From late 14c. as "freedom; not being in servitude; social status of a freeman;" early 15c. as "citizenship, membership in a community or town; membership in a craft or guild." The "special right" sense narrowed 18c. to "particular legal privilege," then "right to vote" (1790). From mid-15c. as "right to buy or sell," also "right to exclude others from buying or selling, a monopoly;" meaning "authorization by a company to sell its products or services" is from 1959.
early 15c., retailen, "sell in small quantities or parcels," from the noun or from Old French retaillier "cut back, cut off, pare, clip, reduce, circumcise," from re- "back" (see re-) + taillier "to cut, trim" (see tailor (n.)). Sometimes also "to deal out (information, etc.) in small quantities; hand down by report; recount, tell over again" (1590s). Related: Retailed; retailing.
1560s, devest (modern spelling is c. 1600), "strip of possessions," from French devester "strip of possessions" (Old French desvestir), from des- "away" (see dis-) + vestir "to clothe," from Latin vestire "to clothe" (from PIE *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress").
The etymological sense of "strip of clothes, arms, or equipage" is from 1580s. Meaning "strip by some definite or legal process" is from 1570s. Economic sense "sell off (a subsidiary company, later an investment) is by 1961. Related: Divested; divesting.
late 14c., "soiled, dirty, filthy," from bawd + -y (2). Perhaps influenced by Middle English bauded, bowdet "soiled, dirty," from Welsh bawaidd "dirty," from baw "dirt, filth." Meaning "lewd, obscene, chaste" is from 1510s, from notion of "pertaining to or befitting a bawd;" usually of language (originally to talk bawdy).
Bawdy Basket, the twenty-third rank of canters, who carry pins, tape, ballads and obscene books to sell. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]
Related: Bawdily; bawdiness. Bawdy-house "house of prostitution" is from 1550s.