late 14c., opposicioun, an astrological term for the situation of two heavenly bodies exactly across from one another in the heavens, from Old French oposicion (12c.) and directly from Latin oppositionem (nominative oppositio) "act of opposing, a placing against," noun of action from past-participle stem of opponere "set against," from assimilated form of ob "in front of, in the way of" (see ob-) + ponere "to put, set, place" (see position (n.)).
General sense of "the position of that which faces or confronts something else" is from c. 1400. The meaning "that which is opposite something else" is from 1540s; meaning "act of resisting, antagonism" is attested from 1580s; sense of "
body of opposers," especially "the political party opposed to the one in power" is from 1704.
late 14c., composicioun, "action of combining," also "manner in which a thing is composed," from Old French composicion (13c., Modern French composition) "composition, make-up, literary work, agreement, settlement," and directly from Latin compositionem (nominative compositio) "a putting together, connecting, arranging," noun of action from past participle stem of componere "to put together, to collect a whole from several parts," from com "with, together" (see com-) + ponere "to place" (past participle positus; see position (n.)).
Meaning "art of constructing sentences" is from 1550s; that of "literary production, that which results from composing" (often also "writing exercise for students") is from c. 1600. Meaning "orderly disposition" is from 1590s. Printing sense "the setting of type" is from 1832; meaning "arrangement of parts in a picture" is from 1706.
early 14c., originally a legal term meaning "formally laid down, decreed or legislated by authority" (opposed to natural), from Old French positif (13c.) and directly from Latin positivus "settled by agreement, positive" (opposed to naturalis "natural"), from positus, past participle of ponere "put, place" (see position (n.)).
The sense of "absolute" is from mid-15c. Meaning in philosophy of "dealing only with facts" is from 1590s. Sense broadened to "expressed without qualification" (1590s), then, of persons, "confident in opinion" (1660s). The meaning "possessing definite characters of its own" is by 1610s. The mathematical use for "greater than zero" is by 1704. Psychological sense of "concentrating on what is constructive and good" is recorded from 1916. Positive thinking is attested from 1953. The sense in electricity is from 1755.
There are probably no two bodies differing in nature which are not capable of exhibiting electrical phaenomena, either by contact, pressure, or friction ; but the first substances in which the property was observed, were vitreous and resinous bodies ; and hence the different states were called states of resinous and vitreous electricity ; and resinous bodies bear the same relation to flint glass, as silk. The terms, negative and positive electricity, have been likewise adopted, on the idea, that the phaenomena depend upon a peculiar subtile fluid, which becomes in excess in the vitreous, and deficient in the resinous bodies ; and which is conceived by its motion and transfer, to produce the electrical phaenomena. [Sir Humphry Davy, "Elements of Chemical Philosophy," London, 1812]
late 14c., posen, "suggest (something is so), suppose, assume; grant, concede," from Old French poser "put, place, propose," a term in debating, from Late Latin pausare "to halt, rest, cease, pause" (source also of Italian posare, Spanish posar; see pause (v.)). The Late Latin verb also had a transitive sense, "cause to pause or rest," and hence the Old French verb (in common with cognates in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) acquired the sense of Latin ponere "to put, place" (past participle positus; see position (n.)), by confusion of the similar stems.
One of the most remarkable facts in F[rench] etymology is the extraordinary substitution whereby the Low Lat. pausare came to mean 'to make to rest, to set,' and so usurped the place of the Lat. ponere, to place, set, with which it has no etymological connection. And this it did so effectually as to restrict the F. pondre, the true equivalent of Lat. ponere, to the sense of 'laying eggs;' whilst in all compounds it completely thrust it aside, so that compausare (i.e. F. composer) took the place of Lat. componere, and so on throughout. Hence the extraordinary result, that whilst the E. verbs compose, depose, impose, propose, &c. exactly represent in sense the Lat. componere, deponere, imponere, proponere, &c., we cannot derive the E. verbs from the Lat. ones since they have (as was said) no real etymological connection. [W.W. Skeat, "Etymological Dictionary of the English Language," 1898]
The meaning "put in a certain position" in English is from early 15c. The intransitive sense of "assume a certain attitude or character" (with implications of artificiality) is from 1840; the transitive sense in reference to an artist's model, etc. is from 1850. Related: Posed; posing.
early 15c., situacioun, "place, position, or location," from Old French situacion or directly from Medieval Latin situationem (nominative situatio) "a position, situation," noun of action from past-participle stem of situare "to place, locate," from Latin situs "a place, position" (from PIE root *tkei- "to settle, dwell, be home").
The meaning "state of affairs, position with reference to circumstances" is from 1710; the meaning "employment, post, office" is by 1803. For situation comedy, see sitcom.
mid-15c., placen, "to determine the position of;" also "to put (something) in a particular place or position," from place (n.). The meaning "put or set (a number of things) in position or order, arrange" is from 1540s. Related: Placed; placing.
Sense of "to find a home, situation, marriage, etc. for" is from 1590s. The horse racing sense of "to achieve a certain position" (usually in the top three finishers; in U.S., specifically second place) is attested by 1924, from earlier meaning "to state the position of" (among the first three finishers), 1826.
late 13c., "a base, foundation;" late 14c., "position of the feet on the ground, stance," a gerundive formation from foot (n.). Figurative meaning "firm or secure position" is from 1580s; that of "condition on which anything is established" is from 1650s.