early 15c., assisten, "to help, aid, give assistance or support to in some undertaking or effort," from Old French assister "to stand by, help, put, place, assist" (14c.), from Latin assistere "stand by, take a stand near, attend," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + sistere "stand still, take a stand; to set, place, cause to stand," from PIE *si-st-, reduplicated form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Related: Assisted; assisting. Medical assisted suicide attested from 1884.
Meaning "omit intervening parts" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "fail to attend" is from 1905. Meaning "to cause to skip or bound" is from 1680s. The custom of skipping rope has been traced to 17c.; it was commonly done by boys as well as girls until late 19c.
"marijuana cigarette," 1920s, perhaps an alteration of Mexican Spanish grifo "marijuana, drug addict" [OED]; or perhaps from reef (v.), on resemblance to a rolled sail. It also meant "pickpocket" in criminal slang (by 1935), and Century Dictionary also has it as "oyster that grows on reefs in the wild."
Reefer also was a nickname for the sailing navy's equivalent to a midshipman (1818) "because they attend in the tops during the operation of reefing" [Century Dictionary], which is the source of the meaning "coat of a nautical cut" (1878) worn by sailors and fishermen "but copied for general use in the fashions of 1888-90" [CD].
mid-13c., observaunce, "act performed in accordance with prescribed usage," especially a religious or ceremonial one; late 14c., "care, concern, act of paying attention (to something)," from Old French observance, osservance "observance, discipline," and directly from Latin observantia "act of keeping customs, attention, respect, regard, reverence," from observantem (nominative observans), present participle of observare "watch over, note, heed, look to, attend to, guard, regard, comply with," from ob "in front of, before" (see ob-) + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect." Observance is the attending to and carrying out of a duty or rule. Observation is watching, noticing.
late 13c., "follow with hostile intent, follow with a view of overtaking," from Anglo-French pursuer and directly from Old French poursuir (Modern French poursuivre), variant of porsivre "to chase, pursue, follow; continue, carry on," from Vulgar Latin *prosequare, from Latin prosequi "follow, accompany, attend; follow after, escort; follow up, pursue," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").
The meaning "to proceed, to follow" (a path, etc.), usually figurative (in reference to a course of action, etc.), is from late 14c. This sense also was in Latin. The meaning "seek, seek to obtain" also is late 14c. Related: Pursued; pursuing. For sense, compare prosecute.
To [Dr. S. Weir Mitchel] also belongs the honor of having devised the method known as the "rest cure," which has proven so beneficial in a class of cases constituting an "opprobrium medicorum." He defines this class to be "chiefly women—nervous women, who as a rule are thin and lack blood"—treated in turn for gastric, spinal or uterine troubles, but who remained at the end, as at the beginning, invalids, unable to attend to the duties of life, and sources of discomfort to themselves and anxiety to others. [Chicago Medical Gazette, Jan. 20, 1880]
late 14c., aministren, later administren, "to manage as a steward, control or regulate on behalf of others," from Old French aministrer "help, aid, be of service to" (12c., Modern French administrer), and directly from Latin administrare "to help, assist; manage, control, guide, superintend; rule, direct," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ministrare "to serve, attend, wait upon," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)).
The -d- was restored 14c.-16c. in French and after 15c. in English. In reference to punishment, justice, etc., "to dispense, bring into operation" (especially as an officer), from mid-15c. In reference to medicines, medical treatment, etc., "to give," from 1540s. Related: Administered; administering.
1510s, "to send off, send to a destination," usually implying urgent importance or haste, from Spanish despachar "expedite, hasten" or cognate Italian dispacciare "to dispatch." For first element, see dis-.
The second element apparently has been confused or corrupted, and its exact source and meaning is uncertain. One proposal is that it is Vulgar Latin *pactare "to fasten, fix" or *pactiare. Another says it is Latin -pedicare "to entrap" (from Latin pedica "shackle;" see impeach), and the Spanish and Italian words seem to be related to (perhaps opposites of) Old Provençal empachar "impede." See OED for full discussion.
Meaning "get rid of promptly by killing" is attested from 1520s; that of "attend to, finish, bring to an end, accomplish" is from 1530s. Related: Dispatched; dispatching.