Middle English quellen "to kill" (a person or animal), from Old English cwellan "to kill, cause to die; murder, execute," from Proto-Germanic *kwaljanan (source also of Old English cwelan "to die," cwalu "violent death;" Old Saxon quellian "to torture, kill;" Old Norse kvelja "to torment;" Middle Dutch quelen "to vex, tease, torment;" Old High German quellan "to suffer pain," German quälen "to torment, torture"), from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach," with extended sense "to pierce."
The original sense is obsolete; the milder sense of "suppress, extinguish, cause to cease," developed by c. 1300; that of "reduce to peace or subjection" is by 1560s. Compare quail (v.). "The common identification of quell with kill (1), of which it is said to be the earlier form, is erroneous" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Quelled; quelling.
1540s (trans.), 1560s (intrans.), variant of Middle English huisht (late 14c.), probably of imitative origin, with terminal -t lost probably by being mistaken for a past tense suffix. The sounds chosen presumably for "being sibilations requiring the least muscular effort and admitting of the faintest utterance" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Hushed; hushing.
Figurative use from 1630s. As an interjection meaning "be quiet," attested by c. 1600. To hush (one's) mouth "be quiet" is attested from 1878. Hush up "suppress talk for secrecy's sake" is from 1630s. Hush-money "bribe paid to ensure silence" is attested from 1709. Hush-puppy "deep-fried ball of cornmeal batter" first attested 1899; as a type of lightweight soft shoe, it is a proprietary name, registered 1961.
late 14c., "judicial investigation, act or process of inquiring," from Old French inquisicion "inquiry, investigation" (12c., Modern French inquisition), from Latin inquisitionem (nominative inquisitio) "a searching into, a seeking; legal examination, a seeking of grounds for accusation," noun of action from past participle stem of inquirere (see inquire).
In Church history, inquisitors were appointed from 382 C.E. to root out heretics; the ecclesiastical court appointed 13c. by Innocent III to suppress heresy never operated in Britain. The English word began to be used in this sense (and with a capital initial letter) after c. 1500, and usually refers to the office's reorganization 1478-1483 in Spain, where it fell under the control of the state as what is commonly called the Spanish Inquisition, noted especially for its severity, secrecy, and the number of its victims.
mid-13c., "allow to occur or continue, permit, tolerate, fail to prevent or suppress," also "to be made to undergo, endure, be subjected to" (pain, death, punishment, judgment, grief), from Anglo-French suffrir, Old French sofrir "bear, endure, resist; permit, tolerate, allow" (Modern French souffrir), from Vulgar Latin *sufferire, variant of Latin sufferre "to bear, undergo, endure, carry or put under," from sub "up, under" (see sub-) + ferre "to carry, bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."
Replaced Old English þolian, þrowian. Meaning "submit meekly to" is from early 14c. Meaning "undergo, be subject to, be affected by, experience; be acted on by an agent" is from late 14c. Related: Suffered; sufferer; suffering. Suffering ______! as an exclamation is attested from 1859.
For ye suffre foles gladly because that ye youreselves are wyse. [II Corinthians vi in Tyndale, 1526]
the modern English word is a merger of two words, both in Middle English as quashen, from two unrelated Latin verbs.
1. "to suppress, overcome" (mid-13c.); "to make void, annul, nullify, veto" (mid-14c.), from Old French quasser, quassier, casser "to annul, declare void," and directly from Medieval Latin quassare, alteration of Late Latin cassare, from cassus "null, void, empty" (from extended form of PIE root *kes- "to cut"). The meaning "subdue, put down summarily" is from c. 1600.
2. "to break, crush, beat to pieces" early 14c., from Old French quasser, casser "to break, smash, destroy; maltreat, injure, harm, weaken," from Latin quassare "to shatter, shake or toss violently," frequentative of quatere (past participle quassus) "to shake," from PIE root *kwet- "to shake" (source also of Greek passein "to sprinkle," Lithuanian kutėti "to shake up," Old Saxon skuddian "to move violently," German schütteln "to shake," Old English scudan "to hasten").
In Medieval Latin, quassare often was used for cassare, and in later French the form of both words is casser. The words in English now are somewhat, or entirely, fused. Related: Quashed; quashing.
"put down, quiet, assuage, pacify," Middle English alegen, from Old English alecgan "to put, place, put down; remit, give up, suppress, abolish; diminish, lessen," from a- "down, aside" (see a- (1)) + lecgan "to lay" (see lay (v.)). A common Germanic compound (cognates: Gothic uslagjan "lay down," Old High German irleccan, German erlegen "to bring down").
Early Middle English pronunciations of -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in Middle English with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy (v.) and especially a now-obsolete verb allege "to alleviate, lighten" (from Latin alleviare, from ad "to" + levis "light" in weight; from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight").
Amid the overlapping of meanings that thus arose, there was developed a perplexing network of uses of allay and allege, that belong entirely to no one of the original vbs., but combine the senses of two or more of them. [OED]
Hence the senses "lighten, alleviate; mix, temper, weaken." The confusion with the Latin words probably also accounts for the unetymological double -l-, attested from 17c. Related: Allayed; allaying.
1560s, "recognize as different or distinct from what is contiguous or similar; perceive, make out," from French distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, or directly from Latin distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off, distinguish," perhaps literally "separate by pricking," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -stinguere "to prick" (compare extinguish and Latin instinguere "to incite, impel").
Watkins says "semantic transmission obscure;" the sense might be from "pricking out" as the old way to make punctuation in parchment or some literal image, but de Vaan derives the second element from a different PIE root meaning "to push, thrust":
The meanings of ex- and restinguere 'to extinguish' and distinguere seem quite distinct, but can be understood if the root meant 'to press' or 'push': ex-stinguere 'to put a fire out', re-stinguere 'to push back, suppress', and dis-stinguere 'to push apart [thence] distinguish, mark off ....
The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of Old French -iss-, ultimately from Latin inchoative suffix -iscere (this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish).
Sense of "to mark or note in a way to indicate difference" is from 1570s; that of "separate from others by some mark of honor or preferment" is from c. 1600. Intransitive meaning "make a distinction, find or show difference (between)" is from 1610s. Related: Distinguishing. The Middle English form of the verb was distinguen (mid-14c.).
c. 1300, peple, "humans, persons in general, men and women," from Anglo-French peple, people, Old French pople, peupel "people, population, crowd; mankind, humanity," from Latin populus "a people, nation; body of citizens; a multitude, crowd, throng," a word of unknown origin. Based on Italic cognates and derivatives such as populari "to lay waste, ravage, plunder, pillage," Populonia, a surname of Juno, literally "she who protects against devastation," the Proto-Italic root is said to mean "army" [de Vaan]. An Etruscan origin also has been proposed. The Latin word also is the source of Spanish pueblo, Italian popolo. In English, it displaced native folk.
Sense of "Some unspecified persons" is from c. 1300. Meaning "body of persons comprising a community" is by mid-14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French); the meaning "common people, masses" (as distinguished from the nobility) is from late 13c. The meaning "members of one's family, tribe, or clan" is from late 14c.
The word was adopted after c. 1920 by Communist totalitarian states, according to their opponents to give a spurious sense of populism to their governments. It is based on the political sense of the word, "the whole body of enfranchised citizens (considered as the sovereign source of government power," attested from 1640s. This also is the sense in the legal phrase The People vs., in U.S. cases of prosecution under certain laws (1801).
The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. [Jefferson to Edward Carrington, Jan. 16, 1787]
People of the Book "those whose religion entails adherence to a book of divine revelation" (1834) translates Arabic Ahl al-Kitab.