c. 1400, perhaps mid-14c., "person of non-Christian or non-Jewish faith," from Late Latin paganus "pagan," in classical Latin "villager, rustic; civilian, non-combatant" noun use of adjective meaning "of the country, of a village," from pagus "country people; province, rural district," originally "district limited by markers," thus related to pangere "to fix, fasten," from PIE root *pag- "to fasten." As an adjective from early 15c.
The religious sense often was said in 19c. [e.g. Trench] to derive from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the Latin word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for "civilian, incompetent soldier," which Christians (Tertullian, c. 202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (such as milites "soldier of Christ," etc.).
The English word was used later in a narrower sense of "one not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim." As "person of heathenish character or habits," by 1841. Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.
Pagan and heathen are primarily the same in meaning; but pagan is sometimes distinctively applied to those nations that, although worshiping false gods, are more cultivated, as the Greeks and Romans, and heathen to uncivilized idolaters, as the tribes of Africa. A Mohammedan is not counted a pagan much less a heathen. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
The English surname Paine, Payne, etc., appears by old records to be from Latin paganus, but whether in the sense "villager," "rustic," or "heathen" is disputed. It also was a common Christian name in 13c., "and was, no doubt, given without any thought of its meaning" ["Dictionary of English Surnames"].
"religious beliefs and practices of pagans," early 15c., paganisme, from Church Latin paganismus, from paganus (see pagan). Alternative paganity is from 1540s; pagandom is from 1739.
"to turn pages, look through the pages of" by 1943, from page (n.1). Earlier it meant "put numbers on the pages of" a book, etc. (1620s). Related: Paged; paging.
"sheet of paper, one side of a printed or written leaf of a book or pamphlet," 1580s, from French page, from Old French pagene "page, text" (12c.), from Latin pagina "page, leaf of paper, strip of papyrus fastened to others," related to pagella "small page," from pangere "to fasten" (from PIE root *pag- "to fasten").
Earlier pagine (c. 1200), directly from Old French or Latin. The word is usually said to be from the notion of individual sheets of paper "fastened" into a book. Ayto and Watkins offer an alternative theory: vines fastened by stakes and formed into a trellis, which led to sense of "columns of writing on a scroll." When books replaced scrolls, the word continued to be used. Related: Paginal.
Page-turner "book that one can't put down" is from 1974; earlier (by 1959) an apparatus or person who turns the pages of an open book, as for a performing musician.
"youth, lad; boy of the lower orders; personal servant," c. 1300 (early 13c. as a surname), originally also "youth preparing to be a knight" (beneath the rank of a squire), from Old French page "a youth, page, servant" (13c.), possibly via Italian paggio (Barnhart), from Medieval Latin pagius "servant," perhaps ultimately from Greek paidion "boy, lad," diminutive of pais (genitive paidos) "child."
But OED considers this unlikely and, with Century Dictionary, points instead to Littré's suggestion of a source in Latin pagus "countryside," in sense of "boy from the rural regions" (see pagan). Meaning "youth employed as a personal attendant to a person of rank" is first recorded mid-15c.; this was transferred from late 18c. to boys who did personal errands in hotels, clubs, etc., also in U.S. legislatures.
late 14c., pagent, "a play in a cycle of mystery plays," from Medieval Latin pagina, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin pagina "page of a book" (see page (n.1)) on notion of "manuscript" of a play.
But an early sense in Middle English also was "wheeled stage or scene of a play" (late 14c.) and Klein, Century Dictionary, etc., say a sense of Medieval Latin pagina was "movable scaffold" (probably from the etymological sense of "stake"). The sense might have been extended from the platform to the play presented on it.
With unetymological -t as in ancient (adj.). In Middle English also "a scene in a royal welcome or a Roman triumph" (mid-15c.); "a story, a tale" (early 15c.); "an ornamental hanging for a room" (mid-15c.). The generalized sense of "showy parade, spectacle" is attested by 1805, though this notion is found in pageantry (1650s).