"having the longitudinal shape of an egg, elliptical," 1570s, from Modern Latin ovalis "egg-shaped" (source of French oval, 1540s), literally "of or pertaining to an egg," from Latin ovum "egg" (see ovum). The classical Latin word was ovatus (source of ovate (adj.)). Related: Ovalness (1727); ovality (1823). Oval Office "office of the president of the United States in the White House" has been used since 1942 metonymically for "the presidency."
1680s, "determination of mind; determination by one's own will or powers without external influence," from self- + determination. The political sense, action of a people in deciding its statehood and form of government," is attested by 1911, popularized 1918 by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in reference to the settlement of World War I. The idea itself is from 19c., and Churchill compared Fichte's Selbst bestimmung. Related: Self-determined; self-determining.
1905, from Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (1873) and self-appointed crusader against immorality, + -ery. Coined by George Bernard Shaw after Comstock objected to "Mrs. Warren's Profession." "Comstockery is the world's standing joke at the expense of the United States" [Shaw, New York Times, Sept. 26, 1905]. The Comstock lode, silver vein in Nevada, was discovered 1859 and first worked by U.S. prospector Henry T.P. Comstock (1820-1870), apparently unrelated to Anthony.
For the vowel change in the Latin compound, see acquisition. Meaning "evil, wickedness" is from late 14c. Old Iniquity (1610s) was a comic or buffoonish character in old morality plays, representing vice.
late 14c., "avoid (something); refrain (oneself) from; keep free from sin or vice; live austerely, practice abstinence or asceticism; be sexually continent," from Old French abstiner, abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain voluntarily, abstain (from what satisfies the passions), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Specifically of liquor from late 14c. Meaning "refrain from voting" is from 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.
"communistic group marriage," in which every man in the group is regarded as equally the husband of every woman in it and vice versa; especially as practiced at in mid-19c. Perfectionist communes such as that of Oneida, New York; 1852, from Greek pantos "all" (see pan-) + -gamy "marriage." A malformation, it would properly be *pantogamy; as pant- was the short form of the Greek word before a vowel, and Greek agamy was "celibacy," the modern word would literally mean "celibacy of all."
by 1953, name for human anti-coagulant use of the rat poison warfarin sodium, abstracted from the chemical name, 3-(α-acetonylbenzyl)-4-hydroxycoumarin; earlier known as Dicoumarol, it attained publicity when it was used in 1955 to treat U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower after a heart attack. Coumarin as the name of an aromatic crystalline substance is by 1830 in English, from French coumarine, from coumarou, the native name in Guyana of the tonka or tonquin bean, one source of the substance.