gang (n.) Look up gang at
from Old English gang "a going, journey, way, passage," and Old Norse gangr "a group of men, a set," both from Proto-Germanic *gangaz (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Danish, Dutch, Old High German, German gang, Old Norse gangr, Gothic gagg "act of going"), from PIE root *ghengh- "to step" (cognates: Sanskrit jangha "shank," Avestan zanga- "ankle," Lithuanian zengiu "I stride"). Thus not considered to be related to go.

The sense evolution is probably via meaning "a set of articles that usually are taken together in going" (mid-14c.), especially a set of tools used on the same job. By 1620s this had been extended in nautical speech to mean "a company of workmen," and by 1630s the word was being used, with disapproving overtones, for "any band of persons traveling together." Gangway preserves the original sense of the word, as does gangplank.
Gang of Four Look up Gang of Four at
1976, translating Chinese sirenbang, the nickname given to the four leaders of the Cultural Revolution who took the fall in Communist China after the death of Mao.
gang-bang (n.) Look up gang-bang at
1953, "group sex" (especially many men on one woman or girl, regardless of consent), from gang + bang with slang meaning "do the sex act." Earlier was gang-shag (1927). Sense of "participate in a street gang" is by 1968. Related: Gang-banger; gang-banging.
gangbusters (n.) Look up gangbusters at
to come on like gangbusters (c.1940) is from U.S. radio crimefighting drama "Gangbusters" (1937-57) which opened with a cacophony of sirens, screams, shots, and jarring music.
Ganges Look up Ganges at
from Sanskrit ganga "current, river."
gangland (n.) Look up gangland at
1912, from gang (n.) + land (n.).
ganglia (n.) Look up ganglia at
Latin plural of ganglion.
gangling (adj.) Look up gangling at
by 1812, a frequentative of gang in some sense involving looseness.
GANGLING. Tall, slender, delicate, generally applied to plants. Warw. [James O. Halliwell, "A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1846]
ganglion (n.) Look up ganglion at
1680s, from Greek ganglion "tumor," used by Galen for "nerve bundle." Of unknown origin; according to Galen, the proper sense of the word was "anything gathered into a ball."
gangly (adj.) Look up gangly at
1872, American English alteration of gangling.
gangplank (n.) Look up gangplank at
1846, American English, from gang + plank. Replacing earlier gang-board.
gangrene (n.) Look up gangrene at
1540s, from Latin gangraena, from Greek gangraina "an eating or gnawing sore," literally "that which eats away," reduplicated form of gran- "to gnaw," from PIE root *gras- (see gastric).
gangrenous (adj.) Look up gangrenous at
1610s, from gangrene + -ous.
gangsta Look up gangsta at
rap style generally credited to West Philly hip hop artist Schoolly D, but his "Gangster Boogie" (1984) used the conventional spelling; NWA was spelling it gangsta by 1988.
gangster (n.) Look up gangster at
1896, American English, from gang in its criminal sense + -ster.
gangway (n.) Look up gangway at
Old English gangweg "road, passage, thoroughfare;" see gang (n.) in its original sense + way (n.). As a command to clear way, attested by 1912, American English.
ganja (n.) Look up ganja at
powerful preparation of cannabis sativa, 1800, from Hindi ganjha.
gank (v.) Look up gank at
by 2000 as the verb to describe a situation of many players or NPCs simultaneously attacking one; gamer slang, perhaps borrowed from hip-hop and drug-abuse slang (where it is attested by 1995 in the sense of "to rob, to rip off"); perhaps by 1990 in sports jargon. Of unknown origin; perhaps ultimately based on gang. Related: Ganked; ganking.
gannet (n.) Look up gannet at
Old English ganot "gannet, sea-bird, water fowl," from Proto-Germanic *ganito (cognates: Dutch gent, Middle High German ganiz, Old High German ganazzo), from PIE *ghans- (see goose (n.)). Old French gante is from Germanic.
gantlet Look up gantlet at
see gauntlet (n.1).
gantry (n.) Look up gantry at
1570s, originally "four-footed stand for a barrel," probably from Old North French gantier (Old French chantier, 13c., "store-room, stock-room"), from Latin cantherius "rafter, frame," also "a gelding," from Greek kanthelios "pack ass," related to kanthelion "rafter," of unknown origin. The connecting notion in all this seems to be framework for carrying things. Meaning "frame for a crane, etc." is from 1810. Railway signal sense attested by 1889.
Ganymede Look up Ganymede at
Trojan youth whom Zeus made his cup-bearer, from Greek Ganymedes, literally "rejoicing in his virility," from ganymai "I rejoice, am glad" + medea (plural) "counsels, plans, cunning" (see Medea), but here taken by many to mean "genitals." Used figuratively of serving-boys (c.1600) and catamites (1590s).
gaol Look up gaol at
see jail, you tea-sodden football hooligan.
gaoler (n.) Look up gaoler at
chiefly British English spelling of jailer.
gap (n.) Look up gap at
early 14c. (mid-13c. in place names), from Old Norse gap "chasm," related to gapa "to gape," from PIE *ghai- "to yawn, gape" (see yawn (v.)). Originally "hole in a wall or hedge;" broader sense is 16c. In U.S., common in place names in reference to a break or pass in a long mountain chain (especially one that water flows through). As a verb from 1847.
gape (v.) Look up gape at
early 13c., from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old Norse gapa "to open the mouth, gape," common Proto-Germanic (cognates: Middle Dutch, Dutch gapen, German gaffen "to gape, stare," Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from PIE *ghai- (see gap). Related: Gaped; gaping. As a noun, from 1530s.
gaper (n.) Look up gaper at
1630s, agent noun from gape (v.). Gaper delay in traffic control parlance attested by 1995.
gaping Look up gaping at
1570s (implied in gapingly), present participle adj. from gape (v.).
gar (n.) Look up gar at
"pike-like fish," 1765, American English, shortening of garfish (mid-15c.), from Old English gar "spear," from Proto-Germanic *gaizo- (cognates: Old Norse geirr, Old Saxon, Old High German ger, German Ger "spear"), from PIE *ghaiso- "stick, spear" (see goad (n.)).
garage (v.) Look up garage at
1906, from garage (n.). Related: Garaged; garaging.
garage (n.) Look up garage at
1902, from French garage "shelter for a vehicle," originally "a place for storing something," from verb garer "to shelter," from Middle French garer "to shelter, dock ships," from Frankish *waron "to guard" or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German waron "take care"), from Proto-Germanic *war-, from PIE root *wer- (5) "to cover" (see warrant (n.)).
Influenced no doubt by the success of the recent Club run, and by the fact that more than 100 of its members are automobile owners, the N.Y.A.C. has decided to build a "garage," the French term for an automobile stable, at Travers Island, that will be of novel design, entirely different from any station in the country. [New York Athletic Club Journal, May 1902]
Garage sale first attested 1966.
Garamond Look up Garamond at
typeface, named for 16c. French typefounder Claude Garamond.
garb (n.) Look up garb at
1590s, "elegance, stylishness," from Middle French garbe "graceful outline" (Modern French galbe), from Italian garbo "grace, elegance," perhaps from Germanic (compare Old High German gar(a)wi "dress, equipment, preparation;" see gear). Sense of "fashion of dress" is first attested 1620s.
garb (v.) Look up garb at
1836, from garb (n.). Related: Garbed; garbing.
garbage (n.) Look up garbage at
early 15c., "giblets of a fowl, waste parts of an animal," later confused with garble in its sense of "siftings, refuse." Perhaps some senses derive from Old French garbe "a bundle of sheaves, entrails," from Proto-Germanic *garba- (cognates: Dutch garf, German garbe "sheaf"), from PIE *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach" (see grab (v.)). Sense of "refuse, filth" is first attested 1580s; used figuratively for "worthless stuff" from 1590s. Garbology "study of waste as a social science" is from 1976.
garbanzo (n.) Look up garbanzo at
"chick-pea," 1759, from Spanish garbanzo, said to be ultimately from Greek or Basque.
garble (v.) Look up garble at
early 15c., "to inspect and remove refuse from (spices)," from Anglo-French garbeler "to sift" (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin and Italian garbellare, from Arabic gharbala "to sift and select spices," related to kirbal "sieve," perhaps from Late Latin cribellum, diminutive of Latin cribrum "sieve" (see crisis). Apparently a widespread word among Mediterranean traders (compare Italian garbellare, Spanish garbillo); sense of "mix up, confuse, distort language" (by selecting some things and omitting others) first recorded 1680s. Related: Garbled; garbling.
garcon (n.) Look up garcon at
"boy," c.1300, from Old French garçun (11c.; Modern French garçon) "menial, servant-boy, page; man of base condition," originally objective case of gars, perhaps from Frankish *wrakjo-, from Proto-Germanic *wrakjon- (cognates: Old High German recko, Old Saxon wrekkio "a banished person, exile;" English wretch). Meaning "waiter" (especially one in a French restaurant) is from 1788.
garden (n.) Look up garden at
c.1300, from Old North French gardin (13c., Modern French jardin), from Vulgar Latin hortus gardinus "enclosed garden," via Frankish *gardo, from Proto-Germanic *gardaz- (cognates: Old Frisian garda, Old Saxon gardo, Old High German garto, German Garten "garden," Old English geard "enclosure," see yard (n.1)). Italian giardino, Spanish jardin are from French.

Garden-party is by 1843. Garden variety in figurative sense first recorded 1928. To lead someone up the garden path "entice, deceive" is attested by 1925.
garden (v.) Look up garden at
1570s, from garden (n.). Related: Gardened; gardening.
gardener (n.) Look up gardener at
c.1300 (early 12c. as a surname), from Old North French *gardinier (12c., Modern French jardinier), from gardin (see garden). Compare German Gärtner. An Old English word for it was wyrtweard, literally "plant-guard."
gardenia Look up gardenia at
1757, Modern Latin, named for Scottish-born American naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Vice President of the Royal Society, + abstract noun ending -ia.
gardening (n.) Look up gardening at
1570s, verbal noun from garden (v.).
garderobe Look up garderobe at
early 14c., from Old French garderobe (Old North French warderobe; see wardrobe).
gare (n.) Look up gare at
French for "train station," 1840, from earlier sense "river port, pier" (17c.), from garer (see garage).
garfish (n.) Look up garfish at
see gar + fish (n.).
gargantuan (adj.) Look up gargantuan at
1590s, from Gargantua, large-mouthed giant in Rabelais' novels, supposedly from Spanish/Portuguese garganta "gullet, throat," which is from the same imitative root as gargle.
gargle (v.) Look up gargle at
1520s, from Middle French gargouiller "to gurgle, bubble" (14c.), from Old French gargole "throat, waterspout," perhaps from garg-, imitative of throat sounds, + *goule, dialect word for "mouth," from Latin gula "throat." Related: Gargled; gargling. The earlier, native, form of the word was Middle English gargarize (early 15c.).
gargle (n.) Look up gargle at
1650s, from gargle (v.).
gargoyle (n.) Look up gargoyle at
"grotesque carved waterspout," late 13c., gargurl, from Old French gargole "throat, waterspout" (see gargle).