c. 1300, "any infectious or contagious disease, fatal epidemic," from Old French pestilence "plague, epidemic" (12c.) and directly from Latin pestilentia "a plague, an unwholesome atmosphere," noun of condition from pestilentem (nominative pestilens) "infected, unwholesome, noxious," from pestis "deadly disease, plague" (see pest).
Also in Middle English "wickedness, evil, sin, a vice, that which is morally pestilential."
also reentry, mid-15c., reentre, "act of entering again," from re- "again" + entry; probably on model of Old French rentree. Originally especially of the right to resume possession of lands or estates; specifically of spacecraft returning through the atmosphere from 1948. Re-entering as a noun is from 1630s; re-entrance (1901) was introduced as a technical term.
c. 1300, "invisible gases that surround the earth," from Old French air "atmosphere, breeze, weather" (12c.), from Latin aer "air, lower atmosphere, sky," from Greek aēr (genitive aeros) "mist, haze, clouds," later "atmosphere" (perhaps related to aenai "to blow, breathe"), which is of unknown origin. It is possibly from a PIE *awer- and thus related to aeirein "to raise" and arteria "windpipe, artery" (see aorta) on notion of "lifting, suspended, that which rises," but this has phonetic difficulties.
In Homer mostly "thick air, mist;" later "air" as one of the four elements. Words for "air" in Indo-European languages tend to be associated with wind, brightness, sky. In English, air replaced native lyft, luft (see loft (n.)). In old chemistry, air (with a qualifying adjective) was used of any gas.
To be in the air "in general awareness" is from 1875; up in the air "uncertain, doubtful" is from 1752. To build castles in the air "entertain visionary schemes that have no practical foundation" is from 1590s (in 17c. English had airmonger "one preoccupied with visionary projects"). Broadcasting sense (as in on the air, airplay) first recorded 1927. To give (someone) the air "dismiss" is from 1900. Air pollution is attested by 1870. Air guitar is by 1983. Air traffic controller is from 1956.
colorless, odorless gaseous element, 1794, from French nitrogène, coined 1790 by French chemist Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832), from Greek nitron "sodium carbonate" (see nitro-) + French gène "producing," from Greek -gen "giving birth to" (see -gen). The gas was identified in part by analysis of nitre. An earlier name for it was mephitic air (1772), and Lavoisier called it azote (see azo-). It forms about 78% of the weight of the Earth's atmosphere. Related: Nitrogenic; nitrogenous.
"that is farther out, that is exterior or external; of or pertaining to the outside; further removed," late 14c., comparative of out (on analogy of inner), replacing by 18c. forms descended from Old English uttera (comparative of Old English ut "out") which developed into utter (adj.) and was no longer felt as connected with out. Outer space "region beyond the earth's atmosphere" is attested from 1845.
1660s, "effluvia arising from the ground and floating in the atmosphere, considered to be infectious or injurious to health," from Modern Latin miasma "noxious vapors," from Greek miasma (genitive miasmatos) "stain, pollution, defilement, taint of guilt," from stem of miainein "to pollute," from possible PIE root *mai- (2) "to stain, soil, defile" (source of Old English mal "stain, mark," see mole (n.1)). Earlier form was miasm (1640s), from French miasme. Related: Miasmatic "pertaining to or caused by miasma;" miasmal "containing miasma;" miasmatous "generating miasma."
The one employment from which Americans turn their faces in righteous horror is that of the barmaid. They consider it a degrading position, and can not understand how English people reconcile with their professions of Christianity the barbarous practice of exposing women to the atmosphere of a liquor bar at a railway station, where they must often run the gauntlet of the insolent attentions of the "half-intoxicated masher," endure vulgar familiarity, and overhear low conversation. [Emily Faithfull, "Three Visits to America," 1884]