Etymology
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blow (n.1)

"a hard hit (with a fist)," mid-15c., blaw, blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," or an unrecorded Old English cognate. The ordinary Old English word for "to strike" was slean (see slay. A common Germanic word; compare German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike."

Influenced in English by blow (v.1). Figurative sense of "a sudden shock or calamity" is from 1670s. To come to blows "engage in combat" is from 1650s (fall to blows is from 1590s). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of detailed accounts in prize-fight broadcasts.

LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. [The Wireless Age, December 1922]
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deal (v.)

Middle English delen, from Old English dælan "to divide, distribute, separate;" hence "to share with others, bestow, dispense," and also "take part in, have to do with," from Proto-Germanic *dailjanan (source also of Old Saxon deljan, Old Frisian dela "to divide, distribute," Middle Dutch, Dutch deelen, German teilen, Gothic dailjan),from PIE *dail- "to divide," ‌‌perhaps a Northern Indo-European extended form of root *da- "to divide," or a word from a substrate language.

Meaning "to deliver (to another) as his share" is from c. 1300. Meaning "to distribute cards before a game" is from 1520s (the associated noun meaning "distribution of cards before a game" is from c. 1600). Hence colloquial deal (someone) in "include in an undertaking" (1942).

To deal with "handle, act toward (in some way)" is attested from mid-15c., from the notion of "engage in mutual intercourse, have to do with;" in late 14c. the phrase also mean "have sexual intercourse with." Related: Dealt; dealing.

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stipulation (n.)
1550s, "a commitment or activity to do something" (now obsolete), from Latin stipulationem (nominative stipulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of stipulari "exact a promise, engage, bargain," of uncertain origin. Traditionally said to be from Latin stipula "stalk, straw" (see stipule) in reference to some obscure symbolic act; this is rejected by most authorities, who, however, have not come up with a better guess. De Vaan suggests "the original meaning of the verb was 'to draw/cut straws.' ... The noun stip- must have developed from a concrete object that was used for payments, but the nature of the object is unknown: a certain stalk of a plant? a measure of corn?" Meaning "act of specifying one of the terms of a contract or agreement" is recorded from 1750. Meaning "that which is stipulated or agreed upon" in English is from 1802.
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joust (n.)

"single combat with lances by riders on horseback," c. 1300, from Old French joste "a jounst, single combat" (12c., Modern French joute), from joster "fight with, engage in single combat" (see joust (v.)). The sport was popular with Anglo-Norman knights; the usual form in Middle English and Old French was plural, in reference to a series of contests and the accompanying revelry.

These early tournaments were very rough affairs, in every sense, quite unlike the chivalrous contests of later days; the rival parties fought in groups, and it was considered not only fair but commendable to hold off until you saw some of your adversaries getting tired and then to join in the attack on them; the object was not to break a lance in the most approved style, but frankly to disable as many opponents as possible for the sake of obtaining their horses, arms, and ransoms. [L.F. Salzman, "English Life in the Middle Ages," Oxford, 1950]
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handicap (n.)

1650s, from hand in cap, a game whereby two bettors would engage a neutral umpire to determine the odds in an unequal contest. The bettors would put their hands holding forfeit money into a hat or cap. The umpire would announce the odds and the bettors would withdraw their hands — hands full meaning that they accepted the odds and the bet was on, hands empty meaning they did not accept the bet and were willing to forfeit the money. If one forfeited, then the money went to the other. If both agreed either on forfeiting or going ahead with the wager, then the umpire kept the money as payment. The custom, though not the name, is attested from 14c. ("Piers Plowman").

Reference to horse racing is 1754 (Handy-Cap Match), where the umpire decrees the superior horse should carry extra weight as a "handicap;" this led to sense of "encumbrance, disability" first recorded 1890. The main modern sense, "a mental or physical disability," is the last to develop, early 20c.

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exercise (n.)

mid-14c., "condition of being in active operation; practice for the sake of training," from Old French exercice (13c.) "exercise, execution of power; physical or spiritual exercise," from Latin exercitium "training, physical exercise" (of soldiers, horsemen, etc.); "play;" in Medieval Latin also of arts, from exercitare, frequentative of exercere "keep busy, keep at work, oversee, engage busily; train, exercise; practice, follow; carry into effect; disturb, disquiet," from ex "off" (see ex-) + arcere "keep away, prevent; contain, enclose," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane).

The original notion in the Latin verb is obscure. Meaning "physical activity for fitness, etc." first recorded in English late 14c. Also from late 14c. as "a carrying out of an action; a doing or practicing; a disciplinary task." In reference to written schoolwork from early 17c. The ending was abstracted for formations such as dancercise (1967); jazzercise (1977); and boxercise (1985).

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play (v.)

Middle English pleien, from Old English plegan, plegian "move lightly and quickly, occupy or busy oneself, amuse oneself; engage in active exercise; frolic; engage in children's play; make sport of, mock; perform music," from Proto-West Germanic *plegōjanan "occupy oneself about" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for, take charge of," Old Frisian plega "tend to," Middle Dutch pleyen "to rejoice, be glad," German pflegen "take care of, cultivate"), which is apparently connected to the root of plight (v.), but the ultimate etymology is uncertain and the phonetic development is difficult to explain.

Meaning "to take part in" a martial or athletic game is from c. 1200. It has been opposed to work (v.) since late 14c. Meaning "perform or act on the stage" (transitive) is by late 14c., as are the senses of "take the role of" and "make a pretense of, make believe" and "act thoughtlessly or wantonly." Sense of "put forward, move, throw, lay on the table, etc." in the course of a game or contest is by 1560s of chess pieces, 1670s of playing cards. Sense of "operate or cause to operate with continuous or repeated action" is from 1590s. Meaning "to cause (a recording) to reproduce what is on it" is by 1903, probably from the "make music" sense. Related: Played; playing.

Many expressions are from the stage, sports and games, or music, and it is not always easy to say which is from which. To play up "emphasize" is from 1909 (perhaps originally "play music more vigorously"); to play down "minimize" is from 1930; to play along "pretend to agree or cooperate" is from 1929. To play fair "be nice" is from mid-15c. To play house as a children's activity is from 1958.

To play for keeps is from 1861, originally of marbles or other children's games with tokens. To play (something) safe is from 1911; to play favorites is attested from 1902.  To play second fiddle in the figurative sense is from 1809 ("Gil Blas"). To play into the hands (of someone) "act in such a way as to give the advantage to one's opponent or a third party" is from 1705. For play the _______ card see card (n.1). For play the field see field (n.). To play with oneself "masturbate" is from 1896 (to play with "have sexual intercourse with" is from mid-13c.). Playing-card "one of a pack of cards used for playing games" is from 1540s.

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plump (v.1)

c. 1300, "to fall (into water) or strike with a full impact," a common Low German word, from or related to Middle Dutch and Dutch plompen, East Frisian plumpen, Middle Low German plumpen, probably more or less imitative of something hard striking something soft. Perhaps influenced by or merged with Middle English plumben "immerse (in liquid)," late 14c., from plumb (n.) in the "weight" sense. Hence plump (n.) "a firm blow," in pugilism usually one to the belly.

To plump; to strike, or shoot. I'll give you a plump in the bread basket, or the victualling office; I'll give you a blow in the stomach. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
Or, even if any of them should suspect me, I know how to bring myself off. It is but pretending to be affronted, stripping directly, challenging him to fight, and before he can be on his guard, hitting him a plump in the bread-basket, that shall make him throw up his accounts; and I'll engage he will have but very little stomach to accuse me after. ["The Reverie: or A Flight to the Paradise of Fools," London, 1763]

As an adverb, "at once," as in a sudden fall, from 1590s.

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pledge (n.)

mid-14c., plegge, "surety, bail," from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) "hostage, security, bail," also Anglo-Latin plegium, both probably from Frankish *plegan "to guarantee," from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning "have responsibility for" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Middle Dutch plien "to answer for, guarantee," Old High German pflegan "to care for, be accustomed to," Old English pleon "to risk the loss of, expose to danger"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed" [Watkins].

From late 14c. as "person who goes surety or gives bail for another;" late 15c. (Caxton) as "personal property given as surety for a debt or engagement. By 1520s as "a token or sign of favor, agreement, etc.

Meaning "allegiance vow attested by drinking with another" is from 1630s. Sense of "solemn promise, one's word given or considered as security for the performance (or refraining from) an act" is recorded by 1814, though this notion is from 16c. in the verb. Weekley notes the "curious contradiction" in pledge (v.) "to toast with a drink" (1540s) and pledge (n.) "the vow to abstain from drinking" (1833). Meaning "student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority" dates from 1901.

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relegate (v.)

1590s "to banish (someone), send to an obscure or remote place, send away or out of the way," from Latin relegatus, past participle of relegare "remove, dismiss, banish, send away, schedule, put aside," from re- "back" (see re-) + legare "send as a deputy, send with a commission, charge, bequeath," which is possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law" (from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather").

All senses are from a specific meaning in Roman law: "send into exile, cause to move a certain distance from Rome for a certain period." The meaning "place (someone) in a position of inferiority" is recorded from 1790. Of subjects, things, etc., "assign to some specific category, domain, etc.," by 1866. Related: Relegated; relegating; relegable.

[Relegatio] allowed the expulsion of a citizen from Rome by magisterial decree. All examples of relegation were accomplished by magistrates with imperium, and lesser magistrates probably did not possess this power. Any number of individuals could be relegated under a single decree, and they even could be directed to relocate to a specific area. This act was generally used to remove undesirable foreigners from Rome, as when Greek philosophers were expelled from Rome in 161 and two Epicureans, Philiscus and Alcaeus, were banished seven years later. [Gordan P. Kelly, "A History of Exile in the Roman Republic," Cambridge: 2006]
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