Noun meaning "that which is sudden, a sudden need or emergency" is from 1550s, obsolete except in phrase all of a sudden first attested 1680s, also of a sudayn (1590s), upon the soden (1550s). Sudden death, tie-breakers in sports, first recorded 1927; earlier in reference to coin tosses (1834). Related: Suddenness.
1680s, "of or pertaining to the mind as a subject of study;" see psychology + -ical. In early 20c. the sense gradually shifted toward "affecting or pertaining to a person's mental or emotional state." Related: Psychologically. Psychological warfare "use of propaganda, etc., to undermine an enemy's morale or resolve" is recorded from 1940. Psychological moment was in vogue from 1871, from French moment psychologique "moment of immediate expectation of something about to happen."
The original German phrase, misinterpreted by the French & imported together with its false sense into English, meant the psychic factor, the mental effect, the influence exerted by a state of mind, & not a point of time at all, das Moment in German corresponding to our momentum, not our moment. [Fowler]
"predicament," 1580s, from Middle English lurch (v.) "to beat in a game of skill (often by a great many points)," mid-14c. (implied in lurching), probably literally "to make a complete victory in lorche," an old game akin to backgammon, with a name of uncertain origin. Perhaps it is related to Middle English lurken, lorken "to lie hidden, lie in ambush" (Middle English Compendium; see lurk), or it may be from Old French lourche, from Middle High German lurz "left," also "wrong" [OED]. The immediate source of the transferred use in leave in the lurch "leave suddenly and unexpectedly in an embarrassing predicament" (1590s) would be cribbage.
c. 1300, "being in the same place as someone or something;" early 14c., "existing at the time," from Old French present "evident, at hand, within reach;" as a noun, "the present time" (11c., Modern French présent) and directly from Latin praesentem (nominative praesens) "present, at hand, in sight; immediate; prompt, instant; contemporary," from present participle of præesse "be before (someone or something), be at hand," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be").
Meaning "abiding in a specified place" is from mid-14c. in English. As a grammatical tense expressing action or being in the present time, recorded from late 14c.
late 14c., prioritie, "state of being earlier (than something else), prior occurrence or existence," from Old French priorite (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prioritatem (nominative prioritas) "fact or condition of being prior" (source also of Spanish prioridad), from Latin prior (see prior (adj.)).
From c. 1400 as "precedence in right, place, or rank." In 1897 Century Dictionary wrote "Priority is the state or fact of coming first in order of time; what little use it has beyond this meaning is only a figurative extension," but in 20c. the sense shifted toward "fact or condition of coming first in importance or requiring immediate attention; thing regarded as more important than another or others." Wyclif (early 15c.) renders prioritas into (Middle) English as furtherhead.
late 14c., translating Latin artes liberales; the name for the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, rather than immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (liberal in this sense is opposed to servile or mechanical). They were divided into the trivium — grammar, logic, rhetoric (see trivial) — and the quadrivium — arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy. Explained by Fowler (1926) as "the education designed for a gentleman (Latin liber a free man) & ... opposed on the one hand to technical or professional or any special training, & on the other to education that stops short before manhood is reached."
The study of [the classics] is fitly called a liberal education, because it emancipates the mind from every narrow provincialism, whether of egoism or tradition, and is the apprenticeship that every one must serve before becoming a free brother of the guild which passes the torch of life from age to age. [James Russell Lowell, "Among my Books"]
mid-15c., declinson, in grammar, "the inflection of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, especially with a change in form from the nominative case," ultimately from Latin declinationem (nominative declinatio) "a bending from (something), a bending aside; a turning away from (something), an avoiding," also used in the grammatical sense, noun of action from past-participle stem of declinare "to lower; avoid, deviate; bend from, inflect," from de "from" (see de-) + clinare "to bend" (from PIE *klein-, suffixed form of root *klei- "to lean").
The immediate source of the English word is perhaps in French (compare Old French declinaison), but "the form is irregular, and its history obscure" [OED]. Meaning "a sloping downward" is from 1640s; that of "a sinking or falling into a lower or inferior state" is from c. 1600; that of "courteous refusal, non-acceptance" is by 1817. Related: Declensional.
title of nobility in some continental nations, corresponding to English earl, c. 1300, from Anglo-French counte "count, earl" (Old French conte), from Latin comitem (nominative comes) "companion, attendant," the Roman term for a provincial governor, from com "with" (see com-) + stem of ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go"). The term was used in Anglo-French to render Old English eorl, but the word was never truly naturalized and mainly was used with reference to foreign titles.
In ancient Rome and the Roman empire, [a comes was] a companion of or attendant upon a great person; hence, the title of an adjutant to a proconsul or the like, afterward specifically of the immediate personal counselors of the emperor, and finally of many high officers, the most important of whom were the prototypes of the medieval counts. [Century Dictionary]
formerly in English law, "a personal chattel which, having been the immediate cause of the death of a person, was forfeited to the Crown to be sold and the money applied to pious uses," 1520s, from Anglo-French deodande (late 13c.), from Medieval Latin deodandum, from Deo dandum "a thing to be given to God," from dative of deus "god" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god") + neuter gerundive of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). Abolished 1846.
Thus, if a cart ran over a man and killed him, the cart was by law forfeited as a deodand, and the coroner's jury was required to fix the value of the forfeited property. The pious object of the forfeiture was early lost sight of, and the king might and often did cede his right to deodands within certain limits as a private perquisite. [Century Dictionary]
Old English spæc "act of speaking; power of speaking; manner of speaking; statement, discourse, narrative, formal utterance; language," variant of spræc, from Proto-Germanic *sprek-, *spek- (source also of Danish sprog, Old Saxon spraca, Old Frisian spreke, Dutch spraak, Old High German sprahha, German Sprache "speech;" see speak (v.))
The spr- forms were extinct in English by 1200. Meaning "address delivered to an audience" first recorded 1580s.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink
Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
Will risk t' other half for the freedom to speak,
Caring naught for what vengeance the mob has in store,
Let that mob be the upper ten thousand or lower.
[James Russell Lowell, "A Fable for Critics," 1848]
But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. ... I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. [Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., dissent to "Abrams v. United States," 1919]