modus (n.)
"way in which anything is done," 1640s, from Latin modus (plural modi), literally "a measure, extent, quantity; manner" (see mode (n.1)). Especially in modus operandi and modus vivendi.
modus operandi (n.)
"way of doing or accomplishing," 1650s, Latin, literally "mode of operating" (see modus). Abbreviation m.o. is attested from 1955.
modus vivendi (n.)
1879, Latin, literally "way of living or getting along" (see modus).
Modus vivendi is any temporary compromise that enables parties to carry on pending settlement of a dispute that would otherwise paralyse their activities. [Fowler]
mody (adj.)
"fashionable," 1701, from mode (n.2) + -y (2).
Moeris
former large lake of northern Egypt, from Egyptian mer-ur "big lake," from mer "lake" + ur "big."
Mogadishu
city in Somalia, from Arabic mukaddas "holy."
Mogen David
1904, "star of David," six-pointed star, symbol of Judaism or Zionism, from Hebrew maghen Dawidh "shield of David," king of Judah and Israel, died c.973 B.C.E.
mogul (n.1)
"powerful person," 1670s, from Great Mogul, Mongol emperor of India after the conquest of 1520s, from Persian and Arabic mughal, mughul, alteration of Mongol (q.v.), the Asiatic people.
mogul (n.2)
"elevation on a ski slope," 1961, probably [Barnhart] from Scandinavian (compare dialectal Norwegian mugje, fem. muga, "a heap, a mound"), or [OED] from southern German dialect mugel in the same sense.
mohair (n.)
1610s, earlier mocayre, 1560s, "fine hair of the Angora goat," also "a fabric made from this," from Middle French mocayart (16c.), Italian mocaiarro, both from Arabic mukhayyar "cloth of goat hair," literally "selected, choice," from khayyara "he chose." Spelling influenced in English by association with hair. Moire "watered silk" (1650s) probably represents English mohair borrowed into French and back into English.
Mohammed
former common English transliteration of Muhammad.
The worst of letting the learned gentry bully us out of our traditional Mahometan & Mahomet ... is this: no sooner have we tried to be good & learnt to say, or at least write, Mohammed than they are fired with zeal to get us a step or two further on the path of truth, which at present seems likely to end in Muhammad with a dot under the h .... [H.W. Fowler, "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage," 1926]
Mohammedan
see Mohammed. Related: Mohammedanism.
Mohawk
North American Indian tribe name, Iroquoian, 1630s, Mohowawogs (plural), said to mean "they eat living things" in a southern New England Algonquian tongue, probably a reference to cannibalism. Compare Unami Delaware /muhuwe:yck/ "cannibal monsters." The people's name for themselves is kanye'keha:ka. Meaning "haircut style favored by punk rockers" is c.1975, from fancied resemblance to hair style of the Indians in old illustrations. The style of cut earlier was called a Mohican (1960). Mohoc, Mohock, variant form of the word, was the name given 1711 to gangs of aristocratic London ruffians.
Mohican
from Mahican (Algonquian) ma:hi:kan "people of the tidal estuary." Spelling with -o- popularized by James Fenimore Cooper's novel.
moiety (n.)
"an equal half," mid-15c., from Old French moite, earlier meitiet (12c., Modern French moitié) "half; middle; portion, piece," from Latin meditatem (nominative medietas) "half," originally "middle point," from medius "middle" (see medial (adj.)).
moil (v.)
"to labour in the mire" [Johnson], c.1400, from Old French moillier "to wet, moisten" (12c., Modern French mouiller), from Vulgar Latin *molliare, from Latin mollis "soft," from PIE *mel- "soft" (see mild). Related: Moiled; moiling.
moil (n.)
"toil, labor," 1612, from moil (v.).
Moira
fem. proper name, one of the Fates, from Greek Moira, literally "share, fate," related to moros "fate, destiny, doom," meros "part, lot," meiresthai "to receive one's share" (see merit (n.)).
moire (n.)
"watered silk," 1650s, from French moire (17c.); see mohair. As an adjective, moiré "having the appearance of watered silk," it is attested from 1823.
moist (adj.)
late 14c., "moist, wet; well-irrigated," from Old French moiste "damp, wet, soaked" (13c., Modern French moite), from Vulgar Latin *muscidus "moldy," also "wet," from Latin mucidus "slimy, moldy, musty," from mucus "slime" (see mucus). Alternative etymology [Diez] is from Latin musteus "fresh, green, new," literally "like new wine," from musteum "new wine" (see must (n.1)). If this wasn't the source, it influenced the form of the other word in Old French. Related: Moistly; moistness.
moisten (v.)
1570s, from moist + -en (1). Related: Moistened; moistening. The earlier verb was simply moist (early 14c.), from Old French moistir.
moistener (n.)
1610s, agent noun from moisten (v.).
moisture (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French moistour "moisture, dampness, wetness" (13c., Modern French moiteur), from moiste (see moist).
moisturize (v.)
1945, from moisture + -ize. Related: Moisturized; moisturizing.
moisturizer (n.)
1915, from moisture; attested earlier than moisturize.
Mojave
also Mohave, 1831, from native (Yuman) name, hamakhaav, perhaps containing aha "water."
mojo (n.)
"magic," 1920s, probably of Creole origin, compare Gullah moco "witchcraft," Fula moco'o "medicine man."
moke (n.)
"dolt," 1855, originally (16c.) "donkey;" of unknown origin, perhaps originally a personal name. In U.S., "black person," from 1856.
mola (n.1)
type of fish, 1670s, from Latin mola, literally "millstone" (see molar). So called because of the fish's shape and rough skin.
mola (n.2)
"false conception," c.1600, from Latin mola "false conception," from earlier sense "salt cake;" literally "millstone" (see molar).
molar (n.)
"grinding tooth," mid-14c., from Latin molaris dens "grinding tooth," from mola "millstone," from PIE root *mel- "to rub, grind" (see mill (n.1)). As an adjective in this sense from 1620s. In Old English they were cweornteð "quern-teeth."
molar (adj.)
in chemistry, "pertaining to one mole," 1902, from mole (4) + -ar.
molasses (n.)
1580s, from Portuguese melaço, from Late Latin mellaceum "new wine," properly neuter of mellaceus "resembling honey," from Latin mel (genitive mellis) "honey" (see Melissa). Adopted in English in plural form, but regarded as a singular noun.
mold (n.1)
also mould, "hollow shape," c.1200, originally "fashion, form; nature, native constitution, character," metathesized from Old French modle "model, plan, copy; way, manner" (12c., Modern French moule), from Latin modulum (nominative modulus) "measure, model," diminutive of modus "manner" (see mode (1)). From c.1300 as "pattern or model by which something is shaped or made." To break the mold "render impossible the creation of another" is from 1560s.
mold (n.2)
also mould, "furry fungus," early 15c., probably from moulde, past participle of moulen "to grow moldy" (early 13c.), related to Old Norse mygla "grow moldy," possibly from Proto-Germanic *(s)muk- indicating "wetness, slipperiness," from PIE *meug- (see mucus). Or it might have evolved from (or been influenced by) Old English molde "loose earth" (see mold (n.3)).
mold (n.3)
also mould, "loose earth," Old English molde "earth, sand, dust, soil; land, country, world," from Proto-Germanic *mulda (cognates: Old Frisian molde "earth, soil," Old Norse mold "earth," Middle Dutch moude, Dutch moude, Old High German molta "dust, earth," Gothic mulda "dust"), from PIE root *mele- "to rub, grind" (see meal (n.2)). Specifically, since late (Christian) Old English, "the earth of the grave."
mold (v.)
also mould, mid-14c., "to mix, blend;" late 14c. "to knead, shape," from mold (n.1). Figurative sense (of character, etc.) is from c.1600. Related: Molded; molding.
moldable (adj.)
also mouldable, 1620s, from mold (v.) + -able. Related: Moldably; moldability.
Moldavia
Latinized form of Moldova.
Moldavian
c.1600 (n.); 1760 (adj.), from Moldavia + -ian.
molded (adj.)
also moulded, 1680s, past participle adjective from mold (v.).
molder (v.)
also moulder, "to crumble away," 1530s, probably frequentative of mold (n.3) "loose earth." Related: Moldered; moldering.
molder (n.)
also moulder, mid-15c., "one who molds or forms," agent noun from mold (v.). From late 13c. as a surname.
molding (n.)
also moulding, early 14c., "act of kneading," from mold (n.1). Architectural sense is from mid-15c.; carpentry sense is from 1670s.
Moldova
country in Eastern Europe, named for the river through it, probably from PIE root *mel- "dark, soiled, black."
moldwarp (n.)
also mouldwarp, early 14c., moldewarp, from Proto-Germanic *moldo-worpo(n)-, literally "earth-thrower," from to Old English molde "earth, soil" (see mole (n.2) + weorpan "to throw" (see warp (v.)). Common Germanic, compare Old Saxon moldwerp, Dutch mulworp, Norwegian moldvarp, Danish muldvarp, Old High German multwurf, German Maulwurf (influenced by Maul "mouth").
moldy (adj.)
also mouldy, 1570s, earlier mowly (late 14c.), from mold (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Moldiness.
mole (n.1)
spot on skin, Old English mal "spot, mark, blemish," especially on cloth or linen, from Proto-Germanic *mailan "spot, mark" (cognates: Old High German meil, German Mal, Gothic mail "wrinkle"), from PIE root *mai- "to stain, defile" (cognates: Greek miainein "to stain, defile," see miasma). Specifically of dark marks on human skin from late 14c.
mole (n.2)
type of small burrowing mammal (Talpa europea), mid-14c., probably from obsolete moldwarp, literally "earth-thrower." Spy sense first recorded 1974 in John le Carré (but suggested from early 20c.), from notion of "burrowing." Metaphoric use for "one who works in darkness" is from c.1600.
mole (n.3)
"breakwater," 1540s, from Middle French môle "breakwater" (16c.), ultimately from Latin moles "mass, massive structure, barrier," from PIE root *mo- "to exert oneself" (cognates: Greek molos "effort," molis "hardly, scarcely;" German mühen "to tire," müde "weary, tired;" Russian majat' "to fatigue, exhaust," maja "hard work").