- jocose (adj.)
- "given to jokes and jesting," 1670s, from Latin iocosus "full of jesting, fond of jokes, funny," from iocus "pastime, sport; a jest, joke" (see joke (n.)). Often it implies ponderous humor (compare jocund). Related: Jocosely; jocoseness.
- jocosity (n.)
- "merriment, waggery, mirthfulness," 1640s; see jocose + -ity.
- jocular (adj.)
- 1620s, "disposed to joking," from Latin iocularis "funny, comic," from ioculus "joke," diminutive of iocus "pastime; a joke" (see joke (n.)). Often it implies evasion of an issue by a joke.
- jocularity (n.)
- "mirthfulness," 1640s, from Medieval Latin iocularitas "jocular, facetious," from iocularis (adj.) "funny, laughable, comic" (see jocular).
- joculator (n.)
- "professional jester; a minstrel," c. 1500, from Latin ioculator "a joker, jester," from iocus "pastime; a joke" (see joke (n.)).
- jocund (adj.)
- late 14c., "pleasing, gracious; joyful," from Old French jocond or directly from Late Latin iocundus (source of Spanish jocunde, Italian giocondo), variant (influenced by iocus "joke") of Latin iucundus "pleasant," originally "helpful," contraction of *iuvicundus, from iuvare "to please, benefit, help" (see adjutant).
In jocose cheerfulness or light-heartedness is an accidental thing; in jocund it is the essential idea. [Century Dictionary]
- jocundity (n.)
- early 15c., from Old French jocondite or directly from Late Latin iocunditas, from iocundus (see jocund).
- jod (n.)
- "the letter -j-," Medieval Latin spelling of Hebrew letter yodh (see iota); a variant of jot (n.). Hence "the slightest bit" (1590s).
- jodhpurs (n.)
- 1912, jodpores (earlier as jodhpur riding-breeches, 1899), from Jodhpur, former state in northwestern India. The city at the heart of the state was founded 1459 by Rao Jodha, a local ruler, and is named for him.
- Jody (n.)
- "civilian who is thought to be prospering back home with a soldier's sweetheart, wife, job, etc.," by 1979, said to date from World War II, from masc. proper name Jody, for no clear reason. Hence Jody call.
- joe (n.)
- "coffee," by 1941, perhaps late 1930s, of unknown origin. The guess that it is from the name of U.S. coffee merchant Joseph Martinson (c. 1880-1949) is not chronologically impossible, but it wants evidence and seems to have originated in the company's advertisements (1972). Earlier in American English (1772) it was the colloquial name of a Portuguese or Brazilian coin worth about $8, shortened from Johannes in this sense (1758), the Modern Latin form of Portuguese João (see John), name of a king of Portugal whose head and Latin inscription appeared on the coin.
- pet-form of Joseph (q.v.). Meaning "generic fellow, man" is from 1846. Used in a wide range of invented names meaning "typical male example of," for example Joe college "typical college man" (1932); Joe Blow "average fellow" is U.S. military slang, first recorded 1941. "Dictionary of American Slang" lists, among other examples, Joe Average, Beige, Lunch Bucket, Public, Sad, Schmoe, Six-pack, Yale, Zilch
- Joe Miller (n.)
- "stale joke," 1816, from Joseph Miller (1684-1738), a comedian, whose name was affixed after his death to a popular jest-book, "Joe Miller's Jests, or the Wit's Vade-mecum" (1739) compiled by John Mottley, which gave Miller after his death more fame than he enjoyed while alive.
A certain Lady finding her Husband somewhat too familiar with her Chamber-maid, turned her away immediately; Hussy, said she, I have no Occasion for such Sluts as you, only to do that Work which I choose to do myself. [from "Joe Miller's Jests"].
- masc. proper name, from Hebrew Yoh'el, name of a minor Old Testament prophet, literally "the Lord is God;" the same name as Elijah (q.v.) but with the elements reversed.
The personal name that became common in Devon and Cornwall and the Breton districts of Yorkshire and the Eastern Counties immediately after the Conquest is from Old Breton Iudhael, from Iud- "chief, lord" + hael "generous." It is the source of the modern British surname Joel, as well as Jewell, Joule, and Jolson.
- joepye-weed (n.)
- 1818, said to be so called from the name of an Indian who used it to cure typhus in New England. The story dates from 1822.
- joey (n.)
- "young kangaroo," 1839, sometimes said to be from a native Australian word joè, but more recently often said to be of unknown origin. Perhaps an extended use of Joey, the familiar form of the male proper name Joseph, for which Partridge lists many common or coarse meanings in 20c. Australian slang. Farmer & Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues") quote an 1887 article on "Australian Colloquialisms":
JOEY is a familiar name for anything young or small, and is applied indifferently to a puppy, or a kitten, or a child, while a WOOD-AND-WATER-JOEY is a hanger about hotels and a doer of odd jobs.
- jog (v.)
- 1540s, "to shake up and down," perhaps altered from Middle English shoggen "to shake, jolt, move with a jerk" (late 14c.), a word of uncertain origin. Meanings "touch or push slightly," "stir up or stimulate by hint or push," and "walk or ride with a jolting pace" all are from 16c.
The modern sense in reference to running as training mostly dates from 1948; at first a regimen for athletes, it became a popular fad c. 1967. Perhaps this sense is extended from its use in horsemanship.
Jogging. The act of exercising, or working a horse to keep him in condition, or to prepare him for a race. There is no development in jogging, and it is wholly a preliminary exercise to bring the muscular organization to the point of sustained, determined action. [Samuel L. Boardman, "Handbook of the Turf," New York, 1910]
Related: Jogged; jogging.
- jog (n.)
- c. 1600, "act of moving up and down," from jog (v.). Meaning "a slight push or nudge" is from 1630s; meaning "a slow run for fitness or conditioning" is from 1977.
- jog-trot (adj.)
- 1766, "monotonous, hum-drum," from earlier noun meaning "slow, easy motion on horseback" (18c.), also job-trot, jock-trot; see jog (v.) + trot (n.).
- jogger (n.)
- c. 1700, "one who walks heavily and slowly," also "one who gives a sudden slight push;" agent noun from jog (v.). Running exercise sense is from 1968.
- jogging (n.)
- 1560s, verbal noun from jog (v.). In the running exercise sense, from 1948. As an adjective by 1971.
- joggle (v.)
- 1510s, "to shake slightly, jostle," apparently a frequentative of jog (v.), though attested earlier than it. As a noun from 1727. Related: Joggled; joggling. Carpentry and masonry sense "fit together with notches and projections" is from 1703, of unknown origin; also as a noun "a notch in a piece into which is fitted the projection of another piece; hence joggle-post, etc.
- Johannine (adj.)
- "of or pertaining to the Apostle John," 1839, perhaps via French, from Latin Joannes (see John) + -ine (1). Johannean is from 1842.
- masc. proper name, Middle English Jon, Jan (mid-12c.), from Old French Jan, Jean, Jehan (Modern French Jean), from Medieval Latin Johannes, an alteration of Late Latin Joannes, from Greek Ioannes, from Hebrew Yohanan (longer form y'hohanan), said to mean literally "Jehovah has favored" or "Jah is gracious," from hanan "he was gracious."
Greek conformed the Hebrew ending to its own customs. The -h- in English was inserted in imitation of the Medieval Latin form. Old English had the Biblical name as Iohannes. As the name of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it was one of the most frequent Christian given names, and in England by early 14c. it rivaled William in popularity and was used generically (in Middle English especially of priests) and as an appellative (as in John Barleycorn, John Bull, John Q. Public). Somehow it also became the characteristic name of a Chinaman (1818).
The Latin name also is the source of French Jean, Spanish Juan, Italian Giovanni, Portuguese João, also Dutch Jan, Hans, German Johann, Russian Ivan. Welsh form was Ieuan, Efan (see Evan), but Ioan was adopted for the Welsh Authorized Version of the Bible, hence frequency of Jones as a Welsh surname.
- john (n.)
- "toilet," 1932, probably from jakes, used for "toilet" since 15c. Meaning "prostitute's customer" is from 1911, probably from the common, and thus anonymous, name by which they identified themselves. Meaning "policeman" is by 1901, from shortening of johndarm (1823), a jocular Englishing of gendarme.
"John Darm! who's he?" "What, don't you know!
In Paris he is all the go;
Like money here,--he's every thing;
A demigod--at least a king!
You cannot fight, you cannot drink,
Nor have a spree, nor hardly think,
For fear you should create a charm,
To conjure up the fiend John Darm!
["John Darm," in "Varieties in Verse," John Ogden, London, 1823]
- John Bull
- "Englishman who exemplifies the coarse, burly form and bluff nature of the national character," 1772, from name of a character representing the English nation in Arbuthnot's satirical "History of John Bull" (1712). Via a slurred pronunciation of it comes jumble (n.), London West Indian and African slang word for "a white man," attested from 1957.
- John Doe (n.)
- fictitious plaintiff in a legal action, attested from 1768 (in Blackstone). The fictitious defendant was Richard Roe. If female, Jane Doe, Jane Roe. Replaced earlier John-a-nokes (1530s) or Jack Nokes, who usually was paired with John-a-stiles or Tom Stiles.
Also used of plaintiffs or defendants who have reason to be anonymous. By 1852, John Doe was being used for "any man whose name is not known;" Britain tended to preserve it in the narrower legal sense "name of the fictitious plaintiff in actions of ejectment." John Doe warrant attested from 1935.
- John Hancock
- colloquial for "signature," 1903 (sometimes, through some unexplainable error, John Henry), from the Boston merchant and rebel (1736-1793), signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The extended sense is from his signing that dangerous document first or most flamboyantly.
John Hancock, president of Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, writing his name in large, plain letters, and saying: "There; John Bull can read my name without spectacles. Now let him double the price on my head, for this is my defiance." [Hélène Adeline Guerber, "The Story of the Thirteen Colonies," New York, 1898]
The family name is attested from 1276 in Yorkshire, a diminutive (see cock (n.1)) of Hann, a very common given name in 13c. Yorkshire as a pet form of Henry or John.
- John Q. Public (n.)
- "imaginary average American citizen," 1934; the Q perhaps suggested by John Quincy Adams.
- see Johnny.
- pet form of masc. proper name John, with -y (3). Used as a contemptuous or humorous designation for some class or group of men from 1670s.
It was the typical name in the North and the Northern armies for a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War, and the Southern soldiers were, collectively Johnnies, generically Johnny Reb. In the Mediterranean, it was a typical name for an Englishman by c. 1800. In the Crimean War it became the typical name among the English for "a Turk" (also Johnny Turk), later it was extended to Arabs; by World War II the Arabs were using Johnny as the typical name for "a British man"). Johnny Crapaud as a derogatory generic name for a Frenchman or France is from 1818.
Johnny-come-lately "a new arrival" first attested 1839. Johnny-on-the-spot is from 1896. Johnny-jump-up as an American English name for the pansy is from 1837. Johnny-cocks, a colloquial name for the early purple orchid (Orchis mascula) is attested from 1883.
- johnny-cake (n.)
- 1739, American English, of unknown origin, perhaps a corruption of Shawnee cake, from the Indian tribe. Folk etymology since 1775, however, connects it to journey cake. Century Dictionary says "It is of negro origin."
- johnson (n.)
- "penis," 1863, perhaps related to British slang John Thomas, which has the same meaning (1887).
- joie de vivre (n.)
- 1889, French, literally "joy of living."
- join (v.)
- c. 1300, "to unite (things) into a whole, combine, put or bring together; juxtapose," also "unite, be joined" (intrans.), from joign-, stem of Old French joindre "join, connect, unite; have sexual intercourse with" (12c.), from Latin iungere "to join together, unite, yoke," from PIE *yeug- "to join, unite" (see jugular).
Meaning "unite, become associated, form an alliance" is from early 14c. Meaning "to unite (two persons) in marriage" is from mid-14c. Figuratively (of virtues, qualities, hearts, etc.) from late 14c. Of battles, "to begin," from late 14c. In Middle English join on (c. 1400) meant "to attack (someone), begin to fight with." Meaning "go to and accompany (someone)" is from 1713; that of "unite, form a junction with" is from 1702. Related: Joined; joining.
Join up "enlist in the army" is from 1916. Phrase if you can't beat them, join them is from 1953. To be joined at the hip figuratively ("always in close connection") is by 1986, from the literal sense in reference to "Siamese twins." In Middle English, join sometimes is short for enjoin.
- joinder (n.)
- "act of joining together" (usually in specific legal senses), c. 1600, from French joindre "to join," taken as a noun (see join).
- joiner (n.)
- early 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), joynour "maker of furniture, small boxes, etc.," from Old French joigneor "joiner, carpenter," agent noun from joindre "to join" (see join (v.)). A craftsman in wood who did lighter and more ornamental work; often meaning the carpenter who does the internal and external finishings of a house, ship, etc. Meaning "one who makes a habit of joining" (societies, clubs, etc.) is from 1890. Related: Joinery.
- joint (n.)
- c. 1300, "an (anatomical) joint, a part of a body where two bones meet and move in contact with one another, the structure that holds such bones together," from Old French joint "joint of the body" (12c.), from Latin iunctus "united, connected, associated," past participle of iungere "join" (see jugular). Related: Joints.
In general use from late 14c., of insect and plant parts, also "that which joins two components of an artificial structure." In butchering, "cut of meat on the bone," early 15c. Slang or cant meaning of "place, building, establishment" (especially one where persons meet for shady activities) first recorded 1877; earlier it was used in an Anglo-Irish context (1821), perhaps on the notion of a private side-room, one "joined" to a main room. In late 19c. U.S. use especially "an opium-smoking den" (1883).
Meaning "marijuana cigarette" (1938) is perhaps from notion of something often smoked in common, but there are other possibilities; earlier joint in drug slang meant "hypodermic outfit" (1935). Meaning "prison" is attested from 1953 but probably is older. Out of joint in the figurative sense "disordered, confused, gone wrong" is from early 15c. (literally, of bone displacement, late 14c.). Joint-stock "of or pertaining to holding stock in shares" is from 1610s.
- joint (adj.)
- early 15c., "united or sharing" (in some activity), from Old French jointiz (adj.) "joined together, close together" and Old French joint (14c.), past participle adjective from joindre "to join, connect, unite" (see join (v.)).
- jointed (adj.)
- "provided with joints," early 15c., from joint (n.).
- jointly (adv.)
- c. 1300, from joint (adj.) + -ly (2). It seems to have chased out joinly (early 15c.).
- jointure (n.)
- late 14c., "act or fact of being joined," from Old French jointure "a putting together," from Latin iunctura "a joining, juncture" (see juncture). Specific legal sense is from mid-15c.: "estate or property settled on an intended husband and wife, meant as a provision for the latter."
- joist (n.)
- "timbers supporting a floor, etc.," early 14c. gist, giste, from Old French giste "beam supporting a bridge" (Modern French gîte), noun use of fem. past participle of gesir "to lie," from Latin iacēre "to lie, rest," related (via the notion of "to be thrown") to iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). The notion is of a wooden beam on which boards "lie down." The modern English vowel is a corruption.
- joke (n.)
- 1660s, joque, "a jest, something done to excite laughter," from Latin iocus "joke, jest, sport, pastime" (source also of French jeu, Spanish juego, Portuguese jogo, Italian gioco), from Proto-Italic *joko-, from PIE *iok-o- "word, utterance," from root *yek- (1) "to speak" (cognates: Welsh iaith, Breton iez "language," Middle Irish icht "people;" Old High German jehan, Old Saxon gehan "to say, express, utter;" Old High German jiht, German Beichte "confession").
Originally a colloquial or slang word. Meaning "something not real or to no purpose, someone not to be taken seriously" is from 1791. Black joke is old slang for "smutty song" (1733), from use of that phrase in the refrain of a then-popular song as a euphemism for "the monosyllable." Lithuanian juokas "laugh, laughter," in plural "joke(s)" probably is borrowed from German.
- joke (v.)
- 1660s, "to make a joke," from joke (n.) or else from Latin iocari "to jest, joke," from iocus "joke, sport, pastime." Related: Joked; joking.
- joker (n.)
- 1729, "jester, merry fellow, one who jokes," agent noun from joke (v.). In generic slang use for "any man, fellow, chap" by 1811, which probably is the source of the meaning "odd face card in the deck" (1868), also often jolly joker. An 1857 edition of Hoyle's "Games" lists a card game called Black Joke in which all face cards were called jokers.
American manufacturers of playing-cards are wont to include a blank card at the top of the pack; and it is, alas! true that some thrifty person suggested that the card should not be wasted. This was the origin of the joker. ["St. James's Gazette," 1894]
- jokester (n.)
- 1819, from joke + -ster. Jokesmith is from 1813.
- joking (n.)
- "jesting, witty playfulness," 1660s, verbal noun from joke (v.). Related: Jokingly.
- joky (adj.)
- 1825, from joke (n.) + -y (2). Related: Jokily; jokiness. Other adjective forms have included jokesome (1810), jokish (1785).
- jolie laide (n.)
- "girl or woman whose attractiveness defies standards of beauty," 1849, a French expression (by 1780 in French), from fem. singular of joli "pretty" (see jolly) + laid "ugly," from Frankish *laid (see loath (adj.)).
Of beauty, as we narrowly understand it in England, [the 18c. French woman of society] had but little; but she possessed so many other witcheries that her habitual want of features and complexion ceased to count against her. Expression redeemed the absence of prettiness and the designation jolie laide was invented for her in order to express her power of pleasing despite her ugliness. ["The Decadence of French Women," Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, October 1881]