biogeny (n.) Look up biogeny at
1870, "biogenesis;" see biogenic. As "history of the evolution of an organism," 1879.
biogeography (n.) Look up biogeography at
also bio-geography, 1892, from bio- + geography. Related: Biogeographical.
biographer (n.) Look up biographer at
1715; see biography + -er (1). Earlier was biographist (1660s).
Of every great and eminent character, part breaks forth into public view, and part lies hid in domestic privacy. Those qualities which have been exerted in any known and lasting performances may, at any distance of time, be traced and estimated; but silent excellencies are soon forgotten; and those minute peculiarities which discriminate every man from all others, if the are not recorded by those whom personal knowledge enabled to observe them, are irrecoverably lost. [Johnson, "Life of Sir Thomas Browne," 1756]
biographical (adj.) Look up biographical at
1738; see biography + -ical. Related: Biographically.
biography (n.) Look up biography at
1680s, probably from Latin biographia, from Late Greek biographia "description of life," from Greek bio- "life" (see bio-) + graphia "record, account" (see -graphy). Biographia was not in classical Greek (bios alone was the word for it), though it is attested in later Greek from c.500.
biohazard (n.) Look up biohazard at
also bio-hazard, 1973, from bio- + hazard (n.).
biological (adj.) Look up biological at
1840, from biology + -ical. Biological clock attested from 1955; not especially of human reproductive urges until c.1991. Related: Biologically.
biologist (n.) Look up biologist at
1813, from biology + -ist. Earliest use is in reference to human life. In modern scientific sense, by 1874.
biology (n.) Look up biology at
1819, from Greek bios "life" (see bio-) + -logy. Suggested 1802 by German naturalist Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (1776-1837), and introduced as a scientific term that year in French by Lamarck.
bioluminescence (n.) Look up bioluminescence at
also bio-luminescence, 1909; see bio- + luminescence.
bioluminescent (adj.) Look up bioluminescent at
also bio-luminescent, 1929; see bioluminescence.
biomass (n.) Look up biomass at
also bio-mass, c.1980, from bio- + mass (n.1).
biome (n.) Look up biome at
1908, from Greek bios (see bio-) + -ome.
biomechanics (n.) Look up biomechanics at
also bio-mechanics, 1933, "study of the action of forces on the body," from bio- + mechanic (also see -ics). Earlier (1924) as a term in Russian theater, from Russian biomekhanika (1921).
biomedical (adj.) Look up biomedical at
also bio-medical, 1961, from bio- + medical.
biometric (adj.) Look up biometric at
1888, from bio- + -metric.
biometrics (n.) Look up biometrics at
"application of mathematics to biology," 1902, from biometric (also see -ics); slightly earlier in this sense was biometry (1901), which was coined by Whewell and used by him and others with a sense of "calculation of life expectancy" (1831).
biometry (n.) Look up biometry at
see biometrics.
biomorphic (adj.) Look up biomorphic at
1895, from bio- + Greek morphe "form" (see Morpheus) + -ic.
bionic (adj.) Look up bionic at
1901, as a term in the study of fossils, from Greek. bios "life" (see bio-). Meaning "pertaining to bionics" is recorded from 1963. Popular sense of "superhumanly gifted or durable" is from 1976, from popular U.S. television program "The Bionic Man" and its spin-offs.
bionics (n.) Look up bionics at
1959, from bio- + second element from electronic; also see -ics.
bionomics (n.) Look up bionomics at
"science of organic evolution; ecology," 1888, coined by Scottish biologist Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) from Greek bio- (see bio-) + nomos "managing," from nemein "manage" (see numismatic).
biopic (n.) Look up biopic at
also bio-pic, 1951, from biographical + (moving) picture. Frequent from mid-1951 in "Billboard" and possibly coined there.
biopsy (n.) Look up biopsy at
1895, from French biopsie, coined by French dermatologist Ernest Besnier (1831-1909) from Greek bi- comb. form of bios "life" (see bio-) + opsis "a sight" (see eye (n.)). As a verb, from 1964.
biorhythm (n.) Look up biorhythm at
also bio-rhythm, 1960, from bio- + rhythm. Related: Biorhythmic.
biosphere (n.) Look up biosphere at
1899, on model of German Biosphäre (1875), coined by German geologist Eduard Suess (1831-1914); see bio- + sphere.
biota (n.) Look up biota at
1901, from Greek biota "life" (see bio-).
biotechnology (n.) Look up biotechnology at
also bio-technology, 1947, "use of machinery in relation to human needs;" 1972 in sense of "use of biological processes in industrial production," from bio- + technology.
bioterrorism (n.) Look up bioterrorism at
also bio-terrorism, by 1997, from bio- + terrorism. Related: Bioterrorist.
biotic (adj.) Look up biotic at
"pertaining to life," 1847, in the medical sense, from Latin bioticus, from Greek biotikos "pertaining to life," from bios "life" (see bio-). Biotic factor was in use by 1907. Related: Biotical.
biotin (n.) Look up biotin at
vitamin of the B group (also sometimes called vitamin H) essential for the growth of yeast, 1936, from German Biotin (1936), from Greek biotos "life" (see bio-) + chemical suffix -in (2).
biparous (adj.) Look up biparous at
"bringing forth two at birth," 1731, from bi- + Latin -parus, from parere "bring forth, bear" (see pare).
bipartisan (adj.) Look up bipartisan at
also bi-partisan, 1894, from bi- + partisan.
bipartisanship (n.) Look up bipartisanship at
also bi-partisanship, 1895, from bipartisan + -ship.
bipartite (adj.) Look up bipartite at
1570s, from Latin bipartitus "divided," past participle of bipartire "to divide into two parts," from bi- (see bi-) + partitus, past participle of partiri "to divide" (see part (v.)).
biped (n.) Look up biped at
"animal with two feet," 1640s, from Latin bipedem (nominative bipes) "two-footed," as a plural noun, "men;" from bi- "two" (see bi-) + pedem (nominative pes) "foot" (see foot (n.)).
bipedal (adj.) Look up bipedal at
c.1600, from biped + -al (1). Classical Latin bipedalis meant "two feet long or thick."
bipedalism (n.) Look up bipedalism at
1897; see bipedal + -ism.
biplane (n.) Look up biplane at
airplane with two full wings, one above the other, 1874, as a theoretical notion; first attested 1908 in reference to the real thing; from bi- + plane (n.1). So called from the two "planes" of the double wings.
biplicity (n.) Look up biplicity at
1731; see bi- + ending from multiplicity. A useful and non-pejorative alternative to duplicity.
bipolar (adj.) Look up bipolar at
"having two poles," from bi- + polar; 1810 with figurative sense of "of double aspect;" 1859 with reference to physiology. Psychiatric use in reference to what had been called manic-depressive psychosis is said to have begun 1957 with German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard. The term became popular early 1990s. Bipolar disorder was in DSM III (1980).
bipolarity (n.) Look up bipolarity at
also bi-polarity, 1834; see bi- + polarity.
bippy (n.) Look up bippy at
by 1968, "buttocks, ass," U.S. slang, the kind of thing that once sounded naughty on "Laugh-In" (and briefly popularized by that program). As it often was used with you bet your ... it may be nonsense chosen for alliteration, but there may be some whiff of bipedal in it.
biracial (adj.) Look up biracial at
also bi-racial, 1904, from bi- + racial. Related: Biracially.
birch (n.) Look up birch at
Old English berc, beorc (also the name of the rune for "b"), from Proto-Germanic *berkjon (cognates: Old Saxon birka, Old Norse börk, Danish birk, Swedish björk, Middle Dutch berke, Dutch berk, Old High German birihha, German Birke), from PIE *bhergo (cognates: Ossetian barz, Old Church Slavonic breza, Russian bereza, Lithuanian beržas, Sanskrit bhurjah, Latin farnus, fraxinus "mountain ash"), from root *bhereg- "to gleam, white." Meaning "bunch of birch twigs used for flogging" (1640s) led to verb meaning "to flog" (1830). Related: Birched; birching. Birch beer is by 1827, American English.
birchbark (n.) Look up birchbark at
1640s, American English, from birch (n.) + bark (n.). Old English had beorcrind.
birchen (adj.) Look up birchen at
mid-15c., from birch (n.) + -en (2).
Bircher (n.) Look up Bircher at
1961, member of the U.S. anti-communist John Birch Society, founded 1958.
bird (n.1) Look up bird at
Old English bird, rare collateral form of bridd, originally "young bird, nestling" (the usual Old English for "bird" being fugol), of uncertain origin with no cognates in any other Germanic language. The suggestion that it is related by umlaut to brood and breed is rejected by OED as "quite inadmissible." Metathesis of -r- and -i- was complete 15c.
Middle English, in which bird referred to various young animals and even human beings, may have preserved the original meaning of this word. Despite its early attestation, bridd is not necessarily the oldest form of bird. It is usually assumed that -ir- from -ri- arose by metathesis, but here, too, the Middle English form may go back to an ancient period. [Liberman]
Figurative sense of "secret source of information" is from 1540s. Bird dog (n.) attested from 1832, a gun dog used in hunting game birds; hence the verb (1941) meaning "to follow closely." Bird-watching attested from 1897. Bird's-eye view is from 1762. For the birds recorded from 1944, supposedly in allusion to birds eating from droppings of horses and cattle.
A byrde yn honde ys better than three yn the wode. [c.1530]
bird (n.3) Look up bird at
"middle finger held up in a rude gesture," slang derived from 1860s expression give the big bird "to hiss someone like a goose," kept alive in vaudeville slang with sense of "to greet someone with boos, hisses, and catcalls" (1922), transferred 1960s to the "up yours" hand gesture (the rigid finger representing the hypothetical object to be inserted) on notion of defiance and contempt. Gesture itself seems to be much older (the human anatomy section of a 12c. Latin bestiary in Cambridge describes the middle finger as that "by means of which the pursuit of dishonour is indicated").