trapeze (n.) Look up trapeze at
swing with a cross-bar, used for feats of strength and agility, 1861, from French trapèze, from Late Latin trapezium (see trapezium), probably because the crossbar, the ropes and the ceiling formed a trapezium.
The French, to whose powers of invention (so long as you do not insist upon utility) there is no limit, have invented for the world the Trapeze .... ["Chambers's Journal," July 6, 1861]
trapezium (n.) Look up trapezium at
1560s, from Late Latin trapezium, from Greek trapezion "irregular quadrilateral," literally "a little table," diminutive of trapeza "table, dining table," from tra- "four" (see four) + peza "foot, edge," related to pous, from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)). Before 1540s, Latin editions of Euclid used the Arabic-derived word helmariphe. As the name of a bone in the wrist, it is recorded from 1840.
trapezius (n.) Look up trapezius at
muscle over the back of the neck, 1704, from Modern Latin trapezius (musculus), masc. adjective from trapezium (see trapezium). So called from the shape they form.
trapezoid (n.) Look up trapezoid at
1706, "a trapezium," from Modern Latin trapezoides, from Late Greek trapezoeides, noun use by Euclid of Greek trapezoeides "trapezium-shaped," from trapeza, literally "table" (see trapezium), + -oeides "shaped" (see -oid). Technically, a plane four-sided figure with no two sides parallel. But in English since c. 1800, often confused with trapezium in its sense of "a quadrilateral figure having only sides parallel and two not."
trapezoidal (adj.) Look up trapezoidal at
1796, from trapezoid + -al (1).
trapper (n.) Look up trapper at
"one who traps animals" (for fur, etc.), 1768, agent noun from trap (v.).
trappings (n.) Look up trappings at
late 14c., "horse-cloth," from Middle English trappe "ornamental cloth for a horse" (c. 1300), later "personal effects" (mid-15c.), alteration of Middle French drap "cloth" (see drape (n.)).
Trappist (n.) Look up Trappist at
1814, from French trappiste, Cistercian monk of reformed order established 1664 by Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé (1626-1700) of La Trappe in Normandy.
traps (n.1) Look up traps at
"expanse of dark igneous rock," 1794, from Swedish trapp (Torbern Bergman, 1766), from trappa "stair," related to Middle Low German trappe "staircase" (see trap (n.)). So called from the step-like appearance of the rock.
traps (n.2) Look up traps at
"drums, cymbals, bells, etc.," 1925, from earlier trap drummer (1903) "street musician who plays a drum and several other instruments at once," perhaps from traps "belongings" (1813), shortened form of trappings.
trash (n.) Look up trash at
late 14c., "thing of little use or value, waste, refuse, dross," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse tros "rubbish, fallen leaves and twigs," Norwegian dialectal trask "lumber, trash, baggage," Swedish trasa "rags, tatters"), of unknown origin. Applied to ill-bred persons or groups from 1604 ("Othello"), and especially of poor whites in the U.S. South by 1831. Applied to domestic refuse or garbage from 1906 (American English). Trash-can attested from 1914. To trash-talk someone or something is by 1989.
trash (v.) Look up trash at
"to discard as worthless," 1859, from trash (n.); in the sense of "destroy, vandalize" it is attested from 1970; extended to "criticize severely" in 1975. Related: Trashed; trashing.
trashy (adj.) Look up trashy at
"worthless, resembling trash," 1610s, from trash (n.) + -y (2). Related: Trashiness.
trattoria (n.) Look up trattoria at
"Italian restaurant," 1832, from Italian trattoria, from trattore "host, keeper of an eating house," from trattare "to treat," from Latin tractare, frequentative of trahere (past participle tractus) "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).
trauma (n.) Look up trauma at
1690s, "physical wound," medical Latin, from Greek trauma "a wound, a hurt; a defeat," from PIE *trau-, extended form of root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn," with derivatives referring to twisting, piercing, etc. (see throw (v.)). Sense of "psychic wound, unpleasant experience which causes abnormal stress" is from 1894.
traumatic (adj.) Look up traumatic at
1650s, from French traumatique and directly from Late Latin traumaticus, from Greek traumatikos "pertaining to a wound," from trauma (genitive traumatos; see trauma). Psychological sense is from 1889. Related: Traumatically.
traumatise (v.) Look up traumatise at
chiefly British English spelling of traumatize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Traumatised; traumatising.
traumatize (v.) Look up traumatize at
1893, in reference to physical wounds; 1949 in the psychological sense, from Greek traumat-, stem of trauma (see trauma).
travail (n.) Look up travail at
"labor, toil," mid-13c., from Old French travail "work, labor, toil, suffering or painful effort, trouble; arduous journey" (12c.), from travailler "to toil, labor," originally "to trouble, torture, torment," from Vulgar Latin *tripaliare "to torture," from *tripalium (in Late Latin trepalium) "instrument of torture," probably from Latin tripalis "having three stakes" (from tria "three;" see three + palus "stake;" see pale (n.)), which sounds ominous, but the exact notion is obscure. The verb is recorded from late 13c. in English, from the verb in Old French.
trave (n.) Look up trave at
late 14c., from Old French traf "crossbeam," from Latin trabem (nominative trabs) "beam," from PIE *treb- "dwelling" (see tavern).
travel (v.) Look up travel at
late 14c., "to journey," from travailen (1300) "to make a journey," originally "to toil, labor" (see travail). The semantic development may have been via the notion of "go on a difficult journey," but it also may reflect the difficulty of any journey in the Middle Ages. Replaced Old English faran. Related: Traveled; traveling. Traveled (adj.) "having made journeys, experienced in travel" is from early 15c. Traveling salesman is attested from 1885.
travel (n.) Look up travel at
late 14c., "action of travelling," from travel (v.). Travels "accounts of journeys" is recorded from 1590s. Travel-agent is from 1925.
traveler (n.) Look up traveler at
also traveller, late 14c., agent noun from travel (v.). Traveler's check is from 1891.
travelogue (n.) Look up travelogue at
"a talk on travel," 1903, a hybrid word coined by U.S. traveler Burton Holmes (1870-1958) from travel + Greek-derived -logue, abstracted from monologue.
traverse (v.) Look up traverse at
early 14c., "pass across, over, or through," from Old French traverser "to cross, place across" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *traversare, from Latin transversare "to cross, throw across," from Latin transversus "turn across" (see transverse). As an adjective from early 15c. Related: Traversed; traversing.
traverse (n.) Look up traverse at
"act of passing through a gate, crossing a bridge, etc.," mid-14c., from Old French travers, from traverser (see traverse (v.)). Meaning "a passage by which one may traverse" is recorded from 1670s. Military fortification sense of "barrier, barricade" is recorded from 1590s.
travertine (n.) Look up travertine at
1797, from Italian travertino "a kind of building stone," from Latin tiburtinus, from Tiburs, adjective from Tibur (modern Tivoli), in Latium.
travesty (n.) Look up travesty at
1670s, "literary burlesque of a serious work," from adjective meaning "dressed so as to be made ridiculous, parodied, burlesqued" (1660s), from French travesti "dressed in disguise," past participle of travestir "to disguise" (1590s), from Italian travestire "to disguise," from Latin trans- "over" (see trans-) + vestire "to clothe" (see wear (v.)).
Traviata, La Look up Traviata, La at
title of an opera by Verdi, Italian, literally "the woman led astray," from traviata literally "to lead beyond the way," from tra- "across, beyond" (from Latin trans-; see trans-) + via "way" (see via).
Travis Look up Travis at
masc. proper name, also a surname (late 12c.), from an Old French word meaning "to cross over," related to traverse (v.). Probably a name for a gatekeeper or the toll collector of a bridge.
travois (n.) Look up travois at
type of American Indian transport, 1847, said to be ultimately from a Canadian Indian pronunciation of travail.
trawl (v.) Look up trawl at
1560s, from Dutch tragelen, from Middle Dutch traghelen "to drag," from traghel "dragnet," probably from Latin tragula "dragnet." Related: Trawled; trawling.
trawler (n.) Look up trawler at
1590s, agent noun from trawl.
tray (n.) Look up tray at
Old English treg, trig "flat wooden board with a low rim," from Proto-Germanic *traujam (cognates: Old Swedish tro, a corn measure), from PIE *drou-, variant of *deru-, forming words refering to objects made of wood (see tree (n.)). The primary sense may have been "wooden vessel."
treacherous (adj.) Look up treacherous at
early 14c., from Old French trecheros, tricheros "deceitful" (12c.), from trecheor, tricheor "cheat, deceiver, liar, impostor, trickster," agent noun from trechier, trichier "to cheat, trick" (see trick (n.)). Figuratively, of things, from c. 1600. Related: Treacherously; treacherousness. Middle English had treacher "deceiver, cheat, traitor."
treachery (n.) Look up treachery at
"treasonable or perfidious conduct," c. 1200, from Old French trecherie, tricherie "deceit, cheating, trickery, lies" (12c.), from trechier "to cheat, deceive" (see trick (n.)).
treacle (n.) Look up treacle at
mid-14c., "medicinal compound, antidote for poison," from Old French triacle "antidote, cure for snake-bite" (c. 1200), from Vulgar Latin *triacula, from Latin theriaca, from Greek theriake (antidotos) "antidote for poisonous wild animals," from fem. of theriakos "of a wild animal," from therion "wild animal," diminutive of ther (genitive theros) "wild animal," from PIE root *ghwer- "wild" (see fierce).

Sense of "molasses" is first recorded 1690s (the connection may be from the use of molasses as a laxative, or its use to disguise the bad taste of medicine); that of "anything too sweet or sentimental" is from 1771. Related: Treacly.
tread (v.) Look up tread at
Old English tredan "to tread, step on, trample; traverse, pass over" (class V strong verb; past tense træd, past participle treden), from Proto-Germanic *tred- (cognates: Old Saxon tredan, Old Frisian treda, Middle Dutch treden, Old High German tretan, German treten, Gothic trudan, Old Norse troða), from PIE *der- (1) "assumed base of roots meaning 'to run, walk, step'" [Watkins]. Related: Trod; treading.
tread (n.) Look up tread at
early 13c., "a step or stepping, pressure with the foot," from tread (v.); in reference to automobile tires, it is recorded from 1906.
treadle (n.) Look up treadle at
"lever worked by foot," c. 1400, from Old English tredel "step, stair, sole of the foot," from tredan "to tread" (see tread (v.)) + instrumental suffix -el (1). Compare handle (n.).
treadmill (n.) Look up treadmill at
invented (and named) 1822; originally an instrument of prison discipline; from tread (v.) + mill (n.1). Treadwheel as a similar method of driving machinery is from 1570s.
As a corrective punishment, the discipline of the stepping mill has had a most salutary effect upon the prisoners, and is not likely to be easily forgotten, while it is an occupation which by no means interferes with, nor is calculated to lessen the value of, those branches of prison regulation which provide for the moral and religious improvement of the criminal. ["Description of the Tread Mill Invented by Mr. William Cubitt of Ipswich for the Employment of Prisoners," London, 1822]
By later generations regarded as a path to physical fitness.
treason (n.) Look up treason at
c. 1200, "betraying; betrayal of trust; breech of faith," from Anglo-French treson, from Old French traison "treason, treachery" (11c.; Modern French trahison), from Latin traditionem (nominative traditio) "a handing over, delivery, surrender" (see tradition). Old French form influenced by the verb trair "betray." In old English law, high treason is violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or to the state; distinguished from petit treason, treason against a subject, such as murder of a master by his servant. Constructive treason was a judicial fiction whereby actions carried out without treasonable intent, but found to have the effect of treason, were punished as though they were treason itself. The protection against this accounts for the careful wording of the definition of treason in the U.S. Constitution.
treasonable (adj.) Look up treasonable at
"of or pertaining to treason," late 14c., from treason + -able. Related: Treasonably.
treasonous (adj.) Look up treasonous at
mid-15c., from treason + -ous. Related: Treasonously.
treasure (n.) Look up treasure at
mid-12c., tresor, from Old French tresor "treasury, hoard, treasure" (11c., Modern French trésor), from Gallo-Roman *tresaurus, from Latin thesaurus "treasury, treasure" (source also of Spanish, Italian tesoro), from Greek thesauros "store, treasure, treasure house" (see thesaurus). In Middle English also thresur, etc.; modern spelling is from 16c. Replaced Old English goldhord. General sense of "anything valued" is recorded from c. 1200. Treasure hunt is first recorded 1913. For treasure trove, see trove.
treasure (v.) Look up treasure at
late 14c., "to amass treasure; to store up for the future," also figurative, "regard as precious, retain carefully in the mind," from treasure (n.). Related: Treasured; treasuring.
treasurer (n.) Look up treasurer at
late 13c., from Old North French, Anglo-French tresorer, Old French tresorier, from tresor (see treasure (n.)). Treasury bill attested from 1797.
treasury (n.) Look up treasury at
c. 1300, "room for treasure," from Old French tresorie "treasury" (11c.), from tresor (see treasure (n.)). Meaning "department of state that controls public revenue" is recorded from late 14c. An Old English word for "room for treasure" was maðm-hus and for "treasury," feo-hus (see fee).
treat (v.) Look up treat at
c. 1300, "negotiate, bargain, deal with," from Old French traitier "deal with, act toward; set forth (in speech or writing)" (12c.), from Latin tractare "manage, handle, deal with, conduct oneself toward," originally "drag about, tug, haul, pull violently," frequentative of trahere (past participle tractus) "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Meaning "to entertain with food and drink without expense to the recipient by way of compliment or kindness (or bribery)" is recorded from c. 1500. Sense of "deal with, handle, or develop in speech or writing" (early 14c.) led to the use in medicine "to attempt to heal or cure, to manage in the application of remedies" (1781). Related: Treated; treating.
treat (n.) Look up treat at
late 14c., "action of discussing terms," from treat (v.). Sense of "a treating with food and drink, an entertainment given as a compliment or expression of regard" (1650s) was extended by 1770 to "anything that affords much pleasure."