Online Etymological Dictionary for Finding Word Origins

Words have a power all their own
Image by waɪ.tiː via Flickr

Every word has its own history, and we usually know little about it.  The Online Etymological Dictionary fills in the often interesting details.  Here’s a few entries from the letter D.

daiquiri Look up daiquiri at
“type of alcoholic drink,” 1920 (first recorded in F. Scott Fitzgerald), from Daiquiri, name of a district or village in eastern Cuba.
dairy Look up dairy at
1290, from Anglo-Fr. -erie suffix affixed to M.E. daie (in daie maid “dairymaid”), from O.E. dæge “kneader of bread, housekeeper, female servant” (see dey (1)). The native word was dey-house.
dais Look up dais at
c.1259, from Anglo-Fr. deis, from O.Fr. dais “table, platform,” from L. discus “disk-shaped object,” also, by medieval times, “table,” from Gk. diskos “quoit, disk, dish.” Died out in Eng. c.1600, preserved in Scotland, revived 19c. by antiquarians.
daisy Look up daisy at
O.E. dægesege, from dæges eage “day’s eye,” because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk. In M.L. it was solis oculus “sun’s eye.” Daisy-cutter first attested 1791, originally of horses that trotted with low steps; later of cricket (1889) and baseball hits that skim along the ground. Daisy-chain in the “group sex” sense is attested from 1941. Pushing up daisies “dead” is attested from 1918, but variant with the same meaning go back to 1842.
Dakota Look up Dakota at
group of native peoples from the Plains states speaking a Siouan language, from a word often translated as “allies;” cf. Dakota dakhota “friendly.” Lakota represents the pronunciation in western dialects; in other dialects it is Nakota.
dale Look up dale at
O.E. dæl, from P.Gmc. *dalan “valley,” preserved from extinction in north of England by Norse infl. Akin to words for “bow” (v.), probably through the notion of a bend in the ground.
dally Look up dally at
c.1300, possibly from Anglo-Fr. dalier “to amuse oneself,” of uncertain origin.
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