Etymology
Advertisement
commoner (n.)

late 14c. (mid-14c. in Anglo-French), "one of the common people, a member of the third estate," agent noun from common (v.) "participate in common, associate or have dealings with" (mid-14c.), from common (adj.). From mid-15c. as "member of the House of Commons."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
noble (n.)

"man of rank, person of acknowledged social or political preeminence; person of rank above a commoner," c. 1300, from noble (adj.). The same noun sense also is in Old French and Latin. From mid-14c. as the name of an English coin first issued in reign of Edward III.

Related entries & more 
pilaf (n.)

oriental dish of rice boiled with meat, 1610s, pilau (which remains the commoner form in British English), from Turkish pilav, from Persian pilaw. The form perhaps has been influenced by Modern Greek pilafi, which is from the Turkish word, but Ayto ("Diner's Dictionary") writes that from the beginning "the spelling of the word was positively anarchic" and that pilaf "represents a modern Turkish pronunciation."

Related entries & more 
toff (n.)
lower-class London slang for "stylish dresser, man of the smart set," 1851, said by OED to be probably an alteration of tuft, formerly an Oxford University term for a nobleman or gentleman-commoner (1755), in reference to the gold ornamental tassel worn on the caps of undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge whose fathers were peers with votes in the House of Lords.
Related entries & more 
villain (n.)
Origin and meaning of villain

c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), "base or low-born rustic," from Anglo-French and Old French vilain "peasant, farmer, commoner, churl, yokel" (12c.), from Medieval Latin villanus "farmhand," from Latin villa "country house, farm" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan"). Meaning "character in a novel, play, etc. whose evil motives or actions help drive the plot" is from 1822.

The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: 'inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.' Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
yeoman (n.)

c. 1300, "attendant in a noble household," of unknown origin, perhaps a contraction of Old English iunge man "young man," or from an unrecorded Old English *geaman, equivalent of Old Frisian gaman "villager," from Old English -gea "district, region, village," cognate with Old Frisian ga, ge, German Gau, Gothic gawi, from Proto-Germanic *gaujan.

Sense of "commoner who cultivates his land" is recorded from early 15c.; also the third order of fighting men (late 14c., below knights and squires, above knaves), hence yeomen's service "good, efficient service" (c. 1600). Meaning "naval petty officer in charge of supplies" is first attested 1660s. Yeowoman first recorded 1892: "Then I am yeo-woman O the clumsy word!" [Tennyson, "The Foresters"]

Related entries & more 
quadrille (n.)

1773, "lively square dance for four couples," consisting regularly of five complete parts, from French quadrille (17c.), originally one of four groups of horsemen in a tournament (a sense attested in English from 1738), from Spanish cuadrilla, diminutive of cuadro "four-sided battle square," from Latin quadrum "a square," related to quattuor "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four"). The craze for the dance hit England in 1816, and it underwent a vigorous revival late 19c. among the middle classes.

Earlier it was the name of a popular card game for four hands, and in this sense it is from French quadrille (1725), from Spanish cuartillo, from cuarto "fourth," from Latin quartus. OED notes it as fashionable ("and was in turn superseded by whist") from 1726, the year of Swift's (or Congreve's) satirical ballad on the craze:

The commoner, and knight, the peer,
Men of all ranks and fame,
Leave to their wives the only care,
To propagate their name;
And well that duty they fulfil
When the good husband's at Quadrille &c.
Related entries & more 
reflection (n.)

late 14c., refleccioun, reflexioun, reflectioun, of surfaces or bodies, "the action of throwing back light or heat," from Old French reflexion, refleccion, and directly from Late Latin reflexionem (nominative reflexio) "a reflection," literally "a bending back," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin reflectere "to bend back, bend backwards, turn away," from re- "back" (see re-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible).

Meaning "an image produced by the action of a mirror, etc." is from 1580s. Of the mind, "turning of the thought back upon past experiences or ideas," from 1670s. Meaning "remark made after turning back one's thought on some subject" is from 1640s. Spelling with -ct- recorded from late 14c., established 18c., by influence of the verb. OED considers the version with -x- to be "the etymological spelling," but Fowler (1926) points out that -ct- is usual in the general senses and even technical ones.

A clear differentiation being out of the question, & the variation of form being without essential significance, the best thing to do is to use the commoner spelling, reflection, in all senses. [Fowler, "Modern English Usage," 1926]
Related entries & more 
boy (n.)

mid-13c., boie "servant, commoner, knave" (generally young and male); c. 1300, "rascal, ruffian, knave; urchin," mid-14c. as "male child before puberty" (possibly an extended sense from the "urchin" one). A word of unknown origin.

Possibly from Old French embuie "one fettered," from Vulgar Latin *imboiare, from Latin boia "leg iron, yoke, leather collar," from Greek boeiai dorai "ox hides." (Words for "boy" double as "servant, attendant" across the Indo-European map -- compare Italian ragazzo, French garçon, Greek pais, Middle English knave, Old Church Slavonic otroku -- and often it is difficult to say which meaning came first.)

But it also appears to be identical with East Frisian boi "young gentleman," and perhaps with Dutch boef "knave," from Middle Dutch boeve, perhaps from Middle Low German buobe. This suggests a gradational relationship to babe. For a different conjecture: Used slightingly of young men in Middle English, also in familiar or contemptuous use of criminal toughs or men in the armed services. In some local uses "a man," without reference to age (OED lists "in Cornwall, in Ireland, in the far West of the U.S."). Meaning "male negro slave or Asian personal servant of any age" attested from c. 1600. Extended form boyo is attested from 1870. Emphatic exclamation oh, boy is attested by 1917. Boy-meets-girl "typical of a conventional romance" is from 1945; the phrase itself is from 1934 as a dramatic formula. Boy-crazy "eager to associate with males" is from 1923.

In Old English, only the proper name Boia has been recorded. ME boi meant 'churl, servant' and (rarely) 'devil.' In texts, the meaning 'male child' does not antedate 1400. ModE boy looks like a semantic blend of an onomatopoeic word for an evil spirit (*boi) and a baby word for 'brother' (*bo). [Liberman]
A noticable number of the modern words for 'boy', 'girl', and 'child' were originally colloquial nicknames, derogatory or whimsical, in part endearing, and finally commonplace. These, as is natural, are of the most diverse, and in part obscure, origin. [Buck]
Related entries & more