tommyrot Look up tommyrot at
1884, from tommy in sense of "a simpleton" (1829), diminutive of Tom (as in tomfool) + rot (n.).
tomography (n.) Look up tomography at
1935, from comb. form of Greek tomos "slice, section" (see tome) + -graphy.
tomorrow (adv.) Look up tomorrow at
mid-13c., to morewe, from Old English to morgenne "on (the) morrow," from to "at, on" (see to) + morgenne, dative of morgen "morning" (see morn, also morrow). As a noun from late 14c. Written as two words until 16c., then as to-morrow until early 20c.
ton (n.1) Look up ton at
"measure of weight," late 14c. The quantity necessary to fill a tun or cask of wine, thus identical to tun (q.v.). The spelling difference became firmly established 18c. Ton of bricks in the colloquial figurative sense of what you come down on someone like is from 1884.
ton (n.2) Look up ton at
"prevailing mode, style, fashionable ways," 1769, from French ton (see tone (n.)).
tonal (adj.) Look up tonal at
1776; from tone (n.) in the musical sense + -al (1), or from Medieval Latin tonalis.
tonality (n.) Look up tonality at
1824, from tonal + -ity.
tone (n.) Look up tone at
mid-14c., "musical sound or note," from Old French ton "musical sound, speech, words" (13c.) and directly from Latin tonus "a sound, tone, accent," literally "stretching" (in Medieval Latin, a term peculiar to music), from Greek tonos "vocal pitch, raising of voice, accent, key in music," originally "a stretching, tightening, taut string," related to teinein "to stretch" (see tenet). Sense of "manner of speaking" is from c. 1600. First reference to firmness of body is from 1660s. As "prevailing state of manners" from 1735; as "style in speaking or writing which reveals attitude" from 1765. Tone-deaf is from 1880; tone-poem from 1845.
tone (v.) Look up tone at
"to impart tone to," 1811, from tone (n.). Related: Toned; toning. To tone (something) down originally was in painting (1831); general sense of "reduce, moderate" is by 1847.
toner (n.) Look up toner at
1888, agent noun from tone (v.). As a photography chemical, from 1920; in xerography, from 1954.
Tong (n.) Look up Tong at
"Chinese secret society," 1883, from Cantonese t'ong "assembly hall."
tongs (n.) Look up tongs at
Old English tange, tang "tongs, pincers, foreceps, instrument for holding and lifting," from Proto-Germanic *tango (cognates: Old Saxon tanga, Old Norse töng, Swedish tång, Old Frisian tange, Middle Dutch tanghe, Dutch tang, Old High German zanga, German Zange "tongs"), literally "that which bites," from PIE root *denk- "to bite" (cognates: Sanskrit dasati "biter;" Greek daknein "to bite," dax "biting"). For sense evolution, compare French mordache "tongs," from mordre "to bite."
tongue (n.) Look up tongue at
Old English tunge "tongue, organ of speech; speech, a people's language," from Proto-Germanic *tungon (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Norse tunga, Old Frisian tunge, Middle Dutch tonghe, Dutch tong, Old High German zunga, German Zunge, Gothic tuggo), from PIE *dnghwa- (cognates: Latin lingua "tongue, speech, language," from Old Latin dingua; Old Irish tenge, Welsh tafod, Lithuanian liezuvis, Old Church Slavonic jezyku).

For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come. The spelling of the ending of the word apparently is a 14c. attempt to indicate proper pronunciation, but the result is "neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small degree historical" [OED]. In the "knowledge of a foreign language" sense in the Pentecostal miracle, from 1520s. Tongue-tied is first recorded 1520s. To hold (one's) tongue "refrain from speaking" was in Old English. Johnson has tonguepad "A great talker."
tongue (v.) Look up tongue at
"to touch with the tongue, lick," 1680s, from tongue (n.). Earlier as a verb it meant "drive out by order or reproach" (late 14c.). Related: Tongued; tonguing.
tongue-in-cheek (adv.) Look up tongue-in-cheek at
1856, from phrase to speak with one's tongue in one's cheek "to speak insincerely" (1748), suggestive of sly irony or humorous insincerity, perhaps a stage trick to convey irony to the audience.
Hem! Pray, Sir, said he to the Bard, after thrusting his Tongue into a Corner of his Cheek, and rolling his Eyes at Miss Willis, (Tricks which he had caught by endeavouring to take off a celebrated Comedian) were these fine Tragedies of yours ever acted? [anonymous, "Emily, or the History of a Natural Daughter," 1761]

This arietta, however, she no sooner began to perform, than he and the justice fell asleep ; but the moment she ceased playing, the knight waked snorting, and exclaimed,--'O cara! what d'ye think, gentlemen? Will you talk any more of your Pargolesi and your Corelli ?'--At the same time, he thrust his tongue in one cheek, and leered with one eye at the doctor and me, who sat on his left hand--He concluded the pantomime with a loud laugh, which he could command at all times extempore. [Smollett, "The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker," 1771]
tongue-lash (v.) Look up tongue-lash at
"scold, abuse with words," 1857, from tongue (n.) + lash (v.). Related: Tongue-lashing.
tongue-twister (n.) Look up tongue-twister at
1875, in reference to an awkward sentence, 1892 of a deliberately difficult-to-say phrase, from tongue (n.) + agent noun from twist (v.). The first one called by the name is "Miss Smith's fish-sauce shop."
tongued (adj.) Look up tongued at
"speaking (in a certain manner)," late 14c., in compounds and combinations, from tongue (n.).
tongueless (adj.) Look up tongueless at
late 14c., "having no tongue;" early 15c. as "speechless, silent," from tongue (n.) + -less. Related: Tonguelessly; tonguelessness.
tonic (n.1) Look up tonic at
"a tonic medicine," 1799, from tonic (adj.). From 1873 (in gin and tonic) as short for tonic water (1861 as a commercial product, water infused with quinine), so called because held to aid digestion and stimulate appetite.
tonic (adj.) Look up tonic at
1640s, "relating to or characterized by muscular tension," from Greek tonikos "of stretching," from tonos "a stretching" (see tenet). The meaning "maintaining the healthy firmness of tissues" is recorded from 1680s, first extended 1756 to "having the property of restoring to health." Related: Tonical (1580s).
tonic (n.2) Look up tonic at
in the musical sense, 1760, short for tonic note, from tone (n.) in the musical sense + -ic. Related: Tonicity.
tonify (v.) Look up tonify at
1786, from ton (n.2) + -ify. Related: Tonified; tonifying.
tonight (adv.) Look up tonight at
Old English toniht "in the coming night," from to "at, on" (see to) + niht (see night). As a noun, "in the night after the present day," early 14c. Written as two words until 18c., after which it was to-night until early 20c.
tonite (adv.) Look up tonite at
colloquial shortening of tonight, attested by 1918.
Present-day student notices on bulletin boards, etc., read oftener than not, "Party Friday Nite," "Meeting Tonite," "Kum Tonite," etc. [Louise Pound, Spelling-Manipulation and Present-Day Advertising, "Dialect Notes," 1923]
tonite (n.) Look up tonite at
explosive used in blasting, 1881, from Latin tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)) + -ite (2).
tonnage (n.) Look up tonnage at
early 15c., "tax or duty on wine imported in tuns," from ton (n.1) + -age, and from Old French tonnage "duty levied on wine in casks" (c. 1300). Meaning "carrying capacity of a ship" is from 1718.
tonne (n.) Look up tonne at
1877, French form of ton (n.1), adopted for English use to denote a metric ton (1,000 kg.).
tonneau (n.) Look up tonneau at
1901, rear part of an automobile, from French tonneau, literally "cask, tun" (see tun).
tonsil (n.) Look up tonsil at
c. 1600, from Latin tonsillae, tosillae (plural) "tonsils," diminutive of toles "goiter," which is perhaps of Gaulish origin. Related: Tonsils.
tonsillectomy (n.) Look up tonsillectomy at
1899, from comb. form of tonsil + -ectomy. A hybrid with a Latin front end and a Greek ending. A correct formation all from Greek would be amygdalectomy.
tonsillitis (n.) Look up tonsillitis at
also tonsilitis, "inflammation of the tonsils," 1801, from comb. form of tonsil + -itis "inflammation."
tonsillolith (n.) Look up tonsillolith at
1894, from tonsillo-, comb. form of tonsil + -lith "stone."
tonsorial (adj.) Look up tonsorial at
"pertaining to barbers," 1765, from -al (1) + Latin tonsorius "of or pertaining to shearing or shaving," from tonsor "a shaver, barber, shearer, clipper," from tonsus, past participle of tondere "to shear, shave" (see tonsure). Generally used in an attempt at humor. Tonsorious in the same sense is attested from 1650s.
tonsure (n.) Look up tonsure at
late 14c., "shaving of the head or part of it," especially as a religious rite, from Anglo-French tonsure (mid-14c.), Old French tonsure "ecclesiastical tonsure; sheep-shearing" (14c.), from Latin tonsura "a shearing, clipping," from tonsus, past participle of tondere "to shear, shave, clip, crop," from PIE *tend-, from root *tem- "to cut" (see tome). The verb is attested from 1706 (implied in tonsured). Related: Tonsuring.
tontine (n.) Look up tontine at
1765, from French tontine, named for Lorenzo Tonti, Neapolitan banker in Paris who in 1653 first proposed this method of raising money in France.
Tonto Look up Tonto at
former term for the Western Apaches, from Spanish, literally "foolish;" probably a translation of a name given to the people by other branches of the Apache, such as Chiricahua Apache /bini:'édiné/, Mescalero Apache /bini:'édinendé/, both literally "people without minds," and used to designate the Western Apaches. Spanish tonto is said to be originally a nursery word, used for its sound [Buck], but in some sources it is given as perhaps literally "thunderstruck," from Latin attonius, whence also Spanish atonar "to stupefy."
tony (adj.) Look up tony at
"of a high tone, affecting social elegance," 1877, American English slang, from tone (n.) + -y (2). It was the name of a reddish-brown fashion color in the 1920s.
Tony Look up Tony at
1947, awards given by American Theatre Wing (New York), from nickname of U.S. actress, manager, and producer Antoinette Perry (1888-1946).
Tony Look up Tony at
masc. proper name, short for Anthony. Tony Curtis, style of men's haircut (usually with a D.A. at the back), is from 1956, from screen name of U.S. film star Bernard Schwarz (1925-2010).
too (adv.) Look up too at
"in addition, in excess," late Old English, stressed variant of Old English preposition to "in the direction of, furthermore" (see to). The spelling with -oo is from late 16c. Use after a verb, for emphasis (as in did, too!) is attested from 1914. German zu unites the senses of English to and too. Slang too-too "excessive in social elegance" first recorded 1881. Too much is from 1530s as "more than can be endured;" sense of "excellent" first recorded 1937 in jazz slang.
toodle-oo Look up toodle-oo at
colloquial "good-bye" word, 1904, said in early uses to be "cockney," of unknown origin; variant tooraloo is recorded from c. 1921.
took Look up took at
past tense of take (v.), from late Old English toc, past tense of tacan.
tool (n.) Look up tool at
Old English tol "instrument, implement used by a craftsman or laborer, weapon," from Proto-Germanic *to(w)lam "implement" (cognates: Old Norse tol), from a verb stem represented by Old English tawian "prepare" (see taw). The ending is the instrumental suffix -el (1). Figurative sense of "person used by another for his own ends" is recorded from 1660s. Slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1550s.
tool (v.) Look up tool at
"to drive a vehicle," 1812, probably from tool (n.) as if "to manage skillfully." The meaning "to work or shape with a tool" is recorded from 1815; that of "equip (a factory) with machine tools" is from 1927. Related: Tooled; tooling.
toolbar (n.) Look up toolbar at
1960 as a frame fitted to a tractor to hold tools; from tool (n.) + bar (n.1). Computer sense is attested from 1991.
Among 100-odd new features in Excel 3.0 is a row of "buttons" on the screen called the Toolbar. Located under the pull-down menus, the Toolbar provides rapid access to frequently used commands. ["Popular Science," April 1991.]
toolbox (n.) Look up toolbox at
also tool-box, 1801, from tool (n.) + box (n.1).
toolkit (n.) Look up toolkit at
also tool-kit, 1908, from tool (n.) + kit (n.1).
toon (n.) Look up toon at
colloquial shortening of cartoon (n.), attested by 1985.
toot (v.) Look up toot at
c. 1500, of horns, ultimately imitative, also found in Middle Low German and Low German tuten "blow a horn." Related: Tooted; tooting. Tooting as a strong affirmative (as in you're damned tootin') is attested from 1932, American English.