- chaperon (n.)
- 1720, "woman accompanying a younger, unmarried lady in public," from French chaperon "protector," especially "female companion to a young woman," earlier "head covering, hood" (c. 1400), from Old French chaperon "hood, cowl" (12c.), diminutive of chape "cape" (see cap (n.)). "... English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination" [OED]. The notion is of "covering" the socially vulnerable one.
"May I ask what is a chaperon?"
The word had been used in Middle English in the literal sense "hooded cloak."
"A married lady; without whom no unmarried one can be seen in public. If the damsel be five and forty, she cannot appear without the matron; and if the matron be fifteen, it will do."
[Catharine Hutton, "The Welsh Mountaineer," London, 1817]
- chaperon (v.)
- "act as a chaperon," 1792, also chaperone, from chaperon (n.), or from French chaperonner, from chaperon (n.). Related: Chaperoned; chaperoning.
- chaplain (n.)
- mid-14c., "minister of a chapel," from Old French chapelein "clergyman" (Modern French chapelain), from Medieval Latin cappellanus "clergyman," originally "custodian of St. Martin's cloak" (see chapel). Replaced Old English capellane (from the same Medieval Latin source) "clergyman who conducts private religious services," originally in great households, later in military regiments, prisons, etc.
- chaplet (n.)
- late 14c., from Old French chapelet (Old North French capelet) "garland, rosary," properly "a small hat," diminutive of chape, chapeau "headdress, hood, hat" (see chapeau).
- Chaplinesque (adj.)
- 1921, from Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), British-born silent movie star. The surname is attested from c. 1200, from Old French chapelain "priest."
- chapman (n.)
- "peddler, itinerant tradesman," Middle English form of Old English ceapman "tradesman," from West Germanic compound *kaupman- (cognates: Old High German choufman, German Kauffman, Middle Dutch and Dutch koopman), formed with equivalents of man (n.) + West Germanic *kaup- (cognates: Old Saxon cop, Old Frisian kap "trade, purchase," Middle Dutch coop, Dutch koop "trade, market, bargain," kauf "trader," Old English ceap "barter, business; a purchase"), from Proto-Germanic *kaupoz- (cognates: Danish kjøb "purchase, bargain," Old Norse kaup "bargain, pay;" compare also Old Church Slavonic kupiti "to buy," a Germanic loan-word), probably an early Germanic borrowing from Latin caupo (genitive cauponis) "petty tradesman, huckster," which is of unknown origin. Compare also cheap (adj.).
- place in Dukes County, Mass., from a native New England Algonquian language, literally "island adjacent to the mainland."
- chaps (n.1)
- 1844, American English, short for chaparejos, from Mexican Spanish chaparreras, overalls worn to protect from chaparro (see chaparral).
- chaps (n.2)
- "jaws, cheeks," from chap (n.), 1550s, of unknown origin. Hence, chap-fallen (1590s).
- chapter (n.)
- c. 1200, "main division of a book," from Old French chapitre (12c.) "chapter (of a book), article (of a treaty), chapter (of a cathedral)," alteration of chapitle, from Late Latin capitulum, diminutive of caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum). Sense of "local branch" (1815) is from cathedral sense (late 15c.), which seems to trace to convocations of canons at cathedral churches, during which the rules of the order by chapter, or a chapter (capitulum) of Scripture, were read aloud to the assembled. Chapter and verse "in full and thoroughly" (1620s) is a reference to Scripture.
- char (v.)
- "to reduce to charcoal," 1670s, probably a back-formation from charcoal (q.v.). Related: Charred; charring.
- charabanc (n.)
- British for "sightseeing bus," 1811, originally in a Continental context (especially Swiss), from French char-à-bancs, literally "benched carriage," from char "wagon," from Latin carrus (see car) + à "to" (see ad-) + banc "bench" (see bench (n.)).
- character (n.)
- mid-14c., carecter, "symbol marked or branded on the body;" mid-15c., "symbol or drawing used in sorcery," from Old French caratere "feature, character" (13c., Modern French caractère), from Latin character, from Greek kharakter "engraved mark," also "symbol or imprint on the soul," also "instrument for marking," from kharassein "to engrave," from kharax "pointed stake," from PIE root *gher- (4) "to scrape, scratch." Meaning extended in ancient times by metaphor to "a defining quality."
You remember Eponina, who kept her husband alive in an underground cavern so devotedly and heroically? The force of character she showed in keeping up his spirits would have been used to hide a lover from her husband if they had been living quietly in Rome. Strong characters need strong nourishment. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]Meaning "sum of qualities that define a person" is from 1640s. Sense of "person in a play or novel" is first attested 1660s, in reference to the "defining qualities" he or she is given by the author. Meaning "a person" in the abstract is from 1749; especially "eccentric person" (1773). Colloquial sense of "chap, fellow" is from 1931. The Latin ch- spelling was restored from 1500s. Character actor attested from 1861; character assassination from 1888; character-building (n.) from 1886.
- characterisation (n.)
- chiefly British English spelling of characterization; for spelling, see -ize.
- characterise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of characterize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Characterised; characterising.
- adjective and noun both first attested 1660s, from character + -istic on model of Greek kharakteristikos. Earlier in the adjectival sense was characteristical (1620s). Related: Characteristically (1640s). Characteristics "distinctive traits" also attested from 1660s.
- characterization (n.)
- 1560s, "marking out of a precise form;" see characterize + -ation. Meaning "description of essential features" is from 1814.
- characterize (v.)
- 1590s, "to engrave, write," back-formation from characterization, or else from Medieval Latin characterizare, from Greek kharakterizein "to designate by a characteristic mark," from kharakter (see character). Meaning "to describe the qualities of" is recorded from 1630s; that of "to be characteristic" is from 1744. Related: Characterized; characterizing.
- charade (n.)
- 1776, from French charade (18c.), probably from Provençal charrado "long talk, chatter," of obscure origin, perhaps from charrar "to chatter, gossip," of echoic origin. Compare Italian ciarlare, Spanish charlar "to talk, prattle." Originally not silent, but relying rather on enigmatic descriptions of the words or syllables.
As we have ever made it a Rule to shew our Attention to the Reader, by 'catching the Manners living, as they rise,' as Mr. Pope expresses it, we think ourselves obliged to give Place to the following Specimens of a new Kind of SMALL WIT, which, for some Weeks past, has been the Subject of Conversation in almost every Society, from the Court to the Cottage. The CHARADE is, in fact, a near Relation of the old Rebus. It is usually formed from a Word of two Syllables; the first Syllable is described by the Writer; then the second; they are afterwards united and the whole Word marked out .... [supplement to "The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure," volumes 58-59, 1776]
Among the examples given are:
My first makes all nature appear of one face;
At the next we find music, and beauty and grace;
And, if this Charade is most easily read,
I think that the third shou'd be thrown at my head.
[The answer is "snow-ball."]
The silent form, the main modern form, was at first a variant known as dumb charades and at first it was not a speed contest; rather it adhered to the old pattern, and the performing team acted out all the parts in order before the audience team began to guess.
There is one species of charade which is performed solely by "dumb motions," somewhat resembling the child's game of "trades and professions"; but the acting charade is a much more amusing, and more difficult matter. ["Goldoni, and Modern Italian Comedy," in "The Foreign And Colonial Quarterly Review," Volume 6, 1846]
An 1850 book, "Acting Charades," reports that Charades en Action were all the rage in French society, and that "Lately, the game has been introduced into the drawing-rooms of a few mirth-loving Englishmen. Its success has been tremendous." Welsh siarad obviously is a loan-word from French or English, but its meaning of "speak, a talk" is closer to the Provençal original.
- charcoal (n.)
- mid-14c., charcole, first element is either Old French charbon "charcoal," or, on the current theory, obsolete charren "to turn" (from Old English cerran) + cole "coal," thus, "to turn to coal."
- charcuterie (n.)
- 1858, from French charcuterie, literally "pork-butcher's shop," from charcuter (16c.), from obsolete char (Modern French chair) cuite "cooked flesh," from chair "meat" (Old French char, from Latin carnem; see carnage) + cuit, past participle of cuire "to cook." Compare French charcutier "pork butcher; meat roaster, seller of cooked (not raw) meat."
- chard (n.)
- 1650s, from French carde "chard" (14c.), perhaps via Provençal, from Latin carduus "thistle, artichoke" (see harsh).
- Chardonnay (n.)
- type of wine, 1907, from French chardonnay, originally the type of grape used to make the wine, supposedly named for the town of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, in eastern France. The name is said to be from Latin Cardonnacum.
- charette (n.)
- also charrette, c. 1400, "a chariot, a cart," from Old French charrete "wagon, small cart" (12c.), diminutive of charre (see car). Meaning "collaborative session" is by 1982.
- charge (v.)
- early 13c., "to load, fill," from Old French chargier "to load, burden, weigh down," from Late Latin carricare "to load a wagon or cart," from Latin carrus "wagon" (see car). Senses of "entrust," "command," "accuse" all emerged in Middle English and were found in Old French. Sense of "rush in to attack" is 1560s, perhaps through earlier meaning "load a weapon" (1540s). Meaning "impose a burden of expense" is from mid-14c. Meaning "fill with electricity" is from 1748. Related: Charged; charging. Chargé d'affaires was borrowed from French, 1767, literally "(one) charged with affairs."
- charge (n.)
- c. 1200, "a load, a weight," from Old French charge "load, burden; imposition," from chargier "to load, to burden" (see charge (v.)). Meaning "responsibility, burden" is mid-14c. (as in take charge, late 14c.; in charge, 1510s), which progressed to "pecuniary burden, cost, burden of expense" (mid-15c.), and then to "price demanded for service or goods" (1510s). Legal sense of "accusation" is late 15c.; earlier "injunction, order" (late 14c.). Electrical sense is from 1767. Slang meaning "thrill, kick" (American English) is from 1951.
- chargeable (adj.)
- late 15c., "burdensome," from charge (v.) + -able. Sense of "subject to a tax or payment" is from 1610s; that of "liable to be made an expense" is from 1640s; that of "liable to be charged" (with an offense, etc.) is from 1660s.
- charger (n.)
- late 15c., "one who loads," agent noun from charge (v.). Meaning "horse ridden in charging" is from 1762.
- chariot (n.)
- mid-14c., from Old French charriot "wagon" (13c.), augmentative of char "car," from Late Latin carrum "chariot" (see car).
- charioteer (n.)
- late 14c., from Old French charioteur, from charriot (see chariot). As a verb from 1802. Related: Charioteered; charioteering.
- charisma (n.)
- "gift of leadership, power of authority," c. 1930, from German, used in this sense by Max Weber (1864-1920) in "Wirtschaft u. Gesellschaft" (1922), from Greek kharisma "favor, divine gift," from kharizesthai "to show favor to," from kharis "grace, beauty, kindness" (Charis was the name of one of the three attendants of Aphrodite) related to khairein "to rejoice at," from PIE root *gher- (5) "to desire, like" (see hortatory). More mundane sense of "personal charm" recorded by 1959.
Earlier, the word had been used in English with a sense of "grace, talent from God" (1875), directly from Latinized Greek; and in the form charism (plural charismata) it is attested with this sense in English from 1640s. Middle English, meanwhile, had karisme "spiritual gift, divine grace" (c. 1500).
- charismatic (adj.)
- 1851, in Bible commentary and theology, in reference to the operation of the Holy Spirit and prophetic ecstasy in the early Church (from the use of Greek kharismata in Rom. xii), from Latin stem of charisma + -ic. As a movement in modern Christian churches which believes in divine gifts of healing, etc., attested by 1936, reflecting the older sense of charisma.
- charitable (adj.)
- c. 1200, in reference to the Christian virtue, from Old French charitable, from charité (see charity). Meaning "liberal in treatment of the poor" is from c. 1400; that of "inclined to impute favorable motives to others" is from 1620s. Related: Charitableness; charitably.
- charity (n.)
- mid-12c., "benevolence for the poor," from Old French charité "(Christian) charity, mercy, compassion; alms; charitable foundation" (12c., Old North French carité), from Latin caritatem (nominative caritas) "costliness, esteem, affection" (in Vulgate often used as translation of Greek agape "love" -- especially Christian love of fellow man -- perhaps to avoid the sexual suggestion of Latin amor), from carus "dear, valued," from PIE *karo-, from root *ka- "to like, desire" (see whore (n.)).
Vulgate also sometimes translated agape by Latin dilectio, noun of action from diligere "to esteem highly, to love" (see diligence).
Wyclif and the Rhemish version regularly rendered the Vulgate dilectio by 'love,' caritas by 'charity.' But the 16th c. Eng. versions from Tindale to 1611, while rendering agape sometimes 'love,' sometimes 'charity,' did not follow the dilectio and caritas of the Vulgate, but used 'love' more often (about 86 times), confining 'charity' to 26 passages in the Pauline and certain of the Catholic Epistles (not in I John), and the Apocalypse .... In the Revised Version 1881, 'love' has been substituted in all these instances, so that it now stands as the uniform rendering of agape. [OED]
Sense of "charitable foundation or institution" in English attested by 1690s.
- charivari (n.)
- "rough music," especially as a community way of expressing disapproval of a marriage match, 1735, from French charivari, from Old French chalivali "discordant noise made by pots and pans" (14c.), from Late Latin caribaria "a severe headache," from Greek karebaria "headache," from kare "head" + barys "heavy," from PIE root *gwere- (2) "heavy" (see grave (adj.)).
- charlatan (n.)
- 1610s, from French charlatan "mountebank, babbler" (16c.), from Italian ciarlatano "a quack," from ciarlare "to prate, babble," from ciarla "chat, prattle," perhaps imitative of ducks' quacking. Related: Charlatanism; charlatanical; charlatanry.
- king of the Franks (742-814), literally "Carl the Great," from French form of Medieval Latin Carolus Magnus (see Charles + Magnus).
- masc. proper name, from French Charles, from Medieval Latin Carolus, from Middle High German Karl, literally "man, husband" (see carl).
- Charles's Wain (n.)
- Old English Carles wægn, a star-group associated in medieval times with Charlemagne, but originally with the nearby bright star Arcturus, which is linked by folk etymology to Latin Arturus "Arthur." Which places the seven-star asterism at the crux of the legendary association (or confusion) of Arthur and Charlemagne. Evidence from Dutch (cited in Grimm, "Teutonic Mythology") suggests that it might originally have been Woden's wagon. More recent names for it are the Plough (by 15c., chiefly British) and the Dipper (19c., chiefly American).
The seven bright stars in the modern constellation Ursa Major have borne a dual identity in Western history at least since Homer's time, being seen as both a wagon and a bear: as in Latin plaustrum "freight-wagon, ox cart" and arctos "bear," both used of the seven-star pattern, as were equivalent Greek amaxa (Attic hamaxa) and arktos.
The identification with a wagon is easy to see, with four stars as the body and three as the pole. The identification with a bear is more difficult, as the figure has a tail longer than its body. As Allen writes, "The conformation of the seven stars in no way resembles the animal,--indeed the contrary ...." But he suggests the identification "may have arisen from Aristotle's idea that its prototype was the only creature that dared invade the frozen north." The seven stars never were below the horizon in the latitude of the Mediterranean in Homeric and classical times (though not today, due to precession of the equinoxes). See also Arctic for the identification of the bear and the north in classical times.
A variety of French and English sources from the early colonial period independently note that many native North American tribes in the northeast had long seen the seven-star group as a bear tracked by three hunters (or a hunter and his two dogs).
Among the Teutonic peoples, it seems to have been only a wagon, not a bear. A 10c. Anglo-Saxon astronomy manual uses the Greek-derived Aretos, but mentions that the "unlearned" call it "Charles's Wain":
Arheton hatte an tungol on norð dæle, se haefð seofon steorran, & is for ði oþrum naman ge-hatan septemtrio, þone hatað læwede meon carles-wæn." ["Anglo-Saxon Manual of Astronomy"]
[Septemtrio, the seven oxen, was another Roman name.] The star picture was not surely identified as a bear in English before late 14c.
The unlearned of today are corrected that the seven stars are not the Great Bear but form only a part of that large constellation. But those who applied the name "Bear" apparently did so originally only to these seven stars, and from Homer's time down to Thales, "the Bear" meant just the seven stars. From Rome to Anglo-Saxon England to Arabia to India, ancient astronomy texts mention a supposed duplicate constellation to the northern bear in the Southern Hemisphere, never visible from the north. This perhaps is based on sailors' tales of the Southern Cross.
- dance style characterized by side-kicks from the knee, 1923 (as title of a song), 1925 as a dance, from the U.S. city of Charleston, South Carolina, which was named for King Charles II of England.
Whether the Charleston (dance) has come to stay or not, it behooves every open-minded hostess and musician to "try it out" anyhow. [Ethel P. Peyser, "The Rotarian," July 1926]
- charley horse (n.)
- 1887, sporting slang, origin obscure, probably from somebody's long-forgotten lame racehorse. Charley horse seems to have been a name for a horse or a type of horse (perhaps especially a lame one) around that time.
- masc. proper name, familiar form of Charles (also see -y (3)); 1965 in Vietnam War U.S. military slang for "Vietcong, Vietcong soldier," probably suggested by Victor Charlie, military communication code for V.C. (as abbreviation of Viet Cong), perhaps strengthened by World War II slang use of Charlie for Japanese soldiers, which itself is probably an extension of the 1930s derogatory application of Charlie to any Asian man, from fictional Chinese detective Charlie Chan.
Other applications include "a night watchman" (1812); "a goatee beard" (1834, from portraits of King Charles I and his contemporaries); "a fox" (1857); "a woman's breasts" (1874); "an infantryman's pack" (World War I); and "a white man" (Mr. Charlie), 1960, American English, from black slang.
- fem. proper name, from the French fem. of Charlot, a diminutive of Charles. Meaning "apple marmalade covered with bread-crumbs" is attested from 1796, presumably from French (where, however, the dessert name is attested only from 1804), possibly from the fem. proper name, but the connection is obscure. Perhaps from some French dialect word. Compare Middle English charlette (mid-14c.) "dish containing meat, eggs, milk, etc.," said to be probably from Old French char laité "meat with milk."
The city in North Carolina, U.S., was settled c. 1750 and named for Princess Charlotte Sophia (1744-1818), who married George III of England in 1761; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, also was named for her (1763).
- charm (n.)
- c. 1300, "incantation, magic charm," from Old French charme (12c.) "magic charm, magic, spell; incantation, song, lamentation," from Latin carmen "song, verse, enchantment, religious formula," from canere "to sing" (see chant (v.)), with dissimilation of -n- to -r- before -m- in intermediate form *canmen (for a similar evolution, see Latin germen "germ," from *genmen). The notion is of chanting or reciting verses of magical power.
A yet stronger power than that of herb or stone lies in the spoken word, and all nations use it both for blessing and cursing. But these, to be effective, must be choice, well knit, rhythmic words (verba concepta), must have lilt and tune; hence all that is strong in the speech wielded by priest, physician, magician, is allied to the forms of poetry. [Jacob Grimm, "Teutonic Mythology" (transl. Stallybrass), 1883]
Sense of "pleasing quality" evolved 17c. Meaning "small trinket fastened to a watch-chain, etc." first recorded 1865. Quantum physics sense is from 1964. To work like a charm (figuratively) is recorded by 1824.
- charm (v.)
- c. 1300, "to recite or cast a magic spell," from Old French charmer (13c.) "to enchant, to fill (someone) with desire (for something); to protect, cure, treat; to maltreat, harm," from Late Latin carminare, from Latin carmen (see charm (n.)). In Old French used alike of magical and non-magical activity. In English, "to win over by treating pleasingly, delight" from mid-15c. Related: Charmed; charming. Charmed (short for I am charmed) as a conventional reply to a greeting or meeting is attested by 1825.
- charnel (adj.)
- late 14c., from Old French charnel (12c.) "fleshly," from Late Latin carnale "graveyard," properly neuter of adjective carnalis (see carnal). As an adjective from 1813. The Late Latin word was glossed in Old English as flæschus "flesh-house." Charnel house is attested from 1550s.
- ferryman of the dead over the river Styx, from Greek Kharon, which is of unknown origin.
- chart (n.)
- 1570s, "map for the use of navigators," from Middle French charte "card, map," from Late Latin charta "paper, card, map" (see card (n.1)). Charte is the original form of the French word in all senses, but after 14c. (perhaps by influence of Italian cognate carta), carte began to supplant it. English used both carte and card 15c.-17c. for "chart, map," and in 17c. chart could mean "playing card," but the words have gone their separate ways and chart has predominated since in the "map" sense. In the music score sense from 1957.
- chart (v.)
- 1837, "to enter onto a map or chart," from chart (n.). In the commercial recording sense, a reference to appearing on the "Billboard" magazine music popularity chart is by 1961. The chart itself was printed from c. 1942. Related: Charted; charting.
- charter (v.)
- early 15c., "provide with a charter," from charter (n.). Meaning "to hire" is attested from 1806. Related: Chartered; chartering.