palette (n.) Look up palette at
1620s, "flat thin tablet used by an artist to lay and mix colors," from French palette, from Old French palete "small shovel, blade" (13c.) diminutive of pale "shovel, blade," from Latin pala "spade, shoulder blade," probably from PIE *pak-slo-, from root *pag- (see pact). Transferred sense of "colors used by a particular artist" is from 1882.
palfrey (n.) Look up palfrey at
c. 1200 (mid-12c. as a surname), "saddle horse for ordinary riding (opposed to a war horse), small horse for ladies," from Old French palefroi (11c.) and directly from Medieval Latin palafredus, altered by dissimilation from Late Latin paraveredus "post horse for outlying districts" (6c.), originally "extra horse," from Greek para "beside, secondary" (see para-) + Latin veredus "post horse; light, fast horse used by couriers," from Gaulish *voredos, from Celtic *wo-red- (cognates: Welsh gorwydd "horse," Old Irish riadaim "I ride"), from PIE root *reidh- "to ride" (see ride (v.)). The Latin word passed to Old High German as pfarifrid, where in modern German it has become the usual word for "horse" (Pferd).
Pali Look up Pali at
1690s, Middle High Indian dialect used in sacred Buddhist writings (the lingua franca of northern India from c. 6c. B.C.E.-2c. B.C.E.), from Sanskrit Pali, from pali bhasa "language of the canonical books," from pali "line, role, canon" + bhasa "language."
palimony (n.) Look up palimony at
1979, coined from pal (n.) + alimony. Popularized, if not introduced, during lawsuit against U.S. film star Lee Marvin (1924-1987).
palimpsest (n.) Look up palimpsest at
"parchment from which earlier writing has been removed to clear it for new writing," 1660s, from Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsestos "scraped again," from palin "again" (see palindrome) + verbal adjective of psen "to rub smooth" (of uncertain origin).
palindrome (n.) Look up palindrome at
"line that reads the same backward and forward," 1620s, from Greek palindromos "a recurrence," literally "a running back," from palin "again, back" (from PIE *kwle-i-, from root *kwel- (1) "move round," with notion of "revolving;" see cycle (n.)) + dromos "a running" (see dromedary). Related: Palindromic.
palinode (n.) Look up palinode at
1590s, from Middle French palinod (16c.) or directly from Latin palinodia, from Greek palinoidia "poetic retraction," from palin "again, back" (see palindrome) + oide "song" (see ode). Related: Palinodic.
palisade (n.) Look up palisade at
"a fence of stakes," c. 1600, from Middle French palissade (15c.), from Provençal palissada, from palissa "a stake or paling," from Gallo-Roman *palicea, from Latin palus "stake" (see pale (n.)). Military sense is attested from 1690s. The Palisades, along the Hudson River opposite New York City, so called by 1823.
pall (n.) Look up pall at
Old English pæll "rich cloth or cloak, purple robe, altar cloth," from Latin pallium "cloak, coverlet, covering," in Tertullian, the garment worn by Christians instead of the Roman toga; related to pallo "robe, cloak," palla "long upper garment of Roman women," perhaps from the root of pellis "skin." Notion of "cloth spread over a coffin" (mid-15c.) led to figurative sense of "dark, gloomy mood" (1742).
pall (v.) Look up pall at
"become tiresome," 1700, from Middle English pallen "to become faint, fail in strength" (late 14c.), shortened form of appallen "to dismay, fill with horror or disgust" (see appall). Related: Palled; palling.
pall-mall Look up pall-mall at
see mall.
Palladian (adj.) Look up Palladian at
1731, "in the style of Roman architect Andrea Palladio" (1518-1580).
palladium (n.1) Look up palladium at
"safeguard," c. 1600, originally (late 14c.) "sacred image of Pallas Athene," from Latin palladium, from Greek Palladion, noun use of neuter of Palladios "of Pallas." It stood in the citadel of Troy and the safety of the city was believed to depend on it.
palladium (n.2) Look up palladium at
metallic element, coined 1803 by discoverer William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), from Pallas, name of an asteroid discovered the previous year (by German astronomer Olbers) and named for the goddess (see Pallas).
Pallas Look up Pallas at
Greek goddess' name, literally "little maiden," related to pallake "concubine," and probably somehow connected to Avestan pairika "beautiful women seducing pious men."
pallbearer (n.) Look up pallbearer at
also pall-bearer, 1707, from pall (n.) + agent noun of bear (v.). Originally one who holds the corners of the pall at a funeral.
pallet (n.1) Look up pallet at
"mattress," late 14c., from Anglo-French paillete "straw, bundle of straw," Old French paillet "chaff, bundle of straw," from paille "straw" (12c.), from Latin palea "chaff," perhaps cognate with Sanskrit palavah, Old Church Slavonic pleva, Russian peleva, Lithuanian pelus.
pallet (n.2) Look up pallet at
"flat wooden blade" used as a tool by potters, etc., early 15c., from Middle French palette, diminutive of pale "spade, shovel" (see palette). Meaning "large portable tray" used with a forklift for moving loads is from 1921.
palliard (n.) Look up palliard at
late 15c., "vagabond or beggar" (who sleeps on straw in barns), from Middle French paillard, from Old French paillart "tramp, beggar, vagabond" (13c.), from paille "straw" (see pallet (n.1); also see -ard).
palliate (v.) Look up palliate at
"alleviate without curing," early 15c., from Medieval Latin palliatus, literally "cloaked," from past participle of Late Latin palliare "cover with a cloak, conceal," from Latin pallium "cloak" (see pall (n.)). Related: Palliated; palliating; palliation.
palliative (adj.) Look up palliative at
early 15c., from Middle French palliatif (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin palliativus "under cloak, covert," from Late Latin palliatus (see palliate). As a noun, recorded from 1724.
pallid (adj.) Look up pallid at
"lacking color," 1580s, from Latin pallidus "pale, colorless," from root of pallere "be pale" (see pallor).
pallor (n.) Look up pallor at
c. 1400, from Old French palor "paleness, whiteness" (12c.) and directly from Latin pallor, from pallere "be pale, turn pale," related to pallus "dark-colored, dusky," from PIE root *pel- (2) "pale; gray" (cognates: Sanskrit palitah "gray," panduh "whitish, pale;" Greek pelios "livid, dark," polios "gray;" Old English fealo "dull-colored, yellow, brown;" Welsh llwyd "gray").
palm (n.1) Look up palm at
"flat of the hand," c. 1300, from Old French palme (Modern French paume), from Latin palma "palm of the hand," also "flat end of an oar; palm tree," from PIE *pel- "to spread out; flat" (cognates: Greek palame "open hand," Old Irish lam, Welsh llaw, Old English folm, Old High German folma "hand," Sanskrit panih "hand, hoof"). Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (1620s) than in the literal sense of "oil from the fruit of the West African palm" (1705, from palm (n.2)).
palm (n.2) Look up palm at
tropical tree, Old English palma, Old French palme, both from Latin palma "palm tree," originally "palm of the hand;" the tree so called from the shape of its leaves, like fingers of a hand (see palm (n.1)).

The word traveled early to northern Europe, where the tree does not grow, via Christianity, and took root in the local languages (such as Old Saxon palma, Old High German palma, Old Norse palmr). Palm Sunday is Old English palm-sunnandæg.

In ancient times, a leaf or frond was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence figurative use of palm for "victory, triumph" (late 14c.). Palm court "large room in a hotel, etc., usually decorated with potted palms" first recorded 1908.
palm (v.) Look up palm at
"impose (something) on (someone)," 1670s, from palm (n.1). Extended form palm off is from 1822.
palm-tree (n.) Look up palm-tree at
Old English palm-treo; see palm (n.2) + tree (n.).
palmer (n.) Look up palmer at
"pilgrim who has returned from the Holy Land," late 12c. (as a surname), from Anglo-French palmer (Old French palmier), from Medieval Latin palmarius, from Latin palma "palm tree" (see palm (n.2)). So called because they wore palm branches in commemoration of the journey.
palmetto (n.) Look up palmetto at
1580s, from Spanish palmito "dwarf fan palm tree," diminutive of palma "palm tree," from Latin palma (see palm (n.2)). The suffix was subsequently Italianized. The Palmetto Flag was an emblem of South Carolina after secession (1860); the state was called Palmetto State from at least 1837.
palmistry (n.) Look up palmistry at
"divination from the palm of the hand," early 15c., from palme (see palm (n.1)) + obscure second element, perhaps -estre (as in Middle English webbestre "weaver") or -rie (as in Middle English archerie "archery"). Palmist (n.) is an 1886 back-formation.
palmy (adj.) Look up palmy at
"triumphant," c. 1600, from palm (n.2) in the "triumph" sense + -y (2). Literal meaning "full of palms" attested from 1660s.
palomino (n.) Look up palomino at
1914, from American Spanish palomino "cream-colored horse," from Spanish, literally "young dove," perhaps from Italian palombino "dove-colored," from Latin palumbinus "of wood pigeons," from palumba "wood pigeon" (see fallow (adj.)). The horse so called because of its dove-like coloring, light brown or cream with a pale mane and tail.
palooka (n.) Look up palooka at
"mediocre prizefighter," 1926, of unknown origin, credited to U.S. sportswriter and "Variety" staffer Jack Conway (d.1928). Non-boxing sense of "average person" is from Joe Palooka, hero of Ham Fisher's comic strip.
palp (n.) Look up palp at
"feeler," 1842, from French palpe, from Latin palpus "feeler," related to palpare "to touch, feel" (see feel (v.)).
palpable (adj.) Look up palpable at
late 14c., "that can be touched," from Late Latin palpabilis "that may be touched or felt," from Latin palpare "touch gently, stroke" (see feel (v.)). Figurative sense of "easily perceived, evident" also is from late 14c. Related: Palpably.
palpate (v.) Look up palpate at
"examine by touch," c. 1850, a back-formation from palpation, or else from Latin palpatus, past participle of palpare "to touch" (see feel (v.)). Related: Palpated; palpating.
palpation (n.) Look up palpation at
late 15c., from Middle French palpation, from Latin palpationem (nominative palpatio) "stroking, flattering, flattery," noun of action from past participle stem of palpare "to touch" (see feel (v.)). Used in English in literal sense.
palpitant (adj.) Look up palpitant at
1837, from French palpitant (early 16c.), from Latin palpitantem, present participle of palpitare "to move frequently and swiftly, tremble, throb," frequentative of palpare "to touch" (see feel (v.)).
palpitate (v.) Look up palpitate at
1620s, from Latin palpitatus, past participle of palpitare "to throb, flutter" (see palpitation). Related: Palpitated; palpitating.
palpitation (n.) Look up palpitation at
early 15c., from Middle French palpitation, from Latin palpitationem (nominative palpitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of palpitare "to throb, to flutter, to tremble, to quiver," frequentative of palpare "touch gently, stroke; wheedle, coax" (see feel (v.)).
palsgrave (n.) Look up palsgrave at
1540s, "a count palatine," from Middle Dutch palsgrave, from pals "palace" (from Latin palatium, see palace) + grave (Dutch graaf) "count" (see margrave). Similar formation in Middle High German pfalzgrave, German Pfalzgraf.
palsied (adj.) Look up palsied at
1540s, from palsy.
palsy (n.) Look up palsy at
"disease causing paralysis," c. 1300, palesie, from Anglo-French parlesie, Old French paralisie, from Vulgar Latin *paralysia, from Latin paralysis (see paralysis).
palter (v.) Look up palter at
1530s, "speak indistinctly," of unknown origin. It has the form of a frequentative, but no verb palt is known. Connection with paltry is uncertain. Hence "play fast and loose" (c. 1600). Related: Paltered; paltering; palterer.
paltry (adj.) Look up paltry at
1560s, probably an adjectival use of noun paltry "worthless thing" (1550s), associated with dialectal palt, pelt "trash," cognate with Middle Low German and East Frisian palte "rag," Middle Dutch palt "broken or torn fragment." Similar formation in Low German paltrig "rubbishy," East Frisian palterig "ragged, torn."
pampas (n.) Look up pampas at
"large plains of South America," 1704, from Spanish pampas, plural of pampa, from Quechua (Peru) pampa "a plain."
pamper (v.) Look up pamper at
late 14c., "to cram with food," probably from Middle Dutch (compare West Flemish pamperen "cram with food, overindulge;" dialectal German pampen "to cram"), probably from frequentative of root of pap (n.1). Meaning "to overindulge" first attested 1520s. Related: Pampered; pampering.
pampered (adj.) Look up pampered at
1520s, "over-fed," past participle adjective from pamper. Meaning "spoiled by luxury" is from 1690s.
pamphlet (n.) Look up pamphlet at
"small, unbound treatise," late 14c., from Anglo-Latin panfletus, popular short form of "Pamphilus, seu de Amore" ("Pamphilus, or about Love"), a short 12c. Latin love poem popular and widely copied in Middle Ages; the name from Greek pamphilos "loved by all," from pan- "all" + philos "loving, dear" see -phile). Meaning "brief work dealing with questions of current interest" is late 16c.
pamphleteer (n.) Look up pamphleteer at
1640s, from pamphlet + -eer. As a verb from 1690s.