sis-boom-bah Look up sis-boom-bah at
cheerleading chant, originally (1867) an echoic phrase imitating the sound of a skyrocket flight (sis), the burst of the fireworks (boom), and the reaction of the crowd ((b)ah).
sisal (n.) Look up sisal at
1883, short for Sisal hemp or grass (1843), from Sisal, port in Yucatan, from which the rope-making fiber was exported.
sissify (v.) Look up sissify at
1897 (implied in sissified), American English, from sissy + -fy. Related: Sissifying; sissification (1915).
sissy (n.) Look up sissy at
1846, "sister," extended form of sis (q.v.). Meaning "effeminate man" is recorded from 1887; the adjective in this sense is from 1891. Related: Sissiness. Sissy bar is recorded from 1969.
sist Look up sist at
legal term, from Latin sistere "to cause to stand" (see assist).
sister (n.) Look up sister at
mid-13c., from Old English sweostor, swuster "sister," or a Scandinavian cognate (Old Norse systir, Swedish syster, Danish søster), in either case from Proto-Germanic *swestr- (cognates: Old Saxon swestar, Old Frisian swester, Middle Dutch suster, Dutch zuster, Old High German swester, German Schwester, Gothic swistar).

These are from PIE *swesor, one of the most persistent and unchanging PIE root words, recognizable in almost every modern Indo-European language (Sanskrit svasar-, Avestan shanhar-, Latin soror, Old Church Slavonic, Russian sestra, Lithuanian sesuo, Old Irish siur, Welsh chwaer, Greek eor). French soeur "a sister" (11c., instead of *sereur) is directly from Latin soror, a rare case of a borrowing from the nominative case.

According to Klein's sources, probably from PIE roots *swe- "one's own" + *ser- "woman." For vowel evolution, see bury. Used of nuns in Old English; of a woman in general from 1906; of a black woman from 1926; and in the sense of "fellow feminist" from 1912. Meaning "female fellow-Christian" is from mid-15c. Sister act "variety act by two or more sisters" is from vaudeville (1908).
sister-in-law (n.) Look up sister-in-law at
mid-15c.; see sister + in-law.
sisterhood (n.) Look up sisterhood at
"state of being a sister," late 14c., from sister + -hood. Meaning "a society of sisters" (usually a religious order) is from 1590s; sense of "women having some common characteristic or calling" is from c. 1600.
sisterly (adj.) Look up sisterly at
1560s, from sister + -ly (1). Related: Sisterliness.
Sistine (adj.) Look up Sistine at
1769, literally "pertaining to Pope Sixtus," from Italian sistino, from Sixtus, name of five popes, from Latin sextus "sixth" (see Sextus). The "chapel" is named for Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), pope 1471-84, who had it built. The painting by Raphael known as the Sistine Madonna is so called because it also shows Sixtus II, a 3c. martyr and saint; it is better known now for the two cherubs at the bottom of the picture who by 1900 were well-known in isolation from the rest of the picture in engravings, etc.
Sisyphean (adj.) Look up Sisyphean at
"pertaining to or resembling the unceasingly recurring and fruitless labors of Sisyphus," 1630s, from Sisyphus + -an. Earlier Sisyphian (1590s).
Sisyphus Look up Sisyphus at
King of Corinth, famed as "the craftiest of men," he was condemned in the afterlife to roll uphill a stone which perpetually rolls down again; Greek Sisyphos, a name of unknown origin. Liddell & Scott suggest a reduplication of syphos "the crafty" (with Aeolic -u- for -o-), but Klein calls this folk-etymology.
sit (v.) Look up sit at
Old English sittan "to occupy a seat, be seated, sit down, seat oneself; remain, continue; settle, encamp, occupy; lie in wait; besiege" (class V strong verb; past tense sæt, past participle seten), from Proto-Germanic *setjan (cognates: Old Saxon sittian, Old Norse sitja, Danish sidde, Old Frisian sitta, Middle Dutch sitten, Dutch zitten, Old High German sizzan, German sitzen, Gothic sitan), from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).

With past tense sat, formerly also set, now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic; and past participle sat, formerly sitten. In reference to a legislative assembly, from 1510s. Meaning "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1966.

To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands was originally "to withhold applause" (1926); later, "to do nothing" (1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part" is from 1650s. Sitting pretty is from 1916.
sit-down (adj.) Look up sit-down at
1836 of meals, 1936 of strikes, from verbal phrase (c. 1200), from sit (v.) + down (adv.); as a noun, sit-down "act of sitting down" is from 1861.
sit-in Look up sit-in at
1936, in reference to session musicians; 1937, in reference to union action; 1941, in reference to student protests. From the verbal phrase; see sit (v.) + in (adv.). To sit in is attested from 1868 in the sense "attend, be present;" from 1919 specifically as "attend as an observer."
sit-up (n.) Look up sit-up at
also situp, kind of physical exercise, 1955, from the verbal phrase (attested from early 13c.); see sit (v.) + up (adv.). Related: Sit-ups.
sitar (n.) Look up sitar at
1845, from Hindi sitar, from Persian sitar "three-stringed," from si "three" (Old Persian thri-; see three) + tar "string" (see tenet).
sitcom (n.) Look up sitcom at
by 1959, from the first elements of situation comedy, a phrase attested from 1953 of television shows, 1943 of radio programs; see situation.
Even Bing Crosby has succumbed to series TV and will appear in a sitcom as an electrical engineer who happens to break into song once a week. ["Life," Sept. 18, 1964]
site (n.) Look up site at
"place or position occupied by something," especially with reference to environment, late 14c., from Anglo-French site, Old French site "place, site; position," and directly from Latin situs "a place, position, situation, location, station; idleness, sloth, inactivity; forgetfulness; the effects of neglect," from past participle of sinere "let, leave alone, permit," from PIE *si-tu-, from root *tkei- "to settle, dwell, be home" (see home (n.)).
site (v.) Look up site at
"to give a location to, place," 1590s, from site (n.). Related: Sited; siting.
sith (adv., conj., prep.) Look up sith at
"since" (obsolete), Middle English, reduced from Old English siððan "then, thereupon; continuously, during which; seeing that," from *sið þon "subsequent to that," from sið "after," from Proto-Germanic *sith- "later, after" (cognates: Old Saxon sith "after that, since, later," German seit "since," Gothic seiþus "late"), from PIE *se- (2) "long, late" (see soiree).
sitophobia (n.) Look up sitophobia at
"morbid aversion to food" (or certain foods), 1882, from Greek sitos "wheat, corn, meal; food," of unknown origin, + -phobia. Related: Sitophobe; sitophobic.
sitter (n.) Look up sitter at
c. 1300, "one that sits," agent noun from sit (v.). As short for baby-sitter from 1937.
sitting (n.) Look up sitting at
early 13c., verbal noun from sit (v.). Meaning "a meeting of a body" is from c. 1400. Meaning "interval during which one sits" (for some purpose, especially to have one's portrait taken) is from 1706. Sitting-room first recorded 1771. Slang sitting duck "easy target" first recorded 1944; literal sense is from 1867 (it is considered not sporting to shoot at one).
situ Look up situ at
see in situ.
situate (v.) Look up situate at
early 15c., "to place in a particular state or condition," from Medieval Latin situatus, past participle of situare "to place, locate," from Latin situs "a place, position" (see site). Related: Situated; situating.
situate (adj.) Look up situate at
1520s, now obsolete, adjective from Late Latin situatus, past participle of situare (see situate (v.)).
situation (n.) Look up situation at
early 15c., "place, position, or location," from Middle French situation or directly from Medieval Latin situationem (nominative situatio) "a position, situation," noun of action from past participle stem of situare "to place, locate" (see situate). Meaning "state of affairs" is from 1710; meaning "employment post" is from 1803.
situational (adj.) Look up situational at
1903, from situation + -al. Related: Situationally. Situational ethics attested from 1969 (situation ethics first attested 1955).
situs (n.) Look up situs at
Latin, "situation, position" (see site). In technical uses in English, "proper or original position and location of something" (as in in situ).
sitz-bath (n.) Look up sitz-bath at
1849, a hybrid, from German Sitzbad, literally "bath in a sitting position," with English bath for German Bad.
sitzkrieg (n.) Look up sitzkrieg at
1940, "static warfare" (such as prevailed in Europe in the winter of 1939-40), R.A.F. coinage on analogy of blitzkrieg (q.v.), from German sitz "a sitting."
Siva (n.) Look up Siva at
also Shiva, one of the three supreme gods of Hinduism, lord of destruction and reproduction, 1788, from Hindi Shiva, from Sanskrit Sivah, literally "propitious, gracious," from PIE *ki-wo-, from root *kei- "beloved, dear" (connected with Latin civis "citizen," literally "member of a household"), also "to lie, couch" (compare cemetery). But by some this is said to be a euphemism. Related: Sivaism; Sivaistic.
six (n.) Look up six at
Old English siex, six, sex, from Proto-Germanic *sekhs (cognates: Old Saxon and Danish seks, Old Norse, Swedish, and Old Frisian sex, Middle Dutch sesse, Dutch zes, Old High German sehs, German sechs, Gothic saihs), from PIE *s(w)eks (cognates: Sanskrit sas, Avestan kshvash, Persian shash, Greek hex, Latin sex, Old Church Slavonic sesti, Polish sześć, Russian shesti, Lithuanian szeszi, Old Irish se, Welsh chwech).

Six-shooter, usually a revolver with six chambers, is first attested 1844; six-pack of beverage containers is from 1952, of abdominal muscles by 1995. Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other "little difference" is recorded from 1833. Six-figure in reference to hundreds of thousands (of dollars, etc.) is from 1840. Six feet under "dead" is from 1942.

Phrase at sixes and sevens originally was "hazarding all one's chances," first in Chaucer, perhaps from dicing (the original form was on six and seven); it could be a corruption of on cinque and sice, using the French names (which were common in Middle English) for the highest numbers on the dice. Meaning "at odds, in disagreement or confusion" is from 1785, perhaps via a notion of "left unsettled."
sixfold (adj.) Look up sixfold at
Old English sixfeald; see six + -fold. Similar formation in Danish sexfold, Dutch zes-voudig; German sechsfältig, Swedish sexfaldig.
sixpence (n.) Look up sixpence at
late 14c., "sum of six pennies," from six + pence. As a specific British coin, from 1590s. Sixpenny (adj.) had a figurative sense "paltry, cheap, petty, worthless" by 1560s; sixpenny nails (early 15c.) cost so much per hundred.
sixteen Look up sixteen at
Old English sixtyne, from siex (see six) + -teen. Similar formation in Old Frisian sextine, Middle Dutch sestien, Dutch zestien, German sechszehn, Old Norse sextan.
The age of the gods is always sixteen. Sixteen represents the number of perfection, of plenitude. In man it is after the sixteenth year that the first elements of decay begin to appear, and when the moon reaches the sixteenth digit it begins to decrease. [Alain Daniélou, "The Myths and Gods of India"]
From Latin contracted form sexdecim, sedecim come Italian sedici, French seize.
sixteenmo (n.) Look up sixteenmo at
"book printed on sheets of 16 leaves," 1847, from an English reading of the printers' Latin abbreviation 16-mo, representing sexto decimo "sixteen."
sixteenth (adj.) Look up sixteenth at
early 13c., from sixteen + -th (1); replacing sixtethe, sixteothe, forms based on Old English syxteoða. Cf Old Frisian sextinda, Middle Dutch sestiende, German sechzehnte, Old Norse sextandi. Musical sixteenth note is from 1861.
sixth (adj.) Look up sixth at
1520s, replacing Middle English sixte (c. 1200), from Old English syxte, from siex (see six). Compare Old Frisian sexta, Middle Dutch seste, Old High German sehsto, German sechste, Gothic saihsta. With ending conformed to -th (1). Related: Sixthly. The noun meaning "a sixth part" is from 1550s. As a music tone, from 1590s. Sixth sense "supernatural perception of objects" is attested from 1712; earlier it meant "titillation, the sense that apprehends sexual pleasure" (1690s, from Scaliger).
Then said Peter, That is false; for there is a sixth Sense, that of Prescience : for the other five Senses are capable only of Knowledg ; but the Sixth of Foreknowledg ; which Sense the Prophets had. [William Whitson, "Primitive Christianity Reviv'd," vol. V, London, 1712]
sixties (n.) Look up sixties at
1848 as the years of someone's life between 60 and 69; 1827 as the seventh decade of years in a given century. See sixty.
sixtieth Look up sixtieth at
Old English sixteogoða "sixtieth;" see sixty + -th (1).
sixty Look up sixty at
Old English sixtig, from siex (see six) + -tig (see -ty (1)). Similar formation in Old Norse sextugr, sextögr, sextigir, Old Frisian sextich, Middle Dutch sestig, Dutch zestig, Old High German sehszug, German sechzig. Phrase sixty-four dollar question is 1942, from radio quiz show where that was the top prize.
sixty-nine (n.) Look up sixty-nine at
in sexual sense, 1888, as a translation of French faire soixante neuf, literally "to do 69." So called from the similarity of positions to the arrangement of the numerals.
sixtyfold Look up sixtyfold at
also sixty-fold, Old English sixtigfeald; see sixty + -fold.
sizar (n.) Look up sizar at
also sizer, at certain British universities, a student of limited means who received school meals for free, 1580s, from size (n.) in a specialized sense "ration, allowance for provisions."
size (n.) Look up size at
c. 1300, "an ordinance to fix the amount of a payment or tax," from Old French sise, shortened form of assise "session, assessment, regulation, manner" (see assize), probably a misdivision of l'assise as la sise. The sense of "extent, amount, volume, magnitude" (c. 1300) is from the notion of regulating something by fixing the amount of it (weights, food portions, etc.). Specific sense of "set of dimensions of a manufactured article for sale" is attested from 1590s.
size (v.) Look up size at
c. 1400, "to regulate," from size (n.). Meaning "to make of a certain size" is from c. 1600; that of "to classify according to size" is first attested 1630s. Verbal phrase size up "estimate, assess" is from 1847 and retains the root sense of size (n.). Related: Sized; sizing.
sizeable (adj.) Look up sizeable at
also sizable, 1610s, "of relatively good, suitable, or desirable size, usually somewhat large" [Century Dictionary], from size + -able. Related: Sizeably; sizeableness.
sizer (n.) Look up sizer at
"device for measuring sizes," 1670s, agent noun from size (v.).