late 14c., peti, "small, little, minor," from a phonemic spelling of Old French petit "small" (see petit). From late 12c. in surnames. In English, not originally disparaging (as still in petty cash "small sums of money received or paid," 1834; petty officer "minor or inferior military officer," 1570s).
Meaning "of small or minor importance, not serious" is recorded from 1520s; that of "small-minded" is from 1580s. Related: Pettily; pettiness.
1918, "date set for the beginning of a military operation," with D as an abbreviation of day; compare H-hour, also from the same military order of Sept. 7, 1918:
The First Army will attack at H-Hour on D-Day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel salient. [Field Order No. 8, First Army, A.E.F.]
"They designate the day and hour of the operation when the day and hour have not yet been determined, or where secrecy is essential" [U.S. Army Center of Military History Web site]. Now almost exclusively of June 6, 1944.
1620s, "East Indian sailor," from Portuguese lachar, from Hindi lashkari "soldier, native sailor," from lashkar "army, camp," from Persian lashkar. Compare Arabic al-'askar "the army," which is perhaps from Persian. Later in Anglo-Indian the word appears in the sense "native tent-pitcher, camp follower, or regimental servant" (1798).
c. 1300 (early 13c. in surnames), "subordinate administrative or judicial officer of the English crown, king's officer in a county, hundred, or other local district;" also "keeper of a royal castle;" also "minor judiciary officer under a sheriff," who serves writs, etc.; from Old French baillif (12c., nominative baillis) "administrative official, deputy," from Vulgar Latin *baiulivus "official in charge of a castle," from Latin baiulus "porter" (see bail (n.1)). From early 14c. as "agent of a lord, overseer of an estate" who directs operations, collects rents, etc.; also used in Middle English of an elected official in a town.
Old English here-geatwe (plural) "military equipment, army-gear," from here "army" (see harry (v.)) + geatwe, from Proto-Germanic *gatawja- "equipment," from Germanic root *taw- "to make, manufacture" (see taw (v.)). An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and repayable to him upon the retainer's death; sense transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.
early 14c., "minor ecclesiastical court officer" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French oficial "law officer; bishop's representative" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin officialis "attendant to a magistrate, public official," noun use of officialis (adj.) "of or belonging to duty, service, or office" (see official (adj.)). From mid-14c. as "a domestic retainer in a household;" the meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty, one holding a civil appointment" is recorded from 1550s.