c. 1400, "to take pleasure, to amuse oneself," from Old French desporter, deporter "to divert, amuse, please, play; to seek amusement," literally "carry away" (the mind from serious matters), from des- "away" (see dis-) + porter "to carry," from Latin portare "to carry" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over"). Compare disport (v.), which is the older form.
Restricted sense of "amuse oneself by active exercise in open air or taking part in some game" is from late 15c. Meaning "to wear" is from 1778. Related: Sported; sporting.
early 15c., "pleasant pastime," shortening of disport "activity that offers amusement or relaxation; entertainment, fun" (c. 1300), also "a pastime or game; flirtation; pleasure taken in such activity" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French disport, Old French desport, deport "pleasure, enjoyment, delight; solace, consolation; favor, privilege," related to desporter, deporter "to divert, amuse, please, play" (see sport (v.)), also compare disport (n.).
Original sense preserved in phrases such as in sport "in jest" (mid-15c.). Meaning "game involving physical exercise" first recorded 1520s. Sense of "stylish man" is from 1861, American English, probably because they lived by gambling and betting on races. Meaning "good fellow" is attested from 1881 (as in be a sport, 1913). Sport as a familiar form of address to a man is from 1935, Australian English. The sport of kings was originally (1660s) war-making. Other, lost senses of Middle English disport were "consolation, solace; a source of comfort."
1786, from verbal phrase (attested by 1711) in reference to one who "ruins" the "fun;" see spoil (v.) + sport (n.). Compare Chaucer's letgame "hinderer of pleasure" (late 14c.), from obsolete verb let (Middle English letten) "hinder, prevent, stop" (see let (n.)). Another old word for it was addle-plot "person who spoils any amusement" (1690s; see addle).
atheltic games and contests, 1590s, from sport (n.). Meaning "sports section of a newspaper" is 1913. As an adjective from 1897. Sports fan attested from 1921. Sports car attested by 1914; so called for its speed and power:
I have just returned from the south of France, passing through Lyons, where I visited the [Berliet] works with my car, and was shown the new model 25 h.p. "sports" car, and was so impressed with this that I immediately ordered one on my return to London. [letter in The Autocar, Jan. 7, 1914]
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.
The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").
In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to lead, pass over." A verbal root associated with *per- (1), which forms prepositions and preverbs with the basic meaning "forward, through; in front of, before," etc.
It forms all or part of: aporia; asportation; comport; deport; disport; emporium; Euphrates; export; fare; farewell; fartlek; Ferdinand; fere; fern; ferry; firth; fjord; ford; Fuhrer; gaberdine; import; important; importune; opportune; opportunity; passport; porch; pore (n.) "minute opening;" port (n.1) "harbor;" port (n.2) "gateway, entrance;" port (n.3) "bearing, mien;" port (v.) "to carry;" portable; portage; portal; portcullis; porter (n.1) "person who carries;" porter (n.2) "doorkeeper, janitor;" portfolio; portico; portiere; purport; practical; rapport; report; sport; support; transport; warfare; wayfarer; welfare.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit parayati "carries over;" Greek poros "journey, passage, way," peirein "to pierce, pass through, run through;" Latin portare "to carry," porta "gate, door," portus "port, harbor," originally "entrance, passage," peritus "experienced;" Avestan peretush "passage, ford, bridge;" Armenian hordan "go forward;" Old Welsh rit, Welsh rhyd "ford;" Old Church Slavonic pariti "to fly;" Old English faran "to go, journey," Old Norse fjörðr "inlet, estuary."