early 15c., "an opening, hole, orifice," from Latin apertura "an opening," from apertus, past participle of aperire "to open, uncover," from PIE compound *ap-wer-yo- from *ap- "off, away" (see apo-) + root *wer- (4) "to cover." In optics, diameter of the exposed part of a telescope, microscope, etc., 1660s.
late 14c., optik, "of or pertaining to the eye as the organ of vision," from Old French optique, obtique (c. 1300) and directly from Medieval Latin opticus "of sight or seeing," from Greek optikos "of or having to do with sight," from optos "seen, visible," related to ōps "eye," from PIE root *okw- "to see." Meaning "relating to or pertaining to vision or sight" is from 1590s. Optics "eyes" is from 1640s; "formerly the learned and elegant term; afterwards pedantic, and now usually humorous" [OED].
early 15c., penetracioun, "a puncture, a penetrating wound," from Latin penetrationem (nominative penetratio) "a penetrating or piercing," noun of action from past-participle stem of penetrare "to put or get into, enter into" (see penetrate). From c. 1600 as "insight, discernment, shrewdness;" the sexual sense is attested from 1610s; meaning "act of penetrating or piercing" is from 1620s; in optics, by 1799.
1660s, "move or lie in different directions from a common point" (the opposite of converge), from Modern Latin divergere "go in different directions," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + vergere "to bend, turn, tend toward" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
Originally a term in optics. The general or figurative senses of "become or be separated from another; differ from a typical form" emerged by mid-19c. Related: Diverged; diverging.
1560s, in geometry, "a solid whose bases or ends are any similar, equal, and parallel plane polygons, and whose sides are parallelograms" (not always triangular), from Late Latin prisma, from Greek prisma "a geometrical prism, trilateral column," (Euclid), literally "something sawed (as a block of wood), sawdust," from prizein, priein "to saw" (related to prion "a saw"), which is of uncertain origin. Euclid chose the word, apparently, on the image of a column with the sides sawn off.
Specific sense in optics, "an instrument (usually triangular) with well-polished sides of glass, quartz, etc., which refracts light and spreads it in a spectrum," is attested from 1610s.
"of, pertaining to, or of the nature of mathematics," early 15c., from Medieval Latin mathematicus "of or belonging to mathematics," from Latin mathematica (see mathematic) + -al (1). Also, by 1765, "pertaining to the quadrivium," comprising arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. It also could include optics. Related: Mathematically.
The four mathematical arts are arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy; these anciently were termed the quadrivium, or fourfold way of knowledge. [Sir John Hawkins, "A General History of the Science and Practice of Music," Sir John Hawkins, 1776]
Meaning "thread-like structure in animal bodies" is from c. 1600 (in plants, 1660s); hence figurative use in reference to force or toughness (1630s). As "textile material," 1827. Fiberboard is from 1897; Fiberglas is attested from 1937, U.S. registered trademark name; in generic use, with lower-case f- and double -s, by 1941. Fiber optics is from 1956.
late 14c., resolven, "melt, dissolve, reduce to liquid; separate into component parts; alter, alter in form or nature by application of physical process," " intransitive sense from c. 1400; from Old French resolver or directly from Latin resolvere "to loosen, loose, unyoke, undo; explain; relax; set free; make void, dispel."
This is from re-, here perhaps intensive or meaning "back" (see re-), + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, explain," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."
From the notion of "separate into components" comes the sense in optics (1785; see resolution). From the notion of "reduce by mental analysis into its basic forms" (late 14c.) comes the meaning "determine, decide upon" after analysis (1520s), hence "pass a resolution" (1580s); "decide, settle" a dispute, etc. (1610s). For sense evolution, compare resolute (adj.).
In Middle English also "vaporize a solid, condense a vapor into a liquid, etc.;" a mid-15c. document has Sche was resoluyd in-to terys where a later writer might have she dissolved in tears. Related: Resolved; resolving.