1820, "member of the progressive and reformist political party of Great Britain, an anti-Whig," from liberal (adj.). General meaning "person of liberal political principles or tendencies" (without reference to party) is by 1832; in reference to persons of a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c. 1920. Also used from early 20c. of ministers from less-dogmatic Christian churches.
Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
mid-15c., "high official, great man, noble, man of wealth," from Late Latin magnates, plural of magnas "great person, nobleman," from Latin magnus "great, large, big" (of size), "abundant" (of quantity), "great, considerable" (of value), "strong, powerful" (of force); of persons, "elder, aged," also, figuratively, "great, mighty, grand, important," from suffixed form of PIE root *meg- "great."
also chapbook, 1812, from chap, short for chapman, so called because chapmen once sold such books.
One of a class of tracts upon homely and miscellaneous subjects which at one time formed the chief popular literature of Great Britain and the American colonies. They consisted of lives of heroes, martyrs, and wonderful personages, stories of roguery and broad humor, of giants, ghosts, witches, and dreams, histories in verse, songs and ballads, theological tracts, etc. They emanated principally from the provincial press, and were hawked about the country by chapmen or peddlers. [Century Dictionary]
mid-15c., "exalted, glorious, great in actions or deeds," from Old French magnificent, a back-formation from Latin magnificentior, comparative of magnificus "great, elevated, noble, distinguished," literally "doing great deeds," from magnus "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + combining form of facere "to make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Meaning "characterized by grandeur or stateliness; living in splendor" is from 1520s. As an exclamation expressing enthusiastic admiration, by 1704.