magnesia (n.) Look up magnesia at Dictionary.com
late 14c., in alchemy, "main ingredient of the philosopher's stone," from Medieval Latin magnesia, from Greek (he) Magnesia (lithos) "the lodestone," literally "(the) Magnesian (stone)," from Magnesia, region in Thessaly, which is said to be named for the native people name Magnetes, which is of unknown origin. The ancient word, in this sense, has evolved into magnet. But in ancient times the same word, magnes, was used of lodestone as well as of a mineral commonly used in bleaching glass (modern pyrolusite, or manganese dioxide).

In Middle Ages there was some attempt to distinguish lodestone as magnes (masc.) and pyrolusite as magnesia (fem.). Meanwhile, in 18c., a white powder (magnesium carbonate) used as a cosmetic and toothpaste was sold in Rome as magnesia alba ("white magnesia"). It was from this, in 1808, that Davy isolated magnesium. He wanted to call it magnium, to stay as far as possible from the confused word magnesia, but the name was adopted in the form magnesium. Meanwhile from 16c. the other name of pyrolusite had been corrupted to manganese, and when, in 1774, a new element was isolated from it, it came to be called manganese.

Magnesia in its main modern sense of "magnesium oxide" (1755) is perhaps an independent formation from Latin magnes carneus "flesh-magnet" (c.1550), so called because it adheres strongly to the lips.
magnesium (n.) Look up magnesium at Dictionary.com
silvery-white metallic element, 1808, coined by English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) from white magnesia (q.v.), in which it was found, + chemical ending -ium.
magnet (n.) Look up magnet at Dictionary.com
mid-15c. (earlier magnes, late 14c.), from Old French magnete "magnetite, magnet, lodestone," and directly from Latin magnetum (nominative magnes) "lodestone," from Greek ho Magnes lithos "the Magnesian stone," from Magnesia, region in Thessaly where magnetized ore was obtained. Figurative use from 1650s. It has spread from Latin to most Western European languages (German and Danish magnet, Dutch magneet, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese magnete), but it was superseded in French by aimant. Also see magnesia. Chick magnet attested from 1989.
magnetic (adj.) Look up magnetic at Dictionary.com
1610s, literal; 1630s, figurative, from Modern Latin magneticus, from Latin magnes (see magnet).
magnetism (n.) Look up magnetism at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Modern Latin magnetismus (see magnet + -ism). Figurative sense of "personal charm" is from 1650s; in the hypnotic sense it is from Mesmer (see mesmerism). Meaning "science of magnetics" is recorded from early 19c.
magnetite (n.) Look up magnetite at Dictionary.com
magnetic iron ore, 1840, from German magnetit; see magnet + -ite (2).
magnetization (n.) Look up magnetization at Dictionary.com
1801, noun of action from magnetize.
magnetize (v.) Look up magnetize at Dictionary.com
1799, from magnet + -ize. Related: Magnetized; magnetizing. From 1785 in now-obsolete sense of "to mesmerize."
magneto (n.) Look up magneto at Dictionary.com
1882, short for magneto-electric machine (see magneto-).
magneto- Look up magneto- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "magnetic, magnetism," from Greek magneto-, combining form of magnes (see magnet).
magneto-electric (adj.) Look up magneto-electric at Dictionary.com
also magnetoelectric, "characterized by electricity produced by magnets," 1831, from magneto- + electric.
magnetopause (n.) Look up magnetopause at Dictionary.com
1963, from magneto- in magnetosphere + pause (n.).
magnetosphere (n.) Look up magnetosphere at Dictionary.com
1959, from magneto- + sphere. So called because in it the magnetic field of the earth plays a dominant role in the motion of particles.
magni- Look up magni- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "great," from Latin magni-, comb. form of magnus "great" (see magnate (n.)).
Magnificat (n.) Look up Magnificat at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from Latin third person singular of magnificare (see magnificence), from first words of the Virgin's hymn (Luke i:46, in Vulgate Magnificat anima mea dominum "My soul doth magnify the Lord") used as a canticle.
magnification (n.) Look up magnification at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Late Latin magnificationem (nominative magnificatio), noun of action from past participle stem of magnificare (see magnify).
magnificence (n.) Look up magnificence at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "great-mindedness, courage," from Old French magnificence "splendor, nobility, grandeur," from Latin magnificentia "splendor, munificence," from stem of magnificus "great, elevated, noble, eminent," also "splendid, rich, fine, costly," literally "doing great deeds," from magnus "great" (see magnate) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Meaning "greatness, grandeur, glory" in English is from late 14c. That of "beauty, splendor, wealth" is 15c. As one of the Aristotelian and scholastic virtues, it translates Greek megaloprepeia "liberality of expenditure combined with good taste."
magnificent (adj.) Look up magnificent at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Old French magnificent, a back-formation from Latin magnificentior, comparative of magnificus "great, elevated, noble, distinguished," literally "doing great deeds" (see magnificence).
magnificently (adv.) Look up magnificently at Dictionary.com
"in a splendid manner," early 15c.; see magnificent + -ly (2).
magnifier (n.) Look up magnifier at Dictionary.com
1540s, agent noun from magnify.
magnify (v.) Look up magnify at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to speak or act for the glory or honor (of someone or something)," from Old French magnefiier "glorify, magnify," from Latin magnificare "esteem greatly, extol, make much of," from magnificus "great, elevated, noble" (see magnificence). Meaning "use a telescope or microscope" is first attested 1660s, said to be a unique development in English. Related: Magnified; magnifying.
magniloquence (n.) Look up magniloquence at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Latin magniloquentia "elevated language, lofty style;" see magniloquent + -ence.
magniloquent (adj.) Look up magniloquent at Dictionary.com
1650s, a back-formation from magniloquence, or else from Latin magniloquentia "lofty style of language," from magniloquus "pompous in talk, vaunting, boastful," from comb. form of magnus "great" (see magnate) + -loquus "speaking," from loqui "to speak" (see locution).
magnitude (n.) Look up magnitude at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "greatness of size or character," from Latin magnitudo "greatness, bulk, size," from magnus "great" (see magnate) + -tudo, suffix forming abstract nouns from adjectives and participles (see -tude). Meaning "size, extent" is from early 15c. Of stars, "brightness," from 1640s.
magnitudinous (adj.) Look up magnitudinous at Dictionary.com
1789; see magnitude + -ous.
magnolia (n.) Look up magnolia at Dictionary.com
plant genus, 1748, from Magnolius, Latinized name of Pierre Magnol (1638-1715), French physician and botanist, professor of botany at Montpellier. As the name of a color, by 1931.
magnum (n.) Look up magnum at Dictionary.com
1788, "bottle containing two quarts of wine or spirits," from Latin magnum, neuter of magnus "great in size" (see magnate). Registered 1935 by Smith & Wesson Inc., of Springfield, Massachusetts, as the name of a powerful type of handgun.
magnum opus Look up magnum opus at Dictionary.com
"masterpiece, a person's greatest work," Latin, literally "great work" (see magnum + opus).
Magnus Look up Magnus at Dictionary.com
Scandinavian masc. proper name, popular with early kings, the first to use it was Magnus I, king of Norway and Denmark (d.1047), who evidently took it in emulation of Charlemagne (Latin Carolus Magnus) under the impression that magnus (Latin, literally "great;" see magnate) was a personal name.
magpie (n.) Look up magpie at Dictionary.com
the common European bird, known for its chattering, c.1600, earlier simply pie (early 13c.); first element from Mag, nickname for Margaret, long used in proverbial and slang English for qualities associated generally with women, especially in this case "idle chattering" (as in Magge tales "tall tales, nonsense," early 15c.; also compare French margot "magpie," from Margot, pet form of Marguerite).

Second element, pie, is the earlier name of the bird, from Old French pie, from Latin pica "magpie," fem. of picus "woodpecker," from PIE root *(s)peik- "woodpecker, magpie" (cognates: Umbrian peica "magpie," Sanskrit pikah "Indian cuckoo," Old Norse spætr, German Specht "woodpecker"); possibly from PIE root *pi-, denoting pointedness, of the beak, perhaps, but the magpie also has a long, pointed tail. The birds are proverbial for pilfering and hoarding, can be taught to speak, and have been regarded since the Middle Ages as ill omens.
Whan pyes chatter vpon a house it is a sygne of ryghte euyll tydynges. [1507]
Divination by number of magpies is attested from c.1780 in Lincolnshire; the rhyme varies from place to place, the only consistency being that one is bad, two are good.
Magrib Look up Magrib at Dictionary.com
"Barbary," from Arabic Maghrib, literally "the west," from gharaba "(the sun) has set."
maguey (n.) Look up maguey at Dictionary.com
"agave," 1550s, from Spanish, from Taino, a native Haitian language.
Magus (n.) Look up Magus at Dictionary.com
member of the ancient Persian priestly caste, late 14c., singular of magi (q.v.).
Magyar Look up Magyar at Dictionary.com
"a Hungarian," 1797, the people's native name. As an adjective by 1828.
mah-jongg (n.) Look up mah-jongg at Dictionary.com
1922, from dialectal Chinese (Shanghai) ma chiang, name of the game, literally "sparrows," from ma "hemp" + chiang "little birds." The game so called from the design of the pieces. It had a vogue in Europe and the U.S. in the 1920s and for a time threatened to supplant bridge in popularity.
maharajah (n.) Look up maharajah at Dictionary.com
also maharaja, 1690s, from Hindi, "great king," from Sanskrit maha "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great;" see magnate) + rajan "king" (see rajah). The fem. equivalent is maharani (1855).
maharishi (n.) Look up maharishi at Dictionary.com
Hindu sage or holy man, 1785, from Sanskrit, from maha "great," from PIE root *meg- "great" (see magnate) + rishi "inspired sage." In general use, a title for a popular spiritual leader.
mahatma (n.) Look up mahatma at Dictionary.com
1884, literally "great-souled," from Sanskrit mahatman, from maha "great," from PIE root *meg- "great" (see magnate) + atman, "soul, principle of life," properly "breath" (see atman). In esoteric Buddhism, "a person of supernatural powers." In common use, as a title, a mark of love and respect. Said to have been applied to Gandhi (1869-1948) in 1915 by poet Rabrindranath Tagore.
Mahayana Look up Mahayana at Dictionary.com
type of Buddhism practiced in northern Asia, 1868, from Sanskrit, from maha "great," from PIE root *meg- "great" (see magnate) + yana "vehicle," from PIE root *ei- "to go" (see ion).
Mahdi (n.) Look up Mahdi at Dictionary.com
1792, from Arabic mahdiy, literally "he who is guided aright," past participle of hada "to lead in the right way." Spiritual and temporal leader expected by some Muslims. Applied c.1880 to insurrectionary leaders in the Sudan who claimed to be him. Related: Mahdism.
mahogany (n.) Look up mahogany at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Spanish mahogani, of unknown origin; perhaps from the tree's native name in Maya (Honduras). As an adjective from 1730.
Mahomet Look up Mahomet at Dictionary.com
see Muhammad. Related: Mahometan.
Maia Look up Maia at Dictionary.com
Roman goddess of fertility, Latin Maia, literally "she who brings increase," related to magnus "great" (see magnate). Maia, one of the Pleiades, is from Greek Maia, daughter of Atlas, mother of Hermes, literally "mother, good mother, dame; foster-mother, nurse, midwife," said by Watkins to be from infant babbling (see mamma).
maid (n.) Look up maid at Dictionary.com
late 12c., "a virgin, a young unmarried woman," shortening of maiden (n.). Like that word, used in Middle English of unmarried men as well as women (as in maiden-man, c.1200, used of both sexes, reflecting also the generic use of man). Domestic help sense is from c.1300. In reference to Joan of Arc, attested from 1540s (French la Pucelle). Maid Marian, one of Robin Hood's companions, first recorded 1520s, perhaps from French, where Robin et Marian have been stock names for country lovers since 13c. Maid of Honor (1580s) originally was "unmarried lady of noble birth who attends a queen or princess;" meaning "principal bridesmaid" is attested from 1895. Maydelond (translating Latin terra feminarum) was "the land of the Amazons."
maiden (n.) Look up maiden at Dictionary.com
Old English mægden, mæden "maiden, virgin, girl; maid, servant," diminutive of mægð, mægeð "virgin, girl; woman, wife," from Proto-Germanic *magadinom "young womanhood, sexually inexperienced female" (cognates: Old Saxon magath, Old Frisian maged, Old High German magad "virgin, maid," German Magd "maid, maidservant," German Mädchen "girl, maid," from Mägdchen "little maid"), fem. variant of PIE root *maghu- "youngster of either sex, unmarried person" (cognates: Old English magu "child, son, male descendant," Avestan magava- "unmarried," Old Irish maug "slave").
maiden (adj.) Look up maiden at Dictionary.com
"virgin, unmarried," c.1300, from maiden (n.). The figurative sense of "new fresh, first" (as in maiden voyage) is first recorded 1550s. Maiden name is from 1680s.
maidenhead (n.) Look up maidenhead at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from maiden (n.) + -head (see godhead). Compare also maidehede (c.1200) "celibacy, virginity" (of men or women).
maidenhood (n.) Look up maidenhood at Dictionary.com
Old English mægdenhad "maidenhood;" see maiden (n.) + -hood.
maidenly (adj.) Look up maidenly at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from maiden (n.) + -ly (1).
maidservant (n.) Look up maidservant at Dictionary.com
1520s, from maid (n.) + servant.