rubber-stamp (n.)

1879, "instrument for stamping by hand with ink, having letters or numbers cast in vulcanized rubber," from rubber (n.1) + stamp (n.). The figurative sense of "thing or institution whose power is formal but not real" is by 1901 (on the notion of rubber-stamping "approved" or some such thing on everything given to it by the real powers). The verb is by 1889; in the figurative sense by 1912. As an adjective by 1931. Related: Rubber-stamped; rubber-stamping.

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peculiar (adj.)

mid-15c., "belonging exclusively to one person," also "special, particular," from Old French peculiaire and directly from Latin peculiaris "of one's own (property)," from peculium "private property," literally "property in cattle" (in ancient times the most important form of property), from pecu "cattle, flock," related to pecus "cattle" (see pecuniary).

The meaning "unusual, uncommon, odd" is by c. 1600 (earlier "distinguished, special, particular, select," 1580s; for sense development, compare idiom). The euphemistic phrase peculiar institution for U.S. slavery is by 1838. Related: Peculiarly.

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asylum (n.)

early 15c., earlier asile (late 14c.), "place of refuge, sanctuary," from Latin asylum "sanctuary," from Greek asylon "refuge, fenced territory," noun use of neuter of asylos "inviolable, safe from violence," especially of persons seeking protection, from a- "without" (see a- (3)) + sylē "right of seizure," which is of unknown etymology.

Literally, "an inviolable place." Formerly a place where criminals and debtors sought shelter from justice and from which they could not be taken without sacrilege. General sense of "safe or secure place" is from 1640s; abstract sense "inviolable shelter, protection from pursuit or arrest" is from 1712. Meaning "benevolent institution to shelter some class of persons suffering social, mental, or bodily defects" is from 1773, originally of female orphans.

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governor (n.)
c. 1300, gouernour, "personal keeper, protector, guide;" late 14c., "one who governs, a ruler," from Old French governeor "prince, ruler, administrator; helmsman" (11c., Modern French gouverneur) and directly from Latin gubernatorem (nominative gubernator) "director, ruler, governor," originally "steersman, pilot" (see govern). Meaning "subordinate ruler; head of a province, etc." is from late 14c. Meaning "one charged with direction or control of an institution, etc." is from late 14c. Mechanical sense of "self-acting regulator" is from 1819. The adjective gubernatorial remembers the Latin form. There is a record of English governator from 1520s.
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conservancy (n.)

1755, "commission with jurisdiction over a port or river," from -cy + Latin conservant-, present-participle stem of conservare "to keep, preserve, keep intact, guard," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + servare "keep watch, maintain" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect").

Earlier was conservacy "preservation under law, protection" (mid-15c., Anglo-French conservacie). The meaning "official preservation of undeveloped land" dates from 1859 (first reference is to the protection of bo trees in Ceylon). General sense of "act of preserving" is by 1832. Meaning "institution concerned with the preservation of nature, undeveloped land, etc." is by 1949.

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summer (n.1)

"hot season of the year," Old English sumor "summer," from Proto-Germanic *sumra- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German sumar, Old Frisian sumur, Middle Dutch somer, Dutch zomer, German Sommer), from PIE root *sm- "summer" (source also of Sanskrit sama "season, half-year," Avestan hama "in summer," Armenian amarn "summer," Old Irish sam, Old Welsh ham, Welsh haf "summer").

As an adjective from c. 1300. Summer camp as an institution for youth is attested from 1886; summer resort is from 1823; summer school first recorded 1810; theatrical summer stock is attested from 1941 (see stock (n.2)). Old Norse sumarsdag, first day of summer, was the Thursday that fell between April 9 and 15.

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commit (v.)
Origin and meaning of commit

late 14c., "to give in charge, entrust," from Latin committere "to unite, connect, combine; to bring together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + mittere "to release, let go; send, throw" (see mission).

The evolution of the modern range of meanings in English is not entirely clear. Sense of "to perpetrate (a crime), do, perform (especially something reprehensible)" was ancient in Latin; in English it is attested from mid-15c. Meaning "consign (someone) to custody (of prison, a mental institution, etc.) by official warrant" is from early 15c.

From 1530s as "trust (oneself) completely to;" from 1770 as "put or bring into danger by an irrevocable preliminary act." The intransitive use (in place of commit oneself) first recorded 1982, probably influenced by existentialism use (1948) of commitment to translate Sartre's engagement "emotional and moral engagement."

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foundation (n.)

late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion "foundation" (14c.) or directly from Late Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin fundare "to lay a bottom or foundation" (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol.

Specialized sense of "establishment of an institution with an endowment to pay for it" is from late 14c.; meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; meaning "funds endowed for benevolent or charitable purposes" is from early 15c. Sense of "solid base of a structure" is from early 15c. The cosmetics sense of "colored cream applied to the face to make it appear uniform in color and texture" is by 1931, probably short for foundation cream or foundation makeup.

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coffee-house (n.)

also coffeehouse, "house of entertainment where guests are supplied with coffee and other refreshments," 1610s, from coffee + house (n.). In late 17c. London they were important political centers, serving as clubs did for a later generation; each sect and party had a chosen one of its own.

The coffee-house must not be dismissed with a cursory mention. It might indeed, at that time [1685], have been not improperly called a most important political institution. No Parliament had sat for years. The municipal council of the city had ceased to speak the sense of the citizens. Public meetings, harangues, resolutions, and the rest of the modern machinery of agitation had not yet come into fashion. Nothing resembling the modern newspaper existed. In such circumstances, the coffee-were the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself. [Macaulay, "History of England"] 
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