Words related to Ascians
In words from Greek, such as abysmal, adamant, amethyst; also partly nativized as a prefix of negation (asexual, amoral, agnostic). The ancient alpha privatum, denoting want or absence.
Greek also had an alpha copulativum, a- or ha-, expressing union or likeness, which is the a- expressing "together" in acolyte, acoustic, Adelphi, etc. It is from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with."
1590s, "of or pertaining to the Periscii," the inhabitants of the Polar circle in ancient Greek imagination, literally (those) "throwing a shadow all round," from peri "round about" (see peri-) + skia "shade, shadow" (see, and compare, Ascians). So called because their shadows would revolve around them during the course of a summer day, when the sun is always above the horizon there.
1530s, "subdivision of an act of a play," also "stage-setting," from French scène (14c.), from Latin scaena, scena "scene, stage of a theater," from Greek skēnē "wooden stage for actors," also "that which is represented on stage," originally "tent or booth," which is related to skia "shadow, shade," via the notion of "something that gives shade" (see Ascians).
According to Beekes' sources, the Greek word "originally denoted any light construction of cloth hung between tree branches in order to provide shadow, under which one could shelter, sleep, celebrate festivities, etc."
A theatrical word; the wider senses come from the notion of the painted drops and hangings on stage as the "setting" for the action. From "stage setting" the sense extended to "material apparatus of a theatrical stage, part of a theater in which the acting is done" (1540s), which led to "setting of any artistic work, place in which the action of a literary work is supposed to occur" and the general (non-literary) sense of "place where anything is done or takes place" (both by 1590s).
Hence the sense in reference to a (specified) activity and its realm or sphere (1931, as in the poetry scene) and U.S. slang sense of "setting or milieu or situation for a specific group or activity," attested from 1951 in Beat jargon.
Meaning "any exhibition, display, or demonstration of strong feeling," especially "stormy encounter between two or more persons," is attested by 1761. By 1650s as "a view presented to the mind or eye."
Behind the scenes "having knowledge of affairs not apparent to the public" (1748) is an image from the theater, "amid actors and stage machinery" (back of the visible stage and out of sight of the audience), which is attested from 1660s. Scene of the crime is attested by 1843. To make a scene "make a noisy or otherwise unpleasant demonstration" is by 1831.
The word was in Middle English in the Latin form, scena, "structure on a stage for dramatic recitations" (late 14c.).
1620s, "sham-fight for exercise or practice," from Latinized form of Greek skiamakhia "shadow-fighting, a sham fight," from skia "shade, shadow" (see Ascians) + makhē "battle" (see -machy). The notion in the Greek word is said sometimes to be "fighting in the shade" (i.e. practicing in school; ancient teachers taught in shaded public places such as porches and groves), but it seems also to have had a sense of "fighting with shadows, shadow-boxing." In English, often figurative, of futile combat with an imaginary enemy.
early 14c., from Anglo-French esquirel, Old French escurueil "squirrel; squirrel fur" (Modern French écureuil), from Vulgar Latin *scuriolus, diminutive of *scurius "squirrel," variant of Latin sciurus, from Greek skiouros "a squirrel," literally "shadow-tailed," from skia "shadow" (see Ascians) + oura "tail," from PIE root *ors- "buttocks, backside" (see arse). Perhaps the original notion is "that which makes a shade with its tail," but Beekes writes that this "looks like a folk etymology rather than a serious explanation." The Old English word was acweorna, which survived into Middle English as aquerne.