cuirass (n.) Look up cuirass at Dictionary.com
"armor for the chest and back," mid-15c., from Middle French cuirasse (15c.), from Late Latin coriacea vestis "garment of leather," from Latin corium "leather, hide" (see corium). Cognate with Italian corazza, Spanish coraza, Portuguese couraça.
cuisine (n.) Look up cuisine at Dictionary.com
1786, from French cuisine "style of cooking," originally "kitchen, cooking, cooked food" (12c.), from Late Latin cocina, earlier coquina "kitchen," from Latin coquere "to cook" (see cook (n.)).
cul-de-sac (n.) Look up cul-de-sac at Dictionary.com
1738, as an anatomical term, from French cul-de-sac, literally "bottom of a sack," from Latin culus "bottom, backside, fundament." For second element, see sack (n.1). Application to streets and alleys is from 1800.
culdee (n.) Look up culdee at Dictionary.com
mid-12c., from Old Irish céle de "anchorite," from cele "associate, companion," sometimes "servant" (compare ceilidh) + de "of God." Perhaps an attempt to translate Servus Dei or some other Latin term for "religious hermit."
culinary (adj.) Look up culinary at Dictionary.com
1630s, "of the kitchen," from Latin culinarius "pertaining to the kitchen," from culina "kitchen, food" (see kiln). Meaning "of cookery" is from 1650s.
cull (v.) Look up cull at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "choose, select, pick; collect and gather the best things from a number or quantity," especially with reference to literary selections, from Old French cuiler "collect, gather, pluck, select" (12c., Modern French cueillir), from Latin colligere "gather together, collect," originally "choose, select" (see collect). Meaning "select livestock according to quality" is from 1889; notion of "select and kill (animals)," usually in the name of reducing overpopulation or improving the stock, is from 1934. Related: Culled; culling.
cull (n.) Look up cull at Dictionary.com
"dupe, saphead," rogues' slang from late 16c., perhaps a shortening of cullion "base fellow," originally "testicle" (from French couillon, from Old French coillon "testicle; worthless fellow, dolt," from Latin coleus, literally "strainer bag;" see cojones), though another theory traces it to Romany (Gypsy) chulai "man." Also sometimes in the form cully, however some authorities assert cully was the canting term for "dupe" and cull was generic "man, fellow," without implication of gullibility. Compare also gullible.
cull (n.) Look up cull at Dictionary.com
1610s, "a selection," from cull (v.). From 1791 as "flock animal selected as inferior;" 1958 as "a killing of animals deemed inferior."
cullen Look up cullen at Dictionary.com
in some uses it represents an Englishing of Cologne, the city in Germany. As a surname it can be this or from Cullen, Banffshire.
culminate (v.) Look up culminate at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Late Latin culminatus past participle of culminare "to top, to crown," from Latin culmen (genitive culminis) "top, peak, summit, roof, gable," also used figuratively, contraction of columen "top, summit" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill"). Related: Culminated; culminating.
culmination (n.) Look up culmination at Dictionary.com
1630s, from French culmination, noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin culminare "to top, to crown," from Latin culmen (genitive culminis) "top, peak, summit, roof, gable," also used figuratively, contraction of columen "top, summit" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill"). Originally a term in astronomy/astrology; figurative use is from 1650s.
culottes (n.) Look up culottes at Dictionary.com
"a divided skirt," 1911, from French culotte "breeches" (16c.), a diminutive of cul "bottom, backside, backside, anus," from Latin culus "bottom, fundament." Earlier, in the singular cullote, it was used to mean "knee-breeches" (1842). Por le cul dieu "By God's arse" was an Old French oath.
culpability (n.) Look up culpability at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Late Latin culpabilitas "guilt, culpability," from Latin culpabilis (see culpable).
culpable (adj.) Look up culpable at Dictionary.com
late 13c., coupable, from Old French coupable (12c., Modern French coupable), from Latin culpabilis "worthy of blame," from culpare "to blame," from culpa "crime, fault, blame, guilt, error." English (and for a time French) restored the first Latin -l- in later Middle Ages.
culprit (n.) Look up culprit at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Anglo-French cul prit, contraction of Culpable: prest (d'averrer nostre bille) "guilty, ready (to prove our case)," words used by prosecutor in opening a trial. It seems the abbreviation cul. prit was mistaken in English for an address to the defendant.
cult (n.) Look up cult at Dictionary.com
1610s, "worship," also "a particular form of worship," from French culte (17c.), from Latin cultus "care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence," originally "tended, cultivated," past participle of colere "to till" (see colony). Rare after 17c.; revived mid-19c. with reference to ancient or primitive rituals. Meaning "a devotion to a person or thing" is from 1829.
Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree. [Rawson]
cultivar (n.) Look up cultivar at Dictionary.com
1923, from culti(vated) var(iety), coined by U.S. horticulturalist Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) in "Gentes Herbarum."
cultivate (v.) Look up cultivate at Dictionary.com
early 17c., from Medieval Latin cultivatus, past participle of cultivare "to cultivate," from Late Latin cultivus "tilled," from Latin cultus "care, labor; cultivation," from past participle of colere "to till" (see colony). Figurative sense of "improve by training or education" is from 1680s. Related: Cultivable; cultivated; cultivating.
cultivation (n.) Look up cultivation at Dictionary.com
c. 1700, of knowledge, etc., a figurative use, from French cultivation (16c.), noun of action from cultiver, from Latin cultivare "to till" (see cultivate). Meaning "raising of a plant or crop" is from 1719; literal sense of "tilling of the land" is from 1725.
cultivator (n.) Look up cultivator at Dictionary.com
1660s, noun of action (in Latin form) from cultivate. As the name of an agricultural tool, from 1759.
cultural (adj.) Look up cultural at Dictionary.com
1868, in reference to the raising of plants or animals, from Latin cultura "tillage" (see culture (n.)) + -al (1). In reference to the cultivation of the mind, from 1875; hence, "relating to civilization or a civilization." A fertile starter-word among anthropologists and sociologists, for example cultural diffusion, in use by 1912; cultural diversity by 1935; cultural imperialism by 1937; cultural pluralism by 1932; cultural relativism by 1948.
Cultural Revolution Look up Cultural Revolution at Dictionary.com
1966, from Chinese, translation of Wuchan Jieji Wenhua Da Geming "Proletarian Cultural Great Revolution."
culturalization (n.) Look up culturalization at Dictionary.com
by 1929; see cultural + -ization.
culturally (adv.) Look up culturally at Dictionary.com
1889, from cultural + -ly (2).
culture (n.) Look up culture at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "the tilling of land," from Middle French culture and directly from Latin cultura "a cultivating, agriculture," figuratively "care, culture, an honoring," from past participle stem of colere "to tend, guard; to till, cultivate" (see colony). The figurative sense of "cultivation through education" is first attested c. 1500. Meaning "the intellectual side of civilization" is from 1805; that of "collective customs and achievements of a people" is from 1867.
For without culture or holiness, which are always the gift of a very few, a man may renounce wealth or any other external thing, but he cannot renounce hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge. Culture is the sanctity of the intellect. [William Butler Yeats]
Slang culture vulture is from 1947. Culture shock first recorded 1940. Ironic or contemptuous spelling kulchur is attested from 1940 (Pound), and compare kultur.
cultured (adj.) Look up cultured at Dictionary.com
1743 in the literal sense of "cultivated," of land, etc., past participle adjective from culture; meaning "developed under controlled natural conditions" is from 1906, originally of pearls. Meaning "improved by exposure to intellectual culture" is from 1777.
culvert (n.) Look up culvert at Dictionary.com
1773, origin unknown, perhaps, as Weekley suggests, the name of a long-forgotten engineer or bridge-builder.
cum Look up cum at Dictionary.com
verb and noun, by 1973, apparently a variant of the sexual sense of come that originated in pornographic writing, perhaps first in the noun sense. This "experience sexual orgasm" slang meaning of come (perhaps originally come off) is attested from 1650, in "Walking In A Meadowe Greene," in a folio of "loose songs" collected by Bishop Percy.
They lay soe close together, they made me much to wonder;
I knew not which was wether, until I saw her under.
Then off he came, and blusht for shame soe soon that he had endit;
Yet still she lies, and to him cryes, "one more and none can mend it."
As a noun meaning "semen or other product of orgasm" it is on record from the 1920s. The sexual cum seems to have no connection with Latin cum, the preposition meaning "with, together with," which is occasionally used in English in local names of combined parishes or benifices (such as Chorlton-cum-Hardy), in popular Latin phrases (such as cum laude), or as a combining word to indicate a dual nature or function (such as slumber party-cum-bloodbath).
cum laude Look up cum laude at Dictionary.com
1872, originally at Harvard, from Medieval Latin, literally "with praise," from Latin cum "with" + laude, ablative of laus (genitive laudis) "praise" (see laud). Probably from earlier use (in Latin) at Heidelberg and other German universities.
Cumaean (adj.) Look up Cumaean at Dictionary.com
1731, from Latin Cumae (Greek Kyme), ancient city on the Italian coast near Naples, founded by Greeks 8c. B.C.E.; especially famous for the Sybil there, mentioned by Virgil.
cumber (v.) Look up cumber at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "to overthrow, destroy; to be overwhelmed; to harass," apparently from French, but Old French combrer "to seize hold of, lay hands on, grab, snatch, take by force, rape," has not quite the same sense. Perhaps a shortened formation from a verb akin to Middle English acombren "obstructing progress," from Old French encombrer, from combre "obstruction, barrier," from Vulgar Latin *comboros "that which is carried together," perhaps from a Gaulish word.

The likely roots are PIE *kom (see com-) + *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children." Weakened sense of "to hamper, to obstruct or weigh down" is late 14c. Related: Cumbered; cumbering.
Cumberland Look up Cumberland at Dictionary.com
Old English Cumbra land (945) "region of the Cymry" (see Cymric).
cumbersome (adj.) Look up cumbersome at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from cumber (v.) + -some (1). Meaning "unwieldy, hard to carry" is from 1590s. Related: Cumbersomely; cumbersomeness.
cumbrous (adj.) Look up cumbrous at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "cumbersome, troublesome, clumsy, unwieldy," from cumber + -ous.
cumin (n.) Look up cumin at Dictionary.com
Old English cymen, from Latin cuminum, from Greek kyminon, cognate with Hebrew kammon, Arabic kammun.
cummerbund (n.) Look up cummerbund at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Hindi kamarband "loin band," from Persian kamar "waist" + band "something that ties," from Avestan banda- "bond, fetter," from PIE root *bhendh- "to bind."
cummin (n.) Look up cummin at Dictionary.com
alternative spelling of cumin.
cumulate (v.) Look up cumulate at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Latin cumulatus "heaped, increased, augmented," past participle of cumulare "to heap," from cumulus "mound, heap" (see cumulus). Related: Cumulated; cumulating.
cumulation (n.) Look up cumulation at Dictionary.com
1610s, noun of action from cumulate.
cumulative (adj.) Look up cumulative at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Latin cumulatus, past participle of cumulare "to heap," from cumulus "heap" (see cumulus) + -ive.
cumulonimbus (n.) Look up cumulonimbus at Dictionary.com
1887, from cumulo-, combining form of cumulus, + nimbus.
cumulus (n.) Look up cumulus at Dictionary.com
1650s, "a heap," from Latin cumulus "a heap, pile, mass, surplus," from PIE *ku-m-olo-, suffixed shortened form of root *keue- "to swell" (compare Sanskrit svayati "swells up, is strong," Greek kyein "to swell," Lithuanian šaunas "firm, solid, fit, capable"). Meteorological use for "rounded mass of clouds" first attested 1803.
cun (v.) Look up cun at Dictionary.com
"to learn to know, inquire into," from Old English cunnian "to learn to know," ultimately from the same ancient root as can (v.1). Surviving into 17c. and perhaps later in dialects.
cuneiform (adj.) Look up cuneiform at Dictionary.com
1670s, "wedge shaped," from French cunéiforme (16c.), from Latin cuneus "a wedge, wedge-shaped thing," which is of unknown origin, + French -forme (see form (n.)). Applied to characters in ancient Middle Eastern inscriptions made with wedge-shaped writing tools; first used in this sense by German physician and traveler Engelbert Kämpfer (1681-1716); in English from 1818. As a noun from 1862.
cunnilingus (n.) Look up cunnilingus at Dictionary.com
1887, from Latin cunnus "vulva" (see cunt) + lingere "to lick" (from PIE root *leigh- "to lick"). The Latin properly would mean "one who licks a vulva," but it is used in English in reference to the action, not the actor. The verb ought to be *cunnilingue. As an agent-noun, Fletcher has lick-twat (1656). Gordon Williams ["A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature," 1994] writes that Nicolas Chorier's 17c. "Satyra Sotadica" "relates how Gonsalvo of Cordova, as an old man, would lick his mistress's middle parts, which he called, with a geographical pun, going to Liguria" (from Latin ligurio "to lick").
Cunnilingus was a very familiar manifestation in classical times; ... it tends to be especially prevalent at all periods of high civilization. [Havelock Ellis, 1905]
Dutch slang has a useful noun, de befborstel, to refer to the mustache specifically as a tool for stimulating the clitoris; probably from beffen "to stimulate the clitoris with the tongue."
cunning (adj.) Look up cunning at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "learned, skillful," present participle of cunnen "to know" (see can (v.1)), from PIE root *gno- "to know." Sense of "skillfully deceitful" is probably late 14c. As a noun from c. 1300. Related: Cunningly.
cunt (n.) Look up cunt at Dictionary.com
"female intercrural foramen," or, as some 18c. writers refer to it, "the monosyllable," Middle English cunte "female genitalia," by early 14c. (in Hendyng's "Proverbs" -- ʒeve þi cunte to cunni[n]g, And crave affetir wedding), akin to Old Norse kunta, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, and Middle Low German kunte, from Proto-Germanic *kunton, which is of uncertain origin. Some suggest a link with Latin cuneus "wedge," others to PIE root *geu- "hollow place," still others to PIE root *gwen- "woman."

The form is similar to Latin cunnus "female pudenda" (also, vulgarly, "a woman"), which is likewise of disputed origin, perhaps literally "gash, slit," from PIE *sker- (1) "to cut," or literally "sheath," from PIE *kut-no-, from root *(s)keu- "to conceal, hide."
Hec vulva: a cunt. Hic cunnus: idem est. [from Londesborough Illustrated Nominale, c. 1500, in "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies," eds. Wright and Wülcker, vol. 1, 1884]
First known reference in English apparently is in a compound, Oxford street name Gropecuntlane cited from c. 1230 (and attested through late 14c.) in "Place-Names of Oxfordshire" (Gelling & Stenton, 1953), presumably a haunt of prostitutes. Used in medical writing c. 1400, but avoided in public speech since 15c.; considered obscene since 17c.

in Middle English also conte, counte, and sometimes queinte, queynte (for this, see q). Chaucer used quaint and queynte in "Canterbury Tales" (late 14c.), and Andrew Marvell might be punning on quaint in "To His Coy Mistress" (1650).
"What eyleth yow to grucche thus and grone? Is it for ye wolde haue my queynte allone?" [Wife of Bath's Tale]
Under "MONOSYLLABLE" Farmer lists 552 synonyms from English slang and literature before launching into another 5 pages of them in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. [A sampling: Botany Bay, chum, coffee-shop, cookie, End of the Sentimental Journey, fancy bit, Fumbler's Hall, funniment, goatmilker, heaven, hell, Itching Jenny, jelly-bag, Low Countries, nature's tufted treasure, penwiper, prick-skinner, seminary, tickle-toby, undeniable, wonderful lamp, and aphrodisaical tennis court, and, in a separate listing, Naggie. Dutch cognate de kont means "a bottom, an arse," but Dutch also has attractive poetic slang ways of expressing this part, such as liefdesgrot, literally "cave of love," and vleesroos "rose of flesh."

Alternative form cunny is attested from c. 1720 but is certainly much earlier and forced a change in the pronunciation of coney (q.v.), but it was good for a pun while coney was still the common word for "rabbit": "A pox upon your Christian cockatrices! They cry, like poulterers' wives, 'No money, no coney.' " [Philip Massinger: "The Virgin-Martyr," Act I, Scene 1, 1622]
cup (n.) Look up cup at Dictionary.com
Old English cuppe, from Late Latin cuppa "cup" (source of Italian coppa, Spanish copa, Old French coupe "cup"), from Latin cupa "tub, cask, tun, barrel," from PIE *keup- "a hollow" (source also of Sanskrit kupah "hollow, pit, cave," Greek kype "a kind of ship," Old Church Slavonic kupu, Lithuanian kaupas).

The Late Latin word was borrowed throughout Germanic: Old Frisian kopp "cup, head," Middle Low German kopp "cup," Middle Dutch coppe, Dutch kopje "cup, head." German cognate Kopf now means exclusively "head" (compare French tête, from Latin testa "potsherd"). Meaning "part of a bra that holds a breast" is from 1938. [One's] cup of tea "what interests one" (1932), earlier used of persons (1908), the sense being "what is invigorating."
cup (v.) Look up cup at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to draw blood by cupping," from cup (n.). Meaning "to form a cup" is from 1830. Related: Cupped; cupping.
cupboard (n.) Look up cupboard at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "a board or table to place cups and like objects," from cup (n.) + board (n.1). As a type of closed cabinet for food, etc., from early 16c.