mid-13c., "an opening, an aperture;" early 15c. as "an introductory proposal, something offered to open the way to some conclusion," from Old French overture "opening; proposal" (Modern French ouverture), from Latin apertura "opening," from aperire "to open, uncover" (see overt).
The orchestral sense of "a movement serving as a prelude or introduction to an extended work" in English is recorded from 1660s.
1640s, "right as opposed to left," from Medieval Latin dexteralis "on the right," from Latin dexter "right, opposite of left," from PIE root *deks-. From 1871 as "right-handed." By 1818 in reference to univalve shells, "having the aperture on the right side when held upright in front of the observer with the apex upward." Related: Dextrally; dextrality.
1560s, "break or opening" in a material object, especially in anatomy, from Latin hiatus "opening, aperture, rupture, gap," from past participle stem of hiare "to gape, stand open," from PIE root *ghieh- "to yawn, gape, be wide open." Sense of "gap or interruption in events, etc.;" "space from which something requisite to completeness is absent" [Century Dictionary] is recorded from 1610s.
Old English openung "act of making open" (a door, mouth, etc.), "disclosure, manifestation," verbal noun from present participle of open (v.). Meaning "vacant space, hole, aperture, doorway" is attested from c. 1200. Meaning "act of opening (a place, to the public)" is from late 14c. Sense of "opportunity, chance" is from 1793. Sense of "action of beginning (something)" is from 1712; meaning "first performance of a play" is 1855; that of "start of an art exhibit" is from 1905. Opening night is attested from 1814.
1530s, "to break wind without noise," probably altered from obsolete fist, from Middle English fisten "break wind" (see feisty) + frequentative suffix -le. Related: Fizzled; fizzling.
Meaning "make a noise as of a liquid or gas forced out a narrow aperture" is from 1859, "usually with special reference to the weakness and sudden diminution or cessation of such sound" [Century Dictionary], hence the figurative sense "prove a failure, stop abruptly after a more-or-less brilliant start." But this sense is earlier and dates to at least 1847 in American English college slang, along with the noun sense of "failure, fiasco" (1846), also originally U.S. college slang, "a failure in answering an examination by a professor." Barnhart says it is "not considered as derived from the verb." Halliwell ("Archaic and Provincial Words," 1846) has fizzle (v.) as "To do anything without noise," which might connect the college slang with the older word via some notion of mumbled and stifled performance:
In many colleges in the United States, this word is applied to a bad recitation, probably from the want of distinct articulation, which usually attends such performances. It is further explained in the Yale Banger, November 10, 1846: "This figure of a wounded snake is intended to represent what in technical language is termed a fizzle. The best judges have decided that to get just one third of the meaning right constitutes a perfect fizzle." [John Bartlett, "A Collection of College Words and Customs," Cambridge, 1851]