Word Origin & History
O.E. þawian, from P.Gmc. *thawojanan (cf. O.N. þeyja, M.L.G. doien, Du. dooien, O.H.G. douwen, Ger. tauen "to thaw"), from PIE base *ta- "to melt, dissolve" (cf. Skt. toyam "water," Ossetic thayun "to thaw," Welsh tawadd "molten," Doric Gk. takein "to melt, waste, be consumed," O.Ir. tam
"pestilence," L. tabes "a melting, wasting away, putrefaction," O.C.S. tajati "to melt"). The noun is c.1400, from the verb. Fig. sense of "relaxation of political harshness or hostility" is recorded from 1950, an image from the Cold War.