First recorded use in 1930. From the name of an American soft drink made since 1885 to which advertisement ascribed many beneficial properties directly but also indirectly by using the same name as a patent medicine first manufactured in 1878. The word appears in very many place names in Maine, especially of falls and ponds, and is perhaps ultimately from Abenaki [Term?] (“dark water”).
- Nerve, spunk, strength of character.
- Wit, smarts, skill.
- Synonym: know-how
The origin of this word as the name of a popular product marketed as a cure-all may help to understand the logic behind the plurality of its similar meanings:
The meanings can be grouped into "cures" for the problems of feeling too weak in spirit, body, or mind; in other words, of being overwhelmed/helpless, exhausted/listless, or confused/perplexed.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.