late 14c., dimensioun, "measurable extent, magnitude measured along a diameter," from Latin dimensionem (nominative dimensio) "a measuring," noun of action from past-participle stem of dimetri "to measure out," from dis- (see dis-) + metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure."
Sense of "bulk, size, extent, or capacity" is from 1520s, Meaning "any component of a situation" is from 1929. Related: Dimensional; dimensions.
1640s, "corresponding in amount, degree, or magnitude," also "of equal size" (on the notion of "having the same boundaries"), from Late Latin commensuratus, from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + Late Latin mensuratus, past participle of mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure." Meaning "reducible to a common measure, commensurable" is from 1680s. Related: Commensurately.
"a short novel or long short-story," 1901, from Italian; see novel (n.).
It is not quite so clear as to when and where a piece of fiction ceases to be a novella and becomes a novel. The frontiers are so vague that one is obliged to recognize a middle species, or rather a middle magnitude, which paradoxically, but necessarily enough, we call the novelette. [W.D. Howells, "Some Anomalies of the Short Story," The North American Review, vol. CLXXIII, August, 1901]
Meaning extended by early confusion with obsolete bouk "belly" (from Old English buc "body, belly," from Proto-Germanic *bukaz; see bucket), which led to sense of "size, volume, magnitude of material substance," attested from mid-15c. In bulk 1670s, "loaded loose." Meaning "the greater part" (of anything) is by 1711.
1530s, "make thin, lean, slender, or rare; reduce in thickness or density" (the literal sense, now rare); from Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare "lessen, make small, reduce, diminish, detract from," from ex "out" (see ex-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Used over the years in a variety of literal and figurative senses in English. From 1560s as "to lessen, make smaller in degree or appearance, make less blamable, lower in importance or degree." Related: Extenuated; extenuating. Extenuating circumstances (1660s) are those which lessen the magnitude of guilt (opposed to aggravating).
Old English fyllan "to fill, make full, fill up, replenish, satisfy; complete, fulfill," from Proto-Germanic *fulljanan "to fill" (source also of Old Saxon fulljan, Old Norse fylla, Old Frisian fella, Dutch vullen, German füllen, Gothic fulljan "to fill, make full"), a derivative of adjective *fullaz "full" (see full (adj.)). Related: Filled.
To fill the bill (1882) originally was U.S. theatrical slang, in reference to a star of such magnitude his or her name would be the only one on a show's poster. To fill out "write in required matter" is recorded from 1880.
Probably a misdivision of l'assise as la sise. The sense of "extent, amount, volume, magnitude" (c. 1300) is from the notion of regulating something by fixing the amount of it (weights, food portions, etc.). Specific sense of "set of dimensions of a manufactured article for sale" is attested from 1590s.
1640s, "act of receding, a going back," from French récession "a going backward, a withdrawing," and directly from Latin recessionem (nominative recessio) "a going back," noun of action from past-participle stem of recedere "to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire," from re- "back" (see re-) + cedere "to go" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield").
The sense of "temporary decline in economic activity" was a fall-of-1929 coinage, probably a noun of action from recess (v.):
The material prosperity of the United States is too firmly based, in our opinion, for a revival in industrial activity — even if we have to face an immediate recession of some magnitude — to be long delayed. [Economist, Nov. 2, 1929]
Ayto ("20th Century Words") notes, "There was more than a hint of euphemism in the coining of this term."
early 14c., quantite, "amount, magnitude, the being so much in measure or extent," from Old French quantite, cantite (12c., Modern French quantité) and directly from Latin quantitatem (nominative quantitas) "relative greatness or extent," coined as a loan-translation of Greek posotes (from posos "how great? how much?") from Latin quantus "of what size? how much? how great? what amount?," correlative pronominal adjective (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).
From late 14c. as "that which has quantity, a concrete quantity;" from 1610s in the concrete sense of "an object regarded as more or less." In prosody and metrics, "the relative time occupied in uttering a vowel or syllable" (distinguishing it as long or short) by 1560s. Latin quantitatem also is the source of Italian quantita, Spanish cantidad, Danish and Swedish kvantitet, German quantitat.
late 14c., "unrestricted, free from limitation; complete, perfect, free from imperfection;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit; complete, bring to an end; make separate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, detach," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."
Sense evolution probably was from "detached, disengaged" to "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position;" absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s). Grammatical sense is from late 14c.
Absolute magnitude (1902) is the brightness a star would have at a distance of 10 parsecs (or 32.6 light years); scientific absolute value is from 1907. As a noun in metaphysics, the absolute "that which is unconditional or free from restriction; the non-relative" is from 1809.