gaits “goat”), from PIE *ghaidos “young goat,” also “play” (cf

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Equi.Linn Sports Top gaits “goat”), from PIE *ghaidos “young goat,” also “play” (cf

gnome — dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit, 1712, from Fr.

Gnome, from L.

Gnomus, used 16c.

In a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Gk. *genomos “earth-dweller.” A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means “intelligence” (preserved in gnomic).

Popular in children’s literature 19c.

As a name for red-capped Ger.

And Swiss folklore dwarfs.

Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany. gnomic — full of instructive sayings, 1815, from Fr.

Gnomique, from L.L.

Gnomicus “concerned with maxims, didactic,” from Gk.

Gnomikos, from gnome “thought, opinion, maxim, intelligence,” from gignoskein “to come to know” (see gnostic).


Gnome meant “short, pithy statement of general truth” (1577). gnomon — pillar that tells time by the shadow it casts, esp.

On a sundial, 1546, from L.

Gnomon, from Gk.

Gnomon “indicator,” lit. “one who discerns,” from gignoskein “to come to know” (see gnostic). Gnostic — c.1585, from L.L.

Gnosticus, from Late Gk.

Gnostikos, noun use of adj.

Gnostikos “knowing, able to discern,” from gnostos “knowable,” from gignoskein “to learn, to come to know” (see know).

Applied to various early Christian sects that claimed direct personal knowledge beyond the Gospel or the Church hierarchy.

The adj.

Meaning “relating to knowledge” (with lower-case g-) is from 1656. gnu — 1777, from Du.

Gnoe, used by Ger.

Traveler Georg Forster (1754-1794) to render Hottentot i-ngu “wildebeest,” from Southern Bushman !nu: (in which ! and : represent clicks). go — O.E.

Gan “to go,” from W.Gmc. *gai-/*gæ- (cf.


Gan, M.Du.

Gaen, Ger.

Gehen), from PIE *ghei-, perhaps connected to Skt.

Jihite “goes away,” Gk.

Kikhano “I reach, meet with,” but there is not general agreement on cognates.

The O.E.

Past tense was eode, of uncertain origin but evidently once a different word (perhaps connected to Goth.

Iddja); it was replaced 1400s by went, formerly past tense of wenden “to direct one’s way” (see wend).

In northern England and Scotland, however, eode tended to be replaced by gaed, a construction based on go.

In modern Eng., only be and go take their past tenses from entirely different verbs.

The word in its various forms and combinations takes up 45 columns of close print in the OED.

The noun sense of “a try or turn at something” is from 1825; meaning “something that goes, a success” is from 1876.

Verbal meaning “say” emerged 1960s in teen slang.

Going to “be about to” is from 1482.

Go for broke is from 1951, Amer.Eng.

Colloquial; go down on “perform oral sex on” is from 1916.

That goes without saying (1878) translates Fr.

Cela va sans dire.

Phrase on the go “in constant motion” is from 1843; go-between is 1598; go-getter is 1910, Amer.Eng., but goer, with essentially the same meaning, is c.1378.

Goner “something dead or about to die” is first recorded 1850. go south — vanish, abscond, 1920s, Amer.Eng., probably from mid-19c.

Notion of disappearing south to Mexico or Texas to escape pursuit or responsibility, reinforced by Native American belief (attested in colonial writing mid-18c.) that the soul journeys south after death. go west — 19c.

British idiom for “die, be killed” (popularized during World War I), “probably from thieves’ slang, wherein to go west meant to go to Tyburn, hence to be hanged, though the phrase has indubitably been influenced by the setting of the sun in the west.” [Partridge] goad (n.) — O.E.

Gad “spearhead,” from P.Gmc. *gaido (cf.

Lombardic gaida “spear”), from PIE *ghai- (cf.


Hetih “missile, projectile,” O.Ir.

Gae “spear”).

Figurative use is since 16c., probably from the Bible.

The verb is from 1579. goal — 1531, “end point of a race,” perhaps from O.E. *gal “obstacle, barrier,” a word implied by gælan “to hinder.” The word appears once before this, in a poem from c. 1315.

Football sense is attested from 1548. goat — O.E.

Gat “she-goat,” from P.Gmc. *gaitaz (cf.


Geit, Ger.

Geiß, Goth.

Gaits “goat”), from PIE *ghaidos “young goat,” also “play” (cf.


Hædus “kid”).

The word for “male goat” in O.E.

Was bucca (see buck) until late 1300s shift to he-goat, she-goat. (Nanny goat is 18c., billy goat 19c.).

Meaning “licentious man” is attested from 1675.

To get (someone’s) goat is from 1910, perhaps with notion of “to steal a goat mascot from a racehorse,” or from Fr.

Prendre sa chèvre “take one’s source of milk.” goatee — 1844 (as goaty), from goat (q.v.).

So called from its resemblance to a male goat’s chin hairs. gob — a mouthful, lump, c.1382, from O.Fr.

Gobe “mouthful, lump,” from gober “gulp, swallow down,” probably from Gaul. *gobbo- (cf.


Gob “mouth,” Gael.

Gob “beak”).

This Celtic source also seems to be root of gob “mouth” (c.1550), which is the first element in gob-stopper “a kind of large hard candy” (1928). gobble (1) — eat fast, 1601, probably partly echoic, partly frequentative of gob, via gobben “drink something greedily.” gobble (2) — turkey noise, 1680, probably imitative. gobbledygook — 1944, Amer.Eng., first used by U.S.


Maury Maverick, D.-Texas, (1895-1954), a grandson of the original maverick (q.v.) and chairman of U.S.

Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II.

First used in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning “gobbledygook language” and mock-threateaning, “anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot.” Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Gobi — desert in central Asia, from Mongolian gobi “desert.” Gobi Desert is thus a pleonasm (see Sahara). goblet — c.1380, from O.Fr.

Gobelet, dim.

Of gobel “cup,” probably related to gobe “gulp down” (see gob (1)). goblin — c.1327, from O.Fr.

Gobelin (12c., as Gobelinus, the name of a spirit haunting the region of Evreux), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Ger.

Kobold (see cobalt), or from M.L.

Cabalus, from Gk.

Kobalos “rogue, knave,” kobaloi “wicked spirits invoked by rogues.” Another suggestion is that it is a dim.

Of the proper name Gobel. goby — kind of fish, 1769, from L.

Gobius, from Gk.

Gobios, of unknown origin. go-cart — 1676, originally “a litter, sedan chair;” also “an infant’s walker” (1689), from go + cart.

The modern form go-kart (1959) was coined in reference to a kind of miniature racing car with a frame body and a two-stoke engine. god — O.E.

God “supreme being, deity,” from P.Gmc. *guthan (cf.


God, Ger.

Gott, O.N.

Guð, Goth.

Guþ), from PIE *ghut- “that which is invoked” (cf.


Huta- “invoked,” an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- “to call, invoke.” But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- “poured,” from root *gheu- “to pour, pour a libation” (source of Gk.

Khein “to pour,” khoane “funnel” and khymos “juice;” also in the phrase khute gaia “poured earth,” referring to a burial mound). “Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound” [Watkins].


Also Zeus.

Not related to good.

Originally neut.

In Gmc., the gender shifted to masc.

After the coming of Christianity.


God was probably closer in sense to L.


A better word to translate deus might have been P.Gmc. *ansuz, but this was only used of the highest deities in the Gmc.

Religion, and not of foreign gods, and it was never used of the Christian God.

It survives in Eng.

Mainly in the personal names beginning in Os-. “I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, because it means that I shall be cheated and robbed and cuckolded less often. …

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” [Voltaire] First record of Godawful “terrible” is from 1878; God speed as a parting is from c.1470.

God-fearing is attested from 1835.

God bless you after someone sneezes is credited to St.

Gregory the Great, but the pagan Romans (Absit omen) and Greeks had similar customs. goddess — 1340, from god (q.v.) + fem.

Suffix -esse. Godfrey — male proper name, from O.Fr.

Godefrei, from O.H.G.

Godafrid (Ger.

Gottfried), lit. “the peace of God,” from O.H.G.

Got “God” + fridu “peace.” godhead — from god (q.v.) + M.E. -hede, cognate with -hood and Ger. -heit.

Along with maidenhead, this is the sole survival of this form of the suffix. Godiva — d.1067, Lady of Coventry and wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia.

Legend first recorded 100 years after her death, by Roger of Wendover. “Peeping Tom” aspect added by 1659.

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