espousal (n.) Look up espousal at
late 14c., from Old French esposailles (plural) "act of betrothal" (12c., Modern French époussailles), from Latin sponsalia "betrothal, espousal, wedding," noun use of neuter plural of sponsalis "of a betrothal," from sponsa "spouse" (see espouse). For the -e- see e-. Figuratively, of causes, principles, etc., from 1670s.
espouse (v.) Look up espouse at
mid-15c., "to take as spouse, marry," from Old French espouser "marry, take in marriage, join in marriage" (11c., Modern French épouser), from Latin sponsare, past participle of spondere "make an offering, perform a rite, promise secretly," hence "to engage oneself by ritual act" (see spondee). Extended sense of "adopt, embrace" a cause, party, etc., is from 1620s. Related: Espoused; espouses; espousing. For initial e-, see e-.
espresso (n.) Look up espresso at
coffee made under steam pressure, 1945, from Italian (caffe) espresso, from espresso "pressed out," past participle of esprimere, from Latin exprimere "press out, squeeze out" (see express (v.1)). In reference to the steam pressure.
esprit (n.) Look up esprit at
1590s, "liveliness, wit, vivacity," from Middle French esprit "spirit, mind," from Old French espirit "spirit, soul" (12c.), from Latin spiritus "spirit" (see spirit (n.)). For initial e-, see e-.

Esprit de corps, recorded from 1780 in English, preserves the usual French sense. French also has the excellent phrase esprit de l'escalier, literally "spirit of the staircase," defined in OED as, "a retort or remark that occurs to a person after the opportunity to make it has passed." It also has espirit fort, a "strong-minded" person, one independent of current prejudices, especially a freethinker in religion.
espy (v.) Look up espy at
early 13c., aspy, from Old French espiier "observe, watch closely, spy on; guard, keep in custody" (12c., Modern French épier), from Vulgar Latin *spiare, from a Germanic source (compare Old High German spehon "to spy;" see spy (v.)). For initial e-, see e-. Related: Espied; espial.
esquire (n.) Look up esquire at
late 14c., from Middle French esquier "squire," literally "shield-bearer" (for a knight), from Old French escuier "shield-bearer (attendant young man in training to be a knight), groom" (Modern French écuyer), from Medieval Latin scutarius "shield-bearer, guardsman" (in classical Latin, "shield-maker"), from scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)). For initial e-, see e-. Compare squire (n.). Originally the feudal rank below knight, sense broadened 16c. to a general title of courtesy or respect for the educated and professional class, especially, later, in U.S., regarded as belonging especially to lawyers.
In our own dear title-bearing, democratic land, the title of esquire, officially and by courtesy, has come to include pretty much everybody. Of course everybody in office is an esquire, and all who have been in office enjoy and glory in the title. And what with a standing army of legislators, an elective and ever-changing magistracy, and almost a whole population of militia officers, present and past, all named as esquires in their commissions, the title is nearly universal. [N.Y. "Commercial Advertiser" newspaper, quoted in Bartlett, 1859]
essay (n.) Look up essay at
1590s, "trial, attempt, endeavor," also "short, discursive literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from Middle French essai "trial, attempt, essay" (in Old French from 12c.), from Late Latin exagium "a weighing, a weight," from Latin exigere "drive out; require, exact; examine, try, test," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere (see act (n.)) apparently meaning here "to weigh." The suggestion is of unpolished writing. Compare assay, also examine.
essay (v.) Look up essay at
"to put to proof, test the mettle of," late 15c., from Middle French essaier, from essai "trial, attempt" (see essay (n.)). This sense has mostly gone with the divergent spelling assay. Meaning "to attempt" is from 1640s. Related: Essayed; essaying.
essayist (n.) Look up essayist at
"writer of essays," c. 1600, from essay (n.) + -ist. French essayiste (19c.) is from English.
essence (n.) Look up essence at
late 14c., essencia (respelled late 15c. on French model), from Latin essentia "being, essence," abstract noun formed (to translate Greek ousia "being, essence") from essent-, present participle stem of esse "to be," from PIE *es- "to be" (source also of Sanskrit asmi, Hittite eimi, Old Church Slavonic jesmi, Lithuanian esmi, Gothic imi, Old English eom "I am;" see be).

Originally "substance of the Trinity;" the general sense of "basic element of anything" is first recorded in English 1650s, though this is the underlying notion of the first English use of essential. Meaning "ingredient which gives something its particular character" is from c. 1600, especially of distilled oils from plants (1650s), hence "fragrance, perfume" (17c.). In 19c. U.S., essence-peddler could mean "medical salesman" and "skunk."
Essene (n.) Look up Essene at
1550s, member of a Jewish sect (first recorded 2c. B.C.E.), from Latin, from Greek Essenoi, of disputed etymology, perhaps from Hebrew tzenum "the modest ones," or Hebrew hashaim "the silent ones." Klein suggests Syriac hasen, plural absolute state of hase "pious." Related: Essenes.
essential (adj.) Look up essential at
mid-14c., "that is such by its essence," from Late Latin essentialis, from essentia "essence" (see essence). Meaning "pertaining to essence" is from late 14c., that of "constituting the essence of something" is from 1540s; that of "necessary" is from 1520s. Essentials "indispensable elements" is from early 16c. Related: Essentially.
essentialism (n.) Look up essentialism at
1939, in educational jargon (opposed to progressivism), from essential + -ism. Related: Essentialist.
Essex Look up Essex at
Old English East-Seaxe "East Saxons," who had a 7c. kingdom there. See east, Saxon.
essive (adj.) Look up essive at
1885, from Finnish essiivi, from Latin esse (see essence).
establish (v.) Look up establish at
late 14c., from Old French establiss-, present participle stem of establir "cause to stand still, establish, stipulate, set up, erect, build" (12c., Modern French établir), from Latin stabilire "make stable," from stabilis "stable" (see stable (adj.)). For the excrescent e-, see e-. Related: Established; establishing. An established church or religion is one sanctioned by the state.
establishment (n.) Look up establishment at
late 15c., "settled arrangement," also "income, property," from establish + -ment. Meaning "established church" is from 1731; Sense of "place of business" is from 1832. Meaning "social matrix of ruling people and institutions" is attested occasionally from 1923, consistently from 1955.
establishmentarian (n.) Look up establishmentarian at
"adherent of the principle of an established church," 1839, from establishment + -arian. Related: Establishmentarianism (1846).
estaminet (n.) Look up estaminet at
1814, from French, "a café in which smoking is allowed" (17c.), of unknown origin; some suggest a connection to French estamine, a type of open woolen fabric used for making sieves, etc., from Latin stamineus "made of thread." Or [Watkins] from Walloon stamen "post to which a cow is tied at a feeding trough," from Proto-Germanic *stamniz (see stem (n.)). For the excrescent e-, see e-.
estate (n.) Look up estate at
early 13c., "rank, standing, condition," from Anglo-French astat, Old French estat "state, position, condition, health, status, legal estate" (13c., Modern French état), from Latin status "state or condition, position, place; social position of the aristocracy," from PIE root *stā- "to stand" (see stet).

For the excrescent e-, see e-. Sense of "property" is late 14c., from that of "worldly prosperity;" specific application to "landed property" (usually of large extent) is first recorded in American English 1620s. A native word for this was Middle English ethel (Old English æðel) "ancestral land or estate, patrimony." Meaning "collective assets of a dead person or debtor" is from 1830.

The three estates (in Sweden and Aragon, four) conceived as orders in the body politic date from late 14c. In France, they are the clergy, nobles, and townsmen; in England, originally the clergy, barons, and commons, later Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and commons. For Fourth Estate see four.
esteem (v.) Look up esteem at
mid-15c., from Old French estimer "to estimate, determine" (14c.), from Latin aestimare "to value, determine the value of, appraise," perhaps ultimately from *ais-temos "one who cuts copper," i.e. mints money (but de Vaan finds this "not very credible"). At first used as we would now use estimate; sense of "value, respect" is 1530s. Related: Esteemed; esteeming.
esteem (n.) Look up esteem at
(also steem, extyme), mid-14c., "account, value, worth," from French estime, from estimer (see esteem (v.)). Meaning "high regard" is from 1610s.
esteemed (adj.) Look up esteemed at
"held in high regard, respected, valued," 1540s, past participle adjective from esteem (v.).
Estella Look up Estella at
fem. proper name, Spanish, literally "star," from Latin stella (see star (n.)).
ester (n.) Look up ester at
compound formed by an acid joined to an alcohol, 1852, coined in German in 1848 by German chemist Leopold Gmelin (1788-1853), professor at Heidelberg. The name is "apparently a pure invention" [Flood], perhaps a contraction of or abstraction from Essigäther, the German name for ethyl acetate, from Essig "vinegar" + Äther "ether" (see ether). Essig is from Old High German ezzih, from a metathesis of Latin acetum (see vinegar).
Esth Look up Esth at
from German Esth; see Estonia.
Esther Look up Esther at
fem. proper name, Old Testament wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, from Greek Esther, from Hebrew Ester, from Persian sitareh "star," related to Avestan star- (see star (n.)).
esthete (n.) Look up esthete at
alternative form of aesthete (q.v.). Also see æ.
esthetic (adj.) Look up esthetic at
alternative form of aesthetic (see aesthetic). Also see æ. Related: esthetical; esthetically; esthetician; esthetics.
Esthonia Look up Esthonia at
old alternative form of Estonia.
estimable (adj.) Look up estimable at
mid-15c., "capable of being estimated," from Old French estimable and directly from Latin aestimabilis "valuable, estimable," from aestimare (see esteem (v.)). Meaning "worthy of esteem" in English is from 1690s.
estimate (n.) Look up estimate at
1560s, "valuation," from Latin aestimatus "determine the value of," figuratively "to value, esteem," verbal noun from aestimare (see esteem (v.)). Earlier in sense "power of the mind" (mid-15c.). Meaning "approximate judgment" is from 1580s. As a builder's statement of projected costs, from 1796.
estimate (v.) Look up estimate at
1530s, "appraise the worth of," from Latin aestimatus, past participle of aestimare "to value, appraise" (see esteem (v.)). Meaning "form an approximate notion" is from 1660s. Related: Estimated; estimates; estimating.
estimation (n.) Look up estimation at
late 14c., "action of appraising; manner of judging; opinion," from Old French estimacion "evaluation, value; calculation, planning," from Latin aestimationem (nominative aestimatio) "a valuation," from past participle stem of aestimare "to value" (see esteem (v.)). Meaning "appreciation" is from 1520s. That of "process of forming an approximate notion" is from c. 1400.
estimator (n.) Look up estimator at
1660s, from Latin aestimator, agent noun from aestimare "to value" (see esteem (v.)).
estivate (v.) Look up estivate at
"to spend the summer," 1650s, from Latin aestivatus, past participle of aestivare "to spend the summer," from aestus "heat," aestas "summer," literally "the hot season," from Proto-Italic *aissat-, from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice). Related: Estivated; estivating; estivation.
Estonia Look up Estonia at
often said to be from a Germanic source akin to east, but perhaps rather from a native name meaning "waterside dwellers." Related: Estonian.
estop (v.) Look up estop at
in law, "to bar, prevent, preclude," 1530s, from Anglo-French estopper "to stop, bar, hinder" (especially in a legal sense, by one's own prior act or declaration), from Old French estoper "plug, stop up, block; prevent, halt" (also in obscene usage), from estope "tow, oakum," from Latin stuppa "tow" (used as a plug); see stop (v.).
estoppel (n.) Look up estoppel at
1530s, from estop, or from Old French estopail "bung, cork," from estoper.
estrange (v.) Look up estrange at
late 15c., from Middle French estrangier "to alienate," from Vulgar Latin *extraneare "to treat as a stranger," from Latin extraneus "foreign, from without" (see strange). Related: Estranged.
estrangement (n.) Look up estrangement at
1650s, from estrange + -ment.
estrogen (n.) Look up estrogen at
coined 1927 from comb. form of estrus + -gen. So called for the hormone's ability to produce estrus.
estrus (n.) Look up estrus at
1850, "frenzied passion," from Latin oestrus "frenzy, gadfly," from Greek oistros "gadfly; breeze; sting; anything which makes one mad, mad impulse," perhaps from a PIE *eis- (1), forming words denoting passion (see ire). First attested 1890 with specific meaning "rut in animals, sexual heat." Earliest use in English (1690s) was for "a gadfly." Related: Estrous (1900).
estuarine (adj.) Look up estuarine at
1835, from estuary on model of marine (adj.); see -ine (1).
estuary (n.) Look up estuary at
1530s, from Latin aestuarium "a tidal marsh, mudbeds covered by water at high tides; channel inland from the sea," from aestus "boiling (of the sea), tide, heat," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice).
esurient (adj.) Look up esurient at
"inclined to eat," 1670s, from Latin esurientem (nominative esuriens), present participle of esurire "be hungry, hunger, desire to eat," from stem of edere "to eat" (see edible). Related: Esurience; esuriency.
et al. Look up et al. at
also et al, 1883, abbreviation of Latin et alii (masc.), et aliæ (fem.), or et alia (neuter), in any case meaning "and others."
et cetera Look up et cetera at
also etcetera, early 15c., from Latin et cetera, literally "and the others," from et "and" + neuter plural of ceterus "the other, other part, that which remains." The common form of the abbreviation before 20c. was &c., but etc. now prevails.
eta (n.) Look up eta at
Greek letter, originally the name of the aspirate, from Phoenician heth.
etagere (n.) Look up etagere at
ornamental piece of furniture consisting of ranks of open shelves to display knick-knacks, etc., 1858, from French étagère (15c.), from étage "shelf, story, abode, stage, floor" (11c., Old French estage), from Vulgar Latin *staticum, from Latin statio "station, post, residence" (see station (n.)).