sympathy (n.)
Origin and meaning of sympathy

1570s, "affinity between certain things," from French sympathie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin sympathia "community of feeling, sympathy," from Greek sympatheia "fellow-feeling, community of feeling," from sympathes "having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + pathos "feeling" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer").

In English, almost a magical notion at first; used in reference to medicines that heal wounds when applied to a cloth stained with blood from the wound. Meaning "conformity of feelings" is from 1590s; sense of "fellow feeling, compassion" is first attested c. 1600. An Old English loan-translation of sympathy was efensargung.

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cenobite (n.)

also coenobite, "member of a communal religious order," 1630s, from Church Latin coenobita "a cloister brother," from coenobium "a convent," from Greek koinobion "life in community, monastery," from koinos "common" (see coeno-) + bios "life," from PIE root *gwei- "to live." Related: Cenobitic; cenobitical.

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commonality (n.)

c. 1300, "the people of a country, a community," from Old French comunalte, from comun (see common (adj.) as if from Medieval Latin *communalitas. A respelling of commonalty (late 13c.). Meaning "the common people" is attested from 1580s; that of "state or quality of being shared" is from 1954.

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patriarchy (n.)

1560s, "ecclesiastical province under a patriarch; church government by patriarchs," from Latinized form of Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhēs "male chief or head of a family" (see patriarch). Meaning "system of society or government by fathers or elder males of the community" is recorded from 1630s.

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public (adj.)

late 14c., publike, "open to general observation," from Old French public (c. 1300) and directly from Latin publicus "of the people; of the state; done for the state," also "common, general, of or belonging to the people at large; ordinary, vulgar," and as a noun, "a commonwealth; public property." This Latin word was altered (probably by influence of Latin pubes "adult population, adult;" see pubis) from Old Latin poplicus "pertaining to the people," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).

Attested in English from early 15c. as "of or pertaining to the people at large" and from late 15c. as "pertaining to public affairs." The meaning "open to all in the community, to be shared or participated in by people at large" is from 1540s in English. An Old English adjective in this sense was folclic. The sense of "done or made by or on behalf of the community as a whole" is by 1550s; that of "regarding or directed to the interests of the community at large, patriotic" is from c. 1600.

Public relations "the management of the relationship between a company or corporation and the general public" is recorded by 1913 (with an isolated use by Thomas Jefferson in 1807). Public office "position held by a public official" is from 1821; public service is from 1570s; public interest "the common well-being" is from 1670s. Public enemy, one considered a nuisance to the general community, is attested from 1756. Public sector attested from 1949. Public funds (1713) are the funded debts of a government.

Public woman "prostitute" is by 1580s, on the notion of "open for the use of all." For public house, see pub.

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convent (n.)

c. 1200, covent, cuvent, "association or community of persons devoted to religious life," from Anglo-French covent, from Old French convent, covent "monastery, religious community," from Latin conventus "assembly," used in Medieval Latin for "religious house," originally past participle of convenire "to come together, meet together, assemble; unite, join, combine; agree with, accord; be suitable or proper (to)," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + venire "to come" (from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come").

Meaning "a house or set of buildings occupied by a community devoted to religious life" is from mid-15c. Not exclusively feminine until 18c. The form with restored Latin -n- emerged early 15c. The Middle English form lingers in London's Covent Garden district (notorious late 18c. for brothels), so called because it had been the garden of a defunct monastery.

COVENT GARDEN AGUE. The venereal diſeaſe.
["Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1796]

Related: Conventual.

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communal (adj.)

1802, "pertaining to or of the nature of a (French) commune;" 1843 as "of or pertaining to a community," from French communal (Old French comunal, 12c.), from Late Latin communalis, from communa, from Latin communis (see commune (n.)). A revival of an obsolete Middle English adjective meaning "common, unanimous" (late 15c.). Related: Communality; communalization.

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butthead (n.)
also butt-head, late 1980s, student slang, "objectionable person," from butt (n.6) + head (n.); perhaps influenced by butterhead, 1960s African-American vernacular for one who is a disgrace to the community. Earlier, butthead meant simply the butt end or bottom of anything (1630s).
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presbyter (n.)

"elder of the Christian church," 1590s, from Late Latin presbyter, "an elder," used for "a priest" in Jerome and Prudentius, from Greek presbyteros "older," comparative of presbys "old; old man" (see presby-). In the Greek New Testament, presbyterion was "council of elders" of the Jewish community or the apostolic church.

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pantisocracy (n.)

"utopian community in which all have equal rights, rank, and social position," 1794, apparently coined by Coleridge, in partnership with Southey, literally "equal rule of all," from Greek pantos, genitive of pan "all" (see pan-) + isocratia "equality of power" (see isocracy). Related: Pantisocrat; pantisocratic.

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