c. 1400 as a term in astronomy, "angular distance of a star below the horizon," from Old French depression (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin depressionem (nominative depressio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress).
The literal sense "act of pressing down, state of being pressed down" is attested from 1650s. The meaning "dejection, state of sadness, a sinking of the spirits" is from early 15c. (as a clinical term in psychology, from 1905); meteorological sense is from 1881 (in reference to barometric pressure); meaning "a lowering or reduction in economic activity" was in use by 1826; given a specific application (with capital D-) by 1934 to the one that began worldwide in 1929. For "melancholy, depression" an Old English word was grevoushede.
A melancholy leading to desperation, and known to theologians under the name of 'acedia,' was not uncommon in monasteries, and most of the recorded instances of medieval suicides in Catholicism were by monks. [W.E.H. Lecky, "A History of European Morals," 1869]
c. 1400, "a body of attendants; also "meeting of armed forces" (mid-15c.); sense of "a coming together of people, a meeting of individuals" is from 1520s; from Latin congressus "a friendly meeting; a hostile encounter," past participle of congredi "to meet with; to fight with," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + gradi "to walk," from gradus "a step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go").
Meaning "sexual union" is from 1580s. Specific sense of "a meeting of delegates, formal meeting of persons having a representational character" is first recorded 1670s. Used in reference to the national legislative body of the American states (with a capital C-) since 1775 (from 1765 in America as a name for proposed bodies).
The three sittings of the Continental Congress, representing the 13 rebellious American colonies, met 1774, 1775-6, and 1776-81. The Congress of the Confederation met from 1781-89, and the Congress of the United States met from March 4, 1789. The Congress of Vienna met Nov. 1, 1814, to June 8, 1815, and redrew the map of Europe with an eye to creating a balance of powers after the disruptions of Napoleon.
"altar top," 1848, Latin, literally "table," also "meal, supper," and "altar, sacrificial table," hence used in Church Latin for "upper slab of a church altar" (see mesa). With a capital M-, the name of an organization for people of IQs of 148 or more founded in England in 1946, the name chosen, according to the organization, to suggest a "round table" type group. The constellation (1763) originally was Mons Mensae "Table Mountain." It is the faintest constellation in the sky, with no star brighter than magnitude 5.0.
La Caille, who did so much for our knowledge of the southern heavens, formed the figure from stars under the Greater Cloud, between the poles of the equator and the ecliptic, just north of the polar Octans; the title being suggested by the fact that the Table Mountain, back of Cape Town, "which had witnessed his nightly vigils and daily toils," also was frequently capped by a cloud. [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," London: 1899]
early 15c., in law, "wrong action; a failure, offense or illegal act," especially on the part of a public official, from Anglo-French misprisoun, mesprisioun "mistake, error, wrong action or speech," (Old French mesprision "mistake, wrongdoing, fault, blame, crime"), from mespris, past participle of mesprendre "to mistake, act wrongly, trespass, transgress, break a law," from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + prendre "take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to seize" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take").
In general, "criminal neglect in respect to the crime of another," especially in connection with felonies, to indicate a passive complicity, as by concealment. In 16c., misprision of treason was used for lesser degrees of guilt (those not subject to capital punishment), especially for knowing of treasonable actions or plots without assenting to them, but not informing the authorities. This led to the common supposition in legal writers that the word means etymologically "failure to denounce" a crime.
c. 1300, "flat, smooth," from Old French plain "flat, smooth, even" (12c.), from Latin planus "flat, even, level" (from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread"). Sense of "explicit, clear, evident" is from late 14c.; that of "free from obstruction" is mid-14c.; meaning "simple, sincere, ordinary" is recorded from late 14c., especially of dress, "unembellished, without decoration, unadorned." Of words, speech, etc., "direct and to the point," late 14c. As an adverb from late 14c.
In reference to the dress and speech of Quakers, it is recorded from 1824; of Amish and Mennonites, from 1894 (in the Dutch regions of Pennsylvania Plain with the capital is shorthand adjective for "Amish and Old Order Mennonite"). Of appearance, as a euphemism for "ill-favored, ugly" it dates from 1749. Of envelopes from 1913.
Plain English is from c. 1500. Plain dealer "one who speaks his opinions candidly; one who is frank, honest, and open" is from 1570s, marked "Now rare" in OED 2nd edition, though it survives since 1842 as the name of the main newspaper of Cleveland, Ohio. To be as plain as the nose on (one's) face "obvious" is from 1690s.
"The name of the machine in which the axe descends in grooves from a considerable height so that the stroke is certain and the head instantly severed from the body." [Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, January 1793], 1791, from French guillotine, named in recognition of French physician Joseph Guillotin (1738-1814), who as a deputy to the National Assembly (1789) proposed, for humanitarian and efficiency reasons, that capital punishment be carried out by beheading quickly and cleanly on a machine, which was built in 1791 and first used the next year. Similar devices on similar principles had been used in the Middle Ages. The verb is attested by 1794. Related: Guillotined; guillotining.
This is the product of Guillotin's endeavors, ... which product popular gratitude or levity christens by a feminine derivative name, as if it were his daughter: La Guillotine! ... Unfortunate Doctor! For two-and-twenty years he, unguillotined, shall hear nothing but guillotine, see nothing but guillotine; then dying, shall through long centuries wander, as it were, a disconsolate ghost, on the wrong side of Styx and Lethe; his name like to outlive Cæsar's. [Carlyle, "French Revolution"]
Bavarian capital, German München, from root of Mönch "monk" (see monk); founded 1158 as a market town by Benedictine monks. In allusions to "appeasement" it is from the meeting of German, British, French and Italian representatives there on Sept. 29, 1938, which resulted in the cession of Sudetenland to Germany in exchange for Hitler's pledges.
During the flight [from Munich] Daladier sat silent and morose, worried about the reception he would receive at Le Bourget, about how the French would react to his having betrayed Czechoslovakia and France's promises. As the plane circled for landing, he and others saw a massive crowd awaiting them. Expecting jeers, hisses, rotten fruit, and maybe worse, Daladier declared stolidly: 'They are going to mob me, I suppose. ... I appreciate their feelings,' and insisted on absorbing their wrath by being the first off the plane. But as he stood dumbfounded on the gangplank, thousands surged forward carrying flags and flowers, shouting 'Hurrah for France! Hurrah for England! Hurrah for peace!' Daladier turned back to Léger and cursed, 'The God-damned fools!' [Benjamin F. Martin, "France in 1938"]
chief city and capital of England, Latin Londinium (Tacitus, c. 115), according to the "Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names," "unexplained." It is often said to be "place belonging to a man named *Londinos," a supposed Celtic personal name meaning "the wild one," "but this etymology is rejected in an emphatic footnote in Jackson 1953 (p. 308), and we have as yet nothing to put in its place" [Margaret Gelling, "Signposts to the Past: Place-Names and the History of England," Chichester, 1978]. Its mythical history is told in Layamon's "Brut" (c. 1200).
In late Old English often with -burg, -wic, or -ceaster. As an adjective, Old English had Lundenisc, but this seems to have fallen from use, and modern Londonish (1838) probably is a re-coinage. Also Londony (1884); Londonesque (1852); Londinensian (George Meredith); Londonian (1824, marked "rare" in OED).
London Bridge the children's singing game is attested from 1827. London broil "large flank steak broiled then cut in thin slices" attested 1930s, American English; London fog first attested 1785.
Old English gieldan (West Saxon), geldan (Anglian) "to pay, pay for; reward, render; worship, serve, sacrifice to" (class III strong verb; past tense geald, past participle golden), from Proto-Germanic *geldan "pay" (source also of Old Saxon geldan "to be worth," Old Norse gjaldo "to repay, return," Middle Dutch ghelden, Dutch gelden "to cost, be worth, concern," Old High German geltan, German gelten "to be worth," Gothic fra-gildan "to repay, requite"). This is from PIE *gheldh- "to pay," a root found only in Balto-Slavic and Germanic (and Old Church Slavonic žledo, Lithuanian geliuoti might be Germanic loan-words).
"[T]he only generally surviving senses on the Continent are 'to be worth; to be valid, to concern, apply to,' which are not represented at all in the English word" [OED]; sense development in English comes via use of this word to translate Latin reddere, French rendre. Sense of "give in return for labor or capital invested" is from early 14c. Intransitive sense of "give oneself up, submit, surrender (to a foe)" is from c. 1300. Related to Middle Low German and Middle Dutch gelt, Dutch geld, German Geld "money." Related: Yielded; yielding.
1797, contraction of and per se and, meaning "(the character) '&' by itself is 'and' " (a hybrid phrase, partly in Latin, partly in English). An earlier form of it was colloquial ampassy (1706). The distinction is to avoid confusion with & in such formations as &c., a once-common way of writing etc. (the et in et cetera is Latin for "and"). The letters a, I, and o also formerly (15c.-16c.) sometimes were written a per se, etc., especially when standing alone as words.
The symbol is based on the Latin word et "and," and comes from an old Roman system of shorthand signs (ligatures) attested in Pompeiian graffiti, and not (as sometimes stated) from the Tironian Notes, a different system of shorthand, probably invented by Cicero's companion Marcus Tullius Tiro. It used a different symbol, something like a reversed capital gamma, to indicate et. This Tironian symbol was maintained by some medieval scribes, including Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, in whose works a symbol resembling a numeral 7 indicates the word and.
In old schoolbooks the ampersand was printed at the end of the alphabet and thus by 1880s the word ampersand had acquired a slang sense of "posterior, rear end, hindquarters."