germy (adj.) Look up germy at
1912 in reference to microbes, from germ + -y (2). From 1889 in reference to wheat.
Geronimo (interj.) Look up Geronimo at
cry made in jumping, 1944 among U.S. airborne soldiers, apparently from the story of the Apache leader Geronimo making a daring leap to escape U.S. cavalry pursuers at Medicine Bluffs, Oklahoma (and supposedly shouting his name in defiance as he did). Adopted as battle cry by paratroopers in World War II, who perhaps had seen it in the 1939 Paramount Studios movie "Geronimo." The name is the Italian and Spanish form of Jerome, from Greek Hieronomos, literally "sacred name." One contemporary source also lists Osceola as a jumping cry.
gerontocracy (n.) Look up gerontocracy at
"rule by old men," 1830, a Latinized compound of Greek stem of geron (genitive gerontos) "old man" (see gerontology) + kratia "rule" (see -cracy). Related: Gerontocratic.
gerontologist (n.) Look up gerontologist at
1941, from gerontology + -ist.
gerontology (n.) Look up gerontology at
1903, coined in English from geronto-, used as comb. form of Greek geron (genitive gerontos) "old man," from PIE root *gere- "to become ripe, grow old" (source also of Sanskrit jara "old age," jarati "makes frail, causes to age;" Avestan zaurvan "old age;" Ossetic zarond "old man;" Armenian cer "old, old man").
gerrymander (v.) Look up gerrymander at
1812, "arrange political divisions in disregard of natural boundaries so as to give one party an advantage in elections," also from 1812 as a noun, American English, from name of Elbridge Gerry + (sala)mander. Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, was lampooned when his party redistricted the state in a blatant bid to preserve an Antifederalist majority. One sprawling Essex County district resembled a salamander, and a newspaper editor dubbed it the Gerrymander. Related: Gerrymandered; gerrymandering.
[T]he division of this county into districts has given an opportunity for a Caracatura stamped at Boston and freely circulated here called the Gerrymander. The towns as they lie are disposed as parts of a monster whose feet and claws are Salem and Marblehead. It is one of those political tricks which have success as far as they go. [William Bentley, diary, April 2, 1812]
Gertrude Look up Gertrude at
fem. proper name, from French, from Old High German Geretrudis, from ger "spear" (see gar) + trut "beloved, dear."
gerund (n.) Look up gerund at
1510s, from Late Latin gerundium (also gerundivus modus), from Latin gerundum "to be carried out," gerundive of gerere "to bear, carry" (see gest). In Latin, a verbal noun used for all cases of the infinitive but the nominative; applied in English to verbal nouns in -ing. "So called because according to the old grammarians, the gerund prop[erly] expressed the doing or the necessity of doing something" [Century Dictionary]. Gerund-grinder "instructor in Latin grammar," also "pedant," is from 1710.
gerundive (adj.) Look up gerundive at
early 15c., from Latin gerundivus (modus), from gerundium (see gerund). Related: Gerundival.
Gervais Look up Gervais at
masc. proper name, French Gervais, from Old High German Gervas, literally "serving with one's spear," from ger "spear" (see gar) + Celtic base *vas- "servant," from Old Celtic *wasso- "young man, squire" (see vassal).
gesellschaft (n.) Look up gesellschaft at
1887, "social relationship based on duty to society or an organization," from German Gesellschaft, from geselle "companion" + -schaft "-ship."
gesso Look up gesso at
a mass or surface of plaster, especially as a ground for a painting, 1590s, from Italian gesso, from Latin gypsum "plaster" (see gypsum).
gest (n.) Look up gest at
"famous deed, exploit," more commonly "story of great deeds, tale of adventure," c. 1300, from Old French geste, jeste "action, exploit, romance, history" (of celebrated people or actions), from Medieval Latin gesta "actions, exploits, deeds, achievements," noun use of neuter plural of Latin gestus, past participle of gerere "to carry on, wage, perform," of unknown origin. Now only as a deliberate archaism. Jest (n.) is the same word, with a decayed sense.
Gestalt (n.) Look up Gestalt at
1922, from German Gestaltqualität (1890, introduced by German philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from German gestalt "shape, form, figure, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete past participle of stellen "to set, place, arrange" (see stall (n.1)). As a school of psychology, it was founded c. 1912 by M. Wertheimer, K. Koffka, W. Köhler.
Gestapo Look up Gestapo at
Nazi secret state police, 1934, from German Gestapo, contracted from "Geheime Staats-polizei," literally "secret state police," set up by Hermann Göring in Prussia in 1933, extended to all Germany in January 1934.
gestate (v.) Look up gestate at
1847, a back-formation from gestation. Related: Gestated; gestating.
gestation (n.) Look up gestation at
"action or process of carrying young in the womb," 1610s, earlier (1530s) "riding on horseback, etc., as a form of exercise," from Latin gestationem (nominative gestatio) "a carrying," noun of action from past participle stem of gestare "bear, carry, gestate," frequentative of gerere (past participle gestus) "to bear, carry, bring forth" (see gest). Meaning "action or process of carrying young in the womb" is from 1610s.
gestational (adj.) Look up gestational at
1970, from gestation + -al (1). Related: Gestationally.
gesticulate (v.) Look up gesticulate at
c. 1600, from Latin gesticulatus, past participle of gesticulari "to gesture, mimic," from gesticulus "a mimicking gesture" (see gesticulation). Related: Gesticulated; gesticulating.
gesticulation (n.) Look up gesticulation at
early 15c., from Latin gesticulationem (nominative gesticulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of gesticulari "to gesture, mimic," from gesticulus "a mimicking gesture," diminutive of gestus "a gesture; carriage, posture," noun use of past participle of gerere "to bear, to carry" (see gest).
[G]esticulation is the using of gestures, & a gesture is an act of gesticulation. On the other hand, gesture also is sometimes used as an abstract, & then differs from gesticulation in implying less of the excited or emotional or theatrical or conspicuous. [Fowler]
gesticulator (n.) Look up gesticulator at
1690s, agent noun in Latin form from gesticulate.
gestural (adj.) Look up gestural at
1610s, from gesture (n.) + -al (1). Related: Gesturally.
gesture (n.) Look up gesture at
early 15c., "manner of carrying the body," from Medieval Latin gestura "bearing, behavior, mode of action," from Latin gestus "gesture, carriage, posture" (see gest). Restricted sense of "a movement of the body or a part of it, intended to express a thought or feeling," is from 1550s; figurative sense of "action undertaken in good will to express feeling" is from 1916.
gesture (v.) Look up gesture at
1540s, from gesture (n.). Related: Gestured; gesturing.
gesundheit (interj.) Look up gesundheit at
1914, from German Gesundheit, literally "health!", from Old High German gisunt, gisunti "healthy" (see sound (adj.)). Also in the German toast auf ihre Gesundheit "to your health." Lithuanian aciu, echoic of the sound of a sneeze, has come to mean "good luck, God bless you." God bless you after someone sneezes is credited to St. Gregory the Great, but the pagan Romans (Absit omen) and Greeks had similar customs.
get (v.) Look up get at
c. 1200, from Old Norse geta (past tense gatum, past participle getenn) "to obtain, reach; to be able to; to beget; to learn; to be pleased with," a word of very broad meaning, often used almost as an auxilliary verb, also frequently in phrases (such as geta rett "to guess right"). This is from Proto-Germanic *getan (source also of Old Swedish gissa "to guess," literally "to try to get"), from PIE root *ghend-, also *ghed- "seize, take" (source also of Greek khandanein "to hold, contain," Lithuanian godetis "be eager," second element in Latin prehendere "to grasp, seize," Welsh gannu "to hold, contain," Old Church Slavonic gadati "to guess, suppose").

Old English, as well as Dutch and Frisian, had the verb almost exclusively in compounds (such as begietan, "to beget;" forgietan "to forget"). Vestiges of an Old English cognate *gietan remain obliquely in modern past participle gotten and original past tense gat, also Biblical begat.

In compound phrases with have and had it is grammatically redundant, but often usefully indicates possession, obligation, or necessity, or gives emphasis. The word and phrases built on it take up 29 columns in the OED 2nd edition; Century Dictionary lists seven distinct senses for to get up.
"I GOT on Horseback within ten Minutes after I received your Letter. When I GOT to Canterbury I GOT a Chaise for Town. But I GOT wet through before I GOT to Canterbury, and I HAVE GOT such a Cold as I shall not be able to GET rid of in a Hurry. I GOT to the Treasury about Noon, but first of all I GOT shaved and drest. I soon GOT into the Secret of GETTING a Memorial before the Board, but I could not GET an Answer then, however I GOT Intelligence from the Messenger that I should most likely GET one the next Morning. As soon as I GOT back to my Inn, I GOT my Supper, and GOT to Bed, it was not long before I GOT to Sleep. When I GOT up in the Morning, I GOT my Breakfast, and then GOT myself drest, that I might GET out in Time to GET an Answer to my Memorial. As soon as I GOT it, I GOT into the Chaise, and GOT to Canterbury by three: and about Tea Time, I GOT Home. I HAVE GOT No thing particular for you, and so Adieu." [Philip Withers, "Aristarchus, or the Principles of Composition," London, 1789, illustrating the widespread use of the verb in Modern English]
As a command to "go, be off" by 1864, American English. Meaning "to seize mentally, grasp" is from 1892. Get wind of "become acquainted with" is from 1840, from earlier to get wind "to get out, become known" (1722). To get drunk is from 1660s; to get religion is from 1772; to get better "recover health" is from 1776. To get ready "prepare oneself" is from 1890; to get going "begin, start doing something" is by 1869 in American English; get busy "go into action, begin operation" is from 1904. Get lost as a command to go away is by 1947. To get ahead "make progress" is from 1807. To get to (someone) "vex, fret, obsess" is by 1961, American English (get alone as "to puzzle, trouble, annoy" is by 1867, American English). To get out of hand originally (1765) meant "to advance beyond the need for guidance;" sense of "to break free, run wild" is from 1892, from horsemanship. To get on (someone's) nerves is attested by 1970.
get (n.) Look up get at
early 14c., "offspring, child," from get (v.) or beget. Meaning "what is got, booty" is from late 14c.
get along (v.) Look up get along at
"agree, live harmoniously," 1875, from get (v.) + along (adv.).
get back (v.) Look up get back at
c. 1600 (intransitive) "to return;" 1808 (transitive) "to recover (something);" from get (v.) + back.(adv.). Meaning "retaliate" is attested by 1888.
get off (v.) Look up get off at
"escape," c. 1600, from get (v.) + off (adv.). Sexual sense attested by 1973.
get on (v.) Look up get on at
1590s, "to put on," from get (v.) + on (adv.). Meaning "prosper" is from 1785; that of "to advance, make progress" is from 1798; that of "be friendly" (with) is attested by 1816.
get over (v.) Look up get over at
1680s, "overcome," from get (v.) + over (adv.). From 1712 as "recover from;" 1813 as "have done with."
get-away (n.) Look up get-away at
also getaway, 1852, "an escape," originally in fox hunting, from verbal phrase get away "escape" (early 14c.); see get (v.) + away (adv.). Of prisoners or criminals from 1893.
get-out (n.) Look up get-out at
also getout, figuratively indicating a high degree of something, by 1838, colloquial, from get (v.) + out (adv.). Verbal phrase get out as a command to go away is from 1711, but sense connection is not clear.
get-rich-quick (adj.) Look up get-rich-quick at
in reference to projects or schemes, American English, 1891, when there was a rash of them, from the verbal phrase.
get-together (n.) Look up get-together at
1911, from get (v.) + together (adv.). The verbal phrase is attested by c. 1400 as "collect, gather;" meaning "to meet, to assemble" is from 1690s. As "to organize" (oneself), by 1962.
get-up (n.) Look up get-up at
also getup, 1847, "equipment, costume," from get (v.) + up (adv.). Meaning "initiative, energy" recorded from 1841. The verbal phrase is recorded from mid-14c. as "to rise."
Gethsemane Look up Gethsemane at
name of a garden on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem [Matt. xxvi:36-46], from Greek Gethsemane, from Aramaic gath shemani(m) "oil-press."
gettable (adj.) Look up gettable at
1550s, from get (v.) + -able.
Gettysburg Look up Gettysburg at
town in south-central Pennsylvania, U.S., 1800 (earlier it was Gettys-town), founded 1780s by Gen. James Gettys and named for him. Civil War battle there was fought July 1-3, 1863. The Gettysburg Address was given Nov. 19, 1863, and was being called that by 1865, though before President Lincoln's assassination the term tended to refer to Edward Everett's full oration that preceded Lincoln's short speech.
gewgaw (n.) Look up gewgaw at
early 13c., giuegaue, contemptuous reduplication, of uncertain origin, possibly connected with Old French gogue "rejoicing, jubilation; joke, prank, mockery, game;" or jou-jou "toy," baby-talk word, from jouer "to play," from Latin jocare (see joke (n.)).
gey (adj.) Look up gey at
a Scottish variant of gay (compare gray/grey), used 18c.-19c. also with the Scottish sense of "considerable, pretty much, considerably."
geyser (n.) Look up geyser at
1780, extended from Icelandic Geysir, name of a specific hot spring in the valley of Haukadal, literally "the gusher," from Old Norse geysa "to gush," from Proto-Germanic *gausjan, suffixed form of PIE *gheus-, extended form of the root *gheu- "to pour" (see found (v.2)). Taken by foreign writers as the generic name for spouting hot springs, for which the native Icelandic words are hverr "a cauldron," laug "a hot bath."
Ghana Look up Ghana at
since 1957 the name of the former Gold Coast; from the name of a former tribal chieftain, whose name itself is a form of a royal title, hence, "king." Related: Ghanian.
ghastly (adj.) Look up ghastly at
c. 1300, gastlich, "inspiring fear or terror, hideous, shocking," with -lich (see -ly (2)) + gast (adj.) "afraid, frightened," past participle of gasten "to frighten," from Old English gæstan "to torment, frighten" (see ghost (n.)). Spelling with gh- developed 16c. from confusion with ghost. Middle English also had gastful in the same sense, but this is now obsolete. Sidney and Shakespeare also used ghastly as an adverb. Related: Ghastliness.
ghat (n.) Look up ghat at
also ghaut, from Hindi, "a pass of descent from a mountain," hence also "mountain range, chain of hills," also "stairway leading up from a river" (to a shrine, temple, etc.), from Sanskrit ghattah "landing place," of unknown origin.
ghawazee (n.) Look up ghawazee at
Egyptian dancing-girls, 1799, from Arabic gawazi, plural of gaziya. "In Egypt, a degraded class of public dancers, male and female, by some considered a race of Gipsies, devoted to the amusement of the lowest populace" [Century Dictionary, 1902].
ghazi (n.) Look up ghazi at
Muslim warrior fighting the infidels, veteran soldier of Islam, 1735, from Arabic ghazi "warrior, champion, hero," properly participle of ghaza (stem gh-z-w) "he made war."
Ghent Look up Ghent at
city in Flanders, of uncertain origin; perhaps from Celtic *condate "confluence," or from a non-Indo-European word.
gherkin (n.) Look up gherkin at
small cucumber used for pickling (either a small, prickly type of cucumber produced by a certain plant (Cucumis anguria), or a green or immature common cucumber), 1660s, from early modern Dutch gurken, augurken (late 16c.) "small pickled cucumber," from East Frisian augurk "cucumber," probably from a Balto-Slavic source (compare Polish ogórek "cucumber," Lithuanian agurkas, Russian oguretsŭ), possibly ultimately from Medieval Greek angourion "a kind of cucumber," which is said to be from Persian angarah [Klein, etc.], but OED seems to regard this as unlikely. A Dutch source says the Greek is from a word for "immature" and that the vegetable originated in northern India and came to Eastern Europe via the Byzantine Empire.

The Dutch suffix is perhaps the diminutive -kin, though some regard it as a plural affix, with the Dutch word mistaken for a singular in English. The -h- was added 1800s to preserve the hard "g" pronunciation.