mamma (n.) Look up mamma at
1570s, representing the native form of the reduplication of *ma- that is nearly universal among the Indo-European languages (Greek mamme "mother, grandmother," Latin mamma, Persian mama, Russian and Lithuanian mama "mother," German Muhme "mother's sister," French maman, Welsh mam "mother"). Probably a natural sound in baby-talk, perhaps imitative of sound made while sucking.

Its late appearance in English is curious, but Middle English had mome (mid-13c.) "an aunt; an old woman," also an affectionate term of address for an older woman. In educated usage, the stress is always on the last syllable. In terms of recorded usage of related words in English, mama is from 1707, mum is from 1823, mummy in this sense from 1839, mommy 1844, momma 1852, and mom 1867.
mammal (n.) Look up mammal at
1826, Englished form of Modern Latin Mammalia (1773), coined 1758 by Linnaeus for the class of mammals, from neuter plural of Late Latin mammalis "of the breast," from Latin mamma "breast," perhaps cognate with mamma.
Mammalia (n.) Look up Mammalia at
1773, from Modern Latin (Linnaeus), from neuter plural of Late Latin mammalis, from mamma (see mammal, also see -a (2)).
mammalian (adj.) Look up mammalian at
1813, from mammal + -ian. As a noun, from 1835.
mammary (adj.) Look up mammary at
1680s, from French mammaire (18c.), from Latin mamma "breast," probably from the child's word for "mother" (see mamma).
mammo- Look up mammo- at
word-forming element meaning "breast," from Latin mamma "breast" (see mammal).
mammogram (n.) Look up mammogram at
1937, from mammo- + -gram.
mammography (n.) Look up mammography at
1937, from mammo- + -graphy.
Mammon (n.) Look up Mammon at
"personification of wealth," mid-14c., from Late Latin mammona, from Greek mamonas, from Aramaic mamona, mamon "riches, gain;" left untranslated in Greek New Testament (e.g. Matthew vi.24, Luke xvi.9-13) retained in the Vulgate, and regarded mistakenly by medieval Christians as the name of a demon.
mammoth (n.) Look up mammoth at
1706, from Russian mammot', probably from Ostyak, a Finno-Ugric language of northern Russia (compare Finnish maa "earth"). Because the remains were dug from the earth, the animal was believed to root like a mole. As an adjective, "gigantic," from 1802; in this sense "the word appears to be originally American" [Thornton, "American Glossary"], and its first uses are in derogatory accounts of the cheese wheel, more than 4 feet in diameter, sent to President Jefferson by the ladies of the Baptist congregation in Cheshire, Massachusetts, as a present, engraved with the motto "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Federalist editors mocked the affair, and called up the word mammoth (known from Peale's exhibition) to characterize it.
mammy (n.) Look up mammy at
1520s, diminutive of mam (see mamma). Meaning "black woman having the care of white children" is by 1837, Southern U.S. dialect, variant of mamma.
mamzer (n.) Look up mamzer at
"bastard," 1560s, from Late Latin mamzer, from Hebrew mamzer, left untranslated in Deuteronomy xxiii.2 in the Vulgate.
man (v.) Look up man at
Old English mannian "to furnish (a fort, ship, etc.) with a company of men," from man (n.). Meaning "to take up a designated position on a ship" is first recorded 1690s. Meaning "behave like a man, act with courage" is from c. 1400. To man (something) out is from 1660s. Related: Manned; manning.
man (n.) Look up man at
Old English man, mann "human being, person (male or female); brave man, hero; servant, vassal," from Proto-Germanic *manwaz (source also of Old Saxon, Swedish, Dutch, Old High German man, German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Danish mand, Gothic manna "man"), from PIE root *man- (1) "man."

Plural men (German Männer) shows effects of i-mutation. Sometimes connected to root *men- (1) "to think," which would make the ground sense of man "one who has intelligence," but not all linguists accept this. Liberman, for instance, writes, "Most probably man 'human being' is a secularized divine name" from Mannus [Tacitus, "Germania," chap. 2], "believed to be the progenitor of the human race."
So I am as he that seythe, 'Come hyddr John, my man.' [1473]
Sense of "adult male" is late (c. 1000); Old English used wer and wif to distinguish the sexes, but wer began to disappear late 13c. and was replaced by man. Universal sense of the word remains in mankind and manslaughter. Similarly, Latin had homo "human being" and vir "adult male human being," but they merged in Vulgar Latin, with homo extended to both senses. A like evolution took place in Slavic languages, and in some of them the word has narrowed to mean "husband." PIE had two stems: *uiHro "freeman" (source of Sanskrit vira-, Lithuanian vyras, Latin vir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair) and *hner "man," a title more of honor than *uiHro (source of Sanskrit nar-, Armenian ayr, Welsh ner, Greek aner).
MANTRAP, a woman's commodity. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
Man also was in Old English as an indefinite pronoun, "one, people, they." The chess pieces so called from c. 1400. As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, first recorded c. 1400, but especially popular from early 20c. Man-about-town is from 1734; the Man "the boss" is from 1918. To be man or mouse "be brave or be timid" is from 1540s. Men's Liberation first attested 1970.
At the kinges court, my brother, Ech man for himself. [Chaucer, "Knight's Tale," c. 1386]
man-eater (n.) Look up man-eater at
also maneater, c. 1600, "cannibal," from man (n.) + eater. From 1837 in reference to animals (sharks); 1862 of tigers; 1906 of women. Related: Man-eating.
man-hater (n.) Look up man-hater at
"misanthrope," 1570s, from man (n.) + hater. Old English had mannhata "man-hater."
man-like (adj.) Look up man-like at
also manlike, mid-15c., from man (n.) + like (adj.).
man-made (adj.) Look up man-made at
also manmade, c. 1718, from man (n.) + made. In early use typically of institutions, etc., and opposed to what is natural or god-made. Of fibers, foodstuffs, etc., from mid-20c.
man-of-war (n.) Look up man-of-war at
late 14c., "a soldier;" see man (n.) + war (n.). Meaning "vessel equipped for warfare" is from late 15c. Man in the sense of "a ship" is attested from late 15c. in combinations (such as merchantman). The sea creature known as the Portuguese man-of-war (1707) is so called for its sail-like crest. The great U.S. thoroughbred race horse was Man o' War (1917-1947).
mana (n.) Look up mana at
"power, authority, supernatural power," 1843, from Maori, "power, authority, supernatural power."
manacle (v.) Look up manacle at
c. 1300, "to fetter with manacles," from manacle (n.). Related: Manacled; manacling.
manacle (n.) Look up manacle at
mid-14c., "a fetter for the hand," from Old French manicle "manacles, handcuffs; bracelet; armor for the hands," from Latin manicula "handle," literally "little hand," diminutive of manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs, manacles," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand"). Related: Manacles.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear
[Blake, "Songs of Experience"]
manage (v.) Look up manage at
1560s, probably from Italian maneggiare "to handle," especially "to control a horse," ultimately from Latin noun manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand"). Influenced by French manège "horsemanship" (earliest English sense was of handling horses), which also was from Italian. Extended to other objects or business from 1570s. Sense of "get by" first recorded 1650s. Related: Managed; managing. Managed economy was used by 1933.
manageability (n.) Look up manageability at
1813, from manageable + -ity.
manageable (adj.) Look up manageable at
1590s, from manage + -able. Related: Manageably.
management (n.) Look up management at
1590s, "act of managing," from manage + -ment. Meaning "governing body" (originally of a theater) is from 1739.
manager (n.) Look up manager at
1580s, "one who manages," agent noun from manage. Specific sense of "one who conducts a house of business or public institution" is from 1705.
managerial (adj.) Look up managerial at
1767, see manager + -al (1).
managery (n.) Look up managery at
"domestic administration" (obsolete), 1630s, from manager + -y (4); or perhaps from manage + -ery.
manana Look up manana at
from Spanish mañana, "tomorrow," from cras manñana, literally "tomorrow early," from Vulgar Latin *maneana "early," from Latin mane "in the morning," from PIE *ma- "good," with notion of "occurring at a good time, timely, early" (compare matins; and see mature (v.)).
manatee (n.) Look up manatee at
1550s, from Spanish manati (1530s), from Carib manati "breast, udder." Often associated with Latin manatus "having hands," because the flippers resemble hands.
Manchester Look up Manchester at
Mameceastre (1086), from Mamucio (4c.), the original Celtic name, perhaps from *mamm "breast, breast-like hill" + Old English ceaster "Roman town" (see Chester). Adjective Mancunian is from the Medieval Latin form of the place-name, Mancunium.
manchild (n.) Look up manchild at
also man-child, "male child, male infant," c. 1400, from man (n.) + child.
Manchu Look up Manchu at
1650s, member of Tungusic race of Manchuria which conquered China in 1644 and remained its ruling class until the Revolution of 1912. From Manchu, literally "pure," name of the tribe descended from the Nu-chen Tartars.
Manchuria Look up Manchuria at
named for the Manchu (literally "pure") people + -ia. Related: Manchurian. Manchurian Candidate is 1959 as a novel, 1962 as a film.
mancinism (n.) Look up mancinism at
"left-handedness," 1890, from Italian mancinissmo, from mancino "infirm (in the hand)," from manco, from Latin mancus "maimed, infirm, crippled, lame-handed" (see manque).
manciple (n.) Look up manciple at
"officer or servant who purchases provisions for a college, monastery, etc.," early 13c., from Old French mancipe "servant, official, manciple," from Latin mancipium "servant, slave, slave obtained by legal transfer; the legal purchase of a thing," literally "a taking in hand," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + root of capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."
mandala (n.) Look up mandala at
magic circle, 1859, from Sanskrit mandala "disc, circle."
mandamus (n.) Look up mandamus at
1530s, "writ from a superior court to an inferior one, specifying that something be done," (late 14c. in Anglo-French), from Latin, literally "we order," first person plural present indicative of mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)).
mandarin (n.) Look up mandarin at
"Chinese official," 1580s, via Portuguese mandarim or older Dutch mandorijn from Malay (Austronesian) mantri, from Hindi mantri "councilor, minister of state," from Sanskrit mantri, nominative of mantrin- "adviser," from mantra "counsel," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think."

Form influenced in Portuguese by mandar "to command, order." Used generically for the several grades of Chinese officials; sense of "chief dialect of Chinese" (spoken by officials and educated people) is from c. 1600. Transferred sense of "important person" attested by 1907. The type of small, deep-colored orange so called from 1771, from resemblance of its color to that of robes worn by mandarins.
mandatary (n.) Look up mandatary at
"person to whom a mandate has been given," 1610s, from Latin mandatarius "one to whom a charge or commission has been given," from mandatus, past participle of mandare (see mandate (n.)).
mandate (v.) Look up mandate at
1620s, "to command," from mandate (n.). Meaning "to delegate authority, permit to act on behalf of a group" is from 1958; used earlier in the context of the League of Nations, "to authorize a power to control a certain territory for some specified purpose" (1919). Related: Mandated; mandating.
mandate (n.) Look up mandate at
"judicial or legal order," c. 1500, from Middle French mandat (15c.) and directly from Latin mandatum "commission, command, order," noun use of neuter past participle of mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand," probably from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). Political sense of "approval supposedly conferred by voters to the policies or slogans advocated by winners of an election" is from 1796. League of Nations sense is from 1919.
mandatory (adj.) Look up mandatory at
1570s, "of the nature of a mandate," from Late Latin mandatorius "pertaining to a mandator," from Latin mandatus, past participle of mandare (see mandate (n.)). Sense of "obligatory because commanded" is from 1818.
mandible (n.) Look up mandible at
late 14c., "jaw, jawbone," from Middle French mandible and directly from Late Latin mandibula "jaw," from Latin mandere "to chew," from PIE root *mendh- "to chew" (source also of Greek mastax "the mouth, that with which one chews; morsel, that which is chewed," masasthai "to chew," mastikhan "to gnash the teeth"). Of insect mouth parts from 1826.
mandibular (adj.) Look up mandibular at
1650s, from Latin mandibula (see mandible) + -ar.
Mandingo Look up Mandingo at
people of the upper Niger region of West Africa, 1620s.
mandolin (n.) Look up mandolin at
"lute-like stringed instrument," 1707, from French mandoline, from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola, a larger kind of mandolin, altered from Late Latin pandura "three-stringed lute," from Greek pandoura, a three-stringed musical instrument, which is of unknown origin.
mandragora (n.) Look up mandragora at
see mandrake.
mandrake (n.) Look up mandrake at
narcotic plant, early 14c., mondrake, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and is said to shriek when pulled from the ground.