passport (n.)

c. 1500, passe-porte, "authorization to travel through a country," from Old French passeport "authorization to pass through a port" to enter or leave a country (15c.), from passe, imperative of passer "to pass" (see pass (v.)) + port "port" (see port (n.1)). The original sense is obsolete; the meaning "document issued by competent civil authority granting permission to the person named in it to travel in or out of a country or authenticating his right to protection while abroad" is from 1540s. In early use often indicating principally the right to leave one's country.

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connoisseur (n.)

1714, "a critical judge of any art, one well-acquainted with any of the fine arts and thus competent to pass judgment on its products," from French connoisseur (Modern French connaiseur), from Old French conoisseor "an expert, a judge, one well-versed," from conoistre "to know," from Latin cognoscere "to get to know, recognize, become well-acquainted with," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + gnoscere "recognize" (from PIE root *gno- "to know").

Transferred sense of "a critic in matters of taste (in food, wine, etc.) is from 1796. The attempt in dictionaries from 1730s to introduce a corresponding abstract noun connoissance from French did not succeed. Related: Connoisseurship

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diploma (n.)

1640s, "state paper, official document," from Latin diploma (plural diplomata) "a state letter of recommendation," given to persons travelling to the provinces, "a document drawn up by a magistrate," from Greek diploma "licence, chart," originally "paper folded double," from diploun "to double, fold over," from diploos "double" (see diplo-) + -oma, suffix forming neuter nouns and nouns that indicate result of verbal action (see -oma).

The main modern use is a specialized one, "a writing under seal from competent authority conferring some honor or privilege," especially that given by a college conferring a degree or authorizing the practice of a profession (1680s in English).

The plural is always -mas in the ordinary sense (certificate of degree &c.), though -mata lingers in unusual senses (state paper &c.) as an alternative. [Fowler]

Compare diplomacy, diplomatic.

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doughty (adj.)

"strong, brave, spirited, valiant," Middle English doughti, from Old English dohtig "competent, good, valiant," from dyhtig "strong," related to dugan "to be fit, be able, be strong," and influenced by its past participle, dohte.

All from Proto-Germanic *duhtiz- (source also of Middle High German tuhtec, German tüchtig "efficient, capable," Middle Dutch duchtich "large, sturdy, powerful," Danish dygtig "virtuous, proficient," Gothic daug "is fit"), from PIE *dheugh- "to be fit, be of use, proper; meet, hit the mark" (source also of Sanskrit duh "gives milk;" Greek teukhein "to manufacture, accomplish; make ready;" Irish dual "becoming, fit;" Russian duij "strong, robust;" German Tugend "virtue").

Rare after 17c.; in deliberately archaic or mock-heroic use since c. 1800. If it had survived in living language, its modern form would be dighty.

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masterful (adj.)

late 14c., maisterful, "fond of being a master, high-handed, despotic, controlling, imperious, overbearing, tyrannous," from master (n.) + -ful. Sense of "competent, masterly, expressing or indicating mastery" is from early 15c. That of "characterized by a master's skill" is from 1610s. Related: Masterfully. Compare Dutch meesterlijk, German meisterlich, Danish mesterlig.

masterful) (masterly. Some centuries ago both were used indifferently in either of two very different senses: (A) imperious or commanding or strong-willed, & (B) skilful or expert or practiced. The differentiation is now complete, -ful having the A & -ly the B meanings; & disregard of it is so obviously inconvenient, since the senses, though distinct, are not so far apart but that it may sometimes be uncertain which is meant, that it can only be put down to ignorance. [Fowler, "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage," 1926]
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common termination and word-forming element of English adjectives (typically based on verbs) and generally adding a notion of "capable of; allowed; worthy of; requiring; to be ______ed," sometimes "full of, causing," from French -able and directly from Latin -abilis. It is properly -ble, from Latin -bilis (the vowel being generally from the stem ending of the verb being suffixed), and it represents PIE *-tro-, a suffix used to form nouns of instrument, cognate with the second syllables of English rudder and saddle (n.).

A living element in English, used in new formations from either Latin or native words (readable, bearable) and also with nouns (objectionable, peaceable). Sometimes with an active signification (suitable, capable), sometimes of neutral signification (durable, conformable). It has become very elastic in meaning, as in a reliable witness, a playable foul ball, perishable goods. A 17c. writer has cadaverable "mortal."

To take a single example in detail, no-one but a competent philologist can tell whether reasonable comes from the verb or the noun reason, nor whether its original sense was that can be reasoned out, or that can reason, or that can be reasoned with, or that has reason, or that listens to reason, or that is consistent with reason; the ordinary man knows only that it can now mean any of these, & justifiably bases on these & similar facts a generous view of the termination's capabilities; credible meaning for him worthy of credence, why should not reliable & dependable mean worthy of reliance & dependence? [Fowler]

In Latin, -abilis and -ibilis depended on the inflectional vowel of the verb. Hence the variant form -ible in Old French, Spanish, English. In English, -able tends to be used with native (and other non-Latin) words, -ible with words of obvious Latin origin (but there are exceptions). The Latin suffix is not etymologically connected with able, but it long has been popularly associated with it, and this probably has contributed to its vigor as a living suffix.

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