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" (see a- (3)) + skia "shade, shadow," from PIE root *skai- (2) "to gleam, shine, flicker" (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").
ashamed (adj.) Look up ashamed at
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
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
"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
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
1863, wooden pillar used as symbol of Canaanite goddess Ashera, a name of unknown origin.
Ashkenazim (n.) Look up Ashkenazim at
(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
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
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
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
"religious hermitage," 1917, from Sanskrit asramah, from a-, adnomial prefix, + sramah "effort, toll, fatigue."
ashtray (n.) Look up ashtray at
1857 as a receptacle for smokers' ashes, from ash (n.1) + tray.
Ashura (n.) Look up Ashura at
Islamic fast on the 10th day of Muharram, Arabic Ashura', literally "tenth."
ashy (adj.) Look up ashy at
late 14c., from ash (n.1) + -y (2).
Asia Look up Asia at
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
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
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
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
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
1530s, "she-ass," from French asine, from Latin asina (see ass (n.1)).
asinine (adj.) Look up asinine at
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
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
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
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
early 14c., o-slant, literally "on slant," from on + slant (v.). As a preposition from c. 1600.
asleep (adj.) Look up asleep at
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.