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particle expressing separation, from West Germanic *ti- (cf. Old Frisian ti-, Old High German zi-, German zer-), from Proto-Germanic *tiz-, cognate with Latin-derived dis-. Some 125 compound verbs with this element are recorded in Old English; their number declined rapidly in Middle English and disappeared by c.1500 except as conscious archaisms.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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