cut (v.)
late 13c., possibly Scandinavian, from North Germanic *kut- (cognates: Swedish dialectal kuta "to cut," kuta "knife," Old Norse kuti "knife"), or from Old French couteau "knife." Replaced Old English ceorfan (see carve (v.)), sniþan, and scieran (see shear). Meaning "to be absent without excuse" is British university slang from 1794. To cut a pack of cards is from 1590s. Related: Cutting.
cut (n.)
1520s, "gash, incision," from cut (v.); meaning "piece cut off" is from 1590s; sense of "a wounding sarcasm" is from 1560s.
cutaneous (adj.)
1570s, from Medieval Latin cutaneus, from Latin cutis "the skin" (see cuticle).
cute (adj.)
1731, "clever," shortening of acute; informal sense of "pretty" is 1834, American English student slang. Related: Cuteness.
cutesy (adj.)
"artificially or annoyingly cute," by 1968, from cute (adj.).
cutey (n.)
alternative spelling of cutie.
cuticle (n.)
1610s, from Latin cuticula, diminutive of cutis "skin," from PIE *ku-ti-, from root *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (cognates: Lithuanian kiautas "husk," Old English hyd "skin, hide;" see hide (n.1)). Specialized sense of "skin at the base of the nail" is from 1907. Related: Cuticular.
cutie (n.)
"cute person," originally especially "attractive young woman," 1917, from diminutive of cute.
cutlass (n.)
1590s, from Middle French coutelas (16c.), probably from Italian coltellaccio "large knife" (with augmentative suffix -accio), from coltello "knife," from Latin cultellus "small knife," diminutive of culter "knife, plowshare," from PIE *kel-tro-, from root *(s)kel- "to cut" (see scale (n.1)).
cutler (n.)
c.1400, from Old French coutelier (12c., Modern French coutelier) "knife-maker," from Latin cultellarius, from cultellus "knife" (see cutlass).
cutlery (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French coutelerie (13c., Modern French coutellerie) "cutting utensils," also "knife-making," from coutel "knife," from Latin cultellus (see cutlass).
cutlet (n.)
1706, from French côtelette, from Old French costelette "little rib" (14c.), a double diminutive of coste "rib, side," from Latin costa (see coast (n.)); influenced by English cut.
cutoff (n.)
1640s, "act of cutting off," also "portion cut off," from verbal phrase cut off (late 14c.). Of rivers, from 1773; of roads, from 1806; of clothing (adj.), from 1840.
cutout (n.)
1851, from verbal phrase, from cut (v.) + out (adv.).
cutpurse (n.)
"one who steals by the method of cutting purses, a common practice when men wore their purses at their girdles" [Johnson], mid-14c., from cut (v.) + purse (n.). The word continued after the method switched to picking pockets.
cutter (n.)
late 12c., "one who cuts" in any sense, agent noun from cut (v.). As a type of small, single-masted vessel, from 1762, earlier "boat belonging to a ship of war" (1745), perhaps so called from the notion of "cutting" through the water.
cutthroat (n.)
also cut-throat, 1530s, from cut (v.) + throat (n.). As an adjective from 1560s. Of card games from 1823.
cutting edge
also cutting-edge, 1825 in the literal sense (often at first with reference to plows); figurative sense is from 1964.
cuttlefish (n.)
Old English cudele "the cuttlefish;" first element perhaps related to Middle Low German küdel "container, pocket;" Old Norse koddi "cushion, testicle;" and Old English codd (see cod).
cuz
17c. as an abbreviation of cousin; 1889 as an attempt to represent the lazy pronunciation of because.
Cuzco
city in Peru, former capital of the Inca Empire, from Quechua (Inca), literally "navel," in a figurative meaning "center" (of the world, as the navel is the center of the body). Other places known as "navel of the world" include Delphi, Jerusalem, Rome, Easter Island, and Mount Kailash in Tibet.
cv (n.)
abbreviation of curriculum vitae.
cwm (n.)
1853, from Welsh cwm "coomb" (see coomb).
cyan (n.)
1889, short for cyan blue (1879), from Greek kyanos "dark blue, dark blue enamel, lapis lazuli," probably a non-Indo-European word, but perhaps akin to, or from, Hittite *kuwanna(n)- "copper blue."
cyanide (n.)
a salt of hydrocyanic acid, 1826, coined from cyan-, comb. form for carbon and nitrogen compounds, from Greek kyanos "dark blue" (see cyan) + chemical ending -ide, on analogy of chloride. So called because it first had been obtained by heating the dye pigment powder known as Prussian blue (see Prussian).
cyanosis (n.)
"blue disease," the "blue jaundice" of the ancients, 1820, Medical Latin, from Greek kyanosis, from kyanos "dark blue color" (see cyan) + -osis.
cyanotic (adj.)
1833, from comb. form of root of cyanosis + -ic.
cyber
as an element in word formation, ultimately from cybernetics (q.v.). It enjoyed explosive use with the rise of the Internet early 1990s. One researcher (Nagel) counted 104 words formed from it by 1994. Cyberpunk (by 1986) and cyberspace were among the earliest.
Cyber is such a perfect prefix. Because nobody has any idea what it means, it can be grafted onto any old word to make it seem new, cool -- and therefore strange, spooky. ["New York" magazine, Dec. 23, 1996]
As a stand-alone, it is attested by 1998 as short for cybersex (which is attested by 1995).
cybercafe (n.)
1994, from cyber + cafe.
cybernetic (adj.)
1951, back-formation from cybernetics. Greek kybernetikos meant "good at steering."
cybernetics (n.)
coined 1948 by U.S. mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) from Greek kybernetes "steersman" (metaphorically "guide, governor") + -ics; perhaps based on 1830s French cybernétique "the art of governing."
The future offers very little hope for those who expect that our new mechanical slaves will offer us a world in which we may rest from thinking. Help us they may, but at the cost of supreme demands upon our honesty and our intelligence. [Norbert Weiner, "God and Golem, Inc.," 1964]
cyberspace (n.)
1982, often as two words at first, coined by science fiction writer William Gibson (best known for "Neuromancer") and used by him in a short story published in 1982, from cyber- (see cybernetics) + space (n.).
cyborg (n.)
1960, a blend of the first elements of cybernetic and organism.
cycad (n.)
1845, Modern Latin, from Greek kykas, a word found in Theophrastus, but now thought to be a scribal error for koikas "palm trees," accusative plural of koix, a word from an unknown non-Greek language.
cyclamen (n.)
1550s, from Medieval Latin cyclamen, from Latin cyclaminos, from Greek kyklaminos, from kyklos "circle" (see cycle (n.)). So called in reference to the bulbous shape of the root.
cycle (n.)
late 14c., from Late Latin cyclus, from Greek kyklos "circle, wheel, any circular body, circular motion, cycle of events," from PIE kw(e)-kwl-o-, suffixed, reduplicated form of root *kwel- (1), also *kwele-, "to roll, to move around, wheel" (cognates: Sanskrit cakram "circle, wheel," carati "he moves, wanders;" Avestan caraiti "applies himself," c'axra "chariot, wagon;" Greek polos "a round axis" (PIE *kw- becomes Greek p- before some vowels), polein "move around;" Latin colere "to frequent, dwell in, to cultivate, move around," cultus "tended, cultivated," hence also "polished," colonus "husbandman, tenant farmer, settler, colonist;" Lithuanian kelias "a road, a way;" Old Norse hvel, Old English hweol "wheel;" Old Church Slavonic kolo, Old Russian kolo, Polish koło, Russian koleso "a wheel").
cycle (v.)
1842, "revolve in cycles," from cycle (n.). Meaning "to ride a bicycle" is from 1883. Related: Cycled; cycling.
cyclic (adj.)
1794, from French cyclique (16c.), from Latin cyclicus, from Greek kyklikos "moving in a circle," from kyklos (see cycle (n.)).
cyclical (adj.)
1817, from cyclic + -al (1).
cyclist (n.)
"bicyclist," 1882; see bicycle + -ist. Saxonists preferred wheelman.
cyclo-
before a vowel, cycl-, word-forming element meaning "circle, ring, rotation," from Latinized form of Greek kyklo-, comb. form of kyklos "circle, wheel, ring" (see cycle (n.)).
cyclone (n.)
1848, coined by British East India Company official Henry Piddington to describe the devastating storm of December 1789 in Coringa, India; irregularly formed from Greek kyklon "moving in a circle, whirling around," present participle of kykloun "move in a circle, whirl," from kyklos "circle" (see cycle (n.)). Applied to tornados from 1856.
cyclonic (adj.)
1860, from cyclone + -ic.
cyclopean (adj.)
1640s, from Latin cyclopeus, from Greek kyklopeios, from kyklopes (see cyclops).
cyclops (n.)
(plural cyclopes), 1510s, from Latin, from Greek kyklops, literally "round-eyed," from stem of kyklos (see cycle (n.)) + -ops (see eye (n.)). One of a race of one-eyed giants who forged thunderbolts for Zeus, built the walls of Mycenae, etc.
cyclorama (n.)
"picture of a landscape on the interior surface of a cylindrical space," 1840, from cyclo- + -rama "spectacle."
cyclotron (n.)
1935, from cyclo- + ending from electron.
cygnet (n.)
c.1400, also signet before 17c., from Anglo-French, diminutive of Old French cigne, cisne "swan" (12c., Modern French cygne), from Latin cygnus, from Greek kyknos, perhaps from PIE *keuk- "to be white."
cylinder (n.)
1560s, from Middle French cylindre (14c.), from Latin cylindrus "roller, cylinder," from Greek kylindros "a cylinder, roller, roll," from kylindein "to roll," of unknown origin.
cylindrical (adj.)
1640s, probably from cylindric (but this is attested only from 1680s), from Greek kylindrikos, from kylindros (see cylinder) + -al (1).