"skilled form of horseback riding performed in exhibitions and competitions," 1936, from French dressage, from dresser "to train, drill" (see dress (v.)). Middle English had dress (v.) in the sense of "to train or break in" a horse or other animal (c. 1400), but it died out.
late 14c., "to employ, put into active use," from exercise (n.); originally "to make use of;" also in regard to mental and spiritual training. The sense of "engage in physical activity" is from 1650s. Also from late 14c. in the sense of "train, drill, discipline, educate (someone); develop (a skill) by practice." Related: Exercised; exercises; exercising.
"of or pertaining to China," 1570s, from China + -ese. As a noun from c. 1600. Chinee (n.) is a vulgar back-formation from this word on the mistaken notion that Chinese is a plural. As an adjective, Chinian, Chinish also were used 16c. Chinese fire-drill "chaotic situation of many people rushing around futilely" is attested by 1962, U.S. military slang, perhaps with roots in World War II U.S. Marine Corps slang. The game Chinese-checkers is attested from 1938. Chinese-lantern is from 1825.
1670s, "system of strict discipline," from the name of French military officer Jean Martinet (killed at the siege of Duisburg, 1672), lieutenant colonel in the Régiment du Roi, who in 1668 was appointed inspector general of the infantry. "It was his responsibility to introduce and enforce the drill and strict discipline of the French regiment of Guards across the whole infantry" [Olaf van Minwegen, "The Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions 1588-1688," 2006].
The meaning "an officer who is a stickler for discipline and regularity in small details" is first attested 1779 in English, but "No F[rench] use of the word in the sense of a disciplinarian appears" [Century Dictionary]. The surname is a diminutive of Latin Martinus (see Martin). Related: Martinetism.
late 14c., practisen, "to follow or employ" a course of action; c. 1400, "to do, put into action or practice;" from Old French pratiser, practiser "to practice," alteration of practiquer, from Medieval Latin practicare "to do, perform, practice," from Late Latin practicus "practical," from Greek praktikos "practical" (see practical).
From early 15c. as "to carry on a profession," especially medicine; also "to do or perform repeatedly or habitually with the object of acquiring skill, to learn by repeated performance;" from mid-15c. as "to perform, work at, exercise." Intransitive sense of "perform certain acts repeatedly, train one's self" is by 1590s. Sense of "to cause to practice, teach by exercise, train, drill" is from 1590s. Related: Practiced; practicing.
1580s, "system of military discipline," from Latin militia "military service, warfare," from miles "soldier" (see military (adj.)). The sense of "citizen army" (as distinct from professional soldiers) is first recorded 1690s, perhaps from a sense in French cognate milice. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon forces that resisted the Vikings were militias, raised by counties. In U.S. history, by 1777 as "the whole body of men declared by law amenable to military service, without enlistment, whether armed and drilled or not" [Century Dictionary]. In early 19c. they were under control of the states, enrolled and drilled according to military law but not as regular soldiers, and called out periodically for drill and exercise and in emergency for actual service.