international radio-telephone distress call, 1923, apparently an Englished spelling of French m'aider, shortening of venez m'aider "come help me!" But possibly a random coinage with coincidental resemblance:
"May Day" Is Airplane SOS
ENGLISH aviators who use radio telephone transmitting sets on their planes, instead of telegraph sets, have been puzzling over the problem of choosing a distress call for transmission by voice. The letters SOS wouldn't do, and just plain "help!" was not liked, and so "May Day" was chosen. This was thought particularly fitting since it sounds very much like the French m'aidez, which means "help me." ["The Wireless Age," June 1923]
American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch (adj.) in reference to the German communities of the state, which retained their customs and language, is attested from 1824.
Old English greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from Proto-Germanic *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (source also of Old Saxon griot, Old Frisian gret, Old Norse grjot "rock, stone," German Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE *ghreu- "rub, grind" (source also of Lithuanian grūdas "corn, kernel," Old Church Slavonic gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit, firmness of mind" first recorded American English, 1808.
If he hadn't a had the clear grit in him, and showed teeth and claws, they'd a nullified him so, you wouldn't have see'd a grease spot of him no more. [Thomas Chandler Haliburton, "Sam Slick in England," 1843]
late 15c., obscurite, "absence of light, lack of brightness or luster;" 1610s with the meaning "condition of being unknown or inconspicuous;" from obscure (adj.) + -ity; or else from Old French obscurete, a variant of oscureté "darkness, gloom; vagueness, confusion; insignificance" (14c.) and directly from Latin obscuritatem (nominative obscuritas) "darkness, indistinctness, uncertainty," from obscurus. Meaning "quality or condition of not being clearly comprehended" is from late 15c. (Caxton).
When I was asked to talk about the Obscurity of the Modern Poet I was delighted, for I have suffered from this obscurity all my life. But then I realized that I was being asked to talk not about the fact that people don't read poetry, but about the fact that most of them wouldn't understand it if they did .... [Randall Jarrell, "The Obscurity of Poetry," 1953]
"writing which avoids all words containing a particular letter" (an ancient literary pastime; in English typically -e-), 1711, abstracted from Greek lipogrammatikos, literally "wanting a letter," from stem of leipein "to leave, be lacking" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave") + gramma "a letter, character" (see -gram).
If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically, you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport. [Ernest Vincent Wright, "Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words without Using the Letter 'e'," Los Angeles: 1939]
name of the boy-hero in J.M. Barrie's play "Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up" (1904), first introduced in Barrie's "The Little White Bird" (1902). Used allusively for an immature adult man from 1914 (by G.B. Shaw, in reference to the Kaiser).
Well, Peter Pan got out by the window, which had no bars. Standing on the ledge he could see trees far away, which were doubtless the Kensington Gardens, and the moment he saw them he entirely forgot that he was now a little boy in a nightgown, and away he flew, right over the houses to the Gardens. It is wonderful that he could fly without wings, but the place itched tremendously, and, perhaps we could all fly if we were as dead-confident-sure of our capacity to do it as was bold Peter Pan that evening. [Barrie, "The Little White Bird"]
"1 more than nine, twice five; the number which is one more than nine; a symbol representing this number;" Old English ten (Mercian), tien (West Saxon), adjective and noun, from Proto-Germanic *tehun (source also of Old Saxon tehan, Old Norse tiu, Danish ti, Old Frisian tian, Old Dutch ten, Dutch tien, Old High German zehan, German zehn, Gothic taihun "ten"), from PIE root *dekm- "ten."
Meaning "ten o'clock" is from 1712. Tenner "ten-pound note" is slang first recorded 1861; as "ten-dollar bill," 1887 (ten-spot in this sense dates from 1848). The Texan's exaggerated ten-gallon hat is from 1919. The ten-foot pole that you wouldn't touch something with (1909) was originally a 40-foot pole; the notion is of keeping one's distance, as in the advice to use a long spoon when you dine with the devil.
From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away. [Raymond Chandler, "The High Window," 1942]
Ten-four "I understand, message received," is attested in popular jargon from 1962, from citizens band and emergency dispatch radio 10-code (in use in U.S. by 1950).
c. 1300, resureccioun, "the rising again of Christ after his death and burial," also a picture or image of this and the name of a Church festival commemorating it, from Anglo-French resurrectiun, Old French resurrection "the Resurrection of Christ" (12c.) and directly from Church Latin resurrectionem (nominative resurrectio) "a rising again from the dead," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin resurgere "rise again, appear again" (see resurgent). Replaced Old English æriste; in Middle English sometimes translated as againrising.
The general or figurative sense of "a revival, a rising again" is from late 15c. Also used in Middle English of the rising again of the dead on the Last Day (c. 1300) and the future state which follows. Chaucer uses it of the opening of a flower, "whan that yt shulde unclose Agayn the sonne."
Resurrectionist, euphemism for "grave-robber," is attested from 1776. Resurrection pie was mid-19c. English schoolboy slang for a pie made from leftovers of previous meals; first attested 1831 as a Sheffield dialect term.
There was a dreadful pie for dinner every Monday; a meat-pie with a stony crust that did not break; but split into scaly layers, with horrible lumps of gristle inside, and such strings of sinew (alternated by lumps of flabby fat) as a ghoule might use as a rosary. We called it kitten pie—resurrection pie—rag pie—dead man's pie. We cursed it by night we cursed it by day; we wouldn't stand it, we said; we would write to our friends; we would go to sea. ["How I Went to Sea," Harper's Magazine, December 1852]