Afghan Look up Afghan at
name of the people of Afghanistan, 1784, properly only the Durani Afghans; of uncertain origin. The name is first attested in Arabic in al-'Utbi's "History of Sultan Mahmud" written c.1030 C.E. and was in use in India from 13c. Old Afghan chronicles trace the name to a legendary Afghana, son of Jeremiah, son of Israelite King Saul, from whom they claimed descent. In English, attested from 1833 as a type of blanket or wrap short for Afghan shawl); 1877 as a type of carpet; 1895 as a breed of hunting dog; 1973 as a style of sheepskin coat.
Afghanistan Look up Afghanistan at
1798, from Afghani (see Afghan) + -stan. In journalism, Afghanistanism (1955) was "preoccupation with far-away problems and issues to the neglect of local ones."
aficionado (n.) Look up aficionado at
1845, from Spanish aficionado "amateur," specifically "devotee of bullfighting," literally "fond of," from afición "affection," from Latin affectionem "relation, disposition," noun of state from past participle stem of afficere "do something" (see affect (n.)). "Most sources derive this word from the Spanish verb aficionar but the verb does not appear in Spanish before 1555, and the word aficionado is recorded in the 1400's" [Barnhart]. In English, originally of devotees of bullfighting; in non-restricted use by 1882.
afield (adv.) Look up afield at
"in or to a field," 1590s, contraction of Middle English prepositional phrase in felde, from Old English on felda "in the field" (especially of battle); see a- (1) + field (n.). Meaning "away from home, at a distance" is attested by early 15c.
afire (adv., adj.) Look up afire at
"on fire," c. 1200, afure, from a- (1) "on" + fire (n.). Figurative use by late 14c.
aflame (adv., adj.) Look up aflame at
"on fire, ablaze," 1550s, from a- (1) "on" + flame (n.). Figurative use by 1856.
aflaunt (adv., adj.) Look up aflaunt at
"flaunting; flauntingly," 1560s, from a- (1) + flaunt.
aflicker (adv., adj.) Look up aflicker at
1875, from a- (1) + flicker.
afloat (adv., adj.) Look up afloat at
Old English aflote, contraction of prepositional phrase on flot; see a- (1) "to" + flot "body of water deep enough for a boat" (see float (n.)).
aflush (adv., adj.) Look up aflush at
"blushing," 1880, from a- (1) + flush (n.) "redness in the face."
aflutter (adv., adj.) Look up aflutter at
"in a fluttering state, agitated," 1830, from a- (1) + flutter (n.).
afoot (adv., adj.) Look up afoot at
c. 1200, afote, "on foot, walking, not on horseback," contraction of prepositional phrase on fotum; see a- (1) "on" + foot (n.). Meaning "astir, on the move" is from 1520s; figurative sense of "in active operation" is from 1601 ("Julius Caesar").
afore (adv.) Look up afore at
Middle English, from Old English onforan, contraction of prepositional phrase on foran "before in place, at the beginning of, in front of," from on (prep.), see a- (1), + foran (adv.) "in front," dative of for. In some cases probably it represents Old English ætforan "at-fore."

Early 14c. as a preposition, "before in time," and as a conjunction, "earlier than the time when, before." Once the literary equivalent of before, it now has been replaced by that word except in nautical use, colloquial dialects, and in combinations such as aforesaid, aforethought.
aforementioned (adj.) Look up aforementioned at
1580s, from afore + past participle of mention (v.). Afore-written is from mid-15c.; aforenamed from c.1600.
aforesaid (adj.) Look up aforesaid at
"mentioned before in a preceding part of the same writing or speech," a common legal word, late 14c., from afore + said.
aforethought (adj.) Look up aforethought at
"premeditated," a legal word, 1580s, from afore + past tense of think. Apparently an English loan-translation of the Old French legalese word prepense (see prepense) in the phrase malice prepense "malice aforethought" (Coke).
aforetime (adv.) Look up aforetime at
early 15c., "before the present, in the past," from afore + time (n.).
afoul (adv.) Look up afoul at
1809, originally nautical, "in a state of collision or entanglement," from a- (1) + foul (adj.). From 1833 in general sense of "in violent or hostile conflict," mainly in phrases such as run afoul of.
afraid (adj.) Look up afraid at
"impressed with fear, fearful," early 14c., originally the past participle of the now-obsolete Middle English verb afray "frighten," from Anglo-French afrayer, Old French esfreer "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb" (see affray (n.)). A rare case of an English adjective that never stands before a noun. Because it was used in the King James Bible, it acquired independent standing and thrived while affray faded, and it chased off the once more common afeared. Colloquial sense in I'm afraid "I regret to say, I suspect" (without implication of fear, as a polite introduction to a correction, admission, etc.) is first recorded 1590s.
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone [Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes," 1820]
afresh (adv.) Look up afresh at
"anew, again," c. 1500, perhaps on analogy of anew [see note in OED], from a- (1) + fresh (adj.).
Afric (adj.) Look up Afric at
"African," 1580s, from Latin Africus (see Africa). Also sometimes used as a noun.
Africa (n.) Look up Africa at
Latin Africa (terra) "African land, Libya, the Carthaginian territory, the province of Africa; Africa as a continent," fem. of adjective Africus, from Afer "an African," a word of uncertain origin. The Latin word originally was used only in reference to the region around modern Tunisia; it gradually was extended to the whole continent. Derivation from a Phoenician cognate of Arabic afar "dust, earth" is tempting. The Middle English word was Affrike.
African (n.) Look up African at
Old English Africanas (plural) "native or inhabitant of Africa," from Latin Africanus (adj.) "of Africa, African," from Africa (see Africa). Used of white residents of Africa from 1815. Used of black residents of the U.S. from 18c., when it especially meant "one brought from Africa" and sometimes was contrasted to native-born Negro. As an adjective by 1560s, "pertaining to Africa or Africans" (Old English had Africanisc); from 1722 as "of or pertaining to black Americans."
African-American (adj.) Look up African-American at
there are isolated instances from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the modern use is a re-invention first attested 1969 (in reference to the African-American Teachers Association) which became the preferred term in some circles for "U.S. black" (noun or adjective) by the late 1980s. See African + American. Mencken, 1921, reports Aframerican "is now very commonly used in the Negro press." Afro-American is attested in 1853, in freemen's publications in Canada. Africo-American (1817 as a noun, 1826 as an adjective) was common in abolitionist and colonization society writings.
Africanism (n.) Look up Africanism at
1640s in reference to qualities of Latin peculiar to writers from Roman Africa (especially Church fathers), from African + -ism. By 1836 as "mode of speech peculiar to African-Americans." From 1957 in reference to the political development of African nations or peoples.
Afrikaans (n.) Look up Afrikaans at
"the Germanic language of South Africa, the Dutch language as spoken in South Africa," 1892, from Dutch Afrikaansch "Africanish" (see Afrikander). Also known as South African Dutch.
Afrikander (n.) Look up Afrikander at
1822, "South African native of Dutch descent," from Dutch Afrikaner "African," with unetymological -d- on analogy of Hollander, Englander, etc. (Afrikaner is attested from 1824).
Afro (n.) Look up Afro at
"full, bushy hairstyle worn by some people of African ancestry," 1938, from Afro-. Sometimes shortened to 'fro. As a general adjective for black styles of clothing, music, etc., it is attested from 1966.
Afro- Look up Afro- at
word-forming element meaning "African," from Latin Afr-, stem of Afer, Afri "African" (noun and adjective; see Africa), or directly from African.
aft (adv.) Look up aft at
Old English æftan "from behind, behind, farthest back," from superlative of Old English æf, af, of "away, away from, off" (from PIE root *apo- "off, away"). The Germanic superlative suffix *-ta corresponds to PIE *-to (compare Greek protos "first," superlative of pro "before"). The word is now purely nautical, "in, near, or toward the stern of a ship."
after (adv., prep.) Look up after at
Old English æfter "behind; later in time" (adv.); "behind in place; later than in time; in pursuit, following with intent to overtake" (prep.), from of "off" (see off (adv.)) + -ter, a comparative suffix; thus the original meaning was "more away, farther off." Compare Old Norse eptir "after," Old Frisian efter, Dutch achter, Old High German aftar, Gothic aftra "behind;" also see aft. Cognate with Greek apotero "farther off," Old Persian apataram "further."

From c. 1300 as "in imitation of." As a conjunction, "subsequent to the time that," from late Old English. After hours "hours after regular working hours" is from 1814. Afterwit "wisdom that comes too late" is attested from c. 1500 but seems to have fallen from use. After you as an expression in yielding precedence is recorded by 1650.
after-burner (n.) Look up after-burner at
1947, "device on the tailpipe of a jet engine to increase thrust," from after + burner.
after-care (n.) Look up after-care at
"care given after a course of medical treatment," 1854, from after + care (n.).
after-dinner (adj.) Look up after-dinner at
1730, from after + dinner.
afterbirth (n.) Look up afterbirth at
also after-birth, "placenta, etc., expelled from the uterus after birth," 1580s, perhaps based on older, similar Scandinavian compounds; see after + birth (n.). As "a birth after the death or last will of the father," 1875 (translating Latin agnatio in Roman law). Old English had æfterboren (adj.) "posthumous" in reference to birth.
afterglow (n.) Look up afterglow at
also after-glow, "glow in the western sky after sunset," 1829, from after + glow (n.).
afterlife (n.) Look up afterlife at
also after-life, 1590s, "a future life" (especially after resurrection), from after + life.
aftermarket (adj.) Look up aftermarket at
1940, American English, of automobile parts, from after + market.
aftermath (n.) Look up aftermath at
1520s, originally a second crop of grass grown on the same land after the first had been harvested, from after + -math, from Old English mæð "a mowing, cutting of grass," from PIE root *me- (4) "to cut down grass or grain."

Also known as aftercrop (1560s), aftergrass (1680s), lattermath, fog (n.2). Figurative sense is by 1650s. Compare French regain "aftermath," from re- + Old French gain, gaain "grass which grows in mown meadows," from Frankish or some other Germanic source similar to Old High German weida "grass, pasture."
afternoon (n.) Look up afternoon at
"part of the day from noon to evening," c. 1300, from after + noon. In 15c.-16c., the form was at afternoon; from c. 1600 it has been in the afternoon.As an adjective from 1570s. Middle English also had aftermete "afternoon, part of the day following the noon meal" (mid-14c.).
aftershock (n.) Look up aftershock at
also after-shock, "smaller earthquake after a larger one," 1894, from after + shock (n.1).
afterthought (n.) Look up afterthought at
1660s, "a later thought," from after + thought (n.). As "reflection after an act," 1680s. Sense of "youngest child of a family" (especially one born much later than the others) is by 1902.
afterward (adv.) Look up afterward at
Old English æfterwearde "behind, in back, in the rear," from æft "after" (see aft) + -weard suffix indicating direction (see -ward); expanded by influence of after. Variant afterwards shows adverbial genitive. Old English also had æfterweardnes "posterity."
afterwards (adv.) Look up afterwards at
c. 1300, from afterward (q.v.) + adverbial genitive -s.
afterword (n.) Look up afterword at
1879, from after + word (n.). An English substitute for epilogue.
aftward (adv.) Look up aftward at
Old English æftewearde; see aft + -ward. The original form of afterward (q.v.), retained in nautical use. Related: Aftwards.
ag (n.) Look up ag at
abbreviation of agriculture, attested from 1918, American English.
aga Look up aga at
also agha, title of rank, especially in Turkey, c. 1600, from Turkish agha "chief, master, lord," related to East Turkic agha "elder brother." The Agha Khan is the title of the spiritual leader of Nizari Ismaili Muslims.
again (adv.) Look up again at
late Old English agan, from earlier ongean (prep.) "toward; opposite, against, contrary to; in exchange for," as an adverb "in the opposite direction, back, to or toward a former place or position," from on "on" (see on (prep.) and compare a- (1)) + -gegn "against, toward," from Germanic root *gagina (source also of Old Norse gegn "straight, direct;" Danish igen "against;" Old Frisian jen, Old High German gegin, German gegen "against, toward," entgegen "against, in opposition to")

In Old English, eft (see eftsoons) was the main word for "again," but this often was strengthened by ongean, which became the principal word by 13c. Norse influence is responsible for the hard -g-. Differentiated from against (q.v.) 16c. in southern writers, again becoming an adverb only, and against taking over as preposition and conjunction, but again clung to all senses in northern and Scottish dialect (where against was not adopted). Of action, "in return," early 13c.; of action or factr, "once more," late 14c.
against (prep.) Look up against at
12c., agenes "in opposition to, adverse, hostile; in an opposite direction or position, in contact with, in front of, so as to meet," originally a southern variant of agan (prep.) "again" (see again), with adverbial genitive. The unetymological -t turned up mid-14c. and was standard by early 16c., perhaps from influence of superlatives (see amidst). Use as a conjunction, "against the time that," hence "before," is now archaic or obsolete.