1540s, "gain again, recover," as what has escaped or been lost, from French regaigner (Modern French regagner), from re- "again" (see re-) + gaginer, from Old French gaaignier "to earn, gain; trade; capture, win" (see gain (v.)). Meaning "arrive at again, return to" is from 1630s. Related: Regained; regaining.
early 15c., "the coming or attainment of puberty," from Medieval Latin pubescentia, abstract noun from Latin pubescentem (nominative pubescens), present participle of pubescere "grow up; ripen, come to maturity; reach the age of puberty, arrive at puberty," from pubes "adult, full-grown" (see pubis). Biological use in reference to hairiness or soft down is by 1760 of plants, 1826 of insects, etc.
Meaning "change from one state of existence to another" is from 12c. Older sense preserved in what has become of it? It drove out Old English weorðan "to befall." Meaning "to look well, suit or be suitable to" is early 14c., from earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting or proper" (early 13c.).
The improvements which are daily ushered to the world in our vernacular tongue afford reason to hope that it must soon arrive at the acme of perfection. With a great many of our wise folk, the old, absurd word forget is given over to oblivion, and the sonorous and elegant word dis-remember has completely taken its place. Ask one of these men any question to which he cannot return a ready answer, and he informs you that he dis-remembers. [The Port Folio, March 1810]
early 15c., "dissolved, of loose structure," also "morally lax" (senses all obsolete), from Latin resolutus, past participle of resolvere "untie, unfasten, loose, loosen" (see resolve (v.)).
It emerged c. 1500 in the sense of "determined, decided, absolute, final," especially in the phrase resolute answer, which was "common in 16th c." [OED]. The notion is of "breaking (something) into parts" as the way to arrive at the truth of it and thus make the final determination (compare resolution).
The word has been used from 1530s of persons, "determined in mind, having a fixed resolve." Related: Resolutely; resoluteness. In Middle English a resolutif was a medicine to dissolve and disperse hardened matter (c. 1400).
1841 in cookery, reborrowing from French of the same word that had been taken 14c. and Englished as fillet (q.v.). Filet mignon (literally "dainty fillet") for "small, round, tender cut of meat from the center of the fillet" is attested as a French word in English from 1815.
The 'Chateaubriand,' the 'entrecôte,' and the 'filet mignon' (of mutton), with other forms, are all due to the more enlarged sympathies of the French butcher for what is perfect. We must entirely change the mode of cutting up the carcase before we can arrive at the same perfection in form of meat purchasable, and as that is hopeless, so is it useless to insist further on the subject on behalf of the public. ["The Kitchen and the Cellar," Quarterly Review, April 1877]
Middle English rēchen, from Old English ræcan, reccan "to reach out, stretch or extend outward, hold forth, extend in continuity or scope," also "to succeed in touching, succeed in striking;" also "to address, speak to," also "to offer, present, give, grant."
This is proposed to be from Proto-West Germanic *raikejanan "stretch out the hand" (source also of Old Frisian reka "to give, pay," Middle Dutch reken, reiken, Old High German reihhen, reichen "give, reach out, get," Dutch reiken, German reichen "to reach, to pass, to hand, to give; to be sufficient"), from Proto-Germanic *raikijanau, which is probably from PIE root *reig- "to stretch, stretch out, be stretched; be stiff."
Sometimes 16c. spelled retch. As "to hand (someone something), give" from c. 1300. The meaning "arrive at, succeed in getting to" is early 14c.; that of "succeed in influencing" is from 1660s. Related: Reached; reaching. Shakespeare uses the now-obsolete past tense form raught (Old English ræhte).
Colloquial reach-me-down "ready-made" (of clothes) is recorded from 1862, from notion of being on the rack in a finished state.