Entries related to four-flusher
The section of entries for the various flushes in Century Dictionary opens with a caveat:
The several words spelled flush, being mostly dialectal, colloquial, or technical, and scantily recorded in early literature, have become partly confused with one another, and cannot now be entirely disentangled. Words originally different have acquired some meanings very nearly identical, while on the other hand there are some meanings not obviously related which are, nevertheless, to be referred to one original.
Weekley calls it "A very puzzling word." Sense of "a rush of water" in a stream (1520s), is probably from flush (v.1). From this likely come the extended senses "rush of emotion or passion" (1610s); "a sudden shooting up" (1773); "act of cleansing (a drain) by flushing" (1883); "glow of light or color" (especially sudden redness in the face), 1620s. Independently from the verb, probably, is the noun sense of "a flight of birds suddenly started up" (1590s).
The meaning "hand of cards all of one suit" (1520s) is of uncertain origin, perhaps formed on the model of French flus (15c.), from Old French flux, flus "a flowing, rolling" (see flux), which, in common with its Italian cognate flusso, is said to have once had a sense of "a run" of cards. The form in English probably was influenced by flush (v.1).
"1 more than three, twice two; the number which is one more than three; a symbol representing this number;" Old English feower "four; four times," from Proto-Germanic *fedwores (source also of Old Saxon fiuwar, Old Frisian fiower, fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch vier, Old High German fior, German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor "four"), from PIE root *kwetwer- "four." The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained; Watkins explains the -f- as being from the following number (Modern English five).
To be on all fours is from 1719; earlier on all four (14c.). Four-letter word as a euphemism for one of the short words generally regarded as offensive or objectionable is attested from 1923; four-letter man is recorded from 1920 (apparently as a euphemism for a shit). Compare Latin homo trium litterarum, literally "three-letter man," a euphemism for fur "a thief." A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage drawn by four horses driven by one person; in the sense of "loosely tied necktie" it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, compare French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains an old euphemistic slang phrase for "a pack of cards," from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 "essential information" (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information. The four-color problem so called from 1879. The four-minute mile was attained 1954.