1590s, "act of retreating, act of falling back," also "act of withdrawing into seclusion," from French retirement (1570s); see retire + -ment. Meaning "privacy, state of being withdrawn from society" is from c. 1600; that of "withdrawal from occupation or business" is from 1640s.
Solitude is the condition of being absolutely alone, whether or not one has been with others, or desires to escape from them .... Retirement is comparative solitude, produced by retiring, voluntarily or otherwise, from contact which one has had with others. Seclusion is stronger than retirement, implying the shutting out of others from access .... [Century Dictionary]
"to refuse to use or participate in; stand aloof from; shun; avoid," mid-14c., from Old French eschiver "shun, eschew, avoid, dispense with," from Frankish *skiuhan "dread, avoid, shun," from Proto-Germanic *skeukhwaz (source also of Old High German sciuhen "to avoid, escape," German scheuen "to fear, shun, shrink from," scheu "shy, timid"); see shy (adj.). Related: Eschewed; eschewing; eschewal; eschewance. Italian schivare "to avoid, shun, protect from," schivo "shy, bashful" are related loan words from Germanic. For e-, see e-.
"to pretend illness to escape duty," 1820, from French malingrer "to suffer," a slang word that probably also at one time meant "pretend to be ill," from malingre "ailing, sickly" (13c.), which is of uncertain origin, possibly a blend of mingre "sickly, miserable" and malade "ill." Mingre is itself a blend of maigre "meager" (see meager) + haingre "sick, haggard," which is possibly from Germanic (compare Middle High German hager "thin").
The sense evolution in French would be through the notion of beggars who feigned to be sick or exhibited sham sores to excite compassion. Malingerer is attested from 1761, in a translation of de Saxe; malingering as a verbal noun is attested from 1778. Related: Malingered.
mid-14c., "hazardous;" late 14c., "occurring by chance" (senses now obsolete), from Old French aventuros "chance, accidental, fortuitous;" of persons, "devoted to adventure" (Modern French aventureux), from aventure (see adventure (n.)). In English the sense of "rash, risk-taking" is from c. 1400, thence "daring, fond of adventure" (mid-15c.). Related: Adventurously; adventurousness.
The adventurous man incurs risks from love of the novel, the arduous, and the bold, trusting to escape through the use of his bodily and mental powers; he would measure himself against difficult things. When this spirit does not go so far as to deserve the name of rashness or foolhardiness, it is considered a manly trait. [Century Dictionary]
late 14c., "shun (someone), refrain from (something), have nothing to do with (an action, a scandal, etc.), escape, evade," from Anglo-French avoider "to clear out, withdraw (oneself)," partially Englished from Old French esvuidier "to empty out," from es- "out" (see ex-) + vuidier "to be empty," from voide "empty, vast, wide, hollow, waste," from Latin vocivos "unoccupied, vacant," related to vacare "be empty" (from PIE *wak-, extended form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out").
In Middle English with a wide range of meanings now obsolete: "to empty, rid, take out, remove, discharge from the body, send away; eject or banish; destroy, erase; depart from or abandon, go away." Current sense corresponds to Old French eviter with which it perhaps was confused. Related: Avoided; avoiding.
"In early Greek mythology, the spirit of revenge, that prompts the members of a family to commit fresh crimes to obtain satisfaction" [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1941]. The name also was used of the evil genius which drives a man to sin and of a man so driven. A Greek word of uncertain origin. The traditional guess is that it is literally "the unforgetting," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + root of lathein "to forget," aorist of lanthanein "to lie hidden, escape notice," from PIE root *ladh- "to be hidden" (see latent). Or else it might be connected with alaomai "to wander, roam," figuratively "to be distraught." As a proper name, in Greek tradition a son of Neleus and Chloris; brother of Nestor, he was slain by Herakles.
Old English fleon, flion "take flight, fly from, avoid, escape" (contracted class II strong verb; past tense fleah, past participle flogen), from Proto-Germanic *fleuhanan "to run away" (source also of Old High German fliohan, Old Norse flöja, Old Frisian flia, Dutch vlieden, German fliehen, Gothic þliuhan "to flee"), probably from PIE *pleuk-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow," but Boutkan is not convinced. Also compare fly (v.2).
Weak past tense and past participle fled emerged in Middle English under influence of Scandinavian. Old English had a transitive form, geflieman "put to flight, banish, drive away," which came in handy in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Related: fled; Fleeing.
"excessive or monotonous use of distinctive methods in art or literature," 1803, from manner + -ism. Meaning "an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity in deportment, speech, or execution" is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms.
Perhaps few of those who write much escape from the temptation to trade on tricks of which they have learnt the effectiveness; & it is true that it is a delicate matter to discern where a peculiarity ceases to be an element in the individuality that readers associate pleasantly with the writer they like, & becomes a recurrent & looked-for & dreaded irritation. But at least it is well for every writer to realize that, for his as for other people's mannerisms, there is a point at which that transformation does take place. [Fowler]