Word Origin & History
1236, from Anglo-Fr. cherise (taken as a pl.), from O.N.Fr. cherise, from V.L. *ceresia, from late Gk. kerasian "cherry," from Gk. kerasos "cherry tree," possibly from a language of Asia Minor. O.E. had ciris "cherry" from W.Gmc. form of the V.L. word, but it died out after the Norman invasion and was
replaced by the French word. Meaning "maidenhead, virginity" is from 1889, U.S. slang, from supposed resemblance to the hymen, but perhaps also from the long-time use of cherries as a symbol of the fleeting quality of life's pleasures. Cherry-pick, in a pejorative sense, first recorded 1972.
1523, from Sp. or Port. don, title of respect, from L. dominus "lord, master." The university sense is c.1660, originally student slang; underworld sense is 1952, from It. don, from L.L. domnus, from L. dominus (see domain
). Don Juan "philanderer" is from the legendary dissolute
Sp. nobleman dramatized by Gabriel Tellez in "Convivado de Piedra" and popularized in Eng. by Lord Byron. The fem. form is Dona (Sp./Port.), Donna (It.).
early 14c. contraction of do on (see doff
). "After 1650 retained in popular use only in north. dialect; as a literary archaism it has become very frequent in 19th c." [OED]. Related: Donned; donning.