Etymology
Advertisement
ours (pron.)

"that or those belonging to us," c. 1300, oures, a double possessive (with genitive suffix -s (1)), originating in northern England, it has taken over the absolute function of our (q.v.). In Middle English ourn, ouren also were used.

Ours is a later possessive form from our, and is used in place of our and a noun, thus standing to our in the same relation as hers to her, yours to your, mine to my .... [Century Dictionary]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
despot (n.)

"absolute ruler," 1560s, in Italian form dispotto (1580s as despot); from Medieval Latin despota, from Greek despotēs "master of a household, lord, absolute ruler," from PIE *dems-pota- "house-master," from the genitive of the root *dem- "house, household" + second element from PIE root *poti- "powerful; lord." The compound might be prehistoric; compare Sanskrit dampati- "lord."

Originally in English in reference to Byzantine rulers or Christian rulers in Ottoman provinces and often neutral. But it had been faintly pejorative in Greek (ruler of an un-free people), and it was used in various languages for Roman emperors. It became fully negative with the French Revolution, where it was applied to Louis XVI. In English the sense of "one who governs according to his own will, under a recognized right but uncontrolled by constitutional restrictions or the wishes of his subjects" is by 1610s; by c. 1800 it was used generally for "a tyrant, an oppressor."

The Greek female equivalent was despoina "lady, queen, mistress," source of the fem. proper name Despina.

Related entries & more 
tyrant (n.)

c. 1300, "absolute ruler," especially one without legal right; "cruel, oppressive ruler," from Old French tiran, tyrant (12c.), from Latin tyrannus "lord, master, monarch, despot," especially "arbitrary ruler, cruel governor, autocrat" (source also of Spanish tirano, Italian tiranno), from Greek tyrannos "lord, master, sovereign, absolute ruler unlimited by law or constitution," a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor (probably Lydian); Klein compares Etruscan Turan "mistress, lady" (surname of Venus).

In the exact sense, a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it. This is how the Greeks understood the word 'tyrant': they applied it indifferently to good and bad princes whose authority was not legitimate. [Rousseau, "The Social Contract"]

Originally in Greek the word was not applied to old hereditary sovereignties (basileiai) and despotic kings, but it was used of usurpers, even when popular, moderate, and just (such as Cypselus of Corinth), however it soon became a word of reproach in the usual modern sense. The unetymological spelling with -t arose in Old French by analogy with present-participle endings in -ant. Fem. form tyranness is recorded from 1590 (Spenser); Medieval Latin had tyrannissa (late 14c.).

Related entries & more 
his (pron.)
Old English his (genitive of he), from Proto-Germanic *hisa (source also of Gothic is, Old Saxon is, German es). Originally also the neuter possessive pronoun, but in English it was replaced in that sense c. 1600 by its. In Middle English, hisis was tried for the absolute pronoun (compare her/hers), but it failed to stick. For dialectal his'n, see her.

In 16c.-17c. commonly used in place of a genitive inflection after nouns whose nominative ends in -s (for example, "When this Book became a particular book, that is, when Moses his book was divided into five parts, I cannot trace." [Donne, "Essayes in Divinity," "Exodus," 1651]). Here it is perhaps an expanded vocalized form of 's, originally -es. This tendency began in late Old English and was obsolete from c. 1750.
Related entries & more 
relative (adj.)

early 15c., relatif, "having reference (to something), relating, depending upon," from Old French relatif and directly from Late Latin relativus "having reference or relation," from Latin relatus, used as past participle of referre "bring back, bear back" (see refer), from re- "back, again" + lātus "borne, carried" (see oblate (n.)).

Meaning "having mutual relationship, connected with each other" is from 1590s; that of "arising from or determined by relationship to something else" is from 1610s; that of "having or standing in a relation to something else" is from 1650s; that of "not absolute or existing by itself" is by 1704. In grammar, "referring to an antecedent," from 1520s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
plurality (n.)

late 14c., pluralite, "state of being more than one; a number greater than one," from Old French pluralite (14c.), from Late Latin pluralitatem (nominative pluralitas) "the plural number," from Latin pluralis "of or belonging to more than one" (see plural). Meaning "fact of there being many, multitude" is from mid-15c. Church sense of "holding of two or more offices concurrently" is from mid-14c. Meaning "greater number, more than half" is from 1570s but is etymologically improper, perhaps modeled on majority. U.S. sense of "excess of votes for the candidate who receives the most over those of rival candidate(s)," especially when none has an absolute majority, is from 1828.

Related entries & more 
sheer (adj.)
c. 1200, "exempt, free from guilt" (as in Sheer Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week); later schiere "thin, sparse" (c. 1400), from Old English scir "bright, clear, gleaming; translucent; pure, unmixed," and influenced by Old Norse cognate scær "bright, clean, pure," both from Proto-Germanic *skeran (source also of Old Saxon skiri, Old Frisian skire, German schier, Gothic skeirs "clean, pure"), from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."

Sense of "absolute, utter" (sheer nonsense) developed 1580s, probably from the notion of "unmixed;" that of "very steep" (a sheer cliff) is first recorded 1800, probably from notion of "continued without halting." Meaning "diaphanous" is from 1560s. As an adverb from c. 1600.
Related entries & more 
resolute (adj.)

early 15c., "dissolved, of loose structure," also "morally lax" (senses all obsolete), from Latin resolutus, past participle of resolvere "untie, unfasten, loose, loosen" (see resolve (v.)).

It emerged c. 1500 in the sense of "determined, decided, absolute, final," especially in the phrase resolute answer, which was "common in 16th c." [OED]. The notion is of "breaking (something) into parts" as the way to arrive at the truth of it and thus make the final determination (compare resolution).

The word has been used from 1530s of persons, "determined in mind, having a fixed resolve." Related: Resolutely; resoluteness. In Middle English a resolutif was a medicine to dissolve and disperse hardened matter (c. 1400).

Related entries & more 
personality (n.)

late 14c., personalite, "quality or fact of being a person," from Old French personalité and directly from Medieval Latin personalitatem (nominative personalitas), from Late Latin personalis (see personal). Sense of "a distinctive essential character of a self-conscious being" is recorded by 1795, from French personnalité.

Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination. [C.G. Jung, "The Development of Personality," 1932]

Meaning "person whose character stands out from that of others" is from 1889. Personality cult "devotion to a leader encouraged on the basis of aspects of his personality, rather than ideological or political considerations," is attested by 1956.

Related entries & more 
fraught (adj.)

late 14c., "freighted, laden, loaded, stored with supplies" (of vessels); figurative use from early 15c.; past-participle adjective from obsolete verb fraught "to load (a ship) with cargo," Middle English fraughten (c. 1400), which always was rarer than the past participle, from noun fraught "a load, cargo, lading of a ship" (early 13c.), which is the older form of freight (n.).

This apparently is from a North Sea Germanic source, Middle Dutch vrecht, vracht "hire for a ship, freight," or similar words in Middle Low German or Frisian, apparently originally "earnings," from Proto-Germanic *fra-aihtiz "property, absolute possession," from *fra-, here probably intensive + *aigan "be master of, possess" (from PIE root *aik- "be master of, possess"). Related: Fraughtage.

Related entries & more 

Page 5