destrier (n.) Look up destrier at
war horse, c. 1300, from Old French destrier (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *dextrarius "led by the right hand," from Latin dextra, fem. of dexter (see dexterity).
destroy (v.) Look up destroy at
early 13c., from Old French destruire (12c., Modern French détruire) "destroy, ravage, lay waste," from Vulgar Latin *destrugere (source of Italian distruggere), refashioned (influenced by destructus), from Latin destruere "tear down, demolish," literally "un-build," from de- "un-, down" (see de-) + struere "to pile, build" (see structure (n.)). Related: Destroyed; destroying.
destroyer (n.) Look up destroyer at
late 14c., "someone or something that destroys," agent noun from Old French destruire (see destroy). As a type of warship, 1893, originally torpedo-boat destroyer; the class name perhaps from the proper name given to one such ship in the U.S. Navy in 1882.
destruct (v.) Look up destruct at
"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of popular TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED records an isolated use of destruct from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destruct-, past participle stem of destruere.
destructible (adj.) Look up destructible at
1755, from Late Latin destructibilis, from Latin destructus, past participle of destruere (see destroy).
destruction (n.) Look up destruction at
early 14c., from Old French destruction (12c.) and directly from Latin destructionem (nominative destructio) "a pulling down, destruction," from past participle stem of destruere "tear down" (see destroy).
destructive (adj.) Look up destructive at
late 15c., from Old French destructif (14c.), from Late Latin destructivus, from destruct-, past participle stem of Latin destruere (see destroy).
desuetude (n.) Look up desuetude at
1620s, from Middle French désuétude (16c.), from Latin desuetudo "disuse," from desuetus, past participle of desuescere "become unaccustomed to," from de- "away, from" (see de-) + suescere "become used to" (see mansuetude).
desultory (adj.) Look up desultory at
1580s, "skipping about," from Latin desultorius "hasty, casual, superficial," adjective form of desultor (n.) "a rider in the circus who jumps from one horse to another while they are in gallop," from desul-, stem of desilire "jump down," from de- "down" (see de-) + salire "to jump, leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sense of "irregular, without aim or method" is c. 1740. Related: Desultorily; desultoriness.
detach (v.) Look up detach at
1680s, from French détacher "to detach, untie," from Old French destachier, from des- "apart" + attachier "attach" (see attach). Related: Detached; detaching.
detachable (adj.) Look up detachable at
1818; see detach + -able.
detachment (n.) Look up detachment at
1660s, "action of detaching," from French détachement (17c.), from détacher (see detach). Meaning "portion of a military force" is from 1670s; that of "aloofness from objects or circumstances" is from 1798.
detail (n.) Look up detail at
c. 1600, from French détail, from Old French detail "small piece or quantity," literally "a cutting in pieces," from detaillier "cut in pieces," from de- "entirely" (see de-) + taillier "to cut in pieces" (see tailor).

Modern sense is from French en détail "piece by piece, item by item" (as opposed to en gros), a commercial term used where we would today use retail. Military sense is 1708, from notion of "distribution in detail of the daily orders first given in general," including assignment of specific duties.
detail (v.) Look up detail at
1630s, from French détailler "cut up in pieces; narrate in particulars," from Old French detaillier, from detail (see detail (n.)). Related: Detailed; detailing.
detain (v.) Look up detain at
early 15c., deteynen, from Old French detenir "to hold off, keep back" (12c.), from Latin detinere "hold off, keep back," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Modern spelling is 17c., from influence of contain, retain, etc. Related: Detained; detaining.
detainee (n.) Look up detainee at
1928, from detain + -ee.
detainer (n.) Look up detainer at
"one who detains," 1530s, agent noun from detain. As a legal term, "a detaining in one's possession," from 1610s, from Anglo-French detener, from Old French detenir (noun use of infinitive).
detect (v.) Look up detect at
early 15c., from Latin detectus, past participle of detegere "uncover, expose," figuratively "discover, reveal, disclose," from de- "un-, off" (see de-) + tegere "to cover" (see stegosaurus). Related: Detected; detecting.
detection (n.) Look up detection at
early 15c., "exposure, accusation," from Latin detectionem (nominative detectio) "an uncovering," noun of action from past participle stem of detegere (see detect).
detective (n.) Look up detective at
1850, short for detective police, from detective (adj.), 1843; see detect + -ive.
detector (n.) Look up detector at
1540s, from Latin detector "uncoverer, revealer," agent noun from detectus, past participle of detegere (see detect).
detente (n.) Look up detente at
1908 as a political term, a borrowing of French détente "loosening, slackening" (used in the Middle Ages for the catch of a crossbow), from Vulgar Latin detendita, fem. past participle of Latin detendere "loosen, release," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + tendere "stretch" (see tenet). The reference is to a "relaxing" in a political situation. The French word was earlier borrowed as detent (1680s) "catch which regulates the strike in a clock."
detention (n.) Look up detention at
mid-15c., from Middle French détention (13c.), from Late Latin detentionem (nominative detentio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin detinere (see detain). Sense of "confinement" used by 1570s (in reference to Mary Queen of Scots). In reference to school punishment, recorded from 1882.
deter (v.) Look up deter at
1570s, from Latin deterrere "to frighten from, discourage from," from de- "away" (see de-) + terrere "frighten" (see terrible). Deterrent is from 1829.
deterge (v.) Look up deterge at
1620s, from French déterger (16c.), from Latin detergere (see detergent).
detergent (adj.) Look up detergent at
1610s, from Latin detergentem (nominative detergens), present participle of detergere "to wipe away, cleanse," from de- "off, away" (see de-) + tergere "to rub, polish, wipe." Originally a medical term, application to "chemical cleansing product" is from 1938.
detergent (n.) Look up detergent at
"detergent substance," 1670s, from detergent (adj.).
deteriorate (v.) Look up deteriorate at
1640s (as a past participle adjective, 1570s), from Late Latin deterioratus, past participle of deteriorare "get worse, make worse," from Latin deterior "worse, lower, inferior, meaner," contrastive of *deter "bad, lower," from PIE *de-tero-, from demonstrative stem *de- (see de). Originally transitive in English; intransitive sense is from 1758. Related: Deteriorated; deteriorating.
deterioration (n.) Look up deterioration at
1650s, possibly a native formation, or else from French détérioration (15c.), noun of action from détériorer, from Late Latin deteriorare (see deteriorate).
determinant Look up determinant at
c. 1600 (adj.); 1680s (n.), from Latin determinantem (nominative determinans), present participle of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine).
determinate (adj.) Look up determinate at
late 14c., from Latin determinatus, past participle of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine).
determination (n.) Look up determination at
mid-14c., "decision, sentence," from Old French déterminacion (14c.) "determination, settlement, definition," from Latin determinationem (nominative determinatio) "conclusion, boundary," noun of action from past participle stem of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine).

As "a bringing to an end" (especilly of a suit at law), late 15c. As "fixed direction toward a goal," from 1650s, originally in physics or anatomy; metaphoric sense "fixation of will" is from 1680s; that of "quality of being resolute" is from 1822.
determinative (adj.) Look up determinative at
1650s, from French déterminatif (15c.), from Latin determinat-, past participle stem of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine). As a noun from 1832.
determine (v.) Look up determine at
mid-14c., "to come to an end," also "to settle, decide" (late 14c.), from Old French determiner (12c.) or directly from Latin determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to," from de- "off" (see de-) + terminare "to mark the end or boundary," from terminus "end, limit" (see terminus). Sense of "coming to a firm decision" (to do something) is from mid-15c. Related: Determined; determining; determiner.
determined (adj.) Look up determined at
1560s, "decided," past participle adjective from determine. Meaning "limited" is from c. 1600; that of "characterized by resolution" is from c. 1600, of actions; 1772, of persons.
determinism (n.) Look up determinism at
1846, in theology (lack of free will); 1876 in general sense of "doctrine that everything happens by a necessary causation," from French déterminisme, from German Determinismus, perhaps a back-formation from Praedeterminismus (see determine).
deterministic (adj.) Look up deterministic at
1874, from determinist (see determinism) + -ic.
deterrence (n.) Look up deterrence at
1861; see deterrent + -ence.
deterrent Look up deterrent at
1829, noun and adjective, in Bentham, from Latin deterrentem, present participle of deterrere (see deter). In reference to nuclear weapons, from 1954.
detest (v.) Look up detest at
early 15c., "to curse, to call God to witness and abhor," from Middle French détester, from Latin detestari "to curse, execrate, abominate, express abhorrence for," literally "denounce with one's testimony," from de- "from, down" (see de-) + testari "be a witness," from testis "witness" (see testament). Related: Detested; detesting.
detestable (adj.) Look up detestable at
early 15c., from Middle French détestable (14c.), from Latin detestabilis "execrable, abominable," from detestari (see detest). Related: Detestably.
detestation (n.) Look up detestation at
mid-15c., from French détestation (14c.), from Latin detestationem (nominative detestatio) "execration, detestation," from past participle stem of detestari (see detest).
dethrone (v.) Look up dethrone at
c. 1600; see de- (privative) + throne. Related: Dethroned; dethroning.
detonate (v.) Look up detonate at
1729, a back-formation from detonation, or else from Latin detonatus, past participle of detonare. Related: Detonated; detonating.
detonation (n.) Look up detonation at
1670s, "explosion accompanied by loud sound," from French détonation, from Medieval Latin detonationem (nominative detonatio), from Latin detonare "to thunder down, to release one's thunder, roar out," from de- "down" (see de-) + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)). Sense of "act of causing to explode" (mid-18c.) developed in French.
detonator (n.) Look up detonator at
1822, agent noun in Latin form from detonate. For suffix, see -er (1).
detour (n.) Look up detour at
1738, from French détour, from Old French destor "side road, byway; evasion, excuse," from destorner "turn aside," from des- "aside" + tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)).
detour (v.) Look up detour at
1836 (intransitive); 1905 (transitive), from detour (n.). Related: Detoured; detouring.
detox Look up detox at
1972 (v.), 1975 (n.), colloquial abbreviation of detoxify, detoxification.
detoxicate (v.) Look up detoxicate at
1867; see de- + toxic + -ate (2). Specifically of drug and alcohol addictions since 1970.