Similarly, [Prof. Hans Driesch] includes under "parapsychology" such phenomena as telepathy and clairvoyance, which he regards as mere extensions from ordinary mental phenomena, rather than as fundamentally different processes. He believes that the same orderly process by which unclassified and diverse processes have been systematized,—alchemy becoming chemistry, astrology becoming astronomy,—is at work now,—to make, in place of the mysterious tradition of Occultism, a science which will really be an extension from scientific psychology and biology. ["Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research," April 1923]
c. 1300, reverten, "to come to oneself again, regain consciousness, recover from illness" (senses now obsolete), from Anglo-French reverter, Old French revertir "return, change back," from Vulgar Latin *revertire, variant of Latin revertere "turn back, turn about; come back, return," from re- "back" (see re-) + vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
Meaning "return to a former state or position" is from mid-15c. Of property, "revert to a grantor or his successor," from mid-15c.; in reference to a return to a former habit, practice, custom, etc., from 1610s. In biology, "go back to an earlier, primitive, or ancestral type," 1859. Related: Reverted; reverting.
late 14c., recapitulacioun, "a short summary; process or act of summarizing," from Old French recapitulacion (13c.) and directly from Late Latin recapitulationem (nominative recapitulatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of recapitulare "go over the main points of a thing again," literally "restate by heads or chapters."
This is from re- "again" (see re-) + capitulum "main part," literally "little head," diminutive of caput "head," also "leader, guide, chief person; summit; capital city; origin, source, spring," figuratively "life, physical life;" in writing "a division, paragraph;" of money, "the principal sum" (from PIE root *kaput- "head").
The Latin word is technically, a loan-translation of Greek anakephalaiōsis. In biology, in reference to evolutionary stages and the growth of the individual young animal, by 1875. Music sense is by 1879. Related: Recapitulative; recapitulatory.
early 12c., "small monastery, subordinate monastery" (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later "small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit's dwelling" (c. 1300), from Latin cella "small room, store room, hut," related to Latin celare "to hide, conceal," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."
From "monastic room" the sense was extended to "prison room" (1722). The word was used in 14c., figuratively, of brain "compartments" as the abode of some faculty; it was used in biology by 17c. of various cavities (wood structure, segments of fruit, bee combs), gradually focusing to the modern sense of "basic structure of all living organisms" (which OED dates to 1845).
Electric battery sense is from 1828, based on the "compartments" in very early types. Meaning "small group of people working within a larger organization" is from 1925. Cell-body is from 1851, cell-division from 1846, cell-membrane from 1837 (but cellular membrane is 1732), cell wall from 1842.
Used in medicine, mathematics, and general writing in various senses including "growth to maturity and development of an individual living thing" (1660s). Modern use in biology, of species, first attested 1832 in works of Scottish geologist Charles Lyell. Charles Darwin used the word in print once only, in the closing paragraph of "The Origin of Species" (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the discarded 18c. homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762) and in part because it carried a sense of "progress" not present in Darwin's idea. But Victorian belief in progress prevailed (and the advantages of brevity), and Herbert Spencer and other biologists after Darwin popularized evolution.
late 14c., "irregular shaped lump; body of unshaped, coherent matter," from Old French masse "lump, heap, pile; crowd, large amount; ingot, bar" (11c.), and directly from Latin massa "kneaded dough, lump, that which adheres together like dough," probably from Greek maza "barley cake, lump, mass, ball," which is related to massein "to knead," from PIE root *mag- "to knead, fashion, fit."
The sense in English was extended 1580s to "a large quantity, amount, or number." Meaning "bulk" in general is from c. 1600. As "the bulk or greater part of anything" from 1620s. Strict sense in physics, "quantity of a portion of matter expressed in pounds or grams" is from 1704.
As an adjective, "of, involving, or composed of masses of people; done on a large scale," from 1733, first attested in American English mass meeting "public assembly persons in mass or of all classes to consider or listen to the discussion of some matter of common interest." Mass culture is from 1916 in sociology (earlier in biology); mass hysteria is from 1914; mass movement is from 1897; mass grave is from 1918; mass murder from 1880.
in biology, "division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small."
Earlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":
"YOUNG AUTHOR." — Yes Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat,—at least, not with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you would want for the present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales.
Related: meiotic; meiotically.
Old English life (dative lif) "animated corporeal existence; lifetime, period between birth and death; the history of an individual from birth to death, written account of a person's life; way of life (good or bad); condition of being a living thing, opposite of death; spiritual existence imparted by God, through Christ, to the believer," from Proto-Germanic *leiban (source also of Old Norse lif "life, body," Old Frisian, Old Saxon lif "life, person, body," Dutch lijf "body," Old High German lib "life," German Leib "body"), properly "continuance, perseverance," from PIE root *leip- "to stick, adhere."
The noun associated with live (v.) "to live," which is literally "to continue, remain." Extended 1703 to inanimate objects, "term of duration or existence." Sense of "vitality, energy in action, expression, etc." is from 1580s. Meaning "conspicuously active part of human existence, pleasures or pursuits of the world or society" is by 1770s. Meaning "cause or source of living" led to the sense "vivifying or animating principle," and thus "one who keeps things lively" in life of the party (1787). Meaning "imprisonment for life, a life sentence" is from 1903. Paired alliteratively with limb from 1640s. Not on your life "by no means" is attested from 1896.
In gaming, an additional turn at play for a character; this transferred use was prefigured by uses in card-playing (1806), billiards (1856), etc., in reference to a certain number of chances or required objects without which one's turn at the game fails. The life "the living form or model, semblance" is from 1590s. Life-and-death "of dire importance" is from 1822; life-or-death (adj.) is from 1897. Life-jacket is from 1840; life-preserver from 1630s of anything that is meant to save a life, 1803 of devices worn to prevent drowning. Life-saver is from 1883, figurative use from 1909, as a brand of hard sugar candy from 1912, so called for shape.
Life-form is from 1861; life-cycle is from 1855; life-expectancy from 1847; life-history in biology from 1870; life-science from 1935. Life-work "the labor to which one's life has been devoted" is from 1848. Expression this is the life is from 1919; verbal shrug that's life is from 1924 (earlier such is life, 1778).