macerate: Cause to grow thin or weak. Latin “macerare”=to soak, render weak, mortify flesh < ?Greek “massein”=to knead.
macrocosm: Everything; the universe. From Greek “makro”=large, long + “kosmos”=order, universe.
madrigal: 16th century Italian part-song for several voices. From Latin “matricalis”=maternal < “matrix”=womb < “mater”=mother.
mai-tai: Cocktail based on light rum, with curacao and fruit juices. Probably from Tahitian “maitai”=good, nice. c.f. Hawaiian “maikai”
malaise: Feeling of non-specific discomfort, often from mild illness. From French “mal”=bad + “aise”=ease. Literally ill at ease.
mancession: A recession that affects men more than women. Portmanteau of “man” and “recession.
manicure: Treatment for the hand, usually cutting of nails. From Latin “manus”=hand + “cura”=care. Lit. care of the hands.
manscaping: Male grooming. Thought to originate 2003 on TV Show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Portmanteau of “man”+”landscaping.”
marble: Hard, shiny rock used for statues, buildings or surfaces. From Greek “marmaros”=shining stone, possibly < “marmairein”=to sparkle.
marry: Take as an intimate life partner by a formal exchange of promises. From Latin “maritare”=to wed < “maritus”=husband.
martial: Having an aggressive, warrior’s nature. From Latin “Mars”=god of war + “al”=related to. Astrological trait of those born under Mars.
masticate: Reduce food to a pulp by chewing. Latin “masticare”=to chew < Greek “mastikan”=to grind teeth < “mastax”=the jaw.
masturbate: Self-stimulation of the genitals for pleasure. Although disputed by some, likely from Latin “manus”=hand + “stuprare”=to defile.
maverick: Non-conformist, independent. From c19th US politician Sam Maverick, whose wandering unbranded animals were called “mavericks.”
maze: Complex mass of passages. Sense taken from original meaning=state of mental confusion. Possibly shortened from “amaze”=to stun/stupify.
meander: To move or cause to move in a sinuous or circular course. From Greek “Maeandros”=name of a winding Turkish river.
meat: Animal tissue used for food. From Old English “mete”=food or specific food item.
medium: Person claiming to speak messages from the dead (1853). From Latin “medius”=middle.
meet: Come into conjunction with, as in a conference or gathering. From Old English (weak verb form) “metan”=come together.
melancholy: Feeling of sadness, gloom, or irritation. From Greek “melankolia” < “melan”=black + “koli”=bile; literally full of black bile.
memory: Mental ability to recall things from the past. From Latin “memoria” < “memor” = mindful remembering.
mendicant: Someone who begs or member of a specific order of monks. From Latin “mendicare”=to beg + “ant”=one who performs an action.
menoporsche: Male mid-life crisis marked by desire to buy sports cars. From Old English “man”=person + “porsche”=make of sports car.
mentor: Guide or adviser. From Greek name “Mentor,” character in Homer’s “Odyssey” who is an incarnation of Athena and guides Telemachus.
mercurial: Having feelings that change rapidly. From Latin “Mercurius”=god Mercury. Astrological traits of people born under Mercury.
mete: To give out in measured amounts. From Old English (strong verb form) “metan”=to measure.
meticulous: Very careful about small details. From French “méticuleux”=overscrupulous < Middle French “meticuleux”=fearful or timid.
metro: Belonging to a big city. Short for “metropolitan” < Latin “metropolitanus” < Greek “metropolis” < “meter”=mother + “polis”=city.
microcosm: Representation of a world in miniature. From Middle French “microcosme” < Greek “mikro”=small + “kosmos”=order, universe.
midget: a sand fly (1865) or slang for person of short stature (1869). From Old English “mygg”=gnat + Old French diminutive suffix “-et.”
migraine: Severe headache on one side of the head. From Latin “hemicrania”< Greek “hemikrania” = “hemi”=half + “kranion”=skull.
mimbo: Unintelligent male. Portmanteau of “male” + “bimbo.”
minion: Slavish follower; petty official. From Middle French “mignon”=King’s favorite (often male) < Old French “mignon”=delicate or pretty
minute: A unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour. From Middle Latin “pars minuta prima”=first small part (sixtieth of a circle).
misandry: Hatred of men. Rarely used. From Greek “misein”=to hate + “andros”=man.
misanthropy: hatred/dislike of people/mankind: From Greek “miso”=to hate + “anthropos”=human.
misogyny: A hatred of women. From Greek “misogynes”=woman-hater < “misein”=to hate + “gyne”=woman.
misqueme: To displease or offend. Old English “mis-“=wrong(ly) + “queem”=act in a manner acceptable to.
misspell: to spell incorrectly, as in “reknown” for “renown.” From Old English “missa”=wrong + O.E. “spellian”=tell/speak.
mitigate: Make less harsh or severe. From Latin “mitigare”=to alleviate, relieve < “mitis”=gentle + “agare”=do, make, carry on.
Mjollnir: Thor’s Hammer. Weapon of the Norse god of thunder. Created by two dark elves as a challenge. From Old Norse “mylja”=crush.
mob: (a) Disorderly crowd (1688); (b) criminal gang (1917). Shortened form of Latin “mobile vulgus”=vulgar, common people.
mogul: a powerful, influential person. From Persian “mughal”=mongol i.e. descendant of the powerful, conquering Mongol empire.
mojito: Cuban cocktail of white rum, lime, and mint. From Cuban Spanish “mojo”=to moisten or soak < 1513 “en mojo”=in soak < “mojar”=to wet.
Monday: Day of the week. From Old English “monandag”=day of the moon < “mona”=moon + “dag”=day.
monitor: (a) One who reminds or checks; (b) A screen displaying computer output (1931). From Latin “monere”=admonish/warn/advise.
moob: Man breasts; fatty chest that look like women’s breasts. Portmanteau of “man” and “boob.” Literally a “man boob.”
month: Unit of time approximately one cycle of the moon’s phases – about 30 days. From Old English “monath”=month. c.f. OE “mona”=moon.
moose: Large deer-like animal with large antlers, found in N. America and N. Europe. From Algonquian “moos”=he strips off.
morning: Part of day from dawn to midday. Contraction of Old English “morgen” + suffix “ing” following pattern of “evening.”
mossad: Israeli government’s foreign intelligence agency, created1951. From Modern Hebrew “mosad”=institution < Biblical Hebrew “foundation.”
mother: Female parent of a human being. From Old English “modar”=mother, parallel to Latin “mater,” Ancient Greek “miter,” Sanskrit “matr.”
mourn: To be sad after a death; to grieve at a death. From Old English “mornon”=to be sorrowful or troubled.
mouse: Small rodent with a pointed nose, long tail and found in houses or fields. From Old english “mus”=small rodent or muscle.
mousse: Dessert made from cream, eggs, and fruit or chocolate. From Old French “mousse”=froth < Latin “mulsus”=mixed with honey.
mozzarella: White, mild Italian made by spinning and cutting buffalo milk. From Italian “mozzare”=to cut off + “-ella”=little
mucus: Slimy substance secreted in the nose to protect airway. From Latin “mucus”=slime; similar to Greek “muksa”=mucus (Gk. “muctis”=nose).
mumbo-jumbo: Meaningless ritual or speech. From Mandinka “maamajomboo”=masked dancer < a god/spirit worshiped by some West African peoples.
murder: Collection of crows, by association of crows with violent death. From Anglo-Saxon “morthor” or “morthur”=the act of killing.
myrmidon: Loyal follower. Original Myrmidons were Achilles’ bodyguards. In myth they were ants turned into men. From “mymex”=ant.