Entries linking to mid-air
"middle; being the middle part or midst; being between, intermediate," Old English mid, midd from Proto-Germanic *medja- (source also of Old Norse miðr, Old Saxon middi, Old Frisian midde, Middle Dutch mydde, Old High German mitti, German mitte, Gothic midjis "mid, middle"), from PIE root *medhyo- "middle."
By late Middle English probably felt as a prefix only, and now surviving in English only as a prefix (mid-air, midstream, etc.). Prefixed to months, seasons, etc. from late Old English. As a preposition, "in the middle of, amid" (c. 1400) it is from in midde or a shortened form of amid (compare midshipman) and sometimes is written 'mid.
c. 1300, "invisible gases that surround the earth," from Old French air "atmosphere, breeze, weather" (12c.), from Latin aer "air, lower atmosphere, sky," from Greek aēr (genitive aeros) "mist, haze, clouds," later "atmosphere" (perhaps related to aenai "to blow, breathe"), which is of unknown origin. It is possibly from a PIE *awer- and thus related to aeirein "to raise" and arteria "windpipe, artery" (see aorta) on notion of "lifting, suspended, that which rises," but this has phonetic difficulties.
In Homer mostly "thick air, mist;" later "air" as one of the four elements. Words for "air" in Indo-European languages tend to be associated with wind, brightness, sky. In English, air replaced native lyft, luft (see loft (n.)). In old chemistry, air (with a qualifying adjective) was used of any gas.
To be in the air "in general awareness" is from 1875; up in the air "uncertain, doubtful" is from 1752. To build castles in the air "entertain visionary schemes that have no practical foundation" is from 1590s (in 17c. English had airmonger "one preoccupied with visionary projects"). Broadcasting sense (as in on the air, airplay) is by 1927. To give (someone) the air "dismiss" is from 1900. Air pollution is attested by 1870. Air guitar is by 1983. Air traffic controller is from 1956.
updated on January 14, 2019