gamy (adj.) Look up gamy at
see gamey.
ganch (v.) Look up ganch at
"to impale on hooks or pointed stakes as a means of capital punishment," 1610s, from French *ganchor, from Italian *ganciare, from gancio "hook," from Turkish kanca "hook, barb, grapnel." Related: Ganched; ganching. Also, as a noun, the name of the punishment or the thing used in it, 1620s.
gander (n.) Look up gander at
Old English gandra "male goose," from Proto-Germanic *gan(d)ron (source also of Dutch gander, Middle Low German ganre), from PIE *ghans- "goose" (see goose (n.)). OED suggests perhaps it was originally the name of some other water-bird and cites Lithuanian gandras "stork." Sometimes used 19c. in reference to single men or male-only gatherings (compare stag). Meaning "a long look" is 1912, from gander (v.).
gander (v.) Look up gander at
"take a long look," slang, 1886, from gander (n.) on the notion of craning one's neck like a goose; earlier it meant "to wander foolishly" (1680s). Related: Gandered; gandering.
gandy dancer Look up gandy dancer at
"railroad maintenance worker," 1918, American English slang, of unknown origin; dancer perhaps from movements required in the work of tamping down ties or pumping a hand-cart, gandy perhaps from the name of a machinery belt company in Baltimore, Maryland.
gang (v.) Look up gang at
1856, from gang (n.). Related: Ganged; ganging. To gang up (on) is first attested 1919.
gang (n.) Look up gang at
from Old English gang "a going, journey, way, passage," and Old Norse gangr "a group of men, a set," both from Proto-Germanic *gangaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Danish, Dutch, Old High German, German gang, Old Norse gangr, Gothic gagg "act of going"), from PIE root *ghengh- "to step" (source also of Sanskrit jangha "shank," Avestan zanga- "ankle," Lithuanian zengiu "I stride"). Thus not considered to be related to go.

The sense evolution is probably via meaning "a set of articles that usually are taken together in going" (mid-14c.), especially a set of tools used on the same job. By 1620s this had been extended in nautical speech to mean "a company of workmen," and by 1630s the word was being used, with disapproving overtones, for "any band of persons traveling together," then "a criminal gang or company" (gang of thieves, gang of roughs, etc.). By 1855 gang was being used in the sense "group of criminal or mischievous boys in a city." In American English, especially of slaves working on plantations (1724). Also formerly used of animal herds or flocks (17c.-19c.). Gangway preserves the original sense of the word, as does gang-plank.
Gang of Four Look up Gang of Four at
1976, translating Chinese sirenbang, the nickname given to the four leaders of the Cultural Revolution who took the fall in Communist China after the death of Mao.
gang-bang (n.) Look up gang-bang at
1953, "group sex" (especially many men on one woman or girl, regardless of consent), from gang + bang (v.) in its slang, "perform sexual intercourse" sense. Earlier was gang-shag (1927). Sense of "participate in a street gang" is by 1968. Related: Gang-banger; gang-banging.
gang-plank (n.) Look up gang-plank at
also gangplank, 1842, American English, from gang in its nautical sense of "a path for walking, passage" (see gangway) + plank. Replacing earlier gang-board.
gangbusters (n.) Look up gangbusters at
to come on like gangbusters (c. 1940) is from popular U.S. radio crime-fighting drama "Gang Busters" (1937-57) which always opened with a cacophony of sirens, screams, pistol shots, and jarring music.
Ganges Look up Ganges at
from Sanskrit ganga "current, river."
gangland (n.) Look up gangland at
"the criminal underworld; the realm of gangsters," 1912, from gang (n.) + land (n.).
ganglia (n.) Look up ganglia at
Latin plural of ganglion. Related: Gangliac, ganglial, gangliar, ganglious. The larger ones are plexuses (see plexus).
gangling (adj.) Look up gangling at
"long and loose-jointed," by 1812, from Scottish and Northern English gang (v.) "to walk, go," which is a survival of Old English gangan, which is related to gang (n.). The form of the word is that of a present-participle adjective from a frequentative verb (as in fondling, trampling), but no intermediate forms are known. The sense extension would seem to be via some notion involving looseness in walking.
GANGLING. Tall, slender, delicate, generally applied to plants. Warw. [James O. Halliwell, "A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1846]
ganglion (n.) Look up ganglion at
1680s, "tumor, swelling;" 1732 as "bundle of nerves," from Greek ganglion "tumor under the skin," used by Galen for "nerve bundle;" of unknown origin. According to Galen, the proper sense of the word was "anything gathered into a ball."
gangly (adj.) Look up gangly at
1872 (Mark Twain, "Roughing It"), an American English alteration of gangling.
gangrene (n.) Look up gangrene at
"putrefaction or necrosis of soft tissues," 1540s, cancrena, from Latin gangraena (Medieval Latin cancrena), from medical Greek gangraina "an eating or gnawing sore," literally "that which eats away," dissimilated reduplicated form of gran- "to gnaw," from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric).
gangrenous (adj.) Look up gangrenous at
1610s, from gangrene + -ous. Perhaps modeled on French gangréneux.
gangsta Look up gangsta at
rap style generally credited to West Philly hip hop artist Schoolly D, but as for the word itself, his "Gangster Boogie" (1984) used the conventional spelling; NWA was spelling it gangsta by 1988.
gangster (n.) Look up gangster at
"member of a criminal gang," 1896, American English, from gang (n.) in its criminal sense + -ster. Related: Gangsterism (1918).
gangway (n.) Look up gangway at
"temporary passageway" to a ship, building under construction, etc., ultimately from Old English gangweg "road, passage, thoroughfare;" a compound of gang (n.) in its original sense "a going, journey, way, passage" and way (n.). Nautical use dates from 1680s in reference to a passage on the ship, from 1780 of the opening at the side whereby people enter and leave, and by 1840s of the board or bridge they use to get to and from the dock. As a command to clear way, attested by 1912, American English. In British parliamentary use, with somewhat the same sense aisle has in the U.S. Congress.
Below the g[angway], as a parliamentary phrase, is applied to members whose customary seat does not imply close association with the official policy of the party on whose side of the House they sit. [Fowler]
ganja (n.) Look up ganja at
also ganjah, powerful preparation of cannabis sativa, 1800, from Hindi ganjha.
gank (v.) Look up gank at
by 2000 as the verb that indicates the situation of many players or NPCs simultaneously attacking one; gamer slang, perhaps borrowed from hip-hop and drug-abuse slang (where it is attested by 1995 in the sense of "to rob, to rip off"); perhaps by 1990 in sports jargon. Of unknown origin; perhaps ultimately based on gang (v.). Related: Ganked; ganking.
gannet (n.) Look up gannet at
Old English ganot, name of a kind of sea-bird, from Proto-Germanic *ganton- (source also of Dutch gent, Middle High German ganiz, Old High German ganazzo "a gander"), from PIE *ghans- "a goose" (see goose (n.)). Old French gante is from Germanic.
gantlet (n.) Look up gantlet at
"military punishment in which offender runs between rows of men who beat him in passing," 1640s, gantlope, gantelope, from Swedish gatlopp "passageway," from Old Swedish gata "lane" (see gate (n.)) + lopp "course," related to löpa "to run" (see leap (v.)). Probably borrowed by English soldiers during Thirty Years' War.

By normal evolution the Modern English form would be *gatelope, but the current spelling (first attested 1660s, not fixed until mid-19c.) is from influence of gauntlet (n.1) "a glove," "there being some vague association with 'throwing down the gauntlet' in challenge" [Century Dictionary].
gantry (n.) Look up gantry at
also gauntree, 1570s, "four-footed stand for a barrel," probably from Old North French gantier (Old French chantier, 13c., "store-room, stock-room"), from Latin cantherius "rafter, frame," also "a gelding," from Greek kanthelios "pack ass," which is related to kanthelion "rafter," of unknown origin. The connecting notion in all this seems to be framework for carrying things. Meaning "frame for a crane, etc." is from 1810. Railway signal sense attested by 1889. Derivation from tree (n.) + gawn "small bucket," an obsolete 16c. contraction of gallon, might be folk-etymology.
Ganymede Look up Ganymede at
Trojan youth taken by Zeus as his cup-bearer (and lover), from Greek Ganymedes, perhaps a non-Greek name, or from ganymai "I rejoice, am glad" (related to ganos "brightness; sheen; gladness, joy; pride") + medea (plural) "counsels, plans, cunning" (see Medea); taken in Greek folk-etymology to mean "delighting in genitals." Used figuratively of serving-boys (c. 1600) and catamites (1590s). Associated with Aquarius in the zodiac. As the name of one of the four large satellites of Jupiter, by 1847.
gaol (n.) Look up gaol at
see jail (n.), you tea-sodden football hooligan. Formerly in official use in Britain, and thus sometimes regarded in U.S. as a characteristic British spelling (though George Washington used it); by the time of OED 2nd edition (1980s) both spellings were considered correct there; the g- spelling is said to have been dominant longest in Australia.
[T]he very anomalous pronunciation of g soft before other vowels than e, i, & y ... is a strong argument for writing jail [Fowler]
gaoler (n.) Look up gaoler at
chiefly British English spelling of jailer.
gap (n.) Look up gap at
early 14c., "an opening in a wall or hedge; a break, a breach," mid-13c. in place names, from Old Norse gap "chasm, empty space," related to gapa "to gape, open the mouth wide," common Proto-Germanic (cognates: Middle Dutch, Dutch gapen, German gaffen "to gape, stare," Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from PIE *ghai- "to yawn, gape" (see yawn (v.)). From late 14c. as "a break or opening between mountains;" broader sense "unfilled space or interval, any hiatus or interruption" is from c. 1600. In U.S., common in place names in reference to a deep break or pass in a long mountain chain (especially one that water flows through), a feature in the middle Appalachians.
gap (v.) Look up gap at
1847, "to make gaps" (transitive); 1948 "to have gaps" (intransitive), from gap (n.). Related: Gapped; gapping.
gap-toothed (adj.) Look up gap-toothed at
"having teeth set wide apart," 1570s, from gap (n.) + toothed "having teeth" (of a certain kind); see tooth (n.). Chaucer's gat-toothed, sometimes altered to this, is from Middle English gat (n.) "opening, passage," from Old Norse gat, cognate with gate (n.).
gape (v.) Look up gape at
early 13c., from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old Norse gapa "to open the mouth wide, gape" (see gap (n.)). Related: Gaped; gaping. As a noun, "act of opening the mouth," from 1530s.
gaper (n.) Look up gaper at
1630s, "one who stares open-mouthed in wonder," agent noun from gape (v.). Gaper delay in traffic control parlance attested by 1995.
gaping (adj.) Look up gaping at
"standing wide open," 1570s (implied in gapingly), present participle adjective from gape (v.).
gappy (adj.) Look up gappy at
"full of gaps," 1846, from gap (n.) + -y (2).
gar (n.) Look up gar at
pike-like fish, 1765, American English, shortening of garfish (mid-15c.), from fish (n.) + Middle English gare, gore "a spear," from Old English gar "spear," from Proto-Germanic *gaizaz "spear" (source also of Old Norse geirr "spear; point of an anvil," Old Saxon, Old High German ger, German Ger "spear"), from PIE *ghaiso- "a stick, spear" (see goad (n.)). The fish so called for its long sharp snout. Compare Edgar, garlic.
garage (n.) Look up garage at
1902, from French garage "shelter for a vehicle," a specific use of a word meaning generally "place for storing something," from verb garer "to shelter," also "to dock ships," from Old French garir "take care of, protect; save, spare, rescue," from Frankish *waron "to guard" or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German waron "take care"), from Proto-Germanic *war-, from PIE root *wer- (5) "to cover" (see warrant (n.)).
Influenced no doubt by the success of the recent Club run, and by the fact that more than 100 of its members are automobile owners, the N.Y.A.C. has decided to build a "garage," the French term for an automobile stable, at Travers Island, that will be of novel design, entirely different from any station in the country. [New York Athletic Club Journal, May 1902]
Garage-sale (n.) first attested 1966.
garage (v.) Look up garage at
1906, from garage (n.). Related: Garaged; garaging.
garage (v.) Look up garage at
1906, from garage (n.). Related: Garaged.
Garamond Look up Garamond at
1780, typeface named for 16c. French type-founder Claude Garamond.
garb (n.) Look up garb at
"fashion of dress," 1620s, from earlier sense "person's outward demeanor" (c. 1600), originally "elegance, stylishness" (1590s), from Middle French garbe "graceful outline, gracefulness, comeliness" (Modern French galbe) or directly from Italian garbo "grace, elegance, pleasing manners, " which is from Old High German gar(a)wi "dress, equipment, preparation," or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *garwi- "equipment; adornment" (see gear (n.)).
garb (v.) Look up garb at
"to dress, clothe, array," 1836, from garb (n.). Related: Garbed (1590s); garbing.
garbage (n.) Look up garbage at
"refuse, filth," 1580s; earlier "giblets, refuse of a fowl, waste parts of an animal (head, feet, etc.) used for human food" (early 15c., in early use also gabage, garbish, garbidge ), of unknown origin; OED says probably from Anglo-French "like many other words found in early cookery books." In its sense of "waste material, refuse" it has been influenced by and partly confused with garble (q.v.) in its older sense of "remove refuse material from spices;" Middle English had the derived noun garbelage but it is attested only as the action of removing the refuse, not the material itself.

Perhaps the English word originally is from a derivative of Old French garbe/jarbe "sheaf of wheat, bundle of sheaves," though the sense connection is difficult. This word is from Proto-Germanic *garba- (source also of Dutch garf, German garbe "sheaf"), from PIE *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach" (see grab (v.)).

"In modern American usage garbage is generally restricted to mean kitchen and vegetable wastes" [Craigie]. Used figuratively for "worthless, offensive stuff" from 1590s. Garbage can is from 1901. Garbage collector "trash man" is from 1872; Australian shortening garbo attested from 1953. Garbology "study of waste as a social science" is by 1976; garbologist is from 1965.
garbanzo (n.) Look up garbanzo at
"chick-pea," 1759, from Spanish garbanzo, said to be ultimately from Greek or Basque.
garble (v.) Look up garble at
early 15c., "to inspect and remove the dirt and dross from (spices)," from Anglo-French garbeler "to sift" (late 14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin and Italian garbellare, from Arabic gharbala "to sift and select spices," related to kirbal "sieve," perhaps from Late Latin cribellum, diminutive of Latin cribrum "sieve" (see crisis). Apparently the word was widespread among Mediterranean traders (compare Italian garbellare, Spanish garbillare "to sift grain").

From late 15c. in a general sense of "sort out the finer parts" of anything, "removal of what is objectionable," then "distort for some devious purpose or to give false impression;" especially "mix up, confuse or distort language" (1680s). Related: Garbled; garbling. In Middle English garbeler (Anglo-French garbelour) meant "official who garbles spices and sometimes also other dry goods" (early 15c.); it is attested from 1690s as "one who mixes up or mutilates words or language."
garble (n.) Look up garble at
c. 1500 of spices; by 1829 of language; from garble (v.).
garbled (adj.) Look up garbled at
by 1620s of spices; by 1774 of language; past-participle adjective from garble (v.).
Garbo Look up Garbo at
screen surname of Swedish actress Greta Gustaffson (1905-1990); her name was used allusively to indicate aloofness by 1934; her legendary avoidance of publicity began with her retirement from films in the mid-40s. Related: Garbo-esque.