atlatl (n.) Look up atlatl at
Native American throwing stick, 1871, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) atlatl "spear-thrower."
ATM Look up ATM at
1976, acronym for automated teller machine (1974), which was developed in modern form c. 1968.
atman (n.) Look up atman at
1785, from Sanskrit atma "essence, breath, soul," from PIE *etmen "breath" (a root found in Sanskrit and Germanic; source also of Old English æðm, Dutch adem, Old High German atum "breath," Old English eþian, Dutch ademen "to breathe").
atmosphere (n.) Look up atmosphere at
1630s, atmosphaera (modern form from 1670s), from Modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos "vapor, steam" + sphaira "sphere" (see sphere). Greek atmos is from PIE *awet-mo-, from root *wet- (1) "to blow" (also "to inspire, spiritually arouse;" see wood (adj.)). First used in English in connection with the Moon, which, as it turns out, practically doesn't have one.
It is observed in the solary eclipses, that there is sometimes a great trepidation about the body of the moon, from which we may likewise argue an atmosphaera, since we cannot well conceive what so probable a cause there should be of such an appearance as this, Quod radii solares a vaporibus lunam ambitntibus fuerint intercisi, that the sun-beams were broken and refracted by the vapours that encompassed the moon. [Rev. John Wilkins, "Discovery of New World or Discourse tending to prove that it probable there may be another World in the Moon," 1638]
Figurative sense of "surrounding influence, mental or moral environment" is c. 1800.
atmospheric (adj.) Look up atmospheric at
1783, from atmosphere + -ic. In a sense of "creating a mood or mental environment" it is from 1908. Atmospherics "disturbances in wireless communication" is from 1905.
atoll (n.) Look up atoll at
1620s, atollon, from Malayam atolu "reef," probably from adal "closing, uniting." Popularized in present form by Darwin's writings.
atom (n.) Look up atom at
late 15c., as a hypothetical indivisible body, the building block of the universe, from Latin atomus (especially in Lucretius) "indivisible particle," from Greek atomos "uncut, unhewn; indivisible," from a- "not" + tomos "a cutting," from temnein "to cut" (see tome). An ancient term of philosophical speculation (in Leucippus, Democritus), revived 1805 by British chemist John Dalton. In late classical and medieval use also a unit of time, 22,560 to the hour. Atom bomb is from 1945 as both a noun and a verb; compare atomic.
atomic (adj.) Look up atomic at
1670s as a philosophical term (see atomistic); scientific sense dates from 1811, from atom + -ic. Atomic number is from 1821; atomic mass is from 1848. Atomic energy first recorded 1906 in modern sense (as intra-atomic energy from 1903).
March, 1903, was an historic date for chemistry. It is, also, as we shall show, a date to which, in all probability, the men of the future will often refer as the veritable beginning of the larger powers and energies that they will control. It was in March, 1903, that Curie and Laborde announced the heat-emitting power of radium. [Robert Kennedy Duncan, "The New Knowledge," 1906]
Atomic bomb first recorded 1914 in writings of H.G. Wells ("The World Set Free"), who thought of it as a bomb "that would continue to explode indefinitely."
When you can drop just one atomic bomb and wipe out Paris or Berlin, war will have become monstrous and impossible. [S. Strunsky, "Yale Review," January 1917]
Atomic Age is from 1945. Atomical is from 1640s.
atomies (n.) Look up atomies at
1590s, "atoms," also "diminutive beings," from atomy, from Latin atomi, plural of atomus (see atom), but taken as a singular in English and re-pluralized in the native way. Perhaps also in some cases a plural of atomy (from misdivision of anatomy).
atomistic (adj.) Look up atomistic at
1809, in reference to the classical philosophical doctrine of atomism (1670s); modern philosophical sense (logical atomism) traces to 1914 and Bertrand Russell.
atomization (n.) Look up atomization at
1866, noun of action from atomize.
atomize (v.) Look up atomize at
"reduce to atoms," 1845; "reduce a liquid to a very fine mist," 1865, verb formed from atom + -ize. Related: Atomized; atomizing. Originally in reference to medical treatment for injured or diseased lungs; sense of "to destroy with atomic weapons" is from 1945.
atomizer (n.) Look up atomizer at
1865, agent noun from atomize.
Aton Look up Aton at
variant of Aten.
atonal (adj.) Look up atonal at
1922, from a- "not" (see a- (2)) + tonal.
atonality (n.) Look up atonality at
1950; see atonal + -ity.
atone (v.) Look up atone at
1550s, from adverbial phrase atonen (c. 1300) "in accord," literally "at one," a contraction of at and one. It retains the older pronunciation of one. The phrase perhaps is modeled on Latin adunare "unite," from ad "to, at" (see ad-) + unum "one." Related: Atoned; atoning.
atonement (n.) Look up atonement at
1510s, "condition of being at one (with others)," from atone + -ment. Meaning "reconciliation" (especially of sinners with God) is from 1520s; that of "propitiation of an offended party" is from 1610s.
atop (adv.) Look up atop at
1650s, from a- (1) + top. Two words or hyphenated at first; not fully established as one word till late 19c.
atopic (adj.) Look up atopic at
1923, from atopia (see atopy) + -ic.
atopy (n.) Look up atopy at
1923, coined by Edward D. Perry, professor of Greek at Columbia University, at the request of medical men, from Greek atopia "unusualness, strangeness, a being out of the way," from atopos "out of place, strange, odd, eccentric," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + topos "place" (see topos).
ATP Look up ATP at
abbreviation of adenosine triphosphate, attested from 1939.
atrabiliary (adj.) Look up atrabiliary at
1725, from Medieval Latin atrabilarius; see atrabilious.
atrabilious (adj.) Look up atrabilious at
1650s, from Latin atra bilis, translating Greek melankholia "black bile" (see melancholy; also compare bile). Atra is fem. of ater "black, dark, gloomy," perhaps related to root of atrocity. Related: Atrabiliousness.
atremble (adv.) Look up atremble at
1852, from a- (1) + tremble (v.).
atresia (n.) Look up atresia at
"occlusion of a natural passage in the body," 1807, from Modern Latin atresia, from Greek atretos "not perforated," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + tresis "perforation," from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn," with derivatives referring to boring and drilling (see throw (v.)).
Atreus Look up Atreus at
in Greek mythology, the son of Pelops, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus.
atria (n.) Look up atria at
classical plural of atrium.
atrial (adj.) Look up atrial at
by 1860 in the medical sense, from atrium + -al (1).
atrium (n.) Look up atrium at
1570s, from Latin atrium "central court or main room of an ancient Roman house, room which contains the hearth," sometimes said (on authority of Varro, "De Lingua Latina") to be an Etruscan word, but perhaps from PIE *ater- "fire," on notion of "place where smoke from the hearth escapes" (through a hole in the roof). Anatomical sense of "either of the upper cavities of the heart" first recorded 1870. Meaning "skylit central court in a public building" first attested 1967.
atrocious (adj.) Look up atrocious at
1660s, from stem of Latin atrox "fierce, savage, cruel" (see atrocity) + -ous. Colloquial sense "very bad" is late 19c. Related: Atrociously; atrociousness.
atrocity (n.) Look up atrocity at
1530s, from Middle French atrocité or directly from Latin atrocitatem (nominative atrocitas) "cruelty, fierceness, harshness," noun of quality from atrox "fierce, cruel, frightful," from PIE *atro-ek-, from root *ater- "fire" (see atrium) + *okw- "see" (see eye (n.)); thus "of fiery or threatening appearance." The meaning "an atrocious deed" is from 1793.
atrophic (adj.) Look up atrophic at
1819; see atrophy + -ic.
atrophy (n.) Look up atrophy at
"a wasting away through lack of nourishment," 1620s (atrophied is from 1590s), from French atrophie, from Late Latin atrophia, from Greek atrophia "a wasting away," abstract noun from atrophos "ill-fed, un-nourished," from a- "not" + trophe "nourishment," from trephein "to fatten" (see -trophy).
atrophy (v.) Look up atrophy at
1822 (implied in atrophied), from atrophy (n.). Related: Atrophying.
atropine (n.) Look up atropine at
1836, from Latin atropa "deadly nightshade" (from which the alkaloid poison is extracted), from Greek atropos "inflexible," also the name of one of the Fates (see Atropos) + chemical suffix -ine (2).
Atropos Look up Atropos at
one of the Fates (the one who holds the shears and determines the manner of a person's death and cuts the thread), from Greek, "inflexible," literally "not to be turned away," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + stem of trepein "to turn" (see trope). Related form Atropa was the Greek name for deadly nightshade.
attaboy Look up attaboy at
1909, probably from common pronunciation of "that's the boy!" a cheer of encouragement or approval.
attach (v.) Look up attach at
mid-14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), "to take or seize (property or goods) by law," a legal term, from Old French atachier (11c.), earlier estachier "to attach, fix; stake up, support" (Modern French attacher, also compare Italian attaccare), perhaps from a- "to" (see ad-) + Frankish *stakon "a post, stake" or a similar Germanic word (see stake (n.)). Meaning "to fasten, affix, connect" is from c. 1400. Related: Attached; attaching.
attachable (adj.) Look up attachable at
1570s, from attach + -able.
attache (n.) Look up attache at
1835, from French attaché "junior officer attached to the staff of an ambassador, etc.," literally "attached," past participle of attacher "to attach" (see attach). Attache case "small leather case for carrying papers" first recorded 1900.
attached (adj.) Look up attached at
"affectionate, devoted, fond," 1793, past participle adjective from attach.
attachment (n.) Look up attachment at
c. 1400, "arrest of a person on judicial warrant" (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from French attachement, from attacher (see attach). Application to property (including, later, wages) dates from 1590s; meaning "sympathy, devotion" is recorded from 1704; that of "something that is attached to something else" dates from 1797 and has become perhaps the most common use since the rise of e-mail.
attack (v.) Look up attack at
c. 1600, from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Related: Attacked; attacking.
attack (n.) Look up attack at
1660s, from attack (v.). Compare Middle English attach "a seizure or attack" (of fever), late 14c.
attain (v.) Look up attain at
c. 1300, "to succeed in reaching," from ataign-, stem of Old French ataindre (11c., Modern French atteindre) "to come up to, reach, attain, endeavor, strive," from Vulgar Latin *attangere, corresponding to Latin attingere "to touch, to arrive at," from ad "to" (see ad-) + tangere "to touch" (see tangent (adj.)). Latin attingere had a wide range of meanings, including "to attack, to strike, to appropriate, to manage," all somehow suggested by the literal sense "to touch." Related: Attained; attaining.
attainable (adj.) Look up attainable at
1640s; see attain + -able. Related: Attainability.
attainder (n.) Look up attainder at
"extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlaw," mid-15c., from noun use of Old French ataindre "to touch upon, strike, hit, seize, accuse, condemn" (see attain). For use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, see waiver.
attainment (n.) Look up attainment at
late 14c., "encroachment" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French ataignement (Modern French atteignement), from ataindre; see attain. Meaning "action of attaining" is from 1540s; sense of "that which is attained, personal accomplishment" dates from 1670s.
attar (n.) Look up attar at
1798, from Persian 'atar-gul "essence of roses," from 'atar "fragrance," from Arabic 'utur "perfumes, aromas."