proselytize (v.) Look up proselytize at
1670s, "to make proselytes," from proselyte + -ize. Related: Proselytized; proselytizing.
proselytizer (n.) Look up proselytizer at
1811, agent noun from proselytize.
Proserpina Look up Proserpina at
daughter of Ceres and wife of Pluto, Latin (or Etruscan) modification of Greek Persephone, perhaps influenced by Latin proserpere "to creep forth" on notion of the germination of plants.
prosify (v.) Look up prosify at
1774, from prose + -ify. Related: Prosified; prosifying.
prosiness (n.) Look up prosiness at
1814, from prosy + -ness.
prosit (interj.) Look up prosit at
1846, toast or expression wishing good health (from 16c., famously a drinking pledge by German students), Latin, literally "may it advantage (you)," third person singular present subjunctive of prodesse "to do good, be profitable" (see proud).
prosodemic (adj.) Look up prosodemic at
1964, with -ic + prosodeme (1940), from Greek proso-, probably related to pros "toward, to, at, against, near."
prosody (n.) Look up prosody at
late 15c., from Latin prosodia "accent of a syllable," from Greek prosoidia "song sung to music," also "accent, modulation," literally "a singing in addition to," from pros "to, forward, near" + oide "song, poem" (see ode). Related: Prosodiacal; prosodist.
prosopagnosia (n.) Look up prosopagnosia at
1950, Medical Latin from German prosopagnosie (1948), from Greek prosopon "face" (see prosopopeia) + agnosia "ignorance" (see agnostic).
prosopopeia (n.) Look up prosopopeia at
also prosopopoeia, 1560s, from Latin prosopopoeia, from Greek prosopopoiia "the putting of speeches into the mouths of others," from prosopon "person, face" (literally "that which is toward the eyes," from pros "to" + ops "eye, face;" see eye (n.)) + poiein "make" (see poet). Generally, a rhetorical figure in which an imaginary or absent person is made to speak or act.
prospect (n.) Look up prospect at
early 15c., "act of looking into the distance," from Latin prospectus "distant view, look out; sight, faculty of sight," noun use of past participle of prospicere "look out on, look forward," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "extensive view of the landscape" is from 1530s; transferred sense of "mental view or survey" is from 1620s. Sense of "person or thing considered promising" is from 1922. Prospects "expectations, things looked forward to" is from 1660s.
prospect (v.) Look up prospect at
"explore for gold, examine land with a view to a mining claim," 1841, from prospect (n.) in specialized sense of "spot giving prospects of ore" (1832). Earlier in a sense "look forth, look out over" (1550s), from Latin prospectare. Related: Prospected; prospecting.
prospective (adj.) Look up prospective at
1580s, from obsolete French prospectif and directly from Medieval Latin prospectivus "affording a prospect; pertaining to a prospect," from Latin prospect-, past participle stem of prospicere (see prospect (n.)). In 17c. also as a noun, "spy glass, telescope." Related: Prospectively.
prospector (n.) Look up prospector at
also prospecter, 1846 in the mining sense; agent noun from prospect (v.).
prospectus (n.) Look up prospectus at
1765, from French prospectus (1723) and directly from Latin prospectus "view" (see prospect (n.)).
prosper (v.) Look up prosper at
mid-14c., from Old French prosperer (14c.) and directly from Latin prosperare "cause to succeed, render happy," from prosperus "favorable, fortunate, prosperous," perhaps literally "agreeable to one's wishes," traditionally regarded as from Old Latin pro spere "according to expectation, according to one's hope," from pro "for" + ablative of spes "hope," from PIE root *spe- "to flourish, succeed, thrive, prosper" (see speed (n.)).
prosperity (n.) Look up prosperity at
c. 1200, from Old French prosprete (12c., Modern French prospérité) and directly from Latin prosperitatem (nominative prosperitas) "good fortune," from prosperus (see prosper).
prosperous (adj.) Look up prosperous at
early 15c., "tending to bring success," from prosper + -ous, or else from obsolete Middle French prospereus (15c.), from prosperer. The sense of "flourishing" is first recorded late 15c.
prostaglandin (n.) Look up prostaglandin at
1936, from German (1935); see prostate + gland + chemical suffix -in (2).
prostate (n.) Look up prostate at
1640s, from Middle French prostate, from Medieval Latin prostata "the prostate," from Greek prostates (aden) "prostate (gland)," from prostates "leader, ruler, guardian; one standing in front," from proistanai "set before," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + histanai "cause to stand" from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). So called from its position at the base of the bladder.
prostatitis (n.) Look up prostatitis at
1844, from prostate + -itis "inflammation."
prosthesis (n.) Look up prosthesis at
1550s, "addition of a letter or syllable to a word," from Late Latin, from Greek prosthesis "addition," from prostithenai "add to," from pros "to" + tithenai "to put, place" (see theme). Meaning "artificial body part" is first recorded c. 1900, from earlier use to describe the medical art of making artificial limbs (1706), on notion of "that which is added to" the injured body.
prosthetic (adj.) Look up prosthetic at
1837 in grammar; 1902 in the surgical sense, from Latinized form of Greek prosthetikos "disposed to add," from prosthetas "added," verbal adjective of prostithenai "to put to, add to" (see prosthesis). Related: Prosthetically.
prosthetics (n.) Look up prosthetics at
1894, from prosthetic; also see -ics.
prostitute (v.) Look up prostitute at
1520s, "to offer to indiscriminate sexual intercourse (usually in exchange for money)," from Latin prostitutus, past participle of prostituere "to expose to prostitution, expose publicly," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + statuere "cause to stand, establish," from PIE root *sta- "to stand," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing" (see stet). Related: Prostituted; prostituting.

The notion of "sex for hire" is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one "exposed to lust" or sex "indiscriminately offered." However, this is now almost the official European term for the institution: German prostituierte, Russian prostitutka, etc. Figurative sense (of abilities, etc.) is from 1570s. Of men, in reference to homosexual acts, from 1886 (in form prostitution); phrase male prostitute attested by 1948.
prostitute (n.) Look up prostitute at
"harlot, woman who offers her body indiscriminately" (usually for money)," 1610s, from Latin prostituta "prostitute," fem. of prostitutus, past participle of prostituere (see prostitute (v.)).
prostitution (n.) Look up prostitution at
1530s, from Middle French prostitution and directly from Late Latin prostitutionem (nominative prostitutio), noun of action from past participle stem of prostituere (see prostitute).
prostomium (n.) Look up prostomium at
1870, Latinized form of Greek prostomion "fore-mouth, something before the mouth," from pro "before" (see pro-) + stoma "mouth" (see stoma).
prostrate (adj.) Look up prostrate at
mid-14c., "lying face-down" (in submission, worship, etc.), from Latin prostratus, past participle of prosternere "strew in front, throw down," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + sternere "to spread out," from PIE root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)). Figurative use from 1590s. General sense of "laid out, knocked flat" is from 1670s.
prostrate (v.) Look up prostrate at
early 15c., prostraten, "prostrate oneself," from prostrate (adj.). Related: Prostrated; prostrating.
prostration (n.) Look up prostration at
c. 1400, "action of prostrating oneself," from Old French prostracion (14c.) or directly from Late Latin prostrationem (nominative prostratio), noun of action from past participle stem of prosternere (see prostrate (v.)); or else a native formation from prostrate (v.). Meaning "weakness, exhaustion, dejection" is from 1650s.
prosy (adj.) Look up prosy at
1814 (Jane Austen), from prose + -y (2). Related: Prosiness.
Prot (n.) Look up Prot at
colloquial shortening of Protestant (n.), used by Catholics, often contemptuous.
protagonist (n.) Look up protagonist at
1670s, "principal character in a story, drama, etc.," from Greek protagonistes "actor who plays the chief or first part," from protos "first" (see proto-) + agonistes "actor, competitor," from agon "contest" (see act (n.)). Meaning "leading person in any cause or contest" is from 1889. Mistaken sense of "advocate, supporter" (1935) is from misreading of Greek protos as Latin pro- "for."
Protean (adj.) Look up Protean at
1590s, from Greek Proteus, sea god (son of Oceanus and Tethys) who could change his form; his name is literally "first," from protos "first" (see proto-).
protease (n.) Look up protease at
1903, from protein + -ase. Related: Proteolysis.
protect (v.) Look up protect at
mid-15c., from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere "to protect, cover in front" (see protection). International economics sense from 1789. Related: Protected; protecting.
protectant (adj.) Look up protectant at
1660s, irregularly formed from protect + -ant. As a noun from 1935.
protection (n.) Look up protection at
mid-14c., "shelter, defense; keeping, guardianship;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro- "in front" + tegere "to cover" (see stegosaurus).

A common Old English word for "protect" was beorgan. International economic sense is from 1789. In gangster sense, "freedom from molestation in exchange for money," it is attested from 1860. Ecological sense of "attempted preservation by laws" is from 1880 (originally of wild birds in Britain). Also in medieval England, "the protection or maintenance of a lord or patron; sponsorship." To put (someone) out of protection meant to deprive him or her of the security of the protection of the kingdom's laws.
protectionism (n.) Look up protectionism at
1846, from protectionist + -ism.
protectionist (n.) Look up protectionist at
in the economics sense, 1841, from French protectionniste (in political economy sense, protection is attested from 1789). As an adjective by 1843.
protective (adj.) Look up protective at
1660s, from protect + -ive. As a noun from 1875. Related: Protectively; protectiveness. Protective custody is from 1933, translating German Schutzhaft, used cynically by the Nazis.
protector (n.) Look up protector at
late 14c., from Old French protector (14c., Modern French protecteur) and directly from Late Latin protector, agent noun from protegere (see protection). Related: Protectoral.
protectorate (n.) Look up protectorate at
1690s in reference to the government by the Cromwells; 1795 as "occupied territory of another nation," from protector + -ate (1). Meaning "state or territory (usually tribal) placed under the protection of a major power" is from 1860.
protege (n.) Look up protege at
1778, from French protégé (fem. protégée) "one who is protected," noun use of past participle of Middle French protéger "protect," from Latin protegere (see protect; also see protection).
protein (n.) Look up protein at
1844, from French protéine, coined 1838 by Dutch chemist Gerhard Johan Mulder (1802-1880), perhaps on suggestion of Berzelius, from Greek proteios "the first quality," from protos "first" (see proto-) + -ine (2).

Originally a theoretical substance thought to be essential to life, further studies of the substances he was working with overthrew this, but the words protein and proteid continued to be used in international work on the matter and also for other organic compounds; the modern use as a general name for a class of bodies arose in German. The confusion became so great a committee was set up in 1907 to sort out the nomenclature, which it did, giving protein its modern meaning and banishing proteid.
proteinuria Look up proteinuria at
1911, Modern Latin, from French protéinurie; see protein + urine + abstract noun ending -ia.
protero- Look up protero- at
before vowels proter-, word-forming element meaning "former, earlier," from comb. form of Greek proteros "before, former, anterior," from PIE *pro-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).
Proterozoic (adj.) Look up Proterozoic at
1880, from protero- + zoic.
protest (n.) Look up protest at
c. 1400, "avowal, pledge, solemn declaration," from Old French protest (Modern French prôtet), from preotester, and directly from Latin protestari "declare publicly, testify, protest," from pro- "forth, before" (see pro-) + testari "testify," from testis "witness" (see testament).

Meaning "statement of disapproval" first recorded 1751; adjectival sense of "expressing of dissent from, or rejection of, prevailing mores" is from 1953, in reference to U.S. civil rights movement. First record of protest march is from 1959.