Esalen Look up Esalen at
1966 in reference to an alternative philosophy and human potential movement, from Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, U.S., from Esselen, name of an extinct Native American people of the California coast, for which Bright gives no etymology.
Esau Look up Esau at
biblical son of Isaac and Rebecca, elder twin who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for "a mess of pottage" (Gen. xxv), hence "used symbolically for: one who prefers present advantage to permanent rights or interests" [OED].
escadrille (n.) Look up escadrille at
1893, from French escadrille, from Spanish escuadrilla, diminutive of escuadra "square, squad, squadron," from Vulgar Latin *exquadrare, from Latin quadrare "to square" (see quadrant).
escalade (n.) Look up escalade at
1590s, "action of using ladders to scale the walls of a fortified place," from Middle French escalade (16c.) "an assault with ladders on a fortification," from Italian scalata, fem. past participle of scalare "to climb by means of a ladder," from scala "ladder," related to Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan). For initial e-, see e-. Also in early use in English in Spanish form escalada, later corrupted to escalado. As the name of a brand of luxury SUV by Cadillac, from 1999.
escalate (v.) Look up escalate at
1922, "to use an escalator," back-formation from escalator, replacing earlier verb escalade (1801), from the noun escalade. Escalate came into general use with a figurative sense of "raise" from 1959 (intrans.), originally in reference to scenarios for possible nuclear war. Related: Escalated; escalating. Transitive figurative sense is by 1962.
escalation (n.) Look up escalation at
1938, derived noun from escalate; the figurative sense is earliest, originally in reference to the battleship arms race among global military powers.
escalator (n.) Look up escalator at
1900, American English, trade name of an Otis Elevator Co. moving staircase, coined from escalade + -ator in elevator. Figurative use is from 1927.
escalatory (adj.) Look up escalatory at
1965, from escalate + -ory.
escallop (n.) Look up escallop at
"scallop shell," also "edge or border cut in the shape of scallops," late 15c., from Middle French escalope "shell," Old French eschalope "shell (of a nut), carapace," from a Germanic source (see scallop). For initial e-, see e-. As a verb from c. 1600 in escalloped "having the border or edge cut out in scallops."
escapable (adj.) Look up escapable at
1864, from escape (v.) + -able.
escapade (n.) Look up escapade at
1650s, "an escape from confinement," from French escapade (16c.) "a prank or trick," from Spanish escapada "a prank, flight, an escape," noun use of fem. past participle of escapar "to escape," from Vulgar Latin *excappare (see escape (v.)). Or perhaps the French word is via Italian scappata, from scappare, from the same Vulgar Latin source. Figurative sense (1814) implies a "breaking loose" from rules or restraints on behavior.
escape (v.) Look up escape at
c. 1300, transitive and intransitive, "free oneself from confinement; extricate oneself from trouble; get away safely by flight (from battle, an enemy, etc.)," from Old North French escaper, Old French eschaper (12c., Modern French échapper), from Vulgar Latin *excappare, literally "get out of one's cape, leave a pursuer with just one's cape," from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-) + Late Latin cappa "mantle" (see cap (n.)). Mid-14c., of things, "get or keep out of a person's grasp, elude (notice, perception, attention, etc.);" late 14c. as "avoid experiencing or suffering (something), avoid physical contact with; avoid (a consequence)." Related: Escaped; escaping.
escape (n.) Look up escape at
c. 1400, "an act of escaping, action of escaping," also "a possibility of escape," from escape (v.) or from Old French eschap; earlier eschap (c. 1300). Mental/emotional sense is from 1853. From 1810 as "a means of escape." The contractual escape clause recorded by 1939.
escapee (n.) Look up escapee at
"escaped prisoner or convict," 1865, American English, from escape (v.) + -ee.
escapement (n.) Look up escapement at
in watch- and clock-making, 1779 (from 1755 as scapement), based on French échappement (1716 in this sense); see escape (v.) + -ment.
escapism (n.) Look up escapism at
1933, American English, from escape (n.) in the mental/emotional sense + -ism.
escapist Look up escapist at
in the figurative sense, 1930 (adj.); 1933 (n.), from escape + -ist.
escapologist (n.) Look up escapologist at
performer who specializes in getting out of confinement, 1926; see escape + -ologist. Related: Escapology.
escargot (n.) Look up escargot at
"edible snail," 1892, from French escargot, from Old French escargol "snail" (14c.), from Provençal escaragol, ultimately from Vulgar Latin *coculium, from classical Latin conchylium "edible shellfish, oyster" (see cockle (n.1)). The form of the word in Provençal and French seems to have been influenced by words related to scarab.
escarole (n.) Look up escarole at
type of endive, 1897, from French escarole (13c., scariole), from Italian scariola, from Medieval Latin escariola.
escarp (n.) Look up escarp at
"steep slope," especially as part of a fortification, 1680s, from French escarpe (16c.), from Italian scarpa (see scarp).
escarpment (n.) Look up escarpment at
1802, from French escarpment, from escarper "make into a steep slope," from escarpe "slope," from Italian scarpa (see scarp). Earlier in same sense was escarp.
eschatology (n.) Look up eschatology at
1834, from Latinized form of Greek eskhatos "last, furthest, uttermost, extreme, most remote" in time, space, degree, from PIE *eghs-ko-, suffixed form of *eghs "out" (see ex-) + -ology. In theology, the study of the four last things (death, judgment, heaven, hell). Related: Eschatological; eschatologically.
eschaton (n.) Look up eschaton at
"divinely ordained climax of history," 1935, coined by Protestant theologian Charles Harold Dodd (1884-1973) from Greek eskhaton, neuter of eskhatos "last, furthest, uttermost" (see eschatology).
escheat (n.) Look up escheat at
the reverting of land to a king or lord in certain cases, early 14c., from Anglo-French eschete (late 13c.), Old French eschete "succession, inheritance," literally "that which falls to one," noun use of fem. past participle of escheoir "happen, befall, occur, take place; fall due; lapse (legally)," from Late Latin *excadere "to fall out," from Latin ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). As a verb, from late 14c. Related: Escheated; escheating. Late Latin *excadere represents a restored form of excidere, which yielded excise.
eschew (v.) Look up eschew at
mid-14c., from Old French eschiver "shun, eschew, avoid, dispense with," from Frankish *skiuhan "dread, avoid, shun," from Proto-Germanic *skeukhwaz (source also of Old High German sciuhen "to avoid, escape," German scheuen "to fear, shun, shrink from," scheu "shy, timid"); see shy (adj.). Related: Eschewed; eschewing; eschewal; eschewance. Italian schivare "to avoid, shun, protect from," schivo "shy, bashful" are related loan words from Germanic. For e-, see e-.
esclavage (n.) Look up esclavage at
chain or bead necklace worn by women and popular mid-18c., 1758, from French esclavage, literally "slavery" (16c.), from esclave (13c.) "slave" (see slave (n.)). So called from fancied resemblance to a slave's neck chains.
escort (n.) Look up escort at
1570s, in military sense, from Middle French escorte (16c.), from Italian scorta, literally "a guiding," from scorgere "to guide," from Vulgar Latin *excorrigere, from ex- "out" (see ex-) + Latin corrigere "set right" (see correct (v.)). The sense of "person accompanying another to a social occasion" is 1936.
escort (v.) Look up escort at
1708, originally military, from escort (n.), or from French escorter; social sense is from 1890. Related: Escorted; escorting.
escritoire (n.) Look up escritoire at
"piece of furniture with conveniences for writing," 1706, from French écritoire (Old French escritoire, 12c., "desk, carrel"), from Late Latin scriptorium "place for writing" (see scriptorium).
escrow (n.) Look up escrow at
1590s, from Anglo-French escrowe, from Old French escroe "scrap, small piece, rag, tatter, single parchment," from a Germanic source akin to Old High German scrot "a scrap, shred, a piece cut off" (see shred (n.)). Originally a deed delivered to a third person until a future condition is satisfied, which led to sense of "deposit held in trust or security" (1888).
escudo (n.) Look up escudo at
Spanish and Portuguese coin, 1821, from Spanish/Portuguese escudo, from Latin scutum "shield" (see escutcheon). Also compare ecu.
esculent (adj.) Look up esculent at
1620s, from Latin esculentus "good to eat, eatable, fit to eat," from esca "food," from PIE *eds-qa- (source also of Lithuanian eska "appetite"), from root *ed- "to eat" (see edible). As a noun from 1620s, "food, especially vegetables."
escutcheon (n.) Look up escutcheon at
"shield on which a coat of arms is depicted," late 15c., from Old North French escuchon, variant of Old French escusson "half-crown (coin); coat of arms, heraldic escutcheon," from Vulgar Latin *scutionem, from Latin scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)).
Escutcheon of pretense, in her., a small escutcheon charged upon the main escutcheon, indicating the wearer's pretensions to some distinction, or to an estate, armorial bearings, etc., which are not his by strict right of descent. It is especially used to denote the marriage of the bearer to an heiress whose arms it bears. Also called inescutcheon. [Century Dictionary]

Clev. Without doubt: he is a Knight? Jord. Yes Sir.
Clev. He is a Fool too?
Jord. A little shallow[,] my Brother writes me word, but that is a blot in many a Knights Escutcheon.
[Edward Ravenscroft, "Mamamouchi, or the Citizen Turn'd Gentleman," 1675]
esker (n.) Look up esker at
"deposit left by a glacial stream," 1852, from Irish eiscir "ridge of gravel."
Eskimo (n.) Look up Eskimo at
1580s, from Danish Eskimo or Middle French Esquimaux (plural), both probably from an Algonquian word, such as Abenaki askimo (plural askimoak), Ojibwa ashkimeq, traditionally said to mean literally "eaters of raw meat," from Proto-Algonquian *ask- "raw" + *-imo "eat." Research from 1980s in linguistics of the region suggests this derivation, though widely credited there, might be inaccurate or incomplete, and the word might mean "snowshoe-netter." See also Innuit. Of language, from 1819. As an adjective by 1744. Eskimo pie "chocolate-coated ice cream bar" introduced 1922 and was initially a craze that drove up the price of cocoa beans on the New York market 50 percent in three months [F.L. Allen, "Only Yesterday," 1931].
Esmerelda Look up Esmerelda at
fem. proper name, from Spanish, literally "emerald."
esne (n.) Look up esne at
Old English esne "domestic slave, laborer, retainer, servant; youth, man," from Proto-Germanic *asnjoz- "harvestman" (source also of Gothic asneis), from *asanoz- "harvest" (see earn).
eso- Look up eso- at
word-forming element meaning" within," from Greek eso "within" (see esoteric).
esophagus (n.) Look up esophagus at
also oesophagus, late 14c., from Greek oisophagos "gullet, passage for food," literally "what carries and eats," from oisein, future infinitive of pherein "to carry" (see infer) + -phagos, from phagein "to eat" (see -phagous). Related: Esophageal.
esoteric (adj.) Look up esoteric at
1650s, from Greek esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle" (Lucian), from esotero "more within," comparative adverb of eso "within," from PIE *ens-o-, suffixed form of *ens, extended form of root *en "in" (see en- (2)). Classically applied to certain popular and non-technical writings of Aristotle, later to doctrines of Pythagoras. In English, first of Pythagorean doctrines.
esoterica (n.) Look up esoterica at
by 1807, from Latinized plural of Greek esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle, pertaining to those within" (see esoteric).
ESP (n.) Look up ESP at
also e.s.p., 1934, initialism (acronym) for extra-sensory perception.
espadrille (n.) Look up espadrille at
shoe with soles of hemp-rope (originally worn in the Pyrenees), 1892, from French espadrille (17c.), from Provençal espardillo, from Latin spartum "Spanish broom, Spanish grass," a plant of Iberia and North Africa that produced a fiber used to make mats, nets, ropes, etc., from Greek sparton "rope made of spartos" ("Spanish broom"), from PIE *spr-to-, from root *sper- (2) "to turn, twist" (see Sparta). For initial e- see e-.
espalier (n.) Look up espalier at
fan-shaped trellis for ornamental or fruit trees, 1660s, from French espalier (16c.), from Italian spalliera "stake-works shoulder-high," from spalla "shoulder," from Latin spatula (see spatula).
especial (adj.) Look up especial at
late 14c., from Old French especial "pre-eminent, important," from Latin specialis "belonging to a particular kind or species," from species "kind" (see species). Latin words with initial sp-, st-, sc- usually acquired an e- in Old French (see e-). Modern French has restored the word to spécial. In English, originally with the same sense as special (adj.), later restricted to feelings, qualities, etc.
especially (adv.) Look up especially at
c. 1400, from especial + -ly (2).
Esperanto (n.) Look up Esperanto at
1892, from Doktoro Esperanto, whose name means in Esperanto, "one who hopes," pen name used on the title page of a book about the artificial would-be universal language published 1887 by its Polish-born creator, Lazarus Ludwig Zamenhof (1859-1917). Compare Spanish esperanza "hope," from esperar, from Latin sperare "hope" (see sperate). For initial e- see e-.
espionage (n.) Look up espionage at
1793, from French espionnage "spying," from Middle French espionner "to spy," from espion "a spy" (16c.), probably via Old Italian spione from a Germanic source akin to Old High German spehon "spy" (see spy (v.)). For initial e- see e-. Middle English had espiouress "female spy" (early 15c.).
esplanade (n.) Look up esplanade at
"open space, level or sloping, especially in front of a fortification," 1590s, from French esplanade (15c.), from Spanish esplanada "large level area," noun use of fem. past participle of esplanar "make level," from Latin explanare "to level" (see explain). Or perhaps the French word is from or influenced by Italian spianata, from spianare.