mass (n.1) Look up mass at
"lump, quantity, size," late 14c., from Old French masse "lump, heap, pile; crowd, large amount; ingot, bar" (11c.), and directly from Latin massa "kneaded dough, lump, that which adheres together like dough," probably from Greek maza "barley cake, lump, mass, ball," related to massein "to knead," from PIE root *mag- "to knead, fashion, fit." Sense extended in English 1580s to "a large quantity, amount, or number." Strict sense in physics is from 1704.

As an adjective from 1733, first attested in mass meeting in American English. mass culture is from 1916 in sociology (earlier in biology); mass hysteria is from 1914; mass media is from 1923; mass movement is from 1897; mass production is from 1920; mass grave is from 1918; mass murder from 1880.
mass-produce (v.) Look up mass-produce at
1921, from mass (n.1) + produce (v.). Related: Mass-produced; mass-producing.
Massa Look up Massa at
supposedly representing the colloquial African-American vernacular pronunciation of master (n.), from 1774.
Massachusetts Look up Massachusetts at
plural, originally (1614) a name for the Algonquian native people who lived around the bay, from Algonquian Massachusett "at the large hill," in reference to Great Blue Hill, southwest of Boston.
massacre (v.) Look up massacre at
1580s, from Middle French massacrer "to slaughter" (16c.), from massacre (n.) "wholesale slaughter, carnage" (see massacre (n.)). Related: Massacred; massacring.
massacre (n.) Look up massacre at
1580s, from Middle French massacre "wholesale slaughter, carnage," from Old French macacre, macecle "slaughterhouse, butchery," of unknown origin; perhaps related to Latin macellum "provisions store, butcher shop."
massage (n.) Look up massage at
1874, from French massage "friction of kneading," from masser "to massage," possibly from Arabic massa "to touch, feel, handle;" if so, probably picked up in Egypt during the Napoleonic campaign there. Other possibility is that French got it in colonial India from Portuguese amassar "knead," a verb from Latin massa "mass, dough" (see mass (n.1)). Massage parlor first attested 1894, from the start a euphemism for "house of prostitution."
massage (v.) Look up massage at
1874, from massage (n.). Related: Massaged; massaging.
masses (n.) Look up masses at
"people of the lower class," 1836; plural of mass (n.1).
masseur (n.) Look up masseur at
"man who works giving massages," 1876, from French masseur, masc. agent noun from masser (see massage). Native massagist (1889), massager (1921) have not displaced it, though the latter is used in purely mechanical and figurative senses.
masseuse (n.) Look up masseuse at
"woman who works giving massages," 1876, from French masseuse, fem. agent noun from masser (see massage).
massif (n.) Look up massif at
"cluster of hills," 1520s, from French massif (see massive), also used as a noun in French, as in Massif Central, name of the plateau in the middle of southern France.
massive (adj.) Look up massive at
c. 1400, from Middle French massif "bulky, solid," from Old French masse "lump" (see mass (n.1)). Related: Massively; massiveness. U.S. Cold War strategy of massive retaliation was introduced by J.F. Dulles in early 1954.
massy (adj.) Look up massy at
late 14c., from mass (n.1) + -y (2).
mast (n.1) Look up mast at
"long pole on a ship to support the sail," Old English mæst, from Proto-Germanic *mastaz (source also of Old Norse mastr, Middle Dutch maste, Dutch, Danish mast, German Mast), from PIE *mazdo- "a pole, rod" (source also of Latin malus "mast," Old Irish matan "club," Irish maide "a stick," Old Church Slavonic mostu "bridge"). The single mast of an old ship was the boundary between quarters of officers and crew, hence before the mast in the title of Dana's book, etc.
mast (n.2) Look up mast at
"fallen nuts; food for swine," Old English mæst, from Proto-Germanic *masto (source also of Dutch, Old High German, German mast "mast;" Old English verb mæsten "to fatten, feed"), perhaps from PIE *mad-sta-, from root *mad- "moist, wet," also used of various qualities of food (source also of Sanskrit madati "it bubbles, gladdens," medah "fat, marrow;" Latin madere "be sodden, be drunk;" Middle Persian mast "drunk;" Old English mete "food," Old High German muos "meal, mushlike food," Gothic mats "food").
mastectomy (n.) Look up mastectomy at
surgical removal of a breast, 1909, from Greek mastos "woman's breast" (see masto-) + -ectomy.
master (v.) Look up master at
early 13c., "to get the better of," from master (n.) and also from Old French maistrier, from Medieval Latin magistrare. Meaning "to reduce to subjugation" is early 15c.; that of "to acquire complete knowledge" is from 1740s. Related: Mastered; mastering.
master (n.) Look up master at
late Old English mægester "one having control or authority," from Latin magister (n.) "chief, head, director, teacher" (source of Old French maistre, French maître, Spanish and Italian maestro, Portuguese mestre, Dutch meester, German Meister), contrastive adjective ("he who is greater") from magis (adv.) "more," from PIE *mag-yos-, comparative of root *meg- "great." Form influenced in Middle English by Old French cognate maistre. Meaning "original of a recording" is from 1904. In academic senses (from Medieval Latin magister) it is attested from late 14c., originally a degree conveying authority to teach in the universities. As an adjective from late 12c.
master's degree (n.) Look up master's degree at
late 14c., originally a degree giving one authority to teach in a university; from master (n.) in its general sense of "man of learning" (early 13c.), "a teacher" (c. 1200).
master-stroke (n.) Look up master-stroke at
"masterly line or touch" (especially in painting), 1670s, from master (n.) + stroke (n.). Probably based on a Dutch or German model.
master-work (n.) Look up master-work at
c. 1600, from master (n.) + work (n.). Probably based on a Dutch or German model.
masterful (adj.) Look up masterful at
c. 1300, "fond of being a master," from master (n.) + -ful. Sense evolved through "having capabilities to command" (c. 1400) to "characterized by a master's skill" (1610s). Related: Masterfully.
masterly (adj.) Look up masterly at
1530s, "overbearing;" 1660s, "skillful," from master (n.) + -ly.
mastermind (n.) Look up mastermind at
1720, "an outstanding intellect," from master (n.) + mind (n.). Meaning "head of a criminal enterprise" is first attested 1872. As a verb from 1940. Related: Masterminded; masterminding.
masterpiece (n.) Look up masterpiece at
c. 1600, from master (n.) + piece (n.). A loan-translation of Dutch meesterstuk "work by which a craftsman attains the rank of master" (or its German cognate Meisterstück).
mastery (n.) Look up mastery at
early 13c., mesterie, "condition of being a master," also "superiority, victory;" from Old French maistrie, from maistre "master" (see master (n.)). Meaning "intellectual command" (of a topic, etc.) is from 1660s.
masthead (n.) Look up masthead at
1748, "top of a ship's mast" (the place for the display of flags), hence, from 1838, "top of a newspaper;" from mast (n.1) + head (n.).
mastic (n.) Look up mastic at
resin obtained from certain trees, late 14c., from Old French mastic (13c.) and directly from Late Latin mastichum, from Latin mastiche, from Greek mastikhe, of uncertain origin, probably related to masasthai "to chew" (see mastication). The substance is used as a chewing gum in the East.
masticable (adj.) Look up masticable at
1802; see masticate + -able.
masticate (v.) Look up masticate at
1640s, back-formation from mastication, or else from Late Latin masticatus, past participle of masticare "to chew." Related: Masticated; masticating.
mastication (n.) Look up mastication at
early 15c., from Old French masticacion and directly from Latin masticationem (nominative masticatio), noun of action from masticare "to chew" (source of Old French maschier, French mâcher), probably from a Greek source related to mastikhan "to gnash the teeth," from PIE *mendh- "to chew" (see mandible).
mastiff (n.) Look up mastiff at
large, powerful breed of dog, early 14c., from Old French mastin "great cur, mastiff" (Modern French mâtin) or Provençal mastis, both from Vulgar Latin *mansuetinus "domesticated, tame," from Latin mansuetus "tame, gentle" (see mansuetude). Probably originally meaning a dog that stays in the house, thus a guard-dog or watchdog. Form in English perhaps influenced by Old French mestif "mongrel."
mastitis (n.) Look up mastitis at
1842, medical Latin, from Greek mastos (see masto-) + -itis "inflammation."
masto- Look up masto- at
before vowels mast-, word-forming element meaning "breast," from Greek mastos "woman's breast," from madan "to be wet, to flow," from PIE *mad- "wet, moist, dripping" (source also of Latin madere "be moist;" Albanian mend "suckle;" see mast (n.2)).
mastodon (n.) Look up mastodon at
1813, from Modern Latin genus name Mastodon (1806), coined by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) from Greek mastos "breast" (see masto-) + -odon "tooth" (from PIE root *dent- "tooth"); so called from the nipple-like projections on the crowns of the extinct mammal's fossil molars. Related: Mastodontic.
mastoid (adj.) Look up mastoid at
"breast-shaped, resembling a breast or nipple," 1732, from Greek mastoeides "resembling a breast," from mastos "(woman's) breast" (see masto-) + -oeides "like," from eidos "form, shape" (see -oid). As a noun, 1800, from the adjective.
masturbate (v.) Look up masturbate at
1839, back-formation from masturbation, or else from Latin masturbatus, past participle of masturbari. Related: Masturbated; masturbating.
masturbation (n.) Look up masturbation at
1711 (earlier as mastupration, 1620s), from French masturbation and directly from Modern Latin masturbationem (nominative masturbatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin masturbari "to masturbate." The long-standing speculation is that this Latin word is altered (probably by influence of turbare "to disturb, confuse") from *manstuprare, from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (see manual) + stuprare "defile" (oneself), from stuprum "defilement, dishonor," related to stupere "to be stunned, stupefied" (see stupid). But perhaps the first element represents an unattested *mazdo- "penis" [OED]. An earlier technical word for this was Onanism. Related: Masturbational.
masturbator (n.) Look up masturbator at
1818, agent noun from Latin source of masturbate (q.v.). Related: Masturbatory.
mat (n.1) Look up mat at
loosely joined natural materials used as bedding, etc., Old English matte, from Late Latin matta "mat made of rushes" (4c.), probably from Punic or Phoenician matta (compare Hebrew mittah "bed, couch"). Meaning "tangled mass" is from 1835. That of "piece of padded flooring used in gymnastics or wrestling" is attested from 1892; hence figurative phrase go to the mat "do battle" (1910). The Latin word also is the source of German Matte, matze; Dutch mat, Italian matta. French natte "mat, matting" is from Late Latin secondary form natta (compare napkin).
mat (adj.) Look up mat at
1640s, "lusterless, dull" (of a color or surface), from French mat "dull, dead surface," from Old French mat "beaten down, withered, afflicted, dejected; dull," which is perhaps from Latin mattus "maudlin with drink," from madere "to be wet or sodden, be drunk," from PIE root *mad- "to be wet, drip" (see mast (n.2)). Or the French word might represent a transferred use from chess of mater "to checkmate, defeat," from Arabic (see mate (v.2)).
mat (n.2) Look up mat at
"sheet of backing material," 1845, from French mat "dull surface or finish" (15c.), noun use of Old French mat (adj.); see mat (adj.).
mat (v.) Look up mat at
early 15c., "to make mats," from mat (n.1). From 1540s as "to provide with mats, to cover with mats;" meaning "to become tangled" is from 1570s. Related: Matted; matting.
Mata Hari Look up Mata Hari at
stage name taken by exotic dancer Margaretha Gertruida Zelle (1876-1917), from Malay (Austronesian) mata "eye" + hari "day, dawn."
matador (n.) Look up matador at
man who kills the bull in a bullfight, 1670s, from Spanish matador, literally "killer," from matar "to kill or wound," probably from Arabic mata "he died," from Persian (see second element in checkmate). Fem. form is matadora.
match (n.1) Look up match at
"stick for striking fire," late 14c., macche, "wick of a candle or lamp," from Old French meiche "wick of a candle," from Vulgar Latin *micca/*miccia (source also of Catalan metxa, Spanish mecha, Italian miccia), probably ultimately from Latin myxa, from Greek myxa "lamp wick," originally "mucus," based on notion of wick dangling from the spout of a lamp like snot from a nostril, from PIE root *meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus). Modern spelling is from mid-15c. (English snot also had a secondary sense of "snuff of a candle, burnt part of a wick" from late 14c., surviving at least to late 19c. in northern dialects.)

Meaning "piece of cord or splinter of wood soaked in sulfur, used for lighting fires, lamps, candles, etc." is from 1530. First used 1831 for the modern type of wooden friction match, and competed with lucifer for much of 19c. as the name for this invention.
match (v.) Look up match at
"to join one to another" (originally especially in marriage), late 14c., from match (n.2). Meaning "to place (one) in conflict with (another)" is from c. 1400. That of "to pair with a view to fitness" is from 1520s; that of "to be equal to" is from 1590s. Related: Matched; matching.
match (n.2) Look up match at
"one of a pair, an equal," Old English mæcca, "companion, mate, one of a pair, wife, husband, one suited to another, an equal," from gemæcca, from Proto-Germanic *gamakon "fitting well together" (source also of Old Saxon gimaco "fellow, equal," Old High German gimah "comfort, ease," Middle High German gemach "comfortable, quiet," German gemach "easy, leisurely"), from PIE root *mag- "to knead, fashion, fit." Middle English sense of "matching adversary, person able to contend with another" (c. 1300) led to sporting meaning "contest," first attested 1540s.
match-girl (n.) Look up match-girl at
1765, from match (n.1) + girl. The tragic story of "The Little Match-Girl" (Danish title Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne) by H.C. Andersen was published first in 1845, translated into English by 1847.