binder (n.) Look up binder at
Old English bindere "one who binds," agent noun from bind (v.). Of various objects or products that bind, from early 16c.
bindery (n.) Look up bindery at
"place where books are bound," 1793, American English; see bind (v.) + -ery.
binding (n.) Look up binding at
mid-13c., "act or action of securing, uniting, etc.," verbal noun from bind (v.). Meaning "thing that binds" is from c. 1300; "state of being bound" is from late 14c. Meaning "covering of a book" is recorded from 1640s.
binding (adj.) Look up binding at
late 14c., "serving to bind," past-participle adjective from bind (v.). Meaning "having power to bind" is from 1610s.
bindle (n.) Look up bindle at
"tramp's bundle," 1900, perhaps from bundle (n.) or Scottish dialectal bindle "cord or rope to bind things." Related: Bindlestiff "tramp who carries a bindle" (1901).
bine (n.) Look up bine at
"climbing stem, flexible shoot of a shrub," 1727, from a dialectal form of bind (n.).
bing (n.) Look up bing at
"heap or pile," 1510s, from Old Norse bingr "heap." Also used from early 14c. as a word for bin, perhaps from notion of "place where things are piled."
binge (n.) Look up binge at
1854, "drinking bout," also (v.) "drink heavily, soak up alcohol;" dialectal use of binge "soak" (a wooden vessel). Said to have been originally as a dialect word: Binge is noted in Evans' "Leicestershire Words, Phrases and Proverbs" (London, 1848) as a dialect verb for "To soak in water a wooden vessel, that would otherwise leak," to make the wood swell. He adds that it was extended locally to excessive drinking ("soaking"). Sense extended c. World War I to include eating as well as drinking. Related: Binged; binging.
bingo (n.) Look up bingo at
lotto-like game of chance, 1924; many theories about its origin, none satisfying; the most likely is bingo! as an exclamation of sudden realization or surprise (attested from 1923). Uncertain connection to the slang word for "brandy" (1690s); attested as "liquor" in American English from 1861. Thomas Chandler Haliburton ("Sam Slick") in "The Americans at Home" (1854) recounts a story of a drinking game in which the children's song about the farmer's dog was sung and when it came time to spell out the name, every participant had to take a letter in turn, and anyone who missed or flubbed had to drink.
binnacle (n.) Look up binnacle at
"wooden box for a ship's compass," 1738, corruption of bittacle (1620s), which is probably from Spanish bitacula or Portuguese bitacola, both from Latin habitaculum "little dwelling place," from habitare "to inhabit" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive").
binocle (n.) Look up binocle at
"telescope or opera glass with two tubes for use by both eyes at once," 1690s, from French binocle (17c.), from Latin bini- "two by two, twofold, two apiece" (see binary) + oculus "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see").
binocular (adj.) Look up binocular at
1738, "involving both eyes," earlier "having two eyes" (1713), from French binoculaire, from Latin bini "two by two, twofold, two apiece" (see binary) + ocularis "of the eye," from oculus "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). The double-tubed telescopic instrument (1871, short for binocular glass) earlier was called a binocle. Related: Binocularity; binocularly.
binoculars (n.) Look up binoculars at
1866; see binocular. Earlier binocle (1690s).
binomial (n.) Look up binomial at
1550s, "an algebraic expression consisting of two terms," from Late Latin binomius "having two personal names," a hybrid from bi- "two" (see bi-) + nomius, from nomen (see name (n.)). In zoology and botany, "a name consisting of two terms, generic and specific."
bint (n.) Look up bint at
"girlfriend," 1855, British English, from Arabic bint "daughter;" adopted by British fighting men in the Middle East. OED reports it "in common use by British servicemen in Egypt and neighbouring countries" in the world wars.
bio (n.) Look up bio at
short for biography, attested from 1961. Earlier shortened forms were biog (1942), biograph (1865).
bio- Look up bio- at
word-forming element, especially in scientific compounds, meaning "life, life and," or "biology, biology and," or "biological, of or pertaining to living organisms or their constituents," from Greek bios "one's life, course or way of living, lifetime" (as opposed to zoe "animal life, organic life"), from PIE root *gwei- "to live." The correct usage is that in biography, but since c. 1800 in modern science it has been extended to mean "organic life," as zoo-, the better choice, is restricted in modern use to animal, as opposed to plant, life. Both are from the same PIE root. Compare biology.
biocentric (adj.) Look up biocentric at
also bio-centric, "treating life as a central fact," 1889; see bio- "life" + -centric. Anti-biocentric attested from 1882.
biochemical (adj.) Look up biochemical at
also bio-chemical, "of or pertaining to the chemistry of life," 1840, after German biochemisch, from bio- "life" + chemical. Related: Biochemically.
biochemist (n.) Look up biochemist at
also bio-chemist, "student of the chemistry of life," 1894; see bio- "life" + chemist.
biochemistry (n.) Look up biochemistry at
also bio-chemistry, "the chemistry of life," 1857, from bio- "life" + chemistry.
biocide (n.) Look up biocide at
"destruction of living tissue or living species," 1947, from bio- + -cide. An older word for it was biolysis.
bioclimatology (n.) Look up bioclimatology at
also bio-climatology, "study of climate in relation to living organisms," 1911; see bio- + climatology.
biodegradable (adj.) Look up biodegradable at
also bio-degradable, "susceptible to decomposition by living organisms" (especially bacteria), 1962, from bio- + degrade + -able.
biodiesel (n.) Look up biodiesel at
also bio-diesel, 1992, from bio- + diesel.
biodiversity (n.) Look up biodiversity at
also bio-diversity, "the range of variety in the living organisms of a given area," by 1988, from bio- + diversity.
bioethics (n.) Look up bioethics at
also bio-ethics, coined 1970 by U.S. biochemist Van Rensselaer Potter II (1911-2001), who defined it as "Biology combined with diverse humanistic knowledge forging a science that sets a system of medical and environmental priorities for acceptable survival." From bio- + ethics.
biofeedback (n.) Look up biofeedback at
also bio-feedback, 1969, from bio- + feedback. Said to have been coined by U.S. psychologist and parapsychologist Gardner Murphy (1890-1975).
biofuel (n.) Look up biofuel at
also bio-fuel, by 1984, from bio- + fuel (n.).
biogen (n.) Look up biogen at
1882 (E. Coues), "hypothetical soul-stuff, the substance of a proposed spiritual body," coined 1882 by U.S. scientist Elliott Coues (1842-1899); see bio- + -gen. From 1899 as "hypothetical protoplasmic unit," from German Biogen (1895). Related: Biogenetic; biogenation.
biogenesis (n.) Look up biogenesis at
also bio-genesis, 1870, "theory that living organisms arise only from the agency of pre-existing living organisms," coined by English biologist T.H. Huxley (1825-1895) from Greek bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + -genesis "birth, origin, creation." Meaning "the theoretical evolution of living matter from complex inanimate chemicals" is from 1960. Related: Biogenetic; biogenetical.
biogenetic (adj.) Look up biogenetic at
"pertaining to biogeny and to the rule that the individual recapitulates the growth stages of the species; 1879; see biogeny + -ic.
biogenic (adj.) Look up biogenic at
1864, "produced by living organisms," from bio- + -genic "produced by." From 1904 with reference to Haeckel's recapitulation theory, from biogeny + -ic.
biogeny (n.) Look up biogeny at
1870, "science or doctrine of biogenesis; history of organic evolution;" see bio- + -geny. As "history of the evolution of organisms, genesis or evolution of matter manifesting life (including ontogeny and phylogeny)," 1879.
biogeography (n.) Look up biogeography at
also bio-geography, "science of the distribution of living things in different regions," 1892, from bio- + geography. Related: Biogeographical.
biographer (n.) Look up biographer at
"one who writes an account of the life and actions of a person," 1715, from biography + -er (1). Earlier was biographist (1660s). Biographee for the one written about is from 1841.
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; biographic (1787).
biography (n.) Look up biography at
1680s, "the histories of individual lives, as a branch of literature," probably from Medieval Latin biographia, from later Greek biographia "description of life" (which was not in classical Greek, bios alone being the word there for it), from Greek bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + graphia "record, account" (see -graphy).

Meaning "a history of someone's life" is from 1791. Meaning "life course of any living being" is from 1854. No one-word verb form has become common; biographise/biographize (1800), biography (1844), biograph (1849) have been tried.
biohazard (n.) Look up biohazard at
also bio-hazard, "organic material that carries a significant health risk," 1973, from bio- + hazard (n.).
biological (adj.) Look up biological at
"pertaining to the science of life," 1840, from biology + -ical. Biological clock, "innate mechanism that regulates cyclic activities of living things," is attested from 1955; not especially of human reproductive urges until c. 1991. Biological warfare is from 1946. Related: Biologically. Alternative adjective biologic is from 1850.
biologism (n.) Look up biologism at
"interpretation of human life from a strictly biological point of view," 1852; see biology + -ism. Related: Biologistic.
biologist (n.) Look up biologist at
"a student of the science of life," 1813, from biology + -ist. Earliest use is in reference to human life (with the Greek sense of bios); in its modern scientific sense by 1874. Biologian is attested from 1865.
biology (n.) Look up biology at
"the science of life and living things," 1819, from Greek bios "life, one's life, lifetime" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live;" see bio-) + -logy "study of." Suggested 1802 by German naturalist Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (1776-1837), and introduced as a scientific term that year in French by Lamarck; they seem to have hit upon the word independently.
bioluminescence (n.) Look up bioluminescence at
also bio-luminescence, "emission of light by living organisms," 1909; see bio- + luminescence.
bioluminescent (adj.) Look up bioluminescent at
also bio-luminescent, 1929, from bioluminescence + -ent.
biolysis (n.) Look up biolysis at
1865, "the destruction of life," later more specifically "dissolution of a living organism, resolution of a dead organism into its constituent matter" (1880s); see bio- + -lysis. Related: Biolytic.
biomagnetism (n.) Look up biomagnetism at
also bio-magnetism, 1874, "animal magnetism," the supposed fluid or influence transmitted from one person to another and capable of modifying organic action, as in hypnosis; from German Biomagnetismus (1868); see bio- + magnetism. Later (by 1992) "the phenomenon of magnetic fields produced by living organisms."
biomass (n.) Look up biomass at
also bio-mass, "total weight of the organic substance or organisms in a given area," by 1969, from bio- + mass (n.1).
biome (n.) Look up biome at
1916, from Greek bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + -ome, an Anglicization of Greek -(o)ma, neuter noun suffix (see -oma). Probably coined by U.S. ecologist Frederic E. Clements (1874-1945).
biomechanics (n.) Look up biomechanics at
also bio-mechanics, "study of the action of forces on the body," 1931, from bio- + mechanic (also see -ics). Earlier (1924) it was a term in Russian theater, from Russian biomekhanika (1921).