Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.
Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefor ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. [William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1858]
Related: Irrepressibly. "Common Sense" (1777) has unrepressible.
early 15c., in law, "wrong action; a failure, offense or illegal act," especially on the part of a public official, from Anglo-French misprisoun, mesprisioun "mistake, error, wrong action or speech," (Old French mesprision "mistake, wrongdoing, fault, blame, crime"), from mespris, past participle of mesprendre "to mistake, act wrongly, trespass, transgress, break a law," from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + prendre "take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to seize" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take").
In general, "criminal neglect in respect to the crime of another," especially in connection with felonies, to indicate a passive complicity, as by concealment. In 16c., misprision of treason was used for lesser degrees of guilt (those not subject to capital punishment), especially for knowing of treasonable actions or plots without assenting to them, but not informing the authorities. This led to the common supposition in legal writers that the word means etymologically "failure to denounce" a crime.
1795, in specific sense of "government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France" (March 1793-July 1794), from French terrorisme, noted in English by 1795 as a coinage of the Revolution, from Latin terror "great fear, dread, alarm, panic; object of fear, cause of alarm; terrible news," from PIE root *tres- "to tremble" (see terrible).
If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror — virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent. [Robespierre, speech in French National Convention, 1794]
General sense of "systematic use of terror as a policy" is first recorded in English 1798 (in reference to the Irish Rebellion of that year). At one time, a word for a certain kind of mass-destruction terrorism was dynamitism (1883); and during World War I frightfulness (translating German Schrecklichkeit) was used in Britain for "deliberate policy of terrorizing enemy non-combatants."
c. 1300, "having a rough, hairy, or shaggy surface" (originally of animals), a word probably of Scandinavian origin: compare Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft" (see rug). "The precise relationship to ragged is not quite clear, but the stem is no doubt ultimately the same" [OED]. In Middle English ruggedy (late 14c.) also was used.
Of ground, "broken, stony," by 1650s. Of made things, "strongly constructed, able to withstand rough use," by 1921. By 1620s, especially of persons or their qualities, as "unsoftened by refinement or cultivation," thence "of a rough but strong or sturdy character" (by 1827). The specific meaning "vigorous, strong, robust, healthy," is American English, attested by 1847.
We were challenged with a peace-time choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines — doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. [Herbert Hoover, speech in New York, Oct. 22, 1928]
Hoover said the phrase was not his own, and it is attested from 1897, though not in a patriotic context. Related: Ruggedly; ruggedness.
Langue d'oc was truer to Latin than Old French or Castilian Spanish were, and had fewer Germanic words. Dante considered it a separate language, and it and the northern French were not always mutually intelligible. Jonathan Sumption's "The Albigensian Crusade" [Faber and Faber, 1978] refers to a court official at Albi "who in 1228 referred to a seal as bearing an inscription in 'French or some other foreign language.'" The French authorities began to repress langue d'oc in 16c.
in biology, "division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small."
Earlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":
"YOUNG AUTHOR." — Yes Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat,—at least, not with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you would want for the present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales.
Related: meiotic; meiotically.
c. 1200, "separate parts of anything written" (such as the statements in the Apostles' Creed, the clauses of a statute or contract), from Old French article (13c.), from Latin articulus "a part, a member," also "a knuckle; the article in grammar," diminutive of artus "a joint" (from PIE *ar(ə)-tu-, suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together").
Meaning "literary composition in a journal, etc." (independent and on a specific topic, but part of a larger work) is recorded by 1712. The older sense is preserved in Articles of War "military regulations" (1716), Articles of Confederation (U.S. history), etc. The extended meaning "piece of property, material thing, commodity" (clothing, etc.) is attested by 1796, originally in rogue's cant.
The grammatical sense of "word used attributively, to limit the application of a noun to one individual or set of individuals" is from 1530s, from this sense in Latin articulus, translating Greek arthron "a joint," the part of speech (with different meanings in ancient Greek and modern English) so called on the notion of the "pivots" or "joints" on which the propositions in a sentence are in various ways tied together.
"tract of level or undulating grassland in North America," by 1773, from French prairie "meadow, grassland," from Old French praerie "meadow, pastureland" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *prataria, from Latin pratum "meadow," originally "a hollow," a word of uncertain origin; de Vaan suggests PIE *prh-to- "allotted."
The word existed in early Middle English as prayere, praiere, but was lost and reborrowed in 18c. from Hennepin and other French writers to describe the fertile but treeless parts of the American plains.
These are the gardens of the Desert, these
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
For which the speech of England has no name—
[William Cullen Bryant, from "The Prairies"]
Prairie dog for the burrowing rodent of the American grasslands, is attested from 1774, so called for its cry, which is like the barking of a dog; prairie schooner "covered wagon used by emigrants in freighting on the prairies and Great Plains before the construction of transcontinental railroads" is from 1841. Illinois has been the Prairie State at least since 1861. In Latin, Neptunia prata was poetic for "the sea."
also corner-stone, late 13c., "stone which lies at the corner of two walls and unites them" (often the starting point of a building), hence, figuratively, "that on which anything is founded;" from corner (n.) + stone (n.). The figurative use is biblical (Isaiah xxvii.16, Job xxxviii.6, Ephesians ii.20), rendering Latin lapis angularis.
In U.S. history, Alexander H. Stephens's Cornerstone speech explaining the new Confederate constitution was given at Savannah, Georgia, March 21, 1861. The image is older in U.S. political discourse and originally referred to the federal union.
I endorse without reserve the much abused sentiment of Governor M'Duffie, that "Slavery is the corner-stone of our republican edifice;" while I repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded but nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, that "all men are born equal." No society has ever yet existed, and I have already incidentally quoted the highest authority to show that none ever will exist, without a natural variety of classes. [James H. Hammond, "Letter to an English Abolitionist" 1845]
Meaning "of great quality or number" is from 1811; hence the colloquial sense of "exceedingly, extremely" (adv.) is from 1822. Thornton ("American Glossary") notes powerful, along with monstrous, as "Much used by common people in the sense of very," and cites curious expressions such as devilish good, monstrous pretty (1799), dreadful polite, cruel pretty, abominable fine (1803), "or when a young lady admires a lap dog for being so vastly small and declares him prodigious handsome" (1799).
This gross perversion is common in several of the Western counties of Pennsylvania, to which region I had supposed it was limited. A gentleman informs me, however that it is not unfrequent in the South, and that he has even heard it yoked with weak, as, A powerful weak man. [Seth T. Hurd, "A Grammatical Corrector; or, Vocabulary of the Common Errors of Speech," 1847]
Related: Powerfully; powerfulness.