late 14c., posicioun, as a term in logic and philosophy, "statement of belief, the laying down of a proposition or thesis," from Old French posicion "position, supposition" (Modern French position) and directly from Latin positionem (nominative positio) "act or fact of placing, situation, position, affirmation," noun of state from past-participle stem of ponere "put, place." Watkins tentatively identifies this as from PIE *po-s(i)nere, from *apo- "off, away" (see apo-) + *sinere "to leave, let" (see site). But de Vaan identifies it as from Proto-Italic *posine-, from PIE *tkine- "to build, live," from root *tkei- "to settle, dwell, be home" (see home (n.)).
The meaning "place occupied by a person or thing" especially a proper or appropriate place, is from 1540s; hence "status, standing, social rank" (1832); "official station, employment" (1890). The meaning "manner in which some physical thing is arranged or posed, aggregate of the spatial relations of a body or figure to other such bodies or figures" is recorded by 1703; specifically in reference to dance steps, 1778, to sexual intercourse, 1883. Military sense of "place occupied or to be occupied" is by 1781.
1670s, "to assume a position" (intransitive), from position (n.). Transitive sense of "place or put in relation to other objects," now the usual meaning, is recorded from 1817. Related: Positioned; positioning.
also cleanup, 1856, "act of cleaning up, a general cleaning," from clean + up. Meaning "a profit" is recorded from 1878. Verbal phrase clean up "make a large profit" is from 1929. The adjective, in the baseball sense, is recorded by 1910 in reference to the hitter who bats fourth in the lineup: His job is to drive in runs by scoring the players who hit before him and thus "clean up" the bases.
mid-15c., placen, "to determine the position of;" also "to put (something) in a particular place or position," from place (n.). The meaning "put or set (a number of things) in position or order, arrange" is from 1540s. Related: Placed; placing.
Sense of "to find a home, situation, marriage, etc. for" is from 1590s. The horse racing sense of "to achieve a certain position" (usually in the top three finishers; in U.S., specifically second place) is attested by 1924, from earlier meaning "to state the position of" (among the first three finishers), 1826.
"station when on duty, a fixed position or place," 1590s, from French poste "place where one is stationed," also, "station for post horses" (16c.), from Italian posto "post, station," from Vulgar Latin *postum, from Latin positum, neuter past participle of ponere "to place, to put" (see position (n.)). Earliest sense in English was military; the meaning "job, position, position" is attested by 1690s. The military meaning "fort, permanent quarters for troops" is by 1703.
c. 1600, "position, situation; disposition of the several parts of anything with respect to one another or a particular purpose," especially of the body, "pose," from French posture (16c.), from Italian postura "position, posture," from Latin positura "position, station," from postulus from past participle stem of ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)). The figurative sense of "a state of being or attitude in relation to circumstances" is from 1640s. Related: Postural.