postage (n.) Look up postage at
1580s, "sending of mail by post;" 1650s as "cost of sending something by mail," from post (n.3) + -age. Postage stamp is attested from 1840; they were recorded as being collected in albums by 1862.
postal (adj.) Look up postal at
"pertaining to the mail system," 1843, on model of French postale (1836), from post (n.3). Noun meaning "state of irrational and violent anger" (usually in phrase going postal) attested by 1997, in reference to a cluster of news-making workplace shootings in U.S. by what were commonly described as "disgruntled postal workers" (the cliche itself, though not the phrase, goes back at least to 1994).
postcard (n.) Look up postcard at
1870, from post (n.3) + card (n).
postdate (v.) Look up postdate at
also post-date, 1620s, from post- + date (v.1) "to assign a date to, to mark a date on." Related: Postdated; postdating. Intransitive meaning "be of an earlier date" is from 1909.
postdiluvial (adj.) Look up postdiluvial at
also post-diluvial, 1823, from post- + diluvial. Earlier was postdiluvian (1670s).
posted (adj.) Look up posted at
"supplied with news," 1828, American English, past participle adjective from post (v.2).
poster (n.) Look up poster at
"bill, placard, thing posted," 1838, from post (v.1). Poster boy/girl/child "someone given prominence in certain causes" is attested by 1990, in reference to fund-raising drives for charities associated with disability, featuring child sufferers, a feature since 1930s.
posterior (adj.) Look up posterior at
1530s, "later," from Latin posterior "after, later, behind," comparative of posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Meaning "situated behind" is from 1630s.
posterior (n.) Look up posterior at
"buttocks," euphemistic, 1610s, from posterior (adj.). Earlier it meant "those who come after, posterity" (1530s). Compare Lithuanian pasturas "the last, the hindmost," from pas "at, by."
posteriority (n.) Look up posteriority at
late 14c., "state of being behind," from Old French posteriorite (Modern French postériorité), from Medieval Latin posterioritatem (nominative posterioritas), from Latin posterior "later" (see posterior (adj.)).
posterity (n.) Look up posterity at
late 14c., from Old French posterité (14c.), from Latin posteritatem (nominative posteritas) "future, future time; after-generation, offspring;" literally "the condition of coming after," from posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Old English words for this included æftercneoreso, framcynn.
postern (n.) Look up postern at
late 13c., "back door, private door," from Old French posterne "side or rear gate," earlier posterle, from Late Latin posterula "small back door or gate," diminutive of Latin posterus "that is behind, coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-).
posthaste (adv.) Look up posthaste at
1590s, from a noun (1530s) meaning "great speed," usually said to be from "post haste" instruction formerly written on letters (attested from 1530s), from post (adv.) + haste (n.). The verb post "to ride or travel with great speed" is recorded from 1550s.
posthumous (adj.) Look up posthumous at
mid-15c., "born after the death of the originator" (author or father), from Late Latin posthumus, from Latin postumus "last, last-born," superlative of posterus "coming after, subsequent" (see posterior). Altered in Late Latin by association with Latin humare "to bury," suggesting death; the one born after the father's death obviously being the last. An Old English word for this was æfterboren, literally "after-born." Related: Posthumously.
postillon (n.) Look up postillon at
1590s, from Middle French postillon (1530s), from Italian postiglione "forerunner, guide," especially for one carrying mail on horseback, from posta "mail" (see post (n.3)) + compound suffix from Latin -ilio.
postlude (n.) Look up postlude at
1821, from post- + ending abstracted from prelude.
postman (n.) Look up postman at
1520s, from post (n.3) + man (n.).
postmark (n.) Look up postmark at
1670s, from post (n.3) + mark (n.1). As a verb from 1716. Related: Postmarked; postmarking.
postmaster (n.) Look up postmaster at
1510s, from post (n.3) + master (n.).
postmodernism (n.) Look up postmodernism at
also post-modernism, by 1977, from post- + modernism. Defined by Terry Eagleton as "the contemporary movement of thought which rejects ... the possibility of objective knowledge" and is therefore "skeptical of truth, unity, and progress" ["After Theory," 2003]. Related: post-modernist (1965).
postnatal (adj.) Look up postnatal at
1831, from post- + natal.
postpone (v.) Look up postpone at
c. 1500, from Latin postponere "put after; esteem less; neglect; postpone," from post "after" (see post-) + ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)). Related: Postponed; postponing.
postponement (n.) Look up postponement at
1770, from postpone + -ment.
postposition (n.) Look up postposition at
"act of placing after, 1630s, from post- + position (n.). Related: Postpositional.
postprandial (adj.) Look up postprandial at
also post-prandial, 1820, from post- "after" + Latin prandium "luncheon" (usually bread, fish, or cold meat, taken around noon), from *pram "early" (from PIE *pre-, variant of root per- (1) "forward, through;" see per) + edere "to eat" (see edible) + -al (1).
postscript (n.) Look up postscript at
1550s, from Latin post scriptum "written after," from neuter past participle of Latin postscribere "write after," from post "after" (see post-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)).
postulant (n.) Look up postulant at
1759, from French postulant "applicant, candidate," literally "one who asks," from Latin postulantem (nominative postulans), present participle of postulare "to ask, demand" (see postulate (v.)).
postulate (v.) Look up postulate at
1530s, "nominate to a church office," from Medieval Latin postulatus, past participle of postulare "to ask, demand; claim; require," probably formed from past participle of Latin poscere "ask urgently, demand," from *posk-to-, Italic inchoative of PIE root *prek- "to ask questions" (cognates: Sanskrit prcchati, Avestan peresaiti "interrogates," Old High German forskon, German forschen "to search, inquire"). Use in logic dates from 1640s, borrowed from Medieval Latin.
postulate (n.) Look up postulate at
1580s, "a request, demand," from Latin postulatum "demand, request," properly "that which is requested," noun use of neuter past participle of postulare (see postulate (v.)). The sense in logic of "self-evident proposition" is from 1640s. The earlier noun in English was postulation (c. 1400).
posture (n.) Look up posture at
c. 1600, from French posture (16c.), from Italian postura "position, posture," from Latin positura "position, station," from postulus from past participle stem of ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)).
posture (v.) Look up posture at
1620s, literal, from posture (n.). The figurative sense of "take up an artificial mental position" is attested from 1877. Related: Postured; posturing.
Posturpedic (n.) Look up Posturpedic at
trademark name (Sealy, Inc., Chicago, U.S.A.) for a brand of mattress, filed in 1951; from posture (n.) + second element from orthopedic.
postwar (adj.) Look up postwar at
also post-war, 1906, in reference to the U.S. Civil War, a hybrid from post- + war (n.). Compare post-bellum.
posy (n.) Look up posy at
also posey, 1530s, "line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring," from poesy "poetry; a passage of poetry," which is recorded in this sense from early 15c. Meaning "flower, bouquet" first recorded 1570s, from notion of the language of flowers.
pot (n.1) Look up pot at
"vessel," from late Old English pott and Old French pot "pot, container, mortar" (also in erotic senses), both from a general Low Germanic (Old Frisian pott, Middle Dutch pot) and Romanic word from Vulgar Latin *pottus, of uncertain origin, said by Barnhart and OED to be unconnected to Late Latin potus "drinking cup." Celtic forms are said to be borrowed from English and French.

Slang meaning "large sum of money staked on a bet" is attested from 1823. Pot roast is from 1881; phrase go to pot (16c.) suggests cooking. In phrases, the pot calls the kettle black-arse is from c. 1700; shit or get off the pot is traced by Partridge to Canadian armed forces in World War II.
pot (n.2) Look up pot at
"marijuana," 1938, probably a shortened form of Mexican Spanish potiguaya "marijuana leaves."
pot (v.) Look up pot at
"to put in a pot," 1610s, from pot (n.1). Related: Potted; potting. Earlier it meant "to drink from a pot" (1590s).
pot-bellied (adj.) Look up pot-bellied at
also potbellied, 1650s, from pot (n.1) + bellied. As a type of stove from 1973.
pot-belly (n.) Look up pot-belly at
1714, from pot (n.1) + belly (n.). Pot-belly stove, so called for its shape, attested from 1943.
pot-holder (n.) Look up pot-holder at
also potholder, the cloth variety so called by 1902, from pot (n.1) + holder.
pot-pie (n.) Look up pot-pie at
also potpie, 1823, American English, from pot (n.1) + pie (n.).
potable (adj.) Look up potable at
early 15c., from Old French potable (14c.) and directly from Late Latin potabilis "drinkable," from Latin potare "to drink" (see potion).
potage (n.) Look up potage at
"thick soup," 1560s, from French potage "soup, broth" (see pottage, which is an earlier English borrowing of the same French word).
potamo- Look up potamo- at
word-forming element meaning "river," from comb. form of Greek potamos "river," perhaps literally "rushing water," from PIE *pet- "to rush, to fly" (see petition).
potamology (n.) Look up potamology at
"the study of rivers," 1829, from potamo- + -logy.
potash (n.) Look up potash at
1751, earlier -pot-ashes (1640s), a loan-translation of older Dutch potaschen, literally "pot ashes" (16c.); so called because it was originally obtained by soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. Compare German Pottasche, Danish potaske, Swedish pottaska, all also from Dutch. See also potassium. French potasse (1570s), Italian potassa are Germanic loan-words. The original plural was pot-ashes.
potassium (n.) Look up potassium at
metallic element, 1807, coined by English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) from Modern Latin potassa, Latinized form of potash (q.v.). Davy first isolated it from potash. Symbol K is from Latin kalium "potash," from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (see alkali).
potation (n.) Look up potation at
early 15c., from Old French potacion, from Latin potationem (nom. potatio) "a drinking; poisonous drink, potion," noun of action from past participle stem of potare "to drink" (see potion).
potato (n.) Look up potato at
1560s, from Spanish patata, from a Carib language of Haiti batata "sweet potato." Sweet potatoes were first to be introduced to Europe; in cultivation in Spain by mid-16c.; in Virginia by 1648. Early 16c. Portuguese traders carried the crop to all their shipping ports and the sweet potato was quickly adopted from Africa to India and Java.

The name later (1590s) was extended to the common white potato, from Peru, which was at first (mistakenly) called Virginia potato, or, because at first it was of minor importance compared to the sweet potato, bastard potato. Spanish invaders in Peru began to use white potatoes as cheap food for sailors 1530s. The first potato from South America reached Pope Paul III in 1540; grown in France at first as an ornamental plant. According to popular tradition, introduced to Ireland 1565 by John Hawkins. Brought to England from Colombia by Sir Thomas Herriot, 1586.

German kartoffel (17c.) is a dissimilation from tartoffel, ultimately from Italian tartufolo (Vulgar Latin *territuberem), originally "truffle." Frederick II forced its cultivation on Prussian peasants in 1743. The French is pomme de terre, literally "earth-apple;" a Swedish dialectal word for "potato" is jordpäron, literally "earth-pear."

Colloquial pronunciation tater is attested in print from 1759. Potato chip (n.) attested from 1879. To drop (something) like a hot potato is from 1824. Children's counting-out rhyme that begins one potato, two potato first recorded 1885 in Canada. Slang potato trap "mouth" attested from 1785.
potboiler (n.) Look up potboiler at
also pot-boiler, 1864 in the figurative literary sense, from pot (n.1) + agent noun from boil (v.). The notion is of something one writes solely to put food on the table.