1580s, "comic poet," later (c. 1600) "actor in stage comedies," also, generally, "actor;" from French comédien, from comédie (see comedy). Meaning "professional joke-teller, entertainer who performs to make the audience laugh" is from 1898. Old English had heahtorsmið "laughter-maker."
"trickery deceit," an obsolete 16c. word "of unknown etymology, and even of uncertain existence" [OED], inferred from words in several texts dating to c. 1300, "some of which might possibly be explained otherwise." These include notably cole-pixy "mischievous fairy" (1540s), a southwestern England dialect word (later colt-pixie) and cole-prophet "pretended mystical fortune-teller."
1769, "a firing of projectiles to make them skip or rebound along a flat surface," from ricochet (v.) or French ricochet "the skipping of a shot or flat stone on water," but in earliest French use (15c.) "a verbal to-and-fro," and only in the phrase fable du ricochet, an entertainment in which the teller of a tale skillfully evades questions, and chanson du ricochet, a kind of repetitious song. The word is of obscure and uncertain origin.
1765, shortened form of mitten (q.v.) in the fashionable sense of "glove without fingers or with very short fingers of black lace or knitted silk, worn by women." In the more general sense of "glove without a separate covering for each finger" by 1812. Baseball sense of "protective glove for a pitcher, catcher, or fielder" is from 1902. Slang sense of "hand" is from 1896. Slang mitt-reader for "fortune teller" is by 1928.
early 15c., "conjurer of evil spirits," displacing earlier sorcer (late 14c.), from Old French sorcier, from Medieval Latin sortarius "teller of fortunes by lot; sorcerer" (also source of Spanish sortero, Italian sortiere; see sorcery). With superfluous -er, as in poulterer, upholsterer; perhaps the modern form of the word is back-formed from sorcery.
Sorcerer's apprentice translates l'apprenti sorcier, title of a symphonic poem by Paul Dukas (1897) based on a Goethe ballad ("Der Zauberlehrling," 1797), but the common figurative use of the term in English (1952) comes after Disney's "Fantasia" (1940).
"physician" (obsolete, poetical, or archaic), from Old English læce "leech," probably from Old Danish læke, from Proto-Germanic *lekjaz "enchanter, one who speaks magic words; healer, physician" (source also of Old Frisian letza, Old Saxon laki, Old Norse læknir, Old High German lahhi, Gothic lekeis "physician"), literally "one who counsels," perhaps connected with a root found in Celtic (compare Irish liaig "charmer, exorcist, physician") and Slavic (compare Serbo-Croatian lijekar, Polish lekarz), from PIE *lep-agi "conjurer," from root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')."
For sense development, compare Old Church Slavonic baliji "doctor," originally "conjurer," related to Serbo-Croatian bajati "enchant, conjure;" Old Church Slavonic vrači, Russian vrač "doctor," related to Serbo-Croatian vrač "sorcerer, fortune-teller." The form merged with leech (n.1) in Middle English, apparently by folk etymology. In early Middle English the word also was used of God and Christ; but by 17c. the sense had so deteriorated that leech typically was applied only to veterinary practitioners, and soon it was entirely archaic.
The fourth finger of the hand, in Old English, was læcfinger, translating Latin digitus medicus, Greek daktylus iatrikos, supposedly because a vein from that finger stretches straight to the heart.