c. 1300, respounse, "an answer, a reply," from Old French respons (Modern French réponse) and directly from Latin responsum "an answer," noun use of neuter past participle of respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + spondere "to pledge" (see sponsor (n.)).
The transferred sense, of feelings or actions, is from 1815 in poetry and psychology. The meaning "a part of the liturgy said or sung by the congregation in reply to the priest" is by 1650s. Response time attested from 1958.
1670s, "learned Hindu," especially one versed in Sanskrit lore, science, law, or religion, from Hindi payndit "a learned man, master, teacher," from Sanskrit payndita-s "a learned man, scholar," a word of uncertain origin. Broader application in English to "any learned man" is recorded by 1816. Related: Punditry.
"one eminent for learning," especially one engaged in scientific or learned research, 1719, from French savant "a learned man," noun use of adjective savant "learned, knowing," the former present participle of savoir "to know" (modern French sachant), from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise" (see sapient).
"very loud," 1590s, present-participle adjective from deafen (q.v.). Deafening silence "heavy and conspicuous silence," especially as a response to a question, is attested by 1830.