1530s, "to satisfy, satiate, fill full" (senses now obsolete), from Latin saturatus, past participle of saturare "to fill full, sate, drench," from satur "sated, full" (from PIE root *sa- "to satisfy").
In chemistry, the meaning "to impregnate or unite with until no more can be received" is from 1680s; the general sense of "soak thoroughly, imbue (with)" is by 1756. The commercial sense of "oversupply" (a market, with a product) is by 1958. As a noun, "a saturated fat," by 1959. Related: Saturated; saturating.
It forms all or part of: assets; hadron; sad; sate; satiate; satiety; satisfy; satire; saturate; saturation.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit a-sinvan "insatiable;" Greek hadros "thick, bulky;" Latin satis "enough, sufficient;" Old Church Slavonic sytu, Lithuanian sotus "satiated;" Old Irish saith "satiety," sathach "sated;" Old English sæd "sated, full, having had one's fill, weary of."
1550s, "act of supplying to fullness, complete satisfaction of an appetite" (Coverdale, a sense now obsolete), formed in English from saturate (q.v.), or else from Late Latin saturationem (nominative saturatio) "a filling, saturating," noun of action from past-participle stem of saturare "to fill full."
The sense in chemistry is by 1670s, "impregnation until no more can be received;" the general sense of "action of thoroughly soaking with fluid, condition of being soaked" is by 1846. By 1964 in reference to a type of color adjustment on a television screen; earlier it had been used in chromatics for "degree of intensity" (1878). Saturation bombing is from 1942 in reference to mass Allied air raids on Cologne and other German cities; the idea is credited to Arthur Harris.
"Saturation bombing," dropping as much as fifty-one tons a minute, depends on clockwork precision and a gigantic organization behind the lines. In the famous German raid on Coventry, 225 tons were dropped over a period of eight hours. In the British raid on Hamburg on July 27-28, 1943, more than 2,300 tons were dropped in forty-five minutes. A single raid of this type uses more than 100,000 air and ground personnel. [British Information Services, "The First Four Years," 1943]
late 14c., "state or quality of being humid," from Old French humidité, umidité "dampness, humidity," from Latin humiditatem (nominative humiditas), from humidus "moist, wet" (see humid). In meteorology, "a measure of moisture in the air compared with the amount required to saturate it under current conditions, from 1820 (the full phrase, relative humidity, is by 1819).
c. 1200, "to submerge, sink; drown, kill by drowning," from Old English drencan "give drink to, ply with drink, make drunk; soak, saturate; submerge, drown," causative of drincan "to drink" (see drink (v.)), from Proto-Germanic *drankijan (source also of Old Norse drekkja, Swedish dränka, Dutch drenken, German tränken, Gothic dragkjan "to give to drink").
The sense of "to wet thoroughly by throwing liquid over" is by 1550s. For similar causal pairs, compare stink and stench, cling and clench, shrink and Middle English shrench "cause to shrink." Related: Drenched; drenching.