comic (adj.)

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. 

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politically (adv.)

late 15c., "according to fixed laws" (rather than unlimited power of a ruler); 1580s, "in a politic manner;" 1630s "in a political manner," from politic or political + -ly (2). The first sense is obsolete, the second rare or archaic. Politically correct is attested in prevailing current sense by 1970; abbreviation P.C. is from 1986.

[T]here is no doubt that political correctness refers to the political movement and phenomenon, which began in the USA, with the aim to enforce a set of ideologies and views on gender, race and other minorities. Political correctness refers to language and ideas that may cause offence to some identity groups like women and aims at giving preferential treatment to members of those social groups in schools and universities. [Thuy Nguyen, "Political Correctness in the English Language,"2007] 
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petition (n.)

mid-14c., petiocioun, "a supplication or prayer," especially to a deity," from Anglo-French (early 14c.), from Old French peticion "request, petition" (12c., Modern French pétition) and directly from Latin petitionem (nominative petitio) "a blow, thrust, attack, aim; a seeking, searching," in law "a claim, suit," noun of action from past-participle stem of petere "to make for, go to; attack, assail; seek, strive after; ask for, beg, beseech, request; fetch; derive; demand, require," from PIE root *pet- "to rush; to fly."

Meaning "formal written request to a superior (earthly)" is attested from early 15c. In law, "a written application for an order of the court" (1737).

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perpetual (adj.)

mid-14c., perpetuel, "everlasting, unceasing, existing indefinitely, continuing forever in future time;" late 14c., "uninterrupted, continuous," from Old French perpetuel "without end" (12c.) and directly from Latin perpetualis "universal," in Medieval Latin "permanent," from perpetuus "continuous, universal," from perpetis, genitive of Old Latin perpes "lasting," probably from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + root of petere "to seek, go to, aim at" (from PIE root *pet- "to rush, to fly").

Related: Perpetually. Perpetual motion in reference to a hypothetical machine which, being set once in motion, will continue forever unless stopped by some external force" is attested from 1590s.

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level (v.)

mid-15c., "to make level" (transitive), from level (n.). From c. 1600 as "to bring to a level." Intransitive sense "cease increasing" is from 1958. Meaning "to aim (a gun)" is late 15c. Slang sense of "tell the truth, be honest" is from 1920. To level up "to rise" is attested by 1863.

A word here as to the misconception labored under by our English neighbor; he evidently does not understand the American manner of doing things. We never level down in this country; we are always at work on the up grade. "Level up! Level up!" is the motto of the American people. [James E. Garretson, "Professional Education," in "The Dental Cosmos," Philadelphia, 1865]

Modern use is mostly from computer gaming (2001). To level off "cease rising or falling" is from 1920, originally in aviation. Related: Leveled; leveling.

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recover (v.)

c. 1300, recoveren, "to regain consciousness," also "regain health or strength after sickness, injury, etc.," from Anglo-French rekeverer (13c.), Old French recovrer "come back, return; regain health; procure, get again" (11c.), from Medieval Latin recuperare "to recover" (source of Spanish recobrar, Italian ricoverare; see recuperation).

The sense of "get (anything) back, get or regain possession or control of," literally or figuratively, after it has been lost, is attested from mid-14c. In law, "obtain by judgment or legal proceedings," late 14c. The transitive sense of "restore from sickness, restore (another) to health" is from c. 1600; that of "rescue, save from danger" is from 1610s. Related: Recovered; recovering. To recover arms (1680s) is to bring the piece from the position of "aim" to that of "ready."

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point-blank (n.)

1570s, in gunnery, "having a horizontal direction," said to be from point (v.) + blank (n.), here meaning the white center of a target. The notion would be of standing close enough to aim (point) at the blank without allowance for curve, windage, or gravity.

But early references make no mention of a white target, and the phrase is possibly from a simplification of the French phrase de pointe en blanc, used in French gunnery in reference to firing a piece on the level into open space to test how far it will carry. In that case the blank represents "empty space" or perhaps the "zero point" of elevation. The whole phrase might be a French loan-translation from Italian.

From 1590s as an adjective in English. The transferred meaning "direct, blunt, straight, without circumlocution" is from 1650s.

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cause (n.)

c. 1200, "reason or motive for a decision, grounds for action; motive," from Old French cause "cause, reason; lawsuit, case in law" (12c.), and directly from Latin causa "a cause; a reason; interest; judicial process, lawsuit," which is of unknown origin.

From mid-14c. as "cause of an effect; source, origin." From late 14c. as "that which affords opportunity for a cause to operate, occasion;" also "reason for something taking place or for something being so; rational explanation." Also late 14c. as "proper or adequate reason, justification for an action." Sense of "matter of interest or concern; a side taken in controversy" is from c. 1300. Cause célèbre "celebrated legal case" is 1763, from French. Common cause "a shared object or aim" is by 1620s.

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purchase (v.)

c. 1300, purchasen, "acquire, obtain; get, receive; procure, provide," also "accomplish or bring about; instigate; cause, contrive, plot; recruit, hire," from Anglo-French purchaser "go after," Old French porchacier "search for, procure; purchase; aim at, strive for, pursue eagerly" (11c., Modern French pourchasser), from pur- "forth" (possibly used here as an intensive prefix; see pur-) + Old French chacier "to run after, hunt, chase" (see chase (v.)).

Originally to obtain or receive as due in any way, including through merit or suffering; the specific sense of "acquire or secure by expenditure of money or its equivalent, pay money for, buy" is attested from mid-14c., though the word continued to be used for "to get by conquest in war, obtain as booty" up to 17c. Related: Purchased; purchasing.

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direct (v.)

late 14c., directen, "to write or address (a letter, words)" to someone, also "to point or make known a course to," from Latin directus past participle of dirigere "set straight, arrange; give a particular direction to, send in a straight line; guide" a thing, either to something or according to something, from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + regere "to direct, to guide, keep straight" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line"). Compare dress; address.

Sense of "to point or aim in a straight line toward a place or an object" is from c. 1400. Meaning "to govern, regulate as to behavior, prescribe the course or actions of" is from early 15c. Sense of "to order, ordain" is from 1650s. Sense of "to write the destination on the outside of a letter" had emerged by 17c. In reference to plays, films, etc., "to supervise and control the making of," it is attested from 1913. Related: Directed; directing.

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