autarchy (n.) Look up autarchy at
1660s, "absolute sovereignty," from Latinized form of Greek autarkhia, from autarkhein "to be an absolute ruler," from autos "self" (see auto-) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon).
autarky (n.) Look up autarky at
1610s, "self-sufficiency," from Greek autarkeia "sufficiency in oneself, independence," from autarkes "self-sufficient, having enough, independent of others" (also used of countries), from autos "self" (see auto-) + arkein "to ward off, keep off," also "to be strong enough, sufficient" (see archon). From a different Greek source than autarchy, and thus the distinct spelling. As a term in international economics, prominent late 1930s. Related: Autarkic.
auteur (n.) Look up auteur at
1962, from French, literally "author" (see author (n.)).
authentic (adj.) Look up authentic at
mid-14c., "authoritative, duly authorized" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French autentique "authentic; canonical" (13c., Modern French authentique) and directly from Medieval Latin authenticus, from Greek authentikos "original, genuine, principal," from authentes "one acting on one's own authority," from autos "self" (see auto-) + hentes "doer, being," from PIE root *sene- (2) "to accomplish, achieve." Sense of "real, entitled to acceptance as factual" is first recorded mid-14c.

Traditionally in modern use, authentic implies that the contents of the thing in question correspond to the facts and are not fictitious (hence "trustworthy, reliable"); while genuine implies that the reputed author is the real one and that we have it as it left the author's hand (hence "unadulterated"); but this is not always maintained: "The distinction which the 18th c. apologists attempted to establish between genuine and authentic ... does not agree well with the etymology of the latter word, and is not now recognized" [OED].
authenticate (v.) Look up authenticate at
"verify, establish the credibility of," 1650s, from Medieval Latin authenticatus, past participle of authenticare, from Late Latin authenticus (see authentic). Also "render authentic" (1650s). Related: Authenticated; authenticating.
authentication (n.) Look up authentication at
1748, noun of action from authenticate (v.).
authenticity (n.) Look up authenticity at
1760, from authentic + -ity. Earlier were authentity (1650s), authenticness (1620s).
author (n.) Look up author at
mid-14c., auctor, autour, autor "father, creator, one who brings about, one who makes or creates" someone or something, from Old French auctor, acteor "author, originator, creator, instigator" (12c., Modern French auteur) and directly from Latin auctor "promoter, producer, father, progenitor; builder, founder; trustworthy writer, authority; historian; performer, doer; responsible person, teacher," literally "one who causes to grow," agent noun from auctus, past participle of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase."

From late 14c. as "a writer, one who sets forth written statements, original composer of a writing" (as distinguished from a compiler, translator, copyist, etc.). Also from late 14c. as "source of authoritative information or opinion," now archaic but the sense behind authority, etc. In Middle English the word was sometimes confused with actor. The -t- changed to -th- 16c., on model of change in Medieval Latin, on mistaken assumption of Greek origin and confusion with authentic.
...[W]riting means revealing oneself to excess .... This is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why even night is not night enough. ... I have often thought that the best mode of life for me would be to sit in the innermost room of a spacious locked cellar with my writing things and a lamp. Food would be brought and always put down far away from my room, outside the cellar's outermost door. The walk to my food, in my dressing gown, through the vaulted cellars, would be my only exercise. I would then return to my table, eat slowly and with deliberation, then start writing again at once. And how I would write! From what depths I would drag it up! [Franz Kafka, "Letters to Felice," 1913]
author (v.) Look up author at
1590s, "to do, originate," from author (n.). Revived 1940s, chiefly U.S. Related: Authored; authoring.
authoress (n.) Look up authoress at
late 15c., from author (n.) + -ess.
authorial (adj.) Look up authorial at
"pertaining to an author," 1796, from author (n.) + -al (1).
authorisation (n.) Look up authorisation at
chiefly British English spelling of authorization (q.v.); for spelling, see -ize.
authorise (v.) Look up authorise at
chiefly British English spelling of authorize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Authorised; authorising; authorisation.
authoritarian (adj.) Look up authoritarian at
"favoring imposed order over freedom," 1862, from authority + -an. Compare authoritative, which originally had this meaning to itself. Noun in the sense of one advocating or practicing the principle of authority over individual freedom is from 1859.
authoritarianism (n.) Look up authoritarianism at
1883; see authoritarian + -ism. Early use mostly in communist jargon.
authoritative (adj.) Look up authoritative at
c. 1600, "dictatorial" (a sense now restricted to authoritarian), earlier auctoritative (implied in auctoritativeli "with official approval or sanction"), from Medieval Latin auctoritativus, from Latin auctoritatem (see authority). Meaning "having due authority, entitled to credence or obedience" is from 1650s; that of "proceeding from proper authority" is from 1809. Related: Authoritatively; authoritativeness.
authority (n.) Look up authority at
c. 1200, autorite, auctorite "authoritative passage or statement, book or quotation that settles an argument, passage from Scripture," from Old French autorité, auctorité "authority, prestige, right, permission, dignity, gravity; the Scriptures" (12c.; Modern French autorité), from Latin auctoritatem (nominative auctoritas) "invention, advice, opinion, influence, command," from auctor "master, leader, author" (see author (n.)). Usually spelled with a -c- in English before 16c., when the letter was dropped in imitation of French, then with a -th-, probably by influence of authentic.

From c. 1300 in the general sense "legal validity," also "authoritative book; authoritative doctrine" (opposed to reason or experience); "author whose statements are regarded as correct." From mid-14c. as "right to rule or command, power to enforce obedience, power or right to command or act." In Middle English also "power derived from good reputation; power to convince people, capacity for inspiring trust." From c. 1400 as "official sanction, authorization." Meaning "persons in authority" is from 1610s; Authorities "those in charge, those with police powers" is recorded from mid-19c.
authorization (n.) Look up authorization at
"act of authorizing, conferment of legality," c. 1600, noun of action from authorize. Earlier form was auctorisation (late 15c.).
authorize (v.) Look up authorize at
late 14c., auctorisen, autorisen, "give formal approval or sanction to," also "confirm as authentic or true; regard (a book) as correct or trustworthy," from Old French autoriser, auctoriser "authorize, give authority to" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin auctorizare, from auctor (see author (n.)). Meaning "give authority or legal power to" is from mid-15c. Modern spelling from late 16c. Related: Authorized; authorizing. Authorized Version as a popular name for the 1611 ("King James") English Bible is from 1824.
authorship (n.) Look up authorship at
c. 1500, "the function of being a writer," from author (n.) + -ship. Meaning "literary origination, source of something that has an author" is attested by 1808.
autism (n.) Look up autism at
1912, from German Autismus, coined 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from Greek autos "self" (see auto-) + -ismos suffix of action or of state. The notion is of "morbid self-absorption."
autistic (adj.) Look up autistic at
1912 (Bleuler), from autism (q.v.). Noun meaning "person with autism" is recorded from 1968 (earlier in this sense was autist). Related: Autistically.
auto (n.) Look up auto at
1899 as shortened form of automobile (q.v.). Similar evolution yielded French, German auto.
auto- Look up auto- at
word-forming element meaning "self, one's own, by oneself, of oneself" (and especially, from 1895, "automobile"), from Greek autos, reflexive pronoun, "self, same," which is of unknown origin. It also was a common word-forming element in ancient Greek, as in modern English, but very few of the old words have survived the interval. In Greek, as a word-forming element, auto- had the sense of "self, one's own, of oneself ('independently'); of itself ('natural, native, not made'); just exactly; together with." Before a vowel, it became aut-; before an aspirate, auth-. In Greek it also was used as a prefix to proper names, as in automelinna "Melinna herself." The opposite prefix would be allo-.
auto-da-fe (n.) Look up auto-da-fe at
"sentence passed by the Inquisition" (plural autos-da-fé), 1723, from Portuguese auto-da-fé "judicial sentence, act of the faith," especially the public burning of a heretic, from Latin actus de fide. The elements are auto "a play," in law, "an order, decree, sentence," from Latin actus (see act (v.)), de "from, of" (see de), fides "faith" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade"). The Spanish form is auto-de-fe, but the Portuguese form took hold in English, perhaps through popular accounts of the executions following the earthquake of 1755.
auto-erotic (adj.) Look up auto-erotic at
also autoerotic, 1898, coined by Havelock Ellis from auto- + erotic. Related: Auto-eroticism (1898). The opposite is allo-erotic.
By "auto-erotism" I mean the phenomena of spontaneous sexual emotion generated in the absence of an external stimulus proceeding, directly or indirectly, from another person. [Ellis, "Auto-Erotism," in "The Alienist and Neurologist," April 1898]
auto-focus (n.) Look up auto-focus at
1958 in photography, from auto- + focus (n.).
autobahn (n.) Look up autobahn at
1937, from German Autobahn (1930s), from auto "motor car, automobile" (short for automobil; see auto) + bahn "path, road," from Middle High German ban, bane "way, road," literally "strike" (as a swath cut through), from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane).
autobiography (n.) Look up autobiography at
"a memoir of a person written by himself," 1797, from auto- + biography. Related: Autobiographical; autobiographer; autobiographic.
autocade (n.) Look up autocade at
1922, from auto "automobile" + ending from cavalcade.
autocar (n.) Look up autocar at
"car which contains in itself a motor and a source of power," 1895, from auto- + car.
Which is it to be? We observe that the London Times has lent the weight of its authority to the word "autocar," which it now prints without the significant inverted commas but with a hyphen, "auto-car." We believe that the vocable originated with a journal called the Hardwareman, which succeeded in obtaining the powerful support of the Engineer for its offspring. As for ourselves, being linguistic purists, we do not care for hybrid constructions--"auto" is Greek, while "car" is Latin and Celtic. At the same time, such clumsy phrases as "horseless carriages," "mechanical road carriages," and "self-propelled vehicles" are not meeting with general favour. Why not therefore adopt the philogically sound "motor-car," which could be run into a single word, "motorcar"? ["The Electrical Engineer," Dec. 20, 1895]
Compare automobile.
autochthon (n.) Look up autochthon at
1640s, "one sprung from the soil he inhabits" (plural autochthones), from Latinized form of Greek autokhthon "aborigines, natives, primitive inhabitants," literally "sprung from the land itself," used of the Athenians and others who claimed descent from the Pelasgians, from autos "self" (see auto-) + khthon "land, earth, soil" (from PIE root *dhghem- "earth").
autochthonic (adj.) Look up autochthonic at
"native, sprung from the soil," 1827, from autochthon + -ic.
autochthonous (adj.) Look up autochthonous at
"native, aboriginal, indigenous," 1805, from autochthon + -ous. The opposite is allochthonous.
autoclave (n.) Look up autoclave at
"stewing apparatus the lid of which is kept closed and tight by the steam itself," 1876, from French, literally "self-locking," from auto- "self" (see auto-) + clave, from Latin clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)).
autocracy (n.) Look up autocracy at
1650s, "independent power, self-sustained power, self-government" (obsolete), from French autocratie, from Latinized form of Greek autokrateia "absolute rule, rule by oneself," abstract noun from autokrates "ruling by oneself," from autos "self" (see auto-) + kratia "rule" (see -cracy). Meaning "absolute government, unlimited political power invested in a single person" is recorded from 1855.
autocrat (n.) Look up autocrat at
1800, used in reference to the Russian tsars, then to Napoleon, from French autocrate, from Latinized form of Greek autokrates "ruling by oneself, absolute, autocratic," from autos "self" (see auto-) + kratia "rule," from kratos "strength, power" (see -cracy). The Greek noun was autokrator, and an earlier form in English was autocrator (1759). Earliest forms in English were the fem. autocratress (1762), autocratrix (1762), autocratrice (1767, from French).
autocratic (adj.) Look up autocratic at
"holding unlimited and independent powers of government," 1815 (in reference to Napoleon), from French autocratique, from autocrate, from Latinized form of Greek autokrates (see autocrat). Earlier autocratoric (1670s) was directly from Greek autokratorikos "of or for an autocrat, despotically." Autocratical is attested from 1767 (in reference to Elizabeth I).
autodidact (n.) Look up autodidact at
"self-taught person," 1746, probably via French, from Latinized form of Greek autodidaktos "self-taught" (see autodidactic).
autodidactic (adj.) Look up autodidactic at
"self-taught," 1838, from Greek autodidaktikos "self-taught," from autos "self" (see auto-) + didaktos "taught" (see didactic).
autogamy (n.) Look up autogamy at
"self-fertilization," 1877, from auto- "self" + -gamy "fertilization." Related: Autogamous (1880).
autogenetic (adj.) Look up autogenetic at
"self-producing," 1865, see auto- + genetic. Related: Autogenic (1852); autogeny (1858); autogenesis (1859; by 1849 in German).
autogenous (adj.) Look up autogenous at
"self-generated," 1846, earlier autogeneal (1650s), from Greek autogenetos "self-born," from autos "self" (see auto-) + genetos "born," from genes "formation, creation" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). Modern form and biological use of the word said to have been coined by English paleontologist Richard Owen (1804-1892).
autograph (v.) Look up autograph at
"to sign one's name," 1837, from autograph (n.). Related: Autographed; autographing. Earlier "to write with one's own hand" (1818).
autograph (n.) Look up autograph at
"a person's signature," 1791, from French autographe, from Late Latin autographum, from Greek autographon, neuter of autographos "written with one's own hand," from autos "self" (see auto-) + graphein "to write" (originally "to scratch;" see -graphy). Used earlier (1640s) to mean "author's own manuscript." As an adjective, "written by oneself," by 1832. Related: Autographic.
autoharp (n.) Look up autoharp at
1882, name on a patent taken out by Charles F. Zimmermann of Philadelphia, U.S.A., for an improved type of harp, an instrument considerably different from the modern autoharp, actually a chord zither, which was invented about the same time by K.A. Gütter of Markneukirchen, Germany, who called it a Volkszither. See auto- + harp (n.).
autoimmune (adj.) Look up autoimmune at
also auto-immune, 1952, from auto- + immune. Related: Autoimmunity (1904).
autolatry (n.) Look up autolatry at
"self-worship," 1620s (in Latinate form autolatria), from auto- "self" + -latry "worship."
automaker (n.) Look up automaker at
"manufacturer of automobiles," 1925, from auto "automobile" + maker.
automat (n.) Look up automat at
"automated cafeteria," 1903, probably from automatic (adj.). Earlier it meant "an automaton" (1670s).