calice (n.) Look up calice at
early and more etymologically correct form of chalice (q.v.).
caliche (n.) Look up caliche at
sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from South American Spanish, from Spanish caliche "pebble accidentally enclosed in a brick; flake of lime," from Latin calx "limestone, pebble" (see chalk (n.)).
calico (n.) Look up calico at
1530s, kalyko cloth, "white cotton cloth," from an alternative form of Calicut (modern Kozhikode), name of the seaport on the Malabar coast of India where Europeans first obtained it. In U.S. use, "printed cotton cloth coarser than muslin;" extended to animal colorings suggestive of printed calicos in 1807, originally of horses. The place-name (mentioned by Ptolemy as kalaikaris) is Tamil, said to mean "fort of Kalliai."
calid (adj.) Look up calid at
"hot, burning; ardent," 1590s, from Latin calidus "warm," from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm."
calif (n.) Look up calif at
see caliph.
California Look up California at
name of an imaginary realm in "Las sergas de Esplandián" ("Exploits of Espladán"), a romance by Spanish writer Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, published in 1510. It was a sequel to his "Amadis de Gaula," and was said to have been influential among Spanish explorers of the New World. It could have led them to misidentify Baja California as this mythical land and to mistake it for an island. The Amadis tales are the Iberian equivalent of the Arthurian romances; they are older than 1510 (traces of them have been found mid-14c.) and were wildly popular. That conquistadors and sailors would have known the story in all its imaginative detail is hardly surprising.
Amadis de Gaula ... set a fashion: all later Spanish writers of books of chivalry adopted the machinery of Amadis de Gaula. Later knights were not less brave (they could not be braver than) Amadis; heroines were not less lovely (they could not be lovelier) than Oriana; there was nothing for it but to make the dragons more appalling, the giants larger, the wizards craftier, the magic castles more inaccessible, the enchanted lakes deeper. Subsequent books of chivalry are simple variants of the types in Amadis de Gaula: Cervantes made his barber describe it as 'the best of all books of this kind.' This verdict is essentially just. Amadis de Gaula was read everywhere, especially in the French version of Herberay des Essarts. It was done into Hebrew during the sixteenth century, and attracted readers as different as St Ignatius of Loyola and Henry of Navarre. Its vogue perhaps somewhat exceeded its merit, but its merits are not inconsiderable. [James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, "Spanish Literature," 1922 edition]
Where Montalvo got the name and what it means, if anything, is a mystery. In reference to the native inhabitants, Californian is attested from 1785 as an adjective, 1789 as a noun. The element Californium (1950) was named in reference to University of California, where it was discovered.
caliginous (adj.) Look up caliginous at
"dim, obscure, dark," 1540s, from Latin caliginosus "misty," from caliginem (nominative caligo) "mistiness, darkness, fog, gloom." Related: Calignously; caliginosity.
caligraphy (n.) Look up caligraphy at
alternative spelling of calligraphy.
Caligula Look up Caligula at
cognomen of the mad, extravagant, and legendarily cruel third Roman emperor (12 C.E.-41 C.E.), born Gaius Caesar. The nickname is Latin, literally "little boot," given when he joined his father on military campaigns when still a toddler, in full, child-sized military gear; it is a diminutive of caliga "heavy military shoe," which is of unknown origin.
caliology (n.) Look up caliology at
"scientific study of birds' nests," 1875, from Greek kalia "a dwelling, hut, nest" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save") + -ology. Related: Caliological.
caliper (n.) Look up caliper at
"instrument for measuring diameters," 1620s, short for calliper compass (1580s), a device used to measure calibers, from a corrupt form of caliber (q.v.). Usually in the plural, calipers.
caliph (n.) Look up caliph at
late 14c., "ruler of a Muslim country," from Old French caliphe (12c., also algalife), from Medieval Latin califa, from Arabic khalifa "successor" (from khalafa "succeed"). Title given to the successor of Muhammad as leader of the community and defender of the faith; originally Abu-Bakr, who succeeded Muhammad in the role of leader of the faithful after the prophet's death.
caliphate (n.) Look up caliphate at
1610s, "dominion of a caliph," from caliph + -ate (1). Meaning "rank of a caliph" is recorded from 1753.
calisthenics (n.) Look up calisthenics at
also callisthenics, kind of light gymnastics, 1847, (the adjective calisthenic/callisthenic is from 1839), formed on model of French callisthenie, from Latinized combining form of Greek kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + sthenos "strength, power, ability, might" (perhaps from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold," on the notion of "steadfastness, toughness") + -ics.

The proper Greek, if there was such a word in Greek, would have been *kallistheneia. Originally, gymnastic exercises suitable for girls and meant to develop the figure and promote graceful movement. OED describes the word as "chiefly a term of young ladies' boarding-schools." A place for doing it was a calisthenium (1853).
call (v.) Look up call at
mid-13c., "to cry out; call for, summon, invoke; ask for, demand, order; give a name to, apply by way of designation," from Old Norse kalla "to cry loudly, summon in a loud voice; name, call by name," from Proto-Germanic *kall- (source also of Middle Dutch kallen "to speak, say, tell," Dutch kallen "to talk, chatter," Old High German kallon "to speak loudly, call"), from PIE root *gal- "to call, shout." Related: Called; calling.

Old English cognate ceallian "to shout, utter in a loud voice" was rare, the usual word being clipian (source of Middle English clepe, yclept). Coin-toss sense is from 1801; card-playing sense "demand that the hands be shown" is from 1670s; poker sense "match or raise a bet" is by 1889. Meaning "to make a short stop or visit" (Middle English) was literally "to stand at the door and call." Telephone sense is from 1882.

To call for "demand, require" is from 1530s (earlier in this sense was call after, c. 1400). To call (something) back "revoke" is from 1550s. To call (something) off "cancel" is by 1888; earlier call off meant "summon away, divert" (1630s). To call (someone) names is from 1590s. To call out someone to fight (1823) corresponds to French provoquer. To call it a day is from 1834.
call (n.) Look up call at
early 14c., "a loud cry, an outcry," also "a summons, an invitation," from call (v.). From 1580s as "a summons" (by bugle, drum, etc.) to military men to perform some duty; from 1680s as "the cry or note of a bird." Sense of "a short formal visit" is from 1862; meaning "a communication by telephone" is from 1878. Colloquially, "occasion, cause."
call-girl (n.) Look up call-girl at
"prostitute who makes appointments by phone," c. 1900, from call + girl.
calla (n.) Look up calla at
marsh-plant found in colder parts of Europe and America, 1816, from Latin calla, the name in Pliny of an unidentified plant, perhaps a mistake for calyx. The common calla-lily (1805) is a related species, not a lily but so called for the appearance of the flowers.
caller (n.) Look up caller at
c. 1500, "one who proclaims," agent noun from call (v.). Meaning "one who announces step changes at a dance" is short for caller-out (1882). Meaning "a social visitor" is attested from 1786; as "one who places a telephone call," 1898.
calligraphy (n.) Look up calligraphy at
"the art of beautiful writing, elegant penmanship," 1610s, from Greek kaligraphia, from kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Related: Calligrapher; calligraphic.
calling (n.) Look up calling at
mid-13c., "outcry, shouting," also "a summons or invitation," verbal noun from call (v.). The sense "vocation, profession, trade, occupation" (1550s) traces to I Corinthians vii.20, where it means "position or state in life."
calliope (n.) Look up calliope at
"harsh-sounding steam-whistle keyboard organ," 1858, named incongruously for Calliope, ninth and chief muse, presiding over eloquence and epic poetry, Latinized from Greek Kalliope, literally "beauty of voice," from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + opos (genitive of *ops) "voice," from PIE root *wekw- "to speak."
calliper (n.) Look up calliper at
variant of caliper. Related: Callipers.
callipygian (adj.) Look up callipygian at
"of, pertaining to, or having beautiful buttocks," 1800, Latinized from Greek kallipygos, name of a statue of Aphrodite at Syracuse, from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" (see Callisto) + pyge "rump, buttocks." Sir Thomas Browne (1646) refers to "Callipygæ and women largely composed behinde."
Callisto Look up Callisto at
in classical mythology a nymph, mother of Arcas by Zeus, turned to a bear by Hera, from Greek kallistos, superlative of kalos "beautiful, beauteous, noble, good," and its derived noun kallos "beauty," from *kal-wo-, which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Sanskrit kalyana "beautiful." The usual combining form in Greek was kalli- "beautiful, fine, happy, favorable;" kalo- was a later, rarer alternative form. Also the name given 17c. to the fourth moon of Jupiter. Feminized as proper name Callista.
callithumpian (adj.) Look up callithumpian at
"pertaining to a noisy concert or serenade," also the name of the concert itself, 1836, U.S. colloquial, probably a fanciful construction (perhaps based on the calli- "beauty" words (see Callisto) + thump). But Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) reports Gallithumpians as a Dorset and Devon word from 1790s for a society of radical social reformers, and also in reference to "noisy disturbers of elections and meetings" (1770s). The U.S. reference is most commonly "a band of discordant instruments" or a crowd banging on tin pots and pans, blowing horns, etc., especially on New Year's or to "serenade" a newlywed couple to show disapproval of one or the other or the match.
callosal (adj.) Look up callosal at
"pertaining to the corpus callosum," 1868, from Latin callosus (see callous) + -al (1).
callous (adj.) Look up callous at
c. 1400, "hardened," in the physical sense, from Latin callosus "thick-skinned," from callus, callum "hard skin" (see callus). The figurative sense of "unfeeling, hardened in the mind" appeared in English by 1670s. Related: Callously; callousness.
callow (adj.) Look up callow at
Old English calu "bare, bald," from Proto-Germanic *kalwa- (source also of Middle Dutch calu, Dutch kaal, Old High German kalo, German Kahl), from PIE root *gal- (1) "bald, naked" (source also of Russian golyi "smooth, bald"). From young birds with no feathers, meaning extended to any young inexperienced thing or creature, hence "youthful, juvenile, immature" (1570s). Apparently not related to Latin calvus "bald."
callus (n.) Look up callus at
"hardened skin," 1560s, from Latin callus, variant of callum "hard skin," related to callere "be hard," from Proto-Italic *kaln/so- "hard;" PIE source uncertain. Likely cognates are Old Irish calath, calad, Welsh caled "hard;" Old Church Slavonic kaliti "to cool, harden," Russian kalit "to heat, roast," Serbo-Croatian kaliti "to temper, case-harden."
calm (adj.) Look up calm at
late 14c., of the sea, "windless, without motion or agitation;" of a wind, "light, gentle," perhaps via Old French calme "tranquility, quiet," or directly from Old Italian calma "quiet, fair weather," which probably is from Late Latin cauma "heat of the mid-day sun" (in Italy, a time when everything rests and is still), from Greek kauma "heat" (especially of the sun), from kaiein "to burn" (see caustic). Spelling influenced by Latin calere "to be hot." Figurative application to social or mental conditions, "free from agitation or passion," is from 1560s.
calm (n.) Look up calm at
c. 1400, "absence of storm or wind," from the adjective or from Old French calme, carme "stillness, quiet, tranquility," or directly from Old Italian (see calm (adj.)). Figurative sense "peaceful manner, mild bearing" is from early 15c.; that of "freedom from agitation or passion" is from 1540s.
Aftir the calm, the trouble sone Mot folowe. ["Romance of the Rose," c. 1400]
calm (v.) Look up calm at
late 14c., "to become calm," from Old French calmer or from calm (adj.). Also transitive, "to make still or quiet" (1550s). Related: Calmed; calming.
calmative (adj.) Look up calmative at
"quieting excessive action," by 1831, from French calmatif; see calm (adj.) + -ative. A Greek-Latin hybrid; purists prefer sedative, but OED writes that "The Latinic suffix is here defensible on the ground of It. and Sp. calmar, F. calmer ...." Also as a noun, "a quieting drug" (1870).
calmly (adv.) Look up calmly at
"quietly, peacefully," 1590s, from calm (adj.) + -ly (2).
calmness (n.) Look up calmness at
"quietness, stillness, tranquility," 1510s, from calm (adj.) + -ness.
calomel (n.) Look up calomel at
old name for mercurous chloride, 1670s, from French calomel, supposedly (Littré) from Greek kalos "beautiful" (see Callisto) + melas "black;" but as the powder is yellowish-white this seems difficult. "It is perhaps of significance that the salt is blackened by ammonia and alkalis" [Flood].
Calor (n.) Look up Calor at
proprietary name for a type of liquid gas sold in Britain, 1936, from Latin calor, literally "heat" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm").
caloric (n.) Look up caloric at
hypothetical fluid in a now-discarded model of heat exchange, 1792, from French calorique, coined in this sense by Lavoisier, from Latin calorem "heat" (nominative calor), from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm." The adjective, "pertaining to heat or the principle of heat," is recorded from 1865.
calorie (n.) Look up calorie at
unit of heat in physics, 1866, from French calorie, from Latin calor (genitive caloris) "heat," from PIE *kle-os-, suffixed form of root *kele- (1) "warm."

As a unit of energy, defined as "heat required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius" (the small or gram calorie), but as a measure of the energy-producing value of food, "heat required to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius" (the large calorie or kilocalorie). In part because of this confused definition, it was largely replaced 1950 in scientific use by the joule. Calorie-counting or -watching as a method of weight-regulation is attested by 1951.
calorimeter (n.) Look up calorimeter at
"apparatus for measuring heat given off by a body," 1794, from Latin calor "heat" (from PIE root *kele- (1) "warm") + -meter. A hybrid word. Related: Calorimetric; calorimetry.
calque (n.) Look up calque at
"loan translation of a foreign word or phrase," 1937, from French calque, literally "a copy," from calquer "to trace by rubbing" (itself borrowed in English 1660s as calk "to copy by tracing"), a 16c. borrowing by French of Italian calcare, from Latin calcare "to tread, to press down."
calumet (n.) Look up calumet at
kind of tobacco pipe used by North American Indians, 1660s, from Canadian French calumet (1630s), from Norman French calumet "pipe, reed pipe" (Old French chalemel, 12c., Modern French chalumeau), from Latin calamellus, diminutive of calamus "reed; something made of reed or shaped like a reed" (see shawm).
calumniate (v.) Look up calumniate at
"to knowingly utter false charges," 1550s, from Latin calumniatus, past participle of calumniari "to accuse falsely," from calumnia "slander, false accusation" (see calumny). A doublet of challenge. Related: Calumniated; calumniating.
calumniation (n.) Look up calumniation at
1540s, noun of action from calumniate (v.).
calumniator (n.) Look up calumniator at
"one who falsely and knowingly accuses another of anything disgraceful or maliciously propagates false reports," 1560s, from Latin calumniator, agent noun from calumniari "to accuse falsely" (see calumniate (v.)). Related: Calumniatory.
calumnious (adj.) Look up calumnious at
"slanderous, using calumny," late 15c., from Latin calumniosus, from calumnia "slander, false accusation" (see calumny). Related: Calumniously; calumniousness.
calumny (n.) Look up calumny at
mid-15c., "false accusation, slander," from Old French calomnie (15c.), from Latin calumnia "trickery, subterfuge, misrepresentation, malicious charge," from calvi "to trick, deceive."

PIE cognates include Greek kelein "to bewitch, cast a spell," Gothic holon "to slander," Old Norse hol "praise, flattery," Old English hol "slander," holian "to to betray," Old High German huolen "to deceive." The whole group is perhaps from the same root as call (v.). A doublet of challenge.
Calvary Look up Calvary at
name of the mount of the Crucifixion, late 14c., from Latin Calvaria (Greek Kraniou topos), translating Aramaic gulgulta "place of the skull" (see Golgotha). Rendered literally in Old English as Heafodpannan stow. Latin Calvaria is related to calvus "bald" (see Calvin).
calve (v.) Look up calve at
"to bring forth a calf or calves," Old English cealfian, from cealf "calf" (see calf (n.1)). Of glaciers, "to lose a portion by an iceberg breaking off," 1837. Related: Calved; calving.