presumption (n.)

mid-13c., presumpcioun, "seizure and occupation without right," also "taking upon oneself more than good sense and propriety warrant," from Old French presumcion (12c., Modern French présomption) and directly from Late Latin praesumptionem (nominative praesumptio) "confidence, audacity," in classical Latin, "a taking for granted, anticipation," noun of action from past-participle stem of praesumere "to take beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + sumere "to take, obtain, buy," from sus‑, variant of sub‑ "up from under" + emere "to take" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute").

In English, the meaning "the taking of something for granted" is attested from c. 1300; that of "a ground for presuming or believing" is from 1580s. Presumptuous preserves the older sense.

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1871, a nonsense word coined by Edward Lear in "The Owl & the Pussy-Cat" (runcible spoon). The phrase runcible spoon has been used since 1926 for "spoon with three short tines like a fork," but OED writes that "the illustrations provided by himself for his books of verse give no warrant for this later interpretation."

As for Lear's inspiration for the word, suspicion falls on runcival, a contemporary variant of the old word rounceval "something big and loud," which is said to be from Roncevaux (French Rouncesvalles), the pass in the Pyrenees where Roland fell in battle.

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John Doe (n.)
fictitious plaintiff in a legal action, attested from 1768 (in Blackstone). The fictitious defendant was Richard Roe. If female, Jane Doe, Jane Roe. Replaced earlier John-a-nokes (1530s) or Jack Nokes, who usually was paired with John-a-stiles or Tom Stiles.

Also used of plaintiffs or defendants who have reason to be anonymous. By 1852, John Doe was being used for "any man whose name is not known;" Britain tended to preserve it in the narrower legal sense "name of the fictitious plaintiff in actions of ejectment." John Doe warrant attested from 1935.
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scientism (n.)

"belief in the omnipotence of scientific knowledge and methods and in their applicability to everything," a derogatory term, by 1870 (G.B. Shaw); see science + -ism. An earlier word was scientificism (1825) "restriction of analysis or explanation to what is scientifically demonstrable."

Particularly is the present age of science characterized by a predominance of observation over reflection. One would think from the general tendency in this direction that science was little else than gathering of facts. So it has come to pass that a fresh discovery gives warrant for any inference,—for any theory. ... That facts should be valued mainly for the principles they reveal, modern scientism could hardly understand, much less believe. [Henry N. Day, "President McCosh's Logic," The New Englander, July, 1870]
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beg (v.)

"to ask alms," especially to do so habitually as one's way of life, c. 1200, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from the rare Old English bedecian "to beg," from Proto-Germanic *beth-. Or from Anglo-French begger, a back-formation from Old French noun begart (see beggar (n.)) and ultimately from Beguine, which OED considers "perhaps the most likely derivation." The Old English word for "beg" was wædlian, from wædl "poverty." Related: Begged; begging.

Meaning "ask for" (a favor, etc.) is by 1520s. As a courteous mode of asking (beg pardon, etc.), attested by c. 1600. Of dogs, 1762. To beg the question (1580s) translates Latin petitio principii, and means "to assume something that hasn't been proven as a basis of one's argument," thus "asking" one's opponent to give something unearned, though more of the nature of taking it for granted without warrant. To beg off (something) "obtain release from by entreaty" is from 1741.

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commit (v.)
Origin and meaning of commit

late 14c., "to give in charge, entrust," from Latin committere "to unite, connect, combine; to bring together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + mittere "to release, let go; send, throw" (see mission).

The evolution of the modern range of meanings in English is not entirely clear. Sense of "to perpetrate (a crime), do, perform (especially something reprehensible)" was ancient in Latin; in English it is attested from mid-15c. Meaning "consign (someone) to custody (of prison, a mental institution, etc.) by official warrant" is from early 15c.

From 1530s as "trust (oneself) completely to;" from 1770 as "put or bring into danger by an irrevocable preliminary act." The intransitive use (in place of commit oneself) first recorded 1982, probably influenced by existentialism use (1948) of commitment to translate Sartre's engagement "emotional and moral engagement."

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bench (n.)

Old English benc "long seat," especially one without a back, from Proto-Germanic *bankon(source also of Old Frisian bank "bench," Old Norse bekkr, Danish bænk, Middle Dutch banc, Old High German banch). The group is cognate with bank (n.2) "natural earthen incline beside a body of water," and perhaps the original notion is "man-made earthwork used as a seat."

Used from late 14c. of a merchant's table. From c. 1300 in reference to the seat where judges sat in court, hence, by metonymy, "judges collectively, office of a judge." Hence also bencher "senior member of an inn of court" (1580s). Sporting sense "reserve of players" (in baseball, North American football, etc.) is by 1909, from literal sense of place where players sit when not in action (attested by 1889). A bench-warrant (1690s) is one issued by a judge, as opposed to one issued by an ordinary justice or magistrate.

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seal (v.)

c. 1200, selen, "to fasten (a letter, etc.) with or as with a seal, close up with a seal, press a seal on wax," also "place a seal on (a document)," also figurative, "to join together," from seal (n.1) or else from Old French seeler, sealer.

Hence "to conclude, ratify, render official or binding" by affixing seals to it (late 15c.). In reference to jars or other containers, "to close up with wax, lead, cement, etc.," attested from 1660s, from the notion of wax seals on envelopes. In reference to the actions of wood-coatings, "render impervious," by 1940. Related: Sealed; sealing.

Sealing-wax, "soft substance prepared for receiving the impression of a seal," is attested from c. 1300. To seal (one's) lips "be silent" is by 1782. To seal (one's) fate (1799) "decide irrevocably" perhaps reflects the notion of a seal on a warrant of execution.

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reprisal (n.)

early 15c., reprisail, "the seizing of property or citizens of another nation in equivalent retaliation for loss inflicted on one's own," from Anglo-French reprisaille (mid-14c.), Old French reprisaille (Modern French représaille), from early Italian ripresaglia, from ripreso, past participle of riprendere "to take back," from Latin reprendere, earlier reprehendere "to seize, restrain," literally "pull back, hold back" (see reprehend).

First in letters of mark and reprisal, the official warrant authorizing it. The general sense of "act of retaliation" is from 1710.

Reprisals differ from retorsion in this, that the essence of the former consists in seizing the property of another nation by way of security, until it shall have listened to the just reclamations of the offended party, while retorsion includes all kinds of measures which do an injury to another, similar and equivalent to that which we have experienced from him. Embargo, therefore, is a species of reprisals. [Theodore Dwight Woolsey, "Introduction to the Study of International Law," Boston: 1860]
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citizen (n.)

c. 1300, citisein (fem. citeseine) "inhabitant of a city or town," from Anglo-French citesein, citezein "city-dweller, town-dweller, citizen" (Old French citeien, 12c., Modern French citoyen), from cite (see city) + -ain (see -ian). According to Middle English Compendium, the -s-/-z- in Anglo-French presumably replaced an earlier *-th-.Old English words were burhsittend and ceasterware.

Sense of "freeman or inhabitant of a country, member of the state or nation, not an alien" is late 14c. Meaning "private person" (as opposed to a civil officer or soldier) is from c. 1600. As a title, 1795, from French: During the French Revolution, citoyen was used as a republican alternative to Monsieur.

Citizen's arrest, one carried out by a private person, without a warrant, allowable in certain cases, is recorded from 1941; citizen's band (radio) from 1947. Citizen of the world (late 15c.) translates Latin civem totius mundi, Greek kosmopolites.

He is not a citizen who is not disposed to respect the laws and to obey the civil magistrate; and he is certainly not a good citizen who does not wish to promote, by every means in his power, the welfare of the whole society of his fellow-citizens. [Adam Smith, "Theory of Moral Sentiments"]
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