floated a layer of grape juice, ginger ale, or in some cases a disher of fruit sherbet or ice cream. In the latter case it would be known as a "sherbet float" or an "ice-cream float." ["The Dispenser's Formulary: Or, Soda Water Guide," New York, 1915]
Few soda water dispensers know what is meant by a "Float Ice Cream Soda." This is not strange since the term is a coined one. By a "float ice cream soda" is meant a soda with the ice cream floating on top, thus making a most inviting appearance and impressing the customer that you are liberal with your ice cream, when you are not really giving any more than the fellow that mixes his ice cream "out of sight." [The Spatula, Boston, July, 1908]
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