bialy (n.) Look up bialy at
bagel with onion flakes sprinkled on it, by 1936, ultimately short for Białystok, city in modern Poland. The city name is literally "white river," from Polish biały "white" + stok "river" (the Bialy River flows through the region).
Bianca Look up Bianca at
fem. proper name, from Italian, literally fem. of bianco "white" (see blank (adj.)). A doublet of French Blanche.
biangular (adj.) Look up biangular at
also bi-angular, by 1770; see bi- + angular.
biannual (adj.) Look up biannual at
also bi-annual; "occurring every six months, twice a year," 1837, from bi- + annual (adj.). Related: Biannually; bi-annually.
bias (n.) Look up bias at
1520s, from French biais "slant, slope, oblique," also figuratively, "expedient, means" (13c., originally in Old French a past participle adjective, "sideways, askance, against the grain"), which is of unknown origin, probably from Old Provençal biais, with cognates in Old Catalan and Sardinian; possibly from Vulgar Latin *(e)bigassius, from Greek epikarsios "athwart, crosswise, at an angle," from epi- "upon" + karsios "oblique," from PIE *krs-yo-, from root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). It became a noun in Old French. "[A] technical term in the game of bowls, whence come all the later uses of the word" [OED]. Transferred sense of "predisposition, prejudice" is from 1570s in English.
For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should seem to be occupied with things mean and transitory; things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections colour and infect the understanding. [Francis Bacon, "Novum Organum," 1620]
bias (v.) Look up bias at
1620s, literal and figurative, from bias (n.). Related: Biased; biasing.
biased (adj.) Look up biased at
1610s in reference to bowling, 1660s in reference to persons; past participle adjective from bias (v.).
biathlon (n.) Look up biathlon at
1956, from bi- + Greek athlon, literally "contest," but in this case abstracted from pentathlon.
biaxial (adj.) Look up biaxial at
also bi-axial, 1833; see bi- + axial.
bib (n.) Look up bib at
linen worn over the breast while eating, 1570s, from verb bibben "to drink" (late 14c.), imitative of lip sounds, or else from Latin bibere (see imbibe), but difficult now to say whether this is because it was worn while drinking or because it "soaked up" spills.
bibber (n.) Look up bibber at
"drinker, tippler," 1530s, from Middle English bib (v.) "to drink heartily" (see bib (n.)).
bibelot (n.) Look up bibelot at
"small curio," 1873, from French bibelot "knick-knack," from Old French beubelet "trinket, jewel" (12c.), from belbel "plaything," a reduplication of bel "pretty."
bibitory (adj.) Look up bibitory at
"pertaining to drinking," 1690s, from Modern Latin bibitorius, from Late Latin bibitor "drinker, toper," from bibere "to drink" (see imbibe).
Bible (n.) Look up Bible at
early 14c., from Anglo-Latin biblia, Old French bible (13c.) "the Bible," also any large book generally, from Medieval and Late Latin biblia "the Bible" (neuter plural interpreted as feminine singular), from phrase biblia sacra "holy books," a translation of Greek ta biblia to hagia "the holy books." The Latin word is from Greek biblion "paper, scroll," the ordinary word for "book," originally a diminutive of byblos "Egyptian papyrus."

The Greek word perhaps is from Byblos, the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece (modern Jebeil, in Lebanon; compare parchment). Or the place name might be from the Greek word, which then would be probably of Egyptian origin. The Christian scripture was referred to in Greek as Ta Biblia as early as c. 223. Bible replaced Old English biblioðece (see bibliothek) as the ordinary word for "the Scriptures." Figurative sense of "any authoritative book" is from 1804. Bible-thumper "strict Christian" is from 1870. Bible belt in reference to the swath of the U.S. South then dominated by fundamentalist Christians is from 1926; likely coined by H.L. Mencken in the "American Mercury."
Walter Scott and Pope's Homer were reading of my own election, but my mother forced me, by steady daily toil, to learn long chapters of the Bible by heart; as well as to read it every syllable through, aloud, hard names and all, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, about once a year; and to that discipline -- patient, accurate, and resolute -- I owe, not only a knowledge of the book, which I find occasionally serviceable, but much of my general power of taking pains, and the best part of my taste in literature. ... [O]nce knowing the 32nd of Deuteronomy, the 119th Psalm, the 15th of 1st Corinthians, the Sermon on the Mount, and most of the Apocalypse, every syllable by heart, and having always a way of thinking with myself what words meant, it was not possible for me, even in the foolishest times of youth, to write entirely superficial or formal English .... [John Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera," 1871]
biblical (adj.) Look up biblical at
1790, from Bible + -ical. Related: Biblically. Earlier adjective was Biblic (1680s).
biblico- Look up biblico- at
word-forming element meaning "biblical," from comb. form of Medieval Latin biblicus, from biblia (see bible).
biblio- Look up biblio- at
word-forming element meaning "book" or sometimes "Bible," from Greek biblio-, from biblion "book" (see Bible).
bibliographer (n.) Look up bibliographer at
1650s, from Greek bibliographos "writer of books, transcriber, copyist," related to bibliographia (see bibliography).
bibliographical (adj.) Look up bibliographical at
1670s; see bibliography + -ical.
bibliography (n.) Look up bibliography at
1670s, "the writing of books," from Greek bibliographia "the writing of books," from biblio- + graphos "(something) drawn or written" (see -graphy). Sense of "a list of books that form the literature of a subject" is first attested 1869. Related: Bibliographic.
biblioklept (n.) Look up biblioklept at
1881, from biblio- + Greek kleptes "thief" (see kleptomania). Walsh calls it "a modern euphemism which softens the ugly word book-thief by shrouding it in the mystery of the Greek language."
bibliolator (n.) Look up bibliolator at
1820, perhaps first in Coleridge, from bibliolatry (q.v.).
bibliolatry (n.) Look up bibliolatry at
1763, "worship of books," from biblio- + -latry. Meaning "worship of the Bible" is from 1847.
bibliomancy (n.) Look up bibliomancy at
1753, "divination by opening a book (especially the Bible) at random," the first verse presenting itself being taken as a prognostication of future events, from biblio- + -mancy. In pagan times, Homer (sortes Homericae) and Virgil (sortes Virgilianae) were used.
bibliomania (n.) Look up bibliomania at
1734, after French bibliomanie, from biblio- + mania.
bibliomaniac (n.) Look up bibliomaniac at
1816; see bibliomania.
A bibliomaniac must be carefully distinguished from a bibliophile. The latter has not yet freed himself from the idea that books are meant to be read. [Walsh]
bibliophile (n.) Look up bibliophile at
also bibliophil, 1824, from French bibliophile, from biblio- + -phile.
bibliopole (n.) Look up bibliopole at
"bookseller," 1775, from Latin bibliopola, from Greek bibliopoles "bookseller," from biblion "book" (see bible) + poles "merchant, seller" (see monopoly).
bibliotheca (n.) Look up bibliotheca at
see bibliothek.
bibliothecary (n.) Look up bibliothecary at
"librarian," 1610s, from Latin bibliothecarius, from bibliotheca (see bibliothek). An earlier form in English was bibliothecar (1580s).
bibliothek (n.) Look up bibliothek at
Old English biblioðece "the Scriptures," from Latin bibliotheka "library, room for books; collection of books," from Greek bibliotheke, literally "book-repository" (from biblion, see Bible, + theke "case, chest, sheath," from root of tithenai "to put, place;" see theme), used of the Bible by Jerome and serving as the common Latin word for it until Biblia began to displace it 9c.
bibulous (adj.) Look up bibulous at
1670s, "spongy, absorbent," from Latin bibulus "drinking readily, given to drink;" of things, "absorbent; moistened," from bibere "to drink" (see imbibe). Meaning "fond of drink" attested in English by 1861.
Bic (n.) Look up Bic at
popular type of plastic ball-point pen, designed c. 1950 in France, named 1953 as a shortened form of company co-founder Marcel Bich (1914-1994).
bicameral (adj.) Look up bicameral at
"having two chambers," 1832, from bi- "two" (see bi-) + Late Latin camera "chamber" (see camera) + -al (1).
bicarbonate (n.) Look up bicarbonate at
1814, bi-carbonate of potash, apparently coined by English chemist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), from bi- + carbonate.
bice (n.) Look up bice at
"pale blue color," early 15c., shortened from blew bis "blue bice," from French bis "swarthy, brownish-gray" (12c.), cognate with Italian bigio; of unknown origin. Via French combinations azur bis, vert bis the word came into English with a sense of "blue" or "green."
bicentenary (adj.) Look up bicentenary at
"pertaining to a 200-year period," 1843; see bi- + centenary. Also see bicentennial. As a noun, "a bicentennial anniversary or celebration," also from 1843.
bicentennial Look up bicentennial at
also bi-centennial, 1843 (adj.), 1871 (noun), American English, from bi- + centennial (q.v.). In rivalry with bicentenary (1831) which seems to have been the more common word in Britain.
bicep (n.) Look up bicep at
false singular of biceps (q.v.).
bicephalous (adj.) Look up bicephalous at
1803, a hybrid from bi- + Latinized adjectival form of Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-).
biceps Look up biceps at
1630s (adj.), from Latin biceps "having two parts," literally "two-headed," from bis "double" (see bis-) + -ceps comb. form of caput "head" (see capitulum). As a noun meaning "biceps muscle," from 1640s, so called for its structure. Despite the -s, it is singular, and classicists insist there is no such word as bicep.
bicipital (adj.) Look up bicipital at
"having two heads," 1640s, from Latin biceps (genitive bicipitis); see biceps + -al (1).
bicker (v.) Look up bicker at
early 14c., bikere, "to skirmish, fight," perhaps from Middle Dutch bicken "to slash, stab, attack," + -er, Middle English frequentative suffix. Meaning "to quarrel" is from mid-15c. Related: Bickered; bickering.
bicker (n.) Look up bicker at
c. 1300, skirmish, battle; from the same source as bicker (v.). In modern use, often to describe the sound of a flight of an arrow or other repeated, loud, rapid sounds, in which sense it is perhaps at least partly echoic.
bickering (n.) Look up bickering at
c. 1300, "a skirmish," from bicker (v.). Meaning "a verbal wrangle" is from 1570s.
bickering (adj.) Look up bickering at
1808 in the sense of "contentious," present participle adjective from bicker (v.). Earlier it was used to mean "flashing, quivering" (1660s).
bicoastal (adj.) Look up bicoastal at
also bi-coastal, by 1977 in reference to the East and West coasts of the U.S. (or, specifically, New York and Los Angeles); from bi- + coastal.
bicuspid (adj.) Look up bicuspid at
1826, "having two parts," from bi- + Latin cuspidem "cusp, point." As a noun, short for bicuspid molar, attested from 1837.
bicycle (n.) Look up bicycle at
1868, coined from bi- "two" + Greek kyklos "circle, wheel" (see cycle (n.)), on the pattern of tricycle; both the word and the vehicle superseding earlier velocipede. The English word probably is not from French, though often said to be (many French sources say the French word is from English). The assumption apparently is because Pierre Lallement, employee of a French carriage works, improved Macmillan's 1839 pedal velocipede in 1865 and took the invention to America. See also pennyfarthing. As a verb, from 1869.
That ne plus ultra of snobbishness -- bicyclism. [1876]
bicyclist (n.) Look up bicyclist at
1869, from bicycle + -ist.