mid-14c., resistence, "moral or political opposition;" late 14c., "military or armed physical opposition by force; difficulty, trouble," from Old French resistance, earlier resistence, and directly from Medieval Latin resistentia, from present-participle stem of Latin resistere "make a stand against, oppose" (see resist).
From 1580s as "power or capacity of resisting." The meaning "organized covert opposition to an occupying or ruling power" [OED] is from 1939. The electromagnetic sense of "non-conductivity" is from 1760. Also used in science and engineering with a sense of "force exerted by a medium to retard motion through it," hence the figurative phrase path of least resistance "easiest method or course" (1825), earlier a term in physical sciences and engineering.
"most important piece or feature," 1831, from French pièce de résistance, originally "the most substantial dish in a meal." Literally "piece of resistance;" there seems to be disagreement as to the exact signification.
early 15c., repugnaunce, "logical contradiction, inconsistency; incompatibility; resistance, opposition"(senses now obsolete), from Old French repugnance "opposition, resistance" (13c.) or directly from Latin repugnantia "incompatibility," from stem of repugnare "resist, disagree, be incompatible," from re- "back" (see re-) + pugnare "to fight" (from PIE root *peuk- "to prick"). The meaning "mental opposition or antagonism, aversion, strong dislike" is from 1640s. Related: Repugnancy.
"to revolt against lawful authority, with or without armed resistance, especially in the army or navy," 1580s, from mutiny (n.). Alternative mutine is recorded from 1550s. Related: Mutinied; mutinying.
1550s, "slowness, a making slower, retardation," from French retardance, from retarder (see retard (v.)). It seems to persist in reference to resistance to fire, in which sense it dates from 1921. Related: Retardancy.