- abracadabra[abracadabra 词源字典]
- abracadabra:  This magical charm reached English, probably via French, from Greek abrasadabra (the c in the English word arose from a misinterpretation of the c in the original Greek word, which in the Greek alphabet stands for s). It seems to have originated (perhaps in the 3rd century AD) as a cabalistic word of the Basilidians, a Gnostic sect of Alexandria, and was probably based on Abraxas, the name of their supreme deity.
[abracadabra etymology, abracadabra origin, 英语词源]
- abridge: see brief
- abroad:  It was only in the 15th century that abroad came to mean ‘in foreign parts’. Earlier, it had been used for ‘out of doors’, a sense still current today, if with a rather archaic air; but originally it meant ‘widely’ or ‘about’ (as in ‘noise something abroad’). It was formed quite simply from a ‘on’ and the adjective broad, although it was probably modelled on the much earlier (Old English) phrase on brede, in which brede was a noun, meaning ‘breadth’.
- abscess:  Abscess comes, via French abcès, from Latin abscessus, a noun derived from abscēdere ‘go away’. The constituent parts of this compound verb are abs ‘away’ and cēdere ‘go’, which has given English cede and a whole range of other words, such as accede and recede. The notion linking ‘abscesses’ and ‘going away’ was that impure or harmful bodily humours were eliminated, or ‘went away’, via the pus that gathered in abscesses.
It originated amongst the Greeks, who indeed had a word for it: apostema. This meant literally ‘separation’ (apo ‘away’ and histánai ‘stand’), and Latin abscessus was an approximate translation of it, possibly by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, the Roman writer on medical and other matters.
=> accede, cede, recede
- absent:  Absent is based ultimately on the Latin verb ‘to be’, esse. To this was added the prefix ab- ‘away’, giving Latin abesse ‘be away’; and the present participial stem of abesse was absent-. Hence, via Old French, the adjective absent and the noun absence. It has been conjectured, incidentally, that the present stem used for Latin esse was a descendant of Indo-European *sontos ‘truth’, from which English sooth comes.
- absolute:  Absolute, absolution, and absolve all come ultimately from the same source: Latin absolvere ‘set free’, a compound verb made up from the prefix ab- ‘away’ and the verb solvere ‘loose’ (from which English gets solve and several other derivatives, including dissolve and resolve). From the 13th to the 16th century an alternative version of the verb, assoil, was in more common use than absolve; this came from the same Latin original, but via Old French rather than by a direct route.
The t of absolute and absolution comes from the past participial stem of the Latin verb – absolūt-. The noun, the adjective, and the verb have taken very different routes from their common semantic starting point, the notion of ‘setting free’: absolve now usually refers to freeing from responsibility and absolution to the remitting of sins, while absolute now means ‘free from any qualification or restriction’.
=> dissolve, resolve, solve
- absorb:  Absorb comes, via French absorber, from Latin absorbēre, a compound verb formed from the prefix ab- ‘away’ and sorbēre ‘suck up, swallow’. Words connected with drinking and swallowing quite often contain the sounds s or sh, r, and b or p – Arabic, for instance, has surāb, which gave us syrup – and this noisy gulping seems to have been reflected in an Indo- European base, *srobh-, which lies behind both Latin sorbēre and Greek ropheín ‘suck up’.
- abstain:  The literal meaning of this word’s ultimate source, Latin abstinēre, was ‘hold or keep away’, and hence ‘withhold’ (the root verb, tenēre, produced many other derivatives in English, such as contain, maintain, obtain, and retain, as well as tenacious, tenant, tenement, tenet, tenor, and tenure).
That is how it was used when it was first introduced into English (via Old French abstenir), and it was not until the 16th century that it began to be used more specifically for refraining from pleasurable activities, particularly the drinking of alcohol. The past participial stem of the Latin verb, abstent-, gave us abstention, while the present participial stem, abstinent-, produced abstinent and abstinence.
There is no connection, incidentally, with the semantically similar abstemious, which comes from a Latin word for alcoholic drink, tēmōtum.
- abstruse:  It is not clear whether English borrowed abstruse from French abstrus(e) or directly from Latin abstrūsus, but the ultimate source is the Latin form. It is the past participle of the verb abstrūdere, literally ‘thrust’ (trūdere) ‘away’ (ab). (Trūdere contributed other derivatives to English, including extrude and intrude, and it is related to threat.) The original, literal meaning of abstruse was ‘concealed’, but the metaphorical ‘obscure’ is just as old in English.
- abuse: see use
- abut: see butt
- abyss:  English borrowed abyss from late Latin abyssus, which in turn derived from Greek ábussos. This was an adjective meaning ‘bottomless’, from a- ‘not’ and bussós ‘bottom’, a dialectal variant of buthós (which is related to bathys ‘deep’, the source of English bathyscape). In Greek the adjective was used in the phrase ábussos limnē ‘bottomless lake’, but only the adjective was borrowed into Latin, bringing with it the meaning of the noun as well.
In medieval times, a variant form arose in Latin – abysmus. It incorporated the Greek suffix -ismós (English -ism). It is the source of French abîme, and was borrowed into English in the 13th century as abysm (whence the 19th-century derivative abysmal). It began to be ousted by abyss in the 16th century, however, and now has a distinctly archaic air.
- acacia:  Acacia comes via Latin from Greek akakía, a word for the shittah. This is a tree mentioned several times in the Bible (the Ark of the Covenant was made from its wood). It is not clear precisely what it was, but it was probably a species of what we now know as the acacia. The ultimate derivation of Greek akakía is obscure too; some hold that it is based on Greek aké ‘point’ (a distant relation of English acid), from the thorniness of the tree, but others suggest that it may be a loanword from Egyptian.
- academy:  Borrowed either from French académie or from Latin acadēmia, academy goes back ultimately to Greek Akadēmíā, the name of the place in Athens where the philosopher Plato (c. 428–347 BC) taught. Traditionally thought of as a grove (‘the groves of Academe’), this was in fact more of an enclosed piece of ground, a garden or park; it was named after the Attic mythological hero Akadēmos or Hekadēmus. In its application to the philosophical doctrines of Plato, English academy goes back directly to its Latin source, but the more general meanings ‘college, place of training’ derive from French.
- accelerate:  Accelerate comes from Latin accelerāre, a compound verb formed from the intensive prefix ad- (ac- before /k/ sounds) and celerāre ‘hurry’. Celerāre, in turn, derived from the adjective celer ‘fast’ (which gave English celerity  and is ultimately related to hold).
- accent:  Accent was originally a loantranslation from Greek into Latin (a loantranslation is when each constituent of a compound in one language is translated into its equivalent in another, and then reassembled into a new compound). Greek prosōidíā (whence English prosody) was formed from pros ‘to’ and ōidé ‘song’ (whence English ode); these elements were translated into Latin ad ‘to’ and cantus ‘song’ (whence English chant, cant, cantata, canticle), giving accentus.
The notion underlying this combination of ‘to’ and ‘song’ was of a song added to speech – that is, the intonation of spoken language. The sense of a particular mode of pronunciation did not arise in English until the 16th century.
=> cant, cantata, canticle, chant
- accept:  Accept comes ultimately from Latin capere, which meant ‘take’ (and was derived from the same root as English heave). The addition of the prefix ad- ‘to’ produced accipere, literally ‘take to oneself’, hence ‘receive’. The past participle of this, acceptus, formed the basis of a new verb, acceptāre, denoting repeated action, which made its way via Old French into English.
- accident:  Etymologically, an accident is simply ‘something which happens’ – ‘an event’. That was what the word originally meant in English, and it was only subsequently that the senses ‘something which happens by chance’ and ‘mishap’ developed. It comes from the Latin verb cadere ‘fall’ (also the source of such diverse English words as case, decadent, and deciduous).
The addition of the prefix ad- ‘to’ produced accidere, literally ‘fall to’, hence ‘happen to’. Its present participle was used as an adjective in the Latin phrase rēs accidēns ‘thing happening’, and accidēns soon took on the role of a noun on its own, passing (in its stem form accident-) into Old French and thence into English.
=> case, decadent, deciduous
- accolade:  Accolade goes back to an assumed Vulgar Latin verb *accollāre, meaning ‘put one’s arms round someone’s neck’ (collum is Latin for ‘neck’, and is the source of English collar). It put in its first recorded appearance in the Provençal noun acolada, which was borrowed into French as accolade and thence made its way into English. A memory of the original literal meaning is preserved in the use of accolade to refer to the ceremonial striking of a sword on a new knight’s shoulders; the main current sense ‘congratulatory expression of approval’ is a later development.
- accomplice:  This word was borrowed into English (from French) as complice (and complice stayed in common usage until late in the 19th century). It comes from Latin complex, which is related to English complicated, and originally meant simply ‘an associate’, without any pejorative associations. The form accomplice first appears on the scene in the late 15th century (the first record of it is in William Caxton’s Charles the Great), and it probably arose through a misanalysis of complice preceded by the indefinite article (a complice) as acomplice. It may also have been influenced by accomplish or accompany.