1743, in architecture, "raised platform around an ancient arena" (upon which sat persons of distinction), also "projecting base of a pedestal," from Latin podium "raised platform," from Greek podion "foot of a vase," diminutive of pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." Meaning "raised platform at the front of a hall or stage" is by 1947.
With past tense sat, formerly also set, now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic; and past participle sat, formerly sitten. In reference to a legislative assembly, from 1510s. Meaning "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1966.
To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands was originally "to withhold applause" (1926); later, "to do nothing" (1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part" is from 1650s. Sitting pretty is from 1916.
late 14c., peue, "raised, bench-like seat for certain worshipers" (ladies, important men, etc.), frequently enclosed, from Old French puie, puy "balcony, elevated place or seat; elevation, hill, mound," from Latin podia, plural of podium "elevated place," also "front balcony in a Roman theater" (where distinguished persons sat; see podium). Meaning "fixed bench with a back, for a number of worshipers" is attested from 1630s. Related: Pewholder; pew-rent.
1550s, "little tuft," from Old French touffel (with diminutive suffix -et for French -el), diminutive of touffe (see tuft). Obsolete except in the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet" (1843), where it has been felt to mean "hassock, footstool."
LITTLE Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
And made of her knees such display
That the old fashioned spider,
Embarrassed beside her,
Was actually frightened away!
[Life magazine, Oct. 1, 1927]
"self-cremation of a Hindu widow on her husband's funeral pyre," 1786, from Hindi, from Sanskrit sati "virtuous woman, faithful wife," the word for the self-immolating widow, used also of her burning, fem. of sat "good, wise, virtuous, true," literally "existing," present participle of asmi "I am" (from PIE root *es- "to be"). Properly, the word for the woman who does so. The custom was abolished in British India in 1829.
Old English sæd "sated, full, having had one's fill (of food, drink, fighting, etc.), weary of," from Proto-Germanic *sathaz (source also of Old Norse saðr, Middle Dutch sat, Dutch zad, Old High German sat, German satt, Gothic saþs "satiated, sated, full"), from PIE *seto-, from root *sa- "to satisfy." Related: Sadder; saddest.
In Middle English and into early Modern English the prevailing senses were "firmly established, set; hard, rigid, firm; sober, serious; orderly and regular," but these are obsolete except in dialect. The sense development seems to have been via the notion of "heavy, ponderous" (i.e. "full" mentally or physically), thus "weary, tired of." By c. 1300 the main modern sense of "unhappy, sorrowful, melancholy, mournful" is evident. An alternative course would be through the common Middle English sense of "steadfast, firmly established, fixed" (as in sad-ware "tough pewter vessels") and "serious" to "grave." In the main modern sense, it replaced Old English unrot, negative of rot "cheerful, glad."
By mid-14c. as "expressing or marked by sorrow or melancholy." The meaning "very bad, wicked" is from 1690s, sometimes in jocular use. Slang sense of "inferior, pathetic" is from 1899; sad sack is 1920s, popularized by World War II armed forces (specifically by cartoon character invented by Sgt. George Baker, 1942, and published in U.S. Armed Forces magazine "Yank"), probably a euphemistic shortening of the common military slang phrase sad sack of shit.
proper name of the supreme evil spirit and great adversary of humanity in Christianity, Old English Satan, from Late Latin Satan (in Vulgate in the Old Testament only), from Greek Satanas, from Hebrew satan "adversary, one who plots against another," from satan "to show enmity to, oppose, plot against," from root s-t-n "one who opposes, obstructs, or acts as an adversary."
In the Septuagint usually translated into Greek as diabolos "slanderer," literally "one who throws (something) across" the path of another (see devil (n.)), though epiboulos "plotter" is once used.
In biblical sources the Hebrew term the satan describes an adversarial role. It is not the name of a particular character. Although Hebrew storytellers as early as the sixth century B.C.E. occasionally introduced a supernatural character whom they called the satan, what they meant was any one of the angels sent by God for the specific purpose of blocking or obstructing human activity. [Elaine Pagels, "The Origin of Satan," 1995]
In Middle English also Satanas, Sathanas.