phalanstery (n.)
1846, from French phalanstère, name for one of the socialistic communities of c.1,800 people, living together as family, proposed as the basic unit of society in the system of French social scientist François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), coined by Fourier from phalange, properly "phalanx" (see phalanx) + ending after monastère "monastery."
phalanx (n.)
1550s, "line of battle in close ranks," from Latin phalanx "compact body of heavily armed men in battle array," or directly from Greek phalanx (genitive phalangos) "line of battle, battle array," also "finger or toe bone," originally "round piece of wood, trunk, log," of unknown origin. Perhaps from PIE root *bhelg- "plank, beam" (source of Old English balca "balk;" see balk (n.)). The Macedonian phalanx consisted of 50 close files of 16 men each. In anatomy, originally the whole row of finger joints, which fit together like infantry in close order. Figurative sense of "number of persons banded together in a common cause" is attested from 1600 (compare Spanish Falangist, member of a fascist organization founded in 1933).
phallic (adj.)
"pertaining to the phallus," 1789, from Greek phallikos, from phallos (see phallus). First record of phallic symbol is from 1809.
phallocentric (adj.)
1927, from comb. form of phallus + -centric.
phallus (n.)
1610s, "an image of the penis," from Latin phallus, from Greek phallos "penis," also "carving or image of an erect penis (symbolizing the generative power in nature) used in the cult of Dionysus," from PIE *bhel-no-, from root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (cognates: Old Norse boli "bull," Old English bulluc "little bull," and possibly Greek phalle "whale;" see bole). Used of the penis itself (often in symbolic context) from 1924, originally in jargon of psychoanalysis.
phanero-
before vowels phaner-, word-forming element meaning "visible, manifest," from Greek phanero-, comb. form of phaneros "visible, manifest," from phainein "to show" (see phantasm).
phantasm (n.)
early 13c., fantesme, from Old French fantosme "a dream, illusion, fantasy; apparition, ghost, phantom" (12c.), and directly from Latin phantasma "an apparition, specter," from Greek phantasma "image, phantom, apparition; mere image, unreality," from phantazein "to make visible, display," from stem of phainein "to bring to light, make appear; come to light, be seen, appear; explain, expound, inform against; appear to be so," from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine" (cognates: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters," Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light"). Spelling conformed to Latin from 16c. (see ph). A spelling variant of phantom, "differentiated, but so that the differences are elusive" [Fowler].
phantasma (n.)
1590s, from Latin phantasma (see phantasm).
phantasmagoria (n.)
1802, name of a "magic lantern" exhibition brought to London in 1802 by Parisian showman Paul de Philipstal, the name an alteration of French phantasmagorie, said to have been coined 1801 by French dramatist Louis-Sébastien Mercier as though to mean "crowd of phantoms," from Greek phantasma "image, phantom, apparition" (see phantasm) + second element probably a French form of Greek agora "assembly" (but this may have been chosen more for the dramatic sound than any literal sense). Transferred meaning "shifting scene of many elements" is attested from 1822. Related: Phantasmagorical.
phantasmal (adj.)
1813, from phantasm + -al (1). Related: Phantasmally.
phantom (n.)
c.1300, fantum "illusion, unreality," from Old French fantosme (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fantauma, from Latin phantasma "an apparition" (see phantasm). The ph- was restored in English late 16c. (see ph). Meaning "specter, spirit, ghost" is attested from late 14c.; that of "something having the form, but not the substance, of a real thing" is from 1707. As an adjective from early 15c.
pharaoh (n.)
title of the kings of ancient Egypt, Old English Pharon, from Latin Pharaonem, from Greek Pharao, from Hebrew Par'oh, from Egyptian Pero', literally "great house."
pharisaic (adj.)
1610s, from Church Latin pharisaicus, from Greek pharisaikos, from pharisaios (see Pharisee). Related: Pharisaical (1530s).
Pharisee (n.)
from Old English Fariseos, Old French pharise (13c.), and directly from Late Latin Pharisæus, from Greek Pharisaios, from Aramaic perishayya, emphatic plural of perish "separated, separatist," corresponding to Hebrew parush, from parash "he separated." Ancient Jewish sect (2c. B.C.E.-1c. C.E.) distinguished by strict observance but regarded as pretentious and self-righteous, at least by Jesus (Matt. xxiii:27). Meaning "self-righteous person, formalist, hypocrite" is attested from 1580s.
pharmaceutical (adj.)
1640s (pharmaceutic in the same sense is from 1540s), from Late Latin pharmaceuticus "of drugs," from Greek pharmakeutikos, from pharmakeus "preparer of drugs, poisoner" (see pharmacy). Related: Pharmaceuticals; pharmaceutically.
pharmacist (n.)
1811; see pharmacy + -ist. Replaced obsolete pharmacian (1720). The Latin word was pharmacopola, the Greek pharmakopoles.
pharmacokinetics (n.)
1960, from pharmaco- + kinetic.
pharmacologist (n.)
1728, from pharmacology + -ist.
pharmacology (n.)
1721, formed in Modern Latin (1680s) from pharmaco- + -logy. Related: Pharmacological.
pharmacopeia (n.)
also pharmacopoeia, "official book listing drugs and containing directions for their preparation," 1620s, from medical Latin, from Greek pharmakopoiia "preparation of drugs," from pharmakon "drug" (see pharmacy) + poiein "to make" (see poet). First used as a book title by Anutius Foesius (1528-1595) of Basel. Related: Pharmacopeial.
pharmacy (n.)
late 14c., "a medicine," from Old French farmacie "a purgative" (13c.), from Medieval Latin pharmacia, from Greek pharmakeia "use of drugs, medicines, potions, or spells; poisoning, witchcraft; remedy, cure," from pharmakeus (fem. pharmakis) "preparer of drugs, poisoner, sorcorer" from pharmakon "drug, poison, philter, charm, spell, enchantment." Meaning "use or administration of drugs" is attested from c.1400; that of "place where drugs are prepared and dispensed" is first recorded 1833. The ph- was restored 16c. in French, 17c. in English (see ph).
Pharos (n.)
as a word for a lighthouse, 1550s, in reference to the island of Pharos off the coast of Alexandria, on which Ptolemy Philadelphius built a mighty lighthouse.
pharyngeal (adj.)
"pertaining to the pharynx," 1799, from Modern Latin pharyngeus, from pharynx (see pharynx) + -al (1). Alternative pharyngal is attested from 1835, from Modern Latin pharyngem with -al (1) substituted.
pharyngitis (n.)
1824, from stem of pharynx + -itis.
pharynx (n.)
1690s, from Greek pharynx (genitive pharyngos) "windpipe, throat," related to pharanx "cleft, chasm."
phase (n.)
1705, "phase of the moon," back-formed as a singular from Modern Latin phases, plural of phasis, from Greek phasis "appearance" (of a star), "phase" (of the moon), from stem of phainein "to show, to make appear" (see phantasm). Latin singular phasis was used in English from 1660. Non-lunar application is first attested 1841. Meaning "temporary difficult period" (especially of adolescents) is attested from 1913.
phase (v.)
"to synchronize," 1895, from phase (n.). Meaning "to carry out gradually" is from 1949, hence phase in "introduce gradually" (1954), phase out (1954). Related: Phased; phasing.
phat (adj.)
hip-hop slang, "great, excellent," 1992, originating perhaps in the late 1980s and meaning at first "sexiness in a woman." The word itself is presumably a variant of fat (q.v.) in one of its slang senses, with the kind of off-beat spelling preferred in street slang (compare boyz). The spelling is attested as far back as 1678, as an erroneous form of fat (a classical over-correction; see ph). This spelling is said by some to be an acronym, and supposed originals are offered: "pretty hot and tasty," or "pretty hips and thighs" among them, all unconvincing. These, too may have been innovations given as explanations to women who felt insulted by the word.
phatic (adj.)
1923, coined by Polish-born British anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski (1884-1942) from Greek phatos "spoken, that may be spoken," from phanai "to speak, say" (see fame (n.)) + -ic.
pheasant (n.)
late 13c. (mid-12c. as a surname), from Anglo-French fesaunt, Old French faisan (13c.) "pheasant," from Latin phasianus, from Greek phasianos "a pheasant," literally "Phasian bird," from Phasis, river flowing into the Black Sea in Colchis, where the birds were said to have been numerous. The ph- was restored in English late 14c. (see ph). The excrescent -t is due to confusion with -ant suffix of nouns formed from present participle of verbs in first Latin conjugation (peasant, tyrant, etc.).
pheme (n.)
"words as grammatical units in a language," 1906, coined by U.S. philosopher Charles S. Pierce (1839-1914), from Greek pheme (see fame (n.)).
phene
as an element in names of chemicals derived from benzene, from French phène, proposed 1836 by French scientist Auguste Laurent as an alternative name for "benzene" because it had been found in coal tar, a byproduct of the manufacture of "illuminating gas," from Greek phainein "to bring to light" (see phantasm). Related: Phenyl (radical which forms the basis of derivatives of benzene); pheno- (comb. form).
phenetic (adj.)
coined 1960, from Greek phainein "to appear" (see phantasm) + -etic. Related: Phenetically.
pheno-
before vowels phen-, word-forming element in science meaning "pertaining to or derived from benzene," from phene.
phenobarbital (n.)
1919, from pheno- + barbital (see barbiturate).
phenol (n.)
"carbolic acid," 1844, from pheno- + -ol. Discovered in coal tar in 1834; used as an antiseptic from 1867. Related: Phenolic.
phenology (n.)
"study of the influence of climate on recurring natural phenomena," 1881, from German (phänologisch, Karl Fritsch, 1853) from Latin phaeno-, from Greek phaino-, from phainein "to show" (see phantasm) + -logy. Related: Phenological (1875).
phenom (n.)
shortened form of phenomenon, U.S. baseball slang, first recorded 1890.
phenomena (n.)
plural of phenomenon. Sometimes also erroneously used as a singular.
phenomenal (adj.)
1803, "of the nature of a phenomenon," a hybrid from phenomenon + -al (1). Meaning "remarkable, exceptional" is from 1850.
[Phenomenal] is a metaphysical term with a use of its own. To divert it from this proper use to a job for which it is not needed, by making it do duty for remarkable, extraordinary, or prodigious, is a sin against the English language. [Fowler]
Related: Phenomenally.
phenomenalism (n.)
1865 (John Grote), from phenomenal + -ism. Related: Phenomenalist.
phenomenology (n.)
1797, from German Phänomenologie, used as the title of the fourth part of the "Neues Organon" of German physicist Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777), coined from Greek phainomenon (see phenomenon) + -logia (see -logy). Psychological sense, especially in Gestalt theory, is from 1930. Related: Phenomenological.
phenomenon (n.)
1570s, "fact, occurrence," from Late Latin phænomenon, from Greek phainomenon "that which appears or is seen," noun use of neuter present participle of phainesthai "to appear," passive of phainein (see phantasm). Meaning "extraordinary occurrence" first recorded 1771. Plural is phenomena.
phenotype (n.)
"observable characteristics of an individual," 1911, from German phaenotypus (Wilhelm Johannsen, 1909); see pheno- + type (n.). Related: Phenotypic.
phenyl (n.)
radical base of phenol, 1850, from French phényle; see pheno-.
pheromone (n.)
"chemical released by an animal that causes a specific response when detected by another animal of the same species," but the exact definition is much debated; 1959, coined (by Karlson & Lüscher) from Greek pherein "to carry" (see infer) + ending as in hormone.
phew
vocalic gesture expressing weariness, etc., attested from c.1600.
phi
twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet; see ph.
Phi Beta Kappa
undergraduate honorary society, 1776, from initials of Greek philosophia biou kybernetes "philosophy, guide of life."
phial (n.)
late 14c., from Old French fiole "flask, phial" (12c.), probably from Medieval Latin phiola, from Latin phiala, from Greek phiale "broad, flat drinking vessel," of unknown origin.