early 14c., "to surround (something with something else)," from lap (n.1). Figurative use, "to envelop (in love, sin, desire, etc.)" is from mid-14c. Meaning "lay one part over another, lay in such a way as to cover part of something underneath" is from c. 1600. The sense of "to get a lap ahead (of a competitor) on a track" is from 1847, on notion of "overlapping" (see lap (n.2)). Related: Lapped; lapping.
"small cigar made of finely cut tobacco," rolled up in an envelop of tobacco, corn-husk, or (typically) rice paper, 1835, American English, from French cigarette (by 1824), diminutive of cigare "cigar" (18c.), from Spanish cigarro (see cigar). The Spanish forms cigarito, cigarita also were popular in English mid-19c. Cigarette heart "heart disease caused by smoking" is attested from 1884. Cigarette-lighter is attested from 1884.
"the theory that the mental powers of the individual consist of independent faculties, each of which has its seat in a different brain region, whose size is commensurate with the power of the faculty," 1815, literally "mental science," from phreno- "mind" (q.v.) + -logy "study of." Applied to the theory of mental faculties originated by Gall and Spurzheim that led to the 1840s mania for reading personality clues in the shape of a subject's skull and the "bumps" of the head. It was most popular from about 1810 to 1840. Related: Phrenological; phrenologist.
This theory, which originated at the close of the eighteenth century, assumes, moreover, as an essential part, the plasticity of the cranial envelop, by which the skull conforms externally, in the normal subject, to the shape and configuration of the brain within, so that its form and faculties may be determined, with sufficient exactness, from the skull itself, whether in the skeleton or in the living person. [Century Dictionary]
1630s, atmosphaera (modern form from 1670s), "gaseous envelop surrounding the earth," from Modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos "vapor, steam" (see atmo-) + sphaira "sphere" (see sphere). In old science, "vaporous air," which was considered a part of the earth and a contamination of the lower part of the air (n.1).
Þe ouer partye of þe eyr is pure and clene, clere, esy & softe, ffor mevynge of stormys, of wynde and of wedir may nat reche þerto; and so it perteyneþ to heuenlych kynde. And þe neþir partye is nyʒe to þe spere of watir and of erþe, and is troubly, greet and þicke, corpulent and ful of moyst erþy vapoures, as longiþ to erþy partyes. Þe eyr strecchiþ hym kyndely al aboute fro þe ouer partye of þe erþe and of watir anon to þe spere of fire. [Bartholomew Glanville, "De proprietatibus rerum," c. 1240, translated by John of Trevisa c. 1398 ]
First used in English in connection with the Moon, which, as it turns out, practically has none.
'Tis Observed, in the Solary Eclipses, that there is some times a great Trepidation about the Body of the Moon, from which we may likewise argue an Atmo-sphaera, since we cannot well conceive what so probable a cause there should be of such an appearance as this, Quod radii Solares a vaporibus Lunam ambientibus fuerint intercisi, that the Sun-beams were broken and refracted by the Vapours that encompassed the Moon. [Rev. John Wilkins, "Discovery of New World or Discourse tending to prove that it probable there may be another World in the Moon," 1638]
The figurative sense of "surrounding influence, mental or moral environment" is by c. 1800.