- Old English, from Latin Romanus "of Rome, Roman," from Roma "Rome" (see Rome). The Old English word was romanisc, which yielded Middle English Romanisshe.
As a type of numeral (opposed to Arabic) it is attested from 1728; as a type of lettering (based on Roman inscriptions, opposed to Gothic, or black letter, and italic) it is recorded from 1510s. Roman nose is from 1620s. Roman candle recorded from 1834. Roman Catholic is attested from c.1600, originally a conciliatory formation from the time of the Spanish Match, in place of Romanist, Romish which by that time had the taint of insult in Protestant England.
- roman (n.)
- "a novel," 1765, from French roman, from Old French romanz (see romance); roman à clef, novel in which characters represent real persons, literally "novel with a key" (French), first attested in English 1893.