Etymology is the history of the origin of words and phrases.

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Where does the slang word “bad” + “ass” (badass) come from?

What is the origin of the word badass? Why a "bad" ass/"bad" + "ass"? What is an ass that is bad and how can an ass that is bad describe a tough person?
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72 views

Etymology of “shagged [out]” (BrE exhausted, knackered)

I was intrigued by this comment to an earlier ELU post... [shagged out] Meaning 'very tired', presumably originating from having lots of sex but used generally to mean tired for whatever reason ...
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What's the meaning of “as your concern allows”

Keep in touch as your concerns allow. This sentence was preceded by the sentence "We seem to be out of sync in reading each other's mind."
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How does 'to obtain' develop to mean 'to prevail'?

What's an intuitive derivation behind definition 2 of obtain, that helps to internalise its meaning: 2. [no object] [formal] Be prevalent, customary, or established How does the etymology ...
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When do Americans began to use practice instead of practise?

I am writing an historical novel, and I try to make my characters speaking and writing as everybody did at the time. But I don't know when we began to use "practice" as a verb instead of "practise". ...
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Where did the phrase You “have a really punchable face” originate?

MS Paint Adventures references this phrase on this page in homestuck: http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002224 I also distinctly remember hearing the same phrase in one of the three first ...
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The antonym of word Schadenfreude is Fribbly - the Joy In other's Joy - when did this new meaning of the word start?

For many years the word Fribbly has been used, in various communities as the antonym of Schadenfreude. rather than Harm-Joy or "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others". Fribbly is Joy-Joy ...
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“So I told a porcupine…”

I heard this phrase spoken on a British TV show. It was obvious from context that it meant 'a little white lie'. How did this colloquialism arise? I have my own theory about about how this may have ...
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Contrator, contractee… and disease?

On my security card at work is written "Contractor" in big, bold, capital letters. A thought just crossed my mind (as I work for a medical company): If I am the contractor, am I the one passing the ...