Friday, July 24, 2009

Catherine Horn: etymologies 13-21


Source: Online Etymology Dictionary


1340, "unintelligible talk, gibberish," from O.Fr. jargon "a chattering" (of birds), ultimately of echoic origin (cf. L. garrire "to chatter," Eng. gargle). Often applied to something the speaker does not understand, hence meaning "mode of speech full of unfamiliar terms" (1651).

Example of jargon


O.E. haldan (Anglian), healdan (W.Saxon), class VII strong verb (past tense heold, pp. healden), from P.Gmc. *khaldanan (cf. O.N. halda, Du. houden, Ger. halten "to hold," Goth. haldan "to tend"), originally "to keep, tend, watch over" (as cattle), later "to have." Ancestral sense is preserved in behold. Holdup, in sense of "a stoppage," is 1837 in Amer.Eng.; sense of "stopping by force and robbing" is 1851, also in Amer.Eng., probably strengthened by notion of "holding up hands." To hold (one's) own is from c.1330. No holds barred "with all restrictions removed" is first recorded 1942 in theater jargon but is ultimately from wrestling. Phrase hold your horses "be patient" is from 1844. Hold out (v.) is from 1907. The original pp. holden was replaced by held beginning 16c., but survives in some legal jargon and in beholden.


1655, from Gk. esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle," from esotero, comp. adv. of eso "within." In Eng., originally of Pythagorean doctrines. According to Lucian, the division of teachings into exoteric and esoteric originated with Aristotle.

Example of esoteric


1642 (implied in theosophical), "knowledge about God and nature obtained through mystical study," from M.L. theosophia (c.880), from Late Gk. theosophia (c.500, Pseudo-Dionysus) "wisdom concerning God or things divine," from Gk. theosophos "one wise about God," from theos "god" + sophos "wise, learned." Taken as the name of a modern philosophical system (sometimes called Esoteric Buddhism), founded in New York 1875 as "Theosophical Society" by Madame Blavatsky and others, which combines teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism.


1576 (n.) "confusion, intricacies," from L. meander, from Gk. Maiandros, name of a river in Phrygia, noted for its winding course. The verb meaning "to flow in a winding course" (of rivers) is attested from c.1612. Of a person, "to wander aimlessly" (1831) it is perhaps confused with maunder (q.v.).


"to wander about aimlessly," c.1746, earlier "to mumble, grumble" (1621), both senses probably from freq. of maund "to beg" (1567), from Fr. mendier "to beg," from L. mendicare.


1474, from L. mendicantem (nom. mendicans) "beggar," prp. of mendicare "to beg," from mendicus "beggar," originally "cripple" (connection via cripples who beg), from menda "fault, physical defect". Earlier form in M.E. was mendinant (1362), from O.Fr. mendinant, prp. of mendiner "to beg," from the same L. source.


1616, from M.Fr. mendacieux, from L. mendacium "a lie," from mendax (gen. mendacis) "lying, deceitful," related to menda "fault, defect, carelessness in writing" (cf. amend, mendicant), from PIE base *mend- "physical defect, fault." The sense evolution of mendax influenced by mentiri "to speak falsely, lie, deceive." Mendacity is attested from 1646.

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