comedian (n.) Look up comedian at Dictionary.com
1580s, "comic poet," later (c.1600) "stage actor in comedies," also, generally, "actor," from Middle French comédien, from comédie (see comedy). Meaning "professional joke-teller, etc." is from 1898.
comedic (adj.) Look up comedic at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Latin comoedicus, from Greek komoidikos "pertaining to comedy," from komoidia (see comedy).
comedienne (n.) Look up comedienne at Dictionary.com
1860, from French comédienne, fem. of comédien (see comedian).
comedo (n.) Look up comedo at Dictionary.com
"blackhead," etc., 1866, from Latin comedo "glutton," from comedere "to eat up" (see comestible). A name formerly given to worms that devour the body; transferred in medical use to secretions that resemble them.
comedy (n.) Look up comedy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French comedie (14c., "a poem," not in the theatrical sense), from Latin comoedia, from Greek komoidia "a comedy, amusing spectacle," probably from komodios "actor or singer in the revels," from komos "revel, carousal, merry-making, festival," + aoidos "singer, poet," from aeidein "to sing," related to oide (see ode).
The passage on the nature of comedy in the Poetic of Aristotle is unfortunately lost, but if we can trust stray hints on the subject, his definition of comedy (which applied mainly to Menander) ran parallel to that of tragedy, and described the art as a purification of certain affections of our nature, not by terror and pity, but by laughter and ridicule. [Rev. J.P. Mahaffy, "A History of Classical Greek Literature," London, 1895]
The classical sense of the word, then, was "amusing play or performance," which is similar to the modern one, but in the Middle Ages the word came to mean poems and stories generally (albeit ones with happy endings), and the earliest English sense is "narrative poem" (such as Dante's "Commedia"). Generalized sense of "quality of being amusing" dates from 1877.
Comedy aims at entertaining by the fidelity with which it presents life as we know it, farce at raising laughter by the outrageous absurdity of the situation or characters exhibited, & burlesque at tickling the fancy of the audience by caricaturing plays or actors with whose style it is familiar. [Fowler]
comely (adj.) Look up comely at Dictionary.com
"beautiful, handsome," c.1400, probably from Old English cymlic "lovely, splendid, finely made," from cyme "exquisite, glorious, delicate," from West Germanic *kumi- "delicate, feeble" (cognates: Old High German chumo "with difficulty," chumig "weak, delicate;" German kaum "hardly, scarcely"). Or perhaps the modern word is from Middle English bicumelic (c.1200) "suitable, exquisite," literally "becomely" (compare becoming).
comer (n.) Look up comer at Dictionary.com
"visitor," mid-14c., agent noun from come. Meaning "one showing promise" is attested from 1879. Phrase all comers "everyone who chooses to come" is recorded from 1560s.
comestible (n.) Look up comestible at Dictionary.com
1837, "article of food," from French comestible (14c.), from Late Latin comestibilis, from Latin comestus, past participle of comedere "eat up, consume," from com- "thoroughly" (see com-) + edere "to eat" (see edible). It was attested earlier as an adjective (late 15c.) meaning "fit to eat" but seems to have fallen from use 17c., and the word was reintroduced from French.
comet (n.) Look up comet at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from Old French comete (12c., Modern French comète), from Latin cometa, from Greek (aster) kometes, literally "long-haired (star)," from kome "hair of the head" (compare koman "let the hair grow long"), of unknown origin. So called from resemblance of a comet's tail to streaming hair.
cometh (v.) Look up cometh at Dictionary.com
obsolete or poetic 2nd and 3rd person singular of come, from Old English cymeð.
comeuppance (n.) Look up comeuppance at Dictionary.com
also comeupance, 1859, presumably rooted in verbal phrase come up "present oneself for judgment before a tribunal" + -ance.
comfit (n.) Look up comfit at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "sugarplum," from Old French confit "preserved fruit," from Latin confectum, from confectionem (see confection).
comfort (v.) Look up comfort at Dictionary.com
late 13c., conforten "to cheer up, console," from Old French conforter "to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen," from Late Latin confortare "to strengthen much" (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis "strong" (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c. Related: Comforted; comforting.
comfort (n.) Look up comfort at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "feeling of relief" (as still in to take comfort in something); also "source of alleviation or relief;" from Old French confort (see comfort (v.)). Replaced Old English frofor. Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from 1650s.
comfortable (adj.) Look up comfortable at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "affording mental comfort," from Anglo-French confortable, from conforter "to comfort" (see comfort (v.)); also see -able. Meaning "offering physical comfort" is attested from 1769; that of "in a state of tranquil enjoyment" is from 1770.
comfortably (adv.) Look up comfortably at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "pleasantly, enjoyably," from comfortable + -ly (2). Meaning "in a state of comfort" is 1630s.
comforter (n.) Look up comforter at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "one who consoles or comforts," from Anglo-French confortour (Old French comforteor), from Vulgar Latin *confortatorem, agent noun from Late Latin confortare (see comfort (v.)). As a kind of scarf, from 1823; as a kind of coverlet, from 1832.
comfy (adj.) Look up comfy at Dictionary.com
1829, colloquial shortening of comfortable.
comic (adj.) Look up comic at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "of comedy in the dramatic sense," from Latin comicus "of comedy, represented in comedy, in comic style," from Greek komikos "of or pertaining to comedy," from komos (see comedy). Meaning "intentionally funny" first recorded 1791, and comedic (1630s) has since picked up the older sense of the word.
Speaking of the masters of the comedic spirit (if I call it, as he does, the Comic Spirit, this darkened generation will suppose me to refer to the animal spirits of tomfools and merryandrews) .... [G.B. Shaw, 1897]
Something that is comic has comedy as its aim or origin; something is comical if the effect is comedy, whether intended or not.
comic (n.) Look up comic at Dictionary.com
"a comedian" is from 1580s, from comic (adj.). Latin adjective comicus also meant "a comic poet, writer of comedies." Meaning "a comic book or comic strip" is from 1889 (Comic strip first attested 1920; comic book is from 1941). Comic relief is attested from 1825.
comical (adj.) Look up comical at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "comic," from comic (or Latin comicus) + -al (1). Meaning "funny" is from 1680s. Earlier Middle English had an identical word meaning "epileptic," from Latin morbus comitialis "epilepsy."
coming (n.) Look up coming at Dictionary.com
late 13c., verbal noun from come (v.). From mid-15c. as a past participle adjective.
comingle (v.) Look up comingle at Dictionary.com
c.1600, the better (because mingle is not from Latin), but less-used, English form of commingle. Related: comingled; comingling.
Comintern (n.) Look up Comintern at Dictionary.com
"Third International," 1919, from contraction of Communist International.
comitatus Look up comitatus at Dictionary.com
Latin collective of comes, comitem "a companion, an associate" (see count (n.)).
comity (n.) Look up comity at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "association," from French comité, from Latin comitas "courtesy, friendliness, kindness, affability," from comis "courteous, friendly, kind," of uncertain origin. Meaning "courtesy" in English is from 1540s. Phrase comity of nations attested from 1862: "The obligation recognized by civilized nations to respect each other's laws and usages as far as their separate interests allow."
comma (n.) Look up comma at Dictionary.com
1520s as a Latin word, nativized by 1590s, from Latin comma "short phrase," from Greek komma "clause in a sentence," literally "piece which is cut off," from koptein "to cut off," from PIE root *kop- "to beat, strike" (see hatchet (n.)). Like colon (n.1) and period, originally a Greek rhetorical term for a part of a sentence, and like them it has been transferred to the punctuation mark that identifies it.
command (v.) Look up command at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French comander "to order, enjoin, entrust" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *commandare, from Latin commendare "to recommend, entrust to" (see commend), altered by influence of Latin mandare "to commit, entrust" (see mandate (n.)). Replaced Old English bebeodan. Related: Commanded; commanding.
command (n.) Look up command at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "order, command," from Old French comand (14c.), from comander (see command (v.)). Meaning "control, authority" is from mid-15c.
commandant (n.) Look up commandant at Dictionary.com
1680s, from French commandant "the one commanding" originally "commanding," present participle of commander (Old French comander) "to order, enjoin;" see command (v.). Similar formation in Spanish and Italian comandante.
commandeer (v.) Look up commandeer at Dictionary.com
1881, from Dutch (especially Afrikaans) kommandeeren "to command" (for military service), from French commander (see command (v.)). Related: Commandeered; commandeering.
commander (n.) Look up commander at Dictionary.com
early 14c., comandur, from Old French comandeor, from comander (see command (v.)). Commander in chief attested from 1650s.
commanding (adj.) Look up commanding at Dictionary.com
late 15c. (in astronomy), present participle adjective from command (v.). Meaning "nobly dignified" is from 1590s. Meaning "dominant by virtue of size or position" is from 1630s. Related: Commandingly (mid-15c.).
commandment (n.) Look up commandment at Dictionary.com
late 13c., "an order from an authority," from Old French comandement "order, command," from Latin *commandamentum, from *commandare (see command (v.)). Pronounced as four syllables until 17c.
Of þe x commandements ... þe first comondement is þis, O God we ssul honuri [c.1280]
commandments (n.) Look up commandments at Dictionary.com
short for The Ten Commandments, attested from late 13c. In Old English they were ða bebodu.
commando (n.) Look up commando at Dictionary.com
Afrikaans, "a troop under a commander," from Portuguese, literally "party commanded" (see command (v.)); in use c.1809 during the Peninsula campaign, then from 1834, in a South African sense, of military expeditions of the Boers against the natives; modern sense is from 1940 (originally shock troops to repel the threatened German invasion of England), first attested in writings of Winston Churchill, who could have picked it up during the Boer War. Phrase going commando "not wearing underwear" attested by 1996, U.S. slang, perhaps on notion of being ready for instant action.
comme il faut Look up comme il faut at Dictionary.com
1756, French, literally "as it should be;" from comme "as, like, how," from Old French com, from Vulgar Latin quomo, from Latin quomodo "how? in what way?," pronomial adverb of manner, related to quam "how much?," qui "who" (see who).
commedia dell'arte (n.) Look up commedia dell'arte at Dictionary.com
1877, Italian, literally "comedy of art;" see comedy + art (n.).
commemorate (v.) Look up commemorate at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Latin commemoratus, past participle of commemorare "bring to remembrance" (see commemoration). Related: Commemorated; commemorates; commemorating.
commemoration (n.) Look up commemoration at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "a calling to mind," also "service or church festival commemorating something," from Old French comemoration, from Latin commemorationem (nominative commemoratio) "reminding, mention," noun of action from past participle stem of commemorare "to call to mind," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + memorare "to remind," from memor "mindful of" (see memory).
commemorative (adj.) Look up commemorative at Dictionary.com
1610s, from commemorate + -ive. As a noun meaning "means of commemoration" it is recorded from 1630s; as short for commemorative postage stamp from 1916.
commen Look up commen at Dictionary.com
obsolete spelling of common.
commence (v.) Look up commence at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French comencier "to begin, start" (10c., Modern French commencer), from Vulgar Latin *cominitiare, originally "to initiate as priest, consecrate," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + initiare "to initiate," from initium (see initial (adj.)). Spelling with double -m- began in French and was established in English by 1500. Related: Commenced; commencing.
commencement (n.) Look up commencement at Dictionary.com
late 13c., "beginning," from Old French comencement "beginning, start" (Modern French commencement), from comencier (see commence). Meaning "school graduation ceremony" attested by 1850, American English. (Sense "entrance upon the privileges of a master or doctor in a university" is from late 14c.)
I know what you are thinking of -- the class members grouped in a semicircle on the stage, the three scared boys in new ready-made black suits, the seventeen pretty girls in fluffy white dresses (the gowns of the year), each senior holding a ribbon-tied manuscript bulging with thoughts on "Beyond the Alps Lies Italy," "Our Ship is Launched -- Whither Shall it Sail?" and similar topics. [Charles Moreau Harger, "The Real Commencement," "New Outlook," May 8, 1909]
commend (v.) Look up commend at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., comenden, from Latin commendare "to commit to the care or keeping (of someone), to entrust to; to commit to writing;" hence "to set off, render agreeable, praise," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + mandare "to commit to one's charge" (see mandate (n.)). In some senses, a shortening of recommend. Related: Commended; commending.
commendable (adj.) Look up commendable at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Middle French commendable, from Latin commendabilis "praiseworthy," from commendare (see commend). Related: Commendably.
commendation (n.) Look up commendation at Dictionary.com
"expression of approval," late 14c. (from c.1200 as the name of one of the Offices of the Dead), from Old French commendacion "approval, praise," from Latin commendationem (nominative commendatio) "recommendation, commendation," noun of action from past participle stem of commendare (see commend).
commensal (n.) Look up commensal at Dictionary.com
"one who eats at the same table" (as another), c.1400, from Old French commensal (15c.), from Medieval Latin commensalis, from com- "together" (see com-) + mensa (genitive mensalis) "table" (see mesa). Biological sense attested from 1870.
commensalism (n.) Look up commensalism at Dictionary.com
1870, from commensal + -ism.
commensurable (adj.) Look up commensurable at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Late Latin commensurabilis "having a common measure," from com- "together with" (see com-) + Latin mensurabilis "that can be measured," from mensurare "to measure," from mensura "measure" (see measure (v.)).