also free-style, 1912, in swimming, in reference to a distance race in which the swimmers may use whatever stroke they choose; 1950 in general use, from free + style. The most common stroke is the front crawl, as this is generally the fastest. As an adjective, from 1957; as a verb, by 1970 (in martial arts).
c. 1400, palestre, "ancient Greek gymnasium," from Old French palestre (12c.) and directly from Latin palaestra, from Greek palaistra "gymnasium, public place for exercise under official direction," originally "wrestling school," from palaiein "to wrestle, survive a wrestling match," which is of unknown origin (see discussion in Beekes) + -tra, suffix denoting place. The noun palē "wrestling" is a back-formation from the verb. Palestral "pertaining to wrestling or martial games, athletic" is attested from late 14c.
early 15c., "a criminal hearing of causes," from Anglo-French oyer, Old French oir, oier, from Latin audire "to hear" (from PIE root *au- "to perceive"). Especially in phrase oyer and terminer (early 15c., but from late 13c. in Anglo-Latin and Anglo-French), literally "a hearing and determining," in England a court of judges of assize, in some U.S. states a higher criminal court.
c. 1300, curteis, "having elegant manners, well-bred, polite, urbane," also "gracious, benevolent," from Old French curteis (Modern French courtois) "having courtly bearing or manners," from curt "court" (see court (n.)) + -eis, from Latin -ensis.
Rare before c. 1500. In feudal society, also denoting a man of good education (hence the name Curtis). Medieval courts were associated with good behavior and also beauty; compare German hübsch "beautiful," from Middle High German hübesch "beautiful," originally "courteous, well-bred," from Old Franconian hofesch, from hof "court." Related: Courteously (mid-14c., kurteis-liche).
wife of Orpheus in Greek mythology, from Latinized form of Greek Eurydike, literally "wide justice," from eurys "wide" (see eury-) + dike "custom, usage; justice, right; court case," "custom, usage," and, via the notion of "right as dependent on custom," "law, a right; a judgment; a lawsuit, court case, trial; penalty awarded by a judge," from PIE *dika-, from root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly."
c. 1600, one of the ten divisions of each of the three ancient Roman tribes; also "the Senate-house of Rome," from Latin curia "court," perhaps from *co-wiria "community of men" (from PIE root *wi-ro- "man"). The sense was transferred to the papal court (by 1825). Related: Curial.