thin linen fabric, originally imported from the East, 1722, from Hindi sirsakar, said to be an East Indian corruption of Persian shir o shakkar "striped cloth," literally "milk and sugar," a reference to the alternately smooth and puckered surfaces of the stripes. This would be from Persian shir (cognate with Sanskrit ksiram "milk") + shakar (cognate with Pali sakkhara, Sanskrit sarkara "gravel, grit, sugar;" see sugar (n.)).
1530s, member of an early Christian sect named for the Gnostic Marcion of Sinope (c. 140), who denied any connection between the Old Testament and the New. They contrasted the barbaric and incompetent creator, who favored bandits and killers, with the "higher god" of Christ. They also emphasized virginity and rejection of marriage, and they allowed women to minister. They flourished, especially in the East, until late 4c. The form Marcionist is attested from mid-15c.
Old English near "closer, nearer," comparative of neah, neh"nigh." Partially by the influence of Old Norse naer "near," it came to be used in English as a positive form mid-13c., and new comparative nearer developed in the 1500s (see nigh). Originally an adverb but now supplanted in most such senses by nearly; it has in turn supplanted correct nigh as an adjective.
The adjectival use dates from c. 1300, "being close by, not distant;" from late 14c. as "closely related by kinship;" 1610s as "economical, parsimonious." Colloquial use for "so as to barely escape injury or danger" (as in a near thing, near miss) is by 1751. As a preposition, "close to, close by, near in space or time," from mid-13c. Related: Nearness. In near and dear (1620s) it refers to nearness of kinship. Near East is by 1894 (probably based on Far East). Near beer "low-alcoholic brew" is from 1908.