The secondary sense of monotonous (same or tedious) has so nearly swallowed up its primary (of one pitch or tone) that it is well worth while to remember the existence of monotonic, which has the primary sense only. [Fowler, 1926]
c. 1400, "thick;" early 15c., "heavy, weighty, clumsy by reason of weight," from Latin ponderosus "of great weight; full of meaning," from pondus (genitive ponderis) "weight," from stem of pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). From late 15c. as "important." Meaning "tedious" is first recorded 1704. Related: Ponderously; ponderousness; ponderosity (1580s in the figurative sense).
1750, of sound, "unvaried in tone, characterized by monotony, unvaried in tone," from Greek monotonos "of one tone" (see monotony). Transferred and figurative use, "lacking in variety, uninteresting, tiresomely uniform," is from 1783. Related: Monotonously; monotonousness.
The secondary sense of monotonous (same or tedious) has so nearly swallowed up its primary (of one pitch or tone) that it is well worth while to remember the existence of monotonic, which has the primary sense only. [Fowler]
1733 (implied in palavering), "a long talk, a conference, a tedious discussion," sailors' slang, from Portuguese palavra "word, speech, talk," from a metathesis of Late Latin parabola "speech, discourse," from Latin parabola "comparison" (see parable). A doublet of parole.
In West Africa the Portuguese word became a traders' term for "negotiating with the natives," and apparently English picked up the word there. (The Spanish cognate, palabra, appears 16c.-17c. in Spanish phrases used in English.) The meaning "idle profuse talk" is recorded by 1748. The verb, "indulge in palaver," is by 1733, from the noun. Related: Palavering.
"two times, on two occasions, in two instances," late Old English twies, from Old English twiga, twigea "two times," from Proto-Germanic *twiyes (source also of Old Frisian twia, Old Saxon tuuio), from PIE *dwis-, adverbial form of root *dwo- "two." Spelling with -ce reflects the voiceless pronunciation.
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
["King John," III.iv.]
Think twice, then speak was an "old Prouerbe" by 1623. At twice, though less common than at once, means "at two distinct times; by two distinct operations."
"tedious and ineffectual person," 1935, American English carnival slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from jerkwater "petty, inferior, insignificant" [Barnhart, OED]; alternatively from, or influenced by, verbal phrase jerk off "masturbate" [Rawson]. The lyric in "Big Rock Candy Mountain," sometimes offered as evidence of earlier use, apparently is "Where they hung the Turk [not jerk] that invented work."
A soda-jerk (1915; soda-jerker is from 1883) is so called for the pulling motion required to work the taps.
The SODA-FOUNTAIN CLERK
Consider now the meek and humble soda-fountain clerk,
Who draweth off the moistened air with nimble turn and jerk,
[etc., Bulletin of Pharmacy, August, 1902]
"long, tedious, complicated story," by 1905, from Yiddish Megillah (as in a gantse Megillah "a whole megillah"), literally "roll, scroll," collective name of the five Old Testament books appointed to be read on certain feast days, from Hebrew meghillah, from galal "he rolled, unfolded." The slang use is in reference to the length of the text. The use of the word in English in reference to the holy books is from 1650s.
Jonas used to laugh. "What do I care for the Goyim," he said, but Isaac was different. He would talk thee a Megillah about Equality and Brotherhood,—one would have thought, he was reading something aloud out of the newspaper,—and what he meant was that the Yüd and the Goy were now alike. [Martha Wolfenstein, "A Renegade," Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1905]
1520s, "something that is thrust in or fixed or pierced," from pitch (v.1). Sense of "slope, degree, inclination" is from 1540s; from 1550s as "highest point or reach;" from 1620s as "height" in general. Meaning "height of an arched roof above the floor" is by 1610s.
Meaning "a throw, a toss, an act of throwing" is attested by 1833. Meaning "act of plunging headfirst" is from 1762. The musical sense of "characteristic of a sound or tone that depends upon relative rapidity of vibration" is from 1590s, also "particular tonal standard." See pitch (v.1) for sense evolutions, but the connection of many of these is obscure.
Some noun senses are from the older sense of pitch as "to thrust in, drive (a stake)." Thus, in cricket, "place where the wickets are pitched" (1871).
Sales pitch in the modern commercial advertising sense is from 1943, American English; pitch in the sense of "tedious or inflated sales talk" is attested by 1876, perhaps ultimately from the baseball sense. Pitch also was "place on which to pitch or set up a booth for sale or exhibition" (by 1851).