former eastern German province, now southwestern Poland, from Latinized form of German Schlesien (Polish Śląsk), from the name of a river and a mountain there, from Silingi or Silingae, name of a Vandalic (Germanic) people who supposedly had a religious center at the mountain. Related: Silesian. In reference to cloth imported from there from 1670s, especially "a thin cotton cloth, commonly twilled, used for linings for women's dresses and men's garments."
surname, early 13c., probably an agent noun from walk (v.) in the sense "to full cloth." preserves the cloth-fulling sense (walker with this meaning is attested from c. 1300). "Walker" or "Hookey Walker" was a common slang retort of incredulity in early and mid-19c. London, for which "Various problematic explanations have been offered" [Century Dictionary].
"Is it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy it."
"Walk-ER!" exclaimed the boy.
"No, no," said Scrooge. "I am in earnest" (etc.)
[Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"]
fem. proper name, from Greek sōphrōnia, from sōphrōn (genitive sōphrōnos) "discreet, prudent, sensible, having control over sensual desires, moderate, chaste," literally "of sound mind," from sōs "safe, sound, whole" + phrēn "heart, mind" (see phreno-).
large island lying to the east of and near Africa, from Mogadishu, the name of the city in Somalia, due to an error by Marco Polo in reading Arabic, whereby he thought the name was that of the island. There is no indigenous name for the whole island. Related: Madagascan; Madagascarian; Madagascarene.
masc. proper name, variant of Marcus (q.v.). Among the top 10 names given to boy babies born in the U.S. between 1955 and 1970.
Mark Twain is the pseudonym of American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), who had been a riverboat pilot; he took his pen name from the cry mark twain, the call indicating a depth of two fathoms, from mark (n.1) in a specialized sense of "measured notification (a piece of knotted cloth, etc.) on a lead-line indicating fathoms of depth" (1769) + twain.