Old English segilan "travel on water in a ship by the action of wind upon sails; equip with a sail," from the same Germanic source as sail (n.); cognate with Old Norse sigla, Middle Dutch seghelen, Dutch zeilen, Middle Low German segelen, German segeln. Later extended to travel over water by steam power or other mechanical agency. The meaning "to set out on a sea voyage, leave port" is from c. 1200. Extended sense of "float through the air; move forward impressively" is by late 14c., as is the sense of "sail over or upon." Related: Sailed; sailing.
Sense extended to material for working with in various trades (c. 1400), then "matter of an unspecified kind" (1570s). Meaning "narcotic, dope, drug" is attested from 1929. To know (one's) stuff "have a grasp on a subject" is recorded from 1927.
Originally any engine for discharging missiles (catapults, slings, bows, etc.); modern restriction to "ordnance, large guns" is from 16c. Technically, "all firearms discharged from carriages," as opposed to small arms, discharged by hand. As a branch of the army, from 1786.
late 14c., "to decorate, adorn, beautify," also in Middle English "equip (a place) for defense; arm (oneself) for battle; prepare to defend," from Old French garniss-, present-participle stem of garnir "provide, furnish; fortify, reinforce" (11c.), from Frankish *warnjan, from Proto-Germanic *warnon "be cautious, guard, provide for" (source also of Old High German warnon "to take heed," Old English warnian "to take warning, beware;" see warn), from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."
Sense evolution is from "arm oneself" to "fit out" to "embellish," which was the earliest meaning in English. Culinary sense of "to decorate a dish for the table" predominated after c. 1700. Older meaning survives in legal sense of "to warn or serve notice of attachment of funds" (1570s). Related: Garnished; garnishing.
c. 1200, ournement, "an accessory; something that serves primarily for use but also may serve as adornment; ornamental apparel, jewels," from Old French ornement "ornament, decoration," and directly from Latin ornamentum "apparatus, equipment, trappings; embellishment, decoration, trinket," from ornare "to equip, adorn," from stem of ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)).
The sense shift in English to "something employed simply to adorn or decorate, something added as an embellishment, whatever lends grace or beauty to that to which it is added or belongs" is by late 14c. (this also was a secondary sense in classical Latin). Meaning "outward appearance, mere display" is from 1590s. The figurative use is from 1550s; the meaning "one who adds luster to one's sphere or surroundings" is from 1570s.
late 13c., "to prepare, make preparations;" late 14c., "to equip, provide with proper clothing; dress or dress up," from Old French apareillier "prepare, make (someone) ready, dress (oneself)" (12c., Modern French appareiller), from Vulgar Latin *appariculare. This is either from Latin apparare "prepare, make ready" (see apparatus), or from Vulgar Latin *ad-particulare "to put things together," from Latin particula "little bit or part, grain, jot" (see particle (n.)). "The 15th c. spellings were almost endless" [OED].
By either derivation the sense is etymologically "to join like to like, to fit, to suit." Compare French habiller "to dress," originally "prepare, arrange," English dress, from Latin directus. The words were "specially applied to clothing as the necessary preparation for every kind action" [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859].
Cognate with Italian aparecchiare, Spanish aparejar, Portuguese aparelhar. Related: Appareled; apparelled; appareling; apparelling.