c. 1200, "free from duplicity, upright, guileless; blameless, innocently harmless," also "ignorant, uneducated; unsophisticated; simple-minded, foolish," from Old French simple (12c.) "plain, decent; friendly, sweet; naive, foolish, stupid," hence "wretched, miserable," from Latin simplus from PIE compound *sm-plo-, from root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with" + *-plo- "-fold."
Sense of "free from pride, humble, meek" is mid-13c. As "consisting of only one substance or ingredient" (opposite of composite or compounded) it dates from late 14c.; as "easily done" (opposite of complicated) it dates from late 15c.
From mid-14c. as "unqualified; mere; sheer;" also "clear, straightforward; easily understood." From late 14c. as "single, individual; whole." From late 14c. of clothing, etc., "modest, plain, unadorned," and of food, "plain, not sumptuous." In medicine, of fractures, etc., "lacking complications," late 14c. As a law term, "lacking additional legal stipulations, unlimited," from mid-14c.
In Middle English with wider senses than recently, such as "inadequate, insufficient; weak, feeble; mere; few; sad, downcast; mournful; of little value; low in price; impoverished, destitute;" of hair, "straight, not curly." As noun, "an innocent or a guileless person; a humble or modest person" (late 14c.), also "an uncompounded substance." From c. 1500 as "ignorant people."
verb ("to ejaculate") and noun ("semen"), by 1973, apparently a variant of come in the sexual sense that originated in pornographic writing, perhaps first in the noun. This "experience sexual orgasm" slang meaning of come (perhaps originally come off) is attested by 1650, in "Walking In A Meadowe Greene," in a folio of "loose songs" collected by Bishop Percy.
They lay soe close together,
they made me much to wonder;
I knew not which was wether,
vntill I saw her vnder.
then off he came & blusht for shame
soe soone that he had endit;
yet still shee lyes, & to him cryes,
"Once More, & none can mend it."
It probably is older and disguised in puns, e.g. "I come, I come, sweet death, rock me a-sleep!" ["Nashe His Dildo," 1590s]
As a noun meaning "semen or other product of orgasm" come is attested by the 1920s.
The sexual cum seems to have no connection with Latin cum, the preposition meaning "with, together with, in connection with" (an archaic form of com; see com-) which English uses on occasion in names of combined parishes or benefices (such as Chorlton-cum-Hardy), in popular Latin phrases (such as cum laude), or as a combining word to indicate a dual nature or function (such as slumber party-cum-bloodbath).
Old English swat "perspiration, moisture exuded from the skin," also "labor, that which causes sweat," from Proto-Germanic *swaitaz "sweat" (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian swet, Old Norse sveiti, Danish sved "sweat," Swedish svett, Middle Dutch sweet, Dutch zweet, Old High German sweiz, German Schweiß), from PIE *sweid- (2) "to sweat" (source also of Sanskrit svedah "sweat," Avestan xvaeda- "sweat," Greek hidros "sweat, perspiration," Latin sudor, Lettish swiedri, Welsh chwys "sweat").
A widespread set of Slavic words (Polish, Russian pot "sweat") is from Old Church Slavonic potu, related to peku "heat," cognate with Latin coquere.
The Old English noun became Middle English swote, but later altered to the current form under the influence of the verb. Sweat of (one's) brow as a symbol of toil is from Genesis iii.19. Sweat equity is from 1968. Colloquial no sweat "no problem" is attested by 1953, said to be originally U.S. military jargon from the Korean War.
The universal and all-inclusive word today is "sweat." It covers just about everything: "no sweat" means no trouble, no cause for worry, nothing fouled up, don't fret. "It's a sweat" means a patrol looks tough, or an order to dig some more trench is an outrage, or simply that everything is messed up as usual. ["A Frontline Picture No Camera Could Get," Life magazine, March 16, 1953]
region in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from Munsee Delaware (Algonquian) chwewamink "at the big river flat," from /xw-/ "big" + /-e:wam-/ "river flat" + /-enk/ "place." Popularized by 1809 poem "Gertrude of Wyoming," set amid wars between Indians and American settlers, written by Scottish author Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), who seems to have had a vague or defective notion of Pennsylvania geography:
On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!
et cetera. Subsequently applied 19c. to other locations (in Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin), and to a western territory organized July 25, 1868 (admitted as a state 1890).
On the same day there was debate in the Senate over the name for the new Territory. Territories often keep their names when they become States, so we may be glad that "Cheyenne," to be pronounced "Shy-en," was not adopted. "Lincoln" was rejected for an obvious and, no doubt, sound reason. Apparently, nobody had a better name to offer, though there must be plenty of Indian words that could properly be used, and, for the present, the insignificant "Wyoming" is retained. [The Nation, June 11, 1868]
Middle English mirie, from Old English myrge "pleasing, agreeable, pleasant, sweet, exciting feelings of enjoyment and gladness" (said of grass, trees, the world, music, song); also as an adverb, "pleasantly, melodiously," from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz, which probably originally meant "short-lasting," (compare Old High German murg "short," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten"), from PIE root *mregh-u- "short." The only exact cognate for meaning outside English was Middle Dutch mergelijc "joyful."
The connection to "pleasure" likely was via the notion of "making time fly, that which makes the time seem to pass quickly" (compare German Kurzweil "pastime," literally "a short time;" Old Norse skemta "to amuse, entertain, amuse oneself," from skamt, neuter of skammr "short"). There also was a verbal form in Old English, myrgan "be merry, rejoice." For vowel evolution, see bury (v.).
Not originally applied to humorous moods or speech or conduct, yet the word had a much wider senses in Middle English than modern: "pleasant-sounding" (of animal voices), "fine" (of weather), "handsome" (of dress), "pleasant-tasting" (of herbs). The evolution of the modern senses is probably via the meaning "pleased by a certain event or situation or state of things" (c. 1200). Of persons, "cheerful by disposition or nature; playfully cheerful, enlivened with gladness or good spirits," by mid-14c.
Merry-bout "an incident of sexual intercourse" was low slang from 1780. Merry-begot "illegitimate" (adj.), also "bastard" (n.) are in Grose (1785). Merrie England (now frequently satirical or ironic) is c. 1400, meri ingland, originally in a broader sense of "bountiful, prosperous." Merry Monday was a 16c. term for "the Monday before Shrove Tuesday" (Mardi Gras).