- poach (v.1)
- "steal game," 1520s, "to push, poke," from Middle French pocher "to thrust, poke," from Old French pochier "poke out, gouge, prod, jab," from a Germanic source (compare Middle High German puchen "to pound, beat, knock," German pochen, Middle Dutch boken "to beat") related to poke (v.). Sense of "trespass for the sake of stealing" is first attested 1610s, perhaps via notion of "thrusting" oneself onto another's property, or perhaps from French pocher "to pocket" (see poach (v.2)). Related: Poached; poaching.
- poach (v.2)
- "cook in liquid," early 15c., from Old French poché, past participle of pochier (12c.), literally "put into a pocket" (as the white of an egg forms a pocket for the yolk), from poche "bag, pocket," from Frankish *pokka "bag," from Proto-Germanic *puk- (see poke (n.)). Related: Poached; poaching.
- poached (adj.)
- of eggs, mid-15c., past participle adjective from poach (v.2).
- poacher (n.)
- 1660s, "one who poaches game," agent noun from poach (v.1). Attested from 1846 as "vessel for poaching eggs," from poach (v.2).
- (c. 1595-1617), daughter of Algonquian leader Powhatan, the name is said to be Algonquian Pokachantesu "she is playful."
- pock (n.)
- Old English pocc "pustule, blister, ulcer," from Proto-Germanic *puh(h)- "to swell up, blow up" (source also of Middle Dutch pocke, Dutch pok, East Frisian pok, Low German poche, dialectal German Pfoche), from PIE root *beu- "to swell, to blow" (see bull (n.2)). Middle French pocque is from Germanic. The plural form, Middle English pokkes, is the source of pox, which since early 14c. has been used in the sense "disease characterized by pocks."
- pock (v.)
- "to disfigure with pits or pocks," 1841. Related: Pocked; pocking.
- pock-mark (n.)
- also pockmark, 1670s, from pock (n.) + mark (n.). As a verb from 1756. Related: Pockmarked; pock-marked.
- pocket (n.)
- mid-14c., pokete, "bag, pouch, small sack," from Anglo-French pokete (13c.), diminutive of Old North French poque "bag" (Old French pouche), from a Germanic source akin to Frankish *pokka "bag," from Proto-Germanic *puk- (see poke (n.)).
Meaning "small bag worn on the person, especially one sewn into a garment" is from early 15c. Sense in billiards is from 1754. Mining sense is attested from 1850; military sense of "area held by troops surrounded by the enemy" is from 1918; the general sense of "small area different than its surroundings" (1926) apparently was extended from the military use. Figuratively, "one's money" (conceived as being kept in a pocket) is from 1717. Pope Pokett (late 15c.) was figurative of the greedy and corrupt Church.
- pocket (v.)
- 1580s, "to place in a pocket" (often with implications of dishonesty), from pocket (n.). From the earliest use often figurative. Meaning "to form pockets" is from c. 1600. Related: Pocketed; pocketing.
- pocket (adj.)
- 1610s, "of or pertaining to or meant for a pocket," from pocket (n.). Pocket-knife is first recorded 1727; pocket-money is attested from 1630s. Often merely implying a small-sized version of something (for example of of warships, from 1930; also compare Pocket Venus "beautiful, small woman," attested from 1808). Pocket veto attested from 1842, American English.
The "pocket veto" can operate only in the case of bills sent to the President within ten days of Congressional adjournment. If he retain such a bill (figuratively, in his pocket) neither giving it his sanction by signing it, nor withholding his sanction in returning it to Congress, the bill is defeated. The President is not bound to give reasons for defeating a bill by a pocket veto which he has not had at least ten days to consider. In a regular veto he is bound to give such reasons. [James Albert Woodburn, "The American Republic and its Government," Putnam's, 1903]
- pocketbook (n.)
- also pocket-book, 1610s, originally a small book meant to be carried in one's pocket, from pocket (n.) + book (n.). Meaning "a booklike leather folder for papers, bills, etc." is from 1722. Meaning "a woman's purse" is from 1816.
- pocketful (n.)
- 1610s, from pocket (n.) + -ful.
- in musical directions, "a little, slightly," 1724, from Italian poco, from Latin paucus "few, little" (see paucity).
- mountain range and region in eastern Pennsylvania, from Delaware (Algonquian), perhaps Pocohanne "stream between mountains."
- pod (n.1)
- "seed of beans," 1680s, of uncertain origin; found earlier in podware "seed of legumes, seed grain" (mid-15c.), which had a parallel form codware "husked or seeded plants" (late 14c.), related to cod "husk of seeded plants," which was in Old English. In reference to pregnancy from 1890; in reference to a round belly from 1825. Meaning "detachable body of an aircraft" is from 1950. Pod people (1956) is from movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," based on novel by Jack Finney.
- pod (n.2)
- "herd of whales or seals," 1827, American English, of unknown origin.
- 2004, noun and verb, from pod-, from iPod, brand of portable media player, + second element abstracted from broadcast. Related: Podcasting.
- podgy (adj.)
- 1846, later collateral form of pudgy (q.v.).
- podiatry (n.)
- 1914, formed from Greek pod-, stem of pous "foot," from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)) + iatreia "healing," from iatros "physician" (see -iatric). An attempt to supplant chiropody (see chiropodist) and distance the practice from the popular impression of unskilled corn-cutters. The National Association of Chiropodists changed its name to American Podiatry Association in 1958. Related: Podiatric; podiatrist.
- podium (n.)
- 1743, "raised platform around an ancient arena," also "projecting base of a pedestal," from Latin podium "raised platform," from Greek podion "foot of a vase," diminutive of pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)). Meaning "raised platform at the front of a hall or stage" is from 1947.
- legendary small town, 1846, originally the name of a small group of Indians who lived around the Podunk River in Connecticut; the tribe name is in colonial records from 1656 (as Potunck), from southern New England Algonquian (Mohegan or Massachusetts) Potunk, probably from pautaunke, from pot- "to sink" + locative suffix -unk, thus "a boggy place." Its popularity as the name of a typical (if mythical) U.S. small town dates from a series of witty "Letters from Podunk" which ran in the "Buffalo Daily National Pilot" newspaper beginning Jan. 5, 1846.
- poem (n.)
- 1540s (replacing poesy in this sense), from Middle French poème (14c.), from Latin poema "composition in verse, poetry," from Greek poema "fiction, poetical work," literally "thing made or created," early variant of poiema, from poein, poiein, "to make or compose" (see poet). Spelling pome, representing an ignorant pronunciation, is attested from 1856.
- poesy (n.)
- late 14c., "poetry; poetic language and ideas; literature; a poem, a passage of poetry," from Old French poesie (mid-14c.), from Vulgar Latin poesia (source of Provençal, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian poesia), from Latin poesis "poetry, a poem," from Greek poesis "composition, poetry," literally "a making, fabrication," variant of poiesis, from poein, poiein "to make or compose" (see poet). Meaning "the art of poetry" is late 15c.
- poet (n.)
- early 14c., "a poet, a singer" (c. 1200 as a surname), from Old French poete (12c., Modern French poète) and directly from Latin poeta "a poet," from Greek poetes "maker, author, poet," variant of poietes, from poein, poiein "to make, create, compose," from PIE *kwoiwo- "making," from root *kwei- "to pile up, build, make" (source also of Sanskrit cinoti "heaping up, piling up," Old Church Slavonic činu "act, deed, order").
Replaced Old English scop (which survives in scoff). Used in 14c., as in classical languages, for all sorts of writers or composers of works of literature. Poète maudit, "a poet insufficiently appreciated by his contemporaries," literally "cursed poet," attested by 1930, from French (1884, Verlaine). For poet laureate see laureate.
- poetaster (n.)
- 1590s, from Middle French poetastre (1550s), from Latin poeta (see poet) + -aster, diminutive (pejorative) suffix. Old Norse had skaldfifl "poetaster."
- poetess (n.)
- 1520s, from poet + -ess. Earlier fem. form was poetresse (early 15c.). Old Norse had skaldkona "poetess."
- poetic (adj.)
- 1520s, from poet + -ic, or else from or influenced by Middle French poetique (c. 1400), from Latin poeticus, from Greek poietikos "pertaining to poetry," literally "creative, productive," from poietos "made," verbal adjective of poiein "to make" (see poet). Related: Poetics (1727). Poetic justice "ideal justice as portrayed in plays and stories" is from 1670s. For poetic licence (1733) see licence (n.).
Earlier adjective was poetical (late 14c.); also obsolete poetly (mid-15c.). Related: Poetically (early 15c.).
- poetry (n.)
- late 14c., "poetry; a poem; ancient literature; poetical works, fables, or tales," from Old French poetrie (13c.), and perhaps directly from Medieval Latin poetria (c.650), from Latin poeta (see poet). In classical Latin, poetria meant "poetess."
... I decided not to tell lies in verse. Not to feign any emotion that I did not feel; not to pretend to believe in optimism or pessimism, or unreversible progress; not to say anything because it was popular, or generally accepted, or fashionable in intellectual circles, unless I myself believed it; and not to believe easily. [Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), forward to "Selected Poems"]
Figurative use from 1660s. Old English had metergeweorc "verse," metercræft "art of versification." Modern English lacks a true verb form in this group of words, though poeticize (1804), poetize (1580s, from French poétiser), and poetrize (c. 1600) have been tried. Poetry in motion (1826) perhaps is from poetry of motion (1813) "dance" (also poetry of the foot, 1660s).
Poetry -- meaning the aggregate of instances from which the idea of poetry is deduced by every new poet -- has been increasingly enlarged for many centuries. The instances are numerous, varied and contradictory as instances of love; but just as 'love' is a word of powerful enough magic to make the true lover forget all its baser and falser, usages, so is 'poetry' for the true poet. [Robert Graves, "The White Goddess"]
- pog (n.)
- disc used in playing a game said to have originated in Hawaii and popular in U.S. during the mid-1990s; said to be from the name of a brand of juice, the bottle caps from it being used to play the game originally.
- pogo (n.)
- 1921, originally a registered trademark (Germany, 1919), of unknown origin, perhaps formed from elements of the names of the designers.
Hopping Stilts Are the New French Playthings. ... For France and especially Paris has taken to the "pogo" stick, a stick equipped with two rests for the feet. Inside of the stick is a strong spring so that the "pogoer" may take a series of jumps without straining his powers. The doctors claim that the jarring produced by the successive jumps do not serve to injure the spine, as one might at first suppose. This jumping habit is spreading through France and England and the eastern part of the United States. ["Illustrated World," Sept., 1921]
The fad periodically returned in U.S., but with fading intensity. As a leaping style of punk dance, attested from 1977. The newspaper comic strip by Walt Kelly debuted in 1948 and ran daily through 1975.
- pogo stick (n.)
- 1921; see pogo.
- word-forming element from comb. form of Greek pogon "the beard." Used in Pogonophile; pogonophobia.
- pogrom (n.)
- 1882, from Yiddish pogrom, from Russian pogromu "devastation, destruction," from po- "by, through, behind, after" (cognate with Latin post-; see post-) + gromu "thunder, roar," from PIE imitative root *ghrem- (see grim).
- contemptuous exclamation, attested from 1670s.
- poi (n.)
- 1823, from Hawaiian poi "food made from taro root."
- poignance (n.)
- 1769; see poignant + -ance.
- poignancy (n.)
- 1680s, "sharpness, keenness," from poignant + -cy.
- poignant (adj.)
- late 14c., "painful to physical or mental feeling" (of sauce, spice, wine as well as things that affect the feelings), from Old French poignant "sharp, pointed" (13c.), present participle of poindre "to prick, sting," from Latin pungere "to prick, pierce, sting," figuratively, "to vex, grieve, trouble, afflict," related to pugnus "a fist" (see pugnacious). Related: Poignantly.
The word disguises a linguistics trick-play, a double reverse. Latin pungere is from the same root as Latin pugnus "fist," and represents a metathesis of -n- and -g- that later was reversed in French.
- poilu (n.)
- French private soldier, 1914, from French poilu, literally "hairy," from poil "hair," not of the head, but of beards, animal coats, etc., from Latin pilus (see pile (n.3)). In 19c. French the adjective had a secondary sense of "strong, brave, courageous" (Balzac).
- poindexter (n.)
- "nerdy intellectual," by 1986, U.S. teenager slang, from the character Poindexter, introduced 1959 in the made-for-TV cartoon version of "Felix the Cat."
- poinsettia (n.)
- from the genus name (1836), Modern Latin, in recognition of Joel R. Poinsett (1779-1851), U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who is said to have brought the plant to the attention of botanists, + abstract noun ending -ia.
- point (n.)
- c. 1200, "minute amount, single item in a whole; sharp end of a sword, etc.," a merger of two words, both ultimately from Latin pungere "to prick, pierce," related to pugnus "a fist" (see pugnacious). The Latin neuter past participle punctum was used as a noun, meaning "small hole made by pricking," subsequently extended to anything that looked like one, hence, "dot, particle," etc. This yielded Old French point "dot; smallest amount," which was borrowed in Middle English by c. 1300.
Meanwhile the Latin fem. past participle of pungere was puncta, which was used in Medieval Latin to mean "sharp tip," and became Old French pointe "point of a weapon, vanguard of an army," which also passed into English, early 14c.
The senses have merged in English, but remain distinct in French. Extended senses are from the notion of "minute, single, or separate items in an extended whole." Meaning "small mark, dot" in English is mid-14c. Meaning "distinguishing feature" is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "a unit of score in a game" is first recorded 1746. As a typeface unit (in Britain and U.S., one twelfth of a pica), it went into use in U.S. 1883. As a measure of weight for precious stones (one one-hundredth of a carat) it is recorded from 1931.
The point "the matter being discussed" is attested from late 14c.; meaning "sense, purpose, advantage" (usually in the negative, as in what's the point?) is first recorded 1903. Point of honor (1610s) translates French point d'honneur. Point of no return (1941) is originally aviators' term for the point in a flight "before which any engine failure requires an immediate turn around and return to the point of departure, and beyond which such return is no longer practical."
- point (v.)
- late 14c., "indicate with the finger;" c. 1400, "wound by stabbing; make pauses in reading a text; seal or fill openings or joints or between tiles," partly from Old French pointoier "to prick, stab, jab, mark," and also from point (n.).
Mid-15c. as "to stitch, mend." From late 15c. as "stitch, mend;" also "furnish (a garment) with tags or laces for fastening;" from late 15c. as "aim (something)." Related: Pointed; pointing. To point up "emphasize" is from 1934; to point out is from 1570s.
- point man (n.)
- "one who leads a military patrol in formation in a jungle, etc.," 1944, from point (n.) in military sense of "small leading party of an advance guard" (1580s) + man (n.).
- point of view (n.)
- "position from which a thing is viewed," 1727, translating French point de vue, a loan-translation of Latin punctum visus. Figurative use is from 1760. The Latin phrase was translated into German as Gesichtspunkt.
- point-blank (n.)
- 1570s, said to be from point (v.) + blank (n.), here meaning the white center of a target. The notion would be of standing close enough to aim (point) at the blank without allowance for curve, windage, or gravity. But early references make no mention of a white target, and the phrase is possibly from a simplification of the French phrase de pointe en blanc, used in French gunnery in reference to firing a piece on the level into open space to test how far it will carry. In that case the blank represents "empty space" or perhaps the "zero point" of elevation. The whole phrase might be a French loan-translation from Italian. From 1590s as an adjective in English.
- pointe (n.)
- in dance, 1830, from French pointe (see point (n.)).
- pointed (adj.)
- c. 1300, "having a sharp end or ends," from point (n.). Meaning "having the quality of penetrating the feelings or mind" is from 1660s. Related: Pointedly; pointedness.
- pointer (n.)
- mid-14c., "a tiler" (early 13c. as a surname), agent noun from point (v.). From c. 1500 as "maker of needlepoint lace." From 1570s as "thing that points;" meaning "dog that stands rigid in the presence of game, facing the quarry" is recorded from 1717. Meaning "item of advice" first recorded 1883.