Etymology
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program (n.)

1630s, "public notice," from Late Latin programma "proclamation, edict," from Greek programma "a written public notice," from stem of prographein "to write publicly," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

 The meaning "written or printed list of pieces at a concert, playbill" is recorded by 1805 and retains the original sense. The sense of "broadcasting presentation" is from 1923.

The general sense of "a definite plan or scheme, method of operation or line of procedure prepared or announced beforehand" is recorded from 1837. The computer sense of "series of coded instructions which directs a computer in carrying out a specific task: is from 1945.

The sense of "objects or events suggested by music" is from 1854 (program music is attested by 1877). Spelling programme, established in Britain, is from French in modern use and began to be used early 19c., originally especially in the "playbill" sense.

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divide (v.)

early 14c., "separate into parts or pieces," from Latin dividere "to force apart, cleave, distribute," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -videre "to separate," which, according to de Vaan, is from PIE *(d)uid- "to separate, distinguish" (source also of Sanskrit avidhat "allotted," Old Avestan vida- "to devote oneself to"). He writes: "The original PIE verb ... (which became thematic in Latin) meant 'to divide in two, separate'. It lost initial *d- through dissimilation in front of the next dental stop, and was reinforced by dis- in Latin ...." Also compare devise.

It is attested from late 14c. as "sever the union or connection with," also "disunite, cause to disagree in opinion." Intransitive sense of "become separated into parts" is from 1520s. Mathematical sense "perform the operation of division" is from early 15c. Divide and rule (c. 1600) translates Latin divide et impera, a maxim of Machiavelli. Related: Divided; dividing.

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desk (n.)

mid-14c., "table especially adapted for convenience in reading or writing," from Medieval Latin desca "table to write on" (mid-13c.), ultimately from Latin discus "quoit, platter, dish," from Greek diskos (see disk (n.)).

The Medieval Latin word is perhaps via Italian desco. Used figuratively of office or clerical work since 1797. Meaning "a department responsible for a particular subject or operation at a large organization" is by 1918, probably earlier, though it is not always possible tell whether a literal desk is meant or not. Sense of "reception desk at a hotel, etc." is by 1963. Desk job, one that is done at a desk as opposed to at a work-bench or in the field, is attested by 1900; desk-work "work done at a desk" is by 1826.

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racer (n.)

"one who or that which races," 1640s of persons, 1660s of horses, 1793 of vehicles, by 1809 in American English in reference to a type of snake; agent nouns from race (v.).

WHEN a lad, I lived with my father in the then province of New Jersey, where the black snake, with a white throat, commonly called the racer, as well as the rattle snake, and other serpents, are frequently met with ; and I never remember to have heard any one dispute the power of charming belonging to several species of serpents, but more common to the black snake, called the racer, which I have twice seen in the operation. ["Extract from a letter from Samuel Beach, dated Whiting, July 24, 1795," in appendix to Samuel Williams, "The Natural and Civil History of Vermont," 2nd ed., 1809]
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realm (n.)

c. 1300, reaume, "kingdom, domain under a sovereign, royal jurisdiction," from Old French reaume, later realme, variants (in part by influence of Old French reial "regal," from Latin  regalis) of roiaume "kingdom."

This is possibly from a Gallo-Romance *regiminem, "formed as an accusative on Latin regimen government, rule" [Barnhart; see regimen], or from or as if from Vulgar Latin *regalimen "a kingdom," from Latin regalis [Century Dictionary, OED; see regal], or some combination of the two [Klein]. Realty and royalty tended to come out of Old French in similar forms, and roylty in Middle English also could be spelled realty. (14c., from Old French reaute, realte).

The modern spelling predominates from c. 1600. Transferred or figurative sense of "sphere of activity; area of power, influence, or operation" is from late 14c.

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problem (n.)

late 14c., probleme, "a difficult question proposed for discussion or solution; a riddle; a scientific topic for investigation," from Old French problème (14c.) and directly from Latin problema, from Greek problēma "a task, that which is proposed, a question;" also "anything projecting, headland, promontory; fence, barrier;" also "a problem in geometry," literally "thing put forward," from proballein "propose," from pro "forward" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward") + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach").

The meaning "a difficulty" is mid-15c. Mathematical sense of "proposition requiring some operation to be performed" is from 1560s in English. Problem child, one in which problems of a personal or social character are manifested, is recorded by 1916. Phrase _______ problem in reference to a persistent and seemingly insoluble difficulty is attested from at least 1882, in Jewish problem. Response no problem "that is acceptable; that can be done without difficulty" is recorded from 1968.

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quarterstaff (n.)

also quarter-staff, 1540s (quarter-stroke "stroke with a quarterstaff" is attested from early 15c.), an old weapon formed from a stout pole, six to eight feet long (six-and-a-half sometimes is given as the standard length), tipped with iron, formerly a weapon characteristic of the English peasantry. From staff (n.); the quarter in it is of uncertain signification. According to one theory, favored by fencing manuals, etc., it likely is in reference to operation of the weapon:

It was grasped by one hand in the middle, and by the other between the middle and the end. In the attack the latter hand shifted from one quarter of the staff to the other, giving the weapon a rapid circular motion, which brought the ends on the adversary at unexpected points. [Century Dictionary]

Linguists tend to prefer an explanation from woodcutting, perhaps a reference to a cut of lumber known as a quarter, but contemporary evidence is wanting for either conjecture.

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base (n.)

"bottom of anything considered as its support, foundation, pedestal," early 14c., from Old French bas "depth" (12c.), from Latin basis "foundation," from Greek basis "a stepping, a step, that on which one steps or stands, pedestal," from bainein "to go, walk, step," from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come."

The military sense "secure ground from which operations proceed" is from 1860. The chemical sense "compound substance which unites with an acid to form a salt" (1810) was introduced in French 1754 by French chemist Guillaume-François Rouelle (1703-1770). Sporting sense of "starting point" is from 1690s, also "destination of a runner" (1812). As a "safe" spot in a tag-like or ball game, suggested from mid-15c. (as the name of the game later called prisoner's base). Hence base-runner (1867), base-hit (1874), etc. Meaning "resources on which something draws for operation" (as in power-base, database, etc.) is by 1959.

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abortion (n.)
Origin and meaning of abortion

1540s, "the expulsion of the fetus before it is viable," originally of deliberate as well as unintended miscarriages; from Latin abortionem (nominative abortio) "miscarriage; abortion, procuring of an untimely birth," noun of action from past-participle stem of aboriri "to miscarry, be aborted, fail, disappear, pass away," a compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc., which according to OED is from ab, here as "amiss" (see ab-), + stem of oriri "appear, be born, arise" (see origin).

Meaning "product of an untimely birth" is from 1630s; earlier in this sense was abortive (early 14c.). Another earlier noun in English for "miscarriage" was abort (early 15c.). In the Middle English translation of Guy de Chauliac's "Grande Chirurgie" (early 15c.) Latin aborsum is used for "stillbirth, forced abortion." Abortment is attested from c. 1600; aborsement from 1530s, both archaic. Aborticide (1875) is illogical. Compare miscarriage.

In 19c. some effort was made to distinguish abortion "expulsion of the fetus between 6 weeks and 6 months" from miscarriage (the same within 6 weeks of conception) and premature labor (delivery after 6 months but before due time). The deliberate miscarriage was criminal abortion. This broke down late 19c. as abortion came to be used principally for intentional miscarriages, probably via phrases such as procure an abortion.

Criminal abortion is premeditated or intentional abortion procured, at any of pregnancy, by artificial means, and solely for the purpose of preventing the birth of a living child : feticide. At common law the criminality depended on the abortion being caused after quickening. [Century Dictionary, 1899]

Foeticide (n.) appears 1823 as a forensic medical term for deliberate premature fatal expulsion of the fetus; also compare prolicide. Another 19c. medical term for it was embryoctony, with second element from a Latinized form of Greek kteinein "to destroy." Abortion was a taboo word for much of early 20c., disguised in print as criminal operation (U.S.) or illegal operation (U.K.), and replaced by miscarriage in film versions of novels. Abortium "hospital specializing in abortions," is from 1934, in a Soviet Union context.

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exercise (n.)

mid-14c., "condition of being in active operation; practice for the sake of training," from Old French exercice (13c.) "exercise, execution of power; physical or spiritual exercise," from Latin exercitium "training, physical exercise" (of soldiers, horsemen, etc.); "play;" in Medieval Latin also of arts, from exercitare, frequentative of exercere "keep busy, keep at work, oversee, engage busily; train, exercise; practice, follow; carry into effect; disturb, disquiet," from ex "off" (see ex-) + arcere "keep away, prevent; contain, enclose," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane).

The original notion in the Latin verb is obscure. Meaning "physical activity for fitness, etc." first recorded in English late 14c. Also from late 14c. as "a carrying out of an action; a doing or practicing; a disciplinary task." In reference to written schoolwork from early 17c. The ending was abstracted for formations such as dancercise (1967); jazzercise (1977); and boxercise (1985).

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