aspirate (v.) Look up aspirate at Dictionary.com
"to pronounce with audible breath," 1700; perhaps a back-formation from aspiration (n.2), or from French aspirer or directly from Latin aspiratus, past participle of aspirare (see aspire). Related: Aspirated; aspirating.
aspiration (n.1) Look up aspiration at Dictionary.com
1530s, "action of breathing into," from Latin aspirationem (nominative aspiratio) "a breathing on, a blowing upon; rough breathing; influence," noun of action from past participle stem of aspirare (see aspire). Meaning "steadfast longing for a higher goal, earnest desire for something above one" is recorded from c. 1600 (sometimes collectively, as aspirations).
aspiration (n.2) Look up aspiration at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "action of aspirating," noun of action from aspirate (v.).
aspirational (adj.) Look up aspirational at Dictionary.com
by 1985, from aspiration (n.1) + -al (1).
aspire (v.) Look up aspire at Dictionary.com
"strive for," c. 1400, from Old French aspirer "aspire to; inspire; breathe, breathe on" (12c.), from Latin aspirare "to breathe upon, blow upon, to breathe," also, in transferred senses, "to be favorable to, assist; to climb up to, to endeavor to obtain, to reach to, to seek to reach; infuse," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)). The notion is of "panting with desire," or perhaps of rising smoke. Related: Aspired; aspiring.
aspirin (n.) Look up aspirin at Dictionary.com
coined 1899 by German chemist Heinrich Dreser (1860-1924) in German as a trademark name, from Latin Spiraea (ulmaria) "meadow-sweet," the plant in whose flowers or leaves the processed acid in the medicine is naturally found, + common chemical ending -in (see -ine (2)). Spiraea (Tournefort, 1700) is from Latinized form of Greek speiraia "meadow-sweet," so called from the shape of its follicles (see spiral (adj.)). The initial -a- is to acknowledge acetylation; Dreser said the word was a contraction of acetylierte spirsäure, the German name of the acid, which now is obsolete, replaced by salicylic acid.
Die Bezeichnung Aspirin ist abgeleitet aus "Spirsäure" -- alter Name der Salicylsäure und A = Acetyl; statt" Acetylirte Spirsäure, kurzweg "Aspirin". [H, Dreser, "Pharmakologisches über Aspirin (Acetylsalicylsäure)," in "Archiv für die Gesammte Physiologie des Menschen und der Thiere," 1899, p.307]
The custom of giving commercial names to medicinal products began in Germany in the late 19th century, when nascent pharmaceutical firms were discovering medical uses for common, easily made chemicals. To discourage competitors they would market the substance under a short trademarked name a doctor could remember, rather than the long chemical compound word. German law required prescriptions to be filled exactly as written.
asportation (n.) Look up asportation at Dictionary.com
"a carrying away or off" (legal), c. 1500, from Latin asportationem (nominative asportatio), noun of action from past participle stem of asportare "to carry off," from abs- "away" (see ab-) + portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)).
asquint (adv.) Look up asquint at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "obliquely, with a sidelong glance," of uncertain etymology; from a- (1) + "a word corresponding to Du. schuinte 'slope, slant' of the independent use of which no instances survive ..." [OED]. "Middle English Dictionary" compares French équinter "cut to a point;" French dialectal (e)squintar "cast a glance, look furtively."
ass (n.1) Look up ass at Dictionary.com
beast of burden, Old English assa (Old Northumbrian assal, assald) "he-ass," probably from Old Celtic *as(s)in "donkey," which (with German esel, Gothic asilus, Lithuanian asilas, Old Church Slavonic osl) ultimately is from Latin asinus, which is probably of Middle Eastern origin (compare Sumerian ansu).
For al schal deie and al schal passe, Als wel a Leoun as an asse. [John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1393]
Since ancient Greek times, in fables and parables, the animal typified clumsiness and stupidity (hence asshead, late 15c., etc.). To make an ass of oneself is from 1580s. Asses' Bridge (c. 1780), from Latin Pons Asinorum, is fifth proposition of first book of Euclid's "Elements." In Middle English, someone uncomprehending or unappreciative would be lik an asse that listeth on a harpe. In 15c., an ass man was a donkey driver.
ass (n.2) Look up ass at Dictionary.com
slang for "backside," first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; chiefly U.S.; from dialectal variant pronunciation of arse (q.v.). The loss of -r- before -s- attested in several other words (such as burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass, garsh/gash). Indirect evidence of the change from arse to ass can be traced to 1785 (in euphemistic avoidance of ass "donkey" by polite speakers) and perhaps to Shakespeare, if Nick Bottom transformed into a donkey in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1594) is the word-play some think it is.

Meaning "woman regarded as a sexual object" is from 1942. To have (one's) head up (one's) ass "not know what one is doing" is attested by 1969. Colloquial (one's) ass "one's self, one's person" attested by 1958. To work (one's) ass off "work very much" is by 1951; to laugh (one's) ass off "laugh very much" is by 1972.
assail (v.) Look up assail at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, from Old French assalir "attack, assault, assail" (12c., Modern French assaillir), from Vulgar Latin *adsalire "to leap at," from Latin ad- "at" (see ad-) + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Figurative use from mid-14c. Related: Assailed; assailing; assailable.
assailant (n.) Look up assailant at Dictionary.com
1530s, from French assailant, noun use of present participle of assailir (see assail). Earlier in same sense was assailer (c. 1400).
assassin (n.) Look up assassin at Dictionary.com
1530s (in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), via French and Italian, from Arabic hashishiyyin "hashish-users," plural of hashishiyy, from the source of hashish (q.v.). A fanatical Ismaili Muslim sect of the time of the Crusades, under leadership of the "Old Man of the Mountains" (translates Arabic shaik-al-jibal, name applied to Hasan ibu-al-Sabbah), with a reputation for murdering opposing leaders after intoxicating themselves by eating hashish. The plural suffix -in was mistaken in Europe for part of the word (compare Bedouin).
assassinate (v.) Look up assassinate at Dictionary.com
1610s, from past participle stem of Medieval Latin assassinare (see assassin). "Assassinate means to kill wrongfully by surprise, suddenly, or by secret assault" [Century Dictionary]. Of reputations, characters, etc., from 1620s. Related: Assassinated; assassinating.
assassination (n.) Look up assassination at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, noun of action from assassinate (v.).
assault (n.) Look up assault at Dictionary.com
late 14c., earlier asaut (c. 1200), from Old French asaut, assaut "an attack, an assault, attacking forces" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *adsaltus "attack, assault," from ad "to" (see ad-) + Latin saltus "a leap," from salire "to leap, spring" (see assail). In law by 1580s; historically, assault includes menacing words or actions; battery is an actual blow.
assault (v.) Look up assault at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French asauter, assauter, from Vulgar Latin *assaltare (see assault (n.)). Related: Assaulted; assaulting.
assay (v.) Look up assay at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "to try, endeavor, strive; test the quality of," from Anglo-French assaier, from assai (n.), from Old French essai "trial" (see essay).
assay (n.) Look up assay at Dictionary.com
"trial, test of quality, test of character," mid-14c., from Anglo-French assai (see assay (v.)). Meaning "analysis" is from late 14c.
assemblage (n.) Look up assemblage at Dictionary.com
c. 1704, from French assemblage "gathering, assemblage," from assembler (see assemble). Earlier English words in the same sense include assemblement, assemblance (both late 15c.).
assemble (v.) Look up assemble at Dictionary.com
early 14c., transitive and intransitive, from Old French assembler "come together, join, unite; gather" (11c.), from Latin assimulare "to make like, liken, compare; copy, imitate; feign, pretend," later "to gather together," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + simulare "to make like" (see simulation). In Middle English and in Old French it also was a euphemism for "to couple sexually." Meaning "to put parts together" in manufacturing is from 1852. Related: Assembled; assembling. Assemble together is redundant.
assembly (n.) Look up assembly at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "a gathering of persons, a group gathered for some purpose," from Old French as(s)emblee "assembly, gathering; union, marriage," noun use of fem. past participle of assembler "to assemble" (see assemble). Meaning "gathering together" is recorded from early 15c.; that of "act of assembling parts or objects" is from 1914, as is assembly line. School sense is recorded from 1932.
assent (v.) Look up assent at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French assentir "agree; get used to" (12c.), from Latin assentare "to agree with," frequentative of assentire, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + sentire "to feel, think" (see sense (n.)). Related: Assented; assenting.
assent (n.) Look up assent at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "consent, approval," from Old French assent, a back-formation from assentir (see assent (v.)).
assert (v.) Look up assert at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "declare," from Latin assertus, past participle of asserere "claim, maintain, affirm" (see assertion). Related: Asserted; asserting. To assert oneself "stand up for one's rights" is recorded from 1879.
assertion (n.) Look up assertion at Dictionary.com
early 15c., assercioun, from Middle French assertion (14c.) or directly from Late Latin assertionem (nominative assertio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin asserere "claim rights over something, state, maintain, affirm," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + serere "join" (see series). By "joining oneself" to a particular view, one "claimed" or "maintained" it.
assertive (adj.) Look up assertive at Dictionary.com
1560s, "declaratory, positive, full of assertion," from assert + -ive. Meaning "insisting on one's rights" is short for self-assertive (1865).
assertively (adv.) Look up assertively at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., assertiveli; see assertive + -ly (2).
assertiveness (n.) Look up assertiveness at Dictionary.com
"tendency toward self-assertion," 1881, from assertive + -ness.
assess (v.) Look up assess at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to fix the amount (of a tax, fine, etc.)," from Anglo-French assesser, from Medieval Latin assessare "fix a tax upon," originally frequentative of Latin assessus "a sitting by," past participle of assidere "to sit beside" (and thus to assist in the office of a judge), from ad- "to" (see ad-) + sedere "to sit" (see sedentary). One of the judge's assistant's jobs was to fix the amount of a fine or tax. Meaning "to estimate the value of property for the purpose of taxing it" is from 1809; transferred sense of "to judge the value of a person, idea, etc." is from 1934. Related: Assessed; assessing.
assessable (adj.) Look up assessable at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from assess + -able.
assessment (n.) Look up assessment at Dictionary.com
1540s, "value of property for tax purposes," from assess + -ment. Meaning "determination or adjustment of tax rate" is from 1540s; general sense of "estimation" is recorded from 1620s. In education jargon from 1956.
assessor (n.) Look up assessor at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French assessor "assistant judge, assessor (in court)" (12c., Modern French assesseur) and directly from Latin assessor "an assistant, aid; an assistant judge," in Late Latin "one who assesses taxes," literally "a sitter-by," agent noun from past participle stem of assidere "to sit beside" (see assess).
asset (n.) Look up asset at Dictionary.com
see assets.
assets (n.) Look up assets at Dictionary.com
1530s, "sufficient estate," from Anglo-French asetz (singular), from Old French assez (11c.) "sufficiency, satisfaction; compensation," noun use of adverb meaning "enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal," from Vulgar Latin *ad satis "to sufficiency," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + satis "enough" (see sad).

Beginning as a legal term, "sufficient estate" (to satisfy debts and legacies), it passed into general use; meaning "any property that theoretically can be converted to ready money" is from 1580s. Asset is a 19c. artificial singular. Asset stripping attested from 1972.
asseverate (v.) Look up asseverate at Dictionary.com
1791, from Latin asseveratus, past participle of asseverare "to affirm, insist on, maintain," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + severus "serious, severe" (see severe). Related: Asseverated; asseverating.
asseveration (n.) Look up asseveration at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Latin asseverationem (nominative asseveratio) "vehement assertion, protestation," noun of action from past participle stem of asseverare (see asseverate).
asshole (n.) Look up asshole at Dictionary.com
variant of arsehole (also see ass (n.2)). Meaning "contemptible person," mid-1930s.
assiduity (n.) Look up assiduity at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin assiduatem "continual presence," noun of quality from past participle stem of assiduus (see assiduous).
assiduous (adj.) Look up assiduous at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Latin assiduus "attending; continually present, incessant; busy; constant," from assidere "to sit down to" (thus "be constantly occupied" at one's work); from ad "to" (see ad-) + sedere "to sit" (see sedentary). The word acquired a taint of "servility" in 18c. Related: Assiduously; assiduousness.
assiento (n.) Look up assiento at Dictionary.com
1714, "contract between the King of Spain and another power" (especially that made at the Peace of Utrecht, 1713, with Great Britain for furnishing African slaves to the Spanish colonies in the Americas), from Spanish asiento, from asentar "to adjust, settle, establish," literally "to place on a chair," from a sentar, from Latin sedens, present participle of sedere "to sit" (see sedentary).
assign (v.) Look up assign at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French assiginer (13c.) "assign, set (a date, etc.); appoint legally; allot," from Latin assignare "to mark out, to allot by sign, assign, award," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + signare "make a sign," from signum "mark" (see sign). Main original use was in English law, in transferences of personal property. General meaning "to fix, settle, determine, appoint" is from c. 1300. Related: Assigned; assigning.
assignation (n.) Look up assignation at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "appointment by authority," from Old French assignacion (14c., Modern French assignation), from Latin assignationem (nominative assignatio) "an assigning, allotment," noun of action from past participle stem of assignare (see assign). Meaning "action of legally transfering" (a right or property) is from 1570s; that of "a meeting by arrangement, tryst" is from 1650s.
assignee (n.) Look up assignee at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "one who is appointed to act for another," from Old French assigne, past participle of assignier (see assign).
assignment (n.) Look up assignment at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "order, request, directive," from Old French assignement "(legal) assignment (of dower, etc.)," from Late Latin assignamentum, noun of action from Latin assignare (see assign). Meaning "appointment to office" is mid-15c.; that of "a task assigned" (to someone) is from c. 1848.
assimilate (v.) Look up assimilate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin assimilatus "feigned, pretended, fictitious," past participle of assimilare "to make like," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + simulare "make similar," from similis "like, resembling" (see similar). Originally transitive (with to); intransitive use first recorded 1837. Related: Assimilated; assimilating.
assimilation (n.) Look up assimilation at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "act of assimilating," from Old French assimilacion, from Latin assimilationem (nominative assimilatio) "likeness, similarity," noun of action from past participle stem of assimilare (see assimilate). Psychological sense is from 1855.
assimilationist (n.) Look up assimilationist at Dictionary.com
"one who advocates racial or ethnic integration," 1900, in reference to possible U.S. attitudes toward Hawaii and possessions obtained in the war against Spain; usually with reference to Jews in European nations; see assimilation + -ist.
assist (v.) Look up assist at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French assister "to stand by, help, put, place, assist" (14c.), from Latin assistere "stand by, take a stand near, attend," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + sistere "stand still, take a stand; to set, place, cause to stand," from PIE *si-st-, reduplicated form of root *stā- "to stand" (see stet). Related: Assisted; assisting. Medical assisted suicide attested from 1884.
assist (n.) Look up assist at Dictionary.com
1570s, "an act of assistance," from assist (v.). In the sporting sense attested 1877 in baseball, 1925 in ice hockey.