fig


fig
fig (n.) early 13c., from O.Fr. figue (12c.), from O.Prov. figa, from V.L. *fica, from L. ficus "fig tree, fig," from a pre-I.E. Mediterranean language, possibly Semitic (Cf. Phoenician pagh "half-ripe fig"). A reborrowing of a word that had been taken directly from Latin as O.E. fic.
The insulting sense of the word in Shakespeare, etc. (A fig for ...) is 1570s, in part from fig as "small, valueless thing," but also from Greek and Italian use of their versions of the word as slang for "cunt," apparently because of how a ripe fig looks when split open [Rawson, Weekley]. Giving the fig (Fr. faire la figue, Sp. dar la higa) was an indecent gesture of ancient provenance, made by putting the thumb between two fingers or into the mouth, with the intended effect of the modern gesture of "flipping the bird" (see BIRD (Cf. bird) (3)). See SYCOPHANT (Cf. sycophant). Use of fig leaf in figurative sense of "flimsy disguise" (1550s) is from Gen. iii:7.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Fig — (f[i^]g), n. [F. figue the fruit of the tree, Pr. figa, fr. L. ficus fig tree, fig. Cf. {Fico}.] 1. (Bot.) A small fruit tree ({Ficus Carica}) with large leaves, known from the remotest antiquity. It was probably native from Syria westward to the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • FIG — (Heb. תְּאֵנָה, te enah), one of the seven species with which Ereẓ Israel was blessed (Deut. 8:8). It is mentioned in the Bible 16 times together with the vine as the most important of the country s fruit. The saying every man under his vine and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • fig — fig1 [fig] n. [ME fige < OFr < VL * fica, for L ficus, fig tree, fig] 1. the hollow, pear shaped false fruit (syconium) of the fig tree, with sweet, pulpy flesh containing numerous tiny, seedlike true fruits (achenes) 2. any of a genus… …   English World dictionary

  • fig — [ fıg ] noun count a soft fruit with purple or green skin and a lot of small seeds inside. It grows on a fig tree. not give a fig about/for something BRITISH INFORMAL OLD FASHIONED to not care at all about something not worth a fig worth nothing …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • fig — Ⅰ. fig [1] ► NOUN ▪ a soft pear shaped fruit with sweet dark flesh and many small seeds. ● not give (or care) a fig Cf. ↑not give a fig ORIGIN Old French figue from Latin ficus. Ⅱ …   English terms dictionary

  • Fig — Fig, v. t. [See {Fico}, {Fig}, n.] 1. To insult with a fico, or contemptuous motion. See {Fico}. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] When Pistol lies, do this, and fig me like The bragging Spaniard. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To put into the head of, as something …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fig — [fıg] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: figue, from Latin ficus] 1.) a soft sweet fruit with a lot of small seeds, often eaten dried, or the tree on which this fruit grows 2.) not give a fig/not care a fig (about/for sth/sb) old fashioned …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • fig — [fıg] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: figue, from Latin ficus] 1.) a soft sweet fruit with a lot of small seeds, often eaten dried, or the tree on which this fruit grows 2.) not give a fig/not care a fig (about/for sth/sb) old fashioned …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Fig — Fig, n. Figure; dress; array. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] Were they all in full fig, the females with feathers on their heads, the males with chapeaux bras? Prof. Wilson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fig. — fig. UK US noun [C] ► WRITTEN ABBREVIATION for FIGURE(Cf. ↑figure) noun: »The model used in his reflection (see fig. 1, p. 40) captures the act of composing as many of us recognize it …   Financial and business terms


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