german (adj.) Look up german at
"of the same parents or grandparents," c.1300, from Old French germain "own, full; born of the same mother and father; closely related" (12c.), from Latin germanus "full, own (of brothers and sisters); one's own brother; genuine, real, actual, true," related to germen (genitive germinis) "sprout, bud," of uncertain origin; perhaps dissimilated from PIE *gen(e)-men-, from root *gene- "to give birth, beget" (see genus). Your cousin-german (also first cousin) is the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; your children and your first cousin's are second cousins to one another; to you, your first cousin's children are first cousin once removed.
German (n.) Look up German at
"a native of Germany," 1520s, from Latin Germanus (adjective and noun, plural Germani), first attested in writings of Julius Caesar, who used Germani to designate a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul, of unknown origin. Probably originally the name of an individual tribe, but Gaulish (Celtic) origins have been proposed, from words perhaps originally meaning "noisy" (compare Old Irish garim "to shout") or "neighbor" (compare Old Irish gair "neighbor"). Middle English had Germayns (plural, late 14c.), but only in the sense "ancient Teuton, member of the Germanic tribes." The earlier English word was Almain (early 14c.; see Alemanni) or Dutch.
Þe empere passede from þe Grees to þe Frenschemen and to þe Germans, þat beeþ Almayns. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]
Their name for themselves, die Deutschen (see Dutch), dates from 12c. Roman writers also used Teutoni as a German tribal name, and writers in Latin after about 875 commonly refer to the German language as teutonicus (see Teutonic). Meaning "the German language" in English is from 1748. High German (1838 in English) and Low German as a division of dialects is geographical: High German (now established as the literary language) was the German spoken in the upland regions in southern Germany, Low German (often including Dutch, Frisian, Flemish), also called Plattdeutsch was spoken in the regions near the North Sea.
German (adj.) Look up German at
"of or pertaining to Germany or the Germans," 1550s, from German (n.). The German shepherd (dog) (1922) translates German deutscher Schäferhund. German Ocean as an old name for the North Sea translates Ptolemy. German measles attested by 1856.
germane (adj.) Look up germane at
mid-14c., "having the same parents," same as german (adj.) but directly from Latin germanus instead of via French (compare urbane/urban). Main modern sense of "closely connected, relevant" (c.1600) derives from use in "Hamlet" Act V, Scene ii: "The phrase would bee more Germaine to the matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides," which is a figurative use of the word in the now-obsolete loosened sense of "closely related, akin" (late 15c.) in reference to things, not persons.
Germanic (adj.) Look up Germanic at
1630s, "of Germany or Germans," from Latin Germanicus, from Germani (see German (n.)). From 1773 as "of the Teutonic race;" from 1842 especially with reference to the language family that includes German, Dutch, English, etc. As a noun, the name of that language family, by 1892, replacing earlier Teutonic. Germanical is attested from 1550s.
germanium (n.) Look up germanium at
chemical element, coined 1885 in Modern Latin by its discoverer (German chemist Clemens Alexander Winkler (1838-1904)) from Latin Germania "Germany" (see Germany) + chemical ending -ium.
Germany (n.) Look up Germany at
c.1300, from Latin Germania, a Roman designation (see German (n.)). In Middle English the place also was called Almaine (early 14c.; see Alemanni).
germicide (n.) Look up germicide at
"substance capable of killing germs, 1881, from germ + -cide. Related: Germicidal.
germinal (adj.) Look up germinal at
"in the early stages of development," 1808, from Modern Latin germinalis "in the germ," from Latin germen (genitive germinis) "a sprout, bud, sprig, offshoot" (see germ).
germinate (v.) Look up germinate at
c.1600, probably a back-formation from germination. Figurative use from 1640s. Related: Germinated; germinating. Earlier germynen (mid-15c.) was from Old French germiner or directly from Latin germinare.
germination (n.) Look up germination at
mid-15c., from Latin germinationem (nominative germinatio) "a sprouting forth, budding," noun of action from past participle stem of germinare "to sprout, put forth shoots," from germen (genitive germinis) "a sprout or bud" (see germ).
germy (adj.) Look up germy at
1912, from germ + -y (2).
Geronimo (interj.) Look up Geronimo at
cry made in jumping, apparently from the story of the Apache leader Geronimo making a daring leap to escape U.S. cavalry pursuers at Medicine Bluffs, Oklahoma (and supposedly shouting his name in defiance as he did). Adopted as battle cry by 82nd Airborne U.S. paratroopers in World War II, who perhaps had seen it in the 1939 Paramount Studios movie "Geronimo." The name is the Italian and Spanish form of Jerome, from Greek Hieronomos, literally "sacred name."
gerontocracy (n.) Look up gerontocracy at
"rule by old men," 1830, a Latinized compound of Greek stem of geron (genitive gerontos) "old man" (see gerontology) + kratia "rule" (see -cracy). Related: Gerontocratic.
gerontologist (n.) Look up gerontologist at
1941, from gerontology + -ist.
gerontology (n.) Look up gerontology at
1903, coined in English from geronto-, used as comb. form of Greek geron (genitive gerontos) "old man," from PIE root *gere- "to become ripe, grow old" (cognates: Sanskrit jara "old age," jarati "makes frail, causes to age;" Avestan zaurvan "old age;" Ossetic zarond "old man;" Armenian cer "old, old man").
gerrymander (v.) Look up gerrymander at
1812, "arrange political divisions in disregard of natural boundaries so as to give one party an advantage in elections," also from 1812 as a noun, American English, from name of Elbridge Gerry + (sala)mander. Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, was lampooned when his party redistricted the state in a blatant bid to preserve an Antifederalist majority. One sprawling Essex County district resembled a salamander, and a newspaper editor dubbed it the Gerrymander. Related: Gerrymandered; gerrymandering.
Gertrude Look up Gertrude at
fem. proper name, from French, from Old High German Geretrudis, from ger "spear" + trut "beloved, dear."
gerund (n.) Look up gerund at
1510s, from Late Latin gerundium, from Old Latin gerundum "to be carried out," gerundive of gerere "to bear, carry" (see gest). In Latin, a verbal noun used for all cases of the infinitive but the nominative; applied in English to verbal nouns in -ing.
gerundive (adj.) Look up gerundive at
early 15c., from Latin gerundivus (modus), from gerundium (see gerund).
Gervais Look up Gervais at
masc. proper name, French Gervais, from Old High German Gervas, literally "serving with one's spear," from ger "spear" + Celtic base *vas- "servant."
gesellschaft (n.) Look up gesellschaft at
1887, "social relationship based on duty to society or an organization," from German Gesellschaft, from geselle "companion" + -schaft "-ship."
gesso Look up gesso at
plaster of Paris, 1590s, from Italian gesso, from Latin gypsum (see gypsum).
gest (n.) Look up gest at
"famous deed, exploit; story, romance," c.1300, from Old French geste "action, exploit, romance, history (of celebrated people or actions)," from Latin gesta "actions, exploits, deeds, achievements," neuter plural of gestus, past participle of gerere "to carry on, wage, perform," of unknown origin. See jest.
Gestalt Look up Gestalt at
1922, from German Gestaltqualität (1890, introduced by German philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from German gestalt "shape, form, figure, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete past participle of stellen "to place, arrange" (see stall (n.1)). As a school of psychology, it was founded c.1912 by M Wertheimer, K. Koffka, W. Köhler.
Gestapo Look up Gestapo at
Nazi secret state police, 1934, from German Gestapo, contracted from "Geheime Staats-polizei," literally "secret state police," set up by Hermann Göring in Prussia in 1933, extended to all Germany in January 1934.
gestate (v.) Look up gestate at
1866, back-formation from gestation. Related: Gestated; gestating.
gestation (n.) Look up gestation at
1530s, "riding on horseback, etc., as a form of exercise," from Latin gestationem (nominative gestatio) "a carrying," noun of action from gestare "bear, carry, gestate," frequentative of gerere (past participle gestus) "to bear, carry, bring forth" (see gest). Meaning "action or process of carrying young in the womb" is from 1610s.
gestational (adj.) Look up gestational at
1970, from gestation + -al (1). Related: Gestationally.
gesticulate (v.) Look up gesticulate at
c.1600, from Latin gesticulatus, past participle of gesticulari "to gesture, mimic," from gesticulus "a mimicking gesture," diminutive of gestus "gesture, carriage, posture" (see gest). Related: Gesticulated; gesticulating.
gesticulation (n.) Look up gesticulation at
early 15c., from Latin gesticulationem (nominative gesticulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of gesticulari "to gesture, mimic," from gesticulus "a mimicking gesture," diminutive of gestus (see gest).
gesticulator (n.) Look up gesticulator at
1690s, agent noun in Latin form from gesticulate.
gestural (adj.) Look up gestural at
1610s, from gesture + -al (1). Related: Gesturally.
gesture (n.) Look up gesture at
early 15c., "manner of carrying the body," from Medieval Latin gestura "bearing, behavior," from Latin gestus "gesture, carriage, posture" (see gest). Restricted sense of "a movement of the body or a part of it" is from 1550s; figurative sense of "action undertaken in good will to express feeling" is from 1916.
gesture (v.) Look up gesture at
1540s, from gesture (n.). Related: Gestured; gesturing.
gesundheit Look up gesundheit at
1914, from German Gesundheit, literally "health!" Also in toast auf ihre Gesundheit "to your health" (see sound (adj.)). Lithuanian aciu, echoic of the sound of a sneeze, has come to mean "good luck, God bless you." See also God.
get (v.) Look up get at
c.1200, from Old Norse geta "to obtain, reach; to beget; to guess right" (past tense gatum, past participle getenn), from Proto-Germanic *getan (cognates: Old Swedish gissa "to guess," literally "to try to get"), from PIE root *ghend- "seize, take" (cognates: Greek khandanein "to hold, contain," Lithuanian godetis "be eager," second element in Latin prehendere "to grasp, seize," Welsh gannu "to hold, contain," Old Church Slavonic gadati "to guess, suppose"). Meaning "to seize mentally, grasp" is from 1892.

Old English, as well as Dutch and Frisian, had the root only in compounds (such as begietan "to beget," see beget; forgietan "to forget," see forget). Vestiges of Old English cognate *gietan remain obliquely in past participle gotten and original past tense gat. The word and phrases built on it take up 29 columns in the OED 2nd edition. Related: Getting.

Get wind of "become acquainted with" is from 1840, from earlier to get wind "to get out, become known" (1722). Get out, as a command to go away, is from 1711. Get-rich-quick (adj.) attested from 1904, first in O. Henry. To get out of hand originally (1765) meant "to advance beyond the need for guidance;" sense of "to break free, run wild" is from 1892, from horses. To get on (someone's) nerves is attested by 1970.
get (n.) Look up get at
early 14c., "offspring," from get (v.). Meaning "what is got, booty" is from 14c.
get back Look up get back at
c.1600 (intransitive) "to return;" 1808 (transitive) "to recover" (something); meaning "retaliate" is attested by 1888.
get off (v.) Look up get off at
"escape," c.1600. Sexual sense attested by 1973.
get on Look up get on at
"to put on," 1590s. Meaning "prosper" is from 1785; "to advance, make progress" is from 1798. That of "be friendly" (with) is attested by 1816.
get over (v.) Look up get over at
"overcome," 1680s; "recover from," 1712; "have done with," 1813.
get together (v.) Look up get together at
c.1400, "collect, gather;" meaning "to meet, to assemble" is from 1690s; "to organize" (oneself), 1962.
get up Look up get up at
"rise," mid-14c. As a noun, "equipment or costume," from 1847; also get-up, getup. Meaning "initiative, energy" recorded from 1841.
get-out Look up get-out at
to indicate a high degree of something, attested from 1838.
get-together (n.) Look up get-together at
1911, from get + together.
getaway (n.) Look up getaway at
"escape," 1852, originally in fox hunting, from verbal phrase get away "escape" (c.1300); see get (v.) + away. Of prisoners or criminals from 1893.
Gethsemane Look up Gethsemane at
name of a garden on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem [Matt. xxvi:36-46], from Greek Gethsemane, from Aramaic gath shemani(m) "oil-press."
Gettysburg Look up Gettysburg at
town in southern Pennsylvania, U.S., 1800 (earlier it was Gettys-town), founded 1780s by Gen. James Gettys and named for him. Civil War battle there was fought July 1-3, 1863. The Gettysburg Address was given Nov. 19, 1863, and was being called that by 1865, though before Lincoln’s assassination the term tended to refer to Edward Everett’s full oration that preceded Lincoln’s short speech.
gewgaw (n.) Look up gewgaw at
early 13c., giuegaue, contemptuous reduplication, possibly connected with Old French gogue "rejoicing, jubilation; joke, prank, mockery, game;" or jou-jou "toy," baby-talk word, from jouer "to play," from Latin jocare (see joke).