babelyoudaoicibaDictYouDict[babel 词源字典]
babel: [14] According to Genesis 11: 1–9, the tower of Babel was built in Shinar by the descendants of Noah in an attempt to reach heaven. Angered at their presumption, God punished the builders by making them unable to understand each other’s speech: hence, according to legend, the various languages of the world. Hence, too, the metaphorical application of babel to a ‘confused medley of sounds’, which began in English in the 16th century.

The word has no etymological connection with ‘language’ or ‘noise’, however. The original Assyrian bāb-ilu meant ‘gate of god’, and this was borrowed into Hebrew as bābel (from which English acquired the word). The later Greek version is Babylon.

=> babylon[babel etymology, babel origin, 英语词源]
baboon: [14] The origins of baboon are obscure, but it seems that the notion underlying it may be that of ‘grimacing’. Baboons characteristically draw back their lips in snarling, revealing their teeth, and it has been speculated that there may be a connection with Old French baboue ‘grimace’. However that may be, it was certainly in Old French that the word first surfaced, as babuin, and originally it meant ‘gaping figure’ (as in a gargoyle) as well as ‘ape’. This alternative meaning was carried over when the Old French word was borrowed into English, where it remained a live sense of baboon until the 16th century.
baby: [14] Like mama and papa, baby and the contemporaneous babe are probably imitative of the burbling noises made by an infant that has not yet learned to talk. In Old English, the term for what we would now call a ‘baby’ was child, and it seems only to have been from about the 11th century that child began to extend its range to the slightly more mature age which it now covers. Then when the word baby came into the language, it was used synonymously with this developed sense of child, and only gradually came to refer to infants not yet capable of speech or walking.
bacchanalian: [16] Bákkhos was the Greek god of wine. Son of Zeus and Semele, he was also known as Diónūsos. The Romans adopted him, amending his name to Bacchus, and his worshippers went in for a brand of licentious revelry, in his honour, known as Bacchanalia. Hence the metaphorical application of the English adjective to anything drunkenly orgiastic.
bachelor: [13] The ultimate origins of bachelor are obscure, but by the time it first turned up, in Old French bacheler (from a hypothetical Vulgar Latin *baccalāris), it meant ‘squire’ or ‘young knight in the service of an older knight’. This was the sense it had when borrowed into English, and it is preserved, in fossilized form, in knight bachelor. Subsequent semantic development was via ‘university graduate’ to, in the late 14th century, ‘unmarried man’.

A resemblance to Old Irish bachlach ‘shepherd, peasant’ (a derivative of Old Irish bachall ‘staff’, from Latin baculum, source of English bacillus and related to English bacteria) has led some to speculate that the two may be connected. English baccalaureate [17] comes via French baccalauréat or medieval Latin baccalaureātus from medieval Latin baccalaureus ‘bachelor’, which was an alteration of an earlier baccalārius, perhaps owing to an association with the ‘laurels’ awarded for academic success (Latin bacca lauri meant literally ‘laurel berry’).

back: [OE] Back goes back to a prehistoric West and North Germanic *bakam, which was represented in several pre-medieval and medieval Germanic languages: Old High German bah, for example, and Old Norse bak. In most of them, however, it has been ousted by relatives of English ridge, originally ‘spine’ (such as German rücken and Swedish rygg), and only English retains back.
=> bacon
backgammon: [17] Backgammon appears to mean literally ‘back game’, although the reason for the name is far from clear (gammon had been used since at least the early 18th century for a particular type of victory in the game, but it is hard to say whether the term for the victory came from the term for the game, or vice versa). Either way, gammon represents Old English gamen, the ancestor of modern English game. The game backgammon goes back far further than the 17th century, of course, but before that it was called tables in English.
=> game
bacon: [12] Originally, bacon meant literally ‘meat from a pig’s back’. It comes ultimately from a prehistoric Germanic *bakkon, which was related to *bakam, the source of English back. It reached English via Frankish báko and Old French bacon, and at first meant ‘a side of pig meat (fresh or cured)’. Gradually it narrowed down to ‘a side of cured pig meat’ (bringing it into competition with the Old English word flitch, now virtually obsolete), and finally to simply ‘cured pig meat’.
=> back
bacterium: [19] Bacterium was coined in the 1840s from Greek baktérion, a diminutive of báktron ‘stick’, on the basis that the originally discovered bacteria were rod-shaped. At first it was sometimes anglicized to bactery, but the Latin form has prevailed. Related, but a later introduction, is bacillus [19]: this is a diminutive of Latin baculum ‘stick’, and the term was again inspired by the microorganism’s shape. Latin baculum is also responsible, via Italian bacchio and its diminutive form bacchetta, for the long French loaf, the baguette.
=> bacillus, baguette, débacle, imbecile
bad: [13] For such a common word, bad has a remarkably clouded history. It does not begin to appear in English until the end of the 13th century, and has no apparent relatives in other languages (the uncanny resemblance to Persian bad is purely coincidental). The few clues we have suggest a regrettably homophobic origin. Old English had a pair of words, bǣddel and bǣdling, which appear to have been derogatory terms for homosexuals, with overtones of sodomy.

The fact that the first examples we have of bad, from the late 13th and early 14th centuries, are in the sense ‘contemptible, worthless’ as applied to people indicates that the connotations of moral depravity may have become generalized from an earlier, specifically anti-homosexual sense.

badger: [16] The Old English term for a ‘badger’ was brock, a word of Celtic origin, and badger does not begin to appear, somewhat mysteriously, until the early 16th century. The name has never been satisfactorily explained, but perhaps the least implausible explanation is from the word badge, in reference to the white stripes on the animal’s forehead, as if it were wearing a badge (a term originally applied to a distinctive device worn by a knight for purposes of recognition); the early spelling bageard suggests that it may have been formed with the suffix -ard, as in dullard and sluggard. (Badge itself is of even more obscure origin; it first turns up in Middle English, in the mid 14th century.) Other early terms for the badger were bauson (14th– 18th centuries), from Old French bausen, and grey (15th–17th centuries).
badminton: [19] The game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’ has been around for some time (it appears to go back to the 16th century; the word battledore, which may come ultimately from Portuguese batedor ‘beater’, first turns up in the 15th century, meaning ‘implement for beating clothes when washing them’, but by the 16th century is being used for a ‘small racket’; while shuttlecock, so named because it is hit back and forth, first appears in the early 16th century, in a poem of John Skelton’s).

This was usually a fairly informal, improvised affair, however, and latterly played mainly by children; the modern, codified game of badminton did not begin until the 1860s or 1870s, and takes its name from the place where it was apparently first played, Badminton House, Avon, country seat of the dukes of Beaufort. (A slightly earlier application of the word badminton had been to a cooling summer drink, a species of claret cup.)

baffle: [16] The etymology of baffle is appropriately baffling. Two main candidates have been proposed as a source. The first is the medieval Scots verb bawchill or bauchle, meaning ‘discredit publicly’. This fits in with the way baffle was first used: ‘I will baffull your good name, sound with the trumpet your dishonour, and paint your pictor with the heeles vpward, and beate it in despight of yourselfe’, Churchyardes chippes 1570.

The other strand is represented by French bafouer ‘hoodwink, deceive’, which perhaps comes from Old French beffer. This corresponds more closely to the present-day meaning of baffle, and it may well be that there are two distinct words here.

bag: [13] English acquired bag from Old Norse baggi ‘bag, bundle’, but it does not appear in any other Germanic language, which suggests that it may have been borrowed at some point from a non-Germanic language. Forms such as Old French bague, Italian baga, and Portuguese bagua show that it existed elsewhere. A derivative of the Old French word was bagage, from which in the 15th century English got baggage; and Italian baga may have led, by a doubling of diminutive suffixes, to bagatella ‘insignificant property, trifle’, which entered English in the 17th century via French bagatelle (although this has also been referred to Latin bacca ‘berry’ – see BACHELOR).
=> bagatelle, baggage
bail: There are now three distinct words bail in English, although they may all be related. Bail ‘money deposited as a guarantee when released’ [14] comes from Old French bail, a derivative of the verb baillier ‘take charge of, carry’, whose source was Latin bājulāre ‘carry’, from bājulus ‘carrier’. Bail ‘remove water’ [13], also spelled bale, probably comes ultimately from the same source; its immediate antecedent was Old French baille ‘bucket’, which perhaps went back to a hypothetical Vulgar Latin *bājula, a feminine form of bājulus.

The bail on top of cricket stumps [18] has been connected with Latin bājulus too – this could have been the source of Old French bail ‘cross-beam’ (‘loadcarrying beam’), which could quite plausibly have been applied to cricket bails; on the other hand it may go back to Old French bail, baille ‘enclosed court’ (source of English bailey [13]), which originally in English meant the ‘encircling walls of a castle’ but by the 19th century at the latest had developed the sense ‘bar for separating animals in a stable’.

=> bailey
bailiff: [13] Latin bājulus meant literally ‘carrier’ (it is probably the ultimate source of English bail in some if not all of its uses). It developed the metaphorical meaning ‘person in charge, administrator’, which passed, via the hypothetical medieval adjectival form *bājulīvus, into Old French as baillif, and hence into English.
=> bail
bain-marie: [19] In its origins, the bain-marie was far from today’s innocuous domestic utensil for heating food over boiling water. It takes its name from Mary, or Miriam, the sister of Moses, who according to medieval legend was an adept alchemist – so much so that she had a piece of alchemical equipment named after her, ‘Mary’s furnace’ (medieval Greek kaminos Marias). This was mistranslated into medieval Latin as balneum Mariae ‘Mary’s bath’, from which it passed into French as bain-marie.

English originally borrowed the word in the 15th century, in semi-anglicized form, as balneo of Mary. At this time it still retained its original alchemical meaning, but by the early 19th century, when English adopted the French term, it had developed its present-day use.

bairn: see bear
bait: [13] Etymologically, the verb bait means ‘cause to bite’. It comes from Old Norse beita, a causative version of bita ‘bite’ (related to English bite). This took two semantic paths in English. In its aggressive mode, it meant literally ‘set dogs on someone’, and hence by figurative extension ‘harrass, persecute’. More peaceably, it signified ‘feed an animal’.

And this sense of ‘food provided’ is reflected in the noun bait, which comes partly from the verb, partly from the related Old Norse nouns beit ‘pasturage’ and beita ‘fish bait’. Old Norse beita was probably borrowed into Old French as beter, which with the prefix aproduced abeter, source of English abet [14], originally meaning ‘urge on, incite’.

=> abet, bite
bake: [OE] The Old English verb bacan goes back to a prehistoric Germanic base *bak-, which also produced German backen, Dutch bakken, and Swedish baka; its ultimate source was the Indo-European base *bhog-, another descendant of which was Greek phógein ‘roast’. Derivatives of the English verb include batch [15], which comes from Old English *bæcce, literally ‘something baked’, and the name Baxter, which originally meant ‘female baker’.
=> batch