- snowdrop (n.)
- early flower, 1660s, from snow (n.) + drop (n.).
- snowfall (n.)
- 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.)
- 1734, from snow (n.) + flake (n.).
- snowman (n.)
- also snow-man, 1827, from snow (n.) + man (n.).
- snowmobile (n.)
- 1931, in reference to Admiral Byrd's expedition, from snow (n.) + ending from automobile, etc.
- snowstorm (n.)
- 1771, from snow (n.) + storm (n.).
- snowy (adj.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- "short and turned up," 1725, in snub-nosed, from snub (v.). The connecting notion is of being "cut short."
- snub (n.)
- "rebuke, intentional slight," 1530s, from snub (v.).
- snudge (n.)
- "a miser, a mean avaricious person," 1540s, "very common from c.1550-1610" [OED].
- snuff (v.1)
- "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)
- "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.)
- "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.)
- 1680s, from snuff (n.) + box (n.1).
- snuffer (n.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 1680s, frequentative form of snug. Related: Snuggled; snuggling. As a noun from 1901.
- so (adv.)
- 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 så, Old Frisian sa, Dutch zo, German so "so," Gothic swa "as"), from PIE reflexive pronomial 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.)
- 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!
Whitman's friend and fan William Sloane Kennedy wrote in 1923:
Remember my words -- I may again return,
I love you -- I depart from materials;
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
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.)
- 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.
- 1520s as an adverb, "indifferently;" as an adjective, "mediocre, neither too good nor too bad," 1540s; from so.
- soak (v.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 1580s, from soap (n.). Related: Soaped; soaping.
- soap opera (n.)
- "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.)
- 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.)
- 1800, from soap (n.) + bubble (n.).
- soap-dish (n.)
- 1835 as a dish for a bar of soap; 1814 as a holder for shaving-soap, from soap (n.) + dish (n.).
- soapstone (n.)
- type of talc, 1680s, from soap (n.) + stone (n.). So called because it is occasionally used for cleaning.
- soapy (adj.)
- c.1600, from soap (n.) + -y (2). Related: Soapily; soapiness.
- soar (v.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 1580s, from so be it, "one of our few surviving subjunctives" [Weekley].
- sober (v.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- mid-14c., "temperately;" late 14c., "gravely," from sober (adj.) + -ly (2).
- sobriety (n.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- late 15c., from Middle French sociabilite, from Latin sociabilis (see sociable).
- sociable (adj.)
- 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.)).
- social (adj.)
- late 15c., "devoted to or relating to home life;" 1560s as "living with others," from Middle French social (14c.) and directly from Latin socialis "of companionship, of allies; united, living with others; of marriage, conjugal," from socius "companion, ally," probably originally "follower," from PIE *sokw-yo-, suffixed form of root *sekw- (1) "to follow," and thus related to sequi "to follow" (see sequel). Compare Old English secg, Old Norse seggr "companion," which seem to have been formed on the same notion). Related: Socially.
Sense of "characterized by friendliness or geniality" is from 1660s. Meaning "living or liking to live with others; companionable, disposed to friendly intercourse" is from 1720s. Meaning "of or pertaining to society as a natural condition of human life" first attested 1695, in Locke. Sense of "pertaining to fashionable society" is from 1873.
Social climber is from 1893; social work is 1890; social worker 1886. Social drinking first attested 1807. Social studies as an inclusive term for history, geography, economics, etc., is attested from 1916. Social security "system of state support for needy citizens" is attested from 1907 (the Social Security Act was passed by U.S. Congress in 1935). Social butterfly is from 1867, in figurative reference to "flitting."
Social contract (1763) is from translations of Rousseau. Social Darwinism attested from 1887. Social engineering attested from 1899. Social science is from 1785.
In late 19c. newspapers, social evil is "prostitution." Social justice is attested by 1718; social network by 1971; social networking by 1984; social media by 2008.
- social (n.)
- "friendly gathering," 1870, from social (adj.). In late 17c. it meant "a companion, associate."
- socialisation (n.)
- chiefly British English spelling of socialization; for spelling, see -ize.
- socialism (n.)
- 1837, from French socialisme (1832) or formed in English (based on socialist) from social (adj.) + -ism. Perhaps first in reference to Robert Owen's communes. "Pierre Leroux (1797-1871), idealistic social reformer and Saint-Simonian publicist, expressly claims to be the originator of the word socialisme" [Klein, also see OED discussion]. The word begins to be used in French in the modern sense c.1835.