1610s, "worship, homage" (a sense now obsolete); 1670s, "a particular form or system of worship;" from French culte (17c.), from Latin cultus "care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence," originally "tended, cultivated," past participle of colere "to till" (see colony).
The word was rare after 17c., but it was revived mid-19c. (sometimes in French form culte) with reference to ancient or primitive systems of religious belief and worship, especially the rites and ceremonies employed in such worship. Extended meaning "devoted attention to a particular person or thing" is from 1829.
Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree. [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1993]
Cult is a term which, as we value exactness, we can ill do without, seeing how completely religion has lost its original signification. Fitzedward Hall, "Modern English," 1873]
"a distilled spirit blended with certain essential oils so as to give off a fragrant scent," by 1844, short for Cologne water (1814), loan-translation of French eau de Cologne (which also was used in English), literally "water from Cologne," from the city in Germany (German Köln, from Latin Colonia Agrippina) where it was made, first by Italian chemist Johann Maria Farina, who had settled there in 1709.
"Now, a worked Lyon handkerchief, moistened, not with cologne, but with rose-water. Eau de cologne is vulgar, it's the odor of every shopboy; and now you are ready, and I leave you." ["Charles Sealsfield" (Karl Anton Postl), "Rambleton," 1844]
The city seems to have been known in English generally by its French name in 18c. The city was founded 38 B.C.E. as Oppidum Ubiorum, renamed and made a colony in 50 C.E. at the request of emperor Claudius's wife Agrippina the Younger, who was born there. By 450 C.E. the name had been shortened to Colonia (see colony).
1813, "of or pertaining to the raising of plants or animals," from Latin cultura "tillage, a cultivating, agriculture," figuratively "care, culture, an honoring," from past participle stem of colere "to tend, guard; to till, cultivate" (see colony). With -al (1). Figurative senses of "relating to civilizations," also "the cultivation of the mind," are attested by 1875; hence, "relating to the culture of a particular place at a particular time" (by 1909).
Cultural anthropology is attested by 1910, and cultural has been a fertile starter-word among anthropologists and sociologists, for example cultural diffusion, in use by 1912; cultural diversity, by 1935; cultural imperialism, by 1937; cultural pluralism, by 1932; cultural relativism, by 1948. China's Cultural Revolution (1966) began in 1965; the name is a shortened translation of Chinese Wuchan Jieji Wenhua Da Geming "Proletarian Cultural Great Revolution."
mid-15c., "the tilling of land, act of preparing the earth for crops," from Latin cultura "a cultivating, agriculture," figuratively "care, culture, an honoring," from past participle stem of colere "to tend, guard; to till, cultivate" (see colony). Meaning "the cultivation or rearing of a crop, act of promoting growth in plants" (1620s) was transferred to fish, oysters, etc., by 1796, then to "production of bacteria or other microorganisms in a suitable environment" (1880), then "product of such a culture" (1884).
The figurative sense of "cultivation through education, systematic improvement and refinement of the mind" is attested by c. 1500; Century Dictionary writes that it was, "Not common before the nineteenth century, except with strong consciousness of the metaphor involved, though used in Latin by Cicero." Meaning "learning and taste, the intellectual side of civilization" is by 1805; the closely related sense of "collective customs and achievements of a people, a particular form of collective intellectual development" is by 1867.
For without culture or holiness, which are always the gift of a very few, a man may renounce wealth or any other external thing, but he cannot renounce hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge. Culture is the sanctity of the intellect. [William Butler Yeats, journal, 7 March, 1909]
Slang culture vulture "one voracious for culture" is from 1947. Culture shock "disorientation experienced when a person moves to a different cultural environment or an unfamiliar way of life" is attested by 1940. Ironic or contemptuous spelling kulchur is attested from 1940 (Pound), and compare kultur.
also *kwelə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "revolve, move round; sojourn, dwell."
It forms all or part of: accolade; ancillary; atelo-; bazaar; bicycle; bucolic; chakra; chukker; collar; collet; colonial; colony; cult; cultivate; culture; cyclamen; cycle; cyclo-; cyclone; cyclops; decollete; encyclical; encyclopedia; entelechy; epicycle; hauberk; hawse; inquiline; Kultur; lapidocolous; nidicolous; palimpsest; palindrome; palinode; pole (n.2) "ends of Earth's axis;" pulley; rickshaw; talisman; teleology; telic; telophase; telos; torticollis; wheel.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit cakram "circle, wheel," carati "he moves, wanders;" Avestan caraiti "applies himself," c'axra "chariot, wagon;" Greek kyklos "circle, wheel, any circular body, circular motion, cycle of events,"polos "a round axis" (PIE *kw- becomes Greek p- before some vowels), polein "move around;" Latin colere "to frequent, dwell in, to cultivate, move around," cultus "tended, cultivated," hence also "polished," colonus "husbandman, tenant farmer, settler, colonist;" Lithuanian kelias "a road, a way;" Old Norse hvel, Old English hweol "wheel;" Old Church Slavonic kolo, Old Russian kolo, Polish koło, Russian koleso "a wheel."
former Portuguese colony in India, from local goe mat "fertile land." Related: Goanese.
country in southwest Africa, a former Portuguese colony, from N'gola, title of the native ruler there when the Portuguese made contact. Related: Angolan.
secret society devoted to ending British rule in Kenya colony, by 1950, probably from the Kikuyu language of Kenya, but the exact meaning is disputed.
country in southeastern Africa, former Portuguese colony, from a Portuguese corruption of Arabic musa malik "King Musa," the name of an early African ruler there. Related: Mozambican; Mozambiquer.