Words related to Section


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut." It forms all or part of: bisect; dissect; hacksaw; insect; intersect; resect; saw (n.1) "cutting tool;" Saxon; scythe; secant; secateurs; sect; section; sector; sedge; segment; skin; skinflint; skinny; transect.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite shakk- "to know, pay attention to;" Latin secare "to cut," sectio "a cutting, cutting off, division;" Old Church Slavonic seko, sešti "to cut," sečivo "ax, hatchet," Russian seč' "to cut to pieces;" Lithuanian įsėkti "to engrave, carve;" Albanian šate "mattock;" Old Saxon segasna, Old English sigðe "scythe;" Old English secg "sword," seax "knife, short sword;" Old Irish doescim "I cut."

caesarian (n.)

"delivery of a child by cutting through the abdomen of the mother," 1923, shortening of Caesarian section (1610s); caesar as "baby delivered by caesarian section is from 1530s. Section (n.) here has the literal Latin sense of "act or action of cutting," attested from 1550s but outside of medicine rare in English.

Supposedly from Caius Julius Caesar, who was said to have been delivered surgically, thus legend traces his cognomen to Latin caesus, past participle of caedere "to cut" (see -cide). But if this is the etymology of the name, it was likely an ancestor who was so born (Caesar's mother lived to see his triumphs and such operations would have been fatal to the woman in ancient times). Rather, caesar here may come directly from caesus.

The operation was prescribed in Rome for cases of dead mothers; the first recorded instance of it being performed on a living woman is c. 1500, but as late as the early 19c., before antiseptics and blood transfusions, it had a 50% mortality rate.

cross-section (n.)

"section of something made by a plane passing through it at a right angle to one of its axes," 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is by 1903.

midsection (n.)

also mid-section, "middle of the human body, midriff, belly," by 1939, an advertiser's word, from mid (adj.) + section (n.).

school (n.2)
Origin and meaning of school

[large number of fish] late 14c., scole, from Middle Dutch schole (Dutch school) "group of fish or other animals" (porpoises, whales), which is cognate with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish," both from West Germanic *skulo- (source also of Old Saxon scola "troop, multitude," West Frisian skoal), perhaps with a literal sense of "division," and from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." Compare shoal (n.2)), the assibilated form of the same word. For possible sense development, compare section (n.) from Latin secare "to cut."

sectional (adj.)

1806, "pertaining to a division of a larger part;" see section (n.) + -al (1). Originally and especially "of or pertaining to some particular section or region of a country as distinct from others," in which sense it loomed large in the U.S. political vocabulary in the decades before the Civil War.

The meaning "composed or made up of several independent sections that fit together" is by 1875, originally mechanical. The noun meaning "piece of furniture composed of sections which can be used separately" is attested by 1961, short for sectional seat, sectional sofa, etc. (1949).

sex (n.)
Origin and meaning of sex

late 14c., "males or females considered collectively," from Latin sexus "a sex, state of being either male or female, gender," a word of uncertain origin. "Commonly taken with seco as division or 'half' of the race" [Tucker], which would connect it to secare "to divide or cut" (see section (n.)).

Secus seems the more original formation, but it is strange that the older texts only know sexus. The modern meaning of sectiō 'division' suggests that sec/xus might derive from secāre 'to sever', but the morphology remains unclear: does sexus go back to an s-present *sek-s- 'to cut up', or was it derived from a form *sek-s- of the putative s-stem underlying secus?  [Michiel de Vaan, "Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages," Leiden, 2008]

The meaning "quality or character of being either male or female" with reference to animals is recorded by 1520s; by 19c. this meant especially "the anatomical distinction between male and female as evidenced by physical characteristics of their genital organs and the part taken by each in reproduction." Extended by 1560s to characteristics or structures in plants which correspond to sex in animals.

It is curious that the Anglo-Saxon language seems to have had no abstract term for sex, which was expressed only severally as manhood or womanhood. [Thomas Wright, note to "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies," 1884] 

Also especially the sex "the female sex, womankind" (1580s). The meaning "sexual intercourse" (have sex) is by 1906; the meaning "genitalia" is suggested by 1933 ("Fumes of Formation") and probably is older. Sex symbol by 1871 in anthropology; the first person to whom the term was applied seems to have been Marilyn Monroe (1959). Sex-kitten is attested by 1954 (Brigitte Bardot). Sex object is by 1901, originally in psychology; sex appeal is attested by 1904.

For the raw sex appeal of the burlesque "shows" there is no defense, either. These "shows" should be under official supervision, at the least, and boys beneath the age of eighteen forbidden, perhaps, to attend their performance, just as we forbid the sale of liquors to minors. [Walter Prichard Eaton, "At the New Theatre and Others: The American Stage, Its Problems and Performances," Boston, 1910]

Sex-life is by 1898. Sex-drive is by 1916 (sex-impulse by 1911). Sex-education is by 1894; sex therapist is by 1969, in early use often in reference to Masters and Johnson. Sex-crime is by 1907; sex-maniac by 1895; sex-fiend by 1931 (in a New York Daily News headline).

sickle (n.)
Old English sicol, probably a West Germanic borrowing (Middle Dutch sickele, Dutch sikkel, Old High German sihhila, German Sichel) from Vulgar Latin *sicila, from Latin secula "sickle" (source also of Italian segolo "hatchet"), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)). Applied to curved or crescent-shaped things from mid-15c. Sickle-cell anemia is first recorded 1922.
subsection (n.)
also sub-section, 1620s, from sub- + section (n.).