c. 1200, "person shut up or withdrawn from the world and secular living for purposes of religious meditation," originally and especially as a member of a religious community, from Old French reclus (fem. recluse) "hermit, recluse," also "confinement, prison; convent, monastery," noun use of reclus (adj.) "shut up," from Late Latin reclusus, past participle of recludere "to shut up, enclose" (but in classical Latin "to throw open"), from Latin re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + claudere "to shut" (see close (v.)).
Also in part via Medieval Latin nouns reclusus, reclusa. By late 17c. in the secular and softened sense of "one who lives a retired life and mixes little in society." Middle English also had a verb reclusen "to shut up (in some place), confine," and the past-participle adjective reclused "living in seclusion" (c. 1200). Recluse as an adjective meaning "shut up or apart from the world" is attested from early 13c. Also in Middle English was reclusion "state of retirement from the world" (c. 1400), from Medieval Latin reclusionem.
Old English byrgan "to raise a mound, hide, enclose in a grave or tomb, inter," akin to beorgan "to shelter," from Proto-Germanic *burzjan- "protection, shelter" (source also of Old Saxon bergan, Dutch bergen, Old Norse bjarga, Swedish berga, Old High German bergan "protect, shelter, conceal," German bergen, Gothic bairgan "to save, preserve"), from PIE root *bhergh- (1) "to hide, protect." Meaning "cover, conceal from sight" is from 1711. Related: Buried; burying. Burying-ground "cemetery" attested from 1711. Buried treasure is from 1801.
The Old English -y- was a short "oo" sound, like modern French -u-. Under normal circumstances it transformed into Modern English -i- (in bridge, kiss, listen, sister, etc.), but in bury and a few other words (merry, knell) it retained a Kentish change to "e" that took place in the late Old English period. In the West Midlands, meanwhile, the Old English -y- sound persisted, slightly modified over time, giving the standard modern pronunciation of blush, much, church.
c. 1300, curtine, "hanging screen of textile fabric used to close an opening or shut out light, enclose a bed, or decorate an altar," from Old French cortine "curtain, tapestry, drape, blanket," from Late Latin cortina "curtain," but in classical Latin "round vessel, cauldron," from Latin cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard" (see cohort).
The meaning shift apparently begins with cortina being used as a loan-translation of Greek aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Hebrew yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1, etc.). The Greek word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" that led out to the courtyard of a Greek house was a hung cloth.
Figuratively from early 15c. as "something that conceals or screens." From 1590s as "large sheet used to conceal the stage in a theater." Many of the figurative senses are from stage plays: Behind the curtain "concealed" is from 1670s; curtains "the end" is by 1912. The theatrical curtain call "appearance of individual performers on stage at the end of a performance to be recognized by the audience" is from 1884. To draw the curtain is from c. 1500 in opposite senses: "to conceal," and "to reveal." Curtain-rod is from c. 1500. An Old English word for "curtain" was fleonet "fly-net."
late 12c., "formal assembly held by a sovereign," from Old French cort "king's court; princely residence" (11c., Modern French cour), from Latin cortem, accusative of cors (earlier cohors) "enclosed yard," and by extension (and perhaps by association with curia "sovereign's assembly"), "those assembled in the yard; company, cohort," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + stem hort- related to hortus "garden, plot of ground" (from PIE root *gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose").
Both senses of the Latin word emerged in English. From the purely physical sense come "palace, residence of a sovereign" (c. 1200), "enclosed space connected with a building or buildings" (early 14c.), and the sporting sense "smooth, level plot of ground on which a ball game is played" (1510s, originally of tennis). Also "short arm of a public street, enclosed on three sides by buildings" (1680s), formerly noted for poverty or as business districts.
From the notion of "surroundings of a sovereign in his regal state" (c. 1200) comes the legal meaning "a tribunal for judicial investigation" (c. 1300, early assemblies for justice were overseen by the sovereign personally), also "hall or chamber where justice is administered" (c. 1300). As an adjective, "pertaining to a court," late 13c.
1852, from German Kinder-Garten (1840), literally "children-garden, garden of children," a metaphoric name from Kinder "children" (plural of Kind "child;" see kin (n.)) + Garten "garden" (from suffixed form of PIE root *gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose"). Coined by German educator Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children. Compare the double sense in nursery
Kindergarten means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, the discoverer of the method of Nature, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit,-- also to renew their manifestation year after year. [Mann, Horace, and Elizabeth P. Peabody, "Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide," Boston, 1863]
The first in England was established 1850 by Johannes Ronge, German Catholic priest; in America, 1868, by Elizabeth Peabody of Boston, Mass. Taken into English untranslated, whereas other nations that borrowed the institution nativized the name (Danish börnehave, Modern Hebrew gan yeladim, literally "garden of children"). Sometimes partially Englished as kindergarden (a form attested by 1879).
1560s, in drama, "person who speaks the prologue and explains or comments on events on stage," from Latin chorus "a dance in a circle, the persons singing and dancing, the chorus of a tragedy," from Greek khoros "round dance; dancing-place; band of dancers; company of persons in a play, under a leader, who take part in dialogue with the actors and sing their sentiments at intervals."
The Greek word is of uncertain origin, because the original sense is unknown. Perhaps it is from PIE root *gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose," if the original sense of the Greek word is "enclosed dancing floor," or *gher- (2) "to like, want," if the original notion is "to rejoice."
Extension from dance to voice is because Attic drama arose from tales inserted in the intervals of the dance. In Attic tragedy, the khoros (of 12 or 15 (tragic) or 24 (comedic) persons) gave expression, between the acts, to the moral and religious sentiments evoked by the actions of the play. English 16c. theater adopted a stripped-down version of this.
When a Poet wished to bring out a piece, he asked a Chorus from the Archon, and the expenses, being great, were defrayed by some rich citizen (the khoregos): it was furnished by the Tribe and trained originally by the Poet himself [Liddell & Scott]
The meaning "an organized company of singers" is from 1650s. Meaning "the refrain of a song" (which the audience joins in singing) is from 1590s; that of "a song to be sung by a (large) chorus" is from 1744. Meaning "main part of a modern popular song" (as distinguished from the verse, q.v.) is by 1926, originally in jazz. As a verb, 1703, from the noun. Chorus girl "young woman who sings and dances in a stage chorus" is by 1852.