Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to red

*reudh- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "red, ruddy." The only color for which a definite common PIE root word has been found. The initial -e- in the Greek word is because Greek tends to avoid beginning words with -r-.

It forms all or part of: bilirubin; corroborate; Eritrea; erysipelas; erythema; erythro-; Radnor; red; redskin; roan; robust; rooibos; Rotwelsch; rouge; roux; rowan; rubella; rubicund; rubric; ruby; ruddock; ruddy; rufous; Rufus; russet; rust.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin ruber, also dialectal rufus "light red," mostly of hair; Greek erythros; Sanskrit rudhira-; Avestan raoidita-; Old Church Slavonic rudru, Polish rumiany, Russian rumjanyj "flushed, red," of complexions, etc.; Lithuanian raudas; Old Irish ruad, Welsh rhudd, Breton ruz "red."
Advertisement
ruddy (adj.)

Middle English rudi, from late Old English rudig "reddish, of a red color," of the complexion, "rosy, healthily red," probably from rudu "redness," which is related to read "red" (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy"). As a British slang euphemism for bloody (q.v.), it is recorded by 1914. Related: Ruddiness.

rust (n.)

"red oxide of iron, red coating which forms on the surface of iron exposed to the air," Old English rust "rust," in late Old English also figurative, "anything tending to spiritual corrosion, a moral canker," related to rudu "redness," from Proto-Germanic *rusta- (source also of Frisian rust, Old High German and German rost, Middle Dutch ro(e)st), from PIE *reudh-s-to- (source also of Lithuanian rustas "brownish," rūdėti "to rust;" Latin robigo, Old Church Slavonic ruzda "rust"), from suffixed form of root *reudh- "red, ruddy."

As a morbid condition of plants caused by fungal growth, from mid-14c. U.S. colloquial rust-bucket for "old car or boat" is by 1945. Rust Belt "decayed urban industrial areas of mid-central U.S." (1984) was popularized in, if not coined by, Walter Mondale's presidential campaign.

ruby (n.)

valuable precious gem, in modern understanding a clear, rich-red variety of corundum, c. 1300, rubi, rubie (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French rubi (12c.), from Medieval Latin rubinus lapis "red stone" (source also of Italian rubino), from Latin rubeus "red," which is related to ruber (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy").

As a name for a pure or somewhat crimson-red color, from 1570s. As an adjective from late 15c., "made from or with rubies;" c. 1500 as "of a ruby color." Modern French rubis is not explained; Klein suggests a plural mistaken for singular.

rubric (n.)

c. 1300, robryk, ribrusch, rubryke, "directions in a liturgical book for participation in religious services" (which often were written in red ink), from Old French rubrique, rubriche "rubric, title" (13c.) and directly from Latin rubrica "red ochre, red coloring matter," from ruber (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy").

The meaning "title or heading of a book" (also originally often printed in red) is from early 15c. The transferred sense of "general rule; descriptive title" is by 1831.Related: Rubrical.

russet (n.)

mid-13c., "coarse, woolen cloth," usually of a subdued reddish-brown color; also (early 15c.) the color of this; from Old French rousset, from rosset (adj.) "reddish," diminutive of ros, rous "red," from Latin russus, which is related to ruber "red" (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy").

As an adjective, "reddish," from late 14c. The name continued even when the cloth color was brown or gray. The coarse, homespun cloth also was indicative of rustic homely, simple persons or qualities (by 1580s). The adjective was applied to a type of apples by 1620s; as the name of a variety of eating apple by 1708; as a type of pear by 1725.

dead (adj.)

Middle English ded, from Old English dead "having ceased to live," also "torpid, dull;" of water, "still, standing," from Proto-Germanic *daudaz (source also of Old Saxon dod, Danish død, Swedish död, Old Frisian dad, Middle Dutch doot, Dutch dood, Old High German tot, German tot, Old Norse dauðr, Gothic dauþs "dead"), a past-participle adjective based on *dau-, which is perhaps from PIE *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)).

Meaning "insensible, void of perception" is from early 13c. Of places, "inactive, dull," from 1580s. Of sound, "muffled," 1520s. Used from 16c. as "utter, absolute, quite" (as in dead drunk, 1590s); from 1590s as "quite certain, sure, unerring;" by 1881 as "direct, straight." To be dead-set against "wholly opposed to" (1843) is from earlier noun phrase a dead-set in reference to resolute opposition (1787). Dead heat, a race in which more than one competitor reaches the goal at the same time, is from 1796. The dead-nettle (c. 1400) resembles the nettle but does not sting.

Dead on is 1889, from marksmanship. Dead duck "person defeated or soon to be, useless person" is by 1844, originally in U.S. politics. Dead letter is from 1703, used of laws lacking force as well as uncollected mail. Dead soldier "emptied liquor bottle" is from 1913; the image is older (compare dead men "bottles emptied at a banquet," c. 1700). Dead man's hand in poker, "pair of aces and pair of eights," is supposedly what Wild Bill Hickock held when Jack McCall shot him in 1876. Expression not be (seen/found/caught) dead "have nothing to do with" is by 1915.

bread (n.)

"kind of food made from flour or the meal of some grain, kneaded into a dough, fermented, and baked," Old English bread "bit, crumb, morsel; bread," cognate with Old Norse brauð, Danish brød, Old Frisian brad, Middle Dutch brot, Dutch brood, German Brot. According to one theory [Watkins, etc.] from Proto-Germanic *brautham, from PIE root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn," in reference to the leavening.

But OED argues at some length for the basic sense being not "cooked food" but "piece of food," and the Old English word deriving from a Proto-Germanic *braudsmon- "fragments, bits" (cognate with Old High German brosma "crumb," Old English breotan "to break in pieces") and being related to the root of break (v.). It cites Slovenian kruh "bread," literally "a piece."

Either way, by c. 1200 it had replaced the usual Old English word for "bread," which was hlaf (see loaf (n.)).

Extended sense of "food, sustenance in general" (late 12c.) is perhaps via the Lord's Prayer. Slang meaning "money" dates from 1940s, but compare breadwinner, and bread as "one's livelihood" dates to 1719. Bread and circuses (1914) is from Latin, in reference to food and entertainment provided by the government to keep the populace content. "Duas tantum res anxius optat, Panem et circenses" [Juvenal, Sat. x.80].

lead (n.1)

heavy metal, Old English lead "lead, leaden vessel," from West Germanic *lauda- (source also of Old Frisian lad, Middle Dutch loot, Dutch lood "lead," German Lot "weight, plummet"), a word of uncertain origin. The name and the skill in using the metal seem to have been borrowed from the Celts (compare Old Irish luaide).

Figurative of heaviness at least since early 14c. American English slang lead balloon "dismal failure" attested by 1957, perhaps 1940s (as a type of something heavy that can be kept up only with effort, from 1904). Lead-footed "slow" is from 1896; opposite sense of "fast" emerged 1940s in trucker's jargon, from notion of a foot heavy on the gas pedal.

Meaning "graphite in a pencil" is from 1816 (see pencil (n.)). Black lead was an old name for "graphite," hence lead pencil (1680s) and the colloquial figurative phrase to have lead in one's pencil "be possessed of (especially male sexual) vigor," attested by 1902. White lead (1560s) was an old name for "tin."

As a name of a dull bluish-gray color, 1610s. From 1590s as figurative for "bullets." Lead oxide was much used in glazing, mirror-making, and pigments. In printing, "thin strip of type-metal (often lead but sometimes brass) used in composition to separate lines" from 1808, earlier space-line. Lead-poisoning is from 1848; earlier lead-distemper (1774).

blood-red (adj.)
"blood-colored," Old English blodread; see blood (n.) + red (adj.1). Compare Dutch bloedrood, German blutroth, Old Norse bloðrauðr.