charter (n.) Look up charter at
c. 1200, from Old French chartre (12c.) "charter, letter, document, covenant," from Latin chartula/cartula, literally "little paper," diminutive of charta/carta "paper, document" (see chart (n.)).
charter school Look up charter school at
older uses refer to schools in Ireland begun 1733 by the Charter Society to provide Protestant education to poor Catholic children. Modern use in U.S. began c. 1988, as an alternative to state-run public education.
Charterhouse Look up Charterhouse at
great English public school founded in London in 1611, a folk etymology alteration of chartreux (see chartreuse); it was founded upon the site of a Carthusian monastery.
Chartism (n.) Look up Chartism at
1839 in English political history, in reference to the reform party active 1836-48, from "The People's Charter," which contained their principles. Related: Chartist (1838).
Chartres Look up Chartres at
cathedral city in central France, said to be named for the Carnutes, Gaulish people who had a sacred place there, whose name is said to be from a root meaning "rock, stone," but there is a famous "Druid Stone" at the church.
chartreuse (n.) Look up chartreuse at
type of liqueur, 1866, from la Grande-Chartreuse, chief monastery of the Carthusian order, which was founded 11c. and named for the massif de la Chartreuse (Medieval Latin Carthusianus) mountain group in the French Alps, where its first monastery was built. The liqueur recipe dates from early 17c.; the original now marketed as Les Pères Chartreux. The color (1884) is so called from resemblance to the pale apple-green hue of the best type of the liqueur.
chartulary (n.) Look up chartulary at
"collection of charters," from Medieval Latin chartularium, from Latin chartula (see charter (n.)).
charwoman (n.) Look up charwoman at
1590s, from Middle English char, cherre "turn of work" (see chore) + woman. An Alicia Charwoman appears in the Borough of Nottingham records in 1379.
chary (adj.) Look up chary at
Old English cearig "sorrowful" (see care (n.)). Sense evolved 16c. from "full of care" to "careful." Cognate with Old Saxon carag, Old High German charag "sorrow, trouble, care." Related: Charily; chariness.
Charybdis Look up Charybdis at
whirlpool off the coast of Sicily, from Latinized form of Greek Kharybdis, which is of unknown origin. Compare Scylla.
chase (n.1) Look up chase at
mid-13c., chace, "a hunt," from Old French chace "a hunt, a chase; hunting ground" (12c.), from chacier (see chase (v.)). Meaning "a pursuit" (of an enemy, etc.) is early 14c.
chase (v.) Look up chase at
c. 1300, chacen "to hunt; to cause to go away; put to flight," from Old French chacier "to hunt, ride swiftly, strive for" (12c., Modern French chasser), from Vulgar Latin *captiare (source of Italian cacciare, Catalan casar, Spanish cazar, Portuguese caçar "to chase, hunt;" see catch (v.)).

Meaning "run after" developed mid-14c. Related: Chased; chasing. Older European words for "pursue" often also cover "persecute" (Greek dioko, Old English ehtan); modern ones often derive from words used primarily for the hunting of animals.
chase (n.2) Look up chase at
"bore of a gun barrel," 1640s, from French chas "eye of a needle; enclosure," from Vulgar Latin *capsum, variant of Latin capsa "box" (see case (n.2)).
chaser (n.) Look up chaser at
c. 1300, "horse trained for chasing," agent noun from chase (v.), probably in some cases from Old French chaceor "huntsman, hunter." Meaning "water or mild beverage taken after a strong drink" is 1897, U.S. colloquial. French had chasse (from chasser "to chase") "a drink of liquor taken (or said to be taken) to kill the aftertaste of coffee or tobacco," used in English from c. 1800.
chasm (n.) Look up chasm at
1590s, "deep crack in the earth," from Latin chasma, from Greek khasma "yawning hollow, gulf," related to khaskein "to yawn," and thus to chaos. In English in 17c. often spelled chasma. Figurative use from 1640s. Related: Chasmal; chasmic.
chasse (n.) Look up chasse at
from French chassé "chase, chasing," past participle of chasser "to chase, hunt" (see chase (v.)); borrowed 19c. in a variety of senses and expressions, such as "chaser" (in the drinking sense), short for chasse-café, literally "coffee-chaser." Also as a dance step (1867).
chassepot (n.) Look up chassepot at
bolt-action breechloading rifle used by French forces in the Franco-Prussian War, 1870, named for French inventor Antonine-Alphonse Chassepot (1833-1905).
chasseur (n.) Look up chasseur at
mobile foot-soldier, 1796, French, literally "huntsman," from Old French chaceor "huntsman, hunter," from chacier "to chase" (see chase (v.)).
chassis (n.) Look up chassis at
"base frame of an automobile," 1903, American English; earlier "window frame" (1660s), from French châssis "frame," Old French chassiz (13c.) "frame, framework, setting," from chasse "case, box, eye socket, snail's shell, setting (of a jewel)," from Latin capsa "box, case;" see case (n.2) + French -is, collective suffix for a number of parts taken together. Compare sash (n.2).
chaste (adj.) Look up chaste at
c. 1200, "virtuous, pure from unlawful sexual intercourse" (as defined by the Church), from Old French chaste "morally pure" (12c.), from Latin castus "clean, pure, morally pure" (see caste). Transferred sense of "sexually pure" is by 15c., perhaps by influence of chastity, though chaste as a noun meaning "virgin person" is recorded from early 14c. Related: Chastely.
chasten (v.) Look up chasten at
1520s, with -en (1) + the word it replaced, obsolete verb chaste "to correct (someone's) behavior" (Middle English chastien, c. 1200), from Old French chastiier "to punish" (see chastise). Related: Chastened; chastening.
chastise (v.) Look up chastise at
c. 1300, chastisen, from Old French chastiier "to warn, advise, instruct; chastise, admonish; punish; dominate, tame" (12c., Modern French châtier), from Latin castigare "to set or keep right, to reprove, chasten, to punish," literally "to make pure" (see castigate). Or perhaps from Middle English chastien (see chasten) + -ise, though this would be early for such a native formation. The form of the modern word "is not easily accounted for" [OED]. Related: Chastised; chastising.
He alone may chastise who loves. [Rabindranath Tagore, "The Crescent Moon," 1913]
chastisement (n.) Look up chastisement at
c. 1300, from chastise + -ment.
chastity (n.) Look up chastity at
c. 1200, chastete, "sexual purity" (as defined by the Church), including but not limited to virginity or celibacy, from Old French chastete "chastity, purity" (12c., Modern French chasteté), from Latin castitatem (nominative castitas) "purity, chastity" from castus (see caste).
chasuble (n.) Look up chasuble at
ecclesiastical vestment, c. 1300, cheisible, from Old French chesible (12c., Modern French chasuble), from Medieval Latin casubla, from Late Latin *casubula, unexplained alteration of Latin casula "a little hut," diminutive of casa "cottage, house" (see casino), used by c. 400 in transferred sense of "outer garment." From the notion that hooded garments resembled or suggested little houses. The English form conformed to French from c. 1600.
chat (v.) Look up chat at
mid-15c., "talk idly, babble," short for chatter (v.). Meaning "to converse familiarly" is from 1550s. Sense of "flirt with, ingratiate oneself with" (in later use often with up (adv.)) is from 1898. Related: Chatted; chatting.
chat (n.) Look up chat at
1520s, "chatter, frivolous talk;" see chat (v.). Meaning "familiar conversation" is from 1570s. Chat show, for what in U.S. is a talk show, attested from 1969. Chat room in the online sense is attested by 1994, from the days when AOL ruled the Web.
chateau (n.) Look up chateau at
c. 1739, from French château, from Old French chastel (12c.), from Latin castellum "castle" (see castle (n.)).
chateaubriand (n.) Look up chateaubriand at
"grilled beef steak, garnished with herbs," 1877, named, for some reason, for French writer François René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768-1848).
chatelaine (n.) Look up chatelaine at
1845, from French châtelaine "a female castellan; wife of a castellan; mistress of a castle or country house;" fem. of châtelain, from Old French chastelain "owner and lord of a castle, castellan, nobleman," from chastel (see chateau). In fashion, as a type of ornamental belt, from 1851; supposed to resemble a chain of keys.
Chattahoochee Look up Chattahoochee at
river between Georgia and Alabama, from Muskogee cato-hocce hvcce "marked-rock river," from cvto "rock," hocce "marked" + hvcce "stream."
Chattanooga Look up Chattanooga at
city in Tennessee, of uncertain origin, said to be either Cherokee or Muskogee; compare Muskogee cvto "rock" (in Chattahoochee, etc.); the entire name is said to mean "rock rising to a point," which might describe nearby Lookout Mountain.
chattel (n.) Look up chattel at
early 13c., chatel "property, goods," from Old French chatel "chattels, goods, wealth, possessions, property; profit; cattle," from Late Latin capitale "property" (see cattle, which is the Old North French form of the same word). Application to slaves (1640s) is a rhetorical figure of abolitionists, etc.
chatter (v.) Look up chatter at
early 13c., chateren "to twitter, gossip," earlier cheateren, chiteren, of echoic origin. Compare Dutch koeteren "jabber," Danish kvidre "twitter, chirp." Related: Chattered; chattering. Phrase chattering class in use by 1893, with a reference perhaps from 1843:
Such was the most interesting side of the fatal event to that idle chattering class of London life to whom the collision of heaven and earth were important only as affording matter for "news!" [Catherine Grace F. Gore ("Mrs. Gore"), "The Banker's Wife," 1843]
chatter (n.) Look up chatter at
mid-13c., originally of birds, from chatter (v.).
chatterbox (n.) Look up chatterbox at
1774, from chatter (n.) + box (n.1).
chatty (adj.) Look up chatty at
"fond of chatting," 1746, from chat + -y (2). Related: Chattily; chattiness.
Chaucer Look up Chaucer at
family name, from Old French chaucier "maker of chausses," from chauces "clothing for the legs, breeches, pantaloons, hose" (related to case (n.2)). Middle English chawce was a general term for anything worn on the feet. Related: Chaucerian.
chauffer (n.) Look up chauffer at
"small portable stove," 1825, variant of chafer "a vessel for heating," agent noun from chafe; form influenced by French chauffoir "a heater," from chauffer "to heat," which also is ultimately from chafe (see chauffeur).
chauffeur (n.) Look up chauffeur at
1896, originally "a motorist," from French chauffeur, literally "stoker," operator of a steam engine, French nickname for early motorists, from chauffer "to heat," from Old French chaufer "to heat, warm up; to become hot" (see chafe). The first motor-cars were steam-driven. Sense of "professional or paid driver of a private motor car" is from 1902.
The '95 Duryea wagon, which won the Chicago contest Fall, was exhibited at the Detroit Horse Show last week. Charles B. King, treasurer of the American Motor League, acted as "chauffeur," as the French say. ["The Horseless Age," April 1896]
chauffeur (v.) Look up chauffeur at
1902, from chauffeur (n.). Related: Chauffeured; chauffeuring.
Chautauqua Look up Chautauqua at
"assembly for popular education," 1873, from town in New York, U.S., where an annual Methodist summer colony featured lectures. The name is from ja'dahgweh, a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly "one has taken out fish there," but an alternative suggested meaning is "raised body."
chauvinism (n.) Look up chauvinism at
1840, "exaggerated, blind nationalism; patriotism degenerated into a vice," from French chauvinisme (1839), from the character Nicholas Chauvin, soldier of Napoleon's Grand Armee, notoriously attached to the Empire long after it was history, in the Cogniards' popular 1831 vaudeville "La Cocarde Tricolore." Meaning extended to "sexism" via male chauvinism (1969).

The name is a French form of Latin Calvinus and thus Calvinism and chauvinism are, etymologically, twins. The name was a common one in Napoleon's army, and if there was a real person at the base of the character in the play, he has not been certainly identified by etymologists, though memoirs of Waterloo (one published in Paris in 1822) mention "one of our principal piqueurs, named Chauvin, who had returned with Napoleon from Elba," which implies loyalty.
chauvinist (n.) Look up chauvinist at
1877, from French chauviniste, from Chauvin (see chauvinism). Related: Chauvinistic (1870).
chav (n.) Look up chav at
"antisocial youth," British slang, by 2004, apparently from earlier charver "loutish young person wearing designer-style sportswear," Northern British slang (1997) of uncertain origin. Earlier it was a verb in homosexual slang for "have sex." Perhaps ultimately from Romany (Gypsy).
chaw (v.) Look up chaw at
1520s, unexplained phonetic variant of chew (v.). OED points out the variant form chow was "very common in 16-17th c." Bartlett's "Dictionary of Americanisms" [1859] says chaw, "Although found in good authors, ... is retained, in this country as in England, only by the illiterate." Related: Chawed; chawing. The noun meaning "that which is chewed" (especially a quid of tobacco) first recorded 1709.
Che Look up Che at
nickname of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto Guevara (1928-1967), acquired when he was working with Cuban exiles in Guatemala in mid-1950s, from his dialectal use of Argentine che, a slang filler word in speech.
cheap (adj.) Look up cheap at
"low in price, that may be bought at small cost," c. 1500, ultimately from Old English noun ceap "traffic, a purchase," from ceapian (v.) "trade," probably from an early Germanic borrowing from Latin caupo "petty tradesman, huckster" (see chapman).

The sense evolution is from the noun meaning "a barter, a purchase" to "a purchase as rated by the buyer," hence adjectival meaning "inexpensive," the main modern sense, via Middle English phrases such as god chep "favorable bargain" (12c., a translation of French a bon marché).

Sense of "lightly esteemed, common" is from 1590s (compare similar evolution of Latin vilis). The meaning "low in price" was represented in Old English by undeor, literally "un-dear" (but deop ceap, literally "deep cheap," meant "high price").

The word also was used in Old English for "market" (as in ceapdæg "market day"), a sense surviving in place names Cheapside, East Cheap, etc. Related: Cheaply. Expression on the cheap is first attested 1888. Cheap shot originally was U.S. football jargon for a head-on tackle; extended sense "unfair hit" in politics, etc. is by 1970. German billig "cheap" is from Middle Low German billik, originally "fair, just," with a sense evolution via billiger preis "fair price," etc.
cheapen (v.) Look up cheapen at
1570s, "ask the price of," from cheap (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "lower the price of" is from 1833, but figuratively, "to lower in estimation" is from 1650s. Related: Cheapened; cheapening.
cheapie (n.) Look up cheapie at
"something inexpensive," 1891, from cheap (adj.) + -ie.