"exceed in any excess of evil," from Shakespeare's it out-Herods Herod in Hamlet's instruction to the players in "Hamlet" Act III, Scene II. Shakespeare used the same construction elsewhere ("All's Well that Ends Well" has out-villain'd villany). The phrase reflects the image of Herod as stock braggart and bully in old religious drama. The form of the phrase was widely imitated 19c. and extended to any excessive behavior.
Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it. ["Hamlet"]
1520s, "obtain by force or compulsion; wrest away by oppressive means," from Latin extortus, past participle of extorquere "obtain by force," literally "to wrench out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Related: Extorted; extorting. As a past-participle adjective from early 15c.
"the act of extorting, the act or of wresting anything from a person by force, duress, menace, authority, or any undue exercise of power, oppressive or illegal exaction," c. 1300, from Latin extortionem (nominative extortio) "a twisting out, extorting," noun of action from past-participle stem of extorquere "wrench out, wrest away, to obtain by force," from ex "out" (see ex-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").
late 15c., "laborious attempt, strenuous exertion," from French effort, from Old French esforz "force, impetuosity, strength, power," verbal noun from esforcier "force out, exert oneself," from Vulgar Latin *exfortiare "to show strength" (source of Italian sforza), from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).
Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. [José Ortega y Gasset, writing of Goethe in Partisan Review, vol. xvi, part ii, 1949]
Related: Efforts "voluntary exertion," also "result of exertion."
1590s, a legal term, "to annul, do away with," from French elider (16c.), from Latin elidere "strike out, force out," in grammar "suppress (a vowel)" from ex "out" (see ex-) + -lidere, combining form of laedere "to strike" (see collide). The Latin word in grammatical use translates Greek ekthlibein. Phonological sense "slurring over a sound or part of a word" in English is first recorded 1796. Related: Elided; eliding.
"by physical force or violence, forcibly," c. 1300, par force, from Old French phrase par force (12c.), literally "by force" (see force). With Latin per substituted 17c. in place of its French offspring par.