Words related to petrous
biennial garden-herb, originally from the eastern Mediterranean; its aromatic leaves are used for flavoring and as a garnish; late 14c., a merger of Old English petersilie and Old French peresil (13c., Modern French persil), both from Medieval Latin petrosilium, an unexplained alteration of Latin petroselinum, from Greek petroselinon "rock-parsley," from petros "rock, stone" (see petrous) + selinon "celery" (see celery).
masc. proper name, 12c., from Old English Petrus (genitive Pet(e)res, dative Pet(e)re), from Latin Petrus, from Greek Petros, literally "stone, rock" (see petrous), a translation of Syriac kefa "stone" (Latinized as Cephas), the nickname Jesus gave to apostle Simon Bar-Jona (Matthew xvi.17), historically known as St. Peter, and consequently a popular name among Christians (Italian Pietro, Spanish and Portuguese Pedro, Old French Pierres, French Pierre, etc.). As slang for "penis," attested from 1902, probably from identity of first syllable.
The common form of this very common name in medieval England was Peres (Anglo-French Piers), hence surnames Pierce, Pearson, etc. Among the diminutive forms were Parkin and Perkin.
To rob Peter to pay Paul (1510s, attested in slightly different wordings from late 14c.) might be a reference to the many churches dedicated to those two saints, and have sprung from the fairly common practice of building or enriching one church with the ruins or revenues of another. But the alliterative pairing of the two names is attested from c. 1400 with no obvious connection to the saints:
Sum medicyne is for peter þat is not good for poul, for þe diuersite of complexioun. [Lanfranc's "Chirurgia Magna," English translation, c. 1400]
1590s, "convert into stone or stony substance," from French pétrifier "to make or become stone" (16c.), from Latin petra "rock, crag" (see petrous) + -ficare, combining form of facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Intransitive sense of "to become stone" is from 1640s. Metaphoric sense of "paralyze with fear or shock" is attested by 1771. Related: Petrified; petrifying.
early 15c., "petroleum, rock oil, oily inflammable substance occurring naturally in certain rock beds" (mid-14c. in Anglo-French), from Medieval Latin petroleum, from Latin petra "rock" (see petrous) + oleum "oil" (see oil (n.)). Commercial production and refinement of it began in 1859 in western Pennsylvania, and for most of the late 19th century it was produced commercially almost entirely in Pennsylvania and western New York.
Petroleum was known to the Persians, Greeks, and Romans under the name of naphtha; the less-liquid varieties were called [asphaltos] by the Greeks, and bitumen was with the Romans a generic name for all the naturally occurring hydrocarbons which are now included under the names of asphaltum, maltha, and petroleum. The last name was not in use in classic times. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
late Old English, pere, "support of a span of a bridge," from Medieval Latin pera, a word of unknown origin, perhaps from Old North French pire "a breakwater," from Vulgar Latin *petricus, from Latin petra "rock" (see petrous), but OED is against this. Meaning "solid structure in a harbor, used as a landing place for vessels; mole or jetty projecting out to protect vessels from the open sea" is attested from mid-15c.
"potassium nitrate," a chief constituent of gunpowder, c. 1500, earlier salpetre (early 14c.), from Old French salpetre, from Medieval Latin sal petrae "salt of rock," from Latin sal "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt") + petra "rock, stone" (see petrous). So called because it looks like salt encrusted on rock and has a saline taste. Spelling was conformed to salt. Related: Saltpetrous.