au Look up au at
French, "at the, to the," from Old French al, contraction of a le, with -l- softened to -u-, as also poudre from pulverem, chaud from calidus, etc. Used in many expressions in cookery, etc., which have crossed the Channel since 18c., such as au contraire, literally "on the contrary;" au gratin, literally "with scrapings;" au jus, literally "with the juice."
au courant (adj.) Look up au courant at
"aware of current events," 1762, French, literally "with the current" (see current (n.)).
au fait (adj.) Look up au fait at
1743, French, "to the point, to the matter under discussion," literally "to the fact," from fait "fact" (see feat). Used in French with sense of "acquainted with the facts."
au naturel (adj.) Look up au naturel at
1817, French, literally "in the natural state;" originally meaning "uncooked," but used euphemistically for "undressed." See natural (adj.).
au pair (n.) Look up au pair at
1897 of the arrangement, 1960 of the girl; French, literally "on an equal footing" (see pair (n.)).
au revoir Look up au revoir at
1690s, French, literally "to the seeing again." From revoir (12c.), from Latin revidere.
aubade (n.) Look up aubade at
"musical announcement of dawn," from French aubade (15c.), from Provençal aubada, from auba "dawn," from Latin alba, fem. of albus "white" (see alb).
aubain (n.) Look up aubain at
1727, from French aubaine (12c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin Albanus, but the sense is obscure. Klein suggests Frankish *alibanus, literally "belonging to another ban." A right of French kings, whereby they claimed the property of every non-naturalized stranger who died in their realm. Abolished 1819.
aubergine (n.) Look up aubergine at
"eggplant," 1794, from French aubergine, "fruit of the eggplant" (Solanum esculentum), diminutive of auberge "a kind of peach," variant of alberge, from Spanish alberchigo "apricot" [OED]. Klein derives the French word from Catalan alberginera, from Arabic al-badinjan "the eggplant," from Persian badin-gan, from Sanskrit vatigagama. As a color like that of the eggplant fruit, it is attested from 1895.
Aubrey Look up Aubrey at
masc. personal name, from Old French Auberi, from Old High German Alberich "ruler of elves," or *Alb(e)rada "elf-counsel" (fem.). In U.S., it began to be used as a girl's name c. 1973 and was among the top 100 given names for girls born 2006-2008, eclipsing its use for boys, which faded in proportion.
auburn (n.) Look up auburn at
early 15c., from Old French auborne, from Medieval Latin alburnus "off-white, whitish," from Latin albus "white" (see alb). It came to English meaning "yellowish-white, flaxen," but shifted 16c. to "reddish-brown" under influence of Middle English brun "brown," which also changed the spelling.
auction (n.) Look up auction at
"a sale by increase of bids," 1590s, from Latin auctionem (nominative auctio) "an increasing sale, auction, public sale," noun of action from past participle stem of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase" (see augment). In northern England and Scotland, called a roup. In the U.S., something is sold at auction; in England, by auction.
auction (v.) Look up auction at
1807, from auction (n.). Related: Auctioned; auctioning.
auctioneer Look up auctioneer at
1708 as a noun; 1733 as a verb; see auction + -eer.
audacious (adj.) Look up audacious at
1540s, "confident, intrepid," from Middle French audacieux, from audace "boldness," from Latin audacia "daring, boldness, courage," from audax "brave, bold, daring," but more often "bold" in a bad sense, "audacious, rash, foolhardy," from audere "to dare, be bold." Bad sense of "shameless" is attested from 1590s in English. Related: Audaciously.
audacity (n.) Look up audacity at
mid-15c., from Medieval Latin audacitas "boldness," from Latin audacis genitive of audax (see audacious).
audible (adj.) Look up audible at
1520s, from Middle French audible and directly from Late Latin audibilis, from Latin audire "to hear" (see audience). Related: Audibly.
audience (n.) Look up audience at
late 14c., "the action of hearing," from Old French audience, from Latin audentia "a hearing, listening," from audientum (nominative audiens), present participle of audire "to hear," from PIE compound *au-dh- "to perceive physically, grasp," from root *au- "to perceive" (cognates: Greek aisthanesthai "to feel;" Sanskrit avih, Avestan avish "openly, evidently;" Old Church Slavonic javiti "to reveal"). Meaning "formal hearing or reception" is from late 14c.; that of "persons within hearing range, assembly of listeners" is from early 15c. (French audience retains only the older senses). Sense transferred 1855 to "readers of a book." Audience-participation (adj.) first recorded 1940.
audio (n.) Look up audio at
"sound," especially recorded or transmitted, 1934, abstracted from prefix audio- (in audio-frequency, 1919, etc.), from Latin audire "hear" (see audience).
audio- Look up audio- at
word-forming element meaning "sound, hearing," from comb. form of Latin audire "to hear" (see audience); first used in English as a word-formation element 1913.
audiology (n.) Look up audiology at
science of hearing and treatment of deafness, 1946, from audio- + -ology. Related: Audiologist.
audiophile (n.) Look up audiophile at
1951, originally in "High Fidelity" magazine, from audio- + -phile.
audiotape (n.) Look up audiotape at
1957, from audio- + tape (n.).
audiovisual (adj.) Look up audiovisual at
also audio-visual, 1937, from audio- + visual.
audit (n.) Look up audit at
early 15c., from Latin auditus "a hearing," past participle of audire "hear" (see audience). Official examination of accounts, which originally was an oral procedure.
audit (v.) Look up audit at
mid-15c., from audit (n.). Related: Audited; auditing.
audition (v.) Look up audition at
"to try out for a performance part," 1935, from audition (n.). Transitive sense by 1944. Related: Auditioned; auditioning.
audition (n.) Look up audition at
1590s, "power of hearing," from Middle French audicion "hearing (in a court of law)," from Latin auditionem (nominative auditio) "a hearing, listening to," noun of action from past participle stem of audire "hear" (see audience). Meaning "trial for a performer" first recorded 1881.
auditor (n.) Look up auditor at
early 14c., "official who receives and examines accounts;" late 14c., "a listener," from Anglo-French auditour (Old French oieor "listener, court clerk," 13c.; Modern French auditeur), from Latin auditor "a hearer," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (see audience). Meaning "receiver and examiner of accounts" is because this process formerly was done, and vouched for, orally.
auditorium (n.) Look up auditorium at
1727, from Latin auditorium "lecture room," literally "place where something is heard," noun use of neuter of auditorius (adj.) "of or for hearing," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (see audience); also see -ory. Earlier in English in the same sense was auditory (late 14c.).
auditory (adj.) Look up auditory at
1570s, from Latin auditorius "pertaining to hearing," from auditor "hearer" (see auditor).
Audrey Look up Audrey at
fem. proper name, contracted from Etheldreda, a Latinized form of Old English Æðelðryð, literally "noble might," from æðele "noble" (see atheling) + ðryð "strength, might."
Audubon Look up Audubon at
with reference to birds or pictures of them, from U.S. naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851).
Aufklarung (n.) Look up Aufklarung at
1801, from German Aufklärung (18c.), literally "Enlightenment," from aufklären "to enlighten" (17c.), from auf "up" + klären "to clear," from Latin clarus (see clear (adj.)).
Augean (adj.) Look up Augean at
"filthy," 1590s, in reference to Augean stable, the cleansing of which was one of the labors of Herakles, from Greek Augeias, like the stable of Augeas, king of Elis, which contained 3,000 oxen and had gone uncleansed for 30 years. Herakles purified it in one day by turning the river Alpheus through it.
auger (n.) Look up auger at
c. 1500, faulty separation of Middle English a nauger, from Old English nafogar "nave drill," from Proto-Germanic *nabo-gaizaz (cognates: Old Norse nafarr, Old Saxon nabuger, Old High German nabuger), a compound whose first element is related to nave (n.2) and whose second is identical to Old English gar "a spear, borer" (see gar). For similar misdivisions, see adder. The same change took place in Dutch (avegaar).
aught (n.1) Look up aught at
"something," Old English awiht "aught, anything, something," literally "e'er a whit," from Proto-Germanic *aiwi "ever" (from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity;" see eon) + *wihti "thing, anything whatever" (see wight). In Shakespeare, Milton and Pope, aught and ought occur indiscriminately.
aught (n.2) Look up aught at
"nothing, zero," faulty separation of a naught (see naught; see adder for the separation problem).
augment (v.) Look up augment at
c. 1400, from Old French augmenter "increase, enhance" (14c.), from Late Latin augmentare "to increase," from Latin augmentum "an increase," from augere "to increase, make big, enlarge, enrich," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase" (cognates: Sanskrit ojas- "strength;" Lithuanian augu "to grow," aukstas "high, of superior rank;" Greek auxo "increase," auxein "to increase;" Gothic aukan "to grow, increase;" Old English eacien "to increase"). Related: Augmented; augmenting. As a noun from early 15c.
augmentation (n.) Look up augmentation at
mid-15c., "act of making greater," from Old French augmentacion "increase," from Late Latin augmentationem (nominative augmentatio), noun of action from past participle stem of augmentare (see augment). Meaning "amount by which something is increased" is from 1520s. Musical sense is from 1590s.
augmentative (adj.) Look up augmentative at
c. 1500, from Middle French augmentatif (14c.), from Latin augmentat-, stem of augmentare (see augment).
augmented (adj.) Look up augmented at
past participle adjective from augment, c. 1600. Musical sense is attested from 1825.
augur (n.) Look up augur at
1540s, from Latin augur, a religious official in ancient Rome who foretold events by interpreting omens, perhaps originally meaning "an increase in crops enacted in ritual," in which case it probably is from Old Latin *augos (genitive *augeris) "increase," and is related to augere "increase" (see augment). The more popular theory is that it is from Latin avis "bird," because the flights, singing, and feeding of birds, along with entrails from bird sacrifices, were important objects of divination (compare auspicious). In that case, the second element would be from garrire "to talk."
augur (v.) Look up augur at
c. 1600, from augur (n.). Related: Augured; auguring.
augury (n.) Look up augury at
late 14c., "divination from the flight of birds," from Old French augure "divination, soothsaying, sorcery, enchantment," or directly from Latin augurium "divination, the observation and interpretation of omens" (see augur). Figurative sense of "omen, portent, indication" is from 1797 (also often in plural as auguries).
august (adj.) Look up august at
1660s, from Latin augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble," probably originally "consecrated by the augurs, with favorable auguries" (see augur (n.)); or else "that which is increased" (see augment).
August Look up August at
eighth month, 1097, from Latin Augustus (mensis), sixth month of the later Roman calendar, renamed from Sextilis in 8 B.C.E. to honor emperor Augustus Caesar, literally "Venerable Caesar" (see august (adj.)). In England, the name replaced native Weodmonað "weed month."
Augusta Look up Augusta at
fem. proper name, Latin fem. of Augustus.
Augustan (adj.) Look up Augustan at
1640s, from Latin Augustanus, "pertaining to Augustus (Caesar)," whose reign was connected with "the palmy period of Latin literature" [OED]; hence, "period of purity and refinement in any national literature" (1712).
Augustine (adj.) Look up Augustine at
c. 1400 in reference to members of the religious order named for St. Augustine the Great (354-430), bishop of Hippo. The name is Latin Augustinus, from augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble" (see august (adj.)) + name-forming inus (see -ine (1)).