taboo (adj.) Look up taboo at
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;" 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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
1848, agent noun from tabulate.
tace Look up tace at
"be silent!" Latin imperative of tacere "to be silent" (see tacit).
tacet Look up tacet at
musical instruction, 1724, from Latin tacet "is silent," third person singular present indicative of tacere (see tacit).
tacho- Look up tacho- at
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
speed-measuring instrument, 1810, coined by inventor, Bryan Donkin, from tacho- "speed" + -meter. Related: Tachometry.
tachy- Look up tachy- at
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
"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
"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
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
1967, hypothetical faster-than-light particle, from tachy- "swift" + -on.
tachypnea (n.) Look up tachypnea at
"hysterical rapid breathing," 1896, from tachy- "swift" + -pnea, from pnein "to breathe" (see pneuma). Related: Tachypneic.
tacit (adj.) Look up tacit at
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" (cognates: 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.
taciturn (adj.) Look up taciturn at
"habitually silent," 1771, back-formation from taciturnity, or from French taciturne (15c.), from Latin taciturnus "not talkative, noiseless."
taciturnity (n.) Look up taciturnity at
mid-15c., from Middle French taciturnité, from Latin taciturnitatem (nominative taciturnitas) "a being or keeping silent," from taciturnus "disposed to be silent," from tacitus "silent" (see tacit).
tack (n.1) Look up tack at
"clasp, hook, fastener," also "a nail" of some kind, c. 1400, from Old North French taque "nail, pin, peg" (Old French tache, 12c., "nail, spike, tack; pin brooch"), probably from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch tacke "twig, spike," Frisian tak "a tine, prong, twig, branch," Low German takk "tine, pointed thing," German Zacken "sharp point, tooth, prong"), from Proto-Germanic *tag-. Meaning "small, sharp nail with a flat head" is attested from mid-15c. The meaning "rope to hold the corner of a sail in place" is first recorded late 15c.
tack (v.1) Look up tack at
late 14c., "to attach" with a nail, etc., from tack (n.1). Meaning "to attach as a supplement" (with suggestion of hasty or arbitrary proceeding) is from 1680s. Related: Tacked; tacking.
tack (n.2) Look up tack at
"horse's harness, etc.," 1924, shortening of tackle (n.) in sense of "equipment." Tack in a non-equestrian sense as a shortening of tackle is recorded in dialect from 1777.
tack (n.3) Look up tack at
"food" in general, but in dialect especially "bad food," and especially among sailors "food of a bread kind," 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle (n.) in the sense of "gear." But compare tack "taste" (c. 1600), perhaps a variant of tact.
tack (v.2) Look up tack at
"turn a ship's course toward the wind at an angle," 1550s, from tack (n.1) in the ship-rigging sense (the ropes were used to move the vessel temporarily to one side or another of its general line of course, to take advantage of a side-wind); hence tack (n.) "course of conduct or mode of action suited to some purpose" (1670s), from figurative use of the verb (1630s). Related: Tacked; tacking.
tack-hammer (n.) Look up tack-hammer at
1848, from tack (n.1) + hammer (n.).
tackle (n.) Look up tackle at
mid-13c., "apparatus, gear," especially the rigging of a ship, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German takel "the rigging of a ship," perhaps related to Middle Dutch taken "grasp, seize" (see take (v.)), or perhaps from root of tack (n.1), which, if not the origin, has influenced the sense. Meaning "apparatus for fishing" is recorded from late 14c. Meaning "device for grasping and shifting or moving" is from 1530s. Meaning "act of tackling" in the sporting sense is recorded from 1876 (see tackle (v.)); as the name of a position in North American football, it is recorded from 1884. Welsh tacl is fro English.
tackle (v.) Look up tackle at
mid-14c., "entangle, involve," from tackle (n.). Sense of "to furnish (a ship) with tackles" is from c. 1400; meaning "to harness a horse" is recorded from 1714. The meaning "lay hold of, come to grips with, attack" is attested from 1828, described by Webster that year as "a common popular use of the word in New England, though not elegant;" figurative sense of "try to deal with" (a task or problem) is from 1840. The verb in the sporting sense first recorded 1867, "to seize and stop." Related: Tackled; tackling.
tacky (adj.1) Look up tacky at
"sticky," 1788, from tack (n.1) in the sense of "an act of attaching temporarily" + -y (2). Related: Tackiness "stickiness."
tacky (adj.2) Look up tacky at
"in poor taste," 1888, from earlier sense of "shabby, seedy" (1862), adjectival use of tackey (n.) "ill-fed or neglected horse" (1800), later extended to persons in like condition, "hillbilly, cracker" (1888), of uncertain origin. Related: Tackiness.
The word "tacky" is a Southern colloquialism. It was coined by a wealthier or more refined and educated class for general application to those who were not sheltered by the branches of a family tree, who were "tainted." Those who were wealthy and yet had no great-grandfathers were "tackies." The word was used both in contempt and in derision. It is now nearly obsolete in both senses. There are no aristocrats in the South now, and therefore no "tackies." No man who has the instincts of a gentleman is spoken of as a "tacky," whether he can remember the name of his grandfather's uncle or not. But it has its uses. It is employed in describing persons of low ideas and vulgar manners, whether rich or poor. It may mean an absence of style. In dress, anything that is tawdry is "tacky." A ribbon on the shopkeeper's counter, a curtain in the bolt, a shawl or bonnet, a bolt of cloth fresh from the loom may be "tacky," because it is cheap and yet pretentious. In Louisiana the inferior grade of Creole ponies are known as "tackies." [Horace Ingraham, Charleston, S.C., in "American Notes and Queries," Feb. 15, 1890]
taco (n.) Look up taco at
tortilla filled with spiced meat, etc., 1949, from Mexican Spanish, "light lunch," literally "plug, wadding."
Tacoma Look up Tacoma at
city in Washington State, U.S., from Lushootseed (Salishan) /tequbed/ "snow-covered mountain," in reference to nearby Mount Rainier.
Taconic Look up Taconic at
mountain range in New England, perhaps from Mahican (Algonquian) */ta:hkenek/ "in the woods;" compare Unami Delaware (Algonquian) /tekenink/ "in the woods."
tact (n.) Look up tact at
1650s, "sense of touch or feeling" (with an isolated instance, tacþe from c. 1200), from Latin tactus "a touch, handling, sense of touch," from root of tangere "to touch" (see tangent (adj.)). Meaning "sense of discernment in action or conduct, diplomacy, fine intuitive mental perception" first recorded 1804, from development in French cognate tact. The Latin figurative sense was "influence, effect."
tactful (adj.) Look up tactful at
1844, from tact + -ful. Related: Tactfully; tactfulness.
tactic (n.) Look up tactic at
1766, from Modern Latin tactica, from Greek taktike (tekhne) "(art of) arrangement," from fem. of taktikos "pertaining to arrangement" (see tactics). Earlier it meant "a tactician" (1630s), and was in use as an adjective meaning "tactical" (c. 1600).
tactical (adj.) Look up tactical at
1560s, "pertaining to tactics," from Modern Latin tactica (see tactics) + -al (1). Meaning "characterized by adroit management" is from 1883. In reference to nuclear weapons ("for limited use in military operations," opposed to strategic) it is recorded from 1957. Related: Tactically.
tactician (n.) Look up tactician at
"expert in tactics," 1761, from tactic + -ian.
tactics (n.) Look up tactics at
1620s, "science of arranging military forces for combat," from Modern Latin tactica (17c.), from Greek taktike techne "art of arrangement," noun use of fem. of taktikos "of or pertaining to arrangement," especially "tactics in war," adjective to taxis "arrangement, an arranging, the order or disposition of an army, battle array; order, regularity," verbal noun of tassein "arrange," from PIE root *tag- "to set aright, set in order" (see tangent).
tactile (adj.) Look up tactile at
1610s, "perceptible to touch," from French tactile (16c.) and directly from Latin tactilis "tangible, that may be touched," from tactus, past participle of tangere "to touch" (see tangent (adj.)). Meaning "of or pertaining to the sense of touch" is attested from 1650s. Related: Tactility.
tactless (adj.) Look up tactless at
"characterized by want of tact," 1830, from tact + -less. Related: Tactlessly; tactlessness.
tactual (adj.) Look up tactual at
"pertaining to the sense of touch," 1640s, from Latin tactus "a touch" (see tact) + -al (1).
tad (n.) Look up tad at
1877, "young or small child," probably a shortened form of tadpole, which is said to be the source of Tad as the nickname of U.S. President Lincoln's son Thomas (1853–1871). The extended meaning "small amount" is first recorded 1915.
tadpole (n.) Look up tadpole at
mid-15c., from tadde "toad" (see toad) + pol "head" (see poll (n.)).
tae Look up tae at
a Scottish form of to.
tae kwon do Look up tae kwon do at
1967, from Korean, said to represent tae "kick" + kwon "fist" + do "art, way, method."
taedium vitae Look up taedium vitae at
Latin, "weariness of life; a deep disgust with life tempting one to suicide."
taffeta (n.) Look up taffeta at
mid-14c., "fine, smooth, lustrous silk cloth," also taffata, from Old French taffetas (early 14c.), from Italian taffeta or Medieval Latin taffata, ultimately from Persian taftah "silk or linen cloth," noun use of past participle of taftan "to twist, spin, weave, interlace," from Iranian *tap-. Applied to different fabrics in different eras (and see tapestry).
taffrail (n.) Look up taffrail at
1814, alteration of tafferel (1704) "upper panel on the stern of a ship (often ornamented)," earlier, "a carved panel" (1620s), from Dutch tafereel "panel for painting or carving," dissimulation from *tafeleel, diminutive of tafel "table," from the general West Germanic borrowing of Latin tabula "slab, board" (see table (n.)). The word developed in Dutch from the custom of ornamenting (by painting or carving) the high, flat stern of old sailing ships; spelling and sense altered in English by influence of rail (n.).
taffy (n.) Look up taffy at
coarse candy made from sugar or molasses boiled down and cooled, 1817, related to toffee, but of uncertain origin; perhaps associated with tafia (1763), a rum-like alcoholic liquor distilled from molasses, presumably of West Indian or Malay origin (perhaps a Creole shortening of ratafia). On this theory, the candy would have been made from the syrup skimmed off the liquor during distillation.