- 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.
I find that socialism is often misunderstood by its least intelligent supporters and opponents to mean simply unrestrained indulgence of our natural propensity to heave bricks at respectable persons. [George Bernard Shaw, "An Unsocial Socialist," 1900]
- socialist (n.)
- "one who advocates socialism," 1827, from French socialiste, or else a native formation based on it, in reference to the teachings of Comte de Saint-Simon, founder of French socialism. The word begins to be used in French in the modern sense c. 1835. Socialista, with a different sense, was applied 18c. to followers and pupils of Dutch jurist Grotius (1583-1645), from his use of socialistus. Socialist realism attested from 1934.
Prison is a Socialist's Paradise, where equality prevails, everything is supplied and competition is eliminated. [Elbert Hubbard, "The Note Book," 1927]
- socialistic (adj.)
- 1839, from socialist + -ic. Related: Socialistically.
- socialite (n.)
- 1928, first in "Time" magazine, from social (adj.) in the "pertaining to high society" sense, perhaps as a play on social light, in imitation of words in -ite (1).
- sociality (n.)
- 1640s, from French socialité or directly from Latin socialitas "fellowship, sociableness," from socialis (see social (adj.)).
- socialization (n.)
- 1839, in reference to personal associations; 1884 in reference to socialism; noun of action from socialize.
- socialize (v.)
- 1828, "to render social," from social (adj.). Meaning "to be sociable, to mingle" is recorded from 1895. Meaning "to make socialistic" is from 1846. Related: Socialized; socializing. The phrasing in socialized medicine is by 1912.
- societal (adj.)
- 1873, from society (adj.) + -al (1). Related: Societally. Earlier adjective was societarian (1822) "of or pertaining to society."
- society (n.)
- 1530s, "companionship, friendly association with others," from Old French societe "company" (12c., Modern French société), from Latin societatem (nominative societas) "fellowship, association, alliance, union, community," from socius "companion" (see social (adj.)).
Meaning "group, club" is from 1540s, originally of associations of persons for some specific purpose. Meaning "people bound by neighborhood and intercourse aware of living together in an ordered community" is from 1630s. Sense of "the more cultivated part of any community" first recorded 1823, hence "fashionable people and their doings." The Society Islands were named 1769 by Cook on his third Pacific voyage in honor of the Royal Society, which financed his travels across the world to observe the transit of Venus.
- 1640s (n.); 1690s (adj.), in reference to followers or doctrines of Faustus Socinus, Latinized name of Fausto Sozzini (1539-1604), Italian anti-trinitarian theologian who held Christ to be human, if divinely endowed, and the Holy Spirit to be divine energy, not a person. He broke with the Church and organized the Polish Brethren.
- word-forming element meaning "social, of society; social and," also "having to do with sociology," from combining form of Latin socius "companion, ally, associate, fellow, sharer" (see social (adj.)). Common in compounds since c. 1880.
- socio-economic (adj.)
- also socioeconomic, 1875; see socio- + economic.
- socio-political (adj.)
- also sociopolitical, 1842, from socio- + political.
- sociobiology (n.)
- "study of the biological basis of social behavior," 1946, from socio- + biology. Related: Sociobiological.
- sociological (adj.)
- 1861; see sociology + -ical. Related: Sociologically.
- sociologist (n.)
- 1843, from sociology + -ist.
- sociology (n.)
- the science of social phenomena, 1842, from French sociologie, a hybrid coined 1830 by French philosopher Isidore Auguste Comte (1798-1857), from Latin socius "associate" (see social (adj.)) + Greek-derived suffix -logie (see -logy).
- sociopath (n.)
- 1930, coined by psychologist G.E. Partridge from socio- on model of psychopath.
- sock (n.1)
- "knitted or woven covering for the foot, short stocking," early 14c., from Old English socc "slipper, light shoe," from Latin soccus "slipper, light low-heeled shoe," probably a variant of Greek sykchos, word for a kind of shoe, perhaps from Phrygian or another Asiatic language. The Latin word was borrowed generally in West Germanic (Middle Dutch socke, Dutch sok, Old High German soc, German Socke). To knock the socks off (someone) "beat thoroughly" is recorded from 1845, American English colloquial. Teen slang sock hop is c. 1950, from notion of dancing without shoes.
- sock (v.2)
- "to stash (money) away as savings," 1942, American English, from the notion of hiding one's money in a sock (see sock (n.1)).
- sock (v.1)
- 1700, "to beat, hit hard, pitch into," of uncertain origin. To sock it to (someone) first recorded 1877.
- sock (n.2)
- "a blow, a hit with the fist," 1700, from or related to sock (v.1).
- sockdolager (n.)
- 1830, "a decisive blow" (also, figuratively "a conclusive argument"), fanciful formation from sock (v.1) "hit hard," perhaps via a comical mangling of doxology, on a notion of "finality." The meaning "something exceptional" is attested from 1838.
Sockdologising likely was nearly the last word President Abraham Lincoln heard. During the performance of Tom Taylor's "Our American Cousin," assassin John Wilkes Booth (who knew the play well) waited for the laugh-line "Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, you sockdologising old man-trap." Amid the noise as the audience responded, Booth fired the fatal shot.
- socket (n.)
- c. 1300, "spearhead" (originally one shaped like a plowshare), from Anglo-French soket "spearhead, plowshare" (mid-13c.), diminutive of Old French soc "plowshare," from Vulgar Latin *soccus, perhaps from a Gaulish source, from Celtic *sukko- (cognates: Welsh swch "plowshare," Middle Irish soc "plowshare"), properly "hog's snout," from PIE *su- "pig" (cognates: Latin sus "swine;" see sow (n.) "female pig").
Meaning "hollow part or piece for receiving and holding something" first recorded early 15c.; anatomical sense is from c. 1600; domestic electrical sense first recorded 1885. Socket wrench is attested from 1837. The verb is 1530s, from the noun. Related: Socketed; socketing.
- Socratic (adj.)
- 1630s (Socratical is from 1580s), "of or pertaining to Greek philosopher Socrates" (469-399 B.C.E.), especially in reference to his method of eliciting truth by question and answer, from Latin Socraticus, from Greek Sokratikos "pertaining to Socrates or his school." His name is Greek Sokrates, literally "having safe might."
- sod (n.1)
- "turf, slice of earth with grass on it," mid-15c., apparently from Middle Dutch sode "turf," or Middle Low German sode, both related to Old Frisian satha "sod," all of uncertain origin. Perhaps the notion is water saturation and the group is related to sog. The (old) sod "Ireland" is from 1812.
- sod (n.2)
- term of abuse, 1818, short for sodomite (also see sodomy). British colloquial sod-all "nothing" is attested from 1958.
- sod (v.1)
- c. 1400, "to cover with sod," from sod (n.). Related: Sodded; sodding.
- sod (v.2)
- in sod off (1960), British slang term of dismissal; see sod (n.2).
- soda (n.)
- late 15c., "sodium carbonate," an alkaline substance extracted from certain ashes (now made artificially), from Italian sida (or Medieval Latin soda) "a kind of saltwort," from which soda was obtained, of uncertain origin. Perhaps it is from a Catalan sosa, attested from late 13c., of uncertain origin. Proposed Arabic sources in a name of a variety of saltwort have not been attested and that theory is no longer considered valid. Another theory, considered far-fetched in some quarters, traces it to Medieval Latin sodanum "a headache remedy," ultimately from Arabic suda "splitting headache."
Soda is found naturally in alkaline lakes, in deposits where such lakes have dried, and from ash produced by burning various seaside plants. A major trading commodity in the medieval Mediterranean, since commercial manufacture of it began in France in late 18c., these other sources have been abandoned. Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is commonly distinguished from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). A soda-cracker (1863) has baking soda as an ingredient.
The meaning "carbonated water" is first recorded 1834, a shortening of soda water (1802) "water into which carbonic acid has been forced under pressure." "It rarely contains soda in any form; but the name originally applied when sodium carbonate was contained in it has been retained" [Century Dictionary, 1902]. Since 19c. typically flavored and sweetened with syrups. First record of soda pop is from 1863, and the most frequent modern use of the word is as a shortening of this or other terms for "flavored, sweetened soda water." Compare pop (n.1). Soda fountain is from 1824; soda jerk first attested 1915 (soda-jerker is from 1883). Colloquial pronunciation "sody" is represented in print from 1900 (U.S. Midwestern).
- sodality (n.)
- "companionship, fellowship, association with others," c. 1600, from Middle French sodalité or directly from Latin sodalitatem (nominative sodalitas) "companionship, a brotherhood, association, fellowship," from sodalis "companion," perhaps literally "one's own, relative," related to suescere "to accustom," from PIE *swedh-, extended form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (see idiom). Especially of religious guilds in the Catholic Church.
- sodbuster (n.)
- "pioneer farmer in a cattle-grazing region," originally in the U.S. West, 1897, from sod (n.1) + agent noun from bust (v.).
- sodden (adj.)
- "soaked or softened in water," 1820, earlier "resembling something that has been boiled a long time" (1590s), originally "boiled" (c. 1300), from Old English soden "boiled," strong past participle of seoþan "to cook, boil" (see seethe). For sense evolution from "heat in water" to "immerse in water" compare bath.
- sodium (n.)
- metallic alkaline element, 1807, coined by English chemist Humphry Davy from soda; so called because the element was isolated from caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). The chemical symbol Na is from natrium, alternative name for the element proposed by Berzelius from natron, a name of a type of soda.
- Sodom (n.)
- "wicked or corrupt place," 1640s, from the sinful city in ancient Palestine, said to have been destroyed, with neighboring Gomorrah, by fire from heaven (Gen. xviii-xix). From Hebrew s'dom, of unknown origin.
- sodomise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of sodomize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Sodomised; sodomising.
- sodomite (n.)
- late 14c., from Old French Sodomite "inhabitant of Sodom; sodomite," also a general term of abuse, or directly from Late Latin Sodomita, from Greek Sodomites "inhabitant of Sodom" (see Sodom, also sodomy). Related: Sodomitical. Old English had adjective sodomitisc. The King James Bible (1611) has fem. form sodomitesse in a marginal note to "whore" in Deut. xxiii:17.
- sodomize (v.)
- 1859, "to demoralize;" see sodomy + -ize. By 1895 in a specific sexual sense (translating Greek paiderastein). Related: Sodomized; sodomizing. In Dutch slang, besodemieteren means "to deceive," and evidently is built from the traditional notion of "corruption" in Sodom.
- sodomy (n.)
- c. 1300, "unnatural sexual relations," such as those imputed to the inhabitants of Biblical Sodom, especially between persons of the same sex but also with beasts, from Old French sodomie, from Late Latin peccatum Sodomiticum "anal sex," literally "the sin of Sodom," from Latin Sodoma. In Middle English also synne Sodomyke (early 14c.).
- soever (adv.)
- 1550s, from so + ever. "A word generally used in composition to extend or render indefinite the sense of such words as who, what, where, when, how, etc. ...." [Century Dictionary].
- sofa (n.)
- 1620s, "raised section of a floor, covered with carpets and cushions," from Turkish sofa, from Arabic suffah "bench of stone or wood; a couch." Meaning "long stuffed seat for reclining" is recorded from 1717.
- sofa-bed (n.)
- 1805, from sofa + bed (n.).
- soffit (n.)
- architectural term referring to under-faces, 1610s, from Italian soffita, fem. of soffitto "ceiling," noun use of adjective meaning "fixed beneath," from Vulgar Latin *suffictus "fastened below," from Latin suffixus (see suffix (n.)).
- Bulgarian capital, Roman Serdica, from the Thracian Serdi people who lived thereabouts. Conquered by the Bulgarians 9c. who altered the name by folk-etymology to Sredeti, which in their tongue meant "center, middle." It got its current name 14c. when the Turks conquered it and converted the 6c. church of St. Sophia into a mosque; the name thence extended to the whole city.
- soft (adj.)
- Old English softe, earlier sefte, "gentle, mild-natured; easeful, comfortable, calm, undisturbed; luxurious," from West Germanic *samfti, from Proto-Germanic *samftijaz "level, even, smooth, gentle, soft" (cognates: Old Saxon safti, Old High German semfti, German sanft; and from a variant form with -ch- for -f-, Middle Dutch sachte, Dutch zacht, German sacht), from root *som- "fitting, agreeable."
From c. 1200 of material things, "not stiff, not coarse, fine; yielding to weight." From late 14c. of wind, rain, etc. Of sounds, "quiet, not loud," from early 13c. Of words, "mild, restrained; courteous" mid-14c. From late 14c. as "indulgent," also "physically feeble; easily overcome, lacking manly courage." From 1755 of water ("relatively free from mineral salts"), from 1789 of coal. Meaning "foolish, simple, silly" is attested from 1620s; earlier "easily moved or swayed; soft-hearted, sympathetic; docile" (early 13c.). In reference to drinks, "non-alcoholic" from 1880. As an adverb, Old English softe "gently;" late 13c. as "quietly." As an interjection from 1540s.
Soft landing is from 1958 and the U.S. space program. Adjective soft-core (in reference to pornography) is from 1966 (see hardcore). Soft rock as a music style is attested from 1969. Soft sell is from 1955. Soft-shoe as a dancing style is attested from 1927. Soft-boiled is from 1757 of eggs; of persons, ideas, etc., 1930 (compare half-baked). Soft-focus (adj.) of camera shots is from 1917. The softer sex "women collectively" is from 1640s.
- soft-hearted (adj.)
- also softhearted, 1590s, from soft (adj.) "tender" + hearted. Related: Soft-heartedly; soft-heartedness.
- soft-pedal (v.)
- "to tone down," 1915, figurative use from the noun (1856) in reference to the left foot-lever of a piano, which makes it quieter among other effects; from soft (adj.) + pedal (n.).