Etymology – A

A – Hebrew and Phoenician known as “aleph”, ox

Abdiel – withstood Satan in Paradise Lost

Ab ovo – from the very beginning

Abram-colour – abram is a corruption of auburn

Abrahamic covenant – the Messiah will spring from his seed

Absent – “Out of mind as soon as out of sight”

Abstract numbers – without reference to anything else

Absolute zero – temperature at which a theoretical perfect gas, kept at a constant volume would exert no pressure

Accolade – from Latin “ad collum”, on the neck

Accord – from Latin “ad corda”, to heart; heart to heart

Ace – from Latin “as”, unit of weight; WWI French term pilot who brought down ten enemy planes

Achille’s tomb – on Sigoeum, over which no bird flies

Acme – Greek “a point”

Aconite – the herb Monkshood or Wolfsbane; poisonous qualities stem from foam from Cerebrus’s mouth

Acre – from Latin “ager” or German “acker”, a field

Acrostic – Greek “akros”, extremity; and “stichos”, row/line of verse; first letter of each line in a poem together spell a word

Adam – XXX … Adam lived in Paradise for only twelve hours

Addle egg – an egg which has no germ

Adept – one who has attained

Adieu – French; to God….I commend you to God

Adonis – a beautiful youth beloved by Venus, killed by a boar while hunting

Adonis garden – a worthless toy; very perishable good

Adoption by arms – giving arms to a person of merit rendering them your champion by obligation

Adoptive emperors – Roman emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius were adopted by their predecessor; happiest time in history of Rome

Advent – Latin “adventus”, the coming to

Advocation – Latin “ad”, to; and “vocare”, to call

Devil’s advocate – “advocatus diaboli”; opposed by “advocatus dei”

Aegus – returned from battle and failed to signal his white flag, shot down by his own

AEI – common motto on jewelry meaning “for ever and for aye”

Aeolus – Roman god of the winds

Aesir – collective names of the celestial gods of Scandinavia; Odin, Thor, Hodor, etc.

Aetites – from Freek “aetos”, an eagle; eagle stones were said to detect thief

Africa – Caesar landed in Africa and tripped, a bad omen, but pretended to kneel and kiss the ground intentionally, taking possession of the continent

Agape – a love feast held before or after communion given to the poor

Agent – is man a free agent?

Agglutinate language – conjoined root words do not lose original meaning

Agnostic – from Greek “gignoskein”, to know; agnosco, “I do not know”

Agonistes – Greek for “champion”

Agony – derived from Greek “agonia”, originally meaning “an assembly” then “arena for contests” then the contest itself then the struggle to win the contest, hence great pain

Aholah/Ahdibah – personifications of prostitution 

Ajax – The Greater was the second most famous hero of the Trojan War behind Achilles; wanted the armor of Hector which went to Ulysses so he killed himself…

Alabama – named after the Native name for a river within the state which means “here we rest”

Al Araf – according to the Koran, between Paradise and Hell for neither good nor bad like infants, lunatics, and mentally impaired; also “limbo”

Alb – from Latin “albus”, whit;e; long white vestment worn by priests

Albert – a watch chain across the waistcoat from one pocket to another or a buttonhole

Album – blank book or table on which was written registries, etc; they were blankly white, albus

Alchemilla – genus of plants in rose family; alchemists would collect dew from its leaves

Alchemy – possibly derived from Arabic form of Greek “kimia”, Egyptian art

Alcmema – mother of Hercules; Zeus made the night of conception three nights long in order to provide additional pleasure

Alexander’s beard – a smooth chin

Algebra – from arabis “al jebr”, the equalizer

Ali baba – here of the Arabian Nights story; loads his ass with treasure

All the talents – demolished the slave trade in England in 1806

Allah – Arabic name of the Supreme Being; from “al”, the and “illa”, god; “allah akbar”, God is most mighty”

Alligator – from Spanish “el lagarto”, the lizard

Allopathy – from Greek “allo pathos” a different disease; opposite of homeopathy “like cures like”; in allopathy, diseases are cured by an antidote

Alma – Italian for soul, spirit or essence; alma mater means “fostering mother”

Almanac – Latin word for table of days, months with astronomical data; from “manakh”, a sundial 

Almanzor – means “the invincible”; given as a title to kings of Fez and Morocco

Alphabet – from Greek “alpha” and “beta”

Altar – from Latin “altus”, high

Alvina weeps – i.e. the wind howls loudly; Alvina married unsuitably and was cursed by her parents, the King

Amen-Ra – supreme king of the Gods in ancient Egypt; ram’s head

Son of Amman – Alexander the Great whose father, Philip, claimed to be from Hercules

Ampersand – from & being at the end of the alphabet; “and, per se, and”

Amphion – son of Zeus and Antiope; builts Thebes by the music of his lute that caused the stones to dance into walls and houses

Amphytrion – the person who provides the feast

Andromeda – daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia; after death she was placed among the stars

Anima Mundi – the soul of the world; the whole vital force of the universe

Animals in Heaven – ten specific animals have been allowed in Mohammedan Paradise

Animals in Symbolism – see dictionary

Animosity – originally meant animation/spirit, fire of the horse; contorted to be negative

Anna Domini – “A.D.; in the Year of our Lord

Antaeus – a gigantic wrestler; son of Earth and Sea; strength was invincible so long as he was touching the earth

Antichrist – Mohammedan legend has Christ slaying Antichrist at church at Lydda in Palestine

Anzac – coined in  as name for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

Aonian – poetical, pertaining to the Muses

A-per-se – a person or thing of unusual merit

Apostle of…. – see Dictionary

Apple of Discord – at marriage of Thetis and Peleus, Discord, who was not invited, threw a golden apple on the table “for the most beautiful”, Paris chose Venus over Juno and Minerva and Troy fell because of it

Apple of Sodom – the fruit of trees that grow on the shores of the Dead Sea that are lovely but within are full of ashes

Apple Tree Gang – name given to John Reid and his gang who brought golf to the USA in 1888

Apron – from old French “napperon”; the “n” fell off with the article “a”….”a napron = an apron”

Aqua Regina – Latin for “royal water”

Aqua Vitae – Latin for “water of life”

Archangel – according to the Koran there are four archangels: Michael (champion), Gabriel (revelations), Azrael (death), and Israfel (trumpeter)

Archeus – the immaterial substance which energizes all living substances; main one in stomach

Arctic Region – means the region of Arcturos “the Bear stars”

Argentine – from the word for silver; “the Silver Republic”

Argyle – a great duke that added posts to fields for cows and their herders to scratch their backs

Arriere Pensee – French for “behind though”; a hidden or reserved motive

Arthur – sword, Excalibur; spear, Rone; shield, Pridwin; dog, Cavall; buried at Avalon; born in Cornwall, wife, Guinevere, committed adultery with Sir Lancelot of the Lake

Aryan – parent stock of Indo-European family of nations; Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Celtic, Hindu…

Ashes – signifies finality

Aspen – the aspen leaf is said to tremble from shame/fear because Christ’s cross was aspen

Asphodel – flowers from Lilicaceae order; daffodil is a corruption of this word; symbolizes regret

Assassins – a sect of Oriental fanatics of military and religious character in Persia in 1090-1272

Assemblage – see Dictionary

Asylum – literally: a place where pillage is forbidden; Greek “a”, not; “sulon”, right of pillage

Atheists – in WWII, Father W.T. Cummings said “There are no atheists in foxholes”

Athens – Athena provided the olive tree (peace, victory), Poseidon gave the horse (war)

Atlas – Atlas mountains in Africa where the heavens are held aloft

Au Revoir – “Goodbye for the present”, till seeing you again

Augean Stables – Hercules forced two rivers through these oxen stables of 3000

Augustus – meaning reverend or venerable; lucky month names after him

Avant-courier – one sent beforehand to prepare

Avant-garde – the advanced guard of an army; used to describe progressive artists and writers

Avatar – from Sanskrit “avatara”, descent/incarnation of God

Axis – enemy of Allies in WWII; first used by Mussolini as an axis around which the world turns

Azrael – standard-bearer of the rebellious angels in Paradise Lost