1819, "divide (a writing) into sections;" 1891, "cut through so as to present a section;" from section (n.). Related: Sectioned; sectioning.
Middle English kerven (the initial -k- is from influence of Scandinavian forms), from Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) "to cut," also "cut down, slay; cut out," from West Germanic *kerbanan (source also of Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben "to cut, notch"), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch," making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein "to write," originally "to scratch" on clay tablets with a stylus.
Once extensively used and the general verb for "to cut;" most senses now have passed to cut (v.) and since 16c.
carve has been restricted to specialized senses such as "cut (solid material) into the representation of an object or a design" (late Old English); "cut (meat, etc.) into pieces or slices" (early 13c.); "produce by cutting" (mid-13c.); "decorate by carving" (late 14c.). Related: Carved; carving. The original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic past-participle adjective carven lingers poetically.
1520s, "an abstract; brief statement of the chief points of some writing," from French épitomé (16c.), from Latin epitome "an abridgment," from Greek epitome "an abridgment, a cutting on the surface; brief summary," from epitemnein "cut short, abridge," from epi "into" (see epi-) + temnein "to cut" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut"). Sense of "person or thing that typifies something" is first recorded c. 1600. Related: Epitomical.
"a stew of meat cut into small pieces," 1660s, from hash (v.). Meaning "a mix, a mess" is from 1735. Cryptographic use in computing is by 1979.
[connecting joint in carpentry, the ends being cut or notched so as to fit into each other], late 13c. (implied in scarf-nail), probably from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse skarfr "nail for fastening a joint; diagonally cut end of a board," Swedish skarf, Norwegian skarv, from Proto-Germanic *skarfaz, source also of Dutch scherf, Old English scearfe "a fragment, piece"(from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut"). Also used as a verb, "unite by means of a scarf" (1620s). Also borrowed into Romanic (French écart, Spanish escarba).
c. 1600, from Latin (animal) insectum "(animal) with a notched or divided body," literally "cut into," noun use of neuter past participle of insectare "to cut into, to cut up," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + secare "to cut" (from PIE root *sek- "to cut"). The Latin word is Pliny's loan-translation of Greek entomon "insect" (see entomology), which was Aristotle's term for this class of life, in reference to their "notched" bodies.
First in English in 1601 in Holland's translation of Pliny. In zoology, in reference to a class of animals, 1753. Translations of Aristotle's term also form the usual word for "insect" in Welsh (trychfil, from trychu "cut" + mil "animal"), Serbo-Croatian (zareznik, from rezati "cut"), Russian (nasekomoe, from sekat "cut"), etc. Insectarian "one who eats insects" is attested from 1893.
Among the adjectival forms that have been tried in English (and mostly rejected by disuse) are insectile (1620s), insectic (1767), insective (1834), insectual (1849), insectine (1853), insecty (1859), insectan (1888).
It is curious that in the eyes of the Anglo-Saxon naturalists, the frog, the toad, the lizard or eft (efte), and other reptiles, were usually placed under the head of insects ; and this odd classification was preserved to rather a late period. [Thomas Wright, "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies," 1884]
late 14c., seccioun, in astronomy, "the intersection of two straight lines; a division of a scale;" from Old French section and directly from Latin sectionem (nominative sectio) "a cutting, cutting off, division," noun of action from past-participle stem of secare "to cut" (from PIE root *sek- "to cut").
The meaning "a part cut off or separated from the rest" is from early 15c. That of "a drawing representing something as if cut through" is from 1660s. From 1550s in English in the meaning "act of cutting or dividing," a sense now rare or archaic and preserved in some medical phrases, most notably Caesarian section. The meaning "a subdivision of a written work, statute, etc." is from 1570s.
Books are commonly divided into Chapters, Chapters into Sections, and Sections into Paragraphs or Breaks, as Printers call them .... [Blount, "Glossigraphia," 1656]
In music, "a group of similar instruments in a band or orchestra" (1880). In U.S. history, a square of 640 acres into which public lands were divided (1785). In World War II U.S. military slang, section eight was a reference to the passage in an Army Regulations act that referred to discharge on grounds of insanity.
c. 1600, "a cutting in two, division into two classes;" 1630s, "state of having a dual arrangement or order," from Latinized form of Greek dikhotomia "a cutting in half," from dikho-, combining form of dikha "in two, asunder" (from or related to dis "twice," from PIE root *dwo- "two") + temnein "to cut" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut"). Related: Dichotomous; dichotomously.
"groove cut into any object," 1610s, from French chas "enclosure, enclosed space," from Vulgar Latin *capsum, from Latin capere "to take, receive, contain" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). Meaning "bore of a gun barrel" is from 1640s.