Etymology
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villein (n.)
early 14c., vileyn, spelling variant of villain in its reference to a feudal class of half-free peasants. It tends to keep the literal, historical sense of the word and let the pejorative meanings go with villain; Century Dictionary writes that "the forms villain, villein, etc., are historically one, and the attempt to differentiate them in meaning is idle," but Fowler finds this "a useful piece of differentiation." Related: Villeinage.
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gossip (n.)
Old English godsibb "sponsor, godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in Middle English to "a familiar acquaintance, a friend, neighbor" (c. 1300), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1560s). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." Similar formations in Old Norse guðsifja, Old Saxon guþziff.
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prate (v.)

"chatter inconsequentially, talk foolishly or idly," early 15c., praten, from or related to Middle Dutch praten "to chatter" (c. 1400), from a Proto-Germanic imitative root (compare East Frisian proten, Middle Low German praten, Middle High German braten, Swedish prata "to talk, chatter"). Transitive sense of "say or tell in a prating manner" is from late 15c. (Caxton). Related: Prated; prating. As a noun, idle, childish talk," from 1570s.

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tattle (v.)
late 15c., "to stammer, prattle," in Caxton's translation of "Reynard the Fox," probably from Middle Flemish tatelen "to stutter," parallel to Middle Dutch, Middle Low German, East Frisian tateren "to chatter, babble," possibly of imitative origin. The meaning "tell tales or secrets" is first recorded 1580s. Sense influenced by tittle. Related: Tattled; tattling. As a noun from 1520s. Tattler, the name of the famous periodical by Addison and Steele (1709-1711), means "idle talker, a gossip."
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vaunt (v.)
early 15c., "speak vainly or proudly," from Anglo-French vaunter, Old French vanter "to praise, speak highly of," from Medieval Latin vanitare "to boast," frequentative of Latin vanare "to utter empty words," from vanus "empty, void," figuratively "idle, fruitless," from PIE *wano-, suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out." Also short for avaunten "to boast" (see vaunt (n.)). Related: Vaunted; vaunting.
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jargon (n.)
mid-14c., "unintelligible talk, gibberish; chattering, jabbering," from Old French jargon "a chattering" (of birds), also "language, speech," especially "idle talk; thieves' Latin" (12c.). Ultimately of echoic origin (compare Latin garrire "to chatter").

From 1640s as "mixed speech, pigin;" 1650s as "phraseology peculiar to a sect or profession," hence "mode of speech full of unfamiliar terms." Middle English also had it as a verb, jargounen "to chatter" (late 14c.), from French.
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lethargy (n.)

late 14c., litarge, "state of prolonged torpor or inactivity, inertness of body or mind," from Medieval Latin litargia, from Late Latin lethargia, from Greek lēthargia "forgetfulness," from lēthargos "forgetful," apparently etymologically "inactive through forgetfulness," from lēthē "a forgetting, forgetfulness" (see latent) + argos "idle" (see argon). The form with -th- is from 1590s in English. The Medieval Latin word also is the source of Old French litargie (Modern French léthargie), Spanish and Italian letargia.

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blackguard (n.)

1530s, "scullion, kitchen knave," of uncertain origin. Perhaps in reference to military units or attendants so called for the color of their dress or their character; more likely originally a mock-military reference to scullions and kitchen-knaves of noble households, of black-liveried personal guards, and of shoeblacks. See black (adj.) + guard (n.). By 1736, sense had emerged of "one of the idle criminal class; man of coarse and offensive manners." Hence the adjectival use (1784), "of low or worthless character."

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vanity (n.)
c. 1200, "that which is vain, futile, or worthless," from Old French vanite "self-conceit; futility; lack of resolve" (12c.), from Latin vanitatem (nominative vanitas) "emptiness, aimlessness; falsity," figuratively "vainglory, foolish pride," from vanus "empty, void," figuratively "idle, fruitless," from PIE *wano-, suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out." Meaning "self-conceited" in English is attested from mid-14c. Vanity table is attested from 1936. Vanity Fair is from "Pilgrim's Progress" (1678).
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cease (v.)

c. 1300, cesen, "to stop moving, acting, or speaking; come to an end," from Old French cesser "to come to an end, stop, cease; give up, desist," from Latin cessare "to cease, go slow, give over, leave off, be idle," frequentative of cedere (past participle cessus) "go away, withdraw, yield" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Transitive sense "put a stop to," now rare, is from late 14c. Related: Ceased; ceasing. Old English in this sense had geswican, blinnan.

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