asyndeton (n.) Look up asyndeton at
"figure of speech consisting of omission of conjunctions," 1580s, from Latin, from Greek asyndeton, neuter of asyndetos "unconnected," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + syndetos, from syndein "to bind together," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + dein "to bind," related to desmos "band," from PIE root *dē- "to bind" (see diadem).
"I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other." ["The Tempest"]
asyntactic (adj.) Look up asyntactic at
"ungrammatical," 1880, from a- (3) "not, without" + syntactic.
asystole (n.) Look up asystole at
"condition in which a weakened heart remains continually filled with blood," 1860, medical Latin, from Greek a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + systole "contraction" (see systole).
at (prep.) Look up at at
Old English æt, from Proto-Germanic *at (source also of Old Norse, Gothic at, Old Frisian et, Old High German az), from PIE root *ad- "to, near, at." Lost in German and Dutch, which use their equivalent of to; in Scandinavian, however, to has been lost and at fills its place.
At is used to denote relations of so many kinds, and some of these so remote from its primary local sense, that a classification of its uses is very difficult. [OED]
In choosing between at church, in church, etc. at is properly distinguished from in or on by involving some practical connection; a worshipper is at church; a tourist is in the church. In 19c. it was used for points of the compass as regions of a country (at the South) where later tendency was to use in.

The colloquial use of at after where ("where it's at") is noted in Bartlett (1859). At last is recorded from late 13c.; adverbial phrase at least was in use by 1775. At in Middle English was used freely with prepositions (as in at after, which is in Shakespeare), but this has faded with the exception of at about.
at all (prep.) Look up at all at
"in any way," mid-14c., originally used only affirmatively (as in I Samuel xx.6 in KJV: "If thy father at all misse me"); now it is overwhelmingly used only in the negative or in interrogatory expressions, formerly also in literary attempts at Irish dialect.
at bay (prep.) Look up at bay at
late 14c., originally often at the bay; see bay (n.3). Figurative use, of human beings in difficulties, is from c. 1400. The expression reflects the former more widespread use of at. The earlier form of the phrase was at abai, used of hunted animals, "unable to escape," c. 1300, from French.
at- Look up at- at
assimilated form of ad- "to, toward, before" before stems beginning in -t-; see ad-. In Old French and Middle English regularly reduced to a-, later restored.
at-bat (n.) Look up at-bat at
"baseball player's turn at the plate," 1912, originally a column heading in statistics tables, from the prepositional phrase.
at-home (n.) Look up at-home at
"reception of visitors," 1745, noun use of prepositional phrase at home.
Atalanta Look up Atalanta at
in Greek mythology the daughter of king Schoeneus, famous for her swiftness, Latin, from Greek Atalante, fem. of atalantos "having the same value (as a man)," from a- "one, together" (see a- (3)) + talanton "balance, weight, value" (see talent).
ataractic (adj.) Look up ataractic at
1941, "calm, serene," from Latinized form of Greek ataraktos "not disturbed" (see ataraxia) + -ic. From 1955 of drugs, "inducing calmness."
ataraxia (n.) Look up ataraxia at
often Englished as ataraxy, c. 1600, "calmness, impassivity," a term used by stoics and skeptics, from Modern Latin, from Greek ataraxia "impassiveness," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + tarassein (Attic tarattein) "to disturb, confuse," from PIE root *dhrehgh- (1) "to make muddy, darken, confuse."
atavic (adj.) Look up atavic at
"pertaining to a remote ancestor, exhibiting atavism," 1866, from Latin atavus "ancestor" (see atavism) + -ic.
atavism (n.) Look up atavism at
1833, from French atavisme, attested by 1820s, from Latin atavus "ancestor, forefather," from at- perhaps here meaning "beyond" + avus "grandfather," from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father" (see uncle).
atavistic (adj.) Look up atavistic at
"pertaining to atavism," 1847; from stem of atavism + -istic.
ataxia (n.) Look up ataxia at
often Englished as ataxy, 1660s in pathology, "irregularity of bodily functions," medical Latin, from Greek ataxia, abstract noun from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + taxis "arrangement, order," from stem of tassein "to arrange" (see tactics). Earlier in a sense "confusion, disorder" (1610s).
ataxic (adj.) Look up ataxic at
"characterized by ataxia," 1853, from ataxia + -ic.
atchoo Look up atchoo at
imitative of the sound of sneezing, first attested 1873, as atcha (a-tschoo is from 1878).
ate Look up ate at
past tense of eat (q.v.).
Ate Look up Ate at
Greek goddess or personification of infatuation and blundering mischief, from ate "damage, ruin; guilt; blindness, dazzlement, infatuation; penalty, fine," which is of uncertain origin.
atechnic (adj.) Look up atechnic at
"not having technical knowledge," 1869, from a- (3) "not, without" + technic.
atechnical (adj.) Look up atechnical at
"free from technicalities," by 1889, from a- (3) "not, without" + technical.
atelectasis (n.) Look up atelectasis at
"incomplete expansion of the lungs," 1836, medical Latin, from Greek ateles "imperfect, incomplete" (see atelo-) + ektosis "extention," from ek "out of, from" (see ex-) + teinein "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Related: Atelectatic.
atelier (n.) Look up atelier at
"workshop," especially the workroom or studio of a sculptor or painter, 1840, from French atelier "workshop," from Old French astelier "(carpenter's) workshop, woodpile" (14c.), from astele "piece of wood, a shaving, splinter," which is probably from Late Latin hastella "a thin stick," diminutive of hasta "spear, shaft" (see yard (n.2)).
atelo- Look up atelo- at
word-forming element meaning "imperfect development or structure," from Greek ateles "imperfect, incomplete," literally "without an end," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + telos "the end, fulfillment, completion" (see telos).
atemporal (adj.) Look up atemporal at
"timeless," 1870, from a- (3) "not" + temporal. Related: Atemporally.
Aten Look up Aten at
a name of the sun in ancient Egypt, from Egyptian itn.
Athabascan Look up Athabascan at
also Athabaskan, Athapaskan, 1846, from the name of the widespread family of North American Indian languages, from Lake Athabaska in northern Alberta, Canada, from Woods Cree (Algonquian) Athapaskaw, literally "(where) there are plants one after another" [Bright], referring to the delta region west of the lake. The languages are spoken across a wide area of Alaska and sub-arctic Canada and include Apachean (including Navajo) in the U.S. southwest.
Athanasian (adj.) Look up Athanasian at
1580s, "pertaining to Athanasius" (c. 296-373), bishop of Alexandria in the reign of Constantine. The name is Latin, from Greek Athanasios, from athanatos "immortal," from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + thanatos "death" (see thanatology). The anti-Arian creed attributed to him was perhaps not his work.
atheism (n.) Look up atheism at
"the doctrine that there is no God;" "disbelief in any regularity in the universe to which man must conform himself under penalties" [J.R. Seeley, "Natural Religion," 1882], 1580s, from French athéisme (16c.), with -ism + Greek atheos "without a god, denying the gods," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + theos "a god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts). A slightly earlier form is represented by atheonism (1530s) which is perhaps from Italian atheo "atheist." The ancient Greek noun was atheotes "ungodliness."

In late 19c. sometimes further distinguished into secondary senses "The denial of theism, that is, of the doctrine that the great first cause is a supreme, intelligent, righteous person" [Century Dictionary, 1897] and "practical indifference to and disregard of God, godlessness."
In the first sense above given, atheism is to be discriminated from pantheism, which denies the personality of God, and from agnosticism, which denies the possibility of positive knowledge concerning him. In the second sense, atheism includes both pantheism and agnosticism. [Century Dictionary]
atheist (n.) Look up atheist at
1570s, "godless person, one who denies the existence of a supreme, intelligent being to whom moral obligation is due," from French athéiste (16c.), from Greek atheos "without god, denying the gods; abandoned of the gods; godless, ungodly," from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + theos "a god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts).
The existence of a world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all his perfection, creating an imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell. [Armand Salacrou, "Certitudes et incertitudes," 1943]
atheistic (adj.) Look up atheistic at
"involving or characteristic of atheism," 1630s, from atheist + -ic. Atheistical attested from 1580s. Milton used atheous in this sense. Related: Atheistically.
atheling (n.) Look up atheling at
"member of a noble family," Old English æðling, from æðel "noble family, race, ancestry; nobility, honor," related to Old English æðele "noble," from Proto-Germanic *athala- (cognates: Old High German adal "noble family"), from PIE *at-al- "race, family," from *at(i)- "over, beyond, super" + *al- "to nourish." With suffix -ing "belonging to." A common Germanic word (cognates: Old Saxon ediling, Old Frisian etheling, Old High German adaling).
Athelstan Look up Athelstan at
masc. proper name, Old English Æðelstane, literally "noble stone;" see atheling + stone (n.).
Athena Look up Athena at
Greek goddess of wisdom, skill in the arts, righteous warfare, etc., from Latin Athena, from Greek Athene, name of a common Greek goddess, dating to Minoan times, depicted with a snake and protecting the palace. "Like the goddess itself, the name is pre-Greek" [Beekes]. Identified by the Romans with their Minerva.
Athenaeum (n.) Look up Athenaeum at
1727, "temple dedicated to Athena," from Latinized form of Greek Athenaion "the temple of Athene," in ancient Athens, in which professors taught and actors or poets rehearsed. Meaning "literary club-room or reading room" is from 1799; sense of "literary or scientific club" is from 1807. These senses are based on the institutions founded by Hadrian at Rome and elsewhere dedicated to literary and scientific studies.
Athenian (n.) Look up Athenian at
1520s, "native or inhabitant of Athens;" see Athens + -ian. From 1580s as an adjective, "pertaining to Athens." Old English had Atheniense (plural noun), from Latin Atheniensis.
Athens Look up Athens at
city of ancient Attica, capital of modern Greece, from Greek Athenai (plural because the city had several distinct parts), traditionally derived from Athena, but probably assimilated from a lost name in a pre-Hellenic language.
atheous (adj.) Look up atheous at
1610s, "godless, impious," from Latin atheus, from Greek atheos, from a- "not, without" (see a- (3)) + theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts). From 1880 as "not considering the existence of God, having no reference to God, irrespective of divine existence or power."
athermanous (adj.) Look up athermanous at
"heat-resistant, impervious to radiant heat," 1839, from a- (3) "not, without" + Greek thermainein "impart heat," from thermos "hot" (see thermal).
atheroma (n.) Look up atheroma at
"encysted tumor," 1706, medical Latin, from Greek atheroma, from athere "groats, porridge" (related to ather "chaff"), in reference to the matter inside; a word of unknown origin. For ending, see -oma. Related: Athermatous (1670s).
atherosclerosis (n.) Look up atherosclerosis at
1908, from German atherosklerose (1904), coined by German pathologist Felix Jacob Marchand (1846-1928); see atheroma + sclerosis.
athetosis (n.) Look up athetosis at
"condition in which the extremities perform slow, involuntary motions" (a form of childhood cerebral palsy), 1871, with -osis + Greek athetos "not fixed, without position or place, set aside." Coined by U.S. nerve specialist William Alexander Hammond (1828-1900).
athirst (adj.) Look up athirst at
"thirsting, thirsty," late Old English; see a- (1) + thirst (v.).
athlete (n.) Look up athlete at
early 15c., from Latin athleta "a wrestler, athlete, combatant in public games," from Greek athletes "prizefighter, contestant in the games," agent noun from athlein "to contest for a prize," related to athlos "a contest" and athlon "a prize," which is of unknown origin.

Until mid-18c. usually in Latin form. In this sense, Old English had plegmann "play-man." Meaning "Anyone trained in exercises of agility and strength" is from 1827. Athlete's foot first recorded 1928, for an ailment that has been around much longer.
athletic (adj.) Look up athletic at
1630s (athletical is from 1590s), "pertaining to an athlete or to contests of physical strength," from Latin athleticus, from Greek athletikos, from athletes "contestant in the games" (see athlete). Meaning "strong of body; vigorous; lusty; robust" [Johnson, who spells it athletick] is from 1650s.
athleticism (n.) Look up athleticism at
1835, "devotion to athletics," from athletic + -ism. Also, by late 19c., "physical strength and capability of robust activity."
athletics (n.) Look up athletics at
"art or practice of athletic games or exercises," c. 1730, from athletic; also see -ics. Probably formed on model of gymnastics.
athrob (adj.) Look up athrob at
"in a throbbing state," 1854, from a- (1) + throb (v.). Related: Athrobbing.
athwart (adv.) Look up athwart at
"crosswise, from side to side," late 15c., from a- (1) + thwart (v.). In nautical use, "across the line of a ship's course."