T Look up T at Dictionary.com
to cross one's t's (and dot one's i's) "to be exact" is attested from 1849. Phrase to a T "exactly" is recorded from 1690s, though the exact signification remains uncertain despite much speculation. The measuring tool called a T-square (sometimes suggested as the source of this) is recorded by that name only from 1785. The T-cell (1970) so called because they are derived from the thymus. As a medieval numeral, T represented 160.
T and A (n.) Look up T and A at Dictionary.com
1972, short for tits and ass (a phrase attributed to Lenny Bruce), in reference to salacious U.S. mass media; earlier it was medical shorthand for "tonsils and adenoids" (1942).
T-bone (n.) Look up T-bone at Dictionary.com
type of steak, 1916, so called from the T-shaped bone that runs through it. The verb meaning "to strike (another car, bus, etc.) from the side" is by 1970, from adjectival use in reference to crashes, attested from 1952, from the position of the two vehicles at impact.
T-shirt (n.) Look up T-shirt at Dictionary.com
1920, in reference to the shape it makes when laid out flat (t-shirt is thus incorrect).
ta Look up ta at Dictionary.com
1772, "natural infantile sound of gratitude" [Weekley].
ta'en Look up ta'en at Dictionary.com
contraction of taken.
ta-ta Look up ta-ta at Dictionary.com
also tata, "good-bye," familiar salutation in parting, 1823, a word first recorded as infant's speech. Abbreviation T.T.F.N., "ta-ta for now," popularized 1941 by BBC radio program "ITMA," where it was the characteristic parting of the cockney cleaning woman character Mrs. Mopp, voiced by Dorothy Summers.
tab (n.1) Look up tab at Dictionary.com
"small flap or strip of material," c. 1600, possibly from a dialectal word, of uncertain origin. Often interchangeable with tag (n.1). Compare also Middle English tab "strap or string" (mid-15c.), Norwegian dialectal tave "piece of cloth, rag."
tab (n.2) Look up tab at Dictionary.com
"account, bill, check," 1888, American English colloquial, probably a shortened form of tabulation or of tablet in the sense "a sheet for writing on." Figurative phrase keep a tab on is recorded from 1890.
tab (n.3) Look up tab at Dictionary.com
1961, shortened form of tablet (especially one of sugar containing LSD). As an abbreviation of tabloid (newspaper) it is 1990s slang. As a short form of tabulator key of a typewriter (later computer) it is recorded from 1916.
tab (v.) Look up tab at Dictionary.com
"designate, label, name," 1924, earlier "affix a tab to" 1872 (implied in tabbed), perhaps an alteration of tag (v.2). Related: Tabbing. Also see tab (n.1).
tabacco (n.) Look up tabacco at Dictionary.com
obsolete form of tobacco.
tabagie (n.) Look up tabagie at Dictionary.com
1819, from French tabagie (17c.), from tabac "tobacco" (see tobacco) + -age. A group of smokers who meet in club fashion; a "tobacco-parliament." In German, a Rauchkneipe.
tabard (n.) Look up tabard at Dictionary.com
c. 1300 (late 13c. as a surname), from Old French tabart "simple sleeveless overtunic," also "heavy overmantel" (12c.), of unknown origin; Diez suggests Latin tapete "figured cloth." Compare Medieval Latin tabardum, early Spanish tabardo, Italian tabarro. Originally a coarse, sleeveless upper garment worn by peasants and others who worked out-of-doors; later a knight's surcoat (hence the name of the tavern in "Canterbury Tales").
Tabasco Look up Tabasco at Dictionary.com
proprietary name of a type of hot sauce, 1876, (the sauce so called from 1650s, originally Tavasco), named for the state in Mexico, perhaps because the pepper sauce was first encountered there by U.S. and European travelers. The trademark (by Edward Avery McIlhenny) claims use from c. 1870. The place name is from an unidentified Mexican Indian language and of unknown etymology.
tabbouli (n.) Look up tabbouli at Dictionary.com
also tabouli, tabbouleh, Middle Eastern vegetable salad, 1955, from Arabic tabbula.
tabby (n.) Look up tabby at Dictionary.com
1630s, "striped silk taffeta," from French tabis "a rich, watered silk" (originally striped), from Middle French atabis (14c.), from Arabic 'attabi, from 'Attabiyah, a neighborhood of Baghdad where such cloth was made, said to be named for prince 'Attab of the Omayyad dynasty. As an adjective from 1630s.

Tabby cat, one with a striped coat, is attested from 1690s; shortened form tabby first attested 1774. "The wild original of the domestic cat is always of such coloration" [Century Dictionary]. Sense of "female cat" (1826) may be influenced by the fem. proper name Tabby, a pet form of Tabitha, which was used in late 18c. as slang for "spiteful spinster, difficult old woman."
tabernacle (n.) Look up tabernacle at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "portable sanctuary carried by the Israelites in the wilderness," from Old French tabernacle "the Jewish Tabernacle; tent, canopy; tomb, monument" (12c.), from Latin tabernaculum "tent," especially "a tent of an augur" (for taking observations), diminutive of taberna "hut, cabin, booth" (see tavern).

Use of the word in English transferred late 14c. to the Temple in Jerusalem (which continued its function). Sense of "house of worship" first recorded 1690s. Also in Biblical language, "the body as the temporary abode of the soul" (late 14c.). The Old Testament Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (mid-October) was observed as a thanksgiving for harvest. This was rendered in English c. 1400 as Feste of Logges ("lodges"). Related: Tabernacular.
tabes (n.) Look up tabes at Dictionary.com
"emaciation," 1650s, medical Latin, from Latin tabes "a melting, wasting away, putrefaction," from tabere "to melt, waste away, be consumed," from PIE *ta- "to melt, dissolve" (see thaw (v.)).
Tabitha Look up Tabitha at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Late Latin, from Greek Tabitha, from Aramaic (Semitic) tabhyetha, emphatic of tabhya "gazelle," which is related to Hebrew tzebhi (fem. tzebhiyyah), Arabic zaby.
tabla (n.) Look up tabla at Dictionary.com
pair of drums used in northern Indian music, 1865, from Hindi, from Arabic tabl "a drum played with the hand."
tablature (n.) Look up tablature at Dictionary.com
type of musical notation for lute or stringed instrument, 1570s, from French tablature (1550s), from Italian tavolatura (also Medieval Latin tabulatura), from Late Latin tabulare, from Latin tabula "table, list, schedule" (see table (n.)). "It differed from the more general staff-notation in that it aimed to express not so much the pitch of the notes intended as the mechanical process by which on the particular instrument those tones were to be produced" [Century Dictionary].
table (n.) Look up table at Dictionary.com
late 12c., "board, slab, plate," from Old French table "board, square panel, plank; writing table; picture; food, fare" (11c.), and late Old English tabele "writing tablet, gaming table," from Germanic *tabal (source also of Dutch tafel, Danish tavle, Old High German zabel "board, plank," German Tafel). Both the French and Germanic words are from Latin tabula "a board, plank; writing table; list, schedule; picture, painted panel," originally "small flat slab or piece" usually for inscriptions or for games (source also of Spanish tabla, Italian tavola), of uncertain origin, related to Umbrian tafle "on the board."

The sense of "piece of furniture with the flat top and legs" first recorded c. 1300 (the usual Latin word for this was mensa (see mensa); Old English writers used bord (see board (n.1)). Especially the table at which people eat, hence "food placed upon a table" (c. 1400 in English). The meaning "arrangement of numbers or other figures on a tabular surface for convenience" is recorded from late 14c. (as in table of contents, mid-15c.).

Figurative phrase turn the tables (1630s) is from backgammon (in Old and Middle English the game was called tables). Table talk "familiar conversation around a table" is attested from 1560s, translating Latin colloquia mensalis. Table-manners is from 1824. Table-hopping is first recorded 1943. The adjectival phrase under-the-table "hidden from view" is recorded from 1949; to be under the table "passed out from excess drinking" is recorded from 1913. Table tennis "ping-pong" is recorded from 1887. Table-rapping in spiritualism, supposedly an effect of supernatural powers, is from 1853.
table (v.) Look up table at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "enter into a list, form into a list or catalogue," also "provide with food," from table (n.). In parliamentary sense, 1718, originally "to lay on the (speaker's) table for discussion;" but in U.S. political jargon it has chiefly the sense of "to postpone indefinitely" (1866) via notion of "lay aside for future consideration." Related: Tabled; tabling.
table-d'hote (n.) Look up table-d'hote at Dictionary.com
"common table for guests at a hotel," French, table-d'hôte, literally "table of the host;" see table (n.) + host (n.).
table-land (n.) Look up table-land at Dictionary.com
1690s, from table (n.) + land (n.).
tableau (n.) Look up tableau at Dictionary.com
1690s, "a picturesque or graphic description or picture," from French tableau "picture, painting" (12c.), from Old French table "slab, writing tablet" (see table (n.)) + diminutive suffix -eau, from Latin -ellus. Hence tableau-vivant (1817) "person or persons silent and motionless, enacting a well-known scene, incident, painting, etc.," 19c. parlor game, literally "living picture."
tablecloth (n.) Look up tablecloth at Dictionary.com
also table-cloth, "cloth for covering the top of a table," mid-15c., from table (n.) + cloth.
tablespoon (n.) Look up tablespoon at Dictionary.com
spoon used in table-service, 1763, from table (n.) + spoon (n.).
tablet (n.) Look up tablet at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "slab or flat surface for an inscription" (especially the two Mosaic tables of stone), from Old French tablete "small table, merchant's display counter" (13c., Modern French tablette), diminutive of table "slab," or from Medieval Latin tabuleta (source also of Spanish tableta, Italian tavoletta), diminutive of Latin tabula (see table (n.)). The meaning "lozenge, pill" is first recorded 1580s; that of "pad of writing paper" in 1880.
tableware (n.) Look up tableware at Dictionary.com
also table-ware, 1799, from table (n.) + ware (n.).
tabloid (n.) Look up tabloid at Dictionary.com
1884, Tabloid, "small tablet of medicine," trademark name (by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co.) for compressed or concentrated chemicals and drugs, a hybrid formed from tablet + Greek-derived suffix -oid. By 1898, it was being used figuratively to mean a compressed form or dose of anything, hence tabloid journalism (1901), and newspapers that typified it (1917), so called for having short, condensed news articles and/or for being small in size. Associated originally with Alfred C. Harmsworth, editor and proprietor of the "London Daily Mail."
Mr. Harmsworth entered a printing office twenty years ago as office-boy, and today owns thirty periodicals besides The Mail. Upon a friendly challenge from Mr. Pulitzer of The New York World, the English journalist issued the first number of The World for the new century in the ideal form. The size of the page was reduced to four columns and the general make-up was similar in appearance to that of one of the weekly magazines. Current news was presented in condensed and tabulated form, of which the editor says: "The world enters today upon the twentieth or time-saving century. I claim that by my system of condensed or tabloid journalism hundreds of working hours can be saved each year." ["The Twentieth Century Newspaper," in "The Social Gospel," February 1901]
taboo (adj.) Look up taboo at Dictionary.com
also tabu, 1777 (in Cook's "A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean"), "consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed," explained in some English sources as being from Tongan (Polynesian language of the island of Tonga) ta-bu "sacred," from ta "mark" + bu "especially." But this may be folk etymology, as linguists in the Pacific have reconstructed an irreducable Proto-Polynesian *tapu, from Proto-Oceanic *tabu "sacred, forbidden" (compare Hawaiian kapu "taboo, prohibition, sacred, holy, consecrated;" Tahitian tapu "restriction, sacred, devoted; an oath;" Maori tapu "be under ritual restriction, prohibited"). The noun and verb are English innovations first recorded in Cook's book.
tabor (n.) Look up tabor at Dictionary.com
also tabour, "small drum resembling a tamborine," c. 1300, from Old French tabour, tabur "drum; din, noise, commotion" (11c.), probably from Persian tabir "drum," but evolution of sense and form are uncertain; compare tambourine.
tabula rasa (n.) Look up tabula rasa at Dictionary.com
"the mind in its primary state," 1530s, from Latin tabula rasa, literally "scraped tablet," from which writing has been erased, thus ready to be written on again, from tabula (see table (n.)) + rasa, fem. past participle of radere "to scrape away, erase" (see raze). A loan-translation of Aristotle's pinakis agraphos, literally "unwritten tablet" ("De anima," 7.22).
tabular (adj.) Look up tabular at Dictionary.com
"table-shaped," 1650s, from French tabulaire or directly from Latin tabularis "of a slab or tablet, of boards or planks," from tabula "slab" (see table (n.)). Meaning "arranged in a list or columns; ascertained or computed by means of tables" is from 1710.
tabulate (v.) Look up tabulate at Dictionary.com
"to put into form of a table, collect or arrange in columns," 1734, from Latin tabula (see table (n.)) + -ate (2). Earlier in the more literal Latin sense "lay a floor" (1650s). Related: Tabulated; tabulating.
tabulation (n.) Look up tabulation at Dictionary.com
"act or process of making tabular arrangements," 1803, noun of action from tabulate (v.). Latin tabulatio meant "a flooring over."
tabulator (n.) Look up tabulator at Dictionary.com
1848, agent noun from tabulate.
tace Look up tace at Dictionary.com
"be silent!" Latin imperative of tacere "to be silent" (see tacit).
tacet Look up tacet at Dictionary.com
musical instruction, 1724, from Latin tacet "is silent," third person singular present indicative of tacere (see tacit).
tacho- Look up tacho- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "speed," from Latinized form of Greek takho-, comb. form of takhos "speed, swiftness, fleetness, velocity," related to takhys "swift," of unknown origin.
tachometer (n.) Look up tachometer at Dictionary.com
speed-measuring instrument, 1810, coined by inventor, Bryan Donkin, from tacho- "speed" + -meter. Related: Tachometry.
tachy- Look up tachy- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "rapid, swift, fast," from Latinized comb. form of Greek takhys "swift, rapid, hasty," related to takhos "speed, swiftness," of uncertain origin.
tachycardia (n.) Look up tachycardia at Dictionary.com
"rapid heartbeat," 1868, Modern Latin, coined 1867 by German-born physician Hermann Lebert (1813-1878) from tachy- "swift" + Latinized form of Greek kardia "heart," from PIE root *kerd- (1) "heart" (see heart (n.)).
tachygraphy (n.) Look up tachygraphy at Dictionary.com
"shorthand, stenography," 1640s, from Latinized form of Greek takhygraphia, from takhys "swift" (see tachy-) + -graphia (see -graphy). Related: Tachygraphic; tachygrapher "stenographer" (especially among the ancients; see Tironian).
tachymeter (n.) Look up tachymeter at Dictionary.com
surveying instrument, 1836, from tachy- "swift" + -meter. Related: Tachymetry.
M. GAETANO CAÏRO has invented an instrument, to which he has given the name of Tachymeter (rapid measurer). Its object is to give the area of plane surfaces bounded by any outline whatever, without the necessity of any arithmetical operation. ["Magazine of Popular Science and Journal of the Useful Arts," Volume 2, 1836]
tachyon (n.) Look up tachyon at Dictionary.com
1967, hypothetical faster-than-light particle, from tachy- "swift" + -on.
tachypnea (n.) Look up tachypnea at Dictionary.com
"hysterical rapid breathing," 1896, from tachy- "swift" + -pnea, from pnein "to breathe" (see pneuma). Related: Tachypneic.
tacit (adj.) Look up tacit at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "silent, unspoken," from French tacite and directly from Latin tacitus "that is passed over in silence, done without words, assumed as a matter of course, silent," past participle of tacere "be silent, not speak," from suffixed form of PIE root *tak- "to be silent" (source also of Gothic þahan, Old Norse þegja "to be silent," Old Norse þagna "to grow dumb," Old Saxon thagian, Old High German dagen "to be silent"). The musical instruction tacet is the 3rd person present singular of the Latin verb. Related: Tacitly.