Hence, "to overthrow, defeat" (1540s; as a noun in this sense from late 15c.); "frustrate the efforts of" (1560s). Related: Foiled; foiling. Foiled again! as a cry of defeat and dismay is from at least 1847.
"a person, an individual," c. 1300, from piece (n.1), but in modern use contemptuous and commonly of women; the meaning "person regarded as a sex object" is by 1785. Compare piece of ass under ass (n.2); human beings colloquially have been piece of flesh from 1590s; also compare Latin scortum "bimbo, anyone available for a price," literally "skin."
PIECE. A wench. A damned good or bad piece; a girl who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress. Hence the (Cambridge) toast, may we never have a PIECE (peace) that will injure the constitution. [Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence, London, 1811]
1560s, in reference to diseases, "virulent, tending to produce death," from French malignant and directly from Late Latin malignantem (nominative malignans) "acting from malice," present participle of malignare "injure maliciously," from Latin malignus "wicked, bad-natured," from male "badly" (see mal-) + -gnus "born," from gignere "to bear, beget" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget").
Earlier in the church malignant "followers of the antichrist," from Latin ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1540s). Of persons, "disposed to inflict suffering or cause distress," from 1590s. As an adjective, Middle English used simple malign (early 14c.), also malignous "poisonous, noxious." Related: Malignantly.
"to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture," early 14c., perhaps an alteration of scorrcnenn "make dry, parch" (c. 1200), of obscure origin, perhaps from Old Norse skorpna "to be shriveled," cognate with Old English scrimman "to shrink, dry up." Or perhaps from Old French escorchier "to strip off the skin," from Vulgar Latin *excorticare "to flay," from ex- (see ex-) + Latin cortex (genitive corticis) "cork;" but OED finds this not likely. Scorched earth military strategy is 1937, translation of Chinese jiaotu, used against the Japanese in a bid to stem their advance into China.
c. 1300, wirien, "to slay, kill or injure by biting and shaking the throat" (as a dog or wolf does), from Old English wyrgan "to strangle," from Proto-Germanic *wurgjan (source also of Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen "to strangle," Old Norse virgill "rope"), from *wergh-, from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend."
The "strangle" sense generally was obsolete in English after c. 1600; the figurative meaning "to annoy, bother, vex" is by c. 1400. Meaning "to cause mental distress or trouble" is attested from 1822; intransitive sense of "to feel anxiety or mental trouble" is attested by 1860. Related: Worried; worrier; worrying.
late 14c., "degrade socially" (for marrying below rank or without proper ceremony), from Anglo-French and Old French desparagier (Modern French déparager) "reduce in rank, degrade, devalue, depreciate," originally "to marry unequally, marry to one of inferior condition or rank," and thus, by extension, to bring on oneself or one's family the disgrace or dishonor involved in this, from des- "away" (see dis-) + parage "rank, lineage" (see peer (n.)).
Also from late 14c. as "injure or dishonor by a comparison," especially by treating as equal or inferior to what is of less dignity, importance, or value. Sense of "belittle, undervalue, criticize or censure unjustly" is by 1530s. Related: Disparaged; disparaging; disparagingly.
early 14c., offenden, "to disobey or sin against (a person, human or divine)," a sense now obsolete, from Old French ofendre "hit, attack, injure; sin against; antagonize, excite to anger" and directly from Latin offendere "to hit, thrust, or strike against," figuratively "to stumble, commit a fault, displease, trespass against, provoke," from assimilated form of ob "in front of against" (see ob-) + -fendere "to strike" (found only in compounds; see defend).
Meaning "to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime" is from late 14c. Meaning "to wound the feelings of, displease, give displeasure to, excite personal annoyance or resentment in" is from late 14c. The literal sense of "to attack, assail" (late 14c.) is obsolete, but it is somewhat preserved in offense and offensive. Related: Offended; offending; offendedness.
c. 1300, "desire to hurt another, propensity to inflict injury or suffering, active ill-will," from Old French malice "ill will, spite, sinfulness, wickedness" (12c.), from Latin malitia "badness, ill will, spite," from malus "bad, unpleasant" (see mal-). In legal use, "a design or intention of doing mischief to another without justification or excuse" (1540s).
Actual malice, express malice, malice in fact, malice in which the intention includes a contemplation of some injury to be done.—Constructive malice, implied malice, imputed malice, malice in law, that which, irrespective of actual intent to injure, is attributed by the law to an injurious act intentionally done, without proper motive, as distinguished from actual malice, either proved or presumed. Malice aforethought, or malice prepense, actual malice particularly in case of homicide. [Century Dictionary]
Old English bryce "a fracture, act of breaking," from Proto-Germanic *brukiz (source also of Old Frisian breke "a burst, crack, demolition (of a house)," Old Saxon bruki, Old High German bruh, Middle Dutch broke), a noun from *brekanan (source of Old English brecan "to shatter, burst; injure, violate, destroy, curtail;" see break (v.)). The English word was influenced by Old French cognate breche "breach, opening, gap," which is from Frankish or another Germanic source. Ultimately from PIE root *bhreg- "to break."
Figurative sense of "infraction, violation, a breaking of rules, etc." was in Old English. Meaning "opening made by breaking" is from late 14c. Meaning "rupture of friendly relations" is from 1570s. Breach of contract is from at least 1660s; breach of peace "violation of public order" is from 1670s; breach of promise (usually promise of marriage) is from 1580s.
late 13c., anoien, annuien, "to harm, hurt, injure; be troublesome or vexatious to, disquiet, upset," from Anglo-French anuier, Old French enoiier "to weary, vex, anger," anuier "be troublesome or irksome to;" according to French sources both from Late Latin inodiare "make loathsome," from Latin (esse) in odio "(it is to me) hateful," from ablative of odium "hatred," from PIE root *od- (2) "to hate" (see odium).
Also in Middle English as a noun, "feeling of irritation, displeasure, distaste" (c. 1200, still in Shakespeare), from Old French enoi, anoi "annoyance;" the same French word was borrowed into English later in a different sense as ennui. And compare Spanish enojo "offense, injury, anger;" enojar "to molest, trouble, vex." Middle English also had annoyful and annoyous (both late 14c.).