mutation (n.) Look up mutation at
late 14c., "action of changing," from Old French mutacion (13c.), and directly from Latin mutationem (nominative mutatio) "a changing, alteration, a turn for the worse," noun of action from past participle stem of mutare "to change" (see mutable). Genetic sense is from 1894. The linguist's i-mutation is attested from 1906; earlier i-umlaut.
mutatis mutandis Look up mutatis mutandis at
"with the necessary changes," Latin, literally "things being changed that have to be changed," from the ablative plurals of, respectively, the past participle and gerundive of mutare "to change" (see mutable).
mute (adj.) Look up mute at
late 14c., mewet "silent," from Old French muet "dumb, mute" (12c.), diminutive of mut, mo, from Latin mutus "silent, speechless, dumb," probably from imitative base *meue- (cognates: Sanskrit mukah "dumb," Greek myein "to be shut," of the mouth). Form assimilated in 16c. to Latin mutus.
mute (v.) Look up mute at
"deaden the sound of," 1861, from mute (n.). Related: Muted; muting.
mute (n.) Look up mute at
1570s, "stage actor in a dumb show;" 1610s as "person who does not speak," from mute (adj.). Musical sense first recorded 1811 of stringed instruments, 1841, of horns.
muted (adj.) Look up muted at
1861, in reference to musical instruments, past participle adjective from mute (v.). Figuratively by 1879. Of colors by 1939. Related: mutedness.
mutely (adv.) Look up mutely at
1620s, from mute (adj.) + -ly (2).
muteness (n.) Look up muteness at
1580s, from mute (adj.) + -ness.
mutilate (v.) Look up mutilate at
1530s, of things; 1560s, of persons; from Latin mutilatus, past participle of mutilare "to cut off, lop off, cut short; maim, mutilate," from mutilus "maimed" (see mutilation). Technically, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.
mutilation (n.) Look up mutilation at
1520s, in Scots law, "act of disabling or wounding a limb," from Middle French mutilation and directly from Late Latin mutilationem (nominative mutilatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin mutilare "to cut or lop off," from mutilus "maimed," which perhaps is cognate with Greek mytilos "hornless." Of things, "a destroying of unity by damaging or removing a part," from 1630s.
mutineer (n.) Look up mutineer at
"one guilty of mutiny," c. 1600, from French mutinier (16c.), from Middle French meutin "rebellious" (see mutiny (n.)). As a verb from 1680s.
mutinous (adj.) Look up mutinous at
1570s, from mutine (see mutiny) + -ous. Related: Mutinously; mutinousness.
mutiny (n.) Look up mutiny at
1560s, with noun suffix -y (4) + obsolete verb mutine "revolt" (1540s), from Middle French mutiner "to revolt," from meutin "rebellious," from meute "a revolt, movement," from Vulgar Latin *movita "a military uprising," from fem. past participle of Latin movere "to move" (see move (v.)).
mutiny (v.) Look up mutiny at
1580s, from mutiny (n.). Alternative mutine is recorded from 1550s. Related: Mutinied; mutinying.
mutism (n.) Look up mutism at
"state of being mute," 1824, from French mutisme (1741), from Latin mutus (see mute (adj.)).
mutt (n.) Look up mutt at
1901, "stupid or foolish person," probably a shortening of muttonhead (1803) in the same sense; see mutton and compare meathead, etc. Mutt was used by 1898 of a dog, especially a stupid one, and perhaps this is the same word formed independently (muttonhead also was used of stupid animals), or else a separate word of unknown derivation. Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) has "Mutton! used in scolding a dog, prob. in allusion to the offence of sheep-worrying."
"That dog ain't no mutt," McManus would say as he stood behind the bar opening oysters; "no an he ain't no rube! Say! he's in it all the time when Charley trims the steaks." [Robert W. Chambers, "The Haunts of Men," 1898]
Used by 1910 in dog fancier publications to refer to a non-purebred animal.
Mutt and Jeff Look up Mutt and Jeff at
comic strip characters Augustus Mutt and Jim Jeffries, in U.S. cartoonist Henry Conway ("Bud") Fisher's strip, which debuted in 1907. Used allusively from 1917 in reference to "a pair of stupid men, affable losers," or to one tall (Mutt) and one short (Jeff).
mutter (v.) Look up mutter at
early 14c., moteren "to mumble," from a common PIE imitative *mut- "to grunt, mutter" (cognates: Old Norse muðla "to murmur," Latin muttire "to mutter," Old High German mutilon "to murmur, mutter; to drizzle"), with frequentative suffix -er. Related: Muttered; muttering.
mutter (n.) Look up mutter at
1630s, from mutter (v.).
mutton (n.) Look up mutton at
"flesh of sheep used as food," late 13c., from Old French moton "mutton; ram, wether, sheep" (12c., Modern French mouton), from Medieval Latin multonem (8c.), probably from Gallo-Roman *multo-s, accusative of Celtic *multo "sheep" (cognates: Old Irish molt "wether," Mid-Breton mout, Welsh mollt); the same word also was borrowed into Italian as montone "a sheep." Transferred slang sense of "food for lust, loose women, prostitutes" (1510s) led to extensive British slang uses down to the present day for woman variously regarded as seeking lovers or as lust objects. Mutton chop is from 1720; as a style of side whiskers, from 1865.
mutual (adj.) Look up mutual at
late 15c., originally of feelings, from Middle French mutuel (14c.), from Latin mutuus "reciprocal, done in exchange," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, exchange" (see mutable).
That is common which pertains equally to two or more persons or things.
That is mutual which is freely interchanged: mutual love, affection, hatred. The word is sometimes incorrectly used for common: our mutual friend, a phrase of very frequent occurrence, no doubt owing to the perfectly correct 'mutual friendship.'
[J.H.A. Günther, "English Synonyms Explained & Illustrated," Groningen, 1904]
Mutual Admiration Society (1851) seems to have been coined by Thoreau. Mutual fund is recorded from 1950. The Cold War's mutual assured destruction attested from 1966. (Assured destruction was an early 1960s term in U.S. military policy circles in reference to nuclear weapons as a deterrent, popularized c. 1964 by Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson, e.g. statement before House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 18, 1965; the mutual perhaps first added by Donald Brennan, conservative defense analyst and a public critic of the policy, who also noted the acronym MAD.)
mutual (n.) Look up mutual at
short for mutual fund, 1971; see mutual.
mutualism (n.) Look up mutualism at
1849, in reference to the doctrine of French anarchist/socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), from French mutuellisme. In biology, from 1876, from mutual + -ism.
mutualistic (adj.) Look up mutualistic at
1885, from mutualist "advocate of mutualism" (1848); see mutualism.
mutuality (n.) Look up mutuality at
1580s, from mutual + -ity.
mutually (adv.) Look up mutually at
1530s, from mutual + -ly (2). Mutually exclusive is recorded by 1650s.
muumuu (n.) Look up muumuu at
also muu-muu, 1923, from Hawaiian mu'u mu'u, literally "cut off," name given to the local adaptation of the dresses given to Island women by early 19c. Christian missionaries "in the early days when a few flowers sufficed for a garment" [Don Blanding, "Hula Moons," 1930]. So called because the native style hangs from the shoulder and omits the high neck and the train.
Muzak (n.) Look up Muzak at
1935, proprietary name for piped music, supposedly a blend of music and Kodak, said to have been coined c. 1922 by Gen. George Squier, who developed the system of background music for workplaces.
muzzle (n.) Look up muzzle at
late 14c., "device put over an animal's mouth to stop it from biting, eating, or rooting," from Old French musel "muzzle," also "snout, nose" (12c., Modern French museau), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Roman *musa "snout" (source also of Provençal mus, Old Spanish mus, Italian muso), of unknown origin, possibly related to Latin morsus "bite" (but OED finds "serious difficulties" with this). Meaning "projecting part of the head of an animal" is from early 15c. in English; sense of "open end of a firearm" first recorded 1560s.
muzzle (v.) Look up muzzle at
"to put a muzzle on," early 15c., from muzzle (n.). Figurative use from 1610s. Related: Muzzled; muzzling.
muzzy (adj.) Look up muzzy at
"confused, dazed," 1720s, perhaps from mossy, or from dialectal mosey (adj.) "moldy, hazy; stupefied with drink, dull, stupid."
mwah Look up mwah at
sound indicative of a kiss or an air-kiss, 1994, imitative.
my (pron.) Look up my at
c. 1200, mi, reduced form of mine used before words beginning in consonants except h- (my father, but mine enemy), and from 14c. before all nouns. As interjection, by 1825, probably a shortened form of my God!
myalgia (n.) Look up myalgia at
"muscular pain," 1827, coined in Modern Latin (on analogy of neuralgia) from myo- "muscle" + -algia "pain."
Myanmar Look up Myanmar at
an old name for a part of Burma and a word for the country in native speech, officially chosen by military rulers of Burma in 1989. Reasons given include casting off a relic of colonialism, or downplaying of the connection to the Burman ethnic majority.
It should be pointed out that this renaming has virtually no impact on Burmese citizens speaking in Burmese, who continue to refer to both Myanma as well as Bama (this not unlike formal reference in the English language to 'The Netherlands' while informally using 'Holland'). [Gustaaf Houtman, "Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics," 1999]
myasthenia (n.) Look up myasthenia at
"muscular weakness," 1856, medical Latin; see myo- + asthenia.
Mycenaean Look up Mycenaean at
1590s, "pertaining to Mycenae," the ancient city on the Argive plain, from Latin Mycenaeus, from Greek Mykenaios "of Mycenae," from Mykenai. In reference to the Aegean civilization that flourished 1500-1100 B.C.E. and was centered on Mycenae, it is from 1890s.
myco- Look up myco- at
before vowels myc-, word-forming element meaning "mushroom, fungus," formed irregularly from Greek mykes "fungus, mushroom, anything shaped like a mushroom," from PIE root *meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus). The correct form is myceto- (mycet-).
mycology (n.) Look up mycology at
1822, from myco- + -logy. Related: Mycological; mycologist.
mycosis (n.) Look up mycosis at
1876, medical Latin; see myco- + -osis. Related: Mycotic.
myelin (n.) Look up myelin at
also myeline, "soft material found in nerve tissues," 1867, from German Myelin (1854), from Greek myelos "marrow; the brain, innermost part," of unknown origin.
myelo- Look up myelo- at
before vowels myel-, word-forming element meaning "marrow, spinal cord," from Greek myelos "marrow; the brain," of unknown origin.
myeloma (n.) Look up myeloma at
1857, from comb. form of Greek myelos "marrow" + -oma.
Mylar (n.) Look up Mylar at
proper name for a polyester film, 1954, trademarked by E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. Like many Du Pont names, it doesn't mean anything, they just liked the sound.
mynah (n.) Look up mynah at
type of passerine bird of India and the East, "talking starling," 1769, from Hindi maina "a starling," from Sanskrit madana- "delightful, joyful," related to madati "it gladdens," literally "it bubbles," from PIE root *mad- "moist, wet" (see mast (n.2).
myo- Look up myo- at
before vowels my-, word-forming element meaning "muscle," from comb. form of Greek mys "muscle," literally "mouse" (see muscle (n.)).
myocardium (n.) Look up myocardium at
1866, from myo- + Latinized form of Greek kardia "heart," from PIE root *kerd- "heart" (see heart). Related: Myocardial; myocarditis.
myology (n.) Look up myology at
1640s; see myo- + -logy. Related: Myologist.
myomancy (n.) Look up myomancy at
1725, divination by the movements of mice, from Greek myo-, comb. form of mys (see mouse (n.)) + -mancy.
myope (n.) Look up myope at
"short-sighted person," 1728, from French myope "short-sighted" (16c.), from Late Latin myop-, from Greek myops "short-sighted" (see myopia).