marshmallow (n.) Look up marshmallow at Dictionary.com
Old English mersc-mealwe "kind of mallow plant (Althea officinalis) which grows near salt marshes;" from marsh + mallow. The confection (so called from 1877) originally was made from paste from the roots of this plant. The Greek word for the plant, althaea, is from althein "to heal."
marshy (adj.) Look up marshy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from marsh + -y (2). Related: Marshiness.
marsupial (adj.) Look up marsupial at Dictionary.com
1690s, with -al (1) + Modern Latin marsupialis "having a pouch," coined from Late Latin marsupium "pouch, purse" (Classical Latin marsuppium), from Greek marsipion, diminutive of marsipos "bag, pouch," of foreign, possibly oriental, origin. As a noun from 1805.
mart (n.) Look up mart at Dictionary.com
"market, gathering for buying and selling," mid-15c., from Middle Dutch markt, from Latin mercatus "trade" (see market).
marten (n.) Look up marten at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "skin or fur of the marten," from Old French martrine "marten fur," noun use of fem. adjective martrin "of or pertaining to the marten," from martre "marten," from Frankish *martar or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *marthuz (cognates: Old Saxon marthrin "of or pertaining to the marten," Old Frisian merth, Middle Dutch maerter, Dutch marter, Old High German mardar, German Marder, Old English mearþ, Old Norse mörðr "marten"), probably from PIE *martu- "bride," perhaps on some fancied resemblance, or else a Germanic euphemism for the real name of the animal, which might have been taboo.

In Middle English the animal itself typically was called marter, directly from Old French martre, but marten took over this sense in English c.1400.
Martha Look up Martha at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Aramaic Maretha, literally "lady, mistress," fem. of mar, mara "lord, master." As the type name of one concerned with domestic affairs, it is from Luke x:40, 41. Martha's Vineyard discovered 1602 by English explorer Gabriel Archer and apparently named by him, but the identity of the Martha he had in mind is unknown now.
martial (adj.) Look up martial at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "warlike," from Latin martialis "of Mars or war," from Mars (genitive Martis), Roman god of war; see Mars. Related: Martially. Martial law, "military rule over civilians," first recorded 1530s.
martial arts (n.) Look up martial arts at Dictionary.com
1909, translating Japanese bujutsu; see martial.
Martian (adj.) Look up Martian at Dictionary.com
late 14c., marcien "of the planet Mars" (originally in reference to astrological influence), from Latin Martius "sacred to Mars; pertaining to the planet Mars," from Mars (genitive Martis). The noun meaning "an inhabitant of the planet Mars" is attested from 1883.
martin (n.) Look up martin at Dictionary.com
kind of swallow-like bird (Chelidon urbica), 1580s, from Scot. martoune (mid-15c.), from Middle French martin, from the masc. proper name in some sense. Writers in 17c. said it was named for St. Martin of Tours (d. 397 C.E.), whose festival day (Martinmas) is Nov. 11, about the time the birds depart.
Martin Look up Martin at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Latin Martinus, derivative of Mars (genitive Martis), Roman god of war (see Mars).
martinet (n.) Look up martinet at Dictionary.com
1670s, "system of strict discipline," from the name of Jean Martinet (killed at siege of Duisburg, 1672), lieutenant colonel in the Régiment du Roi, who in 1668 was appointed inspector general of the infantry. "It was his responsibility to introduce and enforce the drill and strict discipline of the French regiment of Guards across the whole infantry." [Olaf van Minwegen, "The Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions 1588-1688," 2006] The meaning "an officer who is a stickler for strict discipline" is first attested 1779 in English. The surname is a diminutive of Latin Martinus (see Martin).
martingale (n.) Look up martingale at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Middle French martingale (16c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Provençal martegalo, fem. of martegal "inhabitant of Martigue," making the etymological sense "worn in the manner of the people of Martigue;" or perhaps from Spanish almartaga, word for a sort of halter or rein, from Arabic almartak, in which case it might have been influenced in form by the Provençal word.
martini (n.) Look up martini at Dictionary.com
1891, short for Martini cocktail (1886), perhaps from Martini & Rossi, Italian firm that makes vermouth (an ingredient of the drink); the firm was in existence then by that name, but it is not specified among the ingredients in the earliest recipes (such as Harry Johnson's "Bartender's Manual," 1888). Another theory holds that it is a corruption of Martinez, California, town where the drink was said to have originated. See discussion in Lowell Edmunds' book "Martini, Straight Up" (1998).
Martinmass Look up Martinmass at Dictionary.com
from St. Martin, 4c. bishop of Tours, whose feast was Nov. 11, + mass (n.2).
martyr (n.) Look up martyr at Dictionary.com
Old English martyr, from Late Latin martyr, from Doric Greek martyr, earlier martys (genitive martyros), in Christian use "martyr," literally "witness," probably related to mermera "care, trouble," from mermairein "be anxious or thoughtful," from PIE *(s)mrtu- (cognates: Sanskrit smarati "remember," Latin memor "mindful;" see memory).

Adopted directly into most Germanic languages, but Norse substituted native formation pislarvattr, literally "torture-witness." General sense of "constant sufferer" is from 1550s. Martyr complex "exaggerated desire for self-sacrifice" is attested from 1920.
martyr (v.) Look up martyr at Dictionary.com
Old English martyrian, from martyr (see martyr (n.)). Middle English also had a verb martyrize.
martyrdom (n.) Look up martyrdom at Dictionary.com
Old English martyrdom; see martyr (n.) + -dom.
martyrology (n.) Look up martyrology at Dictionary.com
1590s, a native formation from martyr (n.) + -ology, or else from Church Latin martyrologium, from Ecclesiastical Greek martyrologicon.
marvel (n.) Look up marvel at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "miracle," also "wonderful story or legend," from Old French merveille "a wonder, surprise, miracle," from Vulgar Latin *miribilia (also source of Spanish maravilla, Portuguese maravilha, Italian maraviglia), altered from Latin mirabilia "wonderful things," from neuter plural of mirabilis "wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary; strange, singular," from mirari "to wonder at," from mirus "wonderful" (see smile). A neuter plural treated in Vulgar Latin as a feminine singular. Related: Marvels.
marvel (v.) Look up marvel at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to be filled with wonder," from Old French merveillier "to wonder at, be astonished," from merveille (see marvel (n.)). Related: Marveled; marveling.
marvellous (adj.) Look up marvellous at Dictionary.com
see marvelous.
marvelous (adj.) Look up marvelous at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "causing wonder," from Old French merveillos "marvelous, wonderful" (Modern French merveilleux), from merveille (see marvel (n.)). Weakened sense of "splendid, very nice" is from 1924. Related: Marvelously.
Marxism (n.) Look up Marxism at Dictionary.com
1885, probably immediately from French marxisme; see Marxist + -ism. From 1884 as Karl Marxism.
Marxist (n.) Look up Marxist at Dictionary.com
1886, "devotee of the teachings of Marx," from French marxiste, from Karl Marx (1818-1883), German political theorist. The adjective is attested from 1884. The adjectival form Marxian (1940) sometimes is used (by Groucho, among others) to distinguish the U.S. vaudeville team from the German communist.
Mary Look up Mary at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, Old English Maria, Marie, "mother of Jesus," from Latin Maria, from Greek Mariam, Maria, from Aramaic Maryam, from Hebrew Miryam, sister of Moses (Ex. xv.), of unknown origin, said to mean literally "rebellion." Nursery rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb" written early 1830 by Sarah Josepha Hale of Boston; published Sept. 1830 in "Juvenile Miscellany," a popular magazine for children. Mary Jane is 1921 as the proprietary name of a kind of low-heeled shoe worn chiefly by young girls, 1928 as slang for marijuana.
Maryland Look up Maryland at Dictionary.com
U.S. state, named for Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), wife of English King Charles I. Related: Marylander.
marzipan (n.) Look up marzipan at Dictionary.com
1901 (in modern use; earlier march payne, late 15c., from French or Dutch), from German Marzipan, from Italian marzapane "candy box," from Medieval Latin matapanus "small box," earlier, "coin bearing image of seated Christ" (altered in Italian by folk etymology as though from Latin Marci panis "bread of Mark"), of uncertain origin. One suggestion is that this is from Arabic mawthaban "king who sits still." Nobody seems to quite accept this, but nobody has a better idea. The Medieval Latin word also is the source of Spanish marzapan, French massepain.
mascara (n.) Look up mascara at Dictionary.com
cosmetic for coloring eyelashes, 1883, mascaro (modern form from 1922), from Spanish mascara "a stain, a mask," from same source as Italian maschera "mask" (see mask (v.)).
mascot (n.) Look up mascot at Dictionary.com
"talisman, charm," 1881, from provincial French mascotte "sorcerer's charm, 'faerie friend,' good luck piece" (19c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Provençal mascoto "sorcery, fetish" (a Narbonnese manuscript of 1233 has mascotto "procuress, enchantment, bewitchment in gambling"), from masco "witch," from Old Provençal masca, itself of unknown origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin masca "mask, specter, nightmare" (see mask (n.)). Popularized by French composer Edmond Audran's 1880 comic operetta "La Mascotte," about a household "fairy" who gives luck to an Italian peasant, performed in a toned-down translation in England from fall 1881.
masculate (v.) Look up masculate at Dictionary.com
"to make masculine," 1620s, from Latin masculatus, from masculus (see masculine). Related: Masculated; masculating. Also in same sense is masculinize (1912).
masculine (adj.) Look up masculine at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "belonging to the male grammatical gender;" late 14c., "of men, male," from Old French masculin "of the male sex" (12c.), from Latin masculinus "male, of masculine gender," from masculus "male, masculine; worthy of a man," diminutive of mas (genitive maris) "male person, male," of unknown origin. Meaning "having the appropriate qualities of the male sex, manly, virile, powerful" is first attested 1620s. As a noun from mid-15c.
masculinity (n.) Look up masculinity at Dictionary.com
1748; see masculine + -ity. Earlier in same sense was masculineness (1660s).
maser (n.) Look up maser at Dictionary.com
1955, acronym from "microwave amplification (by) stimulated emission (of) radiation."
mash (n.) Look up mash at Dictionary.com
"soft mixture," late Old English *masc (in masc-wyrt "mash-wort, infused malt"), from Proto-Germanic *maisk- (cognates: Swedish mäsk "grains for pigs," German Maisch "crushed grapes, infused malt," Old English meox "dung, filth"), from PIE *meik- "to mix" (see mix (v.)). Originally a word in brewing; general sense of "anything reduced to a soft pulpy consistency" is recorded from 1590s, as is the figurative sense "confused mixture, muddle." Short for mashed potatoes it is attested from 1904.
mash (v.) Look up mash at Dictionary.com
Old English mæscan, "to mix with hot water," from same root as mash (n.). Meaning "to beat into a soft mass" is mid-13c. Related: Mashed; mashing. For romantic sense, see masher.
masher (n.) Look up masher at Dictionary.com
"thing that mashes," c.1500, agent noun from mash (v.). Meaning "would-be lady-killer" is from 1875, American English, perhaps in use from 1860, probably from mash (v.) on notion either of "pressing one's attentions," or of "crushing someone else's emotions" (compare crush).
He was, to use a Western expression, a 'regular heart-smasher among the women; and it may not be improper to state, just here, that no one had a more exalted opinion of his capabilities in that line than the aforesaid 'Jo' himself. ["Harper's New Monthly Magazine," March 1861]



He had a weakness to be considered a regular masher of female hearts and a very wicked young man with the fair sex generally, but there was not a well-authenticated instance of his ever having broken a heart in his life, nor likely to be one. [Gilbert A. Pierce, "Zachariah, The Congressman," Chicago, 1880]
Also in use late 19c were mash (n.) "a romantic fixation, crush" (1884); mash (v.) "excite sentimental admiration" (1882); mash-note "love letter" (1890).
mashie (n.) Look up mashie at Dictionary.com
"five iron," 1881, from Scottish, probably from French massue "club," from Vulgar Latin *mattiuca, from Latin mateola "a tool for digging" (see mace (n.1)). Related: Mashie-niblick (1903).
masjid (n.) Look up masjid at Dictionary.com
see mosque.
mask (n.) Look up mask at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Middle French masque "covering to hide or guard the face" (16c.), from Italian maschera, from Medieval Latin masca "mask, specter, nightmare," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Arabic maskharah "buffoon, mockery," from sakhira "be mocked, ridiculed." Or via Provençal mascarar, Catalan mascarar, Old French mascurer "to black (the face)," perhaps from a Germanic source akin to English mesh (q.v.). But compare Occitan mascara "to blacken, darken," derived from mask- "black," which is held to be from a pre-Indo-European language, and Old Occitan masco "witch," surviving in dialects; in Beziers it means "dark cloud before the rain comes." [See Walther von Wartburg, "Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch: Eine Darstellung galloromanischen sprachschatzes"]. Figurative use by 1570s.
mask (v.) Look up mask at Dictionary.com
1560s, "take part in a masquerade;" 1570s, "to disguise;" 1580s, "to wear a mask," from mask (n.). Figurative use by 1580s. Extended sense of "to disguise" is attested from 1847. Related: Masked; masking. Masking tape recorded from 1927; so called because it is used to block out certain surfaces before painting.
masochism (n.) Look up masochism at Dictionary.com
"sexual pleasure in being hurt or abused," 1892, from German Masochismus, coined 1883 by German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902), from name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), Austrian utopian socialist novelist who enshrined his submissive sexuality in "Venus in Furs" (1869, German title "Venus im Pelz").
masochist (n.) Look up masochist at Dictionary.com
1895, from masochism + -ist.
masochistic (adj.) Look up masochistic at Dictionary.com
1894, from masochist + -ic.
mason (n.) Look up mason at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "stoneworker" (as a surname, early 12c.), from Old French masson, maçon "stone mason" (Old North French machun), probaby from Frankish *makjo or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German steinmezzo "stone mason," Modern German Steinmetz, second element related to mahhon "to make;" see make (v.)). But it also might be from, or influenced by, Medieval Latin machio, matio (7c.) which is said by Isidore to be derived from machina (see machine). The medieval word also might be from the root of Latin maceria "wall." Meaning "a Freemason" is attested from early 15c. in Anglo-French.
Mason jar Look up Mason jar at Dictionary.com
1885, named for John Latin Mason of New York, who patented it in 1858.
Mason-Dixon Line Look up Mason-Dixon Line at Dictionary.com
1779, named for Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, English astronomers who surveyed (1763-7) the disputed boundary between the colonial holdings of the Penns (Pennsylvania) and the Calverts (Maryland). It became the technical boundary between "free" and "slave" states after 1804, when the last slaveholding state above it (New Jersey) passed its abolition act. As the line between "the North" and "the South" in U.S. culture, it is attested by 1834.
masonic (adj.) Look up masonic at Dictionary.com
1797, "pertaining to freemasons;" 1810, "pertaining to stone masons;" see mason + -ic.
Masonite Look up Masonite at Dictionary.com
1926, proprietary name of a type of fiberboard, by Mason Fibre Company, Laurel, Mississippi, U.S. As a word in mineralogy for a type of chloritoid, it honors Owen Mason of Providence, R.I.
masonry (n.) Look up masonry at Dictionary.com
"stonework," mid-14c., from Old French maçonerie (14c.), from maçon (see mason).