c. 1400, revelen, "disclose, divulge, make known (supernaturally or by divine agency, as religious truth)," from Old French reveler "reveal" (14c.), from Latin revelare "reveal, uncover, disclose," literally "unveil," from re- "back, again," here probably indicating "opposite of" or transition to an opposite state (see re-) + velare "to cover, veil," from velum "a veil" (see veil (n.)). Related: Revealed; revealer; revealing. Meaning "display, make clear or visible, expose to sight" is from c. 1500.
Middle English sightlie is attested from mid-15c. but only in the sense "visible;" unsightly is attested in Middle English only as an adverb meaning "invisibly" (late 15c.). Sightly as "pleasing to the eye" is from 1560s. Middle English also had unsighty "difficult or displeasing to look at" (early 15c., from sighty "attractive," late 14c.), also unsightily in the same sense (c. 1400).
late 14c., "existing only in imagination, produced by (mental) fantasy," from Old French fantastique (14c.), from Medieval Latin fantasticus, from Late Latin phantasticus "imaginary," from Greek phantastikos "able to imagine," from phantazein "make visible" (middle voice phantazesthai "picture to oneself"); see phantasm. Trivial sense of "wonderful, marvelous" recorded by 1938. Old French had a different adjective form, fantasieus "weird; insane; make-believe." Medieval Latin also used fantasticus as a noun, "a lunatic," and Shakespeare and his contemporaries had it in Italian form fantastico "one who acts ridiculously."
"act of going before or moving forward, an advance," 1590s, from Late Latin praecissionem (nominative praecissio) "a coming before," from past-participle stem of Latin praecedere "to go before" (see precede). Originally used in reference to calculations of the equinoxes, which come slightly earlier each year, a phenomenon discovered by Hipparchus (190 B.C.E.-120 B.C.E.).
Alpha Centauri was still visible at the latitude of New York, B. C. 300. Ten thousand years ago its meridian altitude at the latitude of Washington was about 30 degrees. At that time Sirius did not appear above our horizon ; and it is interesting to observe that in our latitude these two magnificent stars can never be within the circle of perpetual occultation at the same time. The whole constellation of the Southern Cross was visible in Southern Europe until after the commencement of historic times. Its brightest star, however, will not reappear in the latitude of New York till about A. D. 20,000. [Prof. Daniel Kirkwood, "Changes in Celestial Scenery," in Our Monthly, July 1871]
The word is attested much older (early 14c.) as an error for procession. Related: Precessional.
Old English sihð, gesiht, gesihð "thing seen; faculty of sight; aspect; vision; apparition," from Proto-Germanic *sekh(w)- (source also of Danish sigte, Swedish sigt, Middle Dutch sicht, Dutch zicht, Old High German siht, German Sicht, Gesicht), stem that also yielded Old English seon (see see (v.)), with noun suffix -th (2), later -t.
Verily, truth is sight. Therefore if two people should come disputing, saying, 'I have seen,' 'I have heard,' we should trust the one who says 'I have seen.' [Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 5.14.4]
Meaning "perception or apprehension by means of the eyes" is from early 13c. Meaning "device on a firearm to assist in aiming" is from 1580s. A "show" of something, hence, colloquially, "a great many; a lot" (late 14c.). Sight for sore eyes "welcome visitor" is attested from 1738; sight unseen "without previous inspection" is from 1892. Sight gag first attested 1944. Middle English had sighty (late 14c.) "visible, conspicuous; bright, shining; attractive, handsome;" c. 1400 as "keen-sighted;" mid-15c. as "discerning" (compare German sichtig "visible").
late 14c., "visible state or form, figure; mere show," from Anglo-French apparaunce, Old French aparance "appearance, display, pomp" (13c.), from Latin apparentia, abstract noun from aparentem, past participle of apparere "come in sight, make an appearance," especially "be evident, be seen in public, show oneself" (see appear).
Meaning "semblance" is recorded from early 15c.; that of "action of coming into view" is mid-15c.; that of "a coming before the public or an audience" is from 1670s. Phrase keeping up appearances is attested from 1751 (save appearances in a similar sense is by 1711; see save (v.)).
c. 1300 (as two words from mid-12c., daies liht), "the light of day," from day + light (n.); its figurative sense of "clearly visible open space between two things" (1820) has been used in references to boats in a race, U.S. football running backs avoiding opposing tackles, a rider and a saddle, and the rim of a glass and the surface of the liquor. The (living) daylights that you beat or scare out of someone were originally slang for "the eyes" (1752), extended figuratively to the vital senses. Daylight-saving is attested by 1908.
Old English writing "action of forming letters and characters," verbal noun from write (v.).
From c. 1200 as "text; body of poetry, narrative, etc. in written form; written material." From c. 1300 as "a particular text;" mid-14c. as "act of composing a written text." From late 14c. as "craft of writing;" also "one's own handwriting or penmanship." Also late 14c. in the broad sense of "system of human intercommunication by means of conventional visible marks." Also late 14c. as "act of sending a letter; a letter, message." Writing-desk is from 1610s.
"optical instrument creating and exhibiting, by reflection, a variety of beautiful colors and symmetrical forms," 1817, literally "observer of beautiful forms," coined by its inventor, Scottish scientist David Brewster (1781-1868), from Greek kalos "beautiful, beauteous" (see Callisto) + eidos "shape" (see -oid) + -scope, on model of telescope, etc. They sold by the thousands in the few years after their invention, but Brewster failed to secure a patent.
Figurative meaning "constantly changing pattern" is first attested 1819 in Lord Byron, whose publisher had sent him one of the toys. As a verb, from 1891. A kaleidophone (1827) was invented by English inventor Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) to make sound waves visible.
*bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine."
It forms all or part of: aphotic; bandolier; banner; banneret; beacon; beckon; buoy; diaphanous; emphasis; epiphany; fantasia; fantasy; hierophant; pant (v.); -phane; phanero-; phantasm; phantasmagoria; phantom; phase; phene; phenetic; pheno-; phenology; phenomenon; phenyl; photic; photo-; photocopy; photogenic; photograph; photon; photosynthesis; phosphorus; phaeton; sycophant; theophany; tiffany; tryptophan.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters;" Greek phainein "bring to light, make appear," phantazein "make visible, display;" Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light."