Etymology
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oratorio (n.)

"long musical composition, usually with a text based on Scripture," 1727 (in English from 1640s in native form oratory), from Italian oratorio (late 16c.), from Church Latin oratorium "a place of prayer, an oratory or chapel," noun use of an adjective, as in oratorium templum, from neuter of Latin oratorius "of or for praying," from ōrare "to pray, plead, speak" (see orator). The purely musical sense stems from the Oratory musical services of prayers and hymns instituted in Rome in the 1550s by St. Philip Neri and performed in the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella.

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finance (n.)

c. 1400, "an end, settlement, retribution," from Old French finance "end, ending; pardon, remission; payment, expense; settlement of a debt" (13c.), noun of action from finer "to end, settle a dispute or debt," from fin (see fine (n.)). Compare Medieval Latin finis "a payment in settlement, fine or tax."

The notion is of "ending" (by satisfying) something that is due (compare Greek telos "end;" plural tele "services due, dues exacted by the state, financial means"). The French senses gradually were brought into English: "ransom" (mid-15c.), "taxation" (late 15c.); the sense of "management of money, science of monetary business" first recorded in English 1770.

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venal (adj.)

1650s, "capable of being obtained for a price; that can be corrupted;" 1660s, "offered for sale," from French vénal, Old French venel "for sale" (of prostitutes, etc.; 12c.), from Latin venalis "for sale, to be sold; capable of being bribed," from venum (nominative *venus) "for sale," from PIE root *wes- (1) "to buy, sell" (source also of Sanskrit vasnah "purchase money," vasnam "reward," vasnayati "he bargains, haggles;" Greek onos "price paid, purchase," oneisthai "to buy"). Typically with a bad sense of "ready to sell one's services or influence for money and from sordid motives; to be bought basely or meanly."

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litany (n.)

c. 1200, "solemn prayer of supplication," from Old French letanie (13c., Modern French litanie) and directly from Medieval Latin letania, Late Latin litania (source also of Spanish letania, Italian litania), from Greek litaneia "prayer, an entreating," from lite "prayer, supplication, entreaty," a word of unknown origin. From the notion of monotonous enumeration of petitions in Christian prayer services came the generalized sense of "repeated series" (early 19c.), which originated in French.

For those who know the Greek words, a litany is a series of prayers, a liturgy is a canon of public service; the latter in practice includes prayer, but does not say so. [Fowler]

Related: Litaneutical.

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taxi (n.)

1907, shortening of taximeter cab (introduced in London in March 1907), from taximeter "automatic meter to record the distance and fare" (1898), from French taximètre, from German Taxameter (1890), coined from Medieval Latin taxa "tax, charge."

An earlier English form was taxameter (1894), used in horse-drawn cabs. Taxi dancer "woman whose services may be hired at a dance hall" is recorded from 1930. Taxi squad in U.S. football is 1966, said to be from a former Cleveland Browns owner who gave his reserves jobs with his taxicab company to keep them paid and available ["Dictionary of American Slang"], but other explanations ("short-term hire" or "shuttling back and forth" from the main team) seem possible.

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bill (n.1)

[written statement] late 14c., "formal document; formal plea or charge (in a court of law); personal letter," from Anglo-French bille, Anglo-Latin billa "a writing, a list, a seal," from Medieval Latin bulla "decree, seal, sealed document," in classical Latin "bubble, boss, stud, amulet for the neck" (hence "seal"); see bull (n.2).

The sense of "written statement detailing articles sold or services rendered by one person to another" is from c. 1400; that of "order addressed to one person to pay another" is from 1570s. The meaning "paper intended to give public notice of something, exhibited in a public place" is from late 15c. The sense of "paper money, bank-note" is from 1660s. The meaning "draft of a proposed statute presented to a legislature" is from 1510s.

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recompense (v.)

c. 1400, recompensen, "to redress, provide as an equivalent," from Old French recompenser (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin recompensare "to reward, remunerate," from Latin re- "again" (see re-) + compensare "balance out," etymologically "weigh together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + pensare, frequentative of pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). For the financial sense of the Latin verb, see pound (n.1).

By early 15c. specifically as "to compensate, pay for services rendered or for loss of property, rights, etc.; make amends for by some equivalent; dispense punishments or rewards." "The spelling -ence is more frequent than the etymological -ense ... until the 19th c." [OED]. Related: Recompensed; recompensing.

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salary (n.)

late 13c., salarie, "compensation, payment," whether periodical, for regular service or for a specific service; from Anglo-French salarie, Old French salaire "wages, pay, reward," from Latin salarium "an allowance, a stipend, a pension," said to be originally "salt-money, soldier's allowance for the purchase of salt" [Lewis & Short] noun use of neuter of adjective salarius "of or pertaining to salt; yearly revenue from the sale of salt;" as a noun, "a dealer in salt fish," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").

Over time by 19c. it became restricted to recompense stipulated to be paid a person periodically for services, usually a fixed sum. The Via Salaria was so called because the Sabines used it to fetch sea-salt near the Porta Collina. Japanese sarariman "male salaried worker," literally "salary-man," is from English.

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franchise (n.)

c. 1300, fraunchise, "a special right or privilege (by grant of a sovereign or government);" also "national sovereignty; nobility of character, generosity; the king's authority; the collective rights claimed by a people or town or religious institution," also used of the state of Adam and Eve before the Fall, from Old French franchise "freedom, exemption; right, privilege" (12c.), from variant stem of franc "free" (see frank (adj.)).

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.

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mutual (adj.)

late 15c., "reciprocally given and received," originally of feelings, from Old French mutuel (14c.), from Latin mutuus "reciprocal, done in exchange," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move," "with derivatives referring to the exchange of goods and services within a society as regulated by custom or law" [Watkins].

The meaning "common" is from 1630s. "Used in this sense loosely and improperly (but not infrequently, and by many writers of high rank), especially in the phrase a mutual friend" [Century Dictionary].

That is common which pertains equally to two or more persons or things. That is mutual which is freely interchanged: mutual love, affection, hatred. The word is sometimes incorrectly used for common: our mutual friend, a phrase of very frequent occurrence, no doubt owing to the perfectly correct 'mutual friendship.' [J.H.A. Günther, "English Synonyms Explained & Illustrated," Groningen, 1904]

Mutual Admiration Society (1851) seems to have been coined by Thoreau. Mutual fund is recorded from 1950.

The Cold War's mutual assured destruction is attested from 1966. Assured destruction was a 1962 term in U.S. military policy circles in reference to nuclear weapons as a deterrent, popularized c. 1964 by Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson, e.g. statement before House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 18, 1965. The notion was "the minimum threat necessary to assure deterrence: the capability to exterminate not less than one third of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' (USSR) population in a retaliatory nuclear attack." [Martin Folly, "Historical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy During the Cold War"].

By 1964, as the Soviet Union caught up to NATO in ICBMs, the mutual was added, perhaps first by Donald Brennan, conservative defense analyst and a public critic of the policy, who also noted the acronym MAD.)

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