Etymology
Advertisement
rococo (adj.)

1836, "old-fashioned," from French rococo (19c.), apparently a humorous alteration of rocaille "shellwork, pebble-work" from roche "rock," from Vulgar Latin *rocca "stone." Specifically of furniture or architecture of the time of Louis Quatorze and Louis Quinze, from 1841. If this etymology is correct, the reference likely is to the excessive use of shell designs in this lavish style. For differentiation, see baroque. The general sense of "tastelessly florid or ornate" is from 1844. As a noun, "rococo ornamentation or style," by 1840.

Much of the painting, engraving, porcelain-work, etc., of the time has, too, a real decorative charm, though not of a very high order in art. Hence rococo is used attributively in contempt to note anything feebly pretentious and tasteless in art or literature. [Century Dictionary, 1897] 
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Spenserian (adj.)
1817, from Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599), Elizabethan poet (for the origin of the surname, see Spencer). Spenserian stanza, which he employed in the "Faerie Queen," consists of eight decasyllabic lines and a final Alexandrine, with rhyme scheme ab ab bc bcc.

"The measure soon ceases to be Spenser's except in its mere anatomy of rhyme-arrangement" [Elton, "Survey of English Literature 1770-1880," 1920]; it is the meter in Butler's "Hudibras," Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and notably the "Childe Harold" of Byron, who found (quoting Beattie) that it allowed him to be "either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me; for, if I mistake not, the measure which I have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition."
Related entries & more 
humanist (n.)

1580s, "student of the classical humanities, one accomplished in literature and classical culture," from French humaniste (16c.), formed on model of Italian umanista "student of human affairs or human nature," coined by Italian poet Lodovicio Ariosto (1474-1533), from Latin humanus "human" (see human (adj.).

In this use, the original notion appears to be "human" as opposed to "divine," that is, a student of the human achievements of the pre-Christian authors and philosophers, as opposed to the theological studies of the divines. As "this new-old learning had, or was credited with, a tendency to loosen the hold of the Church upon men's beliefs," humanist also gradually came to mean "free-thinker" [Fowler]. Philosophical sense is from 1903, from Comte's Religion of Humanity (compare humanism), unconnected to the two earlier meanings, "though accidentally near one of them in effect" [Fowler].

Related entries & more 
polite (adj.)

late 14c., "polished, burnished" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Latin politus "refined, elegant, accomplished," literally "polished," past participle of polire "to polish, to make smooth" (see polish (v.)).

The literal sense is obsolete in English; the sense of "elegant, cultured" (of literature, arts, etc.) is from c. 1500; of persons, "refined or cultivated in speech, manner, or behavior," by 1620s. The meaning "behaving courteously, showing consideration for others" is by 1748 (implied in politely). Related: Politeness.

Polite applies to one who shows a polished civility, who has a higher training in ease and gracefulness of manners: politeness is a deeper, more comprehensive, more delicate, and perhaps more genuine thing than civility. Polite, though much abused, is becoming the standard word for the bearing of a refined and kind person toward others. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
Related entries & more 
post-modern (adj.)

also post-modern, post modern, by 1919, in frequent use from 1949, from post- + modern. Of architecture from 1940s; specific sense in the arts emerged 1960s (see postmodernism).

But it has been only during the later decades of the modern era — during that time interval that might fairly be called the post-modern era — that this mechanistic conception of things has begun seriously to affect the current system of knowledge and belief; and it has not hitherto seriously taken effect except in technology and in the material sciences. [Thorstein Veblen, "The Vested Interests and the Common Man," 1919]
So much for the misapplied theory which has helped set the artist's nerves a-quiver and incited him to the extremes of post modern art, literary and other. [Wilson Follett, "Literature and Bad Nerves," Harper's, June 1921]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
light (adj.1)

"not heavy, having little actual weight," from Old English leoht (West Saxon), leht (Anglian), "not heavy, light in weight; lightly constructed; easy to do, trifling; quick, agile," also of food, sleep, etc., from Proto-Germanic *lingkhtaz (source also of Old Norse lettr, Swedish lätt, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch licht, German leicht, Gothic leihts), from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight." The adverb is Old English leohte, from the adjective.

Meaning "frivolous" is from early 13c.; that of "unchaste" from late 14c., both from the notion of "lacking moral gravity" (compare levity). Of literature from 1590s. Light industry (1919) makes use of relatively lightweight materials. The notion in make light of (1520s) is "unimportance." Alternative spelling lite, the darling of advertisers, is first recorded 1962. Light horse "light armed cavalry" is from 1530s. Light-skirts "woman of easy virtue" is attested from 1590s. Lighter-than-air (adj.) is from 1887.

Related entries & more 
rookie (n.)

"raw recruit," 1868, a word popularized by Kipling's "Barrack-Room Ballads" (1892) but one of uncertain origin, perhaps from recruit and influenced by rook (n.1) in its secondary sense, suggesting "easy to cheat." Barrère ["A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant," 1890] has "Rookey (army), a recruit; from the black coat some of them wear," which suggests it is from rook (n.1). The word came into general use in American English during the Spanish-American War.

The rapid growth of a word from a single seed transplanted in a congenial soil is one of the curiosities of literature. Take a single instance. A few weeks ago there was not one American soldier in a thousand who knew there was such a word as "rookey." To-day there are few soldiers and ex-soldiers who have not substituted it for "raw recruit." [The Midland Monthly, December 1898]
Related entries & more 
fugitive (adj.)

late 14c., "fleeing, having fled, having taken flight," from Old French fugitif, fuitif "absent, missing," from Latin fugitivus "fleeing," past-participle adjective from stem of fugere "to flee, fly, take flight, run away; become a fugitive, leave the country, go into exile; pass quickly; vanish, disappear, perish; avoid, shun; escape the notice of, be unknown to," from PIE root *bheug- "to flee" (source also of Greek pheugein "to flee, escape, go into exile, be on the run," phyza "(wild) flight, panic," phyge "flight, exile;" Lithuanian būgstu, būgti "be frightened," bauginti "frighten someone," baugus "timid, nervous;" perhaps also Avestan būj(i)- "penance, atonement," būjat "frees"). Old English had flyma.

Meaning "lasting but a short time, fleeting" is from c. 1500. Hence its use in literature for short compositions written for passing occasions or purposes (1766).

Related entries & more 
lecture (n.)

c. 1300, "written works, literature;" late 14c., "learning from books," from Medieval Latin lectura "a reading," from Latin lectus, past participle of legere "to read," originally "to gather, collect, pick out, choose" (compare elect), from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')." Thus to read is, perhaps, etymologically, to "pick out words."

The sense of "a reading aloud, action of reading aloud" (either in divine worship or to students) in English emerged early 15c. That of "a discourse on a given subject before an audience for purposes of instruction" is from 1530s. Meaning "admonitory speech given with a view to reproof or correction" is from c. 1600. Lecture-room is from 1793; lecture-hall from 1832. In Greek the words still had the double senses relating to "to speak" and "to gather" (apologos "a story, tale, fable;" elaiologos "an olive gatherer").

Related entries & more 
blouse (n.)

"light, loose upper garment of linen or cotton," 1828 (from 1822 as a French word in English), from French blouse, "workman's or peasant's smock" (1788), origin unknown. Perhaps akin to Provençal (lano) blouso "short (wool)" [Gamillscheg]. Another suggestion [Klein] is that it is from Medieval Latin pelusia, from Pelusium, a city in Upper Egypt, supposedly a clothing manufacturing center in the Middle Ages. At first a garment worn by French working-men as a protection from dust, etc., later adopted fashionably for women and children, not without objection:

In Paris, a very slovenly, loose, drawn frock, with most capacious sleeves, had been introduced called a blouse. Some of our priestesses of the toilet seemed emulous of copying this deshabille, with some slight alterations, but we never wish to see it on the symmetrical form of a British lady. ["Summary of Fashion for 1822," in Museum of Foreign Literature and Science, Jan.-June 1823]
Related entries & more 

Page 12