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Lycaonian (adj.)in reference to an ancient region in Asia Minor, from Latin Lycaonia, from Greek Lykaonia,
Luvian (n.)1924, language of an ancient Anatolian people contemporary with the Hittites, from an old name for that region of Asia Minor.
Caria ancient region in southwestern Asia Minor. Related: Carian. The Carians were considered by themselves and the Greeks to be of a different origin than their neighbors.
“of or pertaining to Magnesia” (q.v.), either the district in Thessaly or one of two towns so called in Asia Minor, one near Miletus and the other in Lydia.
from Latinized form of Greek Kroisos, 6c. B.C.E. king of Lydia in Asia Minor, famously wealthy; hence, from late 14c., “rich man” or in other allusions to riches.
Lycia ancient name of a mountainous district of southwestern Asia Minor, inhabited in ancient times by a distinct people, influential in Greece. The name is perhaps related to Greek lykos “wolf.” Related: Lycian.
name of a principal god of Egypt, judge of the dead, from Latin Osiris, from Greek, from Egyptian Asar. At the beginning of the Christian era his worship extended over Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. Related: Osirian.
ancient country on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor, from Latinized form of Greek Kilikia. At its east end was the pass through Mount Amanus into Syria known as the Cicilian Gates.
Ephesus Greek city in ancient Asia Minor, center of worship for Artemis, Latinized form of Greek Ephesos, traditionally derived from ephoros “overseer,” in reference to its religious significance, but this might be folk etymology. Related: Ephesine.
Aegean sea between Greece and Asia Minor, 1570s, traditionally named for Aegeus, father of Theseus, who threw himself to his death in it when he thought his son had perished; but perhaps from Greek aiges “waves,” a word of unknown origin.
Galatians (n.)Biblical epistle, from Galatia, name of an ancient inland region in Asia Minor, from Greek Galatia, based on Gaul, in reference to the Gaulish people who conquered the region and settled there 3c. B.C.E. In Latin Gallograeci, hence Middle English Gallocrecs “the Gallatians.”
Anatolia ancient name of Asia Minor, from Medieval Latin Anatolia, from Greek anatole “the east,” originally “sunrise” (which of course happens in the east), literally “a rising above (the horizon),” from anatellein “to rise,” from ana “up” (see ana-) + tellein “to accomplish, perform.” Related: Anatolian.
Cappadocia (n.)ancient name of a province and kingdom of Asia Minor, roughly corresponding to modern Turkey, from Greek Kappadokía, perhaps ultimately from Persian Hvaspadakhim “land of fine horses.” In ancient Athens, Cappadocians were notorious as knaves and cowards, but the region’s horses were celebrated.
Asia c. 1300, from Latin Asia, from Greek Asia, speculated to be from Akkadian asu “to go out, to rise,” in reference to the sun, thus “the land of the sunrise.” Used by the early Greeks of what later was known as Asia Minor; by Pliny of the whole continent.
semi-precious stone, a cloudy white variety of quartz, c. 1300, from Latin calcedonius, a Vulgate rendering of Greek khalkedon in Revelation xxi.19; found nowhere else. “The word is of very complicated history” [OED]. Connection with Chalcedon in Asia Minor “is very doubtful” [OED].
late 15c., “of or pertaining to the Pelasgi,” from Latin Pelasgius, from Greek Pelasgios “of the Pelasgi,” from Pelasgoi “the Pelasgi,” name of a prehistoric people of Greece and Asia Minor who occupied Greece and the Aegean islands before the Hellenes, probably originally *Pelag-skoi, literally “Sea-people” (see pelagic). Also Pelasgic.
1540s, “of or pertaining to Miletus, ancient city of Caria on the Ionian coast of Asia Minor.” From 1590s in reference to Ireland or the Irish, a different word, from Milesius, a legendary king of Spain, whose two sons were said to have conquered and reorganized Ireland in ancient times.
Santa Claus (n.)1773 (as St. A Claus, in “New York Gazette”), American English, from dialectal Dutch Sante Klaas, from Middle Dutch Sinter Niklaas “Saint Nicholas,” bishop of Asia Minor who became a patron saint for children. Now a worldwide phenomenon (Japanese santakurosu). Father Christmas is attested from 1650s.
Gordian knot (n.)1560s, tied by Gordius (Greek Gordios), first king of Phrygia in Asia Minor and father of Midas, who predicted the one to loosen it would rule Asia. Instead, Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot with his sword; hence the extended sense (1570s in English) “solve a difficult problem in a quick, dramatic way.”
“Mediterranean lands east of Italy,” especially the coastal region and islands of Asia Minor, Syria, and Lebanon, late 15c., from French levant “the Orient” (12c.), from present participle of lever “to rise” (from Latin levare “to raise,” from PIE root *legwh- “not heavy, having little weight”). So called because the region was (from Western Europe) in the direction of sunrise. Related: Levanter.
Sephardim plural of Sephardi “a Spanish or Portuguese Jew” (1851), from Modern Hebrew Sepharaddim “Spaniards, Jews of Spain,” from Sepharad, name of a country mentioned only in Obadiah v.20, probably meaning “Asia Minor” or a part of it (Lydia, Phrygia), but identified by the rabbis after the Jonathan Targum as “Spain.” Compare Ashkenazim. Related: Sephardic.
jet (n.2)also jetstone, “deep black lignite,” mid-14c., from Anglo-French geet, Old French jaiet “jet, lignite” (12c., Modern French jais), from Latin gagates, from Greek gagates lithos “stone of Gages,” town and river in Lycia in Asia Minor. Formerly supposed to be magnetic. From mid-15c. as “a deep, rich, glossy black color” (the color of jet) and as an adjective.
late 15c., “native of Phrygia,” region in ancient Asia Minor. As an adjective, “of, originating in, or relating to Phrygia,” by 1570s. The Phrygian mode in ancient Greek music theory was held to be “of a warlike character.” The Phrygian cap (1796) was the type adopted by freed slaves in Roman times, and thus it was subsequently identified as the cap of Liberty.
“haircloth shirt worn next to the skin by monks and others to mortify the flesh,” Old English cilic, from Latin cilicium “a covering,” a type of coarse garment (used especially by soldiers and sailors), originally one of Cilician goat hair, from Greek kilikion “coarse cloth,” from Kilikia “Cilicia” in Asia Minor. By tradition in Greek mythology the place was named for Cilix, a son of the Phoenician king Agenor.
Cimmerian (adj.)late 16c., “pertaining to the Cimmerii,” an ancient nomadic people who, according to Herodotus, inhabited the region around the Crimea, and who, according to Assyrian sources, overran Asia Minor 7c. B.C.E.; from Latin Cimmerius, from Greek Kimmerios. Homer described their land as a place of perpetual mist and darkness beyond the ocean, but whether he had in mind the same people Herodotus did, or any real place, is unclear.
Lydia ancient country of Asia Minor bordering the Aegean. It was an empire under Croesus, famous for his wealth. The name is from a supposed ancestor Ludos. The people also figure, as Ludim, in the Old Testament (Genesis x.13), which seems to have sometimes confused them with the Libyans. Related: Lydian, attested from 1540s as a noun, 1580s as an adjective, and 1570s as a musical mode.
“sculptured horizontal band in architecture,” 1560s, from French frise, originally “a ruff,” from Medieval Latin frisium “embroidered border,” variant of frigium, which is probably from Latin Phrygium “Phrygian; Phrygian work,” from Phrygia, the ancient country in Asia Minor known for its embroidery (Latin also had Phrygiae vestes “ornate garments”). Meaning “decorative band along the top of a wall” was in Old French.
Basil masc. proper name, from Latin Basilius, from Greek Basileios “kingly, royal,” from basileus “king,” especially the king of Persia, “prince,” possibly from a language of Asia Minor (compare Lydian battos “king”), but according to Beekes, it “is no doubt of PreGreek origin (i.e., not a loanword from another country).” The youngest of the Greek words for “king” (alongside koiranos and anax). St. Basil the Great lived 4c. and was the founder of Eastern monasticism.
“tree of the genus Platanus,” native to Persia and the Levant, late 14c., from Old French plane, earlier plasne (14c.), from Latin platanus, from Greek platanos, earlier platanistos “plane tree,” a species from Asia Minor, associated with platys “broad” (from PIE root *plat- “to spread”) in reference to its leaves. Applied since 1778 in Scotland and northern England to the “sycamore” maple (mock-plane), whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the true plane tree. Compare sycamore.
mid-14c., “a plum,” also “a dried plum” (c. 1200 in place name Prunhill), from Old French pronne “plum” (13c.), from Vulgar Latin *pruna, fem. singular formed from Latin pruna, neuter plural of prunum “a plum,” a dissimilated borrowing of Greek proumnon, from proumnē “plum tree,” a word probably, like the tree itself, of Anatolian origin and thus from a language of Asia Minor. Slang meaning “disagreeable or disliked person” is from 1895. Prune juice is from 1807.
silo (n.)1835, from Spanish silo, traditionally derived from Latin sirum (nominative sirus), from Greek siros “a pit to keep corn in.” “The change from r to l in Spanish is abnormal and Greek siros was a rare foreign term peculiar to regions of Asia Minor and not likely to emerge in Castilian Spain” [Barnhart]. Alternatively, the Spanish word is from a pre-Roman Iberian language word represented by Basque zilo, zulo “dugout, cave or shelter for keeping grain.” Meaning “underground housing and launch tube for a guided missile” is attested from 1958.
late 14c., “inhabitant of Asia (Minor),” from Latin Asianus (adjective and noun, “belonging to the province of Asia;” “an inhabitant of Asia”), from Greek Asianos “Asiatic,” from Asia (see Asia). Ousted Asiatic as the preferred term mid-20c.
The term “Asiatic” has come to be regarded with disfavour by those to whom it is applied, and they feel entitled to be brought into line with usage in regard to Europeans, Americans and Australians. [Times Literary Supplement, Feb. 6, 1953]
As an adjective in English, “of or pertaining to Asia,” from 1560s; common from c. 1930. Related: Asianic (1879).
“magnificent tomb,” early 15c., from Latin mausoleum, from Greek Mausoleion, name of the massive marble tomb adorned with sculpture built 353 B.C.E. at Halicarnassus (Greek city in Asia Minor) for Mausolos, Persian satrap who made himself king of Caria. It was built by his wife (and sister), Artemisia. Counted among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, it was destroyed by an earthquake in the Middle Ages. General sense of “any stately burial-place” (now usually one designed to contain a number of tombs) is from c. 1600. Related: Mausolean.
Aeolian (adj.)also Aeolean, c. 1600, “of the wind,” from Latin Æolus “god of the winds,” from Greek Aiolos “lord of the winds,” literally “the Rapid,” or “the Changeable,” from aiolos “quickly moving,” also “changeful, shifting, varied” (an adjective used of wasps, serpents, flickering stars, clouds, sounds).
The Aeolian harp (the phrase is attested from 1791) was made of tuned strings set in a frame; passing breezes caused them to sound harmoniously. Another name for it was anemochord (1832). The ancient district of Aiolis in Asia Minor was said to have been named for the wind god, hence Aeolian also refers to one branch of the ancient Greek people.
“to tease or torment by presenting something desirable to the view, and frustrating expectation by keeping it out of reach,” 1590s, with -ize + Latin Tantalus, from Greek Tantalos, name of a mythical king of Phrygia in Asia Minor, son of Zeus, father of Pelops and Niobe, famous for his riches, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c. 1369). Related: Tantalized; tantalizing; tantalizingly; tantalization.
titan (n.)early 15c., from Latin titan, from Greek titan, member of a mythological race of giants (originally six sons and six daughters of Gaia and Uranus) who were overthrown by Zeus and the other gods. The war was a popular theme for Greek artists and writers. The name is perhaps from tito “sun, day,” which probably is a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor. Sense of “person or thing of enormous size or ability” first recorded 1828. Applied to planet Saturn’s largest satellite in 1831; it was discovered 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, who named it Saturni Luna “moon of Saturn.” Related: Titaness; titanian.
“the Bishop of Rome as head of the Roman Catholic Church,” c. 1200, from Old English papa (9c.), from Church Latin papa “bishop, pope” (in classical Latin, “tutor”), from Greek papas “patriarch, bishop,” originally “father” (see papa).
Applied to bishops of Asia Minor and taken as a title by the Bishop of Alexandria c. 250. In the Western Church, applied especially to the Bishop of Rome since the time of Leo the Great (440-461), the first great asserter of its privileges, and claimed exclusively by them from 1073 (usually in English with a capital P-). Popemobile, his car, is from 1979. Pope’s nose for “fleshy part of the tail of a bird” is by 1895. Papal, papacy, later acquisitions in English, preserve the original vowel.
mid-14c., “bishop’s tall hat,” from Old French mitre and directly from Latin mitra “headband, turban,” from Greek mitra “headband, turban,” earlier a belt or cloth worn under armor about the waist, perhaps from PIE root *mei- “to bind, attach” (source also of Sanskrit mitra- “friend, friendship,” Old Persian Mithra-, god name; Russian mir “world, peace”). The Greek word might be borrowed from Indo-Iranian.
In pre-Christian Latin, in reference to a type of head-dress anciently worn by inhabitants of Lydia, Phrygia, and other parts of Asia Minor, “the wearing of which by men was regarded in Rome as a mark of effeminacy” [OED]. But the word was used in Vulgate to translate Hebrew micnepheth, the sacerdotal head-dress of the ancient Jewish high priests.
“a stoat,” especially in its white winter coat, late 12c., from Old French ermine (12c., Modern French hermine), used in reference to both the animal and the fur. Apparently the word is a convergence of Latin (mus) Armenius “Armenian (mouse)” — ermines being abundant in Asia Minor — and an unrelated Germanic word for “weasel” (represented by Old High German harmo “ermine, stoat, weasel,” adj. harmin; Old Saxon harmo, Old English hearma “shrew,” etc.) that happened to sound like it. OED splits the difference between competing theories. The fur, especially with the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals in the pure white of the winter coat, was used for the lining of official and ceremonial garments, in England especially judicial robes, hence figurative use from 18c. for “the judiciary.” Related: Ermined.
c.1300, parchemin(c. 1200 as a surname), “the skin of sheep or goats prepared for use as writing material,” from Old French parchemin(11c., Old North French parcamin) and directly from Medieval Latin pergamentum, percamentum, from Late Latin pergamena “parchment,” a noun use of an adjective (as in pergamena charta, attested in Pliny), from Late Greek pergamenon “of Pergamon,” from Pergamon “Pergamum” (modern Bergama), the city in Mysia in Asia Minor where parchment supposedly first was adopted as a substitute for papyrus in 2c. B.C.E.
The form of the word was possibly influenced in Vulgar Latin by Latin parthica (pellis) “Parthian (leather).” The unetymological -t is an alteration in Middle English by confusion with nouns in -ment and by influence of Medieval Latin collateral form pergamentum. The technological advances that led to cheap paper restricted its use largely to formal documents, hence the sense of “a certificate” (by 1888).
c.1300, “a wedge, a wedge-shaped piece used for some purpose,” from Old French coing(12c.) “a wedge; stamp; piece of money;” usually “corner, angle,” from Latin cuneus“a wedge,” which is of unknown origin.
The die for stamping metal was wedge-shaped, and by late 14c. the English word came to mean “thing stamped, piece of metal converted into money by being impressed with official marks or characters” (a sense that already had developed in Old French). Meaning “coined money collectively, specie” is from late 14c.
Compare quoin, which split off from this word 16c., taking the architectural sense. Modern French coin is “corner, angle, nook.”
The custom of striking coins as money began in western Asia Minor in 7c. B.C.E.; Greek tradition and Herodotus credit the Lydians with being first to make and use coins of silver and gold. Coin-operated (adj.), of machinery, is attested from 1890. Coin collector is attested from 1795.
pulpy drupe of a well-known type of tree, c. 1300, earlier in surname Chyrimuth (1266, literally “Cherry-mouth”); from Anglo-French cherise, from Old North French cherise (Old French, Modern French cerise, 12c.), from Vulgar Latin *ceresia, from late Greek kerasian “cherry,” from Greek kerasos “cherry tree,” possibly from a language of Asia Minor. Mistaken in Middle English for a plural and stripped of its -s (compare pea).
Old English had ciris “cherry” from a West Germanic borrowing of the Vulgar Latin word (cognate with German Kirsch), but it died out after the Norman invasion and was replaced by the French word. Short for cherry-tree from 1620s. As an adjective, “of the color of a cherry,” mid-15c.
Meaning “maidenhead, virginity” is by 1928, U.S. slang, from supposed resemblance to the hymen, but perhaps also from the long-time use of cherries as a symbol of the fleeting quality of life’s pleasures (and compare English underworld slang cherry “young girl,” attested from 1889). Cherry-bounce, popular name of a cordial made from fermented cherries, is from 1690s.
1590s, “of Ionia,” the districts of ancient Greece inhabited by the Ionians, one of the three (or four) great divisions of the ancient Greek people. The name (which Herodotus credits to an ancestral Ion, son of Apollo and Creusa) probably is pre-Greek, perhaps related to Sanskrit yoni “womb, vulva,” and a reference to goddess-worshipping people. As a noun from 1560s.
Ionia included Attica, Euboea, and the north coast of the Peloponnesus, but it especially referred to the coastal strip of Asia Minor, including the islands of Samos and Chios. The old Ionic dialect was the language of Homer and Herodotus, and, via its later form, Attic, that of all the great works of the Greeks. The name also was given to the sea that lies between Sicily and Greece, and the islands in it (1630s in English in this sense). The musical Ionian mode (1844) corresponds to our C-major scale but was characterized by the Greeks as soft and effeminate, as were the Ionians generally.
The Ionians delighted in wanton dances and songs more than the rest of the Greeks … and wanton gestures were proverbially termed Ionic motions. [Thomas Robinson, “Archæologica Græca,” 1807]
c.1300, “absolute ruler,” especially one without legal right; “cruel, oppressive ruler,” from Old French tiran, tyrant(12c.), from Latin tyrannus“lord, master, monarch, despot,” especially “arbitrary ruler, cruel governor, autocrat” (source also of Spanish tirano, Italian tiranno), from Greek tyrannos “lord, master, sovereign, absolute ruler unlimited by law or constitution,” a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor (probably Lydian); Klein compares Etruscan Turan “mistress, lady” (surname of Venus).
In the exact sense, a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it. This is how the Greeks understood the word ‘tyrant’: they applied it indifferently to good and bad princes whose authority was not legitimate. [Rousseau, “The Social Contract”]
Originally in Greek the word was not applied to old hereditary sovereignties (basileiai) and despotic kings, but it was used of usurpers, even when popular, moderate, and just (such as Cypselus of Corinth), however it soon became a word of reproach in the usual modern sense. The unetymological spelling with -t arose in Old French by analogy with present-participle endings in -ant. Fem. form tyranness is recorded from 1590 (Spenser); Medieval Latin had tyrannissa (late 14c.).
“hybrid offspring of donkey and horse,” from Old English mul, Old French mul “mule, hinny” (12c., fem. mule), both from Latin mulus (fem. mula) “a mule,” from Proto-Italic *musklo-, which is probably (along with Greek myklos “pack-mule,” Albanian mushk “mule) a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor.
The mule combines the strength of the horse with the endurance and surefootedness of the ass, and is extensively bred for certain employments for which it is more suited than either; it is ordinarily incapable of procreation. With no good grounds, the mule is a proverbial type of obstinacy. [OED]
Properly, the offspring of a he-ass and a mare; that of a she-ass and a stallion is technically a hinny. The males are ordinarily incapable of procreation. Used allusively of hybrids and things of mixed nature. Meaning “obstinate, stupid, or stubborn person” is from 1470s; the sense of “stupid” seems to have been older, that of “stubborn” is by 18c.
As a type of spinning machine, it is attested from 1793 (as mule-jenny, 1788), so called because it is a “hybrid” of Arkwright’s drawing-rollers and Hargreaves’ jenny. The underworld slang sense of “narcotics smuggler or courier for a drug trafficker” is attested by 1935. The mule-deer of Western U.S. (1805) is so called for its large ears.
solid ungulate quadruped beast of burden of the horse kind, but smaller and with long ears and a short mane, native to southwest Asia, Old English assa (Old Northumbrian assal, assald) “he-ass.” The English word is cognate with Old Saxon esil, Dutch ezel, Old High German esil, German Esel, Gothic asilus, and, beyond Germanic, Lithuanian asilas, Old Church Slavonic osl, Russian oselŭ, etc. All probably are ultimately from Latin asinus. De Vaan says the form of asinus suggests it was a loan-word into Latin, and adds, “Most IE words for ‘ass’ are loanwords.”
Together with Greek onos it is conjectured to be from a language of Asia Minor (compare Sumerian ansu). The initial vowel of the English word might be by influence of Celtic forms (Irish and Gaelic asal), from Old Celtic *as(s)in “donkey.” In Romanic tongues the Latin word has become Italian asino, Spanish asno, Old French asne, French âne.
In familiar use, the name ass is now to a great extent superseded by donkey (in Scotland cuddie); but ass is always used in the language of Scripture, Natural History, proverb, and fable; also, in ordinary use, in Ireland. [OED]
Sure-footed and patient in domestication, since ancient Greek times, in fables and parables, the animal has typified clumsiness and stupidity (hence ass-head, late 15c., etc.). To make an ass of oneself is from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1590). Asses’ Bridge (c. 1780), from Latin Pons Asinorum, is fifth proposition of first book of Euclid’s “Elements.” In Middle English, someone uncomprehending or unappreciative would be lik an asse that listeth on a harpe. In 15c., an ass man was a donkey-driver.
For al schal deie and al schal passe, Als wel a Leoun as an asse. [John Gower, “Confessio Amantis,” 1393]
type of tall tree native to western Asia, southern Europe, and eastern U.S., also the large “nut” that it produces, 1560s, from chesten nut (1510s), with superfluous nut (n.) + Middle English chasteine, from Old French chastain (12c., Modern French châtaigne), from Latin castanea “chestnut, chestnut tree,” from Greek kastaneia, which the Greeks explained as either “nut from Castanea” in Pontus, or “nut from Castana” in Thessaly, but probably both places are named for the trees, not the other way around, and the word is borrowed from a language of Asia Minor (compare Armenian kask “chestnut,” kaskeni “chestnut tree”). In reference to the dark reddish-brown color, 1650s. Applied to the horse-chestnut by 1832.
Slang sense of “venerable joke or story” is from 1885, explained by U.S. actor Joseph Jefferson (“Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine,” January 1888) as probably abstracted from the 1816 melodrama “The Broken Sword” by William Dimond where an oft-repeated story involving a chestnut tree figures in an exchange between the characters “Captain Zavior” and “Pablo”:
Zav. Let me see—aye! it is exactly six years since, that peace being restored to Spain, and my ship paid off, my kind brother offer’d me a snug hammock in the dwelling of my forefathers;—I mounted a mule at Barcelona, and trotted away for my native mountains. At the dawn of the fourth day’s journey, I entered the wood of Collares, when, suddenly from the thick boughs of a cork-tree—
Pab. [Jumping up.] A chesnut, Captain, a chesnut!
Zav. Bah! you booby, I say, a cork.
Pab. And I swear, a chesnut—Captain! this is the twenty-seventh time I have heard you relate this story, and you invariably said, a chesnut, till now.
Zav. Did I? Well, a chesnut be it then. But, take your seat again.
Jefferson traced the connection through William Warren (1812-1888), “the veteran comedian of Boston” (and Jefferson’s cousin) who often played Pablo in the melodrama.