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Old English read "red," from Proto-Germanic *rauthaz (cf. Old Norse rauðr, Danish rød, Old Saxon rod, Old Frisian rad, Middle Dutch root, Dutch rood, German rot, Gothic rauþs). As a noun from mid-13c.
The Germanic words are from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy" (cf. Latin ruber, also dialectal rufus "light red," mostly of hair; Greek erythros; Sanskrit rudhira-; Avestan raoidita-; Old Church Slavonic rudru, Polish rumiany, Russian rumjanyj "flushed, red," of complexions, etc.; Lithuanian raudas; Old Irish ruad, Welsh rhudd, Breton ruz "red"). The only color for which a definite common PIE root word has been found. The initial -e- in the Greek word is because Greek tends to avoid beginning words with -r-.
Along with dead, bread (n.), lead (n.1), the vowel shortened in Middle English. The surname Read/Reid retains the original Old English long vowel pronunciation and is the corresponding surname to Brown-, Black, White.
The color designation of Native Americans in English from 1580s. The color as characteristic of "British possessions" on a map is attested from 1885. Red-white-and-blue in reference to American patriotism, from the colors of the flag, is from 1840; in a British context, in reference to the Union flag, 1852. The red flag was used as a symbol of defiance in battle on land or sea from c.1600. To see red "get angry" is an American English expression first recorded 1898. Red rover, the children's game, attested from 1891. Red light as a sign to stop is from 1849, long before traffic signals. As the sign of a brothel, it is attested from 1899. As a children's game (in reference to the traffic light meaning) it is recorded from 1953.
Red-letter day (late 14c.) was originally a saint's day, marked on church calendars in red letters. Red ball signifying "express" in railroad jargon is 1904, originally (1899) a system of moving and tracking freight cars. Red dog, type of U.S. football pass rush, is recorded from 1959. Red meat is from 1808. Red shift in spectography is first recorded 1923. Red carpet "sumptuous welcome" is from 1934, but the custom for dignitaries is described as far back as Aeschylus ("Agamemnon"); it also was the name of a type of English moth.
"Bolshevik," 1917, from red (adj.1), the color they adopted for themselves. Association in Europe of red with revolutionary politics (on notion of blood and violence) is from at least 1297, but got a boost 1793 with adoption of the red Phrygian cap (French bonnet rouge) as symbol of the French Revolution. First specific political reference in English was 1848 (adj.), in news reports of the Second French Republic (a.k.a. Red Republic). Red China is from 1934. The noun meaning "radical, communist" is from 1851.
In a circle, meaning "registered (trademark)," first incorporated in U.S. statues 1946. Three Rs (1825) said to have been given as a toast by Sir W. Curtis (1752-1829). R&R "rest and relaxation," first recorded 1953, American English; R&B "rhythm and blues" (type of popular music) first attested 1949, American English.
If all our r's that are written are pronounced, the sound is more common than any other in English utterance (over seven per cent.); the instances of occurrence before a vowel, and so of universal pronunciation, are only half as frequent. There are localities where the normal vibration of the tip of the tongue is replaced by one of the uvula, making a guttural trill, which is still more entitled to the name of "dog's letter" than is the ordinary r; such are considerable parts of France and Germany; the sound appears to occur only sporadically in English pronunciation. [Century Dictionary]She goes on to note that in British humorous writing, -ar "popularly indicates the sound of the vowel in father" and formations like larf (for laugh) "are to be read with the broad vowel but no uttered r." She also quotes Henry James on the characteristic prominence of the medial -r- sound (which tends to be dropped in England and New England) in the speech of the U.S. Midwest, "under some strange impulse received toward consonantal recovery of balance, making it present even in words from which it is absent, bringing it in everywhere as with the small vulgar effect of a sort of morose grinding of the back teeth."
The moment we encounter the added r's of purp or dorg in our reading we know that we have to do with humor, and so with school-marm. The added consonants are supposed to be spoken, if the words are uttered, but, as a matter of fact, they are less often uttered than seen. The words are, indeed, largely visual forms; the humor is chiefly for the eye. [Louise Pound, "The Humorous 'R,'" "American Mercury," October 1924]
"small farm," mid-15c.; mid-13c. in place names (and cf. granger), from Anglo-French graunge, Old French grange "barn, granary; farmstead, farm house" (12c.), from Medieval Latin or Vulgar Latin granica "barn or shed for keeping grain," from Latin granum "grain" (see corn (n.1)). Sense evolved to "outlying farm" (late 14c.), then "country house" (1550s). Meaning "local lodge of the Patrons of Husbandry" (a U.S. agricultural interest promotion organization) is from 1867.
radical (usually an alkyl or aryl group)
respiratory exchange ratio
or r roentgen
Abbreviation of radius
The symbol for resistance.
Intoxicated with narcotics, esp with marijuana; high (1990s+ Narcotics)noun
Chili con carne: places to consider when I need a bowl of red (1990s+)Related Terms
Seconal2, a barbiturate capsule: dropping Reds and busting heads (1960s+ Narcotics)
unit of X-radiation or gamma radiation, the amount that will produce, under normal conditions of pressure, temperature, and humidity, in 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of air, an amount of positive or negative ionization equal to 2.58104 coulomb. It is named for the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen. See also rem.