c. 1600, "alchemy," from chemist + -ry; also see chemical (adj.). The meaning "natural physical process" is from 1640s; the sense of "scientific study of the composition of material things and the changes they undergo" is by 1788. Chemistry in the European mind disengaged itself from alchemy in the mid-1600s; The Academy del Cimento was established in Italy in 1657, the Royal Society in London in 1660, and the Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1666.
The figurative sense of "instinctual attraction or affinity" is attested slightly earlier, from the alchemical sense.
also called Laodice, a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, the accomplice of her brother Orestes in the murder of their mother, from Greek Ēlektra, literally "shining, bright," related to ēlektōr "the beaming sun" and perhaps to ēlektron "amber." Especially in psychological Electra complex (1913, Jung) in reference to a daughter who feels attraction toward her father and hostility to her mother. Also the name of a daughter of Atlas, and as such a name of one of the Pleiades.
"to attack persistently, worry, pester," 1790, from badger (n.), based on the behavior of the dogs in the medieval sport of badger-baiting, still practiced in late 19c. England as an attraction to low public houses. Related: Badgered; badgering.
A badger is put into a barrel, and one or more dogs are put in to drag him out. When this is effected he is returned to his barrel, to be similarly assailed by a fresh set of dogs. The badger usually makes a most determined and savage resistance. [Century Dictionary]
also night-cap, late 14c., "covering for the head, worn in bed," from night + cap (n.). In the alcoholic sense, it is attested from 1818. American English sense of "final event in a sporting contest" (especially the second game of a baseball double-header) is by 1924.
Sunday's baseball opening brought out New York vs. Cleveland in the first game. with Philadelphia and Cincinnati as the star attraction in the nightcap number. [The Typographical Journal, September 1923]
1650s, "of or pertaining to the hair," from Latin capillaris "of hair," from capillus "hair" (of the head); perhaps related to caput "head" (but de Vaan finds this "difficult on the formal side" and "far from compelling, since capillus is a diminutive, and would mean 'little head', which hardly amounts to 'hair'"). The Latin word was borrowed earlier in English as capillar "hair-like" (c. 1400, of veins, etc.).
In modern anatomy, of tube-like structures, "having so small a bore that water will not run through it" (1742). From 1809 in reference to the phenomena of the rise of liquids in tubes, etc., by surface tension, on the notion of "taking place in capillary vessels;" hence capillary attraction (1813), etc. As a noun, "minute blood vessel," from 1660s.
1610s, literal but poetic (Donne), "having the properties of a magnet;" it is attested from 1630s in the figurative meaning "having powers of attraction" (but Donne's conceit also had that in mind), from Modern Latin magneticus, from Latin magnes (see magnet). The meaning "capable of being attracted by a magnet" is by 1837. Related: Magnetical (1580s); magnetics "the science of magnetism" (1786).
She, that should all parts to reunion bow ;
She, that had all magnetic force alone
To draw and fasten sunder'd parts in one ;
She, whom wise Nature had invented then,
When she observ'd that every sort of men
Did in their voyage, in this world's sea, stray,
And needed a new compass for their way ;
[Donne, "An Anatomy of the World"]
c. 1200, affeccioun, "desire, inclination, wish, intention;" mid-14c., "an emotion of the mind, passion, lust as opposed to reason;" from Old French afection (12c., Modern French affection) "emotion, inclination, disposition; love, attraction, enthusiasm," from Latin affectionem (nominative affectio) "a relation, disposition; a temporary state; a frame, constitution," noun of state from past-participle stem of afficere "to do something to, act on," from ad "to" (see ad-) + facere (past participle factus) "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
The sense developed in Latin from "disposition" to "good disposition, zealous attachment." In English the sense of "love" is from late 14c. Formally it goes with affect (v.2), but it has absorbed some sense from (v.1). Related: Affections.
c. 1300, "relation by marriage" (as opposed to consanguinity), from Old French afinite "relationship, kinship; neighborhood, vicinity" (12c., Modern French affinité), from Latin affinitatem (nominative affinitas) "relationship by marriage; neighborhood," noun of state from affinis "adjoining, adjacent," also "kin by marriage," literally "bordering on," from ad "to" (see ad-) + finis "a border, a boundary" (see finish (v.)).
The spelling was re-Latinized in early Modern English. It has been used figuratively in English since c. 1600 of structural relationships in chemistry, philology, geometry, etc. The meaning "natural liking or attraction, a relationship as close as family between persons not related by blood" is from 1610s.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to care, desire, love."
It forms all or part of: belief; believe; furlough; leave (n.) "permission, liberty granted to do something;" leman; libido; lief; livelong; love; lovely; quodlibet.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit lubhyati "desires," lobhaya- "to make crazy;" Persian ahiftan "to be tangled, be hit down, be in love;" Latin lubet, later libet "pleases," libido, lubido "desire, longing; sensual passion, lust;" Old Church Slavonic l'ubu "dear, beloved," ljubiti, Russian ljubit' "to love;" Lithuanian liaupsė "song of praise;" Old English lufu "feeling of love; romantic sexual attraction," German Liebe "love," Gothic liufs "dear, beloved."
"remarkable person or thing," 1886, of uncertain origin but likely a reference to Lulu Hurst (1869-1950), the "Georgia Wonder," who was a popular attraction 1883-85 demonstrating her supposed mysterious "force" that allowed her to effortlessly move, with just a light touch, umbrellas and canes held tight by others. She barnstormed the U.S. and, at 15, was, briefly, one of the most famous women in the land. The skeptics soon explained her trick and burst the bubble, but not before her name was used as a word:
Such [musically uneducated persons] start from the avowed or unavowed supposition that the pianist or violinist's art necessitates no higher qualities than does plate-spinning, dancing, or the feats of a Lulu. ["The Hero as Virtuoso," in London Society, vol. 43, June 1883]