c. 1400, massif, "forming or consisting of a large mass, having great size and weight or solidity," from Old French massif "bulky, solid," from masse "lump" (see mass (n.1)). Of immaterial things, "substantial, great or imposing in scale," 1580s. Related: Massively; massiveness.
U.S. Cold War deterrent strategy of massive retaliation "threat of using thermonuclear weapons in response to aggression against the United States or its allies by the Soviet Union," whether nuclear or conventional, was introduced by Secretary of State J.F. Dulles in a speech on Jan. 12, 1954.
"large block of mountains, more or less distinctly defined; a central mountain mass, the dominant part of a range of mountains," 1885, from French massif "bulky, solid" (see massive), also used as a noun in French, as in Massif Central, name of the plateau in the middle of southern France.
"massive structure used as a breakwater," 1540s, from French môle "breakwater" (16c.), ultimately from Latin moles "mass, massive structure, barrier," perhaps from PIE root *mō- "to exert oneself" (source also of Greek molos "effort," molis "hardly, scarcely;" German mühen "to tire," müde "weary, tired;" Russian majat' "to fatigue, exhaust," maja "hard work").
1620s, massive, flightless, defenseless bird (Didus ineptus) of Mauritius island, said to be from Portuguese doudo "fool, simpleton," an insult applied by Portuguese sailors to the awkward creatures. The last record of a living one is from July 1681. Applied in English to stupid persons by 1886. Compare booby.
1560s, "to destroy the structural character of (a building, wall, etc.), by violently pulling it to pieces," from French demoliss-, present-participle stem of démolir "to destroy, tear down" (late 14c.), from Latin demoliri "tear down," from de "down" (see de-) + moliri "build, construct," from moles (genitive molis) "massive structure" (see mole (n.3)). Figurative sense of "to destroy, lay waste" is from 1610s; humorously, "to consume," by 1756. Related: Demolished; demolishing.
word-forming element in science meaning "thick, large, massive," from Latinized form of Greek pakhys "thick, fat, well-fed, dense, stout," from PIE *bhengh- "thick, fat" (source also of Sanskrit bahu- "much, numerous;" Avestan bazah- "height, depth;" Armenian bazum "much;" Hittite pankush "large," panku- (adj.) "total;" Old Norse bingr "heap," Old High German bungo "a bulb;" Latvian biezs "thick").
late 15c., "blunt, dull" (in manners), from Dutch plomp "blunt, thick, massive, stumpy," probably related to plompen "fall or drop heavily" (see plump (v.)). Meaning "full and well-rounded," of a person, "fleshy, chubby," is from 1540s in English. Danish and Swedish plump "rude, coarse, clumsy" are from the Low German word and represent a different sense development. Middle English plump (n.) "a compact group of people, a crowd" (c. 1400) perhaps is from Middle Dutch as well.
1838, from French pachyderme (c. 1600), adopted as a biological term for non-ruminant hoofed quadrupeds 1797 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832), from Greek pakhydermos "thick-skinned," from pakhys "thick, large, massive" (see pachy-) + derma "skin" (from PIE root *der- "to split, flay, peel," with derivatives referring to skin and leather). Cuvier's order of Pachydermata is now disused in zoology, but pachyderm remains in common use to describe elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, etc. Related: Pachydermal; pachydermic; pachydermatous.