snowbird (n.) Look up snowbird at
also snow-bird, from 1680s in reference to various types of birds associated with snow, from snow (n.) + bird (n.1). From 1923 in reference to northern U.S. workers who went to the South in the winter months to work; by 1979 in reference to tourists.
snowbound (adj.) Look up snowbound at
1814, from snow (n.) + bound (adj.1).
Snowdon Look up Snowdon at
mountain in Caernarvonshire, northern Wales, from English snow (n.) + Old English dun "hill, mountain" (see down (n.2); presumably translating a former Celtic name. The height is snow-covered much of the year.
snowdrift (n.) Look up snowdrift at
c. 1300, from snow (n.) + drift (n.).
snowdrop (n.) Look up snowdrop at
early flower, 1660s, from snow (n.) + drop (n.).
snowfall (n.) Look up snowfall at
1821, "fall of snow," especially a quiet one (as distinguished from a snowstorm), from snow (n.) + storm (n.). From 1875 as "amount that falls at a place in a given time."
snowflake (n.) Look up snowflake at
1734, from snow (n.) + flake (n.).
snowman (n.) Look up snowman at
also snow-man, 1827, from snow (n.) + man (n.).
snowmobile (n.) Look up snowmobile at
1931, in reference to Admiral Byrd's expedition, from snow (n.) + ending from automobile, etc.
snowstorm (n.) Look up snowstorm at
1771, from snow (n.) + storm (n.).
snowy (adj.) Look up snowy at
Old English snawig; see snow (n.) + -y (2). Related: Snowiness. Similar formation in Middle Low German sneig, Old High German snewac, German schneeig, Old Norse snæugr, Swedish snögig, Danish sneig.
snub (v.) Look up snub at
mid-14c., "to check, reprove, rebuke," from Old Norse snubba "to curse, chide, snub, scold, reprove." The ground sense is perhaps "to cut off," and the word probably is related to snip. Compare Swedish snobba "lop off, snuff (a candle)," Old Norse snubbotr "snubbed, nipped, with the tip cut off." Meaning "treat coldly" appeared early 18c. Related: Snubbed; snubbing.
snub (adj.) Look up snub at
"short and turned up," 1725, in snub-nosed, from snub (v.). The connecting notion is of being "cut short."
snub (n.) Look up snub at
"rebuke, intentional slight," 1530s, from snub (v.).
snudge (n.) Look up snudge at
"a miser, a mean avaricious person," 1540s, "very common from c. 1550-1610" [OED].
snuff (v.1) Look up snuff at
"to cut or pinch off the burned part of a candle wick," mid-15c., from noun snoffe "burned part of a candle wick" (late 14c.), of unknown origin, perhaps related to snuff (v.2). The meaning "to die" is from 1865; that of "to kill" is from 1932; snuff-film, originally an urban legend, is from 1975.
snuff (v.2) Look up snuff at
"draw in through the nose," 1520s, from Dutch or Flemish snuffen "to sniff, snuff," related to Dutch snuiven "to sniff," from Proto-Germanic *snuf- (cognates: Middle High German snupfe, German Schnupfen "head-cold"), imitative of the sound of drawing air through the nose (see snout). Related: Snuffed; snuffing.
snuff (n.) Look up snuff at
"powdered tobacco to be inhaled," 1680s, from Dutch or Flemish snuf, shortened form of snuftabak "snuff tobacco," from snuffen "to sniff, snuff" (see snuff (v.2)). The practice became fashionable in England c. 1680. Slang phrase up to snuff "knowing, sharp, wide-awake, not likely to be deceived" is from 1811; the exact sense is obscure unless it refers to the "elevating" properties of snuff.
snuff-box (n.) Look up snuff-box at
1680s, from snuff (n.) + box (n.1).
snuffer (n.) Look up snuffer at
also snuffter, "instrument for cropping the snuff of a candle, with a closed box to contain the burnt smell and smoke," mid-15c., agent noun from snuff (v.1).
snuffle (v.) Look up snuffle at
1580s, from Dutch or Flemish snuffelen "to sniff about, pry," related to Dutch and Flemish snuffen "to sniff" (see snuff (v.2)). Related: Snuffled; snuffling.
snuffle (n.) Look up snuffle at
1764, "sound made by snuffling," from snuffle (v.). Old English had snofl (n.) "phlegm, mucus." The snuffles "troublesome mucous discharge from the nostrils" is from 1770.
snug (adj.) Look up snug at
1590s, "compact, trim" (of a ship), especially "protected from the weather," perhaps from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse snoggr "short-haired," Old Swedish snygg, Old Danish snøg "neat, tidy," perhaps from PIE *kes- (1) "to scratch" (see xyster). Sense of "in a state of ease or comfort" first recorded 1620s. Meaning "fit closely" is first found 1838. Expression snug as a bug in a rug attested by 1769; earlier snug as a bee in a box (1706).
snuggle (v.) Look up snuggle at
1680s, frequentative form of snug. Related: Snuggled; snuggling. As a noun from 1901.
so (adv.) Look up so at
Old English swa, swæ (adv., conj., pron.) "in this way," also "to that extent; so as, consequently, therefore," and purely intensive; from Proto-Germanic *swa (cognates: Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Old High German so, Old Norse sva, Danish saa, Swedish , Old Frisian sa, Dutch zo, German so "so," Gothic swa "as"), from PIE reflexive pronominal stem *swo- "so" (cognates: Greek hos "as," Old Latin suad "so," Latin se "himself"), derivative of *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (see idiom).

Old English swa frequently was strengthened by eall, and so also is contained in compounds as, also, such. The -w- was eliminated by contraction from 12c.; compare two, which underwent the same process but retained its spelling. As an "introductory particle" [OED] from 1590s. Used to add emphasis or contradict a negative from 1913. So in mid-20c. British slang could mean "homosexual" (adj.). So? as a term of dismissal is attested from 1886 (short for is that so?, etc.). So what as an exclamation of indifference dates from 1934. So-and-so is from 1596 meaning "something unspecified;" first recorded 1897 as a euphemistic term of abuse. Abbreviating phrase and so on is attested from 1724. So far so good is from 1721.
so long (interj.) Look up so long at
parting salutation, 1860, of unknown origin, perhaps from a German idiom (compare German parting salutation adieu so lange, the full sense of which probably is something like "farewell, whilst (we're apart)"); or perhaps from Hebrew shalom (via Yiddish sholom). Some have noted a similarity to Scandinavian leave-taking phrases, such as Norwegian Adjø så lenge, Farvel så lenge, Mor'n så lenge, literally "bye so long, farewell so long, morning so long;" and Swedish Hej så länge "good-bye for now," with så länge "for now" attested since 1850 according to Swedish sources. Most etymology sources seem to lean toward the German origin.

Earlier guesses that it was a sailors' corruption of a South Pacific form of Arabic salaam are not now regarded as convincing. "Dictionary of American Slang" also adds to the list of candidates Irish slán "safe," said to be used as a salutation in parting. The phrase seems to have turned up simultaneously in America, Britain, and perhaps Canada, originally among lower classes. First attested use is in title and text of the last poem in Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" in the 1860 edition.
An unknown sphere, more real than I dream'd, more direct, darts awakening rays about me -- So long!
Remember my words -- I may again return,
I love you -- I depart from materials;
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
Whitman's friend and fan William Sloane Kennedy wrote in 1923:
The salutation of parting -- 'So long!' -- was, I believe, until recent years, unintelligible to the majority of persons in America, especially in the interior, and to members of the middle and professional classes. I had never heard of it until I read it in Leaves of Grass, but since then have quite often heard it used by the laboring class and other classes in New England cities. Walt wrote to me, defining 'so long' thus: "A salutation of departure, greatly used among sailors, sports, & prostitutes -- the sense of it is 'Till we meet again,' -- conveying an inference that somehow they will doubtless so meet, sooner or later." ... It is evidently about equivalent to our 'See you later.' The phrase is reported as used by farm laborers near Banff, Scotland. In Canada it is frequently heard; 'and its use is not entirely confined to the vulgar.' It is in common use among the working classes of Liverpool and among sailors at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in Dorsetshire. ... The London Globe suggests that the expression is derived from the Norwegian 'Saa laenge,' a common form of 'farewell,' au revoir. If so, the phrase was picked up from the Norwegians in America, where 'So long' first was heard. The expression is now (1923) often used by the literary and artistic classes.
so-called (adj.) Look up so-called at
1650s, from so + past participle of call (v.). As a "sneer word" (1980, Safire, who lumps it with self-proclaimed, would-be, and purported), from 1837.
so-so Look up so-so at
1520s as an adverb, "indifferently;" as an adjective, "mediocre, neither too good nor too bad," 1540s; from so.
soak (v.) Look up soak at
Old English socian (intransitive) "to soak, to lie in liquid," from Proto-Germanic *sukon (cognates: West Flemish soken), possibly from PIE *sug-, from root *seue- (2) "to take liquid" (see sup (v.2)). Transitive sense "drench, permeate thoroughly" is from mid-14c.; that of "cause to lie in liquid" is from early 15c. Meaning "take up by absorption" is from 1550s. Slang meaning "to overcharge" first recorded 1895. Related: Soaked; soaking. As a noun, mid-15c., from the verb.
soap (n.) Look up soap at
Old English sape "soap, salve" (originally a reddish hair dye used by Germanic warriors to give a frightening appearance), from Proto-Germanic *saipon "dripping thing, resin" (cognates: Middle Low German sepe, West Frisian sjippe, Dutch zeep, Old High German seiffa, German seife "soap," Old High German seifar "foam," Old English sipian "to drip"), from PIE *soi-bon-, from root *seib- "to pour out, drip, trickle" (cognates: Latin sebum "tallow, suet, grease").

Romans and Greeks used oil to clean skin; the Romance language words for "soap" (cognates: Italian sapone, French savon, Spanish jabon) are from Late Latin sapo "pomade for coloring the hair" (first mentioned in Pliny), which is a Germanic loan-word, as is Finnish saippua. The meaning "flattery" is recorded from 1853.
soap (v.) Look up soap at
1580s, from soap (n.). Related: Soaped; soaping.
soap opera (n.) Look up soap opera at
"melodramatic radio serial" (later extended to television), 1939; so-called because sponsors often were soap manufacturers, from earlier horse opera "a Western" (1927). Shortened form soap for this first attested 1943.
soap-box (n.) Look up soap-box at
also soapbox, 1650s, "box for holding soap," later especially a wooden crate in which soap may be packed; from soap (n.) + box (n.). Typical of a makeshift stand for a public orator since at least 1907. Also used by children to make racing carts, as in soap-box derby, annual race in Dayton, Ohio, which dates to 1933.
soap-bubble (n.) Look up soap-bubble at
1800, from soap (n.) + bubble (n.).
soap-dish (n.) Look up soap-dish at
1835 as a dish for a bar of soap; 1814 as a holder for shaving-soap, from soap (n.) + dish (n.).
soapstone (n.) Look up soapstone at
type of talc, 1680s, from soap (n.) + stone (n.). So called because it is occasionally used for cleaning.
soapy (adj.) Look up soapy at
c. 1600, from soap (n.) + -y (2). Related: Soapily; soapiness.
soar (v.) Look up soar at
late 14c., from Old French essorer "fly up, soar," from Vulgar Latin *exaurare "rise into the air," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + aura "breeze, air" (see aura). Of mountains, buildings, etc., by 1812; of prices, emotions, etc. from 1929. Related: Soared; soaring.
sob (v.) Look up sob at
c. 1200, "to cry with short breaths," probably of imitative origin, related to Old English seofian "to lament," Old High German sufan "to draw breath," West Frisian sobje "to suck." Related: Sobbed; sobbing.
sob (n.) Look up sob at
late 14c., from sob (v.). Sob story is from 1913. Sob sister "female journalist who writes sentimental stories or advice columns" is from 1912.
sobeit (conj.) Look up sobeit at
1580s, from so be it, "one of our few surviving subjunctives" [Weekley].
sober (v.) Look up sober at
late 14c., "reduce to a quiet condition" (transitive), from sober (adj.). Meaning "render grave or serious" is from 1726. Intransitive sense of "become sober" (since 1847 often with up) is from 1820. Related: Sobered; sobering.
sober (adj.) Look up sober at
mid-14c., "moderate in desires or actions, temperate, restrained," especially "abstaining from strong drink," also "calm, quiet, not overcome by emotion," from Old French sobre "decent; sober" (12c.), from Latin sobrius "not drunk, temperate, moderate, sensible," from a variant of se- "without" (see se-) + ebrius "drunk," of unknown origin. Meaning "not drunk at the moment" is from late 14c.; also "appropriately solemn, serious, not giddy." Related: Soberly; soberness. Sobersides "sedate, serious-minded person" is recorded from 1705.
soberly (adv.) Look up soberly at
mid-14c., "temperately;" late 14c., "gravely," from sober (adj.) + -ly (2).
sobriety (n.) Look up sobriety at
c. 1400, "moderation in indulgence," from Old French sobriete "sobriety, moderation" (Modern French sobrieté) or directly from Latin sobrietatem (nominative sobrietas), from sobrius (see sober (adj.)). Meaning "steadiness, gravity" is recorded from 1540s.
sobriquet (n.) Look up sobriquet at
1640s, from French sobriquet "nickname," from Middle French soubriquet (15c.), which also meant "a jest, quip," and is said to have meant literally "a chuck under the chin" [Gamillscheg]; of unknown origin (first element perhaps from Latin sub "under").
soccer (n.) Look up soccer at
1889, socca, later socker (1891), soccer (1895), originally university slang (with jocular formation -er (3)), from a shortened form of Assoc., abbreviation of association in Football Association (as opposed to Rugby football); compare rugger. An unusual method of formation, but those who did it perhaps shied away from making a name out of the first three letters of Assoc.
Sochi Look up Sochi at
Black Sea resort in Russia, ultimately from the name of the Cherkess (Circassian) people who live in the region, whose name is of uncertain origin.
sociability (n.) Look up sociability at
late 15c., from Middle French sociabilite, from Latin sociabilis (see sociable).
sociable (adj.) Look up sociable at
1550s, "enjoying the company of others," from Middle French sociable (16c.) and directly from Latin sociabilis "close, intimate, easily united," from sociare "to join, unite," from socius "companion, ally" (see social (adj.)).