Entries linking to half-eagle
Old English half, halb (Mercian), healf (W. Saxon) "side, part," not necessarily of equal division (original sense preserved in behalf), from Proto-Germanic *halba- "something divided" (source also of Old Saxon halba, Old Norse halfr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch half, German halb, Gothic halbs "half"), a word of no certain etymology. Perhaps from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut," or perhaps a substratum word. Noun, adjective, and adverb all were in Old English.
Used also in Old English phrases, as in modern German, to mean "one half unit less than," for example þridda healf "two and a half," literally "half third." The construction in two and a half, etc., is first recorded c. 1200. Of time, in half past ten, etc., first attested 1750; in Scottish, the half often is prefixed to the following hour (as in German, halb elf = "ten thirty").
To go off half-cocked in the figurative sense "speak or act too hastily" (1833) is in allusion to firearms going off prematurely; half-cocked in a literal sense "with the cock lifted to the first catch, at which position the trigger does not act" is recorded by 1750. In 1770 it was noted as a synonym for "drunk." Bartlett ("Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848) writes that it was "a metaphorical expression borrowed from the language of sportsmen, and is applied to a person who attempts a thing in a hurry without due preparation, and consequently fails."
"very large diurnal raptorial bird of the genus Aquila," mid-14c., from Old French egle, from Old Provençal aigla, from Latin aquila "black eagle," fem. of aquilus "eagle," often explained as "the dark colored" (bird); see aquiline. The native term was erne.
Golf score sense is by 1908 (according to old golf sources, because it "soars higher" than a birdie). As the name of a U.S. $10 coin minted from 1792 to 1933, established in the 1786 resolution for a new monetary system (but at first only the desperately needed small copper coins were minted). The figurative eagle-eyed "sharp-sighted" (like an eagle) is attested from c. 1600.
updated on October 10, 2017