1550s, "act of laying," from lay (v.). From 1580s as "a wager." Meaning "relative position, direction, etc.,; way in which something is laid" (as in lay of the land) first recorded 1819. Slang meaning "line of business" is from 1707. Meaning "woman perceived as available for sex" is attested from 1930, but there are suggestions of it in stage puns from as far back as 1767.
"moving backwards and forwards," 1690s, present-participle adjective from reciprocate (v.). Specifically of machines, "having reciprocating parts," by 1822.
Reciprocating engine. A form of engine in which the piston and piston-rod move back and forth in a straight line, absolutely relative to the cylinder, as in oscillating-cylinder engines: in contradistinction to rotary engine. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
Old English fægen, fagen "glad, cheerful, happy, joyful, rejoicing," from a common Germanic root (cognates: Old Saxon fagan, Old Norse feginn "glad," Old High German faginon, Gothic faginon "to rejoice"), perhaps from PIE *pek- (1) "to make pretty." Often it means "glad" in a relative sense, "content to accept when something better is unobtainable." As an adverb, from c. 1200. Related: Fainly. Compare fawn (v.).
Old English hwi, instrumental case (indicating for what purpose or by what means) of hwæt (see what), from Proto-Germanic adverb *hwi (source also of Old Saxon hwi, Old Norse hvi), from PIE *kwi- (source of Greek pei "where"), locative of root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns. As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, recorded from 1510s. As a noun, "cause, reason" from c. 1300.
"an indispensable condition," Latin, literally "without which not," from sine "without" (see sans) + qua, ablative fem. singular of qui "which" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns), + non "not" (see non-). Feminine to agree with implied causa. The Latin phrase is common in Scholastic use. Sometimes a masculine form, sine quo non, is used when a person is intended. Proper plural is sine quibus non.
mid-14c., mortalite, "condition of being subject to death or the necessity of dying," from Old French mortalite "massacre, slaughter; fatal illness; poverty; destruction" (12c.) and directly from Latin mortalitem (nominative mortalitas) "state of being mortal; subjection to death," from mortalis "subject to death, mortal," from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death).
Meaning "widespread death, numerousness of deaths; plague" is from c. 1400; meaning "number of deaths from some cause or in a given period" is from 1640s, later especially in proportion to population.
"a nicety, subtlety," late 14c., "a question proposed in a university for disputation, on any academic topic," from Medieval Latin, literally "what you will, what you please," from quod "what," neuter of qui (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + libet "it pleases" (from PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love"). Sense evolution is via the notion of "a scholastic argumentation" upon a subject chosen at will (but usually theological). Related: Quodlibetarian; quodlibetic; quodlibetical.
late 14c., "unrestricted, free from limitation; complete, perfect, free from imperfection;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit; complete, bring to an end; make separate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, detach," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."
Sense evolution probably was from "detached, disengaged" to "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position;" absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s). Grammatical sense is from late 14c.
Absolute magnitude (1902) is the brightness a star would have at a distance of 10 parsecs (or 32.6 light years); scientific absolute value is from 1907. As a noun in metaphysics, the absolute "that which is unconditional or free from restriction; the non-relative" is from 1809.
"state of great difficulty or perplexity," 1570s, a word of unknown origin and even the pronunciation is unsettled in old dictionaries (it seems to have been originally accented on the second syllable). Perhaps it is a quasi-Latinism based on Latin quando "when? at what time?; at the time that, inasmuch," pronominal adverb of time, related to qui "who" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).
also necessaries, mid-14c., "that which is indispensable; needed, required, or useful things; the necessities of life; actions determined by right or law; that which cannot be disregarded or omitted," perhaps from Old French necessaire (n.) "private parts, genitalia; lavatory," and directly from Latin necessarius (n.), in classical Latin "a relation, relative, kinsman; friend, client, patron;" see necessary (adj.).