informyoudaoicibaDictYouDict[inform 词源字典]
inform: [14] When English first acquired inform (via Old French enfourmer) it was used simply for ‘give form or shape to’. However, its Latin original, informāre (a compound verb based on forma ‘form’), had in classical times moved on from the primary notion of ‘shaping’ via ‘forming an idea of something’ and ‘describing it’ to ‘telling or instructing people about something’. English took this sense over too, and has persevered with it, but ‘give shape to’ was dropped in the 17th century.
=> form[inform etymology, inform origin, 英语词源]
ingenious: [15] Ingenious used to be a more elevated term than it is today. To begin with it meant ‘highly intelligent’, but already by the 16th century it was starting to come down in the world somewhat to ‘cleverly inventive’. It comes, partly via French ingénieux, from Latin ingeniōsus, a derivative of ingenium ‘natural talent, skill’ (a word which, like English gene, generate, genital, etc, goes back ultimately to Indo-European *gen- ‘produce’, and was also the source of English engine).

Its formal similarity to the distantly related ingenuous has led in the past to its being used for ‘honest, open, frank’, and indeed its semantic derivative ingenuity ‘quality of being ingenious’ [16] belongs etymologically to ingenuous.

=> gene, general, generate, genital
ingenuous: [16] Etymologically, ingenuous means ‘inborn’. English acquired it from Latin ingenuus, which was composed of the prefix inand the element *gen-, denoting ‘production, birth’. This was originally used for ‘born in a particular place, native, not foreign’, but it soon began to take on connotations of ‘freeborn, not a slave’, and hence ‘of noble birth’.

Metaphorical transference to qualities thought characteristic of the nobility – uprightness, candour, straightforwardness, etc – soon followed, and that was the word’s semantic slant when English acquired it. By the 17th century, however, it had started to slide towards ‘artlessness, innocence’ (a sense reflected in ingénue, borrowed from French in the 19th century).

=> gene, general, generate, genital, ingénue
ingot: [14] The etymological meaning of ingot is ‘poured in’. It was formed in Middle English from in and an apparent survival of goten, the past participle of Old English geotan ‘pour’. It originally meant ‘mould for casting metal’ (the idea being that the molten metal was ‘poured into’ the mould), but towards the end of the 16th century it started being used for the lump of metal formed in this way. (When French borrowed the word in the 15th century it grafted its definite article on to it, giving modern French lingot ‘ingot’.)
ingrain: [17] Ingrain means literally ‘work into the grain’ (of fabric, originally) – whence the main metaphorical sense of ingrained, ‘deepseated’. But there is much more to the story of ingrain than that. Its ultimate source was engrainer ‘dye’, an Old French verb based on graine ‘cochineal dye’. English borrowed this in the 14th century as engrain ‘dye crimson with cochineal’, which remained a live sense of the word into the 17th century.

Gradually awareness of the word’s original specific connections with the colour crimson died out, and the verb was virtually formed anew in the mid 17th century using the concept of the grain or ‘texture’ of cloth, but the spelling engrain remained, and remains as a secondary variant to this day, to remind us of the word’s origins.

=> grain
ingredient: [15] The -gredi- of ingredient represents the Latin verb gradī ‘step, go’ (whose past participial stem gress- has given English aggression, congress, digress, etc). From it was formed ingredī ‘go in, enter’, whose present participle ingrediēns became English ingredient. The word’s etymological meaning is thus ‘that which “enters into” a mixture’. It was originally used mainly with reference to medicines, and its current application to food recipes seems to be a comparatively recent development.
=> aggression, congress, grade, gradual
inhabit: see habit
inherit: see hereditary
inimical: see enemy
iniquity: see equal
injury: [14] Etymologically, an injury is something ‘unjust’. It comes via Anglo-Norman injurie from Latin injūria, a noun use of injūrius ‘unjust’, which was a compound adjective based on jūs ‘right’ (source of English just). Its original meaning in English was ‘wrongful action’, and it was only gradually that the notion of ‘harm’ (which had actually been present in the word from classical Latin times) began to come to the fore.
=> just
ink: [13] The Greeks had a method of painting which involved applying coloured wax to a surface and then fixing it with heat. The verb describing this process was egkaíein ‘burn in’, a compound of en- ‘in’ and kaíein ‘burn’, whose derivative egkaustikós is the ancestor of the term used for the technique in English – encaustic [17]. Another derivative, égkauston, was applied to the purple ink used by emperors in ancient times for signing documents.

As it passed via late Latin encaustum or encautum into Old French enque it gradually lost its imperial associations, and by the time it reached English as enke it was being used for any dark writing fluid.

=> caustic
inn: [OE] An inn was originally literally a place one lived or stayed ‘in’. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *innam, which was a derivative of the ancestor of the modern English adverb in, and in Old English it meant simply ‘house where one lives, abode, home’. This sense survived into the 17th century (‘Queen Mary gave this House to Nicholas Heth, Archbishop of York, and his successors for ever, to be their Inne or Lodging for their Repair to London’, James Howell, Londinopolis 1657), and a memory of it remains in London’s Inns of Court, which originated as lodgings for lawyers.

The later sense ‘public house, tavern’ developed towards the end of the 14th century.

=> in
innate: see native
innocent: [14] Someone who is innocent is literally ‘harmless’. The word comes, partly via Old French, from Latin innocēns, an adjective formed with the negative prefix in- from the present participle of nocēre ‘harm’ (source of English nuisance) – hence, ‘not harming’. The slight semantic shift from ‘not harming’ to ‘blameless, guiltless’ took place in Latin.
=> nuisance
innuendo: [17] An innuendo was originally a hint given with a ‘nod’ or a wink. The word is a derivative of Latin innuere ‘signal to by means of a nod’, a compound verb formed from in- ‘towards’ and nuere ‘nod’. The ablative case of its gerund, innuendō ‘by nodding’, was used in medieval legal documents as the equivalent of ‘that is to say, i.e’. In particular, it introduced the derogatory meaning claimed by the plaintiff in a libel case to be contained in or implied by a statement, and this formed the basis for its metaphorical transference to any ‘oblique derogatory implication’.
inoculate: [15] Far-fetched as the connection may seem, inoculate actually comes ultimately from Latin oculus ‘eye’ (source of English ocular [16] and oculist [17]). By metaphorical extension oculus was applied to the ‘bud’ of a plant (much like the eye of a potato in English), and the verb inoculāre was coined to denote the grafting on of a bud or other plan part.

That was how it was used when originally adopted into English (‘Peaches have their Season at May Kalends them to inoculate’, Palladius on Husbandry 1440), and the modern sense ‘introduce antigens into the body’ did not emerge before the early 18th century, based on the notion of ‘engrafting’ or ‘implanting’ an immunising virus into a person. It was originally used with reference to smallpox.

=> eye, ferocious, ocular
inquest: see enquire
insect: [17] The Greek word for ‘insect’ was éntomon (source of English entomology [18]). It was derived from entémnein ‘cut up’, a compound verb formed from en- ‘in’ and témnein ‘cut’ (a close relative of English tome), and denoted literally ‘creature divided up into segments’. The term was translated literally into Latin as insectum (originally the past participle of insecāre, a compound verb formed from inand secāre ‘cut’), and seems to have been introduced into English in Philemon Holland’s translation of Pliny’s Natural History 1601.
=> section
insert: see series