c. 1200, remissioun, "forgiveness or pardon (of sins)," from Old French remission "forgiveness (of sins), relief" (12c.) and directly from Latin remissionem (nominative remissio) "relaxation, diminishing," etymologically "a sending back, sending away," noun of action from past-participle stem of remittere "slacken, let go, abate" (see remit).
From late 14c. as "release from duty or obligation." Of diseases, fevers, "abatement, temporary subsidence," from early 15c. General sense of "diminution of force or effects" is from c. 1600. By 1736 as "abatement of penalty or punishment."
"writ from a superior court to an inferior court or officer specifying that something be done by the persons addressed, as being within their office or duty," 1530s (late 14c. in Anglo-French), from Latin mandamus "we order" (opening word of the writ), first person plural present indicative of mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)). "Its use is generally confined to cases of complaint by some person having an interest in the performance of a public duty, when effectual relief against its neglect cannot be had in the course of an ordinary action" [Century Dictionary].
late 14c., "of comedy in the classical sense, pertaining to comedy as distinct from tragedy," from Latin comicus "of comedy, represented in comedy, in comic style," from Greek komikos "of or pertaining to comedy," from komos (see comedy). Meaning "intentionally funny, raising mirth" is first recorded 1791, and comedic (1630s) has since picked up the older sense of the word.
Speaking of the masters of the comedic spirit (if I call it, as he does, the Comic Spirit, this darkened generation will suppose me to refer to the animal spirits of tomfools and merryandrews) .... [G.B. Shaw, 1897]
Something that is comic has comedy as its aim or origin; something is comical if the effect is comedy, whether intended or not. Comic relief is attested from 1817.
early 14c., "a split, a breaking, an act of tearing or rending," from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish and Norwegian rift "a cleft," Old Icelandic ript (pronounced "rift") "breach;" related to Old Norse ripa, rifa "to tear apart, break a contract" (see riven). Probably influenced in Middle English by rive (v.).
From late 14c. as "a cleft, fissure, or chasm in the earth;" by c. 1400 as "a crack, split, or similar opening" in anything. Figurative use from 1620s. Specific modern geological sense of "large fault running parallel to the relief" is by 1921. As a verb, c. 1300, "to split, form fissures, gape open."
"having power to relieve pain," 1540s, from Medieval Latin anodynus "pain-removing, allaying pain," from Latin anodynus "painless," from Greek anodynos "free from pain," from an- "without" (see an- (1)) + odyne "pain, torment" (of the body or mind), a word of uncertain origin, evidently Indo-European, but none of the proposed etymologies satisfies Beekes. Some suggest it is a suffixed form of PIE root *ed- "to eat" (compare Lithuanian ėdžioti "to devour, bite," ėdžiotis "to suffer pain").
As a noun, "substance which alleviates pain," 1540s; in old slang, frequently a euphemism for "death" (as the final relief from the mental pain or distress of life) as in anodyne necklace "hangman's noose." Related: Anodynous.
This was a variant of Church Latin eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.), from Greek eleemosyne "pity, mercy," in Ecclesiastical Greek "charity, alms," from eleemon "compassionate," from eleos "pity, mercy," which is of unknown origin and perhaps imitates cries of pleading. Spelling perversion in Vulgar Latin is perhaps by influence of alimonia (see alimony).
in reference to opposite aspects of a person's character is a reference to Robert Louis Stevenson's story, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," published in 1886. Jekyll, the surname of the respectful and benevolent man, is of Breton origin and was originally a personal name. Hyde in reference to the dark, opposite side of one's personality is from 1887.
"Though so profound a double-dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite. Both sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I labored, in the eye of day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering." [Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," 1886]
In 19c. also used of other raised, carved work on a miniature scale. Transferred sense of "small character or part that stands out from other minor parts" in a play, etc., is from 1928, from earlier meaning "short literary sketch or portrait" (1851), a transferred sense from cameo silhouettes. A cameotype (1864) was a small, vignette daguerreotype mounted in a jeweled setting.
"inspissated juice of the poppy plant," especially as used in medicine from 17c. for relief of pain and production of sleep, late 14c., from Latin opium, from Greek opion "poppy juice, poppy," diminutive of opos "vegetable juice, plant juice, fig curd," from PIE *sokwo- "juice, resin" (source also of Old Church Slavonic soki "juice," Lithuanian sakaī (plural) "resin").
Die Religion ist der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur, das Gemüth einer herzlosen Welt, wie sie der Geist geistloser Zustände ist. Sie ist das Opium des Volks. [Karl Marx, "Zur Kritik der Hegel'schen Rechts-Philosophie," in "Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher," February, 1844]
The British Opium War against China lasted from 1839-42; the name is attested from 1841. Opium-eater, one who habitually uses opium in some form, is by 1821.
late 12c., mēl, "an occasion of taking food, a feast, a supply of food taken at one time for relief of hunger," also (c. 1200) "an appointed time for eating;" from Old English mæl, Anglian mēl, "fixed time, occasion; a meal," from Proto-Germanic *mela- (source also of Old Frisian mel "time;" Middle Dutch mael, Dutch maal "time; meal;" Old Norse mal "measure, time, meal;" German Mal "time," Mahl "meal;" Gothic mel "time, hour"), from PIE *me-lo-, from root *me- (2) "to measure."
Original sense of "time" is preserved in English in piecemeal; compare Middle English poundmele "by pounds at a time; generously." Meals-on-wheels for a social service offering home delivery of food to persons unable to purchase or prepare their own is attested by 1952 (from 1947 as a mobile food delivery service without reference to social services). Meal ticket first attested 1865 in literal sense of "ticket of admission to a dining hall;" figurative sense of "source of income or livelihood" is from 1899.