hush (v.) Look up hush at
1540s (trans.), 1560s (intrans.), variant of Middle English huisht (late 14c.), probably of imitative origin, with terminal -t lost probably by being mistaken for a past tense suffix. The sounds chosen presumably for "being sibilations requiring the least muscular effort and admitting of the faintest utterance" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Hushed; hushing.

Figurative use from 1630s. As an interjection meaning "be quiet," attested by c. 1600. To hush (one's) mouth "be quiet" is attested from 1878. Hush up "suppress talk for secrecy's sake" is from 1630s. Hush-money "bribe paid to ensure silence" is attested from 1709. Hush-puppy "deep-fried ball of cornmeal batter" first attested 1899; as a type of lightweight soft shoe, it is a proprietary name, registered 1961.
hush (n.) Look up hush at
"state of stillness," 1680s, from hush (v.).
hush-hush (adj.) Look up hush-hush at
1916, reduplication of hush.
hushaby (interj.) Look up hushaby at
1796, from hush (v.) + ending as in lullaby.
husk (n.) Look up husk at
late 14c., huske "dry, outer skin of certain fruits and seeds," of unknown origin. "A common word since c 1400 of which no earlier trace has been found" [OED]. Perhaps from Middle Dutch huuskyn "little house, core of fruit, case," diminutive of huus "house," or from an equivalent formation in English (see house (n.)).
husk (v.) Look up husk at
"strip off the husks of," 1560s, from husk (n.). Related: Husked; husking.
husker (n.) Look up husker at
"one who husks (corn); one who takes part in a husking-bee," 1780, agent noun from husk (v.). Cornhuskers as a nickname for athletics squads from Nebraska is attested by 1903.
husky (adj.) Look up husky at
"hoarse," c. 1722 in reference to a cattle disease (of persons, 1740), from husk (n.) + -y (2) on the notion of "dry as a husk." Earlier (1550s) "having husks, full of husks." Sense of "tough and strong" (like corn husks) is first found 1869, American English. Related: Huskily; huskiness.
husky (n.) Look up husky at
"Eskimo dog," 1852, Canadian English, earlier (1830) hoskey "an Eskimo," probably shortened variant of Ehuskemay (1743), itself a variant of Eskimo.
The moment any vessel is noticed steering for these islands [Whalefish Islands], the Esquimaux, or "Huskies,"* as the Danes customarily term them, come off in sufficient numbers to satisfy you that you are near the haunts of uncivilized men, and will afford sufficient information to guide any stranger to his anchorage. *"Husky" is their own term. I recollect the chorus to a song at Kamtchatka was "Husky, Husky." ["Last of the Arctic Voyages," London, 1855]
hussar (n.) Look up hussar at
"light-cavalryman," 1530s, from German Husar, from Hungarian huszár "light horseman," originally "freebooter," from Old Serbian husar, variant of kursar "pirate," from Italian corsaro (see corsair). The original Hussars were bodies of light horsemen organized in Hungary late 15c., famed for activity and courage and elaborate semi-oriental dress. They were widely imitated elsewhere in Europe, hence the spread of the name.
Hussite (n.) Look up Hussite at
1530s, follower of John Huss, Bohemian religious reformer burnt in 1415. His name is said to be an abbreviation of the name of his native village, Husinec, literally "goose-pen."
hussy (n.) Look up hussy at
1520s, "mistress of a household, housewife," deformed contraction of Middle English husewif (see housewife). Evidence of the shortening of the two vowels is throughout Middle English. Traditionally pronounced "huzzy," in 20c. pronunciation shifted to match the spelling. The sense gradually broadened colloquially to mean "any woman or girl," and by 1650 was especially applied to "a woman or girl who shows casual or improper behavior" (short for pert hussy, etc.), and the word had lost all but its derogatory sense by mid-18c.
hustings (n.) Look up hustings at
Old English husting "meeting, court, tribunal," from Old Norse husðing "council," from hus "house" (see house (n.)) + ðing "assembly" (see thing); so called because it was a meeting of the men who formed the "household" of a nobleman or king. The native Anglo-Saxon word for this was folc-gemot. The plural became the usual form c. 1500; sense of "temporary platform for political speeches" developed by 1719, apparently from London's Court of Hustings, presided over by the Lord Mayor, which was held on a platform in the Guildhall. This sense then broadened by mid-19c. to "the election process generally."
hustle (v.) Look up hustle at
1680s (trans.), "to shake to and fro" (especially of money in a cap, as part of a game called hustle-cap), metathesized from Dutch hutselen, husseln "to shake, to toss," frequentative of hutsen, variant of hotsen "to shake." "The stems hot-, hut- appear in a number of formations in both High and Low German dialects, all implying a shaking movement" [OED]. Related: Hustled; hustling. Meaning "push roughly, shove" first recorded 1751. Intransitive sense "bustle, work busily, move quickly" is from 1821.
The key-note and countersign of life in these cities [of the U.S. West] is the word "hustle." We have caught it in the East. but we use it humorously, just as we once used the Southern word "skedaddle," but out West the word hustle is not only a serious term, it is the most serious in the language. [Julian Ralph, "Our Great West," N.Y., 1893]
Sense of "to get in a quick, illegal manner" is 1840 in American English; that of "to sell goods aggressively" is 1887.
hustle (n.) Look up hustle at
"pushing activity; activity in the interest of success," 1891, American English, from hustle (v.) in its later colloquial senses; earlier the noun meant "a shaking together" (1715). Sense of "a swindle, illegal business activity" is by 1963, American English. As the name of a popular dance, by 1975.
hustler (n.) Look up hustler at
1825, "thief" (especially one who roughs up his victims), from hustle (v.) + -er (1). Sense of "one who is energetic in work or business" (especially, but not originally, a salesman) is from 1884; sense of "prostitute" dates from 1924.
huswife (n.) Look up huswife at
see housewife.
hut (n.) Look up hut at
1650s, from French hutte "a cottage" (16c.), from Middle High German hütte "cottage, hut," probably from Proto-Germanic *hudjon-, which is related to the root of Old English hydan "to hide," from PIE *keudh-, from root (s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see hide (n.1)). Apparently first in English as a military word. Old Saxon hutta, Danish hytte, Swedish hytta, Frisian and Middle Dutch hutte, Dutch hut are said to be from High German.
hutch (n.) Look up hutch at
c. 1200, "storage chest" (also applied to the biblical "ark of God"), from Old French huche "chest, trunk, coffer; coffin; kneading trough; shop displaying merchandise," from Medieval Latin hutica "chest," a word of uncertain origin. Sense of "cupboard for food or dishes" first recorded 1670s; that of "box-like pen for an animal" is from c. 1600.
Hutterite (n.) Look up Hutterite at
1640s in reference to Moravian Anabaptist sect established by Jacob Hutter (d. 1536) + -ite (1).
huzza (interj.) Look up huzza at
also huzzah, 1570s, originally a sailor's shout of exaltation, encouragement, or applause. Perhaps originally a hoisting cry. As a verb from 1680s.
hyacinth (n.) Look up hyacinth at
1550s, "the plant hyacinth;" re-Greeked from jacinth (late 14c.) "hyacinth; blue cornflower," which earlier was the name of a precious stone blue (rarely red) in color (c. 1200), from Old French jacinte and Medieval Latin jacintus, ultimately from Greek hyakinthos, which is probably ultimately from a non-Indo-European Mediterranean language.

Used in ancient Greece of a blue gem, perhaps sapphire, and of a purple or deep red flower, but exactly which one is unknown (gladiolus, iris, and larkspur have been suggested). It is fabled to have sprung from the blood of Hyakinthos, Laconian youth beloved by Apollo and accidentally slain by him. The flower is said to have the letters "AI" or "AIAI" (Greek cry of grief) on its petals. The modern use in reference to a particular flowering plant genus is from 1570s. Related: Hyacinthine.
Hyades Look up Hyades at
star cluster in constellation Taurus (generally pictured as forming the head of the bull), late 14c., from Greek Hyades, popularly explained by the ancients as "rain-bringers" (from hyein "to rain"), because wet weather supposedly began coincidentally with their heliacal rising; but probably rather from hys "swine" (the popular Latin word for the star-group was Suculae "piglets, little pigs"), from PIE *su- "pig" (see sow (n.)). Grimm ("Teutonic Mythology") lists the Anglo-Saxon glosses of Hyades as Raedgastran, Raedgasnan, Redgaesrum.
hyaena (n.) Look up hyaena at
see hyena.
hyaline (adj.) Look up hyaline at
"glassy; made of glass; transparent," 1660s, from Latin hyalinus, from Greek hyalinos "of glass or crystal," from hyalos "glass" (see hyalo-).
hyalo- Look up hyalo- at
word-forming element in scientific compounds meaning "of glass; glass-like, transparent," from Greek hyalos "glass, clear alabaster, crystal lens used as a burning glass," apparently a non-Greek word, said to be of Egyptian origin (glass was first made in Egypt).
hybrid (n.) Look up hybrid at
c. 1600, "offspring of plants or animals of different variety or species," from Latin hybrida, variant of ibrida "mongrel," specifically "offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar," of unknown origin but probably from Greek and somehow related to hubris. A rare word before the general sense "anything a product of two heterogeneous things" emerged c. 1850. The adjective is attested from 1716. As a noun meaning "automobile powered by an engine that uses both electricity and gasoline," 2002, short for hybrid vehicle, etc.
hybridity (n.) Look up hybridity at
1823, from hybrid + -ity.
hybridization (n.) Look up hybridization at
1824, noun of action from hybridize.
hybridize (v.) Look up hybridize at
1802, from hybrid + -ize. Related: Hybridized; hybridizing.
hybris (n.) Look up hybris at
see hubris. Related: Hybristic.
hydra (n.) Look up hydra at
name of the many-headed Lernaean water serpent slain by Herakles in Greek mythology, late 14c., idre, from Greek Hydra, fem. of hydros "water-snake," from hydor "water" (see water (n.1)). The word is etymologically related to Sanskrit udrah "aquatic animal" and Old English ottur (see otter). Used figuratively for "any multiplicity of evils" [Johnson]. The fabulous beast's heads were said to grown back double when cut off. As a constellation, usually identified as the monster Herakles slew, from mid-15c. As the genus name of a freshwater polyp from 1798; said to have been so called by Linnaeus for its regenerative capabilities.
hydrangea (n.) Look up hydrangea at
1753, coined in Modern Latin by Linnaeus as a compound of Greek hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)) + angeion "vessel, capsule" (see angio-); so called from the shrub's cup-shaped seed pods. Native to China, introduced in England 1790.
hydrant (n.) Look up hydrant at
"apparatus for drawing water from a street main," 1806, from Greek hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)) + -ant. OED double-damns it as "Irregularly formed" and "of U.S. origin."
hydrargyrum (n.) Look up hydrargyrum at
"mercury, quicksilver," 1560s, from Latin hydrargyrus, from Greek hydrargyros "quicksilver" (as prepared artificially from cinnabar ore; native quicksilver was argyros khytos "fused silver"), from hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)) + argyros "silver" (see argent). Hence the chemical abbreviation Hg for the element mercury.
hydrate (n.) Look up hydrate at
"compound of water and another chemical," 1802, from French hydrate, coined c. 1800 by French chemist Joseph-Louis Proust (1754-1826) from Greek hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)). Also formerly applied to compounds formed on the same type as H2O.
hydrate (v.) Look up hydrate at
1812 (implied in hydrated), "to form a hydrate, combine chemically with water," from hydrate (n.), perhaps modeled on French hydrater. From 1947 as "to restore moisture;" from Greek hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)) + -ate (2). Related: Hydrating.
hydration (n.) Look up hydration at
1823, noun of action from hydrate (v.). Perhaps from French hydration.
hydraulic (adj.) Look up hydraulic at
"pertaining to fluids in motion," c. 1600, from French hydraulique, from Latin hydraulicus, from Greek hydraulikos (organon) "water organ," the name of a musical instrument invented by the Egyptian Ctesibius, from hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)) + aulos "musical instrument, hollow tube, pipe" (see alveolus). Extended by the Romans to other water engines.
hydraulics (n.) Look up hydraulics at
"branch of engineering which treats of the conveyance and motion of water," 1670s, from hydraulic; also see -ics.
hydric (adj.) Look up hydric at
1796 as a term in chemistry, "of or containing hydrogen." From 1918 in ecology, "having plentiful water;" see hydro- + -ic.
hydro Look up hydro at
short for hydro-electric, from 1916.
hydro- Look up hydro- at
before vowels hydr-, word-forming element in compounds of Greek origin, meaning "water," from Greek hydro-, comb. form of hydor "water" (see water (n.1)). Also sometimes a comb. form of hydrogen.
hydro-electric (adj.) Look up hydro-electric at
also hydroelectric, 1827, "produced by a galvanic cell battery," which uses liquid, from hydro- "water" + electric. Meaning "generating electricity by force of moving water" is from 1884. Related: Hydroelectricity.
hydrocarbon (n.) Look up hydrocarbon at
"compound of hydrogen and carbon," 1800, from hydrogen + carbon. Related: Hydrocarbonaceous; hydrocarbonous (1788).
hydrocephalus (n.) Look up hydrocephalus at
"accumulation of fluid in the cranial cavity, 'water on the brain,'" 1660s, medical Latin, from Greek hydro- "water" (see water (n.1)) + kephale "head" (see cephalo-). Also the name of a trilobite genus. Related: Hydrocephalic; hydrocephalous.
hydrochloric (adj.) Look up hydrochloric at
"composed of chlorine and hydrogen," 1815, from hydrochloric acid (proposed 1814 by Gay-Lussac); see hydrogen + chlorine + -ic.
hydrocortisone (n.) Look up hydrocortisone at
also hydro-cortisone, 1951, from hydro- + cortisone.
hydrodynamic (adj.) Look up hydrodynamic at
"derived from the force or motion of fluid," 1815, from hydro- + dynamic (adj.). Related: Hydrodynamics (1764), from Modern Latin hydrodynamica (Huberti, 1758).
hydrofoil (n.) Look up hydrofoil at
1959, "boat that travels through water on wings," short for hydrofoil boat, hydrofoil being originally the name of the "wings" themselves (1920); formed in English from hydro- + foil (n.).