Clean Living is opposed to anything and everything which speaks for physical and mental disorder, dirt, disease, distress and discontent. Clean Living stands for babies, better born and better bred, better clothed and better fed; happier, healthier babies with normal play, normal environment and a normal chance to live and develop. Clean Living stands for youth, the critical time, the unfolding time, the time when muscle, mind, morals and manners of the boy and girl shall start right or wrong, for health and success or disease and failure. [Clean Living, vol. I, no. 1, April 1916, Chicago]
c. 1300, "earth, air, fire, or water; one of the four things regarded by the ancients as the constituents of all things," from Old French element (10c.), from Latin elementum "rudiment, first principle, matter in its most basic form" (translating Greek stoikheion), origin and original sense unknown. Meaning "simplest component of a complex substance" is late 14c. Modern sense in chemistry is from 1813, but is not essentially different from the ancient one. Meaning "proper or natural environment of anything" is from 1590s, from the old notion that each class of living beings had its natural abode in one of the four elements. Elements "atmospheric force" is 1550s.
"history of the development and behavior of living beings as affected by their environment," 1882, coined by English biologist St. George Jackson Mivart (1827-1900) from Greek hexis "a state or habit," from ekhein "to have, hold;" in intransitive use, "be in a given state or condition" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold").
Every living creature has also relations with other living creatures, which may tend to destroy it, or indirectly to aid it, and the various physical forces and conditions exercise their several influences upon it. The study of all these complex relations to time, space, physical forces, other organisms, and to surrounding conditions generally, constitutes the science of hexicology (hexiology?). [Mivart]
c. 1300, "a fixed time for meals;" late 14c., "fact or action of putting (something) in a place or position; a placing, a planting," also "a place, location, site; the manner or position in which anything is fixed," verbal noun from set (v.).
The surgical sense, with reference to broken bones, etc., is from early 15c. (Chauliac). In reference to the sinking of the sun, moon, or other heavenly bodies below the horizon, from c. 1400. Also in Middle English "act of creation; thing created" (c. 1400). In reference to mounts for jewels, etc. from 1815; the meaning "background, history, environment" is attested from 1841. By 1871 as "act, result, or process of fitting to music." The theatrical sense of "the mounting of a play or opera for the stage" is by 1841. The meaning "set of cutlery, crockery, or both for a single place at table is by 1952.
1580s, "a middle ground, quality, or degree; that which holds a middle place or position," from Latin medium "the middle, midst, center; interval," noun use of neuter of adjective medius "in the middle, between; from the middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle").
Many of the secondary senses are via the notion of "intervening substance through which a force or quality is conveyed" (1590s) and "intermediate agency, channel of communication" (c. 1600). From the former, via application to air, etc., comes the sense of "one's environment or conditions" (1865). From the latter comes the sense of "a print publication" (1795) which later grew into the meaning in media.
In spiritualism, "person who conveys spiritual messages," by 1853. In painting, in reference to oil, watercolor, etc., by 1854. The notion is "liquid with which pigments are ground or mixed to give them desired fluidity." Happy medium is the "golden mean," Horace's aurea mediocritas.
c. 1200, "a fact related to another fact and modifying it without affecting its essential nature" (originally in reference to sins), from Old French circonstance "circumstance, situation," also literally, "outskirts" (13c., Modern French circonstance), from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition," neuter plural of circumstans (genitive circumstantis), present participle of circumstare "stand around, surround, encompass, occupy, take possession of" from circum "around" (see circum-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." The Latin word is a loan-translation of Greek peristasis.
Meaning "a person's surroundings, environment" is from mid-14c. Meaning "a particular detail, matter of small consequence" is from c. 1300; sense of "that which is non-essential" is from 1590s. Obsolete sense of "formality about an important event, ceremonious accompaniment" (late 14c.) lingers in Shakespeare's phrase pomp and circumstance ("Othello" III, iii), taken by Edward Elgar as the title of his military march (1901), which is a staple of U.S. graduations.
Old English cald (Anglian), ceald (West Saxon) "producing strongly the sensation which results when the temperature of the skin is lowered," also "having a low temperature," from Proto-Germanic *kaldjon (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon kald, Old High German and German kalt, Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds "cold"), from PIE root *gel- "cold; to freeze" (source also of Latin gelare "to freeze," gelu "frost," glacies "ice").
Sense of "unmoved by strong feeling" was in late Old English. Meaning "having a relatively low temperature, not heated" is from mid-13c. Sense of "dead" is from mid-14c. Meaning "not strong, affecting the senses only slightly" (in reference to scent or trails in hunting or tracking) is from 1590s; hence the extended sense in seeking-games, "distant from the object of search" (1864).
Cold front in weather is from 1921. Cold sweat is by 1630s. Cold-call (v.) in the sales pitch sense is recorded by 1964 (implied in cold-calling; the noun cold call is by 1953; cold-selling is from 1947). Cold comfort (by 1650s) is "little comfort, something which offers little cheer." Cold-cream "cooling unguent for the skin" is from 1709. To throw cold water on in the figurative sense "discourage by unexpected reluctance or indifference" is from 1808.
Japanese has two words for "cold:" samui for coldness in the atmosphere or environment; tsumetai for things which are cold to touch, and also in the figurative sense, with reference to personalities, behaviors, etc.
1630s, atmosphaera (modern form from 1670s), "gaseous envelop surrounding the earth," from Modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos "vapor, steam" (see atmo-) + sphaira "sphere" (see sphere). In old science, "vaporous air," which was considered a part of the earth and a contamination of the lower part of the air (n.1).
Þe ouer partye of þe eyr is pure and clene, clere, esy & softe, ffor mevynge of stormys, of wynde and of wedir may nat reche þerto; and so it perteyneþ to heuenlych kynde. And þe neþir partye is nyʒe to þe spere of watir and of erþe, and is troubly, greet and þicke, corpulent and ful of moyst erþy vapoures, as longiþ to erþy partyes. Þe eyr strecchiþ hym kyndely al aboute fro þe ouer partye of þe erþe and of watir anon to þe spere of fire. [Bartholomew Glanville, "De proprietatibus rerum," c. 1240, translated by John of Trevisa c. 1398 ]
First used in English in connection with the Moon, which, as it turns out, practically has none.
'Tis Observed, in the Solary Eclipses, that there is some times a great Trepidation about the Body of the Moon, from which we may likewise argue an Atmo-sphaera, since we cannot well conceive what so probable a cause there should be of such an appearance as this, Quod radii Solares a vaporibus Lunam ambientibus fuerint intercisi, that the Sun-beams were broken and refracted by the Vapours that encompassed the Moon. [Rev. John Wilkins, "Discovery of New World or Discourse tending to prove that it probable there may be another World in the Moon," 1638]
The figurative sense of "surrounding influence, mental or moral environment" is by c. 1800.
c. 1300, in chess, "a call noting one's move has placed his opponent's king (or another major piece) in immediate peril," from Old French eschequier "a check at chess" (also "chess board, chess set"), from eschec "the game of chess; chessboard; check; checkmate," from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic shah, from Persian shah "king," the principal piece in a chess game (see shah; also compare checkmate (n.)). Also c. 1300 in a generalized sense, "harmful incident or event, hostile environment."
As "an exposure of the king to a direct attack from an opposing piece" early 15c. When his king is in check, a player's choices are severely limited. From that notion come the many extended senses: From the notion of "a sudden stoppage, hindrance, restraint" (1510s) comes that of "act or means of checking or restraining," also "means of detecting or exposing or preventing error; a check against forgery or alteration."
Hence: "a counter-register as a token of ownership used to check against, and prevent, loss or theft" (as in hat check, etc.), 1812. Hence also the financial use for "written order for money drawn on a bank, money draft" (1798, often spelled cheque), which was probably influenced by exchequer. Hence also "mark put against names or items on a list indicating they have been verified or otherwise examined" (by 1856).
From its use in chess the word has been widely transferred in French and English. In the sense-extension, the sb. and vb. have acted and reacted on each other, so that it is difficult to trace and exhibit the order in which special senses arose [OED]
The meaning "restaurant bill" is from 1869. Checking account is attested from 1897, American English. Blank check in the figurative sense is attested by 1849 (compare carte blanche). Checks and balances is from 1782, perhaps originally suggesting machinery.