"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"]
1744, in medicine, "pertaining or relating to spasm; spasmodic," from Latin spasticus, from Greek spastikos "afflicted with spasms," also "pulling in, slurping in;" etymologically "drawing, pulling, stretching," from span "to draw (a sword, etc.), pull out, pluck; tear away, drag; suck in; slurp down; contract violently" (see spasm (n.)).
The noun meaning "a person affected with spastic paralysis" is attested from 1896, used insultingly by 1960s. Related: Spastically; spasticity.
early 15c., eradicacioun, "complete destruction or removal," from Latin eradicationem (nominative eradicatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of eradicare "root out, extirpate, annihilate," from assimilated form of ex "out" (see ex-) + radix (genitive radicis) "root" (from PIE root *wrād- "branch, root"). The notion is a "pulling up by the roots."
late 15c., "shot, missiles;" later "a stroke in drawing, a short line" (1580s), from French trait "line, stroke, feature, tract," from Latin tractus "drawing, drawing out, dragging, pulling," later "line drawn, feature," from past participle stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "particular feature, distinguishing quality" in English is first recorded 1752.
early 15c., "a drawing or pulling" (originally the pulling of a dislocated limb to reposition it), from Medieval Latin tractionem (nominative tractio) "a drawing" (mid-13c.), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "friction between a wheel and the surface it moves upon" first appears 1825. In modern medical care, "a sustained pull to a part of the body to hold fractured bones in position," 1885.
c. 1300, pul, "a fishing net;" mid-14c., "a turn at pulling," from pull (v.). From late 14c. as "an act of pulling." From mid-14c. as "a short space of time." By 1570s as "a drink, a swig of liquor."
Meaning "personal or private influence, advantageous claim to one who has influence" is by 1889, American English, from earlier sense "power to pull (and not be pulled by)" a rival or competitor (1580s).