seed-cake (n.) Look up seed-cake at
1570s, from seed (n.) + cake (n.).
seeded (adj.) Look up seeded at
1922 in the sports sense (originally tennis), past participle adjective from seed (v.).
seedling (n.) Look up seedling at
"young plant developed from seed," 1650s, from seed (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling.
seedy (adj.) Look up seedy at
mid-15c., "fruitful, abundant," from seed (n.) + -y (2). From 1570s as "abounding in seeds." Meaning "shabby" is from 1739, probably in reference to the appearance of a flowering plant that has run to seed. Related: Seediness.
seeing (adj.) Look up seeing at
c. 1300, present participle adjective from see (v.). Seeing Eye dog first attested 1929, American English, trademarked by Seeing Eye Inc. of New Jersey.
seek (v.) Look up seek at
Old English secan "inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from," influenced by Old Norse soekja, both from Proto-Germanic *sokjan (cognates: Old Saxon sokian, Old Frisian seka, Middle Dutch soekan, Old High German suohhan, German suchen, Gothic sokjan), from PIE *sag-yo-, from root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (cognates: Latin sagire "to perceive quickly or keenly," sagus "presaging, predicting," Old Irish saigim "seek"). The natural modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word as uninfluenced by Norse is in beseech. Related: Sought; seeking.
seeker (n.) Look up seeker at
early 14c., agent noun from seek. The religious sect of the Seekers is attested from 1645.
seem (v.) Look up seem at
c. 1200, "to appear to be;" c. 1300, "to be fitting, be appropriate, be suitable," though the more recent sense in English is the etymological one; from Old Norse soema "to honor; to put up with; to conform to (the world, etc.)," verb derived from adjective soemr "fitting," from Proto-Germanic *somi- (cognates: Old English som "agreement, reconciliation," seman "to conciliate," source of Middle English semen "to settle a dispute," literally "to make one;" Old Danish some "to be proper or seemly"), from PIE *som-i-, from root *sem- "one, as one" (see same). Related: Seemed; seeming.
seeming (adj.) Look up seeming at
late 14c., present participle adjective from seem. Seemingly in sense of "to all appearances" recorded from 1590s.
seemly (adj.) Look up seemly at
"of pleasing or good appearance," also "proper, tasteful, decorous," early 13c., semlich, from Old Norse soemiligr "becoming, honorable," from soemr (see seem). Related: Seemliness. Old Norse also had soemleitr "fine to look at."
seen Look up seen at
Middle English sein, from Old English gesegen, gesewen, past participle of seon (see see (n.)). From c. 1200 as "perceived, discovered." To have seen everything as a hyperbolic expression of astonishment is from 1941.
When you have seen one of their Pictures, you have seen all. [Blake, c. 1811]
seep (v.) Look up seep at
1790, variant of sipe (c. 1500), possibly from Old English sipian "to seep," from Proto-Germanic *sip- (cognates: Middle High German sifen, Dutch sijpelen "to ooze"), from PIE root *seib- "to pour out, drip, trickle" (see soap (n.)). Related: Seeped; seeping.
seepage (n.) Look up seepage at
1825, from seep + -age.
seer (n.) Look up seer at
late 14c., "one to whom divine revelations are made," agent noun from see (v.). Originally rendering Latin videns, Greek bleptor (from Hebrew roeh) in Bible translations (such as I Kings ix:9). Literal sense of "one who sees" is attested from early 15c.
seersucker (n.) Look up seersucker at
1722, from Hindi sirsakar, East Indian corruption of Persian shir o shakkar "striped cloth," literally "milk and sugar," a reference to the alternately smooth and puckered surfaces of the stripes. From Persian shir (cognate with Sanskrit ksiram "milk") + shakar (cognate with Pali sakkhara, Sanskrit sarkara "gravel, grit, sugar;" see sugar (n.)).
seethe (v.) Look up seethe at
Old English seoþan "to boil," also figuratively, "be troubled in mind, brood" (class II strong verb; past tense seaþ, past participle soden), from Proto-Germanic *seuthan (cognates: Old Norse sjoða, Old Frisian siatha, Dutch zieden, Old High German siodan, German sieden "to seethe"), from PIE root *seut- "to seethe, boil."

Driven out of its literal meaning by boil (v.); it survives largely in metaphoric extensions. Figurative use, of persons or populations, "to be in a state of inward agitation" is recorded from 1580s (implied in seething). It had wider figurative uses in Old English, such as "to try by fire, to afflict with cares." Now conjugated as a weak verb, and past participle sodden (q.v.) is no longer felt as connected.
seether (n.) Look up seether at
late 14c., "one employed in boiling," agent noun from seethe.
segment (n.) Look up segment at
1560s, from Latin segmentum "a strip or piece cut off, a cutting, strips of colored cloth," from secare "to cut" (see section (n.)), with euphonious alteration of -c- to -g- before -m-. Latin segmentum was used in Medieval Latin as a geometry term, translating Greek tmema, and the word was first picked up in English in this sense. Meaning "segmental portion of anything circular" is from 1640s; general sense of "a division, section" is from 1762.
segment (v.) Look up segment at
1859, intransitive, in reference to cell division, from segment (n.). Transitive sense, "divide (something) into segments" is from 1872. Related: Segmented; segmenting.
segmental (adj.) Look up segmental at
1816, from segment (n.) + -al (1).
segmentation (n.) Look up segmentation at
1650s, "a cutting in small pieces;" 1851 of cells, from segment (v.) + -ation.
segregate (v.) Look up segregate at
1540s, from Latin segregatus, past participle of segregare "set apart, lay aside; isolate; divide," literally "separate from the flock," from *se gregare, from se "apart from" (see secret (n.)) + grege, ablative of grex "herd, flock" (see gregarious). Originally often with reference to the religious notion of separating the flock of the godly from sinners. In modern social context, "to force or enforce racial separation and exclusion," 1908. Related: Segregated; segregating.
segregation (n.) Look up segregation at
1550s, "act of segregating," from Late Latin segregationem (nominative segregatio), noun of action from past participle stem of segregare (see segregate). Meaning "state of being segregated" is from 1660s. Specific U.S. sense of "enforced separation of races" is attested from 1883.
Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved nation. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. [Lyndon Johnson, speech introducing Voting Rights Act, March 15, 1965]
segregationist (n.) Look up segregationist at
1915, from segregation + -ist.
segue (n.) Look up segue at
1740, an instruction in musical scores, from Italian segue, literally "now follows," meaning to play into the following movement without a break, third person singular of seguire "to follow," from Latin sequi "to follow," from PIE *sekw- (1) "to follow" (see sequel). Extended noun sense of "transition without a break" is from 1937; the verb in this sense is first recorded 1958.
Segway Look up Segway at
trademark name (Segway Inc., Bedford, New Hampshire, U.S.), in use from 2001; according to the company, chosen for similarity to segue on notion of "a smooth transition from one place to another," with probably influence of way (n.).
seigneur (n.) Look up seigneur at
"feudal landowner in France," 1590s, from Middle French seigneur, from Old French seignor (see seignior). Related: Seigneuress.
seignior (n.) Look up seignior at
"lord of a manor," late 13c., from Old French seignior (11c., Modern French seigneur), from Latin seniorem (nominative senior) "older" (see senior (adj.)). As a general title for a Frenchman, it dates from 1580s. Related: Seigniorial; seignioral.
seigniorage (n.) Look up seigniorage at
mid-15c., from Old French seignorage, from seignor (see seignior).
seine (n.) Look up seine at
Old English segne "drag-net," from West Germanic *sagina (cognates: Old Saxon and Old High German segina), a borrowing of Latin sagena (source of French seine, 12c., which contributed to the form of the English word), from Greek sagene "a fishing net," also "a hunting net," of unknown origin.
seismic (adj.) Look up seismic at
1858, from seismo- + -ic.
seismo- Look up seismo- at
word-forming element meaning "earthquake," from comb. form of Greek seismos "a shaking, shock; an earthquake," from seiein "to shake," from PIE root *twei- "to agitate, shake, toss."
seismogram (n.) Look up seismogram at
record made by a seismograph or seismometer, 1888, from seismo- + -gram.
seismograph (n.) Look up seismograph at
"instrument for measuring the motions of an earthquake," 1858, from seismo- + -graph. Based on Italian sismografo, coined and invented by Luigi Palmieri (1807-1896), director of meteorological observation on Mount Vesuvius. Related: Seismographic; seismography (1865).
seismologist (n.) Look up seismologist at
1859, from seismology + -ist.
seismology (n.) Look up seismology at
1852, from seismo- + -logy. Related: Seismological (1850).
seismometer (n.) Look up seismometer at
"instrument for measuring the intensity and motion of earthquakes," 1841, from seismo- + -meter. Originally different from a seismograph but now practically the same thing.
seize (v.) Look up seize at
mid-13c., from Old French seisir "to take possession of, take by force; put in possession of, bestow upon" (Modern French saisir), from Late Latin sacire, which is generally held to be from a Germanic source, but the exact origin is uncertain. Perhaps from Frankish *sakjan "lay claim to" (compare Gothic sokjan, Old English secan "to seek;" see seek). Or perhaps from Proto-Germanic *satjan "to place" (see set (v.)).

Originally a legal term in reference to feudal property holdings or offices. Meaning "to grip with the hands or teeth" is from c. 1300; that of "to take possession by force or capture" (of a city, etc.) is from mid-14c. Figurative use, with reference to death, disease, fear, etc. is from late 14c. Meaning "to grasp with the mind" is attested from 1855. Of engines or other mechanisms, attested from 1878. Related: Seized; seizing.
seizure (n.) Look up seizure at
"act of seizing," late 15c., from seize + -ure. Meaning "sudden attack of illness" is attested from 1779.
sejm (n.) Look up sejm at
congress of the Polish republic, 1690s, from Polish sejm "assembly," from *syn-imu, literally "a taking together," from *syn- "together" (see syn-) + PIE root *em- "to take" (see exempt).
selah Look up selah at
1520s, Hebrew word occurring frequently at the end of verse in Psalter. Supposed to be a liturgical direction, perhaps meaning "pause," or perhaps a musical direction to raise the voice (compare Hebrew base s-l-l "to raise, lift").
seldom (adv.) Look up seldom at
late Old English seldum, alteration of seldan "seldom, rarely," from Proto-Germanic *selda- "strange, rare" (cognates: Old Norse sjaldan, Old Frisian selden, Dutch zelden, Old High German seltan, German selten), perhaps ultimately from the base of self (q.v.).

Form shifted on analogy of adverbial dative plurals in -um (such as whilom "at one time," from while). The same development also created litlum from little, miclum from mickle. German seltsam "strange, odd," Dutch zeldzaam are related, but with the second element conformed to their versions of -some.

Seldom-times is from mid-15c. (Old English had seldhwanne "seldwhen"). Seldom-seen is from mid-15c. (Old English had seldsiene, "seld-seen").

Some compounds using the old form survived through Middle English, such as selcouth"rarely or little-known, unusual, strange, wonderful," from Old English selcuð, seld-cuð, from seldan + cuð (see couth). Old English seldan had comparative seldor, superlative seldost; in early Middle English, as seldan changed form and lost its connection with these, selde was formed as a positive. Shakespeare uses seld-shown.
select (adj.) Look up select at
1560s, from Latin selectus, past participle of seligere "choose out, single out, select; separate, cull," from se- "apart" (see secret (n.)) + legere "to gather, select" (see lecture (n.)). The noun meaning "a selected person or thing, that which is choice" is recorded from c. 1600. New England selectman first recorded 1640s.
select (v.) Look up select at
"to single out one or more out of a number of things of the same kind," 1560s, from select (adj.) or from Latin selectus. Related: Selected; selecting.
selection (n.) Look up selection at
1620s, "act of selecting," from Latin selectionem (nominative selectio) "a choosing out, choice, selection," noun of action from past participle stem of seligere (see select (adj.)). Meaning "thing selected" is from 1805. Biological sense is from 1837; applied to actions of breeders (methodical selection), hence its use by Darwin (natural selection; 1857). French sélection is a 19c. borrowing from English.
selective (adj.) Look up selective at
1620s; see select (adj.) + -ive. Related: Selectively; selectiveness. Selective service is from 1917, American English.
Selene Look up Selene at
moon goddess, equivalent of Latin Luna, from Greek selene "the moon; name of the moon goddess," related to selas "light, brightness, bright flame, flash of an eye," from PIE root *swel- (2) "to shine, beam" (cognates: Sanskrit svargah "heaven," Lithuanian svilti "to singe," Old English swelan "to be burnt up," Middle Low German swelan "to smolder"); related to swelter, sultry. Related: Selenian "of or pertaining to the moon as a world," 1660s.
selenium (n.) Look up selenium at
element name, Modern Latin, from Greek selene "moon" (see Selene). Named by Berzelius (1818), on analogy of tellurium, with which it had been at first confused, and which was named for the earth. Despite the -ium ending it is not a metal and a more appropriate name selenion has been proposed.
selenographer (n.) Look up selenographer at
"student of the moon," 1660s, from selenography (1640s), from comb. form of Selene + -graphy.
Seleucid Look up Seleucid at
1803, in reference to dynasty founded in Syria 312 B.C.E. by Seleucus Nicator, general of Alexander. It lasted until the Roman conquest 65 B.C.E. The Seleucidan Era, a local reckoning in the East (maintained by Syrian Christians) usually is dated to Sept. 1, 312 B.C.E.