Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to A

alpha (n.)
c. 1300, from Latin alpha, from Greek alpha, from Hebrew or Phoenician aleph (see aleph). The Greeks added -a because Greek words cannot end in most consonants. Sense of "beginning of anything" is from late 14c., often paired with omega (the last letter in the Greek alphabet, representing "the end"); sense of "first in a sequence" is from 1620s. In astronomy, the designation of the brightest star of each constellation (the use of Greek letters in star names began with Bayer's atlas in 1603). Alpha male was in use by c. 1960 among scientists studying animals; applied to humans in society from c. 1992.
Advertisement
side (n.)

Old English side "flanks of a person, the long part or aspect of anything," from Proto-Germanic *sīdō (source also of Old Saxon sida, Old Norse siða, Danish side, Swedish sida, Middle Dutch side, Dutch zidje, Old High German sita, German Seite), from adjective *sithas "long" (source of Old English sid "long, broad, spacious," Old Norse siðr "long, hanging down"), from PIE root *se- "long, late" (see soiree).

Original sense preserved in countryside. Figurative sense of "position or attitude of a person or set of persons in relation to another" (as in choosing sides) first recorded mid-13c. Meaning "one of the parties in a transaction" is from late 14c.; sense in a sporting contest or game is from 1690s. Meaning "music on one side of a phonograph record" is first attested 1936. Phrase side by side "close together and abreast" is recorded from c. 1200. Side-splitting "affecting with compulsive laughter" is attested by 1825.

an 
indefinite article before words beginning with vowels, 12c., from Old English an (with a long vowel) "one; lone," also used as a prefix meaning "single, lone" (as in anboren "only-begotten," anhorn "unicorn," anspræce "speaking as one"). See one for the divergence of that word from this. Also see a, of which this is the older, fuller form.

In other European languages, identity between the indefinite article and the word for "one" remains explicit (French un, German ein, etc.). Old English got by without indefinite articles: He was a good man in Old English was he wæs god man.

In texts of Shakespeare, etc., an as a word introducing a clause stating a condition or comparison conjunction is a reduced form of and in this now-archaic sense "if" (a usage first attested late 12c.), especially before it.
on (prep., adv.)

"in a position above and in contact with; in such a position as to be supported by;" also noting the goal to which some action is or has been directed; "about, concerning, regarding; in a position to cover;" as an adverb, "in or into a position in contact with and supported by the top or upper part of something; in or into place; in place for use or action; into movement or action; in operation," Old English on, unstressed variant of an "in, on, into," from Proto-Germanic *ana "on" (source also of Dutch aan, German an, Gothic ana "on, upon"), from PIE root *an- (1) "on" (source also of Avestan ana "on," Greek ana "on, upon," Latin an-, Old Church Slavonic na, Lithuanian nuo "down from").

Also used in Old English in many places where we now would use in. From 16c.-18c. (and still in northern England dialect) often reduced to o'. Phrase on to "aware" is from 1877.

aleph (n.)
name for the Hebrew and Phoenician first letter, ancestor of A, c. 1300, from Semitic languages, pausal form of eleph "ox" (the character might have developed from a hieroglyph of an ox's head); also see alphabet.
awake (v.)

"cease to sleep, come out of sleep," a merger of two Middle English verbs: 1. awaken, from Old English awæcnan (earlier onwæcnan; strong, past tense awoc, past participle awacen) "to awake, arise, originate," from a "on" + wacan "to arise, become awake;" and 2. awakien, from Old English awacian (weak, past participle awacode) "to awaken, revive; arise; originate, spring from," from a "on" + wacian "to be awake, remain awake, watch." For the first element, see a (1); the second element in both is common Proto-Germanic (from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively").

Both originally were intransitive only; the transitive sense "arouse from sleep" generally being expressed by Middle English awecchen (from Old English aweccan) until later Middle English. In Modern English, the tendency has been to restrict the strong past tense and past participle (awoke, awoken) to the original intransitive sense and the weak inflection (awaked) to the transitive, but this never has been complete. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.); also compare awaken.

Un peuple tout entier s'aperçut, le 15 mai 1796, que tout ce qu'il avait respecté jusque-là était souverainement ridicule et quelquefois odieux. ["La chartreuse de parme"]
none (pron.)

Middle English non, none, from Old English nan "not one, not any, no person; not the least part," from ne "not" (see no) + an "one" (see one). Cognate with Old Saxon, Middle Low German nen, Old Norse neinn, Middle Dutch, Dutch neen, Old High German, German nein "no," and analogous to Latin non- (see non-). It is thus the negative of one, an, and a (1).

As an adverb, "1650s, "by no means;" 1799 as "in no respect or degree, to no extent." As an adjective from late Old English; since c. 1600 reduced to no except in a few archaic phrases, especially before vowels, such as none other, none the worse.

*oi-no- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "one, unique."

It forms all or part of: a (1) indefinite article; alone; an; Angus; anon; atone; any; eleven; inch (n.1) "linear measure, one-twelfth of a foot;" lone; lonely; non-; none; null; once; one; ounce (n.1) unit of weight; quincunx; triune; unanimous; unary; une; uni-; Uniate; unilateral; uncial; unicorn; union; unique; unison; unite; unity; universal; universe; university; zollverein.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek oinos "ace (on dice);" Latin unus "one;" Old Persian aivam; Old Church Slavonic -inu, ino-; Lithuanian vienas; Old Irish oin; Breton un "one;" Old English an, German ein, Gothic ains "one."
a- (1)

prefix or inseparable particle, a relic of various Germanic and Latin elements.

In words derived from Old English, it commonly represents Old English an "on, in, into" (see on (prep.)), as in alive, above, asleep, aback, abroad, afoot, ashore, ahead, abed, aside, obsolete arank "in rank and file," etc., forming adjectives and adverbs from nouns, with the notion "in, at; engaged in." In this use it is identical to a (2).

It also can represent Middle English of (prep.) "off, from," as in anew, afresh, akin, abreast. Or it can be a reduced form of the Old English past participle prefix ge-, as in aware.

Or it can be the Old English intensive a-, originally ar- (cognate with German er- and probably implying originally "motion away from"), as in abide, arise, awake, ashamed, marking a verb as momentary, a single event. Such words sometimes were refashioned in early modern English as though the prefix were Latin (accursed, allay, affright are examples).

In words from Romanic languages, often it represents reduced forms of Latin ad "to, toward; for" (see ad-), or ab "from, away, off" (see ab-); both of which by about 7c. had been reduced to a in the ancestor of Old French. In a few cases it represents Latin ex.

[I]t naturally happened that all these a- prefixes were at length confusedly lumped together in idea, and the resultant a- looked upon as vaguely intensive, rhetorical, euphonic, or even archaic, and wholly otiose. [OED]
apiece (adv.)

"for each" (thing, person, etc.), 1550s, a contraction of a pece (mid-15c.), originally of coins, objects for sale, etc. (see a (2) + piece (n.1)).