etaoin shrdlu Look up etaoin shrdlu at
1931, journalism slang, the sequence of characters you get if you sweep your finger down the two left-hand columns of Linotype keys, which is what typesetters did when they bungled a line and had to start it over. It was a signal to cut out the sentence, but sometimes it slipped past harried compositors and ended up in print.
etc. Look up etc. at
see et cetera.
etcetera Look up etcetera at
see et cetera.
etch (v.) Look up etch at
1630s, "to engrave by eating away the surface of with acids," from Dutch etsen, from German ätzen "to etch," from Old High German azzon "give to eat; cause to bite, feed," from Proto-Germanic *atjanan, causative of *etanan "eat" (see eat). Related: Etched; etching. The Etch A Sketch drawing toy was introduced 1960 by Ohio Art Company.
etching (n.) Look up etching at
1630s, verbal noun from etch (v.), also "the art of engraving;" 1760s as "a print, etc., made from an etched plate."
eternal (adj.) Look up eternal at
late 14c., from Old French eternel "eternal," or directly from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus "of an age, lasting, enduring, permanent, everlasting, endless," contraction of aeviternus "of great age," from aevum "age" (see eon). Used since Middle English both of things or conditions without beginning or end and things with a beginning only but no end. A parallel form, Middle English eterne, is from Old French eterne (cognate with Spanish eterno), directly from Latin aeternus. Related: Eternally. The Eternal (n.) for "God" is attested from 1580s.
eternity (n.) Look up eternity at
late 14c., "quality of being eternal," from Old French eternité "eternity, perpetuity" (12c.), from Latin aeternitatem (nominative aeternitas), from aeternus "enduring, permanent" (see eternal). Meaning "infinite time" is from 1580s. In the Mercian hymns, Latin aeternum is glossed by Old English ecnisse.
eth (n.) Look up eth at
name of an Anglo-Saxon runic character (Ð, ð) representing the sound "-th-," 1846, from th + e, "the usual assistant vowel in letter-names" [Century Dictionary].
Ethan Look up Ethan at
masc. proper name, from Hebrew ethan "strong, permanent, perennial, ever-flowing" (of rivers).
ethane (n.) Look up ethane at
1873, from ethyl + -ane, the appropriate suffix under Hofmann's system.
ethanol (n.) Look up ethanol at
"ethyl alcohol," 1900, contracted from ethane, to which it is the corresponding alcohol, + -ol, here indicating alcohol.
Ethel Look up Ethel at
fem. proper name, originally a shortening of Old English Etheldred, Ethelinda, etc., in which the first element means "nobility."
Ethelbert Look up Ethelbert at
Anglo-Saxon masc. proper name, Old English Æðelbryht, literally "nobility-bright;" see atheling + bright (adj.).
Etheldred Look up Etheldred at
Anglo-Saxon fem. proper name, Old English Æðelðryð, literally "of noble strength" (see Audrey).
Ethelred Look up Ethelred at
Anglo-Saxon masc. given name, Old English Æðelræd, literally "noble counsel," from æðele "noble" (see atheling) + ræd, red "advice" (see read (v.)).
ether (n.) Look up ether at
late 14c., "upper regions of space," from Old French ether (12c.) and directly from Latin aether "the upper pure, bright air; sky, firmament," from Greek aither "upper air; bright, purer air; the sky" (opposed to aer "the lower air"), from aithein "to burn, shine," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice).

In ancient cosmology, the element that filled all space beyond the sphere of the moon, constituting the substance of the stars and planets. Conceived of as a purer form of fire or air, or as a fifth element. From 17c.-19c., it was the scientific word for an assumed "frame of reference" for forces in the universe, perhaps without material properties. The concept was shaken by the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887) and discarded early 20c. after the Theory of Relativity won acceptance, but before it went it gave rise to the colloquial use of ether for "the radio" (1899).

The name also was bestowed c. 1730 (Frobenius; in English by 1757) on a volatile chemical compound known since 14c. for its lightness and lack of color (its anesthetic properties weren't fully established until 1842).
ethereal (adj.) Look up ethereal at
formerly also etherial, 1510s, "of the highest regions of the atmosphere," from ether + -ial; extended sense of "light, airy" is from 1590s. Figurative meaning "spirit-like, immaterial" is from 1640s. Related: Ethereally.
etheric (adj.) Look up etheric at
"pertaining to ether," 1845, from ether + -ic. Related: Etherical (1650s).
ethernet (n.) Look up ethernet at
1980, from ether + network (n.).
ethic (n.) Look up ethic at
late 14c., ethik "study of morals," from Old French etique "ethics, moral philosophy" (13c.), from Late Latin ethica, from Greek ethike philosophia "moral philosophy," fem. of ethikos "ethical," from ethos "moral character," related to ethos "custom" (see ethos). Meaning "moral principles of a person or group" is attested from 1650s.
ethical (adj.) Look up ethical at
c. 1600, "pertaining to morality," from ethic + -al (1). Related: Ethicality; ethically.
ethics (n.) Look up ethics at
"the science of morals," c. 1600, plural of Middle English ethik "study of morals" (see ethic). The word also traces to Ta Ethika, title of Aristotle's work. Related: Ethicist.
Ethiop (n.) Look up Ethiop at
late 14c., from Latin Æthiops "Ethiopian, negro," from Greek Aithiops, long supposed in popular etymology to be from aithein "to burn" + ops "face" (compare aithops "fiery-looking," later "sunburned").
Who the Homeric Æthiopians were is a matter of doubt. The poet elsewhere speaks of two divisions of them, one dwelling near the rising, the other near the setting of the sun, both having imbrowned visages from their proximity to that luminary, and both leading a blissful existence, because living amid a flood of light; and, as a natural concomitant of a blissful existence, blameless, and pure, and free from every kind of moral defilement. [Charles Anthon, note to "The First Six Books of Homer's Iliad," 1878]
Ethiopia Look up Ethiopia at
Latin Aethiopia, from Greek Aithiopia, from Aithiops (see Ethiop). The native name is represented by Abyssinia.
Ethiopian (n.) Look up Ethiopian at
1550s; see Ethiop + -ian. As an adjective from 1680s; earlier adjective was Ethiopic (1650s).
ethnarch (n.) Look up ethnarch at
1640s, from Latinized form of Greek ethnarkhes, from ethnos "nation, a people" (see ethnic) + arkh- "chief, first" (see archon).
ethnic (adj.) Look up ethnic at
late 15c. (earlier ethnical, early 15c.) "pagan, heathen," from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos "of or for a nation, national," by some writers (Polybius, etc.) "adopted to the genius or customs of a people, peculiar to a people," and among the grammarians "suited to the manners or language of foreigners," from ethnos "band of people living together, nation, people, tribe, caste," also used of swarms or flocks of animals, properly "people of one's own kind," from PIE *swedh-no-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, third person pronoun and reflexive, also forming words referring to the social group (see idiom). Earlier in English as a noun, "a heathen, pagan, one who is not a Christian or Jew" (c. 1400). In modern noun use, "member of an ethnic group," from 1945.

In Septuagint, Greek ta ethne translates Hebrew goyim, plural of goy "nation," especially of non-Israelites, hence especially "gentile nation, foreign nation not worshipping the true God" (see goy), and ethnikos is used by ecclesiastical writers in a sense of "savoring of the nature of pagans, alien to the worship of the true God," and as a noun "the pagan, the gentile." The classical sense of "peculiar to a race or nation" in English is attested from 1851, a return to the word's original meaning; that of "different cultural groups" is 1935; and that of "racial, cultural or national minority group" is American English 1945. Ethnic cleansing is attested from 1991.
Although the term 'ethnic cleansing' has come into English usage only recently, its verbal correlates in Czech, French, German, and Polish go back much further. [Jerry Z. Muller, "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008]
ethnicity (n.) Look up ethnicity at
"ethnic character," 1953, from ethnic + -ity. Earlier it meant "paganism" (1772).
ethno- Look up ethno- at
word-forming element meaning "race, culture," from Greek ethnos "people, nation, class, caste, tribe; a number of people accustomed to live together" (see ethnic). Used to form modern compounds in the social sciences.
ethnocentric (adj.) Look up ethnocentric at
"believing that one's own nation is the center of civilization," 1891, from ethno- + -centric; a technical term in social sciences until it began to be more widely used in the second half of the 20th century. Related: Ethnocentricity; ethnocentrism (1902).
Dr. Gumplowicz, professor of sociology at the University of Gratz, says that there are illusions which have been most baneful in the wider life of the world. He mentions two of them which, with real German facility for coining new names, he calls "acrochronism" and "ethnocentrism." ["Address of Professor J.C. Bracq," in "The Eighth Lake Mohonk Arbitration Conference," May 28, 1902; he adds, "Acrochronism is the illusion which leads us to think that what we are doing is the culminating point of some great process."]
ethnogenesis (n.) Look up ethnogenesis at
1957 in modern usage, from ethno- + -genesis "birth, origin, creation." It was the title of an 1861 poem celebrating the birth of the Confederacy by U.S. Southern poet Henry Timrod (1828-1867).
ethnography (n.) Look up ethnography at
"science of the description and classification of the races of mankind," 1812, perhaps from German Ethnographie; see ethno- "race, culture" + -graphy "study." Related: Ethnographer; ethnographic.
ethnology (n.) Look up ethnology at
"science of the characteristics, history, and customs of the races of mankind," 1832, from ethno- + -logy, perhaps modeled on French or German. Related: Ethnologist; ethnological.
Ethnology is a very modern science, even later than Geology, and as yet hardly known in America, although much cultivated latterly in Germany and France, being considered an indispensable auxiliary to history and geography. ["Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge," Philadelphia, summer 1832]
ethology (n.) Look up ethology at
late 17c., "mimicry, art of depicting characters by mimic gestures," from Latin ethologia, from Greek ethologia, from ethos "character" (see ethos). Taken by Mill as "science of character formation" (1843); as a branch of zoology, "study of instincts," from 1897. Related: Ethological.
ethos (n.) Look up ethos at
"the 'genius' of a people, characteristic spirit of a time and place," 1851 (Palgrave) from Greek ethos "habitual character and disposition; moral character; habit, custom; an accustomed place," in plural, "manners," from suffixed form of PIE root *s(w)e- third person pronoun and reflexive (see idiom). An important concept in Aristotle (as in "Rhetoric" II xii-xiv).
ethyl (n.) Look up ethyl at
1838, from German ethyl (Liebig, 1834), from ether + -yl. Ethyl alcohol, under other names, was widely used in medicine by 13c.
ethylene (n.) Look up ethylene at
poisonous, flammable gas, 1852, from ethyl + -ene, probably suggested by methylene.
etic (adj.) Look up etic at
1954, coined by U.S. linguist K.L. Pike (1912-2000) from ending of phonetic.
etiolate (v.) Look up etiolate at
"turn (a plant) white by growing it in darkness," 1791, from French étiolé, past participle of étioler "to blanch" (17c.), perhaps literally "to become like straw," from Norman dialect étule "a stalk," Old French esteule "straw, field of stubble," from Latin stipula "straw" (see stipule). Related: Etiolated.
etiology (n.) Look up etiology at
also aetiology, "science of causes or causation," 1550s, from Late Latin aetiologia, from Greek aitiologia "statement of cause," from aitia "cause, responsibility" (from PIE *ai-t-ya-, from root *ai- (1) "to give, allot;" see diet (n.1)) + -logia "a speaking" (see -logy). Related: Etiologic; etiological.
etiquette (n.) Look up etiquette at
1750, from French étiquette "prescribed behavior," from Old French estiquette "label, ticket" (see ticket (n.)).

The sense development in French perhaps is from small cards written or printed with instructions for how to behave properly at court (compare Italian etichetta, Spanish etiqueta), and/or from behavior instructions written on a soldier's billet for lodgings (the main sense of the Old French word).
Etna Look up Etna at
volcano in Sicily, from Latin Aetna, from an indigenous Sicilian language, *aith-na "the fiery one," from PIE *ai-dh-, from root *ai- (2) "to burn" (see edifice). Related: Etnean.
Eton Look up Eton at
collar (1882), jacket (1873, formerly worn by the younger boys there), etc., from Eton College, public school for boys on the Thames opposite Windsor, founded by Henry VI. The place name is Old English ea "river" (see ea) + tun "farm, settlement" (see town (n.)). Related: Etonian.
Etruscan (n.) Look up Etruscan at
1706, from Latin Etruscus "an Etruscan," from Etruria, ancient name of Tuscany, of uncertain origin but containing an element that might mean "water" (see Basque) and which could be a reference to the rivers in the region.
Etta Look up Etta at
fem. proper name, originally a shortening of Henrietta.
ettin (n.) Look up ettin at
an old word for "a giant," extinct since 16c., from Old English eoten "giant, monster," from Proto-Germanic *itunoz "giant" (source also of Old Norse iotunn, Danish jætte).
etude (n.) Look up etude at
a composition having musical value but primarily intended to exercise the pupil in technical difficulties, 1837, from French étude, literally "study" (12c., Old French estudie), from Latin studium (see study (n.)). Popularized in English by the etudes of Chopin (1810-1849).
etui (n.) Look up etui at
1610s, also ettuy, etwee from French étui, Old French estui (12c.) "case, box, container," back-formation from estuier "put in put aside, spare; to keep, shut up, imprison," which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Latin studere "to be diligent."
etymological (adj.) Look up etymological at
1590s; see etymology + -ical. Related: Etymologically.
etymologicon (n.) Look up etymologicon at
"a work in which etymologies are traced," 1640s, from Latin etymologicon, from Greek etymologikon, neuter of etymologikos (see etymology). Plural is etymologica.