sui generis Look up sui generis at
1787, Latin, literally "of one's own kind, peculiar." First element from sui, genitive of suus "his, her, its, one's," from Old Latin sovos, from PIE root *swe-, pronoun of the third person (see idiom).
sui juris Look up sui juris at
1610s, "of full legal age and capacity," in ancient Rome, "of the status of one not subject to the patria potestas." For first element, see sui generis; for second element, see jurist.
suicidal (adj.) Look up suicidal at
"leading or tending to suicide," 1777, from suicide + -al (1). Related: Suicidally.
suicide (n.) Look up suicide at
"deliberate killing of oneself," 1650s, from Modern Latin suicidium "suicide," from Latin sui "of oneself" (genitive of se "self"), from PIE *s(u)w-o- "one's own," from root *s(w)e- (see idiom) + -cidium "a killing" (see -cide). Probably an English coinage; much maligned by Latin purists because it "may as well seem to participate of sus, a sow, as of the pronoun sui" [Phillips]. The meaning "person who kills himself deliberately" is from 1728. In Anglo-Latin, the term for "one who commits suicide" was felo-de-se, literally "one guilty concerning himself."
Even in 1749, in the full blaze of the philosophic movement, we find a suicide named Portier dragged through the streets of Paris with his face to the ground, hung from a gallows by his feet, and then thrown into the sewers; and the laws were not abrogated till the Revolution, which, having founded so many other forms of freedom, accorded the liberty of death. [W.E.H. Lecky, "History of European Morals," 1869]
In England, suicides were legally criminal if of age and sane, but not if judged to have been mentally deranged. The criminal ones were mutilated by stake and given degrading burial in highways until 1823. Suicide blonde (one who has "dyed by her own hand") first attested 1921. Baseball suicide squeeze is attested from 1937.
suit (v.) Look up suit at
"be agreeable or convenient, fall in with the views of," 1570s, from suit (n.), perhaps from the notion of "join a retinue clad in like clothes." Earlier "seek out" (mid-15c.); "be becoming" (mid-14c.). Meaning "make agreeable or convenient" is from 1590s. Meaning "provide with clothes" is from 1570s; that of "dress oneself" is from 1590s; with up (adv.) from 1945. Expression suit yourself attested by 1851. Related: Suited; suiting.
suit (n.) Look up suit at
c. 1300, sute, also suete, suite, seute, "a band of followers; a retinue, company;" also "set of matching garments" worn by such persons, "matching livery or uniform;" hence " kind, sort; the same kind, a match;" also "pursuit, chase," and in law, "obligation (of a tenant) to attend court; attendance at court," from Anglo-French suit, siwete, from Old French suite, sieute "pursuit, act of following, hunt; retinue; assembly" (12c., Modern French suite), from Vulgar Latin *sequita, fem. of *sequitus, from Latin secutus, past participle of sequi "to attend, follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").

Legal sense of "lawsuit; legal action" is from mid-14c. Meaning "the wooing of a woman" is from late 15c. Meaning "set of clothes to be worn together" is attested from late 14c., also "matching material or fabric," from notion of the livery or uniform of court attendants. As a derisive term for "businessman," it dates from 1979. Meaning "matched set of objects, number of objects of the same kind or pattern used together" is from late 14c., as is that of "row, series, sequence." Meaning "set of playing cards bearing the same symbol" is first attested 1520s, also ultimately from the notion of livery. To follow suit (1670s) is from card-playing: "play a card of the same suit first played," hence, figuratively, "continue the conduct of a predecessor."
suitability (n.) Look up suitability at
1680s, from suitable + -ity.
suitable (adj.) Look up suitable at
1580s, from suit (v.) + -able. Earlier suit-like (1560s); suitly (mid-15c.). Related: Suitably; suitableness.
suitcase (n.) Look up suitcase at
1898, from suit (n.) + case (n.2). Originally a case for holding a suit of clothes. In reference to small nuclear weapons, 1954.
suite (n.) Look up suite at
1670s, "train of followers or attendants," from French suite, from Old French suite, sieute "act of following, attendance" (see suit (n.), which is an earlier borrowing of the same French word). The meanings "set of instrumental compositions" (1680s), "connected set of rooms" (1716), and "set of furniture" (1805) were imported from French usages or re-spelled on the French model from suit in its sense of "a number of things taken collectively and constituting a sequence; collection of things of like kind."
suitor (n.) Look up suitor at
c. 1300, "a frequenter;" late 14c., "follower, disciple," from Anglo-French seutor, suitor or directly from Late Latin secutor "follower, pursuer," from sect- past participle stem of sequi "to follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Meaning "plaintiff in a lawsuit" is from mid-15c. Meaning "one who seeks (a woman) in marriage" is from 1580s.
Sukey Look up Sukey at
also Sukie, familiar form of fem. proper name Susan, Susanna. As "a tea kettle" from 1823.
Sulawesi Look up Sulawesi at
see Celebes.
sulcate (adj.) Look up sulcate at
"furrowed, grooved," 1760, from Latin sulcatus, past participle of sulcare "to make furrowed," from sulcus "furrow, trench, ditch" (see sulcus).
sulcus (n.) Look up sulcus at
plural sulci, "fissure between convolutions of the brain," 1833, from medical use of Latin sulcus "furrow, trench, ditch, wrinkle," apparently literally "the result of plowing," from PIE *selk- "to pull, draw" (source also of Greek holkos "furrow," Old English sulh "plow," Lithuanian velku "I draw").
sulfa Look up sulfa at
1942, short name for the group of drugs derived from sulfanilamide ("amide of sulfanilic acid," 1937, which is so called because it is a sulphonic derivative of the dye-stuff aniline), and shortened from that word. The usual British English spelling is sulpha.
sulfate (n.) Look up sulfate at
salt of sulfuric acid, 1790 (sulphat), from French sulphate (1787), from Modern Latin sulphatum acidum, from Latin sulpur, sulphur (see sulfur) + chemical ending -ate (3). The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain.
sulfide (n.) Look up sulfide at
compound of sulfur with another element, 1831, from French sulfide; see sulfur + -ide.
sulfite (n.) Look up sulfite at
salt of sulfurous acid, 1790, from sulfur + -ite (2).
sulfur (n.) Look up sulfur at
also sulphur, c. 1300, from Anglo-French sulfere, Old French soufre "sulfur, fire and brimstone, hellfire" (13c.), later also sulphur, from Late Latin sulfur, from Latin sulphur, probably from a root meaning "to burn." Ousted native brimstone and cognate Old English swefl, German schwefel, Swedish swafel, Dutch zwavel. The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain, but its suggestion of a Greek origin is misleading.
sulfuric (adj.) Look up sulfuric at
"of, pertaining to, or obtained from sulfur," also sulphuric, 1790, from French sulfurique; see sulfur + -ic. The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain.
sulfurous (adj.) Look up sulfurous at
1520s, "containing or resembling sulfur, of the nature of brimstone," from Latin sulphurosus "full of sulfur," or a native formation from sulfur + -ous. Hence figurative use with suggestions of hellfire (c. 1600). Scientific chemistry sense is from 1790. The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain. Earlier in the "brimstone-like" sense was sulphureose (early 15c.), and Old English had sweflen. Related: Sulfurously; sulphurously; sulfurousness.
sulk (v.) Look up sulk at
1781, back-formation of sulky (adj.). Related: Sulked; sulking. As a noun from 1792.
sulky (adj.) Look up sulky at
"quietly sullen," 1744, of uncertain origin. Connection has been suggested to obsolete, rare sulke "hard to sell" (1630s) and to Old English asolcen "idle, lazy, slow," past participle adjective from aseolcan "become sluggish, be weak or idle" (related to besylcan "be languid"), from Proto-Germanic *seklan (source also of Middle High German selken "to drop, fall"). But words of similar meaning often are held to be imitative (compare miff, mope, boudoir). Related: Sulkily; sulkiness.
sulky (n.) Look up sulky at
"light carriage with two wheels," 1756, apparently a noun use of sulky (adj.), on notion of "standoffishness," because the carriage has room for only one person and obliges the rider to be alone.
sullen (adj.) Look up sullen at
1570s, alteration of Middle English soleyn "unique, singular," from Anglo-French *solein, formed on the pattern of Old French solain "lonely," from soul "single," from Latin solus "by oneself, alone" (see sole (adj.)). The sense shift in Middle English from "solitary" to "morose" (i.e. "remaining alone through ill-humor") occurred late 14c. Related: Sullenly; sullenness.
sully (v.) Look up sully at
1590s, probably from Middle French souiller "to soil," also figurative, from Old French soillier "make dirty" (see soil (v.)). Related: Sullied (1570s); sullying.
sulphur (n.) Look up sulphur at
see sulfur. The form preferred in Britain; however, the spelling's suggestion of a Greek origin is misleading.
sulphureous (adj.) Look up sulphureous at
1550s, from Latin sulphureus "of sulfur," from sulphur (see sulfur).
sulphuric (adj.) Look up sulphuric at
see sulfuric.
sulphurous (adj.) Look up sulphurous at
see sulfurous.
sultan (n.) Look up sultan at
1550s, from Middle French sultan "ruler of Turkey" (16c.), ultimately from Arabic (Semitic) sultan "ruler, prince, monarch, king, queen," originally "power, dominion." According to Klein's sources, this is from Aramaic shultana "power," from shelet "have power." Earlier English word was soldan, soudan (c. 1300), used indiscriminately of Muslim rulers and sovereigns, from Old French souldan, soudan, from Medieval Latin sultanus. Related: Sultanic.
sultana (n.) Look up sultana at
wife, mother, daughter, or concubine of a sultan, 1580s, from Italian sultana, fem. of sultano (see sultan). Middle English had soudanesse "sultaness" (late 14c.).
sultanate (n.) Look up sultanate at
1794, from sultan + -ate (1).
sultry (adj.) Look up sultry at
1590s, "oppressively hot, close and moist" (of weather), ultimately from swelter + alteration of -y (2), either as a contraction of sweltry or from obsolete verb sulter "to swelter" (1580s), alteration of swelter. Figurative sense of "hot with lust" is attested from 1704; of women, "lascivious, sensual, arousing desire" it is recorded from 1940. Related: Sultriness.
sum (v.) Look up sum at
early 14c., "to count, count up, calculate, reckon," from Old French sommer "to count, add up," or directly from Medieval Latin summare, from summa (see sum (n.)). Meaning "briefly state the substance of" is first recorded 1620s (since c. 1700 usually with up). Related: Summed; summing.
sum (n.) Look up sum at
c. 1300, summe, "quantity or amount of money," from Anglo-French and Old French summe, somme "amount, total; collection; essential point; summing up, conclusion" (13c., Modern French somme), from Latin summa "the top, summit; chief place, highest rank; main thing, chief point, essence, gist; an amount (of money)," noun use (via phrases such as summa pars, summa res) of fem. of summus "highest, uppermost," from PIE *sup-mos-, suffixed form of root *uper "over."

The sense development from "highest" to "total number, the whole" probably is via the Roman custom of adding up a stack of figures from the bottom and writing the sum at the top, rather than at the bottom as now (compare the bottom line).

General sense of "numerical quantity" of anything, "a total number" is from late 14c. Meaning "essence of a writing or speech" also is attested from mid-14c. Meaning "aggregate of two or more numbers" is from early 15c.; sense of "arithmetical problem to be solved" is from 1803. Sum-total is attested from late 14c., from Medieval Latin summa totalis.
sum- Look up sum- at
assimilated form of sub- before -m-.
sumac (n.) Look up sumac at
also sumach, c. 1300, "preparation of dried, chopped leaves of a plant of the genus Rhus" (used in tanning and dyeing and as an astringent), from Old French sumac (13c.), from Medieval Latin sumach, from Arabic summaq, from Syrian summaq "red." Of the tree itself from 1540s; later applied to a North American plant species.
Sumatra Look up Sumatra at
said to be from Sanskrit Samudradvipa "ocean-island." Related: Sumatran.
Sumerian (adj.) Look up Sumerian at
1874, from French Sumérien (1872), "pertaining to Sumer," name of a district in ancient Babylonia, once the seat of a great civilization. As the name of a language from 1887. Related: Sumeria.
summa cum laude Look up summa cum laude at
Latin, "with highest praise."
summarily (adv.) Look up summarily at
1520s, "briefly, in few words," from summary + -ly (2). Meaning "without hesitation or formality" is from 1620s.
summarise (v.) Look up summarise at
chiefly British English spelling of summarize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Summarised; summarising; summarisation.
summarization (n.) Look up summarization at
1860, noun of action from summarize.
summarize (v.) Look up summarize at
1837, American English, from summary + -ize. Related: Summarized; summarizing.
summary (adj.) Look up summary at
early 15c., "brief, abbreviated; containing the sum or substance only," from Medieval Latin summarius "of or pertaining to the sum or substance," from Latin summa "whole, totality, gist" (see sum (n.)). Compare Latin phrase ad summam "on the whole, generally, in short." Sense of "done promptly, performed without hesitation or formality" is from 1713.
summary (n.) Look up summary at
"a summary statement or account," c. 1500, from Latin summarium "an epitome, abstract, summary," from summa "totality, gist" (see sum (n.)).
summate (v.) Look up summate at
"to add, combine," 1900, from Medieval Latin summatus, past participle of summare "to sum" (see summation). Related: Summated; summating.
summation (n.) Look up summation at
1760, "process of calculating a sum," from Modern Latin summationem (nominative summatio) "an adding up," noun of action from Late Latin summatus, past participle of summare "to sum up," from Latin summa (see sum (n.)). Meaning "a summing up" is from 1836.