The city of Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a Spanish colonial outpost. It was named after the viceroy of Mexico at the time, the Duque de Alburquerque; the first r was eventually lost due to confusion with Portuguese general Alfonso d'Albuquerque. Eventually, it doesn't matter, though, because both names come from a town on the border of Portugal and Spain called Alburquerque. That means "white oak"; it's composed of Latin albus, meaning "white" (from Proto-Indo-European albho, same definition) and quercus, meaning "oak" (through Proto-Italic kwerkus, from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction prkeu, also "oak"). This is especially cool when you consider that the name Arizona may come from a Basque word for "good oaks" - the Southwest seems to have a lot of etymological oaks.
Our noun honor comes from the eleventh-century word onur, which had more of a definition of "glory" or "fame". That, through Old French onor, traces to Latin honos, also meaning "position" and "reputation". The word-initial letter h was originally lost because people weren't pronouncing it (much like today), but when classical languages started making a comeback in the fifteenth century, people started reattaching it to look fancier. Honos has an unknown origin, but probably derives from a similar Proto-Indo-European root sounding like gon. You surely have noticed that most non-American countries spell honor as honour; that's because early Noah Webster dictionaries preferred the shorter word while British lexicographer Samuel Johnson wrote the u in his dictionaries, and the US and UK just stuck with those forms, respectively.
The word hobnob was first used in the 1760s as a verb meaning "to alternate toasting each other" while drinking. About a hundred years later, this morphed into the definition of "to socialize" that we know and use today. The word is a combination of the phrase hob and nob (sometimes hob or nob), which can sort of be translated as "give and take", describing how people alternate between buying rounds of drinks. That traces to the dialectal term hab nab, "to have and have not". Hab is a rare word deriving from Old English habban, meaning "possess" (the etymon of have); that, through Proto-Germanic habjana, is reconstructed to Proto-Indo-European kehp, "to seize". Nab is from nabban, which is basically habban but just negated with the prefix ne-, meaning "not".
Starting in the 1960s, the phrase shoe-in started to be used as a misspelling of shoo-in, and usage has exponentially increased since then. Maybe someday we'll see the former replace the latter; right now, shoo-in is only used three times more than shoe-in, and that gap is decreasing, so that's interesting to observe. Shoo-in actually has a really fascinating history: it traces to rigged horse races in the 1930s, when some paid-off jockeys would drop back to let a chosen horse win. The idea was that the competitions were so obviously fixed that it almost resembled the other contestants shooing the chosen horse toward the finish line. That gradually grew to have less of a cheating connotation and be more associated with things that seem guaranteed in general.
When the word illusion was borrowed in the mid-fourteenth century from Old French, it meant "scorning" or "derision". Over time, this grew to be less negative and more associated with sensory confusion. The word comes from Latin illusionem, which meant "mocking" or "jeering". That traces to illudere, a verb for "mock" that literally meant "to play with". It contains the prefix in-, meaning "at" or "upon", and the main part is ludere, "to play". This also shows up in words like prelude, ludicrous, and collusion - but those are stories for another time. Ludere comes from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction leyd, also meaning "to play". Since it was popularized in the early eighteenth century, illusion has been increasing in usage, with peaking in the year 1971.
The word harass was taken as a loanword from French in the early 1600s. For a while, it was spelled with two letter rs, but by the eighteenth century almost everybody was just using one. It peaked in usage in literature in 1807 and has been decreasing since. The French verb it was taken from, harasser, could mean "to repeatedly attack", "to tire out", or "to devastate". Since it wasn't a very common word, that has a bit of an obscure origin, but etymologists think it's from harer, which meant "to set a dog upon". Harer, also thought to influence the word harry ("repeatedly attack"), is from Old Frankish hara, which meant "over here" (as in calling a dog somewhere), and that, through Proto-Germanic hi, derives from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction ko, a demonstrative pronoun meaning "this".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.