either Look up either at Dictionary.com
Old English ægðer, contraction of æghwæðer (pron., adv., conj.) "each of two, both," from a "always" (see aye (adv.)) + ge- collective prefix + hwæðer "which of two, whether" (see whether). Cognate with Dutch ieder, Old High German eogiwedar, German jeder "either, each, every").

Modern sense of "one or the other of two" is late 13c. Adverbially, for emphasis, "in any case, at all," especially when expressing negation, by 1828. Use of either-or to suggest an unavoidable choice between alternatives (1931) in some cases reflects Danish enten-eller, title of an 1843 book by Kierkegaard.
ejaculate (v.) Look up ejaculate at Dictionary.com
1570s, "emit semen," from Latin eiaculatus, past participle of eiaculari "to throw out, shoot out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + iaculari "to throw, hurl, cast, dart," from iaculum "javelin, dart," from iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Sense of "exclaim suddenly" is from 1660s. Related: Ejaculated; ejaculating; ejaculatory.
ejaculation (n.) Look up ejaculation at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, of fluids; 1620s, of utterances, from French éjaculation, noun of action from éjaculer, from Latin ejaculari (see ejaculate).
eject (v.) Look up eject at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Latin eiectus "thrown out," past participle of eicere "throw out, cast out, thrust out; drive into exile, expel, drive away," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + -icere, comb. form of iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Related: Ejected; ejecting. Ejecta "matter thrown out by a volcano" is from 1851.
ejection (n.) Look up ejection at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Middle French ejection and directly from Latin eiectionem (nominative eiectio) "a casting out, banishment, exile," noun of action from past participle stem of eicere (see eject). The jet pilot's ejection seat (also ejector seat) is from 1945.
eke (v.) Look up eke at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, eken "to increase, lengthen," north England and East Midlands variant of echen from Old English ecan, eacan, eacian "to increase," probably from eaca "an increase," from Proto-Germanic *aukan (cognates: Old Norse auka, Danish öge, Old Frisian aka, Old Saxon okian, Old High German ouhhon, Gothic aukan), from PIE *aug- (1) "to increase" (see augment). Now mainly in phrase to eke out (1590s), wherein it means "to make a supply of something go further or last longer." Related: Eked; eking.
eke (adv.) Look up eke at Dictionary.com
"also" (obsolete), from Old English eac, cognate with Old Saxon, Old Dutch ok, Old Norse and Gothic auk, Old Frisian ak, Old High German ouh, German auch "also;" probably related to eke (v.).
el (n.) Look up el at Dictionary.com
American English abbreviation of elevated railroad, first recorded 1906 in O. Henry.
el Look up el at Dictionary.com
Spanish article, from Latin ille "that."
El Paso Look up El Paso at Dictionary.com
city in Texas, named for the nearby pass where the Rio Grande emerges from the Rockies, Spanish, short for el paso del norte "the northern pass;" see pass (n.1).
elaborate (adj.) Look up elaborate at Dictionary.com
1590s, "wrought by labor," from Latin elaboratus, past participle of elaborare "to exert oneself" (see elaboration). Meaning "very detailed" is from 1620s, via notion of "produced with great care and attention to detail." Related: elaborateness.
elaborate (v.) Look up elaborate at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "to build up from simple elements," from Latin elaboratus, past participle of elaborare "to labor, endeavor, struggle, work out" (see elaboration). Meaning "to work out in detail" is attested from 1610s. Related: Elaborated; elaborating.
elaborately (adv.) Look up elaborately at Dictionary.com
1630s, "with attention to exactness;" see elaborate (adj.) + -ly (2).
elaboration (n.) Look up elaboration at Dictionary.com
1570s, in a physiological sense relating to tissue development, from Late Latin elaborationem (nominative elaboratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin elaborare "work out, produce by labor, endeavor, struggle," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + laborare "to labor" (see labor (v.)). Meaning "act of working out in great exactness and detail" is from 1610s.
elan (n.) Look up elan at Dictionary.com
"vivacity," 1877, from French élan (16c.), "spring, bound, impetus," noun derived from élancer "to shoot, incite" (trans.); "rush forward, dart" (intrans.), from Old French elancer, from e- "out" (see ex-) + lancer "to throw," originally "to throw a lance," from Late Latin lanceare, from Latin lancea (see lance (n.)).
eland (n.) Look up eland at Dictionary.com
Cape elk, large South African antelope, 1786, from Dutch eland "elk," probably from a Baltic source akin to Lithuanian elnias "deer," from PIE *el- (2) "red, brown" (see elk), cognate with first element in Greek Elaphebolion, name of the ninth month of the Attic year (corresponding to late March-early April), literally "deer-hunting (month)." Borrowed earlier in English as ellan (1610s, via French), ellend (from the German form of the word).
elapse (v.) Look up elapse at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Middle French elapser, from Latin elapsus, past participle of elabi "slip or glide away, escape," from ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + labi "to slip, glide" (see lapse (n.)). The noun now corresponding to elapse is lapse, but elapse (n.) was in recent use. Related: Elapsed; elapsing.
elasmobranch (n.) Look up elasmobranch at Dictionary.com
1859, from Elasmobranchii, class of fishes that includes sharks and rays, from comb. form of Greek elasmos "metal plate," from elan "to strike" (see elastic) + brankhia "gill."
elasmosaurus (n.) Look up elasmosaurus at Dictionary.com
giant sea reptile from the Mezozoic, 1868, from Modern Latin (coined by E.D. Cope), from comb. form of Greek elasmos "metal plate" (from elan "to strike;" see elastic) + -saurus. So called from the caudal laminae and the great plate-bones.
elastic (adj.) Look up elastic at Dictionary.com
1650s, formerly also elastick, coined in French (1650s) as a scientific term to describe gases, from Modern Latin elasticus, from Greek elastos "ductile, flexible," related to elaunein "to strike, beat out," which is of uncertain origin; according to Watkins from an extended form of the PIE base *ele- "to go." Applied to solids from 1670s. Figurative use by 1859. The noun meaning "piece of elastic material," originally a cord or string woven with rubber, is from 1847, American English.
elasticity (n.) Look up elasticity at Dictionary.com
1660s, from French élasticité, or else from elastic + -ity.
elate (v.) Look up elate at Dictionary.com
1570s, literal, "to raise, elevate," probably from Latin elatus "uplifted, exalted," past participle of effere "carry out, bring forth" (see elation), or else a back-formation from elation. Figurative use, "to raise or swell the mind or spirit with satisfaction and pride," is from 1610s. Related: Elated; elating.
elated (adj.) Look up elated at Dictionary.com
1610s, past participle adjective from elate.
elation (n.) Look up elation at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "inordinate self-esteem, arrogance," especially "self-satisfaction over one's accomplishments or qualities, vainglory" (early 15c.), from Old French elacion "elation, conceit, arrogance, vanity," from Latin elationem (nominative elatio) "a carrying out, a lifting up," noun of action from elatus "elevated," form used as past participle of efferre "carry out, bring out, bring forth, take away," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + latus (see oblate (n.)), past participle of ferre "carry" (see infer). Metaphoric sense of "a lifting of spirits" was in Latin and has always been the principal meaning in English. More positive sense of "buoyancy, joyfulness" is from 1750 in English.
elbow (n.) Look up elbow at Dictionary.com
"bend of the arm," c. 1200, elbowe, from a contraction of Old English elnboga "elbow," from Proto-Germanic *elino-bugon, literally "bend of the forearm" (cognates: Middle Dutch ellenboghe, Dutch elleboog, Old High German elinbogo, German Ellenboge, Old Norse ölnbogi). For first element, see ell (n.1) "length of the forearm;" second element represented by Old English boga "bow, arch" (see bow (n.1)).

Second element related to Old English bugan "to bend" (see bow (v.)); first element from *alina "arm," from PIE *el- (1) "elbow, forearm" (see ell (n.1)). To be out at elbows (1620s) was literally to have holes in one's coat. Phrase elbow grease "hard rubbing" is attested from 1670s, from jocular sense of "the best substance for polishing furniture." Elbow-room, "room to extend one's elbows," hence, "ample room for activity," attested 1530s.
elbow (v.) Look up elbow at Dictionary.com
"thrust with the elbow," c. 1600, from elbow (n.). Figurative sense is from 1863. Related: Elbowed; elbowing.
eld (n.) Look up eld at Dictionary.com
"former ages, old times," c. 1400, poetic or archaic form of old; in some cases from Old English eald, yldu, yldo "old age, an age, age as a period of life."
elder (adj.) Look up elder at Dictionary.com
"more old," Old English (Mercian) eldra, comparative of eald, ald (see old); only English survival of umlaut in comparison. Superseded by older since 16c. Elder statesman (1921) originally was a translation of Japanese genro (plural).
elder (n.2) Look up elder at Dictionary.com
type of berry tree, c. 1400, with excrescent -d- from earlier ellen, from Old English ellæn, ellærn "elderberry tree," origin unknown, perhaps related to alder, which at any rate might be the source of the -d-. Common Germanic, cognates: Old Saxon elora, Middle Low German elre, Old High German elira, German Eller, Erle. Related: Elderberry.
elder (n.1) Look up elder at Dictionary.com
"elderly person, senior citizen," c. 1200, from Old English eldra "older person, parent; ancestor; chief, prince" (used in biblical translation for Greek presbyter); see elder (adj.). Compare German Eltern, Danish forældre, Swedish föräldrar "parents." The Old English for "grandfather" was ealdfæder.
elderly (adj.) Look up elderly at Dictionary.com
"bordering on old age, somewhat old," 1610s, from elder + -ly (1). Now, generally, "old." Old English ealdorlic meant "chief, princely, excellent, authentic." Old English also had related eldernliche "of old time," literally "forefatherly."
eldest (adj.) Look up eldest at Dictionary.com
Old English (Mercian) eldrost "most advanced in age, that was born first," superlative of eald, ald "old" (see old). Superseded by oldest since 16c. Compare elder (adj.).
eldorado (n.) Look up eldorado at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Spanish El Dorado "the golden one," name given 16c. to the country or city believed to lie in the heart of the Amazon jungle, from past participle of dorar "to gild," from Latin deaurare, from de-, here probably intensive, + aurare "to gild," from aurum (see aureate). The story originated with the early Spanish explorers, and the place was sought for down to the 18th century.
Eldred Look up Eldred at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Old English Ealdred, literally "great in counsel," from eald "old; great" (see old) + ræd "advice, counsel" (see read (v.)).
eldritch (adj.) Look up eldritch at Dictionary.com
"hideous, ghastly, weird," c. 1500, of uncertain origin; apparently somehow from elf (compare Scottish variant elphrish), an explanation OED finds "suitable;" Watkins connects its elements with Old English el- "else, otherwise" and rice "realm."
Eleanor Look up Eleanor at Dictionary.com
also Elinor, from Provençal Ailenor, a variant of Leonore, introduced in England by Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), wife of Henry II. The Old French form of the name was Elienor.
elect (v.) Look up elect at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to choose for an office, position, or duty," from Latin electus, past participle of eligere "to pick out, choose" (see election). Related: Elected; electing.
elect (adj.) Look up elect at Dictionary.com
early 15c., of action, "voluntary;" of persons, "taken in preference to others," especially "chosen by God for some special purpose," from Latin electus, past participle of eligere "to pick out, choose" (see election). The noun meaning "those chosen by God" is from early 15c.
electable (adj.) Look up electable at Dictionary.com
1758, "qualified for election;" see elect (v.) + -able. Meaning "capable of getting enough support to win an election" is by 1962. Related: Electability.
election (n.) Look up election at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "act of choosing someone to occupy a position, elevation to office" (whether by one person or a body of electors); also "the holding of a vote by a body of electors; the time and place of such a vote," from Anglo-French eleccioun, Old French elecion "choice, election, selection" (12c.), from Latin electionem (nominative electio), noun of action from past participle stem of eligere "pick out, select," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + -ligere, comb. form of legere "to choose, read" (see lecture (n.)). Theological sense "God's choice of someone" for eternal life is from late 14c. Meaning "act of choosing, choice" is from c. 1400.
electioneer (v.) Look up electioneer at Dictionary.com
1760 (implied in verbal noun electioneering), from election, probably on model of auctioneer, as the verb engineer was not yet in use.
elective (adj.) Look up elective at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "voluntary," from Late Latin electivus, from elect-, past participle stem of eligere "to pick out, choose" (see election). In U.S., in reference to school subjects studied at the student's choice, first recorded 1847. As a noun, from 1701.
elector (n.) Look up elector at Dictionary.com
"one who elects or has the right of choice," mid-15c., from Latin elector "chooser, selecter," agent noun from past participle stem of eligere "to pick out, choose" (see election).
electoral (adj.) Look up electoral at Dictionary.com
1670s, "pertaining to electors," in reference to Germany, from elector + -al (1). In general sense from 1790. Related: Electorally. The U.S. electoral college so called from 1808 (the term was used earlier in reference to Germany).
electorate (n.) Look up electorate at Dictionary.com
1670s, "condition of being an elector," in reference to Germany, from elector + -ate (1). Meaning "whole body of voters" is from 1879.
Electra Look up Electra at Dictionary.com
also called Laodice, a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, the accomplice of her brother Orestes in the murder of their mother, from Greek Elektra, literally "shining, bright," related to elektor "the beaming sun" and perhaps to elektron "amber." Especially in psychological Electra complex (1913, Jung) in reference to a daughter who feels attraction toward her father and hostility to her mother. Also the name of a daughter of Atlas, and as such a name of one of the Pleiades.
electric (adj.) Look up electric at Dictionary.com
1640s, first used in English by physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), apparently coined as Modern Latin electricus (literally "resembling amber") by English physicist William Gilbert (1540-1603) in treatise "De Magnete" (1600), from Latin electrum "amber," from Greek elektron "amber" (Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus), also "pale gold" (a compound of 1 part silver to 4 of gold); which is of unknown origin.
Vim illam electricam nobis placet appellare [Gilbert]
Originally the word described substances which, like amber, attract other substances when rubbed. Meaning "charged with electricity" is from 1670s; the physical force so called because it first was generated by rubbing amber. In many modern instances, the word is short for electrical. Figurative sense is attested by 1793. Electric light is from 1767. Electric toothbrush first recorded 1936; electric blanket in 1930. Electric typewriter is from 1958. Electric guitar is from 1938; electric organ coined as the name of a hypothetical future instrument in 1885.
electrical (adj.) Look up electrical at Dictionary.com
1630s, "giving off electricity when rubbed," from electric + -al (1). Meaning "relating to electricity, run by electricity" is from 1746. Related: Electrically.
electrician (n.) Look up electrician at Dictionary.com
1751, "scientist concerned with electricity;" 1869 as "technician concerned with electrical systems and appliances;" see electric + -ian.
electricity (n.) Look up electricity at Dictionary.com
1640s (Browne, from Gilbert's Modern Latin), from electric (q.v.) + -ity. Originally in reference to friction.
Electricity seems destined to play a most important part in the arts and industries. The question of its economical application to some purposes is still unsettled, but experiment has already proved that it will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more light than a horse. [Ambrose Bierce, "The Cynic's Word Book," 1906]