Etymology
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Words related to *bher-

phosphorus (n.)

1640s, "substance or organism that shines of itself," from Latin phosphorus "light-bringing," also "the morning star" (a sense attested in English from 1620), from Greek Phosphoros "morning star," literally "torchbearer," from phōs "light," contraction of phaos "light, daylight" (related to phainein "to show, to bring to light," from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine") + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").

As the name of a solid, non-metallic, combustible chemical element, it is recorded from 1680, originally one among several substances so called; the word used exclusively of the element from c. 1750. It was discovered in 1669 by Henning Brand, merchant and alchemist of Hamburg, who derived it from urine. Lavoisier demonstrated it was an element in 1777. According to Flood, "It is the first element whose discoverer is known."

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Porifera (n.)

"the sponges," as an animal division or class, 1843, Modern Latin, literally "bearing pores," neuter plural of porifer, from Latin porus "pore, opening" (see pore (n.)) + -fer "bearing" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry"). So called for the numerous pores which perforate the body-wall. Related: Poriferal; poriferous.

prefer (v.)

late 14c., preferren, "to put forward or advance in rank or fortune, to promote (to an office, dignity, or position); further (one's interest)," from Old French preferer (14c.) and directly from Latin praeferre "place or set before, carry in front," from prae "before" (see pre-) + ferre "to carry, to bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."

The meaning "to esteem or value (something) more than others, set before others in liking or esteem" also is recorded from late 14c. and is now the usual sense. The other sense in English is preserved in preferment.

proffer (v.)

c. 1300, proffren, "present oneself, appear; hand over;" mid-14c., "to make an offer or proposal," from Anglo-French profrier (mid-13c.), Old French poroffrir (11c.), from por- "forth" (from Latin pro; see pro-) + offrir "to offer," from Latin offerre (see offer (v.)). Related: Proffered; proffering. As a noun, "an offer made, something proposed for acceptance by another," from late 14c.

proliferation (n.)

1859, "formation or development of cells by budding or division," from French prolifération, from prolifère "producing offspring," from Latin proles "offspring" (see prolific) + ferre "to bear, carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children"). The meaning "enlargement, extension, increase in number" is from 1920; especially of nuclear weapons by 1960 in the jargon of the U.S. State Department.

pyrophoric (adj.)

"having the property of taking fire upon exposure to air," 1779, from Modern Latin pyrophorus, literally "fire-bearing," from Greek pyrophoros, from pyro- (see pyro-) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry"). Related: Pyrophorous.

Pyrophorus is by 1778 as the name of fine, powdery substances capable of catching fire spontaneously on exposure to air; with a capital P-, as the name given to the genus of the most brilliant of the American fireflies, from 1809.

refer (v.)

late 14c., referren, "to trace back (a quality, etc., to a first cause or origin), attribute, assign," from Old French referer (14c.) and directly from Latin referre "to relate, refer," literally "to carry back," from re- "back" (see re-) + ferre "to carry, bear" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").

The meaning "to commit to some authority for consideration and decision" is from mid-15c.; sense of "to direct (someone) to a book, etc." for information is from c. 1600. Related: Referred; referring.

reference (n.)

1580s, "act of referring" (some matter, to someone for consideration), from refer + -ance, or else from French référence, from Medieval Latin *referentia, from Latin referentem (nominative referens), present participle of referre.

Meaning "direction to a book or passage" where certain information may be found is recorded from 1610s. By 1837 as "one who or that which may be referred to." The meaning "testimonial" is from 1895. Reference book , a dictionary, encyclopedia, or similar book intended to be consulted as occasion requires, dates from 1808; reference library is by 1834. Phrase in reference to is attested from 1590s. "By slipshod extension, the word is often now made to mean a person to whom r[eference] is permitted as a witness to character, & even a written testimonial" [Fowler, 1926]. The earlier word for "one who gives characters for people seeking employment" was referee (1862) but this word had a bad savor, of literate accomplices of professional beggars and thieves.

semaphore (n.)

"apparatus for signaling," 1816, probably via French sémaphore, literally "a bearer of signals," ultimately from Greek sema "sign, signal" (see semantic) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry"). Related: Semaphoric (1808).

somniferous (adj.)

"sleep-producing," c. 1600, with -ous + Latin somnifer, from somni- "sleep" (from PIE root *swep- "to sleep") + ferre "to bear, carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").

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