The word molar was first used in the year 1350 by the Anglo-Norman crusader and poet Walter of Bibbesworth. After its introduction, it took a few hundred years to become mainstream, then it peaked in usage in 1951 and has been decreasing since. Walter borrowed molar from the Latin phrase molaris dens, which meant "grinding tooth". Dens, the word for "tooth", is the same root as in dental, and molaris ("grinding") is present in English words like mola, mill, molasses, and immolate, among others. It comes from mola, meaning "millstone", and that in turn derives from a Proto-Indo-European reconstruction that etymologists think sounded like melh and meant "to crush". For some reason, people in Massachusetts search for the word molar more than people in any other state.
Around the turn of the fourteenth century, the word polle was brought into English. It meant "scalp" and could also be spelled pol, poll, pole, pow, and powe. This quickly died out, but before it did the term was metonymically applied to "people", and then to "counting people" in the seventeenth century. That's the story of how we got our word poll, which has remained relatively constant in usage to this day. But it gets better! Polle also spawned another noun, poleax, because the weapon was supposed to be used for cutting open heads. The word comes from Middle Dutch pole, meaning "top" or "summit", which in turn derives from Proto-Germanic pullaz, "rounded object". Finally, it's reconstructed to a Proto-Indo-European root sounding like bolno and meaning "orb".
The word supercilious (meaning "haughty") was first used in a 1528 book of poetic verse. It comes from Latin supercilium, which could be interpreted as "arrogance", but had an original definition of "eyebrow". The connection there is that haughty people raise their eyebrows pretentiously. Breaking it down, we can identify the prefix super-, meaning "above", and the noun cilium, meaning "eyelid". Super derives from the Proto-Indo-European roots hegs, meaning "out of", and upo, "above"; cilium, through Proto-Italic, eventually traces to Proto-Indo-European kel, "to cover". After it was popularized in the sixteenth century, supercilious has decreased in usage more than a hundred times over, now only making up about 0.000035% of words used in English writings.
The chipotle pepper was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in the fifteenth century. After he brought it back to Spain, it rapidly picked up popularity in Europe, but it didn't really get big in America until the fast food chain was founded in 1993 (we can see this from word frequency graphs). The term, along with many others ending in -tl, comes from Nahuatl, in this case from the word chillipoctli, meaning "smoke pepper" (because a chipotle is a smoked jalapeño ). That was composed of chilli, which you should recognize as the etymon for the synonym of "pepper", and poctli, which meant "smoke" and was pronounced with a voiceless alveolar lateral affricate, which is pretty fun. Finally, the nouns are thought to derive from Proto-Nahuan and Proto-Uto-Aztecan, but there is no scholarship reconstructing them.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a sophomore studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.