- fortuity (n.)
- 1747, from fortuitous + -ity.
- fortunate (adj.)
- late 14c., from Latin fortunatus "prospered, prosperous; lucky, happy," past participle of fortunare "to make prosperous," from fortuna (see fortune). Fortunate Islands "mythical abode of the blessed dead, in the Western Ocean," early 15c., translates Latin Fortunatae Insulae.
- fortunately (adv.)
- 1540s, from fortunate + -ly (2).
- fortune (n.)
- c.1300, "chance, luck as a force in human affairs," from Old French fortune "lot, good fortune, misfortune" (12c.), from Latin fortuna "chance, fate, good luck," from fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," possibly from PIE *bhrtu- and related to base *bher- (1) "to carry" (see infer).
Often personified as a goddess; her wheel betokens vicissitude. Sense of "owned wealth" first found in Spenser; probably it evolved from senses of "one's condition or standing in life," hence "position as determined by wealth," then "wealth" itself. Soldier of fortune first attested 1660s. Fortune 500 "most profitable American companies" is 1955, from the list published annually in "Fortune" magazine.
- fortune cookie (n.)
- by 1955, said to have been invented in 1918 by David Jung, Chinese immigrant to America who established Hong Kong Noodle Co., who handed out cookies that contained uplifting messages as a promotional gimmick.
- fortuneteller (n.)
- also fortune-teller, 1580s, from fortune + teller. Verbal phrase tellen fortune is from early 15c.
- forty (n.)
- Old English feowertig, from feower "four" (see four) + tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Compare Old Saxon fiwartig, Old Frisian fiuwertich, Dutch veertig, Old High German fiorzug, German vierzig, Old Norse fjorir tigir, Gothic fidwor tigjus.
[T]he number 40 must have been used very frequently by Mesha's scribe as a round number. It is probably often used in that way in the Bible where it is remarkably frequent, esp. in reference to periods of days or years. ... How it came to be so used is not quite certain, but it may have originated, partly at any rate, in the idea that 40 years constituted a generation or the period at the end of which a man attains maturity, an idea common, it would seem, to the Greeks, the Israelites, and the Arabs. ["The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," James Orr, ed., Chicago, 1915]
Forty winks "short sleep" is attested from 1821, In early use associated with, and perhaps coined by, eccentric English lifestyle reformer William Kitchiner M.D. (1775-1827).
- forum (n.)
- mid-15c., "place of assembly in ancient Rome," from Latin forum "marketplace, open space, public place," apparently akin to foris, foras "out of doors, outside," from PIE root *dhwer- (see door). Sense of "assembly, place for public discussion" first recorded 1680s.
- forward (adv.)
- Old English forewearde "toward the front;" see fore + -ward. Adjectival sense of "early" is from 1520s; that of "presumptuous" is attested from 1560s.
- forward (v.)
- 1590s, "to help push forward," from forward (adv.). Meaning "to send (a letter, etc.) on to another destination" is from 1757. Related: Forwarded; forwarding.
- forward (n.)
- Old English, "the fore or front part" of something; see forward (adv.). The position in football so called since 1879.
- forwardness (n.)
- 1520s, from forward (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "presumptuousness" is from c.1600.
- forwards (adv.)
- Middle English, from forward + adverbial genitive -s. British English until mid-20c. preserved the distinction between forward and forwards, the latter expressing "a definite direction viewed in contrast with other directions." In American English, however, forward prevails in all senses since Webster (1832) damned forwards as "a corruption."
- Fosbury flop
- high-jumping technique, 1968, in reference to U.S. athlete Dick Fosbury (b.1947), who used it to win the 1968 Olympic gold medal.
- fosse (n.)
- early 14c. (late 13c. in place names), "ditch, trench," mid-15c., from Old French fosse "ditch, grave, dungeon" (12c.), from Latin fossa "ditch," in full fossa terra, literally "dug earth," from fem. past participle of fodere "to dig" (see fossil).
The Fosse-way (early 12c.), one of the four great Roman roads of Britain, probably was so called from the ditch on either side of it.
- fossil (n.)
- 1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging," from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig," from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce."
Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736; slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1835) preserves the earlier, broader sense.
- fossiliferous (adj.)
- by 1830, from fossil + -ferous "producing, containing," from ferre "to bear" (see infer).
- fossilize (v.)
- 1794, from fossil + -ize. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Fossilized; fossilizing.
- foster (v.)
- Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostrom, from root *foth-/*fod- (see food).
Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c.1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, etc. Related: Fostered; fostering.
- past tense and past participle of fight (v.). The past participle form foughten (Old English fohten) has been archaic since 18c. but occasionally appears in the phrase foughten field.
- foul (adj.)
- Old English ful "rotten, unclean, vile, corrupt, offensive to the senses," from Proto-Germanic *fulaz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Frisian ful, Middle Dutch voul, Dutch vuil, Old High German fül, German faul, Gothic füls), from root *fu-, corresponding to PIE *pu-, perhaps from the sound made in reaction to smelling something bad (compare Sanskrit puyati "rots, stinks," putih "foul, rotten;" Greek puon "discharge from a sore;" Latin pus "putrid matter," putere "to stink," putridus "rotten;" Lithuanian puviu "to rot").
Old English ful occasionally meant "ugly" (as contrasted with fæger (adj.), modern fair (adj.)), a sense frequently found in Middle English, and the cognate in Swedish is the usual word for "ugly." Of weather, first recorded late 14c. In the sporting sense of "irregular, unfair" it is first attested 1797, though foul play is recorded from mid-15c. Baseball sense of "out of play" attested by 1860. Foulmart was a Middle English word for "polecat" (from Old English mearð "marten").
- foul (v.)
- Old English fulian "to become foul, rot," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Related: Fouled; fouling.
- foul-mouthed (adj.)
- also foulmouthed, 1590s, apparently first in Shakespeare ["Henry IV," 1596].
- foully (adv.)
- Old English fullice; see foul (adj.) + -ly (2).
- foulness (n.)
- Old English fulness "foulness, filthy smell;" see foul (adj.) + -ness.
- found (v.1)
- "establish," late 13c., from Old French founder (12c., Modern French fonder), from Latin fundare "to lay the bottom or foundation of something," from fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Related: Founded; founding. Phrase founding fathers with reference to the creators of the American republic is attested from 1916.
- found (v.2)
- "cast metal," late 14c., "to mix, mingle," from Middle French fondre "pour out, melt, mix together," from Old French fondre, from Latin fundere "melt, cast, pour out," from PIE *gheud- (cognates: Gothic giutan, German gießen, Old English geotan "to pour"), from root *gheu- "to pour" (cognates: Greek khein "to pour," khoane "funnel," khymos "juice"). Meaning "to cast metal" is from 1560s.
- found (adj.)
- "discovered," late 14c., past participle adjective from find (v.). Expression and found in old advertisements for job openings, travelling berths, etc., attached to the wages or charges, indicates that meals are provided, from the expression to find one's self "to provide for one's self." "When a laborer engages to provide himself with victuals, he is said to find himself, or to receive day wages" [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. Hence, so much and found for "wages + meals provided."
- foundation (n.)
- late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion (14c.) or directly from Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past participle stem of fundare (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol. Meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; meaning "funds endowed" is early 15c. Sense of "solid base of a structure" is from late 15c.
- foundational (adj.)
- 1680s, from foundation + -al (1).
- founder (v.)
- early 14c., from Old French fondrer "collapse; submerge, sink, fall to the bottom," from fond "bottom," from Latin fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Related: Foundered; foundering.
- founder (n.1)
- "one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes something," mid-14c., from Anglo-French fundur, Old French fondeor, from Latin fundator, agent noun from fundare (see found (v.1)).
- founder (n.2)
- "one who casts metal," c.1400, agent noun from found (v.2).
- foundling (n.)
- "deserted infant," c.1300, from Middle English founden "found," past participle of finden (see find (v.)) + diminutive suffix -ling. Compare Dutch vondeling, German Findling. Middle English also had finding in this sense (late 14c.).
- foundry (n.)
- c.1600, from French fonderei, from fondre "to cast" (see found (v.2)).
- fount (n.)
- mid-15c., probably a shortening of fountain, influenced by Middle French font "fount."
- fountain (n.)
- early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Late Latin fontana "fountain, spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water);" cognate with Sanskrit dhanvati "flows, runs."
The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c.1500. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley].
- fountainhead (n.)
- "spring from which a stream flows," 1580s, from fountain + head (n.). Figurative use is from c.1600.
- four (n.)
- Old English feower, from Proto-Germanic *fedwor- (cognates: Old Saxon fiwar, Old Frisian fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch and German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor "four"), from PIE *kwetwer- "four" (cognates: Sanskrit catvarah, Avestan čathwaro, Persian čatvar, Greek tessares, Latin quattuor, Oscan petora, Old Church Slavonic četyre, Lithuanian keturi, Old Irish cethir, Welsh pedwar). The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained; Watkins explains the -f- as being from the following number (Modern English five).
Slang four-eyes "person who wears glasses" first recorded 1874. Four-letter word first attested 1934; four-letter man, however, is recorded from 1923 (as a euphemism for a shit). A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage with four horses driven by one person; in the sense of "loosely tied necktie" it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, compare French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains euphemistic slang phrase for "a pack of cards" from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 "essential information" (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information.
- four-door (adj.)
- of cars, 1957, from four + door.
- four-flusher (n.)
- "cheat, dishonest person," 1900, from verb four-flush "to bluff a poker hand, claim a flush (n.) while holding only four cards in the suit" (1896).
- four-footed (adj.)
- Old English feowerfote; see four + foot (n.).
- fourfold (adj.)
- Old English feowerfeald; see four + -fold.
- Fourierism (n.)
- 1841, in reference to ideas of French socialist François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), whose plan also was called phalansterianism.
- fourscore (n.)
- "eighty," mid-13c., "formerly current as an ordinary numeral" [OED], from four + score (n.).
- foursome (n.)
- early 16c., from four + -some (1). Golf sense is from 1867.
- fourteen (n.)
- c.1300, from Old English feowertyne; see four + -teen. Compare Old Saxon fiertein, Old Frisian fiuwertine, Dutch veertien, Old High German fiorzehan, German vierzehn, Gothic fidwortaihun.
- fourteenth (adj.)
- c.1300, by influence of fourteen, replacing or modifying fourtende, fowrtethe, from Old English feowerteoða, Old Norse *feowertandi (see fourteen) + -th (1). Compare Dutch veertiende, German vierzehnte.
- fourth (adj.)
- mid-15c., alteration, by influence of four, of ferthe, from Old English feorða; see four + -th (1). Compare Old Saxon fiortho, Old Norse fiorðe, Dutch vierde, Old High German fiordo, German vierte. In Quaker usage, which rejected the pagan weekday names, fourth day was Wednesday, often a secondary day of meeting for worship. The celebration of the Fourth of July as the epoch of American independence is attested from 1777.
That there is due to Daniel Smith, of the city tavern, for his bill of expences of Congress, on the 4 of July last, including a balance of an old account, the sum of 729 68/90 dollars; also a bill for materials, workmanship, &c furnished for the fire works on the 4 July, the sum of 102 69/90 dollars .... [Auditor General's report, Aug. 8, 1777, "Journals of Congress," vol. VII]
- fourth estate (n.)
- "the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, -- as they are now justly styled, -- a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]