aviator (n.) Look up aviator at Dictionary.com
"aircraft pilot," 1887, from French aviateur, from Latin avis (see aviary) + -ateur. Also used c. 1891 in a sense of "aircraft." Feminine form aviatrix is from 1927; earlier aviatrice (1910), aviatress (1911).
Avicenna Look up Avicenna at Dictionary.com
Latinization of name of Ibn Sina (980-1037), Persian philosopher and physician. Full name Abū 'Alī al-Husayn ibn 'Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā al-Balkhī.
aviculture (n.) Look up aviculture at Dictionary.com
1876, from French aviculture, from Latin avis "bird" (see aviary) + Latin cultura "cultivation" (see culture).
avid (adj.) Look up avid at Dictionary.com
1769, from French avide (15c.), from Latin avidus "longing eagerly, desirous, greedy," from avere "to desire eagerly." Also in part a back-formation from avidity. Related: Avidly.
avidity (n.) Look up avidity at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "eagerness, zeal," from Old French avidite "avidity, greed," from Latin aviditatem (nominative aviditas) "eagerness, avidity," noun of quality from avidus (see avid).
avionics (n.) Look up avionics at Dictionary.com
1949, from aviation + electronics.
Avis Look up Avis at Dictionary.com
U.S. car rental company, according to company history, founded 1946 at Willow Run Airport in Detroit by Warren Avis.
avocado (n.) Look up avocado at Dictionary.com
1763, from Spanish avocado, altered (by folk etymology influence of earlier Spanish avocado "lawyer," from same Latin source as advocate (n.)) from earlier aguacate, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) ahuakatl "avocado" (with a secondary meaning "testicle" probably based on resemblance), from proto-Nahuan *pawa "avocado." As a color-name, first attested 1945. The English corruption alligator (pear) is 1763, from Mexican Spanish alvacata, alligato.
avocation (n.) Look up avocation at Dictionary.com
1520s, "a calling away from one's occupation," from Latin avocationem (nominative avocatio) "a calling away, distraction, diversion," noun of action from past participle stem of avocare, from ab- "off, away from" (see ab-) + vocare "to call" (see voice (n.)).
avoid (v.) Look up avoid at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Anglo-French avoider "to clear out, withdraw (oneself)," partially anglicized from Old French esvuidier "to empty out," from es- "out" (see ex-) + vuidier "to be empty," from voide "empty, vast, wide, hollow, waste" (see void (adj.)). Originally a law term; modern sense of "have nothing to do with" also was in Middle English and corresponds to Old French eviter with which it was perhaps confused. Meaning "escape, evade" first attested 1520s. Related: Avoided; avoiding.
avoidable (adj.) Look up avoidable at Dictionary.com
1630s, from avoid + -able. Related: Avoidably.
avoidance (n.) Look up avoidance at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "action of emptying," from avoid + -ance. Sense of "action of dodging or shunning" is recorded from early 15c.; it also meant "action of making legally invalid," 1620s; "becoming vacant" (of an office, etc.), mid-15c.
avoirdupois (n.) Look up avoirdupois at Dictionary.com
1650s, misspelling of Middle English avoir-de-peise (c. 1300), from Old French avoir de pois "goods of weight," from aveir "property, goods" (noun use of aveir "have") + peis "weight," from Latin pensum, neuter of pendere "to weigh" (see pendant (n.)). After late 15c., the standard system of weights used in England for all goods except precious metals, precious stones, and medicine.
Avon Look up Avon at Dictionary.com
river in southwestern England, from Celtic abona "river," from *ab- "water" (see afanc).
avouch (v.) Look up avouch at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Middle French avochier "call upon as authority," in Old French "call (to court), advocate, plead (a case)," from Latin advocare "call to" as a witness (see advocate).
Avouch, which is no longer in common use, means guarantee, solemnly aver, prove by assertion, maintain the truth or existence of, vouch for .... Avow means own publicly to, make no secret of, not shrink from admitting, acknowledge one's responsibility for .... Vouch is now common only in the phrase vouch for, which has taken the place of avouch in ordinary use, & means pledge one's word for .... [Fowler]
Related: Avouched; avouching.
avow (v.) Look up avow at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Anglo-French avouer, Old French avoer "acknowledge, accept, recognize," especially as a protector (Modern French avouer), from Latin advocare (see advocate). A synonym of avouch (q.v.), which tends to contain the more technical, legal aspect of the word. Related: Avowed; avowing.
avowal (n.) Look up avowal at Dictionary.com
1727, from avow + -al (2).
avuncular (adj.) Look up avuncular at Dictionary.com
1789, from Latin avunculus "maternal uncle," diminutive of avus (see uncle) + -ar. Used humorously for "of a pawnbroker" (uncle was slang for "pawnbroker" from c. 1600 through 19c.).
My only good suit is at present under the avuncular protection. ["Fraser's Magazine," 1832]
aw (interj.) Look up aw at Dictionary.com
expresion of mild disappointment, sympathy, etc., first recorded in this form by 1888.
AWACS (n.) Look up AWACS at Dictionary.com
1966, initialism (acronym) for "Airborne Warning and Control Systems."
await (v.) Look up await at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., awaiten, "to wait for," from Old North French awaitier (Old French agaitier) "to lie in wait for, watch, observe," from a- "to" (see ad-) + waitier "to watch" (see wait (v.)). Originally especially "wait for with hostile intent, wait to ambush or spy upon." Related: Awaited; awaiting.
awake (v.) Look up awake at Dictionary.com
a merger of two Middle English verbs: 1. awaken, from Old English awæcnan (earlier onwæcnan; strong, past tense awoc, past participle awacen) "to awake, arise, originate," from a "on" + wacan "to arise, become awake" (see wake (v.)); and 2. awakien, from Old English awacian (weak, past participle awacode) "to awaken, revive; arise; originate, spring from," from a "on" (see a (2)) + wacian "to be awake, remain awake, watch" (see watch (v.)).

Both originally were intransitive only; the transitive sense being expressed by Middle English awecchen (from Old English aweccan) until later Middle English. In Modern English, the tendency has been to restrict the strong past tense and past participle (awoke, awoken) to the original intransitive sense and the weak inflection (awakened) to the transitive, but this never has been complete (see wake (v.); also compare awaken).
awake (adj.) Look up awake at Dictionary.com
"not asleep," c. 1300, shortened from awaken, past participle of Old English awæcnan (see awaken).
awaken (v.) Look up awaken at Dictionary.com
Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of "to stir up, rouse to activity" is from c. 1600.

Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. Related: Awakening.
award (n.) Look up award at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "decision after consideration," from Anglo-French award, Old French esguard, from esguarder (see award (v.)). Meaning "something awarded" is first attested 1590s.
award (v.) Look up award at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "decide after careful observation," from Anglo-French awarder, from Old North French eswarder (Old French esguarder) "decide, examine" (after careful consideration), from es- "out" (see ex-) + warder "to watch" (see ward (n.)). Related: Awarded; awarding.
aware (adj.) Look up aware at Dictionary.com
late Old English gewær, from Proto-Germanic *ga-waraz (cognates: Old Saxon giwar, Middle Dutch gheware, Old High German giwar, German gewahr), from *ga-, intensive prefix, + waraz "wary, cautious" (see wary).
awareness (n.) Look up awareness at Dictionary.com
1828, from aware + -ness.
awash (adj.) Look up awash at Dictionary.com
1825, originally nautical, "on the level of, flush with," from a- (1) "on" + wash (n.). Figurative use by 1912.
away (adv.) Look up away at Dictionary.com
late Old English aweg, earlier on weg "on from this (that) place;" see a- (1) + way (n.). Colloquial use for "without delay" (fire away, also right away) is from earlier sense of "onward in time" (16c.). Intensive use (as in away back) is American English, first attested 1818.
awe (v.) Look up awe at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from awe (n.); Old English had egan (v.). Related: Awed; awing.
awe (n.) Look up awe at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, aue, "fear, terror, great reverence," earlier aghe, c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse agi "fright;" from Proto-Germanic *agiz- (cognates: Old English ege "fear," Old High German agiso "fright, terror," Gothic agis "fear, anguish"), from PIE *agh-es- (cognates: Greek akhos "pain, grief"), from root *agh- "to be depressed, be afraid" (see ail). Current sense of "dread mixed with admiration or veneration" is due to biblical use with reference to the Supreme Being. To stand in awe (early 15c.) originally was simply to stand awe. Awe-inspiring is recorded from 1814.
Al engelond of him stod awe.
["The Lay of Havelok the Dane," c. 1300]
aweigh (adj.) Look up aweigh at Dictionary.com
"raised, perpendicular," 1620s, nautical, from a- (1) + weigh.
awesome (adj.) Look up awesome at Dictionary.com
1590s, "profoundly reverential," from awe (n.) + -some (1). Meaning "inspiring awe" is from 1670s; weakened colloquial sense of "impressive, very good" is recorded by 1961 and was in vogue from after c. 1980. Related: Awesomely; awesomeness.
awestruck (adj.) Look up awestruck at Dictionary.com
1630s, "overwhelmed by reverential fear," from awe (n.) + struck (see strike (v.)).
awful (adj.) Look up awful at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, agheful "worthy of respect or fear," from aghe, an earlier form of awe (n.), + -ful. The Old English word was egefull. Weakened sense "very bad" is from 1809; weakened sense of "exceedingly" is by 1818.
awfully (adv.) Look up awfully at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "so as to inspire reverence," from awful + -ly (2). Meaning "dreadfully, so as to strike one with awe" is recorded from late 14c. As a simple intensifier, "very, exceedingly," is attested from c. 1830.
awhile (adv.) Look up awhile at Dictionary.com
Old English ane hwile "(for) a while" (see while (n.)); usually written as one word since 13c.
awhirl (adj.) Look up awhirl at Dictionary.com
1837, from a- (1) + whirl (v.).
awing (n.) Look up awing at Dictionary.com
"action of inspiring with awe," 1650s, verbal noun from awe (v.).
awk (adj.) Look up awk at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "turned the wrong way," from Old Norse afugr "turned backwards, wrong, contrary," from Proto-Germanic *afug-, from PIE *apu-ko-, from root *apo- "off, away" (see apo-). Obsolete since 17c.
awkward (adj.) Look up awkward at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "in the wrong direction," from awk "back-handed" + adverbial suffix -weard (see -ward). Meaning "clumsy" first recorded 1520s. Related: Awkwardly. Other formations from awk, none of them surviving, were awky, awkly, awkness.
awkwardness (n.) Look up awkwardness at Dictionary.com
1704, "lack of grace," from awkward + -ness. Meaning "physical clumsiness" is attested from c. 1770; that of "social embarrassment" is from 1788.
awl (n.) Look up awl at Dictionary.com
Old English æl "awl, piercer," from Proto-Germanic *ælo (cognates: Old Norse alr, Dutch aal, Middle Low German al, Old High German äla, German Ahle), which is of uncertain origin. Earliest references are to piercing of the ears, though later it was associated with shoemakers. Through misdivision, frequently written 15c.-17c. as nawl (for an awl; see N).
awn (n.) Look up awn at Dictionary.com
"bristly fibers on grain of plants," c. 1300, from Old Norse ögn, from Proto-Germanic *agano (cognates: Old English egenu, Old High German agana, German Ahne, Gothic ahana), from PIE *ak-ona- (cognates: Sanskrit asani- "arrowhead," Greek akhne "husk of wheat," Latin acus "chaff," Lithuanian akuotas "beard, awn"); suffixed form of PIE root *ak- "sharp" (see acrid).
awning (n.) Look up awning at Dictionary.com
1624, origin uncertain (first recorded use is by Capt. John Smith), perhaps from Middle French auvans, plural of auvent "a sloping roof," "itself of doubtful etym[ology]" (OED). A nautical term only until sense of "cover for windows or porch" emerged 1852.
awoke Look up awoke at Dictionary.com
past tense of awake (v.), from Old English awoc; also see awaken. The tendency has been to restrict the strong past tense (awoke) to the original intransitive sense of awake and the weak inflection (awakened) to the transitive, but this never has been complete.
awoken Look up awoken at Dictionary.com
past participle of awake (v.); also see awaken. The tendency has been to restrict the strong past participle (awoken) to the original intransitive sense of awake and the weak inflection (awakened) to the transitive, but this never has been complete.
awol (adj.) Look up awol at Dictionary.com
also a.w.o.l., military initialism (acronym) for absent without leave. The -o- seems to be there mostly so the assemblage can be pronounced as a word. In U.S. military use at least from World War II, popular use by 1960.
awry (adv.) Look up awry at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "crooked, askew," from a- (1) "on" + wry (adj.).