early 14c., "almighty, possessing infinite power," from Old French omnipotent "almighty, all-powerful" (11c.) and directly from Latin omnipotentem (nominative omnipotens) "all-powerful, almighty," from omnis "all" (see omni-) + potens (genitive potentis) "powerful" (see potent). Originally of God or a deity; general sense of "having absolute power or authority" is attested from 1590s. Related: Omnipotently.
If the reader will consult such a book as Recent Economic Changes, by David A. Wells, published in 1889, he will find passages that, except for the dates and absolute amounts involved, might have been written by our technophobes (if I may coin a needed word) of today. [Henry Hazlitt, "Economics in One Lesson," 1952 edition]
late 14c., of a voice, "pure, clear;" mid-15c., of abstract things, "absolute, sheer;" from Old French mier "pure" (of gold), "entire, total, complete," and directly from Latin merus "unmixed" (of wine), "pure; bare, naked;" figuratively "true, real, genuine," according to some sources probably originally "clear, bright," from PIE *mer- "to gleam, glimmer, sparkle" (source also of Old English amerian "to purify," Old Irish emer "not clear," Sanskrit maricih "ray, beam," Greek marmarein "to gleam, glimmer"). But de Vaan writes "there is no compelling reason to derive 'pure' from 'shining,'" and compares Hittite marri "just so, gratuitously," and suggests the source is a PIE *merH-o- "remaining, pure."
The English sense of "nothing less than, in the fullest sense absolute" (mid-15c., surviving now only in vestiges such as mere folly) existed for centuries alongside the apparently opposite sense of "nothing more than" (1580s, as in a mere dream).
Hyperaesthesia, then, is the peculiar state in which the absolute sensibility is increased—the minimum of stimulation needed to excite perception being less than normal. Hyperalgesia is where stimuli which normally cause only a slight sensation give rise to pain in consequence of the lowering of the pain minimum. [The Medical Record, April 1, 1867]
mid-15c., peremptorie, "absolute, allowing no refusal," a legal term, from Anglo-French peremptorie, from Late Latin peremptorius "destructive, decisive, final," from peremptor "destroyer," agent noun from past-participle stem of Latin perimpere "destroy, cut off," from per "away entirely, to destruction" (see per) + emere (past participle emptus) "to take" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute"). Of persons or their words, "certain, assured, brooking no debate or question," 1580s. Related: Peremptorily.
"in the time of, in the course of, throughout the continuance of," late 14c., duryng (earlier durand, mid-14c.), present participle of the long-obsolete verb duren "to last, endure, continue, be or exist" (mid-13c.), which is from Old French durer, from Latin durare "to harden," from durus "hard" (from PIE root *deru- "be firm, solid, steadfast"). During the day is "while the day endures," and the prepositional usage is a transference into English of a Latin ablative absolute (compare durante bello "during (literally 'enduring') the war").
"pertaining to or of the nature of a despot or despotism," 1640s, from French despotique (14c.), from Greek despotikos, from despotēs "absolute ruler" (see despot). By 1734, "unlimited, arbitrary, tyrannical." In 18c. also despotick. Related: Despotical; despotically.
Despotic monarchs sincerely anxious to improve mankind are naturally led to endeavour, by acts of legislation, to force society into the paths which they believe to be good, and such men, acting under such motives, have sometimes been the scourges of mankind. Philip II. and Isabella the Catholic inflicted more suffering in obedience to their consciences than Nero or Domitian in obedience to their lusts. [Lecky, "History of European Morals," 1869]
The noun is attested from 1520s, originally in the grammatical sense, "a word in the superlative;" hence "exaggerated language" (1590s).
First attested in phrases such as heir apparent (see heir). Meaning "superficial, spurious" is from c. 1400; that of "appearing to the senses or mind but not necessarily real" is from 1640s. Apparent magnitude in astronomy (how bright a heavenly body looks from earth, as opposed to absolute magnitude, which is how bright it really is) is attested from 1875. Middle English had noun forms apparence, apparency, but both are obsolete from 17c.