one and the other; two together: He met both sisters. Both performances were canceled.
the one as well as the other: Both of us were going to the party.
alike; equally: He is both ready and willing.

1125–75; Middle English bothe, bathe, influenced by Scandinavian (compare Old Norse bāthir both; cognate with German, Dutch beide, Gothic ba tho skipa both (the) ships, Old High German bêde < *bai thai); replacing Middle English bo, ba, Old English bā; cognate with Gothic bai; akin to Latin ambō, Greek ámphō, Lithuanian abù, Sanskrit ubháu Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
both (bəʊθ)
1.  a.  the two; two considered together: both dogs were dirty
 b.  (as pronoun): both are to blame
2.  (coordinating) used preceding words, phrases, or clauses joined by and, used to emphasize that not just one, but also the other of the joined elements is included: both Ellen and Keith enjoyed the play; both new and exciting
[C12: from Old Norse bāthir; related to Old High German bēde, Latin ambō, Greek amphō]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

there are several theories, all similar, and deriving the word from the tendency to say "both the." One is that it is O.E. begen (masc.) "both" (from P.Gmc. *ba, from PIE *bho "both") + -þ extended base. Another traces it to the P.Gmc. formula represented in O.E. by ba þa "both these," from
ba (feminine nominative and accusative of begen) + þa, nominative and accusative plural of se "that." A third traces it to O.N. baðir "both," from *bai thaiz "both the," from P.Gmc. *thaiz, third person plural pronoun. Cf. O.Fris. bethe, Du. beide, O.H.G. beide, Ger. beide, Goth. bajoþs.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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