1810, American English variant of mamma (q.v.). Apparently first used in the South and with a racial context. As a biker's girlfriend or female passenger, from 1950s.
An old negro woman is called momma, which is a broad pronunciation of mama ; and a girl, missy. I once happened to call a young negro wench momma—"me be no momma," says she, "me had no children yet." [John Lambert, "Travels through Lower Canada, and the United States of North America in the Years 1806, 1807, and 1808," London, 1810]
1690s, "separate existence as a nation, national unity and integrity," from national + -ity (in some usages perhaps from French nationalité. As "fact of belonging to or being a citizen of a particular state," from 1828, gradually shading into "race, ethnicity." Meaning "a racial or ethnic group" is by 1832. Related: Nationalities.
But I do love a country that loves itself. I love a country that insists on its own nationality which is the same thing as a person's insisting on his own personality. [Robert Frost, letter, April 21, 1919]
mid-12c., multeplien, "to cause to become many, cause to increase in number or quantity," from Old French multiplier, mouteplier (12c.) "increase, get bigger; flourish; breed; extend, enrich," from Latin multiplicare "to increase," from multiplex (genitive multiplicis) "having many folds, many times as great in number," from combining form of multus"much, many" (see multi-) + -plex "-fold," from PIE root *plek- "to plait."
Intransitive sense of "grow or increase in number or extent" (especially "to have children, produce offspring") is from mid-14c. Mathematical sense "perform the process of multiplication" is attested from late 14c. Related: Multiplied; multiplying.
1540s, "separate (someone or something) from a generally body or class of things," from Latin segregatus, past participle of segregare "set apart, lay aside; isolate; divide," literally "separate from the flock," from *se gregare, from se "apart from" (see se-) + grege, ablative of grex "herd, flock" (from PIE root *ger- "to gather").
Originally often with reference to the religious notion of separating the flock of the godly from the sinners, later scientifically in reference to classifications. In modern social context, "to force or enforce racial separation and exclusion," by 1898. Intransitive sense of "separate, go apart" is by 1863. Related: Segregated; segregating.
"a great number regarded collectively; a crowd or throng; the characteristic of being many, numerousness," early 14c., from Old French multitude (12c.) and directly from Latin multitudinem (nominative multitudo) "a great number, a crowd; the crowd, the common people," from multus "many, much" (see multi-) + suffix -tudo (see -tude). Related: Multitudes.
A multitude, however great, may be in a space so large as to give each one ample room; a throng or a crowd is generally smaller than a multitude, but is gathered into a close body, a throng being a company that presses together or forward, and a crowd carrying the closeness to uncomfortable physical contact. [Century Dictionary]
"designate as worthy of priority," by 1967 in U.S. government jargon, apparently popularized during the 1972 U.S. presidential contest, from root of priority + -ize. "A word that at present sits uneasily in the language" [OED, 1989]. Related: Prioritized; prioritizing.
Sen. Pete Dominick (R-Colo.) claims that it took him and his staff almost six years (Dominick is up for election next year) just to learn "governmentalese." He notes words such as "generalizationable" and "prioritize" and other words constructed with liberal use of hyphens: "quasi-pseudo-anti-regionalism" and "multi-duplex-co-establishment." [Don MacLean, "Washington Watch" newspaper column, February, 1967]
The notion is of a promenade laid out atop demolished city walls, a way which would be much wider than urban streets. Originally in English with conscious echoes of Paris; in U.S., since 1929, used of multi-lane limited-access urban highways. Early French attempts to digest the Dutch word also include boloart, boulever, boloirque, bollvercq.
As a noun from early 15c., "that which affirms or asserts." American English affirmative action "positive or corrective effort by employers to prevent discrimination in hiring or promotion" is attested from 1935 with regard to labor unions (reinstatement of fired members, etc.). The specific racial sense is attested from 1961; by late 1970s the sense had shifted toward pro-active methods such as hiring quotas. Related: Affirmatively.
But those times are past; and we of the nineteenth century, with our evolutionary theories and our mechanical philosophies, already know nature too impartially and too well to worship unreservedly any god of whose character she can be an adequate expression. Truly all we know of good and beauty proceeds from nature, but none the less so all we know of evil. Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference, a moral multiverse, as one might call it, and not a moral universe. [William James, "Is Life Worth Living?" address to the Young Men's Christian Association of Harvard University, May 1895]