Etymology
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Chaplinesque (adj.)

1921, of, resembling, or in the style of Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), British-born silent movie star. The surname is attested from c. 1200, from Old French chapelain "priest."

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Sistine (adj.)

"pertaining to (a) Pope Sixtus," from Italian sistino, from Sixtus, the name of five popes, from Latin sextus "sixth" (see Sextus). The "chapel" (called Sistine in English from 1771) is named for Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), pope 1471-84, who had it built. The painting by Raphael known as the Sistine Madonna is so called because it also shows Sixtus II, a 3c. martyr and saint; it is better known now for the two cherubs at the bottom of the picture who by 1900 were well-known in isolation from the rest of the picture in engravings, etc.

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Wurlitzer (n.)

type of musical instrument (originally a player piano popular in silent movie theaters, later a type of jukebox), 1925, named for The Wurlitzer Company, founded near Cincinnati, Ohio, 1856 by Rudolph Wurlitzer (1831-1914), Saxon immigrant to U.S. An importer at first, he started production of pianos in 1880; coin-operated pianos in 1896.

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Potemkin 

by 1938 in reference to Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), favorite of Catherine II of Russia, especially in reference to the sham villages supposedly erected under his orders for the empress' tour of Crimea (1787) to create an impression of prosperity and progress. The silent film "Battleship Potemkin" dates from 1925, depicting (with elaboration) events of 1905 and the mutiny aboard a Russian battleship named for the Tsarist minister.

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H 

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.

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Oscar 

masc. proper name, Old English Osgar "god's spear," from gar "spear" (see gar) + os "god" (only in personal names), for which see Aesir.

The statuette awarded for excellence in film acting, directing, etc., given annually since 1928 was first so called in 1936. The common explanation of the name is that it sprang from a 1931 remark by Margaret Herrick, secretary at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on seeing the statuette: "He reminds me of my Uncle Oscar." Thus the award would be named for Oscar Pierce, U.S. wheat farmer and fruit grower. The popularity of the name seems to trace to columnist Sidney Skolsky, and there are other stories of its origin.

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Veronica 

fem. proper name, French Veronique, a variant of Greek Berenike (see Berenice). The popular "Saint Veronica" (not in the Roman Martyrology) traditionally was a pious woman who wiped the face of Christ when he fell carrying the cross to Calvary. The image of his face remained on the cloth, and the "veil of Veronica" has been preserved in Rome from the 8c. Her popularity rose with the propagation of the Stations of the Cross, and this connection led to the folk-etymology derivation of the name from Latin vera "true" + Greek eikon "image." Some also identified her with the woman with the issue of blood, cured by Christ, as in the East this woman was identified from an early date by the name Berenike. Hence vernicle (mid-14c.) "picture of the face of Christ," from Old French veronicle, variant of veronique "St. Veronica's cloth."

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Arkansas 

organized as a U.S. territory 1819, admitted as a state 1836; it was named for the Arkansas River, which was named for a Siouan tribe.

The spelling of the term represents a French plural, Arcansas, of a name applied to the Quapaw people who lived on the Arkansas River; their name was also written in early times as Akancea, Acansea, Acansa (Dickinson, 1995). This was not the name used by the Quapaws themselves, however. The term /akansa/ was applied to them by Algonquian speakers; this consists of /a-/, an Algonquian prefix found in the names of ethnic groups, plus /kká:ze, a Siouan term referring to members of the Dhegiha branch of the Siouan family. This stem is also the origin for the name of the Kansa tribe and of the state of Kansas; thus the placenames Arkansas and Kansas indirectly have the same origin. [William Bright, "Native American Placenames of the United States," 2004]

 The silent final -s, perhaps originally from the French pronunciation, was made official in 1881 by an act of the state legislature.

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Charles's Wain (n.)

famous seven-star figure of the northern sky, Old English Carles wægn, a star-group associated in medieval times with Charlemagne, but earlier with the nearby bright star Arcturus. Arcturus 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 (not so 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. A 10c. Anglo-Saxon astronomy manual uses the Greek-derived Aretos, but mentions that the unlearned 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 only a part of that large constellation. But the name "Bear" belongs to the seven stars, and from Homer's time down to Thales, "the Bear" meant just that, but modern astronomers drew it bigger in parceling out the sky for their convenience.

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.

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