philodendron (n.) Look up philodendron at
1837, from the Modern Latin genus name (1830), from Greek philodendron, neuter of philodendros "loving trees," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + dendron "tree," from PIE *der-drew-, from root *deru- "to be firm, solid, steadfast," also forming words for "wood, tree." The plant so called because it clings to trees.
philologist (n.) Look up philologist at
1640s, "literary person;" 1716, "student of language," from philology + -ist.
philology (n.) Look up philology at
late 14c., "love of learning," from Latin philologia "love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture," from Greek philologia "love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + logos "word, speech" (see Logos).

Meaning "science of language" is first attested 1716 (philologue "linguist" is from 1590s; philologer "linguistic scholar" is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological.
philomel (n.) Look up philomel at
"nightingale," late 14c., from Greek Philomela, poetic name of the nightingale, in mythology the daughter of Pandion, transformed into a nightingale; probably literally "lover of song," from philos "loving" + melos "a tune, song;" but perhaps "lover of apples" (Greek mela). In the myth, proper name of Pandion's daughter, who was turned into a nightingale (Ovid).
philophobia (n.) Look up philophobia at
by 1976, from philo- + -phobia.
philoprogenitive (adj.) Look up philoprogenitive at
"prolific," 1815, irregularly formed from philo- + Latin progenit-, past participle stem of progignere (see progeny). Related: Philoprogenitiveness. Important words among the phrenologists.
philosophe (n.) Look up philosophe at
"Enlightenment rationalist and skeptic," especially in reference to any of the French Encyclopædists, often disparaging (when used by believers), 1774, from French philosophe, literally "philosopher" (see philosopher). Usually italicized in English, but nativized by Peter Gay ("The Enlightenment," 1966) and others. Also philosophist (1798).
philosopher (n.) Look up philosopher at
from Old English philosophe, from Latin philosophus "philosopher," from Greek philosophos "philosopher, sage, one who speculates on the nature of things and truth," literally "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" (see -phile) + sophos "wise, a sage" (see sophist). Modern form with -r appears early 14c., from an Anglo-French or Old French variant of philosophe, with an agent-noun ending.
Pythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty. [Klein]
Philosophy also was used of alchemy in Middle Ages, hence Philosophers' stone (late 14c., translating Medieval Latin lapis philosophorum, early 12c.), a reputed solid substance supposed by alchemists to change baser metals into gold or silver; also identified with the elixir and thus given the attribute of prolonging life indefinitely and curing wounds and disease. (French pierre philosophale, German der Stein der Weisen).
philosophic (adj.) Look up philosophic at
late 15c., from Middle French philosophique and directly from Late Latin philosophicus, from Greek philosophikos, from philosophia "philosophy" (see philosophy).
philosophical (adj.) Look up philosophical at
late 14c.; see philosophy + -ical. Related: Philosophically.
philosophize (v.) Look up philosophize at
1590s, from philosophy + -ize. Related: Philosophized; philosophizing. The earlier verb was simply philosophy (late 14c.).
philosophy (n.) Look up philosophy at
c. 1300, "knowledge, body of knowledge," from Old French filosofie "philosophy, knowledge" (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia and from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned;" of unknown origin.
Nec quicquam aliud est philosophia, si interpretari velis, praeter studium sapientiae; sapientia autem est rerum divinarum et humanarum causarumque quibus eae res continentur scientia. [Cicero, "De Officiis"]

[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized -- despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]
Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771.
philtre (n.) Look up philtre at
also philter, "love potion," 1580s, from Middle French philtre (1560s), from Latin philtrum (plural philtra) "love potion," from Greek philtron "a love-charm," literally "to make oneself beloved," from philein "to love" (from philos "loving;" see philo-) + instrumental suffix -tron.
philtrum (n.) Look up philtrum at
dimple in the middle of the upper lip, 1703, medical Latin, from Greek philtron, literally "love charm" (see philtre).
phimosis (n.) Look up phimosis at
1670s, from Greek phimosis, literally "muzzling," from phimos "a muzzle."
phishing (n.) Look up phishing at
in the cyber scam sense, by 2000 (some sources cite usage from 1995); alteration of fishing (n.); perhaps by influence of phreak and the U.S. rock band Phish, which had been performing since 1983.
phiz (n.) Look up phiz at
1680s, jocular abbreviation of physiognomy; hence "face, countenance, facial expression."
phlebitis (n.) Look up phlebitis at
1820, medical Latin, from phlebo- "vein" + -itis "inflammation."
phlebo- Look up phlebo- at
word-forming element in medicine meaning "vein," from Greek phlebo-, combining form of phleps "vein," a word of uncertain origin.
phlebotomist (n.) Look up phlebotomist at
1650s, from phlebotomy + -ist. Related: Phlebotomize.
phlebotomy (n.) Look up phlebotomy at
"bloodletting," c. 1400, flebotomye, from Old French flebotomie (13c., Modern French phlébotomie), from medical Latin phlebotomia, from Greek phlebotomia "blood-letting," from phlebotomos "opening veins," from phleps (genitive phlebos) "vein" + -tomia "cutting of," from tome "a cutting" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut").
phlegm (n.) Look up phlegm at
late 14c., fleem "viscid mucus" (the stuff itself and also regarded as a bodily humor), from Old French fleume (13c., Modern French flegme), from Late Latin phlegma, one of the four humors of the body, from Greek phlegma "humor caused by heat," lit "inflammation, heat," from phlegein "to burn," related to phlox (genitive phlogos) "flame, blaze," from PIE *bhleg- "to shine, flash," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn." Modern form is attested from c. 1660. The "cold, moist" humor of the body, in medieval physiology, it was believed to cause apathy.
phlegmatic (adj.) Look up phlegmatic at
"cool, calm, self-possessed," and in a more pejorative sense, "cold, dull, apathetic," 1570s, from literal sense "abounding in phlegm (as a bodily humor)" (mid-14c., fleumatik), from Old French fleumatique (13c., Modern French flegmatique), from Late Latin phlegmaticus, from Greek phlegmatikos "abounding in phlegm" (see phlegm).
A verry flewmatike man is in the body lustles, heuy and slow. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]
phlegmy (adj.) Look up phlegmy at
1540s, from phlegm + -y (2).
phloem (n.) Look up phloem at
1870, from German phloëm (1858), coined by German botanist Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891) from Greek phloos, phloios "bark of trees, rind, skin of a fruit," a word of uncertain origin (perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell"), + passive suffix -ema.
phlogiston (n.) Look up phlogiston at
1730, hypothetical inflammatory principle, formerly believed to exist in all combustible matter, from Modern Latin (1702), from Greek phlogiston (1610s in this sense), neuter of phlogistos "burnt up, inflammable," from phlogizein "to set on fire, burn," from phlox (genitive phlogos) "flame, blaze" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn"). Theory propounded by Stahl (1702), denied by Lavoisier (1775), defended by Priestley but generally abandoned by 1800. Related: Phlogistic; phlogisticated.
phlox (n.) Look up phlox at
1706, from Latin, where it was the name of a flower (Pliny), from Greek phlox "kind of plant with showy flowers" (probably Silene vulgaris), literally "flame," related to phlegein "to burn" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn"). Applied to the North American flowering plant by German botanist Johann Jakob Dillenius (1684-1747).
Phnom Penh Look up Phnom Penh at
Cambodian capital, literally "mountain of plenty," from Cambodian phnom "mountain, hill" + penh "full."
phobia (n.) Look up phobia at
"irrational fear, horror, aversion," 1786, perhaps on model of similar use in French, abstracted from compounds in -phobia, from Greek -phobia, from phobos "fear, panic fear, terror, outward show of fear; object of fear or terror," originally "flight" (still the only sense in Homer), but it became the common word for "fear" via the notion of "panic, fright" (compare phobein "put to flight, frighten"), from PIE root *bhegw- "to run" (source also of Lithuanian begu "to flee;" Old Church Slavonic begu "flight," bezati "to flee, run;" Old Norse bekkr "a stream"). Psychological sense attested by 1895.
phobic (adj.) Look up phobic at
1888, from phobia + -ic. As a noun from 1968. The Greek adjective was phobetikos "liable to fear."
phobophobia (n.) Look up phobophobia at
"morbid dread of being alarmed," 1890; see phobia.
phoebe (n.) Look up phoebe at
small North American flycatcher, pewit, 1700, phebe, so called in imitation of its cry; spelling altered (1839) by influence of the woman's proper name Phoebe.
Phoebe Look up Phoebe at
fem. proper name, late 14c., originally a name of Artemis as the goddess of the moon, from Latin Phoebe, from Greek phoibos "bright, pure," of unknown origin. The fem. form of Phoebus, an epithet of Apollo as sun-god.
Phoebus Look up Phoebus at
epithet of Apollo as sun-god, late 14c., from Latin Phoebus, from Greek Phoibos, literally "bright, shining, radiant," of unknown origin. Related: Phoeban.
Phoenician (n.) Look up Phoenician at
late 14c., from Middle French phenicien, from Latin Phoenice, from Greek Phoinike "Phoenicia" (including Carthage), perhaps literally "land of the purple" (i.e., source of purple dye, the earliest use of which was ascribed to the Phoenicians by the Greeks). Identical with phoenix (q.v.), but the relationship is obscure. In reference to a language from 1836; as an adjective from c. 1600.
phoenix (n.) Look up phoenix at
Old English and Old French fenix, from Medieval Latin phenix, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix, the mythical bird of Arabia which flew to Egypt every 500 years to be reborn; it also meant "the date" (fruit and tree), and "Phoenician," literally "purple-red," perhaps a foreign word (Egyptian has been suggested), or from phoinos "blood-red." The exact relation and order of the senses in Greek is unclear.
Ðone wudu weardaþ wundrum fæger
fugel feþrum se is fenix hatan

["Phoenix," c.900]
Spelling assimilated to Greek 16c. (see ph). Figurative sense of "that which rises from the ashes of what was destroyed" is attested from 1590s. The southern constellation was among those added to the map 1590s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius. The city in Arizona, U.S., so called because it was founded in 1867 on the site of an ancient Native American settlement.
phone (v.) Look up phone at
1884, from phone (n.). Related: Phoned; phoning.
phone (n.1) Look up phone at
1884, shortening of telephone (n.). Phone book first recorded 1925; phone booth 1927; phone bill 1901.
phone (n.2) Look up phone at
"elementary sound of a spoken language," 1866, from Greek phone "sound, voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say."
phoneme (n.) Look up phoneme at
"distinctive sound or group of sounds," 1889, from French phonème, from Greek phonema "a sound made, voice," from phonein "to sound or speak," from phone "sound, voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say."
phonemic (adj.) Look up phonemic at
1933, from phoneme + -ic. Related: Phonemics (1936); phonemically.
phonetic (adj.) Look up phonetic at
"representing vocal sounds," 1803, from Modern Latin phoneticus (1797), from Greek phonetikos "vocal," from phonetos "to be spoken, utterable," verbal adjective of phonein "to speak clearly, utter," from phone "sound, voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)).
phonetics (n.) Look up phonetics at
"scientific study of speech," 1841, from phonetic; also see -ics.
phonic (adj.) Look up phonic at
"pertaining to sound," 1793, from Greek phone "voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" + -ic.
phonics (n.) Look up phonics at
1680s, "science of sound," from Greek phone "sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" + -ics. As a method of teaching reading it is first attested 1908, though the system dates from 1844.
phono- Look up phono- at
word-forming element meaning "sound, voice," from Greek phono-, comb. form of phone "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say."
phonogram (n.) Look up phonogram at
1845, "a written symbol," from phono- + -gram. From 1879 as "a sound recording."
phonograph (n.) Look up phonograph at
1835, "character representing a sound," literally "writer of sounds," from phono- "sound" + -graph "instrument for recording; something written." Meaning "an instrument that produces sounds from records" (talking phonograph, invented by Thomas A. Edison) it is attested from 1877. The recording made from it at first was called a phonogram (1879).
phonographic (adj.) Look up phonographic at
1840, originally in reference to shorthand; see phono- + graphic. Modern sense from 1878.
phonolite (n.) Look up phonolite at
a kind of volcanic rock that rings when struck, c. 1830, literally "sounding stone," from phono- + -lite. Based on German klingstein.