Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to bush

Boise 

city in Idaho, U.S., from French-Canadian boisé, literally "wooded," from French bois "wood," which (with Italian bosco, Spanish bosque, Medieval Latin boscus) apparently is borrowed from the Germanic root of bush (n.). Medieval Latin boscus was used especially of "woodland pasture."

Advertisement
beat (v.)

Old English beatan "inflict blows on, strike repeatedly, thrash" (class VII strong verb; past tense beot, past participle beaten), from Proto-Germanic *bautan (source also of Old Norse bauta, Old High German bozan "to beat"), from PIE root *bhau- "to strike."

Past tense form beat is from c. 1500, probably not from Old English but a shortening of Middle English beted. Of the heart, c. 1200, from notion of it striking against the breast.

The meaning "overcome in a contest" is from 1610s (hence the sense of "legally avoid, escape" in beat the charges, etc., attested from c. 1920 in underworld slang). The sense of "be too difficult for" intellectually or physically (by 1870) is behind the shrug-phrase beats me.

The meaning "strike cover to rouse or drive game" (c. 1400) is the source of beat around (or about) the bush (1570s), the metaphoric sense of which has shifted from "make preliminary motions" to "avoid, evade." The nautical sense of "make progress against the wind by means of alternate tacks" is from 1670s. Command beat it "go away" is recorded by 1906 (though "action of feet upon the ground" was a sense of Old English betan); it is attested in 1903 as newsboy slang for "travel without paying by riding on the outside of a train."

ambush (v.)

mid-14c., embushen, enbushen, inbuchen, "to hide in ambush," from Old French embuschier (13c., Modern French embûcher) "to hide, conceal, lay an ambush," from en- "in" (ultimately from PIE root *en "in") + busch "wood," which is apparently from Frankish *busk "bush, woods," or a similar Germanic source (see bush (n.)). The notion probably is "hide in the bush," or "lure into the bush." Related: Ambushed; ambushing.

bouquet (n.)

"bunch of flowers," 1716, introduced to English by Lady Mary Montague from French bouquet, originally "little wood," from Picard form of Old French bochet, boschet (14c.), diminutive of bosco, from Medieval Latin boscus "grove" (see bush (n.)). The meaning "perfume from a wine" is recorded by 1815.

bush league (adj.)

"mean, petty, unprofessional," 1906, from baseball slang for the small-town baseball clubs below the minor league where talent was developed (by 1903), from bush (n.) in the adjectival slang sense of "rural, provincial," which originally was simple description, not a value judgment.

bushed (adj.)

"tired, exhausted," 1870, American English, perhaps from earlier sense of "lost in the woods" (1856), from bush (n.).

Bushman (n.)

one of an aboriginal tribe near the Cape of Good Hope, 1785, from South African Dutch boschjesman, literally "man of the bush," from boschje, from Dutch bosje, diminutive of bosch, bos (see bush (n.)).

bushwhacker (n.)

also bush-whacker, 1809, American English, "woodsman, one accustomed to life in the bush," literally "one who beats the bushes" (to make his way through), perhaps modeled on Dutch bosch-wachter "forest keeper;" see bush (n.) + whack (v.).

Among Northern troops in the American Civil War in reference to Confederate irregulars who took to the woods and fought as guerrillas (1862). Related: bushwhack (v.), 1837; bushwhacking (1826).

bushy (adj.)

late 14c., "overgrown with bushes," from bush (n.) + -y (2). Of hair, etc., "resembling a bush, thick and spreading," from 1610s. Related: Bushiness.

busk (n.)

"strip of wood, whalebone, etc., used in corset-making," 1590s, probably from French busc (16c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from or cognate with Italian bosco "splinter" and of Germanic origin (see bush (n.)).