word-forming element meaning "bearing, producing," from Latin -parus (as in viviparus "bringing forth young alive"), from parire "to produce, bring forth" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure").
Used in designating the rocks which formed the great coal-beds of England, France, Germany and the United States; from 1832 with reference to the geological period when these were laid down. As a stand-alone noun (short for Carboniferous Period) by 1907.
"female or seed-bearing organ of a flower," 1718, from French pistil, from Modern Latin pistillum "a pistil," so called from resemblance to a pestle, from Latin pistillum "pestle" (see pestle). Related: Pistillary; pistillaceous; pistillate; pistilline.
c. 1600, "attending, incidental," also "derived from circumstances," from Latin circumstantia (see circumstance) + -al (1). Related: Circumstantially. Legalese circumstantial evidence "evidence from more or less relevant circumstances bearing upon a case," as distinguished from direct testimony, is attested by 1691.