center (v.) Look up center at
1590s, "to concentrate at a center," from center (n.). Related: Centered; centering. Meaning "to rest as at a center" is from 1620s. Sports sense of "to hit toward the center" is from 1890. To be centered on is from 1713. In combinations, -centered is attested by 1958.
centerfield (n.) Look up centerfield at
also center field, 1857 in baseball, from center (n.) + field (n.). Related: Center-fielder.
centerfold (n.) Look up centerfold at
also center-fold, "fold-out center spread of a magazine or newspaper," 1950, from center (n.) + fold (n.2). "Playboy" debuted December 1953, and the word came to be used especially for illustrations of comely women, hence "woman who poses as a centerfold model" (by 1965).
centerpiece (n.) Look up centerpiece at
also center-piece, 1800, from center + piece (n.). Figurative sense is recorded from 1937.
centi- Look up centi- at
word-forming element meaning "one hundred" or "one hundredth part," used in English from c. 1800, from the French metric system, from Latin centi-, comb. form of centum "one hundred" (see hundred).
centigrade (adj.) Look up centigrade at
1799, from French; see centi- "hundred" + Latin gradus "degree" (see grade (n.)).
centigram (n.) Look up centigram at
also centigramme, 1801, from French centigramme; see centi- + gram.
centiliter (n.) Look up centiliter at
also centilitre, 1801, from French centilitre; see centi- + liter.
centillion (n.) Look up centillion at
1846, from centi- + ending from million, etc. Compare French centillion (by 1841). Related: Centillionth.
centime (n.) Look up centime at
1801, from French centime, from cent (see centi-) on analogy of décime (pars).
centimeter (n.) Look up centimeter at
also centimetre, 1801, from French centimètre (18c.), coined from Latin centum "hundred" (see hundred) + French mètre (see meter (n.2)).
centipede (n.) Look up centipede at
1640s, from French centipède, from Latin centipeda "many-footed insect," from centum "hundred" (see hundred) + pedis, genitive of pes "foot," from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)).
central (adj.) Look up central at
1640s, from French central or directly from Latin centralis "pertaining to a center," from centrum (see center (n.)). Centrally is attested perhaps as early as early 15c., which might imply a usage of central earlier than the attested date.

Slightly older is centric (1580s). As a U.S. colloquial noun for "central telephone exchange," first recorded 1889 (hence, "Hello, Central?"). Central processing unit attested from 1961. Central America is attested from 1826.
centrality (n.) Look up centrality at
1640s; see central (adj.) + -ity.
centralization (n.) Look up centralization at
1801, especially of administrative power, originally with reference to Napoleonic France and on model of French centralisation. See centralize + -ation.
centralize (v.) Look up centralize at
1795, "to bring to a center;" 1800, "come to a center," from central + -ize, on model of French centraliser (1790). A word from the French Revolution. Related: Centralized; centralizing.
Government should have a central point throughout its whole periphery. The state of the monthly expences amounted to four hundred millions; but within these seven months, it is reduced to one hundred and eighty millions. Such is the effect of the centralization of government; and the more we centralize it, the more we shall find our expenses decrease. [Saint-Just, "Discourse on the State of the Finances"]
centre Look up centre at
chiefly British English spelling of center (q.v.); for ending, see -re.
centrifugal (adj.) Look up centrifugal at
1690s, with adjectival suffix -al (1) + Modern Latin centrifugus, 1687, coined by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin) in "Principia" (which is written in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum "center" (see center (n.)) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)). Centrifugal force is Newton's vis centrifuga.
centrifuge (n.) Look up centrifuge at
1887, "a centrifuge machine," originally a machine for separating cream from milk, from French centrifuge, from noun use of adjective meaning "centrifugal" (1801), from Modern Latin centrifugus (see centrifugal).
centriole (n.) Look up centriole at
1896, from German centriol (1895), from Modern Latin centriolum, diminutive of centrum (see center (n.)).
centripetal (adj.) Look up centripetal at
1709, from Modern Latin, coined 1687 by Sir Isaac Newton (who wrote in Latin), from Latin centri- alternative comb. form of centrum "center" (see center (n.)) + petere "to make for, go to; seek, strive after" (see petition (n.)). Centripetal force is Newton's vim ... centripetam.
centrism (n.) Look up centrism at
1935, from centre + -ism (also see centrist).
centrist (n.) Look up centrist at
1872, from French centriste, from centre (see center (n.)). Originally in English with reference to French politics; general application to other political situations is from 1890.
Where M. St. Hilaire is seen to most advantage, however, is when quietly nursing one of that weak-kneed congregation who sit in the middle of the House, and call themselves "Centrists." A French Centrist is--exceptis eoccipiendis--a man who has never been able to make up his mind, nor is likely to. ["Men of the Third Republic," London, 1873]
centrosome (n.) Look up centrosome at
1889, from German centrosoma (1888), coined by German zoologist Theodor Boveri (1862-1915), from centro- (see center (n.)) + -some (3)).
centurion (n.) Look up centurion at
late 13c., from Latin centurionem (nominative centurio), "Roman army officer, head of a centuria" (a group of one hundred); see century.
century (n.) Look up century at
1530s, "one hundred (of anything)," from Latin centuria "group of one hundred" of things of one kind (including a measure of land and a division of the Roman army, one-sixteenth of a legion, headed by a centurion), from centum "hundred" (see hundred) on analogy of decuria "a company of ten."

Used in Middle English from late 14c. as a division of land, from Roman use. The Modern English meaning is attested from 1650s, short for century of years (1620s). The older, general sense is preserved in the meaning "score of 100 points" in cricket and some other sports. Related: Centurial.
CEO (n.) Look up CEO at
by 1984; abbreviation of chief executive officer.
cephalic (adj.) Look up cephalic at
"pertaining to the head," early 15c., from Latin cephalicus, from Greek kephalikos "pertaining to the head," from kephale (see cephalo-).
cephalization (n.) Look up cephalization at
1864, coined by U.S. zoologist James D. Dana (1813-1895) from Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-) on model of specialization, etc.
cephalo- Look up cephalo- at
before vowels, cephal-, word-forming element meaning "head, skull, brain," Modern Latin combining form of Greek kephale "head," perhaps from PIE *ghebh-el-.
cephalopod (n.) Look up cephalopod at
1825, from French cephalopode, from Modern Latin Cephalopoda (the class name), from Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-) + pod-, stem of pous "foot," from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)).
cephalothorax (n.) Look up cephalothorax at
1829, from cephalo- + thorax. Perhaps from French or German.
Cepheid (n.) Look up Cepheid at
type of variable star, 1904, from Delta Cephi, the name of the first such star identified, which is in the dim northern constellation Cephus, named for Greek Kepheus, a mythical king. With -id.
ceraceous (adj.) Look up ceraceous at
"waxy," 1738, from Latin cera "wax" (see cere (n.)) + -aceous.
ceramic (adj.) Look up ceramic at
1850, keramic, from Greek keramikos, from keramos "potter's clay, pottery, tiles," perhaps from a pre-Hellenic word. Watkins suggests possible connection with Latin cremare "to burn," but Klein's sources are firmly against this. Spelling influenced by French céramique (1806). Related: ceramist (1855). Ceramics is attested from 1857.
cerato- Look up cerato- at
word-forming element meaning "horn," from Latinized comb. form of Greek keras "horn" (see kerato-).
ceratosaurus (n.) Look up ceratosaurus at
1884, from cerato- + -saurus.
Cerberus Look up Cerberus at
"watch-dog guardian of Hades," late 14c., Latinized form of Greek Kerberos, which is of unknown origin, according to Klein perhaps cognate with Sanskrit karbarah, sabalah "spotted, speckled;" Sabalah was the name of one of the two dogs of Yama.
cere (n.) Look up cere at
late 15c., from French cire "wax" (12c.), from Latin cera "wax, wax seal, wax writing tablet," related to Greek keros "beeswax," which is of unknown origin.
cereal (n.) Look up cereal at
1832, "grass yielding edible grain," originally an adjective (1818) "having to do with edible grain," from French céréale (16c., "of Ceres;" 18c. in grain sense), from Latin Cerealis "of grain," originally "of Ceres," from Ceres, Italic goddess of agriculture, from PIE *ker-es-, from root *ker- (3) "to grow" (see crescent). The application to breakfast food cereal made from grain is American English, 1899.
cerebellum (n.) Look up cerebellum at
1560s, from Latin cerebellum "a small brain," diminutive of cerebrum "brain" (see cerebral).
cerebral (adj.) Look up cerebral at
1816, "pertaining to the brain," from French cérébral (16c.), from Latin cerebrum "the brain" (also "the understanding"), from PIE *keres-, from root *ker- (1) "top of the head" (see horn (n.)). Meaning "intellectual, clever" is from 1929. Cerebral palsy attested from 1824, originally a general term for cases of paralysis that seemed to be traceable to "a morbid state of the encephalon." Later used in a more specific sense from c. 1860, based on the work of English surgeon Dr. William Little.
cerebration (n.) Look up cerebration at
1853, coined by English physiologist Dr. William B. Carpenter (1813-1885) from Latin cerebrum "brain" (see cerebral) + -ation. Related: Cerebrate (v.); cerebrated.
cerebrovascular (adj.) Look up cerebrovascular at
1935, from cerebro-, comb. form of Latin cerebrum (see cerebral) + vascular.
cerebrum (n.) Look up cerebrum at
1610s, from Latin cerebrum "brain" (see cerebral).
ceremonial (adj.) Look up ceremonial at
c. 1400, "belonging to (religious) ritual," also as a noun, "a ceremonial practice," from Late Latin caerimonialis "pertaining to ceremony," from caerimonia (see ceremony). Related: Ceremonially.
ceremonious (adj.) Look up ceremonious at
1550s, from Middle French cérémonieux or directly from Late Latin caerimoniosus, from Latin caerimonia (see ceremony). Meaning "full of show and ceremony" is from 1610s. Related: Ceremoniously; ceremoniousness.
ceremony (n.) Look up ceremony at
late 14c., cerymonye, from Old French ceremonie and directly from Medieval Latin ceremonia, from Latin caerimonia "holiness, sacredness; awe; reverent rite, sacred ceremony," an obscure word, possibly of Etruscan origin, or a reference to the ancient rites performed by the Etruscan pontiffs at Caere, near Rome. Introduced in English by Wyclif.
Ceres Look up Ceres at
Roman goddess of agriculture (identified with Greek Demeter), also the name given to the first-found and largest asteroid (discovered 1801); see cereal. Her festival, Cerealia, was April 10.
Cereus (n.) Look up Cereus at
cactus genus, 1730, from Latin cereus "waxen, waxy," from cera "wax" (see cere (n.)). So called from its shape, which suggests a candle.