c. 1200, contemplacioun, "religious musing," from Old French contemplation and directly from Latin contemplationem (nominative contemplatio) "act of looking at," noun of action from past-participle stem of contemplari "to gaze attentively, observe; consider, contemplate," originally "to mark out a space for observation" (as an augur does), from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + templum "area for the taking of auguries" (see temple (n.1)).
From late 14c. as "reflection, thinking, thought, act of holding an idea continuously before the mind." Meaning "act of looking attentively at anything" is from late 15c.
"look down upon, scorn, disdain, treat with contempt," c. 1300, despisen, from Old French despis-, present-participle stem of despire "to despise," from Latin despicere "look down on, scorn," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Related: Despised; despising.
To despise is to look down upon with strong contempt from a superior position of some sort. To scorn is to have an extreme and passionate contempt for. To disdain is to have a high-minded abhorrence of, or a proud and haughty contempt of. [Century Dictionary]
mid-13c., "extension of time for an action, deliberation, etc., grace period; postponement of an action, judgment, etc.," from Old French respit "delay, respect" (Modern French répit), from Latin respectus "consideration, recourse, regard," literally "act of looking back (or often) at one," noun use of past participle of respicere "look back at, regard, consider," from re- "back" (see re-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
A doublet of respect (n.). From early 14c. as "a reprieve, temporary cessation of hostilities, suffering, etc."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "be aware, make aware."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bodhati "is awake, is watchful, observes," buddhah "awakened, enlightened;" Old Church Slavonic bljudǫ "to observe;" Lithuanian budėti "to be awake;" Old Irish buide "contentment, thanks;" Old English bodian "proclaim, announce; foretell," boda "messenger."
"to know" (archaic), Old English witan (past tense wast, past participle witen) "to know, beware of or conscious of, understand, observe, ascertain, learn," from Proto-Germanic *witanan "to have seen," hence "to know" (source also of Old Saxon witan, Old Norse vita, Old Frisian wita, Middle Dutch, Dutch weten, Old High German wizzan, German wissen, Gothic witan "to know"), from PIE root *weid- "to see." The phrase to wit, almost the only surviving use of the verb, is first recorded 1570s, from earlier that is to wit (mid-14c.), probably a loan-translation of Anglo-French cestasavoir, used to render Latin videlicet (see viz.).
late 14c., "intelligent contemplation, consideration; act of looking," from Old French speculacion "close observation, rapt attention," and directly from Late Latin speculationem (nominative speculatio) "contemplation, observation," noun of action from speculatus, past participle of Latin speculari "observe," from specere "to look at, view" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
The meaning "pursuit of the truth by means of thinking" is from mid-15c. The disparaging sense of "mere conjecture" is recorded from 1570s. The meaning "buying and selling in search of profit from rise and fall of market value" is recorded from 1774; its short form spec is attested from 1794.
Protestant clergy were at least as bigoted as Catholic ecclesiastics, nevertheless there soon came to be much more liberty of speculation in Protestant than in Catholic countries, because in Protestant countries the clergy had less power. The important aspect of Protestantism was schism, not heresy, for schism led to national Churches were not strong enough to control the lay government. This was wholly a gain, for the Churches, everywhere, opposed as long as they could practically every invention that made for an increase of happiness or knowledge here on earth. [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy," 1945]
1620s, "distinguish from something else or from each other, observe or mark the differences between," from Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare "to divide, separate," from discrimen (genitive discriminis) "interval, distinction, difference," derived noun from discernere "to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive," from dis- "off, away" (see dis-) + cernere "distinguish, separate, sift" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish").
The adverse sense, "make invidious distinctions prejudicial to a class of persons" (usually based on race or color) is first recorded 1866 in American English. Positive sense remains in discriminating. Related: Discriminated.
1540s, "open to view, catching the eye," from Latin conspicuus "visible, open to view; attracting attention, striking," from conspicere "to look at, observe, see, notice," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
Meaning "obvious to the mind, forcing itself upon the attention" is from 1610s; hence "eminent, notable, distinguished." Related: Conspicuously; conspicuousness. Phrase conspicuous by its absence (1859) is said to be from Tacitus ("Annals" iii.76), in a passage about certain images: "sed præfulgebant ... eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur."
Conspicuous consumption "expenditure on a lavish scale to enhance prestige" is attested by 1895 in published writing of Norwegian-American economist and sociologist Thorstein Vebeln, made famous in his "The Theory of the Leisure Class" (1899).
Not only must wealth be possessed, but there must be a show of its possession. It must be made obvious to all that there is an inexhaustible reserve. Hence leisure must be made conspicuous by "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous waste." If only enough persons and the right persons could see it and know it, it would be highly honorific to light a cigar occasionally with a thousand-dollar bill. A man must not limit his consumption to himself and his family. He must live in a palace many times larger than he can possibly fill, and have a large retinue of servants and retainers, ostensibly to minister to his wants, but really to make clear his ability to pay. [Lester F. Ward, review of "Theory of the Leisure Class" in The American Journal of Sociology, May 1900]