Amok

amok (adv.)in run amok a verbal phrase first recorded 1670s, from Malay (Austronesian) amuk "attacking furiously." Earlier the word was used as a noun or adjective meaning "a frenzied Malay," originally in the Portuguese form amouco or amuco.There are some of them [Javanese] who ... go out into the streets, and kill as many persons as they meet. ... These are called Amuco. ["The Book of Duarte Barbosa: An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and Their Inhabitants," c. 1516, English translation]Compare amuck.Related entries & moreAdvertisementamuck (adv.)17c., variant of amok; treated as a muck by Dryden, Byron,…

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Bursar

"treasurer of a college," 1580s, from Anglo-Latin burser "treasurer" (13c.), from Medieval Latin bursarius "purse-bearer," from bursa "bag, purse" (see purse (n.)). Also, in Scotland, "student in a college who receives an allowance from a fund for his subsistence" (1560s). Related: Bursarial.

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Ferret

ferret (v.)early 15c., "hunt with a ferret," from ferret (n.) or from Old French verb fureter, in reference to the use of half-tame ferrets to kill rats and flush rabbits from burrows. The extended sense of "search out, discover," especially by perseverance and cunning, usually with out (adv.), is from 1570s. Related: Ferreted; ferreting.ferret (n.)late 14c., from Old French furet "ferret," diminutive of fuiron "weasel, ferret," literally "thief" (in allusion to the animal's slyness and craftiness), probably from Late Latin furionem (related to furonem "cat," which also meant "robber"), from Latin fur (genitive furis) "thief," probably from PIE *bhor- (which…

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Gobsmacked

gobsmacked (adj.)also gob-smacked, "flabbergasted, amazed, astounded," literally "smacked in the mouth," by 1936, U.K. slang, from gob (n.2) "mouth" + past participle of smack (v.).First written down in a 1935 edition of a periodical called the Beekeeper's Record, in the following sentence:When he landed back Martha wad be fare gob smacked at the yarns he wad tell 'er about Yorkshire clod-hoppers.It combines our familiar term smack with the Scottish Gaelic noun gob, which meant "mouth" (the idea was that if something was gobsmacking, it was akin to getting hit in the mouth).

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Victuals

Definition of victual(Entry 1 of 2)1: food usable by people2victuals\ ˈvi-​tᵊlz  \ plural : supplies of food : PROVISIONSEtymologyvictuals (n.)c. 1300, vitaylle (singular), from Anglo-French and Old French vitaille "food, nourishment, provisions," from Late Latin victualia "provisions," noun use of plural of victualis "of nourishment," from victus "livelihood, food, sustenance, that which sustains life," from past participle stem of vivere "to live" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live"). Spelling altered early 16c. to conform with Latin, but pronunciation remains "vittles."Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Or, just buy a bottle and some victuals from the on-site shop, and get in…

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yo-yo (n.)

1915, apparently from a language in the Philippines. Registered as a trademark in Vancouver, Canada, in 1932, the year the first craze for them began (subsequent fads 1950s, 1970s, 1998). Copyrighted by Donald F. Duncan in 1933 for the "Flores Yo-yo Company". This copyright moved to Papa's Toy Co. Ltd. when it bought out the former in 1965, but it was later determined that the trademark was improperly issued, so it's fine to use the word now.The toy itself is much older and was earlier known as bandalore (1802), a word of obscure origin, "but it was from American contact…

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buffalo (n.)

1580s (earlier buffel, 1510s, from French), from Portuguese bufalo "water buffalo," from Medieval Latin bufalus, variant of Latin bubalus "wild ox," from Greek boubalos Originally the name of a kind of African antelope, later used of a type of domesticated ox in southern Asia and the Mediterranean lands, a word of uncertain origin. It appears to contain bous "ox, cow" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow"), but this is perhaps a folk-etymology association.Wrongly applied since 1630s to the American bison. The second definition is a little more obscure but still utilized daily: "to intimidate or bully". This most likely…

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Gringo

gringo (n.)Term for a European or Anglo-American, 1847, from American Spanish gringo "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign speech, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish." Hence the American Spanish verb engringarse "to act like a foreigner."With all of the current discussion on woke-ism and racism, I thought I'd delve into the history of some of these terms and how they came about.Kind of interesting that gringo (which I have been called quite a bit in my part…

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