"typical U.S. middle class community," 1929, from the title of a book published that year ("Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture") by New York sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd, based on information collected 1924-25 in Muncie, Indiana. The U.S. Geological Survey lists 40 towns by that name, not counting variant spellings; see middle (adj.) + town.
discovered 1798 at Rosetta, Egypt; now in British Museum. Dating to 2c. B.C.E., its trilingual inscription helped Jean-François Champollion decipher Egyptian demotic and hieroglyphics in 1822, which opened the way to the study of all early Egyptian records. Hence, figurative use of the term to mean "something which provides the key to previously unattainable understanding" (1902). The place name is a Europeanization of Rashid, a name given because it was founded c.800 C.E. by Caliph Harun ar-Rashid.
1590s, "one who is characterized by strict adherence to method," from method + -ist. With a capital M-, it refers to the Protestant religious denomination founded 1729 at Oxford University by John and Charles Wesley. The name had been used at least since 1686 for various new methods of worship; it was applied to the Wesleys by their fellow-students at Oxford for their methodical habits in study and religious life. Johnson (1755) describes them as "One of a new kind of puritans lately arisen, so called from their profession to live by rules and in constant method." Related: Methodism.
famous winged horse in Greek mythology, also the name of an ancient northern constellation, late 14c., Pegase, from Latin, from Greek Pēgasos, usually said to be from pēgē "fountain, spring; a well fed by a spring" (plural pēgai), especially in reference to the "springs of Ocean," near which Medusa was said to have been killed by Perseus (Pegasus sprang from her blood). But this may be folk etymology, and the ending of the word suggests non-Greek origin.
Advances since the 1990s in the study of the Luwians, neighbors of the Hittites in ancient Anatolia, show a notable convergence of the Greek name with Pihaššašši, the name of a Luwian weather-god: "the mythological figure of Pegasus carrying the lightning and thunderbolt of Zeus, ... is likely to represent an avatar of the Luwian Storm-God of Lightning ...." [Alice Mouton, et al., eds., "Luwian Identities," 2013]