one of a class of people living in eastern Tennessee of peculiar appearance and uncertain origin, probably descendants of an early mix of white and African residents with some Native blood; by 1813 (Melungin); the word itself is of uncertain origin, though it often is referred to melange.
first letter of the Roman alphabet, based on Greek alpha (see alpha). In music from c. 1600 as the name of the sixth note of the natural scale; it is the note given by a fixed-tone instrument (usually oboe or organ) to which all the instruments of an orchestra are tuned. As a blood type, 1926, denoting A agglutinogens. The A side of a two-sided record (by 1962, see side (n.)) held the material chosen for promotion. A-bomb, short for atom bomb, was in newspaper headlines by Aug. 8, 1945.
used allusively from 1985, in reference to John Rambo, hero of Canadian-American author David Morrell's novel "First Blood" (1972), popularized as portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in the Hollywood movie version (1982), a U.S. Vietnam veteran, "macho and self-sufficient, and bent on violent retribution" [OED]. The family name is an old one in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (where Morrell supposedly first heard it), originally Swedish, sometimes said to represent Swedish place name Ramberget, or to be from French Huguenots who took refuge in Sweden.
fem. proper name, German, literally "battle-maid," from fem. of Old High German hild "war, battle, fight, combat," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle" (source also of Old English (poetic) hild "war, battle," Old Saxon hild, Old High German hilt, Old Norse hildr), from PIE *keldh-, from root *kel- "to strike, cut" (see holt). Hild-/-hild was a common Germanic name-forming element; compare Hildebrand, Brunhild, Matilda.
Old English hild figured widely in kenning compounds: Hildbedd "deathbed;" hildegicel "blood dripping from a sword," literally "battle-icicle;" hildenædre "arrow, lance, spear," literally "war-adder;" hildesæd "weary of fighting, battle-worn," literally "battle-sad."
c. 1300 as the name of the bright reddish-orange planet in the heavens; late 14c. as the name of the Roman god of war, from Latin Mars (stem *Mawort-), the Roman god of war (identified with Greek Ares), a name of unknown origin, apparently from earlier Mavors, related to Oscan Mamers.
According to Watkins the Latin word is from *Mawort- "name of an Italic deity who became the god of war at Rome ...." He also had agricultural attributes, and might ultimately have been a Spring-Dionysus. The planet was so named by the Romans, no doubt for its blood-like color. The Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis "the fiery." Also in medieval alchemy, "iron" (late 14c.). The Mars candy bar was first manufactured in 1932 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the candy-making family.
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]
mountainous district in central Peloponnesus, a Latinized form of Greek Arkadia, which is traditionally from Arkas (genitive Arkadas), son of Zeus, name of the founder and first ruler of Arcadia.
The idealized Arcadia of later pastoral romance, "the home of piping shepherds and coy shepherdesses, where rustic simplicity and plenty satisfied the ambition of untutored hearts, and where ambition and its crimes were unknown" [John Mahaffy, "History of Classical Greek Literature," 1880] seems to have been inspired by "Arcadia," a description of shepherd life in prose and verse by Italian Renaissance poet Iacopo Sannazaro, published in 1502, which went through 60 editions in the century. It is exemplified in English by Sir Philip Sidney's poem, published in 1590, and in Spanish by Lope de Vega's, printed in 1598. Classical Arcadia, Mahaffy writes:
was only famed for the marketable valour of its hardy mountaineers, of whom the Tegeans had held their own even against the power of Sparta, and obtained an honourable place in her army. It was also noted for rude and primitive cults, of which later men praised the simplicity and homely piety—at times also, the stern gloominess, which did not shrink from the offering of human blood. ["Rambles and Studies in Greece," 1887]
Poetic Arcady is from 1580s.