telekinesis (n.) Look up telekinesis at
1890, said in early references to have been coined by Alexander N. Aksakof (1832-1903) Imperial Councilor to the Czar, in Modern Latin, literally "motion at a distance," from tele- + Greek kinesis "movement, motion," from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion" (see cite). Translates German Fernwirkung. Related: Telekinetic.
Telemachus Look up Telemachus at
son of Odysseus and Penelope, from Latinized form of Greek Telemakhos, literally "fighting from afar," from tele "from afar" (from PIE root *kwel- (2) "far" in space or time) + makhe "a battle, fight" (see -machy).
telemarketing (n.) Look up telemarketing at
1970, from telephone (n.) + marketing. Related: Telemarketer (1984).
telemeter (n.) Look up telemeter at
1860, a rangefinder for surveying and artillery, from French télémètre (1852), from télé- "far" (see tele-) + mètre "meter" (see -meter). Used from 1953 for a pay-as-you-watch TV system with a coin box attached to the set. Related: Telemetry.
teleology (n.) Look up teleology at
"study of final causes," 1740, from Modern Latin teleologia, coined 1728 by German philosopher Baron Christian von Wolff (1679-1754) from Greek teleos "entire, perfect, complete," genitive of telos "end, goal, result" (see telos), + -logia (see -logy). Related: Teleologist; teleological.
telepathic (adj.) Look up telepathic at
1884, from telepathy + -ic.
telepathy (n.) Look up telepathy at
1882, coined (along with telæsthesia) by English psychologist Frederic Myers (1843-1901), literally "feeling from afar," from tele- + -pathy. The noun telepath is an 1889 back-formation.
telephone (v.) Look up telephone at
1878, from telephone (n.). Related: Telephoned; telephoning.
telephone (n.) Look up telephone at
1835, "system for conveying words over distance by musical notes" (devised in 1828 by French composer Jean-François Sudré (1787-1862); each tone played over several octaves represented a letter of the alphabet), from French téléphone (c. 1830), from télé- "far" (see tele-) + phone "sound, voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." Sudré's system never proved practical. Also used of other apparatus early 19c., including "instrument similar to a foghorn for signaling from ship to ship" (1844). The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by Philip Reis (1861); developed by Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), and so called by him from 1876.
telephonic (adj.) Look up telephonic at
1830, "pertaining to communication by sound over great distances," originally theoretical, from tele- + phonic. From 1834 in reference to the system of Sudré using musical sounds (see telephone), and with reference to Bell's invention from 1876, in which cases it can be taken as from telephone + -ic.
telephony (n.) Look up telephony at
1835, "a system of signaling by musical sounds;" from 1876 as "the art of working a telephone;" see telephone (n.) + -y (4). Related: Telephonist.
telephoto (adj.) Look up telephoto at
also tele-photo, 1898, shortened form of telephotographic (1892), in reference to lenses introduced at that time to increase the magnification of photographs taken by a camera, from tele- + photographic.
teleport (v.) Look up teleport at
1940, in reference to religious miracles, from tele- + ending from transport (v.). Related: Teleported; teleporter; teleporting.
teleportation (n.) Look up teleportation at
1931 as a term in psychics and later (1951) science fiction; from tele- + (trans)portation. Apparently coined by Charles Fort (1874-1932).
teleprompter (n.) Look up teleprompter at
1951, originally a proprietary name in U.S., from tele- + prompter. The equivalent British proprietary name is Autocue.
telescope (v.) Look up telescope at
"to force together one inside the other" (like the sliding tubes of some telescopes), 1867, from telescope (n.). Related: Telescoped; telescoping.
telescope (n.) Look up telescope at
1640s, from Italian telescopio (Galileo, 1611), and Modern Latin telescopium (Kepler, 1613), both from Greek teleskopos "far-seeing," from tele- "far" (from PIE root *kwel- (2) "far" in space or time) + -skopos "watcher" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Said to have been coined by Prince Cesi, founder and head of the Roman Academy of the Lincei (Galileo was a member). Used in English in Latin form from 1619.
telescopic (adj.) Look up telescopic at
1705, from telescope + -ic.
Teletex (n.) Look up Teletex at
proprietary name for a computer data-sharing network, 1978.
telethon (n.) Look up telethon at
prolonged TV fundraiser, 1949, from television + marathon (see -athon). Milton Berle's 16-hour television cancer fundraiser in April 1949 might have been the first to be so called.
teletype (n.) Look up teletype at
1904, trademark for a system of typewriters connected electronically, short for teletypewriter (1904), a form of telegraph in which the receiver prints messages like a typewriter, from tele- + typewriter.
televangelist (n.) Look up televangelist at
1973, from tele(vision) + evangelist. Earliest usages are in reference to Rex Humbard (television evangelist is from 1958).
televise (v.) Look up televise at
1927 back-formation from television, on model of other verbs from nouns ending in -(v)ision (such as revise). Related: Televised; televising.
television (n.) Look up television at
1907, as a theoretical system to transmit moving images over telegraph or telephone wires; formed in English or borrowed from French télévision, from tele- + vision.
Television is not impossible in theory. In practice it would be very costly without being capable of serious application. But we do not want that. On that day when it will be possible to accelerate our methods of telephotography by at least ten times, which does not appear to be impossible in the future, we shall arrive at television with a hundred telegraph wires. Then the problem of sight at a distance will without doubt cease to be a chimera. ["Telegraphing Pictures" in "Windsor Magazine," 1907]
Other proposals for the name of a then-hypothetical technology for sending pictures over distance were telephote (1880) and televista (1904). The technology was developed in the 1920s and '30s. Nativized in German as Fernsehen. Shortened form TV is from 1948. Meaning "a television set" is from 1941. Meaning "television as a medium" is from 1927.
Television is the first truly democratic culture -- the first culture available to everyone and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want. [Clive Barnes, "New York Times," Dec. 30, 1969]
Telex Look up Telex at
1932, "a communication system of teletypewriters," from tel(etype) ex(change).
telic (adj.) Look up telic at
"indicating purpose," 1846, from Greek telikos "final," from telos "end, goal, result" (see telos).
tell (v.) Look up tell at
Old English tellan "to reckon, calculate, number, compute; consider, think, esteem, account" (past tense tealde, past participle teald), from Proto-Germanic *taljan "to mention in order" (source also of Old Saxon tellian "tell," Old Norse telja "to count, number; to tell, say," Old Frisian tella "to count; to tell," Middle Dutch and Dutch tellen, Old Saxon talon "to count, reckon," Danish tale "to speak," Old High German zalon, German zählen "to count, reckon"), from PIE root *del- (2) "to count, reckon" (see tale).

Meaning "to narrate, announce, relate" in English is from c. 1000; that of "to make known by speech or writing, announce" is from early 12c. Sense of "to reveal or disclose" is from c. 1400; that of "to act as an informer, to 'peach' " is recorded from 1901. Meaning "to order (someone to do something)" is from 1590s. To tell (someone) off "reprimand" is from 1919.

Original sense in teller and phrase to tell time. For sense evolution, compare French conter "to count," raconter "to recount;" Italian contare, Spanish contar "to count, recount, narrate;" German zählen "to count," erzählen "to recount, narrate." Klein also compares Hebrew saphar "he counted," sipper "he told."
tell (n.) Look up tell at
"mound, hill," 1864, from Arabic tall, related to Hebrew tel "mount, hill, heap." Compare Hebrew talul "lofty," Akkadian tillu "woman's breast."
teller (n.) Look up teller at
"bank clerk who pays or receives money," late 15c., "person who keeps accounts," agent noun from tell (v.) in its secondary sense of "count, enumerate," which is the primary sense of cognate words in many Germanic languages. Earlier "person who announces or narrates" (c. 1300).
telling (adj.) Look up telling at
"having effect or force," 1852, past participle adjective from tell (v.).
telltale (n.) Look up telltale at
also tell-tale, "discloser of secrets," 1540s, from tell (v.) + tale. As an adjective from 1590s. Phrase tell a tale "relate a false or exaggerated story" is from late 13c.
tellurian (adj.) Look up tellurian at
"pertaining to the earth," 1846, from -ian + Latin tellus (genitive telluris) "earth, land, ground; the earth" (related to Tellus, Roman goddess of the earth), from PIE root *tel- "ground, floor" (source also of Lithuanian telinat "spread out, flat," Sanskrit talam "plain, sole of the foot," Old Church Slavonic tilo "floor," Greek telia "dice board," Old Irish talam "earth," Old Norse þilja, Middle Dutch dele "plank"). As a noun, "inhabitant of Earth" (with reference to supposed inhabitants of other worlds) from 1847.
telluric (adj.) Look up telluric at
1800, "containing tellurium;" 1836, "pertaining to Earth as a planet;" 1842, "pertaining to or proceeding from the earth;" the last two senses from Latin tellus, tellum (genitive telluris) "earth, the earth" (see tellurian) + -ic.
telluride (n.) Look up telluride at
1849, "compound of tellurium," from tellurium + -ide.
tellurium (n.) Look up tellurium at
metallic element, 1800, coined 1798 in Modern Latin by German chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) from Latin tellus (genitive telluris) "earth" (see tellurian). With metallic element ending -ium.
telly (n.) Look up telly at
chiefly British English shortening of television, attested by 1942.
telophase (n.) Look up telophase at
1895 in cytology, from Greek telo-, comb. form of telos "the end, fulfillment, completion" (see telos) + phase (n.).
telos (n.) Look up telos at
"ultimate object or aim," 1904, from Greek telos "the end, limit, goal, fulfillment, completion," from PIE *kwel-es-, suffixed form of root *kwel- (1) "revolve, move round; sojourn, dwell," perhaps via the notion of "turning point (of a race-course, a field)."
telson (n.) Look up telson at
last section of the abdomen of a crustacean, 1855, from Greek telson "a limit, boundary" (see tele-).
Telugu (n.) Look up Telugu at
Dravidian language of southern India, 1731.
temblor (n.) Look up temblor at
"earthquake," 1876, from American Spanish temblor "earthquake," from Spanish temblor, literally "a trembling," from temblar "to tremble," from Vulgar Latin *tremulare (see tremble (v.)).
temerarious (adj.) Look up temerarious at
"rash, reckless," 1530s, from Latin temerarius "rash, heedless, thoughtless, indiscreet," from temere "blindly, rashly, by chance" (see temerity). Related: Temerariously; temerariousness.
temerity (n.) Look up temerity at
late 14c., from Latin temeritatem (nominative temeritas) "blind chance, accident; rashness, indiscretion, foolhardiness," from temere "by chance, at random; indiscreetly, rashly," related to tenebrae "darkness," from PIE root *teme- "dark" (source also of Sanskrit tamas- "darkness," tamsrah "dark;" Avestan temah "darkness;" Lithuanian tamsa "darkness," tamsus "dark;" Old Church Slavonic tima "darkness;" Old High German dinstar "dark;" Old Irish temel "darkness"). The connecting notion is "blindly, without foreseeing."
temp (adj.) Look up temp at
1909, American English, shortened form of temporary (job, employee, etc.). As a noun by 1932; as a verb by 1973. Related: Temped; temping.
temp (n.) Look up temp at
1886, short for temperature.
temper (v.) Look up temper at
late Old English temprian "to moderate, bring to a proper or suitable state, to modify some excessive quality, to restrain within due limits," from Latin temperare "observe proper measure, be moderate, restrain oneself," also transitive, "mix correctly, mix in due proportion; regulate, rule, govern, manage." This is often described as from Latin tempus "time, season" (see temporal), with a sense of "proper time or season." But as the root sense of tempus seems to be "stretch," the words in the "restrain, modify" sense might be from a semantic shift from "stretching" to "measuring" (compare temple (n.1)). Meaning "to make (steel) hard and elastic" is from late 14c. Sense of "tune the pitch of a musical instrument" is recorded from c. 1300. Related: Tempered; tempering.
temper (n.) Look up temper at
late 14c., "due proportion of elements or qualities," from temper (v.). The sense of "characteristic state of mind, inclination, disposition" is first recorded 1590s; that of "calm state of mind, tranquility" in c. 1600; and that of "angry state of mind" (for bad temper) in 1828. Meaning "degree of hardness and resiliency in steel" is from late 15c.
tempera (n.) Look up tempera at
also tempra, 1832, from Italian tempera (in phrase pingere a tempera), back-formation from temperare "to mix (colors); temper," from Latin temperare "to mix in due proportion, modify, blend; restrain oneself" (see temper (v.)).
temperament (n.) Look up temperament at
late 14c., "proportioned mixture of elements," from Latin temperamentum "proper mixture, a mixing in due proportion," from temperare "to mix in due proportion, modify, blend; restrain oneself" (see temper (v.)). In medieval theory, it meant a combination of qualities (hot, cold, moist, dry) that determined the nature of an organism; thus also "a combination of the four humors (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic) that made up a person's characteristic disposition." General sense of "habit of mind, natural disposition" is from 1821.
temperamental (adj.) Look up temperamental at
"of or pertaining to temperament," 1640s, from temperament + -al (1); in the sense of "moody" it is recorded from 1907. Related: Temperamentally.