Etymology
Advertisement
Advertisement
nota bene 

a Latin phrase meaning "mark well, observe particularly," 1721, from Latin nota, second person singular imperative of notare "to mark" (from nota "mark, sign, note, character, letter;" see note (n.)) + bene "well" (see bene-). Often abbreviated N.B.

Related entries & more 
post restante 

direction on mail that it be held at that post office until called for, French, literally "remaining post." Hence, place in a post office where letters so addressed are kept until the recipients call for them.

Related entries & more 
good will (n.)
Old English godes willan "state of wishing well to another;" see good (adj.) + will (n.). Meaning "cheerful acquiescence" is from c. 1300. In the commercial sense "degree of favor enjoyed through patronage of customers" from 1570s.
Related entries & more 
dog-leg (adj.)

also dogleg, "bent like a dog's hind leg," 1843, earlier dog-legged (1703), which was used originally of a type of staircase which has no well hole and consists of two flights with or without winders. See dog (n.) + leg (n.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Wall Street (n.)
"U.S. financial world," 1836, from street in New York City that is home to many investment firms and stock traders, as well as NYSE. The street so called because it ran along the interior of the defensive wall of the old Dutch colonial town.
Related entries & more 
middle class (n.)

1766, in a British sense, "class of people socially intermediate between the aristocratic and the laboring classes, the community of untitled but well-bred or wealthy people," from middle (adj.) + class (n.). As an adjective, "pertaining to the middle class," by 1857, with reference to education. Nares reports menalty as an early word for "the middle class" (1540s).

Related entries & more 
violon d'Ingres (n.)

"an occasional pastime, an activity other than that for which one is well-known, or at which one excells," 1963, from French, literally "Ingres' violin," from the story that the great painter preferred to play his violin (badly) for visitors instead of showing them his pictures.

Une légende, assez suspecte, prétend que le peintre Ingres état plus fier de son jeu sur le violon, jeu qui était fort ordinaire, que de sa peinture, qui l'avait rendu illustre. [Larousse du XXe Siecle, 1931]
Related entries & more 
red cross (n.)

early 15c. as the national emblem of England (St. George's Cross), also the badge of the Order of the Temple. Hence red-cross knight, one bearing such a marking on shield or crest. In 17c., a red cross was the mark placed on the doors of London houses infected with the plague. The red cross was adopted as a symbol of ambulance service in 1864 by the Geneva Conference, and the Red Cross Society (later also, in Muslim lands, Red Crescent) philanthropic organization was founded to carry out the views of the 1864 conference as well as other works of relief.

Related entries & more 
black swan (n.)

proverbial for "something extremely rare or non-existent" (late 14c.) is from Juvenal ["Sat." vi. 164], but the real thing turned up in Australia (Chenopsis atratus).

"Do you say no worthy wife is to be found among all these crowds?" Well, let her be handsome, charming, rich and fertile; let her have ancient ancestors ranged about her halls; let her be more chaste than all the dishevelled Sabine maidens who stopped the war—a prodigy as rare upon the earth as a black swan! yet who could endure a wife that possessed all perfections? I would rather have a Venusian wench for my wife than you, O Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, if, with all your virtues, you bring me a haughty brow, and reckon up Triumphs as part of your marriage portion. [Juvenal]

Blue dahlia also was used 19c. for "something rare and unheard of."

Related entries & more