chianti (n.) Look up chianti at
also chiante, kind of dry red wine, 1833, from Chianti Mountains of Tuscany, where the wine was made. "[L]oosely applied to various inferior Italian wines" [OED].
chiaroscuro (n.) Look up chiaroscuro at
1680s, "disposition of light and dark in a picture," literally "bright-dark," from Italian chiaro "clear, bright" (from Latin clarus; see clear (adj.)) + oscuro (from Latin obscurus; see obscure (adj.)). Related: Chiaroscurist.
chiasm (n.) Look up chiasm at
Englished form of chiasmus or chiasma.
chiasma (n.) Look up chiasma at
"a crossing," 1832, medical Latin, from Greek khiasma "two things placed crosswise," which is related to khiasmos (see chiasmus). In cytology from 1911.
chiasmus (n.) Look up chiasmus at
in grammar, inversion of word order, 1871, Latinized from Greek khiasmos "a placing crosswise, diagonal arrangement" (see chi).
Adam, first of men,
To first of women, Eve.
["Paradise Lost"]
chiastic (adj.) Look up chiastic at
1856, from Latinized form of Greek khiastos "arranged diagonally; marked with an X" (i.e., resembling the Greek letter chi) + -ic.
chic Look up chic at
1856, as a noun, "style, artistic skill," from French chic, 19c. in "stylishness" sense, originally "subtlety" (16c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps [Klein] related to German Schick "tact, skill," from Middle Low German schikken "arrange appropriately," or Middle High German schicken "to arrange, set in order;" or from French chicane, from chicanerie (see chicanery). The adjectival meaning "stylish" is from 1879 in English, "Not so used in F[rench]." [OED].
chica (n.) Look up chica at
"young girl," U.S. slang, c.2002, from American Spanish chica "girl," fem. of chico "boy," noun use of adjective meaning "small" (here used as an affectionate term of address), from Latin ciccum, literally "chick-pea," figurative of an object of little value (compare Old French chiche).
Chicago (n.) Look up Chicago at
town founded in 1833, named from a Canadian French form of an Algonquian word, either Fox /sheka:ko:heki "place of the wild onion," or Ojibwa shika:konk "at the skunk place" (sometimes rendered "place of the bad smell"). The Ojibwa "skunk" word is distantly related to the New England Algonquian word that yielded Modern English skunk (n.). Related: Chicagoan.
chicane (n.) Look up chicane at
in English in various senses, including "act of chicanery" (1670s), "obstacles on a roadway" (1955), also a term in bridge (1880s), apparently all ultimately from an archaic verb chicane "to trick" (1670s), from French chicane (16c.), from chicaner "to pettifog, quibble" (15c., see chicanery).
chicanery (n.) Look up chicanery at
c. 1600, "legal quibbling, sophistry," from French chicanerie "trickery," from Middle French chicaner "to pettifog, quibble" (15c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle Low German schikken "to arrange, bring about," or from the name of a golf-like game once played in Languedoc. Thornton's "American Glossary" has shecoonery (1845), which it describes as probably a corruption of chicanery.
Chicano (n.) Look up Chicano at
1947, from Mexican Spanish dialectal pronunciation of Mexicano "Mexican," with loss of initial unaccented syllable [Barnhart]. Said to have been in use among Mexican-Americans from c. 1911. Probably influenced by Spanish chico "boy," also used as a nickname. The adjective in English is attested by 1967. Fem. form is Chicana.
chick (n.) Look up chick at
mid-14c. shortening of chicken (n.). Extended to human offspring (often in alliterative pairing chick and child) and thence used as a term of endearment. As slang for "young woman" it is first recorded 1927 (in "Elmer Gantry"), supposedly from African-American vernacular. In British use in this sense by c. 1940; popularized by Beatniks late 1950s. Chicken in this sense is from 1711. Sometimes c. 1600-1900 chicken was taken as a plural, chick as a singular (compare child/children) for the domestic fowl.
chick-pea (n.) Look up chick-pea at
1712, false singular back-formation from chich-pease (1540s), from French pois chiche, from Latin cicer "pea," which is of uncertain origin, but with likely cognates in Greek kikerroi "pale," Armenian sisern "chick-pea," Albanian thjer "lentil." For second element, see pease. The Latin plural, cicera, is also the source of Italian cece and was borrowed into Old High German as chihhra (German Kichererbse).
chickadee (n.) Look up chickadee at
black-capped titmouse, 1834, American English, echoic of its cry.
Chickasaw Look up Chickasaw at
1670s, from Chickasaw Chikasha, the people's name for themselves.
chicken (n.) Look up chicken at
Old English cicen (plural cicenu) "young fowl," which by early Middle English had came to mean "young chicken," then later any chicken, from Proto-Germanic *kiukinam (source also of Middle Dutch kiekijen, Dutch kieken, Old Norse kjuklingr, Swedish kyckling, German Küken "chicken"), from root *keuk- (echoic of the bird's sound and possibly also the root of cock (n.1)) + diminutive suffixes.

Applied to the young of other bird species from early 13c. Adjective sense of "cowardly" is at least as old as 14c. (compare hen-herte "a chicken-hearted person," mid-15c.). As the name of a game of danger to test courage, it is first recorded 1953. Chicken feed "paltry sum of money" is by 1897, American English slang; literal use (it is made from the from lowest quality of grain) by 1834. Chicken lobster "young lobster," is from c. 1960s, American English, apparently from chicken in its sense of "young." Generic words for "chicken" in Indo-European tend to be extended uses of "hen" words, as hens are more numerous among domestic fowl, but occasionally they are from words for the young, as in English and in Latin pullus.
chicken (v.) Look up chicken at
"to back down or fail through cowardice," 1943, U.S. slang, from chicken (n.), almost always with out (adv.).
chicken hawk (n.) Look up chicken hawk at
type of hawk that is believed to prey on domestic fowl, 1802, American English. Figuratively, from the secondary senses of both words, "public person who advocates war but who declined significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime," at least 1988, American English. From chicken (n.) + hawk (n.).
chicken pox (n.) Look up chicken pox at
c. 1730, from chicken (n.) + pox. Perhaps so called for its mildness compared to smallpox [Barnhart].
chicken-shit Look up chicken-shit at
1947 (n.) "contemptible cowardly person;" 1948 (adj.); from chicken + shit (n.).
chickweed (n.) Look up chickweed at
late 14c., chekwede, from chick + weed (n.). In Old English it was cicene mete "chicken food."
chicle (n.) Look up chicle at
1889, American English (in chicle-gum), from Mexican Spanish chicle, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) tzictli.
Chicom (adj.) Look up Chicom at
1962, American English, Cold War jargon, from Chinese + communist.
chicory (n.) Look up chicory at
late 14c., cicoree (modern form from mid-15c.), from Middle French cichorée "endive, chicory" (15c., Modern French chicorée), from Latin cichoreum, from Greek kikhorion (plural kikhoreia) "endive," which is of unknown origin. Klein suggests a connection with Old Egyptian keksher. The modern English form is from French influence.
chide (v.) Look up chide at
late 12c., "scold, nag, rail," originally intransitive, from Old English cidan "to contend, quarrel, complain." Not found outside Old English (though Liberman says it is "probably related to OHG *kîdal 'wedge,'" with a sense evolution from "brandishing sticks" to "scold, reprove"). Past tense, past participle can be chided or chid or even (past participle) chidden (Shakespeare used it); present participle is chiding.
chief (adj.) Look up chief at
c. 1300, "highest in rank or power; most important or prominent; supreme, best," from Old French chief "chief, principal, first" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum (also source of Spanish and Portuguese cabo, Italian capo, Provençal cap), from Latin caput "head," also "leader, guide, chief person; summit; capital city" (see capitulum).
chief (n.) Look up chief at
c. 1300, "head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;" from Old French chief "leader, ruler, head" of something, "capital city" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput "head," also "leader, chief person; summit; capital city" (see capitulum). Meaning "head of a clan" is from 1570s; later extended to American Indian tribes. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.
chiefdom (n.) Look up chiefdom at
1570s, from chief (n.) + -dom.
chiefly (adv.) Look up chiefly at
"pre-eminently," mid-14c., from chief + -ly (2). Adjectival meaning "pertaining to a chief" is from 1870 (from -ly (1)).
chieftain (n.) Look up chieftain at
early 14c., cheftayne "ruler, chief, head" of something, from Anglo-French chiefteyn, Old French chevetain "captain, chief, leader," from Late Latin capitaneus "commander," from Latin capitis, genitive of caput "head" (see capitulum). According to "Rob Roy" (1818) a Highland chieftain was the head of a branch of a clan, a chief was the head of the whole name. Related: Chieftainship.
chifferobe (n.) Look up chifferobe at
also chifforobe; "article of furniture having drawers as well as space for hanging clothes," c. 1917, from merger of chiffonier + wardrobe (n.).
chiffon (n.) Look up chiffon at
"feminine finery, sheer silk fabric," 1765, from French chiffon (17c.), diminutive of chiffe "a rag, piece of cloth" (17c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps a variant of English chip (n.1) or one of its Germanic cousins. Klein suggests Arabic. Extension to pastry is attested by 1929.
chiffonade (n.) Look up chiffonade at
also chiffonnade, food preparation technique, 1877, from French chiffonade, from chiffon (see chiffon) + -ade. In reference to the condition of the leafy stuff after it is so treated.
chiffonier (n.) Look up chiffonier at
"piece of furniture with drawers for women's needlework, cloth, etc.," 1806, from French chiffonnier, a transferred use, literally "rag gatherer," from chiffon, diminutive of chiffe "rag, piece of cloth, scrap, flimsy stuff" (see chiffon).
chigger (n.) Look up chigger at
1756, from West Indies chigoe (1660s), possibly from Carib, or from or influenced by words from African languages (such as Wolof and Yoruba jiga "insect").
chignon (n.) Look up chignon at
"knot or coil of hair worn at the back of the neck," from French chignon "nape of the neck," from Old French chaignon "iron collar, shackles, noose" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *catenionem (nominative *catenio), from Latin catena "chain, fetter, restraint" (see chain (n.)). Popular 1780s, 1870s, 1940s. Form influenced in French by tignon "coil of hair."
Chihuahua (n.) Look up Chihuahua at
dog breed, 1858, from the city and state in Mexico, said to be from a lost native word that meant "dry place."
chilblain (n.) Look up chilblain at
1540s, from chill (n.) + blain "inflamed swelling or sore on skin." Related: Chilblains.
child (n.) Look up child at
Old English cild "fetus, infant, unborn or newly born person," from Proto-Germanic *kiltham (source also of Gothic kilþei "womb," inkilþo "pregnant;" Danish kuld "children of the same marriage;" Old Swedish kulder "litter;" Old English cildhama "womb," lit. "child-home"); no certain cognates outside Germanic. "App[arently] originally always used in relation to the mother as the 'fruit of the womb'" [Buck]. Also in late Old English, "a youth of gentle birth" (archaic, usually written childe). In 16c.-17c. especially "girl child."

The wider sense "young person before the onset of puberty" developed in late Old English. Phrase with child "pregnant" (late 12c.) retains the original sense. The sense extension from "infant" to "child" also is found in French enfant, Latin infans. Meaning "one's own child; offspring of parents" is from late 12c. (the Old English word was bearn; see bairn). Figurative use from late 14c. Most Indo-European languages use the same word for "a child" and "one's child," though there are exceptions (such as Latin liberi/pueri).

The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity's sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer and in Childermas.

Child abuse is attested by 1963; child-molester from 1950. Child care is from 1915. Child's play, figurative of something easy, is in Chaucer (late 14c.).
child-bearing (n.) Look up child-bearing at
also childbearing, "bringing forth of a child," late 14c., from child + verbal noun of bear (v.). As an adjective from late 14c.
child-proof (adj.) Look up child-proof at
1933, from child (n.) + proof (n.). As a verb by 1951.
childbed (n.) Look up childbed at
also child-bed, c. 1200, "state of being in labor," from child + bed (n.). In reference to a bed, real or metaphorical, on which something is born, from 1590s.
childbirth (n.) Look up childbirth at
also child-birth, mid-15c., from child + birth (n.).
childe (n.) Look up childe at
"youth of gentle birth," used as a kind of title, late Old English, variant spelling of child (q.v.).
Childermas (n.) Look up Childermas at
"festival of the Holy Innocents" (Dec. 28), late Old English *cildramæsse (c. 1000), from obsolete plural of child (q.v.) + mass (n.2).
childhood (n.) Look up childhood at
"period of life from birth to puberty," Old English cildhad; see child + -hood.
childish (adj.) Look up childish at
Old English cildisc "proper to a child;" see child + -ish. Meaning "puerile, immature, like a child" in a bad sense is from early 15c. Related: Childishly; childishness.
childless (adj.) Look up childless at
c. 1200, from child (n.) + -less. Related: Childlessness.
childlike (adj.) Look up childlike at
1580s, "proper to a child," from child + like (adj.). Meaning "like a child" in a good sense (distinguished from childish) is from 1738.