early 15c., "standing or rising above other places; exceeding other things in quality or degree;" from Old French éminent "prominent" (13c.) or directly from Latin eminentem (nominative eminens) "standing out, projecting, prominent, high," figuratively "distinguished, distinctive," present participle of eminere "stand out, project; be prominent, be conspicuous," from assimilated form of ex "out" (see ex-) + -minere, which is related to mons "hill" (from PIE root *men- (2) "to project"). From 1610s, of persons, "distinguished in character or attainments." Related: Eminently.
"a small number of persons" (distinguished from the many), c. 1300, fewe, from few (adj.).
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. [Winston Churchill, 1940]
1771, "causing or distinguished by relaxation," from Latin relaxantem (nominative relaxans), present participle of relaxare "to loosen, stretch out" (see relax). As a noun, "a medicine or treatment that relaxes or opens," from 1832. An earlier adjective was relaxative "having the quality of relaxing" (1610s).
"grinding tooth, back-tooth," mid-14c., from Latin molaris dens "grinding tooth," from mola "millstone," from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." As an adjective, "grinding, crushing," as distinguished from "cutting" or "piercing," from 1620s. In Old English they were cweornteð "quern-teeth."
"explosive device," by 1866 in reference to submarine weapons (at first not distinguished from torpedoes), from mine (v.2). By 1890 as "land-mine, explosive device placed on the ground (or just under it) as a weapon."