1590s, "to communicate with another or others in search of mutual agreement," a back-formation from negotiation, or else from Latin negotiatus, past participle of negotiari "carry on business, do business," from negotium "a business, employment, occupation, affair (public or private)," literally "lack of leisure," from neg- "not" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + otium "ease, leisure," a word of unknown etymology.
Transitive sense of "arrange for or procure by negotiation" is from 1610s. In the sense of "handle, manage, tackle successfully" (1862), it at first meant "to clear on horseback a hedge, fence, or other obstacle" and "originated in the hunting-field; those who hunt the fox like also to hunt jocular verbal novelties" [Gowers, 1965]. Related: Negotiated; negotiating.
"fleshy, portly, stout," late 14c., from Old French corpulent "stout, fat," from Latin corpulentus "fleshy, fat," from corpus "body" (from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance") + -ulentus "full of." Leigh Hunt was sent to prison for two years for calling the Prince Regent corpulent in print in 1812.
early 15c., "hunt with a ferret," from ferret (n.) or from Old French verb fureter, in reference to the use of half-tame ferrets to kill rats and flush rabbits from burrows. The extended sense of "search out, discover," especially by perseverance and cunning, usually with out (adv.), is from 1570s. Related: Ferreted; ferreting.
c. 1200, "to take, capture," from Anglo-French or Old North French cachier "catch, capture" (animals) (Old French chacier "hunt, pursue, drive (animals)," Modern French chasser "to hunt;" making it a doublet of chase (v.)), from Vulgar Latin *captiare "try to seize, chase" (also source of Spanish cazar, Italian cacciare), from Latin captare "to take, hold," frequentative of capere "to take, hold," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."
Its senses in early Middle English also included "chase, hunt," which later went with chase (v.). Of sleep, etc., from early 14c.; of infections from 1540s; of fire from 1734 (compare Greek apto "fasten, grasp, touch," also "light, kindle, set on fire, catch on fire"). Related: Catched (obsolete); catching; caught.
Meaning "act as a catcher in baseball" recorded from 1865. To catch on "apprehend, understand" is 1884, American English colloquial. To catch the eye "draw the attention" is attested by 1718. Catch as catch can has roots in late 14c. (cacche who that cacche might).
mid-14c., questen, "to seek game, hunt" (in reference to dogs, etc.), from quest (n.) and from Old French quester "to search, hunt," from queste (n.). Related: Quested; questing. Of persons, in the general sense of "go in search, make inquiry," by 1620s. Of hunting dogs, "to bark, bay," as when on the scent of game, mid-14c., hence the questing beast, fabulous animal in Arthurian romances, which was so-called according to Malory for the sound it made:
I am the knyght that folowyth the glatysaunte beste, that is in Englysh to sey the questynge beste, for the beste quested in the bealy with suche a noyse as hit had bene a thirty couple of howndis. ["Le Morte Darthur"]