The word fracas is quite a pulchritudinous noun that's basically a synonym of "chaos" or "ruckus". It was introduced to the English language in 1727 by Lady Mary Montagu, a well-traveled poet and vaccination enthusiast. Thereafter, the word rapidly grew more popular, reaching widespread usage in the late eighteenth century. Montagu borrowed it from French, where it especially denoted loud noises or crashes. That came in the 1400s from Italian fracassare, which is a weird word because it combined and shortened Latin infra- ("below"; from Proto-Indo-European hndi, "under") and Italian cassare, "to smash". Combining those two parts from different eras of lingual evolution, infracassare meant "to smash into pieces". Cassare is from Latin quassare, which meant "to shake" and comes from PIE keht, with the same meaning.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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.