1620s, "stiffness, inflexibility," especially in mechanics, "resistance to change of form;" 1620s, from Latin rigiditas "stiffness," from rigidus "hard, stiff, rough, severe" (see rigid). By 1650s as "strictness, severity," but rigidity tends to be used of physical stiffness, while rigor is more active or moral. Rigidness (1640s) "perhaps holds a middle position" [Century Dictionary].
Rigidity is directly opposed to flexibility, and only indirectly to malleability and ductility, which depend chiefly on relations between the tenacity, the rigidity, and the limit of elasticity. [Century Dictionary]
"to attack persistently, worry, pester," 1790, from badger (n.), based on the behavior of the dogs in the medieval sport of badger-baiting, still practiced in late 19c. England as an attraction to low public houses. Related: Badgered; badgering.
A badger is put into a barrel, and one or more dogs are put in to drag him out. When this is effected he is returned to his barrel, to be similarly assailed by a fresh set of dogs. The badger usually makes a most determined and savage resistance. [Century Dictionary]
1560s, "a chafing, rubbing," from French friction (16c.) and directly from Latin frictionem (nominative frictio) "a rubbing, rubbing down," noun of action from past-participle stem of fricare "to rub, rub down," which is of uncertain origin. Watkins suggests possibly from PIE root *bhreie- "to rub, break." De Vaan suggests a PIE bhriH-o- "to cut" and compares Sanskrit bhrinanti, Old Church Slavonic briti "to shave." Sense of "resistance to motion" is from 1722; figurative sense of "disagreement, clash, lack of harmony, mutual irritation" first recorded 1761. Related: Frictional.
Old English þeof "thief, robber," from Proto-Germanic *theuba- (source also of Old Frisian thiaf, Old Saxon thiof, Middle Dutch and Dutch dief, Old High German diob, German dieb, Old Norse þiofr, Gothic þiufs), a word of uncertain origin.
A thief takes other people's property without their knowledge ; a robber takes it openly, whether or not resistance is offered : in a looser sense, thief is often applied to one who takes a small amount, and robber to one who takes a large amount. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
coined 1866 by Thoreau as the title of his essay originally published (1849) as "Resistance to Civil Government."
If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. [Thoreau]
The extended sense of "direct or striking opposition" is from 1630s; as "that which is the direct opposite" from 1831.
war games played on maps with blocks representing bodies of soldiers, 1873 (once, from 1811, as a German word in English), from German Kriegsspiel, literally "war game," from Krieg "war," from Middle High German kriec, "combat," mostly "exertion, effort; opposition, enmity, resistance," from Old High German chreg "stubbornness, defiance, obstinacy," from Proto-Germanic *krig-, which is perhaps from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy" or cognate with Greek hybris "violence" (see hubris; also see war (n.)). For second element, see spiel (n.). Introduced 1870s as officer training in British army.
"action in resistance or response to another action or power," 1640s, from re- "back, again, anew" + action (q.v.). Modeled on French réaction, older Italian reattione, from Medieval Latin reactionem (nominative reactio), a noun of action formed in Late Latin from the past-participle stem of Latin reagere "react," from re- "back" + agere "to do, perform."
Originally a word in physics and dynamics. In chemistry, "mutual or reciprocal action of chemical agents upon each other," by 1836. The general sense of "action or feeling in response" (to a statement, event, etc.) is recorded from 1914. Reaction time, "time elapsing between the action of an external stimulus and the giving of a signal in reply," attested by 1874.
To be figuratively on the fence "uncommitted" is from 1828, perhaps from the notion of spectators at a fight, or a simple literal image: "A man sitting on the top of a fence, can jump down on either side with equal facility." [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848].
Old English fiðerian "to furnish with feathers or wings," from feðer (see feather (n.)). Meaning "to fit (an arrow) with feathers" is from early 13c.; that of "to deck, adorn, or provide with plumage" is from late 15c.
In reference to oars (later paddles, propellers, etc.), "to turn the blades in a horizontal position on lifting them from the water at the end of each stroke," to afford as little resistance as possible, it is attested from 1740, perhaps from the image of the blade turned edgewise, or from the spray of the water as it falls off (compare nautical feather-spray, that produced by the cutwater of a fast vessel). The noun in reference to this is from the verb. Meaning "to cut down to a thin edge" is from 1782, originally in woodworking. Phrase feather one's nest "enrich oneself" is from 1580s. Related: Feathered; feathering.