Entries linking to babysit
The meaning "childish adult person" is from c. 1600. The sense of "youngest of a group" is by 1897. As a term of endearment for one's lover it is attested perhaps as early as 1839, certainly by 1901 (OED writes, "the degree of slanginess in the nineteenth-century examples is not easily determinable"); its popularity perhaps was boosted by baby vamp "a popular girl" (see vamp (n.2)), student slang from c. 1922.
The meaning "minute reflection of oneself seen in another's eyes" is from 1590s (compare pupil (n.2)). As an adjective by 1750. Baby food is from 1833. Baby blues for "blue eyes" recorded by 1892, perhaps for the reduplication as well as the fact that more infants have blue eyes than keep the color (the phrase also was used for "postpartum depression" 1950s-60s).
To empty the baby out with the bath (water) is attested by 1909 (in G.B. Shaw; compare German das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten, attested from 17c.). A baby's breath was noted for sweet smell, which also was supposed to attract cats, hence baby's breath as the name of a type of flower, attested from 1897.
French bébé (19c.) is said to be from English, but there were similar words in the same sense in French dialects.
"To be or remain in that posture in which the weight of the body rests upon the posteriors" [OED], Middle English sitten, from Old English sittan "occupy a seat, be seated, sit down, seat oneself; remain, continue; settle, encamp; lie in wait; besiege" (class V strong verb; past tense sæt, past participle seten), from Proto-Germanic *setjan (source also of Old Saxon sittian, Old Norse sitja, Danish sidde, Old Frisian sitta, Middle Dutch sitten, Dutch zitten, Old High German sizzan, German sitzen, Gothic sitan), from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit."
With past tense sat (formerly also set, which is now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic); and past participle sat, formerly sitten. The meaning "to have a seat in a legislative assembly" is from late 14c.; in reference to the assembly, "to hold a session," from 1510s. The sense of "pose" for a portrait, etc., is by 1530s.
As short for babysit (v.) by 1966. The specific sense of "occupy a judicial seat" (Old English) is the notion in sit in judgement. The meaning "have a certain position or direction" is from c. 1200; of winds, "to blow from" (a certain quarter), 1590s, from the notion of "to be in."
To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands originally was "withhold applause" (1926), later generalized to "do nothing" (by 1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is by 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part, make oneself an exception" is from 1650s.
updated on October 02, 2022