"built hastily of shoddy materials," 1856, in a Liverpool context, from jerry "bad, defective," probably a pejorative use of the male nickname Jerry (a popular form of Jeremy; compare Jerry-sneak "sneaking fellow, a hen-pecked husband" [OED], name of a character in Foote's "The Mayor of Garret," 1764). Or from or influenced by nautical slang jury (adj.) "temporary," which came to be used of all sorts of makeshift and inferior objects.
early 14c., ministren, "to perform religious rites, provide religious services;" mid-14c., "to serve (food or drink);" late 14c. "render service, aid, or medicine; furnish means of relief or remedy" from Old French menistrer "to serve, be of service, administer, attend, wait on," and directly from Latin ministrare "to serve, attend, wait upon," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)). Related: Ministered; ministering.
late 14c., peti, "small, little, minor," from a phonemic spelling of Old French petit "small" (see petit). From late 12c. in surnames. In English, not originally disparaging (as still in petty cash "small sums of money received or paid," 1834; petty officer "minor or inferior military officer," 1570s).
Meaning "of small or minor importance, not serious" is recorded from 1520s; that of "small-minded" is from 1580s. Related: Pettily; pettiness.
"thing of little value," 1815, earlier "inferior or worn-out horse" (1778, though OED regards this earlier appearance as "prob. accidental"), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps altered from slang rep "man of loose character; vicious, reckless and worthless person" (1747), which itself is of obscure origin, perhaps short for reprobate (n.). But also compare demi-rep "woman of dubious virtue" (1749, the second element said to be short for reputation).
1667, Pandæmonium, in "Paradise Lost" the name of the palace built in the middle of Hell, "the high capital of Satan and all his peers," and the abode of all the demons; coined by John Milton (1608-1674) from Greek pan- "all" (see pan-) + Late Latin daemonium "evil spirit," from Greek daimonion "inferior divine power," from daimōn "lesser god" (see demon).
Transferred sense "place of uproar and disorder" is from 1779; that of "wild, lawless confusion" is from 1865. Related: Pandemoniac; pandemoniacal; pandemonian; pandemonic.
word-forming element meaning "below, beneath," from Latin infra (adverb and preposition) "below, underneath, on the under side, beneath," also "later than; smaller than; inferior to," related to infernus "low, below," from PIE *ndher "under" (source also of Sanskrit adnah "below," Old English under "under, among;" see under). Modern popular use of it dates from the 1920s, as an opposite to super-, often in science fiction. "This use of infra- is scarcely a Latin one" [OED].
late 13c., "morally repugnant; morally flawed, corrupt, wicked; of no value; of inferior quality; disgusting, foul, ugly; degrading, humiliating; of low estate, without worldly honor or esteem," from Anglo-French ville, Old French vil "shameful, dishonorable; low-born; cheap; ugly, hideous," from Latin vilis "cheap, worthless, base, common," of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *wes- (1) "to buy, sell" (see venal). Related: Vilely; vileness; vilety (early 13c.).
early 14c., "inferior officer in the church," from Old French acolite or directly from Medieval Latin acolytus (Late Latin acoluthus), from Greek akolouthos "following, attending on," as a noun, "a follower, attendant," literally "having one way," from a- "together with," copulative prefix (see a- (3)), + keleuthos "a way, road, path, course, journey," which is of unknown etymology. The word was in late Old English as acolitus, a Latin form; in early modern English a corrected form acolythe was used.
1580s, "of moderate degree or quality, neither good nor bad," from French médiocre (16c.), from Latin mediocris "of middling height or state, moderate, ordinary," figuratively "mediocre, mean, inferior," literally "halfway up a mountain," from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + ocris "jagged mountain" (cognate with Greek okris "peak, point," Welsh ochr "corner, border," Latin acer "sharp;" from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce"). As a noun, "mediocre thing or person," by 1834.
"cheese-like," late 14c., from cheese (n.1) + -y (2). The meaning "cheap, inferior" is attested from 1896, in U.S. student slang, along with cheese (n.) "an ignorant, stupid person." In late 19c. British slang, cheesy was "fine, showy" (1858), probably from cheese (n.2) and some suggest the modern derogatory use is an ironic reversal of this. The word was common in medical writing in the late 19c. to describe morbid substances found in tumors, decaying flesh, etc. Related: Cheesiness.