artistry (n.) Look up artistry at
"artistic ability," 1837, from artist + -ry; as chemistry from chemist, etc.
artless (adj.) Look up artless at
1580s, "unskillful," from art (n.) + -less. Later also "uncultured" (1590s); then "unartificial, natural" (1670s) and "guileless, ingenuous" (1714). Related: Artlessly; artlessness.
artsy (adj.) Look up artsy at
"pretentiously artistic," 1902, from arts (see art (n.)); originally especially artsy-craftsy, with reference to the arts and crafts movement; always more or less dismissive or pejorative; artsy-fartsy was in use by 1971.
artwork (n.) Look up artwork at
also art-work, 1877, from art (n.) + work (n.).
arty (adj.) Look up arty at
1901, "having artistic pretentions," from art (n.) + -y (2); also see artsy.
arugula (n.) Look up arugula at
edible cruciform plant (Eruca sativa) used originally in the Mediterranean region as a salad; the American English and Australian form of the name is (via Italian immigrants) from a dialectal variant of Italian ruchetta, a diminutive form of ruca-, from Latin eruca, a name of some cabbage-like plant, from PIE *gher(s)-uka-, from root *ghers- "to bristle" (see horror).

In England, the usual name is rocket (see rocket (n.1)), which is from Italian ruchetta via French roquette. It also sometimes is called hedge mustard.
ARVN Look up ARVN at
acronym for Army of the Republic of Vietnam, ground military force of South Vietnam, organized 1955.
Aryan Look up Aryan at
c. 1600, as a term in classical history, from Latin Arianus, Ariana, from Greek Aria, Areia, names applied in classical times to the eastern part of ancient Persia and to its inhabitants. Ancient Persians used the name in reference to themselves (Old Persian ariya-), hence Iran. Ultimately from Sanskrit arya- "compatriot;" in later language "noble, of good family."

Also the name Sanskrit-speaking invaders of India gave themselves in the ancient texts, from which early 19c. European philologists (Friedrich Schlegel, 1819, who linked the word with German Ehre "honor") applied it to the ancient people we now call Indo-Europeans (suspecting that this is what they called themselves); this use is attested in English from 1851. The term fell into the hands of racists, and in German from 1845 it was specifically contrasted to Semitic (Lassen).

German philologist Max Müller (1823-1900) popularized the term in his writings on comparative linguistics, recommending it as the name (replacing Indo-European, Indo-Germanic, Caucasian, Japhetic) for the group of related, inflected languages connected with these peoples, mostly found in Europe but also including Sanskrit and Persian. Arian was used in this sense from 1839 (and is more philologically correct), but this spelling caused confusion with Arian, the term in ecclesiastical history.

Gradually replaced in comparative linguistics c. 1900 by Indo-European, except when used to distinguish Indo-European languages of India from non-Indo-European ones. Used in Nazi ideology to mean "member of a Caucasian Gentile race of Nordic type." As an ethnic designation, however, it is properly limited to Indo-Iranians (most justly to the latter) and has fallen from general academic use since the Nazi era.
Aryanism (n.) Look up Aryanism at
1888, "characteristic Aryan principles," from Aryan + -ism. As a belief in cultural or racial superiority of Aryans, from 1905.
as (adv.) Look up as at
c. 1200, worn-down form of Old English alswa "quite so" (see also), fully established by c. 1400. Equivalent to so; any distinction in use is purely idiomatic. Related to German als "as, than," from Middle High German also. Phrase as well "just as much" is recorded from late 15c.; the phrase also can imply "as well as not," "as well as anything else." Interjection of incredulity as if! (i.e. "as if that really could happen") is attested from 1995, an exact duplication of Latin quasi.
asafetida (n.) Look up asafetida at
late 14c., from Medieval Latin asa (Latinized from Persian aza "mastic") + foetida, fem. of foetidus "stinking" (see fetid).
asafoetida (n.) Look up asafoetida at
alternative spelling of asafetida (q.v.); also see oe.
asap Look up asap at
see a.s.a.p.
asbestine (adj.) Look up asbestine at
1620s, from Latin asbestinus, from Greek asbestinos, from asbestos (see asbestos).
asbestos (n.) Look up asbestos at
1650s, earlier albeston, abestus (c. 1100), name of a fabulous stone, which, set afire, could not be extinguished; from Old French abeste, abestos, from Latin asbestos "quicklime" (which "burns" when cold water is poured on it), from Greek asbestos, literally "inextinguishable," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sbestos, verbal adjective from sbennynai "to quench," from PIE root *(s)gwes- "to quench, extinguish" (source also of Lithuanian gestu "to go out," Old Church Slavonic gaso, Hittite kishtari "is being put out").

The Greek word was used by Dioscorides as a noun meaning "quicklime." "Erroneously applied by Pliny to an incombustible fibre, which he believed to be vegetable, but which was really the amiantos of the Greeks" [OED]. Meaning "mineral capable of being woven into incombustible fabric" is from c. 1600 in English; earlier this was called amiant (early 15c.), from Latin amiantus, from Greek amiantos, literally "undefiled" (so called because it showed no mark or stain when thrown into fire). Supposed in the Middle Ages to be salamanders' wool, and an old name for it in English was fossil linen (18c.). Prester John, the Emperor of India, and Pope Alexander III were said to have had robes or tunics made of it.
ascend (v.) Look up ascend at
late 14c., from Latin ascendere "to climb up, mount, ascend," figuratively "to rise, reach," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)). Also in 15c. used with a sense "to mount (a female) for copulation." Related: Ascended; ascending. An Old English word for it was stigan.
ascendance (n.) Look up ascendance at
1742, from ascend + -ance. Properly "the act of ascending," but used from the start in English as a synonym of ascendancy.
ascendancy (n.) Look up ascendancy at
"dominant power or influence," 1712; see ascendant + -cy.
ascendant (adj.) Look up ascendant at
late 14c., ascendent, astrological use is earliest, from Middle French ascendant (noun and adjective) and directly from Latin ascendentem (nominative ascendans), present participle of ascendere "to mount, ascend, go up" (see ascend). Sense "moving upward, rising" is recorded from 1590s. In the ascendant "ruling, dominant" (not, as is often thought, "rising") is from 1670s.
ascendency (n.) Look up ascendency at
alternative spelling of ascendancy (see -ance).
ascension (n.) Look up ascension at
c. 1300, "ascent of Christ into Heaven on the 40th day after the Resurrection," from Latin ascensionem (nominative ascensio) "a rising," noun of action from past participle stem of ascendere "to mount, ascend, go up" (see ascend). Astronomical sense is recorded late 14c.; meaning "action of ascending" is from 1590s. Related: Ascensional.
ascent (n.) Look up ascent at
c. 1610, "action of ascending," from ascend on model of descend/descent; "climbing" sense is from 1753.
ascertain (v.) Look up ascertain at
early 15c., "to inform, to give assurance," from Anglo-French acerteiner, Old French acertener "to assure, certify" (13c.), from a "to" (see ad-) + certain "sure, assured" (see certain). Modern meaning of "find out for sure by experiment or investigation" is first attested 1794. Related: Ascertained; ascertaining.
ascertainable (adj.) Look up ascertainable at
1783, from ascertain + -able. Related: Ascertainably.
ascetic (adj.) Look up ascetic at
1640s, from Greek asketikos "rigorously self-disciplined, laborious," from asketes "monk, hermit," earlier "one who practices an art or trade," from askein "to exercise, train," originally "to train for athletic competition, practice gymnastics, exercise."
ascetic (n.) Look up ascetic at
"one of the early Christians who retired to the desert to live solitary lives of meditation and prayer," 1670s, from ascetic (adj.).
asceticism (n.) Look up asceticism at
1640s, from ascetic (adj.) + -ism. Sometimes also ascetism (c. 1850).
Ascians (n.) Look up Ascians at
inhabitants of the torrid zone, who "haue the Sunne twice euery yeere in their zenith, and then they make no shaddowes at all" [Nathanael Carpenter, "Geographie Delineated forth in Two Bookes," 1635], from Medieval Latin Ascii, from Greek askioi, from a- "not, without," privative prefix (see a- (3)), + skia "shade, shadow" (see shine (v.)).
ASCII Look up ASCII at
1963, initialism (acronym) from "American Standard Code for Information Interchange."
ascites (n.) Look up ascites at
late 14c., "abdominal dropsy," from Latin ascites, from Greek askites (hydrops), literally "baglike dropsy," from askos "bag, sac."
ascitic (adj.) Look up ascitic at
"afflicted with ascites," 1680s; see ascites + -ic. Related: Ascitical.
Asclepius Look up Asclepius at
god of medicine, Latin, from Greek Asklepios, which is of unknown origin.
ascorbic (adj.) Look up ascorbic at
1933 (in ascorbic acid), from a- (2) + scorb(ut)ic "of scurvy" (from Medieval Latin scorbuticus "scurvy"); originally in reference to Vitamin C, which is an anti-scorbutic. The Latin word is perhaps of German or Dutch origin.
Ascot Look up Ascot at
village near Windsor, Berkshire; site of fashionable race-meeting. Used attributively for clothes suitable for the event; especially a type of tie (1908). The town name is literally "eastern cottage."
ascribable (adj.) Look up ascribable at
1670s, from ascribe + -able. Related: Ascribably; ascribability.
ascribe (v.) Look up ascribe at
mid-14c., ascrive, from Old French ascrivre "to inscribe; attribute, impute," from Latin ascribere "to write in, to add to in a writing," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)). Spelling restored by 16c. Related: Ascribed; ascribing.
ascription (n.) Look up ascription at
1590s, "action of adding in writing;" c. 1600, "attribution of authorship or origin," from Latin ascriptionem (nominative ascriptio) "an addition in writing," noun of action from past participle stem of ascribere (see ascribe).
ascus (n.) Look up ascus at
"sac in certain fungi," 1830, Modern Latin, from Greek askos "leather bag, wine skin," which is of unknown origin.
asea (adj.) Look up asea at
1858, from a- (1) "on" + sea.
ASEAN Look up ASEAN at
initialism (acronym) for Association of South-East Asian Nations, formed 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand; since expanded to 10 nations.
aseismic (n.) Look up aseismic at
"resistant to earthquake destruction," 1884, from a- (2) "not" + seismic.
aseity (n.) Look up aseity at
"being by itself," 1690s, from Medieval Latin aseitas "state of being by itself," from Latin a "from" + se "oneself" (see suicide).
asepsis (n.) Look up asepsis at
1892, from a- (2) "not" + sepsis.
aseptic (adj.) Look up aseptic at
1859, from a- (2) "not" + septic. As a noun from 1884.
asexual (adj.) Look up asexual at
1830, as a term in biology, a hybrid from a- (2) "not" + sexual. In general contexts, attested from 1896.
asexuality (n.) Look up asexuality at
1877; see asexual + -ity.
asexually (adv.) Look up asexually at
1862; see asexual + -ly (2).
Asgard (n.) Look up Asgard at
home of the gods in Norse religion, from Old Norse ass "god," which is related to Old English os, Gothic ans "god" (see Aesir) + Old Norse garðr "enclosure, yard, garden" (see yard (n.1)).
ash (n.1) Look up ash at
"powdery remains of fire," Old English æsce "ash," from Proto-Germanic *askon (source also of Old Norse and Swedish aska, Old High German asca, German asche, Gothic azgo "ashes"), from PIE root *ai- (2) "to burn, glow" (source also of Sanskrit asah "ashes, dust," Armenian azazem "I dry up," Greek azein "to dry up, parch," Latin ardus "parched, dry"). Spanish and Portuguese ascua "red-hot coal" are Germanic loan-words.

Symbol of grief or repentance; hence Ash Wednesday (c. 1300), from custom introduced by Pope Gregory the Great of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents on the first day of Lent. Ashes meaning "mortal remains of a person" is late 13c., in reference to the ancient custom of cremation.
ash (n.2) Look up ash at
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").