Etymology
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empathize (v.)

"understand and share the feelings of another," by 1917, from empathy + -ize. Related: Empathized; empathizing. Earlier appearances of the word in print seem to be an error for emphasize:

Obstetric Therapeutics.—Prof. Smiley will devote attention to this very important branch of the practice of medicine; he will especially empathize the Homoepathic therapeutics so often called for during the period of gestation. [The Medical Advance, Chicago, March 1895]
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Abderian (n.)

by 1650s, "of or pertaining to Abdera," in Thrace, whose citizens were proverbial as provincials who would laugh at anything or anyone they didn't understand (Abderian laughter), making their town the Hellenic equivalent of Gotham (q.v.). Especially (or alternatively) as it was the birthplace of Democritus the atomist, the "Laughing Philosopher" (born c. 460 B.C.E.) who observed human follies.

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realize (v.)

1610s, "bring into existence, make or cause to become real," also "exhibit the actual existence of," from French réaliser "make real" (16c.), from real "actual" (see real (adj.)). The sense of "understand clearly, comprehend the reality of" is recorded by 1775. Sense of "obtain, amass, bring or get into actual possession" (money, profit, etc.) is from 1753. Related: Realized; realizing.

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grok (v.)

"understand empathically," 1961, an arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land." In the book it is a transliteration of a Martian word and is said to mean etymologically "to drink." It attained popular use in 1960s-70s counterculture but is perhaps obsolete now except in internet technology circles.

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savvy (n.)

1785, slang, "practical sense, intelligence, knowledge of the world;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" a West Indies pidgin borrowing of French savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Spanish sabe (usted) "you know," the verb in both from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient). The adjective, of persons, is attested by 1905, from the noun. Related: Savvily; savviness.

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epistemology (n.)

"theory of knowledge," 1856, coined by Scottish philosopher James F. Ferrier (1808-1864) from Greek episteme "knowledge, acquaintance with (something), skill, experience," from Ionic Greek epistasthai "know how to do, understand," literally "overstand," from epi "over, near" (see epi-) + histasthai "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." The scientific (as opposed to philosophical) study of the roots and paths of knowledge is epistemics (1969). Related: Epistemological; epistemologically.

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cheese (v.)

"stop (what one is doing), run off," 1812, thieves' slang, of uncertain origin. The meaning "to smile" is from 1930 (see cheese (n.1)). For the sense of "annoy," see cheesed.

CHEESE IT. Be silent, be quiet, don't do it. Cheese it, the coves are fly; be silent, the people understand our discourse. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
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decipher (v.)

1520s, "find out, discover" (a sense now obsolete); 1540s, "interpret (a coded writing, etc.) by the use of a key," from de- + cipher (v.). Perhaps in part a loan-translation from French déchiffrer. From c. 1600 in the transferred sense of "discover or explain the meaning of what is difficult to understand." Sense of "succeed in reading what is written in obscure or partially obliterated characters" is by 1710. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.

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linkage (n.)

"system of combined links," 1874, originally in mechanical engineering, from link (v.) + -age.

To understand the principle of Peaucellier's link-work, it is convenient to consider previously certain properties of a linkage, (to coin a new and useful word of general application), consisting of an arrangement of six links, obtained in the following manner ... (etc.). ["Recent Discoveries in Mechanical Conservation of Motion," in "Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engineering Magazine," vol. xi, July-December 1874]
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skill (n.)

late 12c., "power of discernment," from Old Norse skil "distinction, ability to make out, discernment, adjustment," related to skilja (v.) "to separate; discern, understand," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo- "divide, separate" (source also of Swedish skäl "reason," Danish skjel "a separation, boundary, limit," Middle Low German schillen "to differ," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schele "separation, discrimination;" from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." Sense of "ability, cleverness" first recorded early 13c.

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