Etymology
Advertisement
Sextus 

masc. proper name, from Latin, properly "the sixth," originally denoting a sixth child, from sextus "sixth," from sex "six" (see six; compare Octavian).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Lilliputian (adj.)
"diminutive, tiny," literally "pertaining to Lilliput," the fabulous island whose inhabitants were six inches high, a name coined by Jonathan Swift in "Gulliver's Travels" (1726). Swift left no explanation of the origin of the word.
Related entries & more 
Joe 
pet-form of Joseph (q.v.). Meaning "generic fellow, man" is from 1846. Used in a wide range of invented names meaning "typical male example of," for example Joe college "typical college man" (1932); Joe Blow "average fellow" is U.S. military slang, first recorded 1941. "Dictionary of American Slang" lists, among other examples, Joe Average, Beige, Lunch Bucket, Public, Sad, Schmoe, Six-pack, Yale, Zilch
Related entries & more 
Babbitt (n.)

"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from the name of the title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).

His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]

Earlier in 19c. the name was used in metallurgy in reference to a type of soft alloy.

Related entries & more 
Thule 

region or island at northernmost part of the world, Old English, from Latin, from Greek Thyle "land six days' sail north of Britain" (Strabo, quoting a lost portion of a work by Polybius, itself based on a lost account of a voyage to the north by 4c. B.C.E. geographer Pytheas). The identity of the place and the source of the name have sparked much speculation; Polybius doubted the whole thing, and since Roman times the name has been used in a transferred sense of "extreme limits of travel" (Ultima Thule).

The barbarians showed us where the sun set. For it happened in those places that the night was extremely short, lasting only two or three hours; and the sun sunk under the horizon, after a short interval reappeared at his rising. [Pytheas]

The name was given to a trading post in Greenland in 1910, site of a U.S. air base in World War II.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Pleiades (n.)

late 14c., Pliades, "visible open star cluster in the constellation Taurus," in Greek mythology they represent the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, transformed by Zeus into seven stars. From Latin Pleiades, from Greek Pleiades (singular Plēias), perhaps literally "constellation of the doves" from a shortened form of peleiades, plural of peleias "dove" (from PIE root *pel- "dark-colored, gray"). Or perhaps from plein "to sail," because the season of navigation begins with their heliacal rising.

Old English had the name from Latin as Pliade. The star cluster is mentioned by Hesiod (pre-700 B.C.E.); only six now are visible to most people; on a clear night a good eye can see nine (in 1579, well before the invention of the telescope, the German astronomer Michael Moestlin (1550-1631) correctly drew 11 Pleiades stars); telescopes reveal at least 500. Hence French pleiade, used for a meeting or grouping of seven persons.

Related entries & more 
Labrador 

large province of eastern Canada, probably from Portuguese Lavrador, which is of uncertain origin. Among the theories advanced, W.F. Ganong identifies as "The generally accepted and altogether probable one" that "it was originally 'Terra Laboratoris,' land of the laborer because Cortereal brought fifty men thence to Europe, who were described as well fitted for slaves. This is sustained by all the evidence of old maps." Gasper Cortereal was a Portuguese navigator who explored the coast for the Portuguese crown in 1500 and brought home captives. He returned for more in 1501, but was never heard from again. But a Portuguese map of 1520 has the name Lavrador applied to Greenland, while the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland is called Bacalhaos, which is "codfish" in Basque.

[Labrador] is not used in Cartier's narratives, though it appears in the title of the 1598 edition of his first narrative. It is supposed to have been added by the translator. There are, at least, six theories as to the origin of this word. [W.F. Ganong, "The Cartography of the Gulf of St. Lawrence," 1887] 

One of them [Room] is that the sense of the name is "landholder" and is a reference to 15c. Portuguese explorer João Fernandes, called Llavrador, who was a landholder in the Azores and had sailed as far as Iceland and Greenland. John Cabot met Fernandes when he was in Spain and Portugal in the spring of 1498, recruiting sailors for an Atlantic voyage, and he advised Cabot that this was a good way to get to Asia. The breed of retriever dog so called from 1815. Related: Labradorian.

Related entries & more