flivver (n.) Look up flivver at Dictionary.com
"cheap car," especially "Model-T Ford," 1910, of unknown origin.
float (v.) Look up float at Dictionary.com
late Old English flotian "to rest on the surface of water" (intransitive; class II strong verb; past tense fleat, past participle floten), from Proto-Germanic *flotan "to float" (cognates: Old Norse flota, Middle Dutch vloten, Old High German flozzan, German flössen), from *flot-, from PIE *pleud-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow" (see pluvial).

Meaning "drift about, hover passively" is from c.1300. Transitive sense of "to lift up, cause to float" (of water, etc.) is from c.1600; that of "set (something) afloat" is from 1778 (originally of financial operations). Of motion through air, from 1630s. Meaning "hover dimly before the eyes" is from 1775. Related: Floated; floating. A floating rib (by 1802) is so called because the anterior ends are not connected to the rest.
float (n.) Look up float at Dictionary.com
apparently an early Middle English merger of three related Old English nouns, flota "boat, fleet," flote "troop, flock," flot "body of water, sea;" all from the source of float (v.). The early senses were the now-mostly-obsolete ones of the Old English words: "state of floating" (early 12c.), "swimming" (mid-13c.); "a fleet of ships; a company or troop" (c.1300); "a stream, river" (early 14c.). From c.1300 as an attachment for buoyancy on a fishing line or net; early 14c. as "raft." Meaning "platform on wheels used for displays in parades, etc." is from 1888, probably from earlier sense of "flat-bottomed boat" (1550s). As a type of fountain drink, by 1915.
Float.--An ade upon the top of which is floated a layer of grape juice, ginger ale, or in some cases a disher of fruit sherbet or ice cream. In the latter case it would be known as a "sherbet float" or an "ice-cream float." ["The Dispenser's Formulary: Or, Soda Water Guide," New York, 1915]



Few soda water dispensers know what is meant by a "Float Ice Cream Soda." This is not strange since the term is a coined one. By a "float ice cream soda" is meant a soda with the ice cream floating on top, thus making a most inviting appearance and impressing the customer that you are liberal with your ice cream, when you are not really giving any more than the fellow that mixes his ice cream "out of sight." ["The Spatula," Boston, July, 1908]
floatation (n.) Look up floatation at Dictionary.com
1806, the older, more etymological, but less popular spelling of flotation.
floater (n.) Look up floater at Dictionary.com
"one who or that which floats," 1717, agent noun from float (v.). From 1847 in political slang for an independent voter (but with suggestion of purchasability); 1859 as "one who frequently changes place of residence or employment." Meaning "dead body found in water" is 1890, U.S. slang.
floc (n.) Look up floc at Dictionary.com
1921, "mass of fine particles," diminutive of flocculus (see flocculate).
floccinaucinihilipilification (n.) Look up floccinaucinihilipilification at Dictionary.com
"action or habit of estimating as worthless," in popular smarty-pants use from c.1963; attested 1741 (in a letter by William Shenstone, published 1769), a combination of four Latin words (flocci, nauci, nihili, pilifi) all signifying "at a small price" or "for nothing," which appeared together in a rule of the well-known Eton Latin Grammar.
[F]or whatever the world might esteem in poor Somervile, I really find, upon critical enquiry, that I loved him for nothing so much as his flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication of money. [Shenstone, letter, 1741]
The kind of jocular formation that was possible among educated men in Britain in those days. Just so, as in praesenti, the opening words of mnemonic lines on conjugation in Lilley's 16c. Latin grammar, could stand alone as late as 19c. and be understood to mean "rudiments of Latin."
flocculate (v.) Look up flocculate at Dictionary.com
"gather in flocculent masses," 1845 (flocculated), from flocculus (1799), from Modern Latin, a diminutive of Latin floccus "flock of wool" (see flock (n.2)) + -ate (2). Related: Flocculating.
flocculation (n.) Look up flocculation at Dictionary.com
"the union of small particles into granular aggregates," 1875, from flocculate + -ion.
flocculent (adj.) Look up flocculent at Dictionary.com
"resembling wool, fleecy," 1800, from Latin floccus "lock of hair, flock of wool" (see flock (n.2)) + -ulent. Related: Flocculence.
flock (n.1) Look up flock at Dictionary.com
Old English flocc "a group of persons, company, troop," related to Old Norse flokkr "crowd, troop, band," Middle Low German vlocke "crowd, flock (of sheep);" of unknown origin, not found in other Germanic languages; perhaps related to folc "people," but the metathesis would have been unusual for Old English.

In Old English of humans only; extended c.1200 to "a number of animals of one kind moving or feeding together;" of domestic animals c.1300. The special reference to birds is recent (19c.). Transferred to bodies of Christians, in relation to Christ or their pastor, from mid-14c.
flock (n.2) Look up flock at Dictionary.com
"tuft of wool," mid-13c., also found in continental Germanic and Scandinavian, all probably from Old French floc, from Latin floccus "flock of wool, lock of hair."
flock (v.) Look up flock at Dictionary.com
c.1300 "gather, congregate" (intransitive), from flock (n.1). Related: Flocked; flocking.
floe (n.) Look up floe at Dictionary.com
1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, from PRoto-Germanic *floho-, from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat," extended form of root *pele- (2) "flat, to spread" (see plane (n.1)). Related to first element in flagstone. Earlier explorers used flake. Floe-rat was a seal-hunter's name for the ringed seal (1880).
flog (v.) Look up flog at Dictionary.com
1670s, slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps a schoolboy shortening of Latin flagellare "flagellate" (see flagellum); Century Dictionary suggests perhaps from a Low German word "of homely use, of which the early traces have disappeared." OED finds it presumably onomatopoeic. Figurative use from 1800. Related: Flogged; flogging.
flogging (n.) Look up flogging at Dictionary.com
1793, verbal noun from flog (v.). Earlier in the same sense was floggation (1680s).
flood (n.) Look up flood at Dictionary.com
Old English flōd "a flowing of water, tide, an overflowing of land by water, a deluge, Noah's Flood; mass of water, river, sea, wave," from Proto-Germanic *floduz "flowing water, deluge" (cognates: Old Frisian flod, Old Norse floð, Middle Dutch vloet, Dutch vloed, German Flut, Gothic flodus), from the source of Old English flowan, from PIE verbal stem *pleu- "flow, float" (see pluvial). In early modern English often floud. Figurative use, "a great quantity, a sudden abundance," by mid-14c.
flood (v.) Look up flood at Dictionary.com
1660s, "to overflow" (transitive), from flood (n.). Intransitive sense "to rise in a flood" is from 1755. Related: Flooded; flooding.
flood-gate (n.) Look up flood-gate at Dictionary.com
early 13c. in the figurative sense "opportunity for a great venting" (especially with reference to tears or rain); literal sense is mid-15c. (gate designed to let water in or keep it out as desired, especially the lower gate of a lock); from flood (n.) + gate (n.).
flood-plain (n.) Look up flood-plain at Dictionary.com
1873, from flood (n.) + plain (n.).
flood-tide (n.) Look up flood-tide at Dictionary.com
1719, from flood (n.) + tide (n.).
floodlight (n.) Look up floodlight at Dictionary.com
also flood-light, 1924, from flood (n.) + light (n.). Related: Floodlit.
floor (v.) Look up floor at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to furnish with a floor," from floor (n.). Sense of "puzzle, confound" is from 1830, a figurative use, from earlier sense of "knock down to the floor" (1640s). In mid-19c. English university slang, it meant "do thoroughly and successfully" (1852). Related: Floored; flooring.
floor (n.) Look up floor at Dictionary.com
Old English flor "floor, pavement, ground, bottom (of a lake, etc.)," from Proto-Germanic *floruz "floor" (cognates: Middle Dutch and Dutch vloer, Old Norse flor "floor," Middle High German vluor "floor, flooring," German Flur "field, meadow"), from PIE *plaros "flat surface" (source also of Welsh llawr "ground"), enlarged from *pele- (2) "flat, broad; to spread out" (see plane (n.1)).

Meaning "level of a house" is from 1580s. The figurative sense in legislative assemblies (1774) is in reference to the "floor" where members sit and from which they speak (as opposed to the platform). Spanish suelo "floor" is from Latin solum "bottom, ground, soil;" German Boden is cognate with English bottom (n.). Floor-plan is attested from 1794; floor-board from 1787, floor-lamp from 1886, floor-length (adj.) of dresses is from 1910. The retail store's floor-walker is attested from 1876.
flooring (n.) Look up flooring at Dictionary.com
"materials of a floor," 1620s, verbal noun from floor (v.).
floozie (n.) Look up floozie at Dictionary.com
also floozy, "woman of disreputable character," 1902, perhaps a variation of flossy "fancy, frilly" (1890s slang), with the notion of "fluffiness." The c.1700 "Dictionary of the Canting Crew" defines Florence as a slang word for "a Wench that is touz'd and ruffled."
flop (v.) Look up flop at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "to flap," probably a variant of flap with a duller, heavier sound. Sense of "fall or drop heavily" is 1836; that of "collapse, fail" is 1919; though the figurative noun sense of "a failure" is recorded from 1893. Related: Flopped; flopping.
flop (n.) Look up flop at Dictionary.com
1823, "act of flopping; any action that produces the sound 'flop;' the sound itself," from flop (v.). Figurative sense of "a failure; that which is a failure" is by 1893, from the notion of a sudden break-down or collapse. Extended form flopperoo attested from 1936.
flophouse (n.) Look up flophouse at Dictionary.com
"cheap hotel," hobo slang, 1904, probably related to slang flop (v.) "lie down for sleep" (1907); see flop (v.) + house (n.). The explanation below is not found in other early references.
In one of [Cincinnati's] slum districts stands the Silver Moon, a "flop house" (i.e., a house where the occupants are "flopped" out of their hanging bunks by letting down the ropes) .... ["McClure's" magazine, November 1904]
floppy (adj.) Look up floppy at Dictionary.com
1858, "inclined to flop" [OED], from flop + -y (2). Floppy disc attested from 1972 (short form floppy by 1974).
flora (n.) Look up flora at Dictionary.com
c.1500, "Roman goddess of flowers;" 1777, "the plant life of a region or epoch," from Latin Flora, "goddess of flowers," from flos (accusative florem, genitive floris) "flower," from *flo-s-, Italic suffixed form of PIE *bhle- "to blossom, flourish" (cognates: Middle Irish blath, Welsh blawd "blossom, flower," Old English blowan "to flower, bloom"), extended form of *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom," which is possibly identical with or derived from *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).

Her festival, the Floralia, was April 28 to May 2 and featured "comic theatrical representations" and "excessive drinking" [Century Dictionary]. The French Revolutionary calendar had a month Floréal (April 20-May 20). Used as the title of systematically descriptive plant catalogues since 1640s, but popularized by Linnaeus in his landmark 1745 study of Swedish plants, "Flora Suecica."
floral (adj.) Look up floral at Dictionary.com
1640s, "pertaining to Flora," from French floral (16c.), from Latin floralis "pertaining to Flora; of flowers" (see flora). Meaning "pertaining to flowers" in English is from 1753. Related: Florally.
Florence Look up Florence at Dictionary.com
chief city of Tuscany, also a fem. proper name, both from Latin Florentia, fem. of Florentius, literally "blooming," from florens (genitive florentis), present participle of florere "to flower" (see flourish). The city name is from Roman Colonia Florentia, "flowering colony," either literal or figurative, and became Old Italian Fiorenze, modern Italian Firenze.
Florentine (adj.) Look up Florentine at Dictionary.com
1540s, literally "of or pertaining to the Italian city of Florence," from Latin Florentinus, from Florentia, the Roman name of the city (see Florence). Earliest reference in English is to a type of textile fabric. As a noun from 1590s.
florescence (n.) Look up florescence at Dictionary.com
"process of flowering," 1764, from Modern Latin florescentia, from Latin florescentem (nominative florescens) "blooming," present participle of florescere "to begin to bloom," inceptive of florere "to blossom" (see flourish (v.)).
florescent (adj.) Look up florescent at Dictionary.com
"bursting into bloom," 1784, from Latin florescentem, present participle of florescere "to begin to bloom" (see florescence).
floret (n.) Look up floret at Dictionary.com
c.1400, flourette, "a little flower, a bud," from Old French florete "little flower," also the name of a cheap silk material, diminutive of flor "flower, blossom" (see flower (n.)). Botany sense "small flower in a cluster" is from 1670s.
floricide (n.) Look up floricide at Dictionary.com
"one who destroys flowers," 1842, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (see flora) + -cide.
[S]urely there is cruelty and gross selfishness in cutting down for our own fleeting gratification that which would have ministered to the enjoyments of all for weeks or months. Frankly do I confess that I dislike a wanton floricide. He has robbed the world of a pleasure; he has blotted out a word from God's earth-written poetry. ["New Monthly Magazine" 1847]
floriculture (n.) Look up floriculture at Dictionary.com
1822, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (see flora) + -culture on analogy of agriculture. Related: Floricultural; floriculturist.
florid (adj.) Look up florid at Dictionary.com
1640s, "strikingly beautiful," from French floride "flourishing," from Latin floridus "flowery, in bloom," from flos "flower" (see flora). Sense of "ruddy" is first recorded 1640s. Meaning "highly decorated, profusely adorned (as with flowers)" is from 1650s. Related: Floridly.
Florida Look up Florida at Dictionary.com
U.S. state, formerly a Spanish colony, probably from Spanish Pascua florida, literally "flowering Easter," a Spanish name for Palm Sunday, and so named because the peninsula was discovered on that day (March 20, 1513) by the expedition of Spanish explorer Ponce de León (1474-1521). From Latin floridus "flowery, in bloom" (see florid). Related: Floridian (1580s as a noun, in reference to the natives; 1819 as an adjective).
florin (n.) Look up florin at Dictionary.com
type of coin, c.1300, from Old French florin, from Italian fiorino, from fiore "flower," from Latin florem "flower" (see flora). The 13c. gold Florentine coin was stamped on the obverse with the image of a lily, the symbol of the city. As the name of an English gold coin, from late 15c.
florist (n.) Look up florist at Dictionary.com
"one who cultivates flowers," especially "one who raises flowers for sale," 1620s, formed on analogy of French fleuriste, from Latin floris, genitive of flos "flower" (see flora) + -ist. Related: Floristry.
floruit Look up floruit at Dictionary.com
"period during which a historical person's life work was done," 1843, Latin, literally "he flourished," third person singular perfect indicative of florere "to flourish, to bloom" (see flourish (v.)). Usually in abbreviation fl. The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb, floreat, sometimes is attached to proper names "to indicate the hope that the named person, institution, etc., may prosper" [OED].
florulent (adj.) Look up florulent at Dictionary.com
"flowery," 1590s, from Latin florentulus, from flor-, stem of flos "flower" (see flower (n.)).
floss (n.) Look up floss at Dictionary.com
"rough silk," 1759, of uncertain origin, perhaps from French floche "tuft of wool" (16c.), from Old French floc "tuft, lock," from Latin floccus "tuft of wool" (see flock (n.2)). Or from a dialectal survival of an unrecorded Old English or Old Norse word from the root of fleece (n.). Compare the surname Flossmonger, attested 1314, which might represent a direct borrowing from Scandinavian or Low German. In "The Mill on the Floss" the word is the proper name of a fictitious river in the English Midlands. Meaning "fine silk thread" is from 1871, short for floss silk (1759). Dental floss is from 1872; the verb floss in reference to use of it is from 1909. Related: Flossed; flossing.
flossy (adj.) Look up flossy at Dictionary.com
"resembling floss," 1817, from floss (n.) + -y (2).
flotation (n.) Look up flotation at Dictionary.com
1765, from float (v.) + -ation. Spelling influenced by French flotaison (compare floatation).
flotilla (n.) Look up flotilla at Dictionary.com
"a small fleet," 1711, from Spanish flotilla, diminutive of flota "a fleet," from flotar "to float," which is said to be from Old French floter "to float, set afloat," which is from a word in Frankish or some other Germanic language corresponding to Old English flood (n.). Compare Old Norse floti "raft; fleet." Sometimes also "a fleet of small ships."
flotsam (n.) Look up flotsam at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Anglo-French floteson, from Old French flotaison "a floating" (Modern French flottaison), from floter "to float, set afloat" (of Germanic origin; see flotilla) + -aison, from Latin -ation(em). Spelled flotsen in English till mid-19c. when it altered, perhaps under influence of many English words in -some. Folk-etymologized in dialect as floatsome.

In British law, flotsam are goods found floating on the sea as a consequence of a shipwreck or action of wind or waves; jetsam are things cast out of a ship in danger of being wrecked, and afterward washed ashore, or things cast ashore by the sailors. Whatever sinks is lagan. Flotsam and jetsam figuratively for "odds and ends" is attested by 1861.