ear (n.1) Look up ear at Dictionary.com
"organ of hearing," Old English eare "ear," from Proto-Germanic *auzon (cognates: Old Norse eyra, Danish øre, Old Frisian are, Old Saxon ore, Middle Dutch ore, Dutch oor, Old High German ora, German Ohr, Gothic auso), from PIE *ous- "ear" (cognates: Greek aus, Latin auris, Lithuanian ausis, Old Church Slavonic ucho, Old Irish au "ear," Avestan usi "the two ears").
þe harde harte of man, þat lat in godis word atte ton ere & vt atte toþir. [sermon, c. 1250]
In music, "capability to learn and reproduce by hearing," 1520s, hence play by ear (1670s). The belief that itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you is mentioned in Pliny's "Natural History" (77 C.E.). Until at least the 1880s, even some medical men still believed piercing the ear lobes improved one's eyesight. Meaning "handle of a pitcher" is mid-15c. (but compare Old English earde "having a handle"). To be wet behind the ears "naive" is from 1902, American English. Phrase walls have ears attested from 1610s. French orielle, Spanish oreja are from Latin auricula (Medieval Latin oricula), diminutive of auris.
ear (n.2) Look up ear at Dictionary.com
"grain part of corn," from Old English ear (West Saxon), æher (Northumbrian) "spike, ear of grain," from Proto-Germanic *akhuz (cognates: Dutch aar, Old High German ehir, German Ähre, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs "ear of corn"), from PIE root *ak- "sharp, pointed" (source of Latin acus "chaff, husk of corn," Greek akoste "barley;" see acrid).
ear-muff (n.) Look up ear-muff at Dictionary.com
also earplug, 1859, from ear (n.1) + muff (n.).
ear-plug (n.) Look up ear-plug at Dictionary.com
also earplug, 1841, from ear (n.1) + plug (n.).
ear-worm (n.) Look up ear-worm at Dictionary.com
1880, "boll-worm, corn parasite" (corn-ear-worm attested from 1855), from ear (n.2) + worm (n.). Also an old alternative name for "earwig" (from ear (n.1)); from 1881 as "secret counselor." From 1989 as "annoyingly unforgettable pop song or part of a song."
earache (n.) Look up earache at Dictionary.com
also ear-ache, 1789, from ear (n.1) + ache (n.).
eardrum (n.) Look up eardrum at Dictionary.com
also ear-drum, 1640s, from ear (n.1) + drum (n.).
earful (n.) Look up earful at Dictionary.com
"a piece of one's mind," 1915, from ear (n.1) + -ful. Ear-bash (v.) is Australian slang (1944) for "talk inordinately" (to someone).
earl (n.) Look up earl at Dictionary.com
Old English eorl "brave man, warrior, leader, chief" (contrasted with ceorl "churl"), from Proto-Germanic *erlaz, which is of uncertain origin. In Anglo-Saxon poetry, "a warrior, a brave man;" in later Old English, "nobleman," especially a Danish under-king (equivalent of cognate Old Norse jarl), then one of the viceroys under the Danish dynasty in England. After 1066 adopted as the equivalent of Latin comes (see count (n.)).
earldom (n.) Look up earldom at Dictionary.com
Old English eorldom; see earl + -dom.
earlobe (n.) Look up earlobe at Dictionary.com
also ear-lobe, by 1786, from ear (n.1) + lobe. Earlier was ear lap (Old English had earlæppa "external ear").
early (adv.) Look up early at Dictionary.com
Old English ærlice "early," from ær "soon, ere" (see ere) + -lice, adverbial suffix (see -ly (2)). Compare Old Norse arliga "early." The adjective is Old English ærlic. The early bird of the proverb is from 1670s. Related: Earlier; earliest.
earmark (n.) Look up earmark at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from ear (n.1) + mark (n.1). Originally a cut or mark in the ear of sheep and cattle, serving as a sign of ownership (also a punishment of certain criminals); first recorded 1570s in figurative sense "stamp of ownership."
earmark (v.) Look up earmark at Dictionary.com
1590s, "to identify by an earmark," from earmark (n.). Meaning "to set aside money for a special purpose" is attested by 1868. Related: Earmarked; earmarking.
earn (v.) Look up earn at Dictionary.com
Old English earnian "deserve, earn, merit, labor for, win, get a reward for labor," from Proto-Germanic *aznon "do harvest work, serve" (source also of Old Frisian esna "reward, pay"), denominative verb from *azno "labor" especially "field labor" (source of Old Norse önn "work in the field," Old High German arnon "to reap"), from PIE root *es-en- "harvest, fall" (cognates: Old High German aren "harvest, crop," German Ernte "harvest," Old English ern "harvest," Gothic asans "harvest, summer," Old Church Slavonic jeseni, Russian osen, Old Prussian assanis "autumn"). Also from the same root are Gothic asneis, Old High German esni "hired laborer, day laborer," Old English esne "serf, laborer, man." Related: Earned; earning.
earner (n.) Look up earner at Dictionary.com
1610s, agent noun from earn.
earnest (adj.1) Look up earnest at Dictionary.com
from Old English eornoste (adj.) "zealous, serious," or from Old English noun eornost "seriousness, serious intent" (surviving only in the phrase in earnest), from Proto-Germanic *er-n-os-ti- (cognates: Old Saxon ernust, Old Frisian ernst, Old High German arnust "seriousness, firmness, struggle," German Ernst "seriousness;" Gothic arniba "safely, securely;" Old Norse ern "able, vigorous," jarna "fight, combat"), perhaps from PIE root *er- (1) "to move, set in motion." The proper name Ernest (literally "resolute") is from the same root. Related: Earnestness.
earnest (adj.2) Look up earnest at Dictionary.com
"portion of something given or done in advance as a pledge," early 15c., with excrescent -t- (perhaps from influence of the other earnest), from Middle English ernes (c. 1200), "a pledge or promise;" often "a foretaste of what is to follow;" also (early 13c.) "sum of money as a pledge to secure a purchase or bind a bargain (earnest-money); from Old French erres and directly from Latin arra, probably from Phoenician or another Semitic language (compare Hebrew 'eravon "a pledge"). Sometimes in Middle English as erness, suggesting it was perceived as er "early" + -ness.
earnestly (adv.) Look up earnestly at Dictionary.com
Old English eornostlice; see earnest (adj.) + -ly (2).
earning (n.) Look up earning at Dictionary.com
see earnings.
earnings (n.) Look up earnings at Dictionary.com
amount of money one makes (from labor or investment), 1732, from plural of verbal noun earning, from earn (v.). Old English had earnung in sense "fact of deserving; what one deserves; merit, reward, consideration, pay," but the modern word seems to be a new formation.
earring (n.) Look up earring at Dictionary.com
also ear-ring, Old English earhring, from ear (n.1) + hring (see ring (n.)). Another Old English word was earspinl. Now including any sort of ornament in the ear; the pendant sort originally were ear-drops (1720). Worn by Romanized Britons and Anglo-Saxons alike; their use declined in the Middle Ages and was reintroduced in England 16c., but after 17c. were worn there almost exclusively by women.
The two groups which had formerly a near monopoly on male earrings were Gypsies and sailors. Both has the usual traditions about eyesight, but it was also said that sailors' earrings would save them from drowning, while others argued that should a sailor be drowned and washed up on some foreign shore, his gold earrings would pay for a proper Christian burial. ["Dictionary of English Folklore"]
earshot (n.) Look up earshot at Dictionary.com
also ear-shot, c. 1600, from ear (n.1) + shot (n.) in the sense of "range" (as in bowshot).
earth (n.) Look up earth at Dictionary.com
Old English eorþe "ground, soil, dirt, dry land; country, district," also used (along with middangeard) for "the (material) world, the abode of man" (as opposed to the heavens or the underworld), from Proto-Germanic *ertho (cognates: Old Frisian erthe "earth," Old Saxon ertha, Old Norse jörð, Middle Dutch eerde, Dutch aarde, Old High German erda, German Erde, Gothic airþa), from extended form of PIE root *er- (2) "earth, ground" (cognates: Middle Irish -ert "earth"). The earth considered as a planet was so called from c. 1400. Use in old chemistry is from 1728. Earth-mover "large digging machine" is from 1940.
earth (v.) Look up earth at Dictionary.com
"to commit (a corpse) to earth," late 14c., from earth (n.). Related: Earthed; earthing.
Earth Day Look up Earth Day at Dictionary.com
as an annual ecological awareness event on April 22, dates to 1970; the idea and the name formed in 1969.
earth-bound (adj.) Look up earth-bound at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from earth (n.) + bound (adj.). Figurative sense is from 1869.
earth-mother (n.) Look up earth-mother at Dictionary.com
1870, folkloric spirit of the earth, conceived as sensual, maternal; often a translation of German erdmutter. Earth-goddess is from 1837.
earthen (adj.) Look up earthen at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "made of earth;" see earth + -en (2). Not attested in Old English (where eorðen meant "of or in the earth"). Cognate of Old High German irdin, Dutch aarden, Gothic airþeins. Meaning "made of clay" is attested from late 14c.
earthenware (n.) Look up earthenware at Dictionary.com
vessels or other objects of baked or dried clay, 1670s, from earthen + ware (n.). Old English eorðwaran meant "earth-dwellers."
earthlight (n.) Look up earthlight at Dictionary.com
1810, from earth (n.) + light (n.). Earthshine in same sense is from 1814.
earthling (n.) Look up earthling at Dictionary.com
Old English yrþling "plowman" (see earth + -ling); the sense of "inhabitant of the earth" is from 1590s and might be a re-formation, as the word seems to be missing in Middle English. Compare earthman. Earlier in this sense was earthite (1825).
earthly (adj.) Look up earthly at Dictionary.com
Old English eorþlic "worldly, pertaining to this world" (as opposed to spiritual or heavenly"); see earth (n.) + -ly (1). The sense "belonging to or originating in the earth" is from mid-15c.
earthman (n.) Look up earthman at Dictionary.com
also earth-man, 1860, "a spirit of nature; a demon who lives below the ground," from earth (n.) + man (n.). Science fiction sense of "inhabitant of the planet Earth" first attested 1949 in writing of Robert Heinlein.
earthquake (n.) Look up earthquake at Dictionary.com
late 13c., eorthequakynge, from earth + quake (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðdyn, eorðhrernes, eorðbeofung, eorðstyrung.
earthwork (n.) Look up earthwork at Dictionary.com
"mounds of earth thrown up for some purpose, especially as a military fortification," 1630s, from earth + work (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðbyrig "mound, embankment;" Old English eorðweorc meant "work on the land."
earthworm (n.) Look up earthworm at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, erþe-worme, from earth + worm (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðmata, also regnwyrm, literally "rain-worm." Old English also had angel-twæcce "earthworm used as bait" (with second element from root of twitch), sometimes used in medieval times as a medicament:
For the blake Jawndes take angylltwacches, er þei go in to the erth in the mornynge and fry hem. Take ix or x small angyltwacches, and bray hem, and giff the syke to drynke fastynge, with stale ale, but loke þat thei bene grounden so small that þe syke may nat se, ne witt what it is, for lothynge. [Book of Medical Recipes in Medical Society of London Library, c. 1450]
earthy (adj.) Look up earthy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "containing or resembling the substance earth," from earth (n.) + -y (2). Of tastes, smells, etc., from 1550s. Figurative sense of "coarse, unrefined" is from 1590s. Related: Earthiness.
earwax (n.) Look up earwax at Dictionary.com
also ear-wax, early 14c., from ear (n.1) + wax (n.).
Earwicker Look up Earwicker at Dictionary.com
English surname, pronounced "Erricker," from Old English eoforwacer "boar-watchman" (1061).
earwig (n.) Look up earwig at Dictionary.com
type of insect (Forficula auricularia), Old English earwicga "earwig," from eare (see ear (n.1)) + wicga "beetle, worm, insect," probably from the same Germanic source as wiggle, on the notion of "quick movement;" perhaps distantly related to PIE root *wegh- "to go." So called from the ancient and widespread (but false) belief that the garden pest went into people's ears. Compare French perce-oreille, German ohr-wurm. A Northern England name for it reported from 1650s is twitch-ballock.
ease (n.) Look up ease at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "physical comfort, undisturbed state of the body; tranquility, peace of mind," from Old French aise "comfort, pleasure, well-being; opportunity," which is of unknown origin, despite attempts to link it to various Latin verbs; perhaps Celtic. According to OED, the earliest senses in French appear to be 1. "elbow-room" (from an 11th century Hebrew-French glossary) and 2. "opportunity." This led Sophus Bugge to suggest an origin in Vulgar Latin asa, a shortened form of Latin ansa "handle," which could be used in the figurative sense of "opportunity, occasion," as well as being a possible synonym for "elbow," because Latin ansatus "furnished with handles" also was used to mean "having the arms akimbo." OED editors add, "This is not very satisfactory, but it does not appear that any equally plausible alternative has yet been proposed."

At ease "at rest, at peace, in comfort" is from late 14c.; as a military order (1802) the word denotes "freedom from stiffness or formality."
ease (v.) Look up ease at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "to help, assist," from Old French aiser, from aise (see ease (n.)). Meaning "to give ease, mitigate, alleviate, relieve from pain or care" is from mid-14c. Meaning "render less difficult" is from 1630s; the sense of "to relax one's efforts" is from 1863 (with up by 1907, earlier with a more specific sense in sailing). Farmer reports ease in a slang sense of "to content a woman" sexually, with an 1861 date. Related: Eased; easing.
easeful (adj.) Look up easeful at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from ease (n.) + -ful.
easel (n.) Look up easel at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Dutch ezel "easel," originally "ass," from Middle Dutch esel, from Latin asinus "ass" (see ass (n.1)); the comparison being of loading a burden on a donkey and propping up a painting or canvas on a wooden stand (compare sawhorse, French chevalet, Italian cavalletto).
easement (n.) Look up easement at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "compensation, redress," from Old French aisement "comfort, convenience; use, enjoyment," from aisier "to ease," from aise (see ease (n.)). The meaning "legal right or privilege of using something not one's own" is from early 15c.
easily (adv.) Look up easily at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, aisieliche, "in comfortable circumstances; with little effort," from easy + -ly (2). From late 14c. as "gently."
east Look up east at Dictionary.com
Old English east, eastan (adj., adv.) "east, easterly, eastward;" easte (n.), from Proto-Germanic *aust- "east," literally "toward the sunrise" (cognates: Old Frisian ast "east," aster "eastward," Dutch oost Old Saxon ost, Old High German ostan, German Ost, Old Norse austr "from the east"), from PIE *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn (cognates: Sanskrit ushas "dawn;" Greek aurion "morning;" Old Irish usah, Lithuanian auszra "dawn;" Latin aurora "dawn," auster "south;" see aurora). The east is the direction in which dawn breaks. For theory of shift in the geographical sense in Latin, see Australia.

As one of the four cardinal points of the compass, from c. 1200. Meaning "the eastern part of the world" (from Europe) is from c. 1300. Cold War use of East for "communist states" first recorded 1951. French est, Spanish este are borrowings from Middle English, originally nautical. The east wind in Biblical Palestine was scorching and destructive (as in Ezek. xvii:10); in New England it is bleak, wet, unhealthful. East End of London so called by 1846; East Side of Manhattan so called from 1871; East Indies (India and Southeast Asia) so called 1590s to distinguish them from the West Indies.
Easter (n.) Look up Easter at Dictionary.com
Old English Easterdæg, from Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from Proto-Germanic *austron-, "dawn," also the name of a goddess of fertility and spring, perhaps originally of sunrise, whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *aust- "east, toward the sunrise" (compare east), from PIE *aus- (1) "to shine" (especially of the dawn); see aurora.

Bede says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ's resurrection. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of Latin Pascha to name this holiday (see paschal). Easter egg attested by 1825, earlier pace egg (1610s). Easter bunny attested by 1904 in children's lessons; Easter rabbit is by 1888; the paganish customs of Easter seem to have grown popular c. 1900; before that they were limited to German immigrants.
If the children have no garden, they make nests in the wood-shed, barn, or house. They gather colored flowers for the rabbit to eat, that it may lay colored eggs. If there be a garden, the eggs are hidden singly in the green grass, box-wood, or elsewhere. On Easter Sunday morning they whistle for the rabbit, and the children imagine that they see him jump the fence. After church, on Easter Sunday morning, they hunt the eggs, and in the afternoon the boys go out in the meadows and crack eggs or play with them like marbles. Or sometimes children are invited to a neighbor's to hunt eggs. [Phebe Earle Gibbons, "Pennsylvania Dutch," Philadelphia 1882]
Easter Island Look up Easter Island at Dictionary.com
so called because it was discovered by Dutch navigator Jakob Roggeveen on April 2, 1722, which was Easter Monday. It earlier had been visited by English pirate Edward Davis (1695), but he neglected to name it. The native Polynesian name is Mata-kite-ran "Eyes that Watch the Stars."