late 14c., pensioun, "payment for services," especially "a regular reward or annual payment out of a will or benefice" (early 14c., in Anglo-Latin), from Old French pension "payment, rent" (13c.) and directly from Latin pensionem (nominative pensio) "a payment, installment, rent," from past-participle stem of pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). For the financial sense of the Latin verb, see pound (n.1).
Meaning "regular payment to a person in consideration of past service" is from 1520s, hence "periodic payment made to a person retired from service on account of age or disability" (originally especially government pay to soldiers and sailors). Meaning "boarding house, boarding school" is attested from 1640s, from a sense in French based on the meaning "money paid for board," and in English it is usually in reference to places in France or elsewhere on the Continent.
1620s, "to settle with colonists, plant or establish a colony in," from stem of Latin colonus "tiller of the soil, farmer" (see colony). From 1630s as "to migrate to and settle in." It is attested by 1790s in the sense of "to make another place into a national dependency" without regard for settlement there (such as in reference to French activity in Egypt or the British in India), and in this sense it is probably directly from colony.
No principle ought ever to be tolerated or acted upon, that does not proceed on the basis of India being considered as the temporary residence of a great British Establishment, for the good government of the country, upon steady and uniform principles, and of a large British factory, for the beneficial management of its trade, upon rules applicable to the state and manners of the country. [Henry Dundas, Chairman of the East-India Company, letter, April 2, 1800]
Related: Colonized; colonizing.
c. 1400, "a ruler," from the adjective regent "ruling, governing" (late 14c., now archaic), later "exercising vicarious authority," from Old French regent and directly from Medieval Latin regentem (nominative regens), from Latin regens "ruler, governor," noun use of present participle of regere "to rule, direct" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule").
Meaning "one who rules during the minority or absence of a sovereign" is from early 15c., used in place of king as not implying legitimacy or permanence of rule. The Latin word for this was interrex (plural interreges). Sense of "university faculty member" (especially, in old universities, a master or doctor who takes part in the regular duties of instruction or government) is attested from late 14c. and preserves the older meaning.
I shall calle unto me my counceyle of my moste trusty knyghtes and deukes and regeaunte kynges and erlys and barowns. [Malory, late 15c.]
c. 1300, fraunchise, "a special right or privilege (by grant of a sovereign or government);" also "national sovereignty; nobility of character, generosity; the king's authority; the collective rights claimed by a people or town or religious institution," also used of the state of Adam and Eve before the Fall, from Old French franchise "freedom, exemption; right, privilege" (12c.), from variant stem of franc "free" (see frank (adj.)).
From late 14c. as "freedom; not being in servitude; social status of a freeman;" early 15c. as "citizenship, membership in a community or town; membership in a craft or guild." The "special right" sense narrowed 18c. to "particular legal privilege," then "right to vote" (1790). From mid-15c. as "right to buy or sell," also "right to exclude others from buying or selling, a monopoly;" meaning "authorization by a company to sell its products or services" is from 1959.
late 14c., "open letter or official document from some authority granting permission to do something; a licence granting an office, right, title, etc.," shortened from Anglo-French lettre patent (also in Medieval Latin litteræ patentes), literally "open letter" (late 13c.), from Old French patente "open," from Latin patentem (nominative patens) "open, lying open," present participle of patere "lie open, be open" (from PIE root *pete- "to spread").
The Letters Patent were ... written upon open sheets of parchment, with the Great Seal pendent at the bottom ... [while] the 'Litteræ Clausæ,' or Letters Close, ... being of a more private nature, and addressed to one or two individuals only, were closed or folded up and sealed on the outside. [S.R. Scargill-Bird, "A Guide to the Principal Classes of Documents at the Public Record Office," 1891]
Meaning "a licence granted by a government covering a new and useful invention, conferring exclusive right to exploit the invention for a specified term of years" is from 1580s.
late 14c., revolucioun, originally of celestial bodies, "one (apparent) rotation about the earth," also the time required for this, also "act or fact of moving in a circular course," from Old French revolucion "course, revolution" of celestial bodies (13c.) or directly from Late Latin revolutionem (nominative revolutio) "a revolving," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin revolvere "turn, roll back" (see revolve).
From early 15c. as "a cyclical reoccurrence, a round or recurrent changes or events;" also "the revolving of a wheel." By 1660s as "action on the part of an object or person of turning round or moving round a point."
The sense of "an instance of great change in affairs" is recorded from mid-15c. The political meaning "overthrow of an established political or social system" is recorded by c. 1600, derived from French, and was especially applied in England to the expulsion of the Stuart dynasty under James II in 1688 and transfer of sovereignty to William and Mary under a purer constitutional government. Green revolution in global food production is attested from 1970.
used in reference to various qualities and things associated with 19c. French emperors of that name, especially Napoleon I (Bonaparte), 1769-1821. The given name (Italian Napoleone) is attested from 13c., said to be from a St. Napoleone of Alexandria, a 4c. martyr. It has been folk-etymologized as "lion of Naples" or "nose of a lion."
The name was applied to a gold coin issued by the government of Napoleon I, bearing his image, worth 20 francs. As the name of a 12-pound artillery piece, it is in use in U.S. military from 1857, from Napoleon III (1808-1873), under whose rule it was designed. As a type of boot, by 1860; as a card game, by 1876; as a type of rich cake, from 1892; as a type of good brandy, from 1930. The name also was applied by 1821 to anyone thought to have achieved domination in any field by ambition and ruthlessness. Napoleon complex in reference to aggressiveness by short people is attested by 1930. Related: Napoleonic; Napoleonism.
"the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, — as they are now justly styled, — a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]
c. 1300, "district with its own church; members of such a church," from Anglo-French paroche, parosse (late 11c.), Old French paroisse, from Late Latin parochia, paroecia "a diocese," an alteration of Late Greek paroikia "a diocese or parish," from paroikos "a sojourner" (in Christian writers), in classical Greek, "neighbor," from para- "near" (see para- (1)) + oikos "house" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan").
The sense development of the word in the early Church is unclear, perhaps it is from "sojourner" used as epithet of early Christians as spiritual sojourners in the material world. In early Church writing the word was used in a more general sense than Greek dioikesis, though by 13c. they were synonymous. It replaced Old English preostscyr, literally "priest-shire." In Great Britain (from the 1630s), some southern American colonies, and Louisiana it has been the name for a purely civil division for purposes of local government, with boundaries originally corresponding to an ecclesiastical parish.
mid-14c., constitucioun, "law, regulation, edict; body of rules, customs, or laws," from Old French constitucion (12c.) "constitution, establishment," and directly from Latin constitutionem (nominative constitutio) "act of settling, settled condition, anything arranged or settled upon, regulation, order, ordinance," noun of state from past-participle stem of constituere "to cause to stand, set up, fix, place, establish, set in order; form something new; resolve" (see constitute).
Meaning "action of establishing, creation" is from c. 1400; that of "way in which a thing is constituted" is from c. 1600; that of "physical health, strength and vigor of the body" is from 1550s; of the mind, "temperament, character" from 1580s.
Sense of "mode of organization of a state" is from c. 1600; that of "system of fundamental principles by which a community is governed" dates from 1730s; since the 1780s especially of the fundamental principles and rules of a government as embodied in a written document (as in the U.S. and France). In reference to Britain, the word was a collective name for the fundamental principles established by the political development of the English people embodied in long-accepted precedents.