ash (n.2) Look up ash at Dictionary.com
type of tree, Old English æsc "ash tree," also "spear made of ash wood," from Proto-Germanic *askaz, *askiz (source also of Old Norse askr, Old Saxon ask, Middle Dutch esce, German Esche), from PIE root *os- "ash tree" (source also of Armenian haci "ash tree," Albanian ah "beech," Greek oxya "beech," Latin ornus "wild mountain ash," Russian jasen, Lithuanian uosis "ash"). Ash was the preferred wood for spear-shafts, so Old English æsc sometimes meant "spear" (as in æsc-here "company armed with spears").
ashamed (adj.) Look up ashamed at Dictionary.com
Old English asceamed "feeling shame, filled with shame," past participle of ascamian "to feel shame," from a- intensive prefix + scamian "be ashamed, blush; cause shame" (see shame (v.)). The verb is obsolete, but the past participle lives on. Meaning "reluctant through fear of shame" is c. 1300.
Ashanti (n.) Look up Ashanti at Dictionary.com
1705, Asiantines, one of the Akan people of central Ghana; native name. As a language, it is part of the Niger-Congo family.
ashen (adj.) Look up ashen at Dictionary.com
"made of ash wood," c. 1300; see ash (n.2) + -en (2); meaning "ash-colored, whitish-gray, deadly pale" is 1808, from ash (n.1).
Asher Look up Asher at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, biblical son of Jacob (also the name of a tribe descended from him), from Hebrew, literally "happy."
asherah (n.) Look up asherah at Dictionary.com
1863, wooden pillar used as symbol of Canaanite goddess Ashera, a name of unknown origin.
Ashkenazim (n.) Look up Ashkenazim at Dictionary.com
(plural) "central and northern European Jews" (as opposed to Sephardim, Jews of Spain and Portugal), 1839, from Hebrew Ashkenazzim, plural of Ashkenaz, eldest son of Gomer (Genesis x.3), also the name of a people mentioned in Jeremiah li.27 (perhaps akin to Greek skythoi "Scythians," compare Akkadian ishkuzai); identified historically with various people; in Middle Ages, with the Germans.
ashlar (n.) Look up ashlar at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "square stone for building or paving," from Old French aiseler, from Latin axillaris, from axilla, diminutive of axis "board, plank," which is perhaps not the same axis that means "axle." The stone sense is peculiar to English.
Ashley Look up Ashley at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, all but unknown before c. 1965; one of the most popular names for girls born in U.S. from c. 1980; evidently inspired by the surname Ashley, Ashleigh (attested from 12c.), which means "clearing among the ash trees," from Old English æsc + leah (see ash (n.2) + lea).
ashore (adv.) Look up ashore at Dictionary.com
1580s, "toward the shore," from a- (1) + shore (n.). Meaning "on the shore" is from 1630s. Middle English had ashore (late 15c.), but it meant "on a slant," literally "propped up," from shore (v.).
ashram (n.) Look up ashram at Dictionary.com
"religious hermitage," 1917, from Sanskrit asramah, from a-, adnomial prefix, + sramah "effort, toll, fatigue."
ashtray (n.) Look up ashtray at Dictionary.com
1857 as a receptacle for smokers' ashes, from ash (n.1) + tray.
Ashura (n.) Look up Ashura at Dictionary.com
Islamic fast on the 10th day of Muharram, Arabic Ashura', literally "tenth."
ashy (adj.) Look up ashy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from ash (n.1) + -y (2).
Asia Look up Asia at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Latin Asia, from Greek Asia, speculated to be from Akkadian asu "to go out, to rise," in reference to the sun, thus "the land of the sunrise."
Asiago Look up Asiago at Dictionary.com
type of Italian cheese, by 1922, named for town of Asiago (German Schlägen) in the Veneto region of Italy.
Asian (n.) Look up Asian at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "inhabitant of Asia (Minor)," from Latin Asianus (adjective and noun, "belonging to the province of Asia;" "an inhabitant of Asia"), from Greek Asianos, from Asia (see Asia). Ousted Asiatic as the preferred term in Britain c. 1950.
The term "Asiatic" has come to be regarded with disfavour by those to whom it is applied, and they feel entitled to be brought into line with usage in regard to Europeans, Americans and Australians. ["Times Literary Supplement," Feb. 6, 1953]
As an adjective in English, by 1690s.
Asiatic (adj.) Look up Asiatic at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Latin Asiaticus (surname of Latin Corn. Scipio), from Greek Asiatikos, from Asia (see Asia; also compare Asian). As a noun, by 1763. In ancient Rome, Asiatici oratores was florid and overly ornate prose.
aside (adv.) Look up aside at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "off to one side;" mid-14c., "to or from the side;" late 14c., "away or apart from others, out of the way," from a- (1) + side (n.). Noun sense of "words spoken so as to be (supposed) inaudible" is from 1727. Middle English had asidely "on the side, indirectly" (early 15c.) and asideward "sideways, horizontal" (late 14c.).
asine (n.) Look up asine at Dictionary.com
1530s, "she-ass," from French asine, from Latin asina (see ass (n.1)).
asinine (adj.) Look up asinine at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "obstinate, stupid," from Latin asininus "stupid," literally "like an ass," from asinus "ass," also "dolt, blockhead" (see ass (n.1)). The literal sense in English is recorded from 1620s.
ask (v.) Look up ask at Dictionary.com
Old English ascian "ask, call for an answer; make a request," from earlier ahsian, from Proto-Germanic *aiskon (source also of Old Saxon escon, Old Frisian askia "request, demand, ask," Middle Dutch eiscen, Dutch eisen "to ask, demand," Old High German eiscon "to ask (a question)," German heischen "to ask, demand"), from PIE *ais- "to wish, desire" (source also of Sanskrit icchati "seeks, desires," Armenian aic "investigation," Old Church Slavonic iskati "to seek," Lithuanian ieškau "to seek").

Form in English influenced by a Scandinavian cognate (such as Danish æske; the Old English would have evolved by normal sound changes into ash, esh, which was a Midlands and southwestern England dialect form). Modern dialectal ax is as old as Old English acsian and was an accepted literary variant until c. 1600. Related: Asked; asking. Old English also had fregnan/frignan which carried more directly the sense of "question, inquire," and is from PIE root *prek-, the common source of words for "ask" in most Indo-European languages (see pray). If you ask me "in my opinion" is attested from 1910. Asking price is attested from 1755.
askance (adv.) Look up askance at Dictionary.com
1520s, "sideways, asquint," of obscure origin. OED has separate listings for askance and obsolete Middle English askance(s) and no indication of a connection, but Barnhart and others derive the newer word from the older one. The Middle English word, recorded early 14c. as ase quances and found later in Chaucer, meant "in such a way that; even as; as if;" and as an adverb "insincerely, deceptively." It has been analyzed as a compound of as and Old French quanses (pronounced "kanses") "how if," from Latin quam "how" + si "if."
The E[nglish] as is, accordingly, redundant, and merely added by way of partial explanation. The M.E. askances means "as if" in other passages, but here means, "as if it were," i.e. "possibly," "perhaps"; as said above. Sometimes the final s is dropped .... [Walter W. Skeat, glossary to Chaucer's "Man of Law's Tale," 1894]
Also see discussion in Leo Spitzer, "Anglo-French Etymologies," Philological Quarterly 24.23 (1945), and see OED entry for askance (adv.) for discussion of the mysterious ask- word cluster in English. Other guesses about the origin of askance include Old French a escone, from past participle of a word for "hidden;" Italian a scancio "obliquely, slantingly;" or that it is a cognate of askew.
askew (adv.) Look up askew at Dictionary.com
1570s, of uncertain etymology; perhaps literally "on skew" (see skew), or from the Old Norse form, a ska. Earlier askoye is attested in the same sense (early 15c.).
aslant (adv.) Look up aslant at Dictionary.com
early 14c., o-slant, literally "on slant," from on + slant (v.). As a preposition from c. 1600.
asleep (adj.) Look up asleep at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, aslepe, o slæpe, from Old English on slæpe (see sleep). The parallel form on sleep continued until c. 1550. Of limbs, "numb through stoppage of circulation," from late 14c. Meaning "inattentive, off guard" is from mid-14c.
Asmodeus Look up Asmodeus at Dictionary.com
evil spirit, prince of demons, from Latin Asmodaeus, from Greek Asmodaios, from Talmudic Hebrew Ashmeday, from Avestan Aeshma-dæva, "Aeshma the deceitful," from aeshma "anger," daeva- "spirit, demon."
asocial (adj.) Look up asocial at Dictionary.com
1883, "antagonistic to society or social order," from a- "not" + social (adj.); also compare antisocial.
asp (n.) Look up asp at Dictionary.com
poisonous snake, 1520s, earlier aspis (mid-14c.), from Old French aspe "asp" (13c.) or directly from Latin aspidem (nominative aspis), from Greek aspis "an asp, Egyptian viper," literally "shield;" the serpent so called probably in reference to its neck hood.
asparagus (n.) Look up asparagus at Dictionary.com
late 14c., aspergy; late Old English sparage, from Latin asparagus (in Medieval Latin often sparagus), from Greek asparagos, which is of uncertain origin; probably from PIE root *sp(h)er(e)g- "to spring up" (though perhaps not originally a Greek word).

In Middle English, asperages sometimes was regarded as a plural, with false singular aspergy. By 16c. the word had been Englished as far as sperach, sperage. It was respelled by c. 1600 to conform with classical Latin, but in 17c. the folk-etymologized variant sparrowgrass took hold, persisting into 19c., during which time asparagus had "an air of stiffness and pedantry" [John Walker, "Critical Pronouncing Dictionary," 1791]. Known in Old English as eorðnafela.
aspartame (n.) Look up aspartame at Dictionary.com
commercial name of an artificial sweetener, 1973, from aspartic acid (1836), formed irregularly from asparagine (1813), a compound found in asparagus, beet-root, etc., which was named from asparagus + chemical suffix -ine (2). The reason for -ame is unknown.
Aspasia Look up Aspasia at Dictionary.com
beautiful and capable Milesian consort of Pericles, proper name from fem. of Greek aspasios "welcome," related to aspazesthai "to welcome," which is of uncertain origin.
aspect (n.) Look up aspect at Dictionary.com
late 14c., an astrological term, "relative position of the planets as they appear from earth" (i.e., how they "look at" one another); later also "way of viewing things," from Latin aspectus "a seeing, looking at, sight, view, countenance, appearance," from past participle of aspicere "to look at," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "the look one wears, the appearance of things" attested by early 15c.
aspen (n.) Look up aspen at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from adjective or genitive form of Old English æspe "aspen tree, white poplar," from Proto-Germanic *aspo- (source also of Old Norse ösp, Middle Dutch espe, Old High German aspa, German Espe), from PIE *apsa "aspen" (source also of Lithuanian opuse). The current form in English probably arose from phrases such as aspen leaf, aspen bark (see -en (2)). Its leaves have been figurative of tremulousness and quaking since at least early 15c. (an Old English name for it was cwicbeam, literally "quick-tree").
asperate (v.) Look up asperate at Dictionary.com
1650s, "make rough," from Latin asperatus, past participle of asperare "to roughen, make rough, exasperate," from asper "rough" (see asperity). Related: Asperated; asperating.
asperation (n.) Look up asperation at Dictionary.com
1721, noun of action from asperate (v.). Asperacioun "harshness" is attested from early 15c.
Asperger's Syndrome (n.) Look up Asperger's Syndrome at Dictionary.com
1981, named for the sake of Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger (1906-1980), who described it in 1944 (and called it autistic psychopathy; German autistischen psychopathen). A standard diagnosis since 1992; recognition of Asperger's work was delayed, perhaps, because his school and much of his early research were destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944.
The example of autism shows particularly well how even abnormal personalities can be capable of development and adjustment. Possibilities of social integration which one would never have dremt of may arise in the course of development. [Hans Asperger, "Autistic psychopathy in Childhood," 1944]
Asperges (n.) Look up Asperges at Dictionary.com
sprinkling ritual of the Catholic church, 1550s, from Late Latin asperges, noun use of 2nd person singular future indicative of Latin aspergere "to scatter, strew upon, sprinkle," from ad "to" (see ad-) + spargere "to sprinkle" (see sparse). The word is taken from the phrase Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor, from Psalm 51 (Vulgate), sung during the rite of sprinkling a congregation with holy water.
asperity (n.) Look up asperity at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, asprete "hardship, harshness of feelings," a figurative use, from Old French asperité "difficulty, painful situation, harsh treatment" (12c., Modern French âpreté), from Latin asperitatem (nominative asperitas) "roughness," from asper "rough, harsh," which is of unknown origin; in Latin used also of sour wine, bad weather, and hard times. Figurative meaning "harshness of feeling" in English is attested from early 15c.
asperse (v.) Look up asperse at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "to besprinkle," from Latin aspersus, past participle of aspergere "besprinkle, bespatter" (see aspersion). Meaning "to bespatter someone's character with rumor and false reports" is recorded from 1610s.
aspersion (n.) Look up aspersion at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Latin aspersionem (nominative aspersio) "a sprinkling," noun of action from past participle stem of aspergere "to sprinkle on," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + spargere "sprinkle, strew" (see sparse). Originally in theology, the shedding of Christ's blood. Modern sense of "a bespattering with slander" first attested 1590s. To cast aspersions was in Fielding (1749).
asphalt (n.) Look up asphalt at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "hard, resinous mineral pitch found originally in Biblical lands," from Late Latin asphaltum, from Greek asphaltos "asphalt, bitumen," probably from a non-Greek source, possibly Semitic [Klein, citing Lewy, 1895]. Another theory holds it to be from Greek a- "not" + *sphaltos "able to be thrown down," taken as verbal adjective of sphallein "to throw down," in reference to a use of the material in building.

Meaning "paving composition" dates from 1847 and its popular use in this sense established the modern form of the English word, displacing in most senses asphaltum, asphaltos. As a verb meaning "to cover with asphalt," from 1872. Related: Asphaltic.
aspheterism (n.) Look up aspheterism at Dictionary.com
doctrine that there ought to be no private property, 1794, from Greek a- "not," privative prefix (see a- (3)), + spheteros "one's own," from sphetrisomos "appropriation."
asphodel (n.) Look up asphodel at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos "asphodel, king's spear, plant of the lily kind," which is of unknown origin (see daffodil). It was the peculiar plant of the dead; and in Greek mythology and English poetic use it overspreads the Elysian meadows.
To embathe In nectared lavers strewed with asphodel. [Milton, "Comus," 1634]
asphyxia (n.) Look up asphyxia at Dictionary.com
1706, "stoppage of pulse, absence of pulse," from Modern Latin, from Greek asphyxia "stopping of the pulse," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sphyzein "to throb." Obsolete in its original sense; the transferred sense of "suffocation" is from 1778, but it is a "curious infelicity of etymology" [OED] because victims of suffocation have a pulse for some time after breathing has stopped.
asphyxiate (v.) Look up asphyxiate at Dictionary.com
1818, "to suffocate" (someone or something), from asphyxia + -ate (2). Related: Asphyxiated; asphyxiating.
asphyxiation (n.) Look up asphyxiation at Dictionary.com
1866, noun of action from asphyxiate (v.).
aspic (n.) Look up aspic at Dictionary.com
"savory meat jelly," 1789, from French aspic "jelly" (18c.), literally "asp," from Old French aspe (see asp) + ending from basilisc "basilisk" (the two creatures sometimes were confused with one another). The foodstuff said to be so called from its coldness (froid comme un aspic is said by Littré to be a proverbial phrase), or the colors in the gelatin, or the shape of the mold. It also was a French word for "lavendar spike" and might refer to this as a seasoning element.
aspirant (n.) Look up aspirant at Dictionary.com
"one who aspires," 1738, from French aspirant, from Latin aspirantem (nominative aspirans), present participle of aspirare (see aspire).
aspirate (n.) Look up aspirate at Dictionary.com
1725, "sound of the letter 'H'," especially at the beginning of a word, from Latin aspiratio "a breathing, exhalation; the pronunciation of the letter H" (see aspire).