machine (n.) Look up machine at
1540s, "structure of any kind," from Middle French machine "device, contrivance," from Latin machina "machine, engine, military machine; device, trick; instrument" (source also of Spanish maquina, Italian macchina), from Greek makhana, Doric variant of mekhane "device, means," related to mekhos "means, expedient, contrivance," from PIE *maghana- "that which enables," from root *magh- (1) "to be able, have power" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic mogo "be able," Old English mæg "I can;" see may (v.)).

Main modern sense of "device made of moving parts for applying mechanical power" (1670s) probably grew out of mid-17c. senses of "apparatus, appliance" and "military siege-tower." In late 19c. slang the word was used for both "penis" and "vagina," one of the few so honored. Political sense is U.S. slang, first recorded 1876. Machine age is attested by 1851:
The idea of remodelling society at public meetings is one of the least reasonable which ever entered the mind of an agitator: and the notion that the relations of the sexes can be re-arranged and finally disposed of by preamble and resolution, is one of the latest, as it should have been the last, vagary of a machine age. ["The Literary World," Nov. 1, 1851]
Machine for living (in) "house" translates Le Corbusier's machine à habiter (1923).
machine (v.) Look up machine at
mid-15c., "decide, resolve," from Old French and Latin usages (see machine (n.)). Related: Machined; machining. Meaning "to make or form on a machine" is from 1878. Related: Machined; machining.
machine-gun (n.) Look up machine-gun at
1870, from machine (n.) + gun (n.). As a verb from 1915. Related: Machine-gunned; machine-gunning.
machinery (n.) Look up machinery at
1680s; from machine (n.) + -ery. Originally theatrical, "devices for creating stage effects" (which also was a sense of Greek mekhane); meaning "machines collectively" is attested from 1731. Middle English had machinament "a contrivance" (early 15c.).
machinist (n.) Look up machinist at
1706, "engineer, mechanical inventor," a hybrid from machine (n.) + -ist. Meaning "machine operator" is attested from 1879.
machismo (n.) Look up machismo at
1940, from American Spanish machismo, from Spanish macho "male" (see macho) + ismo (see -ism).
macho Look up macho at
1928 (n.) "tough guy," from Spanish macho "male animal," noun use of adjective meaning "masculine, virile," from Latin masculus (see masculine). As an adjective, first attested in English 1959.
machree Look up machree at
Irish expression, 1829, from Irish-Gaelic mo chroidhe "(of) my heart," hence "my dear!"
Machu Picchu Look up Machu Picchu at
from Quechua (Inca) machu "old man" + pikchu "peak."
Mack Look up Mack at
proprietary name for a brand of heavy automobile trucks, named for brothers John M., Augustus F., and William C. Mack, who established Mack Brothers Company, N.Y., N.Y., in 1902. Their trucks formally known as "Mack Trucks" from 1910.
Mackenzie Look up Mackenzie at
river in Canada, named for Scottish fur trader and explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820) who discovered and explored it 1789.
mackerel (n.) Look up mackerel at
edible fish, c.1300, from Old French maquerel "mackerel" (Modern French maquereau), of unknown origin but apparently identical with Old French maquerel "pimp, procurer, broker, agent, intermediary," a word from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch makelaer "broker," from Old Frisian mek "marriage," from maken "to make"). The connection is obscure, but medieval people had imaginative notions about the erotic habits of beasts. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1876.
Mackinaw Look up Mackinaw at
type of boat used on the Great Lakes, 1812, from Mackinac, name of a port and island in Michigan, from Ojibway (Algonquian) mitchimakinak "many turtles," from mishiin- "be many" + mikinaak "snapping turtle." As a type of heavy blanket given to the Indians by the U.S. government, it is attested from 1822.
mackintosh (n.) Look up mackintosh at
waterproof outer coat, 1836, named for Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), inventor of a waterproofing process (patent #4804, June 17, 1823). The surname is from Gaelic Mac an toisich "Son of the chieftain."
macrame (n.) Look up macrame at
1869, from French macramé, from Turkish maqrama "towel, napkin," from Arabic miqramah "embroidered veil."
macro (n.) Look up macro at
1959 in computing sense, shortened from macro-instruction.
macro- Look up macro- at
word-forming element meaning "long, abnormally large, on a large scale," taken into English via Middle French and Medieval Latin from Greek makros "long, large," from PIE root *mak- "long, thin" (cognates: Latin macer "lean, thin;" Old Norse magr, Old English mæger "lean, thin;" Greek mekos "length").
macrobiotic (adj.) Look up macrobiotic at
also macro-biotic, "inclined to prolong life," 1797, from Greek makrobiotikos "long-lived," from makros "long" (see macro-) + bios "life" (see bio-). The specific reference to a Zen Buddhist dietary system dates from 1936.
macrocephalic (adj.) Look up macrocephalic at
1851, from Greek makrokephalos; see macro-. Second element is from Greek kephale "head" (see cephalo-). Related: Macrocephalous; macrocephaly.
macrocosm (n.) Look up macrocosm at
c.1600, "the great world" (the universe, as distinct from the "little world" of man), from Old French macrocosme (c.1300) and directly from Medieval Latin macrocosmus, from Greek makros "large, long" (see macro-) + kosmos (see cosmos).
macroeconomic (adj.) Look up macroeconomic at
also macro-economic, 1938, from macro- + economic.
macroeconomics (n.) Look up macroeconomics at
also macro-economics, 1948, from macroeconomic; also see -ics.
macroinstruction (n.) Look up macroinstruction at
also macro-instruction, 1959, from macro- + instruction.
macromolecule Look up macromolecule at
1886, from macro- + molecule. Apparently coined in "On Macro-molecules, with the Determinations of the Form of Some of Them," by Anglo-Irish physicist G. Johnstone Stoney (1826–1911). Originally of crystals. Meaning "molecule composed of many atoms" is from 1935, from German makromolekul (1922). Related: Macromolecular.
macron (n.) Look up macron at
"short horizontal line placed over a vowel to indicate length," 1827, from Greek makron, neuter of makros "long" (see macro-).
macropaedia (n.) Look up macropaedia at
1974, introduced with the 15th edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," from macro- + ending from encyclopaedia.
macrophage (n.) Look up macrophage at
1890, from macro- + -phage.
macrophotography (n.) Look up macrophotography at
1863, from macro- + photography.
macroscopic (adj.) Look up macroscopic at
1872, from macro- + ending from microscopic. Related: Macroscopical; macroscopically.
macrospore (n.) Look up macrospore at
1859, from macro- + spore (n.).
macula (n.) Look up macula at
plural maculae, from Latin macula "spot, stain," used of various spots (sunspots, markings on minerals, etc.), of uncertain origin. Especially the macula lutea in the eye.
macular (adj.) Look up macular at
1822, from macula + -ar.
maculate (adj.) Look up maculate at
"spotted," late 15c., from Latin maculatus, past participle of maculare "to make spotted, to speckle," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). Middle English also had maculation "sexual defilement, sinning" (late 15c.).
maculate (v.) Look up maculate at
early 15c., from Latin maculatus, past participle of maculare "to make spotted, to speckle," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). Related: Maculated; maculating.
maculation (n.) Look up maculation at
mid-15c., from Latin maculationem (nominative maculatio), noun of action from past participle stem of maculare (see maculate).
macule (n.) Look up macule at
"blemish, spot," late 15c., from Latin macula (see macula), perhaps via French macule.
mad (adj.) Look up mad at
late 13c., from Old English gemædde (plural) "out of one's mind" (usually implying also violent excitement), also "foolish, extremely stupid," earlier gemæded "rendered insane," past participle of a lost verb *gemædan "to make insane or foolish," from Proto-Germanic *ga-maid-jan, demonstrative form of *ga-maid-az "changed (for the worse), abnormal" (cognates: Old Saxon gimed "foolish," Old High German gimeit "foolish, vain, boastful," Gothic gamaiþs "crippled, wounded," Old Norse meiða "to hurt, maim"), from intensive prefix *ga- + PIE *moito-, past participle of root *mei- (1) "to change" (cognates: Latin mutare "to change," mutuus "done in exchange," migrare "to change one's place of residence;" see mutable).

Emerged in Middle English to replace the more usual Old English word, wod (see wood (adj.)). Sense of "beside oneself with excitement or enthusiasm" is from early 14c. Meaning "beside oneself with anger" is attested from early 14c., but deplored by Rev. John Witherspoon (1781) as an Americanism. It now competes in American English with angry for this sense. Of animals, "affected with rabies," from late 13c. Phrase mad as a March hare is attested from 1520s, via notion of breeding season; mad as a hatter is from 1829 as "demented," 1837 as "enraged," according to a modern theory supposedly from erratic behavior caused by prolonged exposure to poison mercuric nitrate, used in making felt hats. For mad as a wet hen see hen. Mad money is attested from 1922; mad scientist is from 1891.
mad (adv.) Look up mad at
late 14c., from mad (adj.).
Madagascar Look up Madagascar at
large island off the east coast of Africa, from Mogadishu, the name of the city in Somalia, due to an error by Marco Polo in reading Arabic, whereby he thought the name was that of the island. There is no indigenous name for the whole island. Related: Madagascan.
madam Look up madam at
c.1300, from Old French ma dame, literally "my lady," from Latin mea domina (compare madonna). Meaning "female owner or manager of a brothel" is first attested 1871.
madame Look up madame at
1590s, see madam, which is an earlier borrowing of the same French phrase. Originally a title of respect for a woman of rank, now given to any married woman. OED recommends madam as an English title, madame in reference to foreign women.
madarosis (n.) Look up madarosis at
"loss of the eyelashes," 1690s, medical Latin, from Greek madarosis "baldness." Related: Madarotic.
madcap Look up madcap at
1580s, noun and adjective, from mad (adj.) + cap, used here figuratively for “head.” Related: Madcappery.
madden (v.) Look up madden at
"to drive to distraction," 1822; earlier "to be mad" (1735), from mad (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Maddened; maddening. The earlier verb was simply mad (early 14c., intransitive; late 14c., transitive), from the adjective.
maddening (adj.) Look up maddening at
1743, from present participle of madden. Related: Maddeningly.
madder (n.) Look up madder at
type of plant (in modern use Rubia tinctorum) used for making dyes, Old English mædere, from PIE *modhro- "dye plant" (cognates: Old Norse maðra, Old High German matara "madder," Polish modry, Czech modry "blue").
madding (adj.) Look up madding at
present participle adjective from obsolete verb mad "to make insane; to become insane" (see madden); now principally in the phrase far from the madding crowd, title of a novel by Hardy (1874), who lifted it from a line of Gray's "Elegy" (1749), which seems to echo a line from Drummond of Hawthornden from 1614 ("Farre from the madding Worldling's hoarse discords").
maddish (adj.) Look up maddish at
1570s, from mad (adj.) + -ish.
made (adj.) Look up made at
late 14c., from Middle English maked, from Old English macod "made," past participle of macian "to make" (see make). Made up "invented" is from 1789; of minds, "settled, decided," from 1873. To be a made man is in Marlowe's "Faust" (1590). To have it made (1955) is American English colloquial. Grose's dictionary of slang and cant (1785) has for this word what might be the shortest and most cynical definition ever penned: "MADE. Stolen. Cant."
Madeira (n.) Look up Madeira at
white wine, 1540s, from island of Madeira in the Atlantic, from Portuguese madeira "wood," because the island formerly was thickly wooded, from Latin materia "wood, matter" (see matter).