Tonight’s topic among others: 666 “Their” Mark of the Beast!
Old English cild “fetus, infant, unborn or newly born person,” from Proto-Germanic *kiltham (cognates: Gothic kilþei “womb,” inkilþo “pregnant;” Danish kuld “children of the same marriage;” Old Swedish kulder “litter;” Old English cildhama “womb,” lit. “child-home”); no certain cognates outside Germanic. “App[arently] originally always used in relation to the mother as the ‘fruit of the womb'” [Buck]. Also in late Old English, “a youth of gentle birth” (archaic, usually written childe). In 16c.-17c. especially “girl child.”
The wider sense “young person before the onset of puberty” developed in late Old English. Phrase with child “pregnant” (late 12c.) retains the original sense. The sense extension from “infant” to “child” also is found in French enfant, Latin infans. Meaning “one’s own child; offspring of parents” is from late 12c. (the Old English word was bearn; see bairn). Figurative use from late 14c. Most Indo-European languages use the same word for “a child” and “one’s child,” though there are exceptions (such as Latin liberi/pueri).
The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity’s sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer and in Childermas.
22nd letter of the Greek alphabet, representing a -kh- sound (see ch). The letter is shaped like an X, and so the Greek letter name was used figuratively to signify such a shape or arrangement (as in khiasma “two things placed crosswise;” khiastos “arranged diagonally; marked with an X;” khiazein “to mark with an ‘X’, to write the letter ‘X'”). Some dialects used chi to represent the -ks- sound properly belonging to xi; Latin picked this up and the sound value of chi in Latin-derived alphabets is now that of English X.
The entire entry for X in Johnson’s dictionary (1756) is: “X is a letter, which, though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.” Most English words beginning in -x- are of Greek origin or modern commercial coinages. East Anglian in 14c. showed a tendency to use -x- for initial sh-, sch- (such as xal for shall), which didn’t catch on but seems an improvement over the current system. As a symbol of a kiss on a letter, etc., it is recorded from 1765. In malt liquor, XX denoted “double quality” and XXX “strongest quality” (1827).
Algebraic meaning “unknown quantity” (1660 in English, from French), sometimes is said to be from medieval use, originally a crossed -r-, in that case probably from Latin radix (see root n.). Other theories trace it to Arabic (Klein), but a more prosaic explanation says Descartes (1637) took x, y, z, the last three letters of the alphabet, for unknowns to correspond to a, b, c, used for known quantities.
Used allusively for “unknown person” from 1797, “something unknown” since 1859. As a type of chromosome, attested from 1902 (first so called in German; Henking, 1891). To designate “films deemed suitable for adults only,” first used 1950 in Britain; adopted in U.S. Nov. 1, 1968. The XYZ Affair in American history (1797) involved French agents designated by those letters.
-ild An obsolete dialectal form of yield. It occurs in the phrase God ild, for God yield. See under God.
Old English gield “payment, sum of money; service, offering, worship;” from the source of yield v.. Extended sense of “production” (as of crops) is first attested mid-15c. Earliest English sense survives in financial “yield from investments.”
word-forming element meaning “state or condition of being,” from Old English -had “condition, quality, position” (as in cildhad “childhood,” preosthad “priesthood,” werhad “manhood”), cognate with German -heit/-keit, Dutch -heid, Old Frisian and Old Saxon -hed, all from Proto-Germanic *haidus “manner, quality,” literally “bright appearance,” from PIE (s)kai- (1) “bright, shining” (Cognates: Sanskrit ketu “brightness, appearance”). Originally a free-standing word (see hade); in Modern English it survives only in this suffix
c. 1300, “approval,” also “agreement in sentiment, harmony,” from Old French consente, from consentir (see consent v.). Age of consent is attested from 1809.
early 13c., from Old French consentir (12c.) “agree, comply,” from Latin consentire “feel together,” from com- “with” (see com-) + sentire “to feel” (see sense n.). “Feeling together,” hence, “agreeing, giving permission,” apparently a sense evolution that took place in French before the word reached English. Related: Consented; consenting.
early 14c., “obligatory contribution levied by a sovereign or government,” from Anglo-French tax, Old French taxe, and directly from Medieval Latin taxa, from Latin taxare (see tax v.). Related: Taxes. Tax-deduction is from 1942; tax-shelter is attested from 1961.
c. 1300, “impose a tax on,” from Old French taxer “impose a tax” (13c.) and directly from Latin taxare “evaluate, estimate, assess, handle,” also “censure, charge,” probably a frequentative form of tangere “to touch” (see tangent (adj.)). Sense of “to burden, put a strain on” first recorded early 14c.; that of “censure, reprove” is from 1560s. Its use in Luke ii for Greek apographein “to enter on a list, enroll” is due to Tyndale. Related: Taxed; taxing.