- feticide (n.)
- also foeticide, 1844; see fetus + -cide.
- fetid (adj.)
- early 15c., from Latin fetidus (commonly, but incorrectly, foetidus) "stinking," from fetere "have a bad smell, stink." Perhaps connected with fimus "dung," or with fumus "smoke."
- fetish (n.)
- 1610s, fatisso, from Portuguese feitiço "charm, sorcery," from Latin facticius "made by art," from facere "to make" (see factitious).
Latin facticius in Spanish has become hechizo "magic, witchcraft, sorcery." Probably introduced by Portuguese sailors and traders as a name for charms and talismans worshipped by the inhabitants of the Guinea coast of Africa. Popularized in anthropology by C. de Brosses' "Le Culte des Dieux Fétiches" (1760), which influenced the word's spelling in English (French fétiche, also from the Portuguese word). Figurative sense of "something irrationally revered" is American English, 1837.
Any material image of a religious idea is an idol; a material object in which force is supposed to be concentrated is a Fetish; a material object, or a class of material objects, plants, or animals, which is regarded by man with superstitious respect, and between whom and man there is supposed to exist an invisible but effective force, is a Totem. [J. Fitzgerald Lee, "The Greater Exodus," London, 1903]
For sexual sense, see fetishism.
- fetishism (n.)
- 1801, "worship of fetishes;" in the purely psycho-sexual sense first recorded 1897 in writings of Henry Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), from fetish + -ism.
In certain perversions of the sexual instinct, the person, part of the body, or particular object belonging to the person by whom the impulse is excited, is called the fetish of the patient. [E. Morselli in "Baldwin Dictionary of Philosophy," 1901]
Related: Fetishist (1845; psycho-sexual sense from 1897).
- fetlock (n.)
- early 14c., fetlak, from a Germanic source (cognates: Dutch vetlock, Middle High German fizlach, German Fiszloch), perhaps related to the root of German fessel "pastern."
The Middle English diminutive suffix -ok (from Old English -oc) was misread and the word taken in folk etymology as being a compound of feet and lock (of hair).
- fetor (n.)
- "offensive smell," mid-15c., from Latin fetor, foetor, from fetere (see fetid).
- fetta (n.)
- 1956, from Modern Greek (tyri) pheta, from tyri "cheese" + pheta, from Italian fetta "a slice," from Latin offa "a morsel, piece."
- fetter (n.)
- Old English fetor "chain or shackle for the feet," from Proto-Germanic *fetero (cognates: Old Saxon feteros (plural), Middle Dutch veter "fetter," in modern Dutch "lace, string," Old High German fezzera, Old Norse fiöturr, Swedish fjätter), from PIE root *ped- "foot" (see foot (n.)). The generalized sense of "anything that shackles" had evolved in Old English. Related Fetters.
- fetter (v.)
- c.1300, from Old English gefetrian (see fetter (n.)). Related: Fettered; fettering.
- fettle (n.)
- "condition, state, trim," c.1750, Lancashire dialect, from fettle (v.) "to make ready, arrange" (14c.), perhaps from Old English fetel "a girdle, belt," from Proto-Germanic *fatilaz (cognates: German fessel "fetter, chain," Old Norse fetill "strap, brace"), from PIE *ped- (2) "container" (see vat).
- fettuccine (n.)
- 1922, from Italian fettuccine, plural of fettuccina, literally "little ribbon," diminutive of fetta "slice, ribbon" (see fetta).
- fettuccini (n.)
- see fettuccine.
- fetus (n.)
- late 14c., "the young while in the womb or egg," from Latin fetus (often, incorrectly, foetus) "the bearing, bringing forth, or hatching of young," from Latin base *fe- "to generate, bear," also "to suck, suckle" (see fecund).
In Latin, fetus sometimes was transferred figuratively to the newborn creature itself, or used in a sense of "offspring, brood" (as in Horace's "Germania quos horrida parturit Fetus"), but this was not the basic meaning. Also used of plants, in the sense of "fruit, produce, shoot." The spelling foetus is sometimes attempted as a learned Latinism, but it is not historic.
- feu de joie (n.)
- public bonfire, French, literally "fire of joy."
- feud (n.)
- c.1300, fede "enmity, hatred, hostility," northern English and Scottish; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old French fede, which is from Germanic (compare Old High German fehida "contention, quarrel, feud"), from Proto-Germanic *faihitho noun of state from adjective *faiho- (cognates: Old English fæhð "enmity," fah "hostile;" German Fehde "feud;" Old Frisian feithe "enmity"), from PIE root *peig- (2), also *peik- "evil-minded, hostile" (see foe). Sense of "vendetta" is early 15c. Alteration of spelling in 16c. is unexplained.
- feud (v.)
- 1670s, from feud (n.). Related: Feuded; feuding.
- feudal (adj.)
- 1610s, from Medieval Latin feudalis, from feudum "feudal estate," of Germanic origin (cognates: Gothic faihu "property," Old High German fihu "cattle;" see fee). Related to Middle English feodary "one who holds lands of an overlord in exchange for service" (late 14c.). Not related to feud.
- feudalism (n.)
- a coinage of historians, first attested 1839; see feudal. Feudal system attested from 1776.
- feuilleton (n.)
- part of a French newspaper devoted to light literature and criticism (usually at the bottom of a page and separated by a rule), 1845, from French feuilleton (18c.), literally "a leaflet (added to a newspaper)," diminutive of feuille "leaf," from Latin folium (see folio).
Esp. applied in F. to the short story or serial with which newspapers filled up after the fall of Napoleon left them short of war news. This was the beginning of Dumas' and Eugène Sue's long novels. [Weekley]
- fever (n.)
- late Old English fefor, fefer "fever," from Latin febris "fever," related to fovere "to warm, heat," probably from PIE root *dhegh- "burn" (cognates: Gothic dags, Old English dæg "day," originally "the heat"); but some suggest a reduplication of a root represented by Sanskrit *bhur- "to be restless."
The Latin word was adopted into most Germanic languages (German Fieber, Swedish feber, Danish feber), but not in Dutch. English spelling influenced by Old French fievre. Replaced Old English hriðing. Extended sense of "intense nervous excitement" is from 1580s.
- feverfew (n.)
- Old English feferfuge, from Late Latin febrifugia, from Latin febris "fever" (see fever) + fugare "put to flight;" so called for its medical usage. The modern English word probably is from an Anglo-French source.
- feverish (adj.)
- late 14c., "causing fever;" 1630s, "excited;" 1640s, "having symptoms of fever," from fever + -ish. Earlier in same sense was feverous (late 14c.). Related: Feverishly; feverishness.
- feverously (adv.)
- late 14c., from fever + -ous. Related: Feverously.
- few (adj.)
- Old English feawe (plural; contracted to fea) "few, seldom, even a little," from Proto-Germanic *faw-, from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little" (cognates: Latin paucus "few, little," paullus "little," parvus "little, small," pauper "poor;" Greek pauros "few, little," pais (genitive paidos) "child;" Latin puer "child, boy," pullus "young animal;" Oscan puklu "child;" Sanskrit potah "a young animal," putrah "son;" Old English fola "young horse;" Old Norse fylja "young female horse;" Old Church Slavonic puta "bird;" Lithuanian putytis "young animal, young bird"). Always plural in Old English.
Phrase few and far between attested from 1660s. Unusual ironic use in quite a few "many" (1883), earlier a good few (1828). The noun is late 12c., fewe, from the adjective.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. [Winston Churchill, 1940]
- fey (adj.)
- "of excitement that presages death," from Old English fæge "doomed to die, fated, destines," also "timid, feeble;" and/or from Old Norse feigr, both from Proto-Germanic *faigjo- (cognates: Old Saxon fegi, Old Frisian fai, Middle Dutch vege, Middle High German veige "doomed," also "timid," German feige "cowardly"), from PIE *peig- (2) "evil-minded, hostile" (see foe). Preserved in Scottish. Sense of "displaying unearthly qualities" and "disordered in the mind (like one about to die)" led to modern ironic sense of "affected."
- fez (n.)
- 1802, from French fez, from Turkish fes, probably ultimately from Fez, the city in Morocco, where this type of tasseled cap was principally made.
- fiance (n.)
- "man to whom one is betrothed," 1864, from French fiancé, past participle of fiancer "to betroth" (see fiancee).
- fiancee (n.)
- "woman to whom one is betrothed," 1853, from French fianceé, fem. of fiancé, past participle of fiancer "to betroth," from fiance "a promise, trust," from fier "to trust," from Vulgar Latin *fidare (see affiance). Has all but expelled native betrothed. The verb fiance, now obsolete, was used c.1450-1600 for "to engage to be married."
- fianchetto (n.)
- chess move, Italian, diminutive of fianco "flank" (attack), from Old French flanc "hip, side" (see flank (n.)).
- fiasco (n.)
- 1855, theater slang for "a failure," by 1862 acquired the general sense of any dismal flop, on or off the stage. Via French phrase fiare fiasco "turn out a failure" (19c.), from Italian far fiasco "suffer a complete breakdown in performance," literally "make a bottle," from fiasco "bottle," from Late Latin flasco, flasconem (see flask).
The reason for all this is utterly obscure today, but "the usual range of fanciful theories has been advanced" [Ayto]. Weekley finds it utterly mysterious and compares French ramasser un pelle "to come a cropper (in bicycling), literally to pick up a shovel." OED makes nebulous reference to "alleged incidents in Italian theatrical history." Klein suggests Venetian glass-crafters tossing aside imperfect pieces to be made later into common flasks. But according to an Italian dictionary, fare il fiasco used to mean "to play a game so that the one that loses will pay the fiasco," in other words, he will buy the next bottle (of wine). That plausibly connects the word with the notion of "a costly mistake."
- fiat (n.)
- "authoritative sanction," 1630s, from Latin fiat "let it be done" (also used in the opening of Medieval Latin proclamations and commands), third person singular present subjunctive of fieri, used as passive of facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Also sometimes a reference to fiat lux "let there be light" in the Book of Genesis.
- fib (n.)
- 1610s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from fibble-fable "nonsense" (1580s), a reduplication of fable.
- fib (v.)
- 1680s, from fib (n.). Related: Fibbed; fibbing.
- fibber (n.)
- 1723, agent noun from fib (v.).
- fiber (n.)
- 1530s, from French fibre (14c.), from Latin fibra "a fiber, filament," of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Latin filum "thread," or from root of findere "to split." Fiberboard is from 1897; Fiberglas is 1937, U.S. registered trademark name; and fiber optics is from 1956.
- fibre (n.)
- chiefly British English spelling of fiber (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.
- fibril (n.)
- 1680s, back-formation from Modern Latin fibrilla, diminutive of Latin fibra (see fiber).
- fibrillate (v.)
- c.1840, from fibrilla (see fibril) + -ate (2). Related: Fibrillated; fibrillating.
- fibrillation (n.)
- c.1840, noun of action from fibrillate.
- fibrin (n.)
- blood-clotting substance, 1800, from Latin fibra (see fiber) + chemical suffix -in (2). So called because it is deposited as a network of fibers that cause the blood to clot.
- fibromyalgia (n.)
- 1981, said to have been coined by U.S. rheumatologist Mohammed Yunus, from Latin fibra (see fiber) + Greek mys (genitive myos) "muscle" (see muscle) + -algia. The earlier name for the condition was fibrositis.
- fibrosis (n.)
- 1873, a Modern Latin hybrid, from Latin fibra (see fiber) + Greek suffix -osis.
- fibrous (adj.)
- 1620s, from Modern Latin fibrosus, from Latin fibra (see fiber).
- fibula (n.)
- 1670s, "clasp, buckle, brooch;" 1706 as "smaller bone in the lower leg," from Latin fibula "clasp, brooch," related to figere "to fasten, fix" (see fix (v.)).
Used in reference to the outer leg bone as a loan-translation of Greek perone "small bone in the lower leg," originally "clasp, brooch; anything pointed for piercing or pinning;" the bone was so called because it resembles a clasp like a modern safety pin.
- fiche (n.)
- 1949, "slip of paper, form," from French fiche "card, index card, slip, form," from Old French fichier "to attach, stick into, pin on," from Vulgar Latin *figicare, from Latin figere "to fix, fasten" (see fix (v.)). Sense of "card, strip of film" is a shortening of microfiche (1950).
- fichu (n.)
- 1803, from French fichu (18c. in this sense), apparently a noun use of the adjective fichu "carelessly thrown on," from Latin figere "to fasten" (see fix (v.)). "[M]od. substitution for a coarser word" [Weekley].
- fickle (adj.)
- c.1200, probably from Old English ficol "deceitful, cunning, tricky," related to befician "deceive," and to facen "deceit, treachery." Common Germanic (compare Old Saxon fekan "deceit," Old High German feihhan "deceit, fraud, treachery"), from PIE *peig- (2) "evil-minded, treacherous, hostile" (see foe). Sense of "changeable" is first recorded late 13c. Related: Fickleness.
- fiction (n.)
- late 14c., "something invented," from Old French ficcion (13c.) "dissimulation, ruse; invention," and directly from Latin fictionem (nominative fictio) "a fashioning or feigning," noun of action from past participle stem of fingere "to shape, form, devise, feign," originally "to knead, form out of clay," from PIE *dheigh- "to build, form, knead" (source also of Old English dag "dough;" see dough). As a branch of literature, 1590s.
- fictional (adj.)
- "pertaining to fiction," 1843, from fiction + -al (1). Earlier fictitious also was used in this sense (1773).
- fictionalization (n.)
- 1946, noun of action from fictionalize.