Etymology
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community (n.)
Origin and meaning of community

late 14c., "a number of people associated together by the fact of residence in the same locality," also "the common people" (not the rulers or the clergy), from Old French comunité "community, commonness, everybody" (Modern French communauté), from Latin communitatem (nominative communitas) "community, society, fellowship, friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability," from communis "common, public, general, shared by all or many" (see common (adj.)).

Latin communitatem "was merely a noun of quality ... meaning 'fellowship, community of relations or feelings' " [OED], but in Medieval Latin it came to be used concretely to mean "a society, a division of people." In English, the meaning "common possession or enjoyment" is from c. 1400. Sense of "a society or association of persons having common interests or occupations" also is from c. 1400.

An Old English word for "community" was gemænscipe "community, fellowship, union, common ownership," from mæne "common, public, general," and thus probably composed from the same PIE roots as communis. Middle English also had commonty (late 14c.) "the common people; a community," also later meaning "land held in common" (c. 1600).

Community service as a criminal sentence is recorded from 1972, American English. Community college, one offering post-secondary instruction geared to local needs and interests, is recorded from 1947, American English. Community chest "fund made up of individual donations to meet the needs of charity and social welfare in a community" is from 1919, American English.

The Community Chest is a device to consolidate all these separate [charitable] appeals, and go before the people once a year with a budget which appropriates to each organization the amount which it needs to make up the difference between its income from other sources, and its necessary expenses. By this means not only are the charities relieved of financial worry and adequately supported, but the public is spared the irritation of constant solicitation, which is all the more unbusinesslike because it is decentralized and not subject to outside disinterested scrutiny. ["New Jersey Municipalities," December 1919]
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chest (n.)

Old English cest "box, coffer, casket," usually large and with a hinged lid, from Proto-Germanic *kista (source also of Old Norse and Old High German kista, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, German kiste, Dutch kist), an early borrowing from Latin cista "chest, box," from Greek kistē "a box, basket," from PIE *kista "woven container" (Beekes compares Middle Irish cess "basket, causeway of wickerwork, bee-hive," Old Welsh cest).

The meaning of the English word was extended to "thorax, trunk of the body from the neck to the diaphragm" c. 1400, replacing breast (n.) in that sense, on the metaphor of the ribs as a "box" for the heart. Meaning "place where public money is kept (common chest, mid-15c.) was extended to "public funds" (1580s). Chest of drawers is from 1670s.

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ice-chest (n.)

1839, originally a wooden chest lined with zinc, from ice (n.) + chest (n.).

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kist (n.)

"chest," c. 1300, from Old Norse kista "chest," from Latin cista (see chest).

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thorax (n.)

"chest of the body," late 14c., from Latin thorax "the breast, chest; breastplate," from Greek thōrax (genitive thōrakos) "breastplate, chest," of unknown origin.

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pectoral (adj.)

1570s, "of or pertaining to the breast or chest," from Latin pectoralis "of the breast," from pectus (genitive pectoris) "breast, chest," a word of unknown origin. De Vaan considers Old Irish ucht "breast, chest" as "a likely cognate, if it reflects earler *pektu-." Pectoral muscle is attested from 1610s.

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hutch (n.)

c. 1200, "storage chest" (also applied to the biblical "ark of God"), from Old French huche "chest, trunk, coffer; coffin; kneading trough; shop displaying merchandise," from Medieval Latin hutica "chest," a word of uncertain origin. Sense of "cupboard for food or dishes" first recorded 1670s; that of "box-like pen for an animal" is from c. 1600.

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cist (n.)

1804, in British archaeology, "sepulchral chest or chamber;" 1847, in Greek history, "small receptacle for sacred utensils in a procession;" in the second sense from Latin cista "wickerwork basket, box," from Greek kistē "box, chest" (see chest); in the first sense from Welsh cist in cist faen "stone coffin," the first element of which is from the Latin word.

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cistern (n.)

"natural or artificial receptacle for holding water or some other fluid," mid-13c., from Old French cisterne "cistern; dungeon, underground prison" (12c., Modern French citerne), from Latin cisterna "underground reservoir for water," from cista "chest, box," from Greek kistē "box, chest" (see chest). Related: Cisternal.

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stethoscope (n.)

instrument for examining the chest, 1820, from French stéthoscope, coined 1819 by its inventor, French physician René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781-1826) from Greek stēthos "chest, breast" + -scope. Greek stēthos is perhaps related to sternon (see sternum); it meant "front of the chest," and was only rarely used of a woman's breasts, but in Modern Greek it became the preferred polite term. Related: Stethoscopic; stethoscopy.

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