late 14c., "to make, shape," ultimately from Latin designare "mark out, point out; devise; choose, designate, appoint," from de "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)).
The Italian verb disegnare in 16c. developed the senses "to contrive, plot, intend," and "to draw, paint, embroider, etc." French took both these senses from Italian, in different forms, and passed them on to English, which uses design in all senses.
From 1540s as "to plan or outline, form a scheme;" from 1703 as "to contrive for a purpose." Transitive sense of "draw the outline or figure of," especially of a proposed work, is from 1630s; the meaning "plan and execute, fashion with artistic skill" is from 1660s. The intransitive sense of "do original work in a graphic or plastic art" is by 1854. Also used in 17c. English with the meaning now attached to designate. Related: Designed; designing.
late Old English plot "small piece of ground of defined shape," a word of unknown origin. The sense of "ground plan," and thus "map, chart, survey of a field, farm, etc." is from 1550s. Plat is a Middle English collateral form. The meaning "a secret, plan, fully formulated scheme" (usually to accomplish some evil purpose) is from 1580s, probably by accidental similarity to complot, from Old French complot "combined plan" (compare the sense evolution of plan), itself a word of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from compeloter "to roll into a ball," from pelote "ball." OED says "The usage probably became widely known in connexion with the 'Gunpowder Plot.' "
The meaning "set of events in a story, play, novel, etc." is from 1640s. Plot-line (n.) "main features of a story" is attested by 1940; earlier, in theater, "a sentence containing matter essential to the comprehension of the play's story" (1907).
late 14c., dispensacioun, "power to dispose of," also "act of dispensing or dealing out," also "a relaxation of the law in some particular case," from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation) and directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past-participle stem of dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Related: Dispensational.
Theological sense "method or scheme by which God has developed his purposes and revealed himself to man" (late 14c.) is from the use of the Latin word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration" (see economy). Hence "particular period during which a religious system has prevailed" (1640s), with Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian, etc. Also "a particular distribution (for good or ill) by divine providence" (1650s).
late 15c. (Caxton), "to plan, to scheme," from Late Latin projectare "to thrust forward," from Latin proiectus, past participle of proicere "stretch out, throw forth; hold in front; fling away; drive out," from pro- "forward" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward") + combining form of iacere (past participle iactus) "to throw" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). The notion is to "cast forward in the mind."
Meaning "to throw out or forward" physically is from 1590s. Intransitive sense of "to stick out, protrude beyond the adjacent parts, extend beyond something" is from 1718 (also an architectural sense in the Latin verb). Meaning "to cast an image on a screen" is recorded from 1865. Psychoanalytical sense, "attribute to another (unconsciously)" is from 1895 (implied in a use of projective), probably a figurative use from the meaning "throw the mind into the objective world" (1850). Meaning "convey to others by one's manner" is recorded by 1955. Related: Projected; projecting.
"The measure soon ceases to be Spenser's except in its mere anatomy of rhyme-arrangement" [Elton, "Survey of English Literature 1770-1880," 1920]; it is the meter in Butler's "Hudibras," Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and notably the "Childe Harold" of Byron, who found (quoting Beattie) that it allowed him to be "either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me; for, if I mistake not, the measure which I have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition."
1630s, "public notice," from Late Latin programma "proclamation, edict," from Greek programma "a written public notice," from stem of prographein "to write publicly," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy).
The meaning "written or printed list of pieces at a concert, playbill" is recorded by 1805 and retains the original sense. The sense of "broadcasting presentation" is from 1923.
The general sense of "a definite plan or scheme, method of operation or line of procedure prepared or announced beforehand" is recorded from 1837. The computer sense of "series of coded instructions which directs a computer in carrying out a specific task: is from 1945.
The sense of "objects or events suggested by music" is from 1854 (program music is attested by 1877). Spelling programme, established in Britain, is from French in modern use and began to be used early 19c., originally especially in the "playbill" sense.
early 15c., practise, "practical aspect or application," originally especially of medicine but also alchemy, education, etc.; from Old French pratiser, from Medieval Latin practicare (see practice (v.)). It largely displaced the older word, practic, which survived in parallel into 19c. From early 15c. it began to be assimilated in spelling to nouns in -ice.
Sense of "habit, frequent or customary performance" is from c. 1500. Meaning "exercise for instruction or discipline" is from 1520s. Sense of "action, the process of accomplishing or carrying out" (opposed to speculation or theory) is from 1530s. The meaning "regular pursuit of some employment or business" is from 1570s. In 16c.-17c. it also was used in an evil sense, "conspiracy, a scheme."
Practice is sometimes erroneously used for experience, which is a much broader word. Practice is the repetition of an act : as, to become a skilled marksman by practice. Experience is, by derivation, a going clear through, and may mean action, but much oftener views the person as acted upon, taught, disciplined, by what befalls him. [Century Dictionary]
late 15c., originally nautical, "to fit (a ship) with necessary tackle, make (a ship) ready for sea," a word of obscure origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish, Norwegian rigge "to equip," Swedish rigga "to rig, harness"), though these may be from English; perhaps ultimately from PIE *reig- "to bind."
The extended sense of "dress, fit out with, furnish with, provide" with something is by 1590s. That of "to adjust, put in condition for use, set in working order" is by 1620s.
The slang meaning "pre-arrange or tamper with results" is attested from 1938, perhaps a different word, from rig (n.) "a trick, swindle, scheme" (1775), earlier "sport, banter, ridicule" (1725), itself of unknown origin. Compare rig (n.2), which seems to approach some of these senses. To rig the market was a 19c. stock exchange phrase for "raise or lower prices artificially to one's private advantage." Also there is rig (v.) "ransack" from 1560s, likewise of unknown origin. Related: Rigged; rigging.
1540s, "plan of action, scheme, design;" 1550s, "ground-plan, drawing, sketch," senses now obsolete, from French plateforme, platte fourme, literally "flat form," from Old French plat "flat, level" (see plateau (n.)) + forme "form" (see form (n.)). These senses later went with plan (n.).
The sense of "raised, level surface or place" in English is attested from 1550s, especially "raised frame or structure with a level surface." Specifically in geography, "flat, level piece of ground," by 1813. The railroad station sense of "raised walk along the track at a station for landing passengers and freight" is from 1832.
The U.S. political meaning, "statement of political principles and of the course to be adopted with regard to certain important questions of policy, issued by the representatives of a political party assembled in convention to nominate candidates for an election," is from 1803. It is probably originally an image of a literal platform on which politicians gather, stand, and make their appeals, and perhaps it was influenced by the earlier sense in England of "set of rules governing church doctrine" (1570s). In 19c., platform was used generally in a figurative sense for "the function of public speaking," and even was a verb, "to address the public as a speaker."
1580s, "a scheme or plan in the mind," from French desseign, desseing "purpose, project, design," from the verb in French (see design (v.)). Especially "an intention to act in some particular way," often to do something harmful or illegal (1704); compare designing. Meaning "adoption of means to an end" is from 1660s.
In art, "a drawing, especially an outline," 1630s. The artistic sense was taken into French as dessin from Italian disegno, from disegnare "to mark out," from Latin designare "mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint" (which is also ultimately the source of the English verb), from de "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)).
[T]he artistic sense was taken into Fr. and gradually differentiated in spelling, so that in mod.F. dessein is 'purpose, plan', dessin 'design in art'. Eng. on the contrary uses design, conformed to the verb, in both senses. [OED]
General (non-scheming) meaning "a plan our outline" is from 1590s. Meaning "the practical application of artistic principles" is from 1630s. Sense of "artistic details that go to make up an edifice, artistic creation, or decorative work" is from 1640s.
Design is not the offspring of idle fancy; it is the studied result of accumulative observation and delightful habit. [Ruskin, "Modern Manufacture and Design," 1859]