1540s, "daring, defiance, boasting," from French braverie, from braver "to brave" (see brave (adj.)) or else from cognate Italian braveria, from bravare.
No Man is an Atheist, however he pretend it and serve the Company with his Braveries. [Donne, 1631]
The original deprecatory sense is obsolete; as a good quality attested perhaps from 1580s, but it is not always possible to distinguish the senses. Meaning "fine clothes, showiness" is from 1560s and holds the older notion of ostentatious pretense.
also V.I.P., 1933, initialism (acronym) for very important person or personage; not common until after World War II.
At most, the greatest persons, are but great wens, and excrescences; men of wit and delightfull conversation, but as moales for ornament, except they be so incorporated into the body of the world, that they contribute something to the sustentation of the whole. [John Donne, letter to Sir Henry Goodere, Sept. 1608]
early 15c., metaphisicalle, "pertaining to metaphysics," from methaphesik (late 14c.) + -al, and in part from Medieval Latin metaphysicalis, from Medieval Latin metaphysica (see metaphysics). It came to be used more loosely in the sense of "abstract, speculative, apart from ordinary or practical modes of thought" (among others by Samuel Johnson, who applied it to certain 17c. poets, notably Donne and Cowley, who used "witty conceits" and abstruse imagery), and often had more or less a depreciative sense. Related: Metaphysically.
Old English dunn "dingy brown; dark-colored," perhaps from Celtic (compare Old Irish donn "dark;" Gaelic donn "dull; dark brown; dark;" Welsh dwnn "brownish"), from PIE *donnos, *dusnos "dark." As a noun, "dun color," 1560s; as "a dun horse" from late 14c. The "horse" meaning is that the figurative expression dun is in the mire "things are at a standstill or deadlocked," which occurs in both Chaucer and Shakespeare. Dun also is likely the origin of the surnames Dunn, Dunne, Donne, Dunning, etc.
"a dismissal from work," 1825, apparently from sack (n.1), perhaps from the notion of the worker going off with his tools in a bag. The original formula seems to have been give (someone) the sack. In early use sometimes also of a rejected suitor. It is attested earlier in French (on luy a donné son sac, 17c.) and Dutch (iemand de zak geven). English was using bag (v.) in the same sense colloquially by 1848, and compare 20c. slang verbal phrase bag work "skip one's job" which puts the bag to different use. The verb sack "dismiss from office, employment, etc., 'give the sack,' " is attested by 1841 (in sacked).
1530s, "freedom from exaggeration, self-control," from French modestie or directly from Latin modestia "moderation, sense of honor, correctness of conduct," from modestus "moderate, keeping due measure, sober, gentle, temperate," from modus "measure, manner" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Meaning "quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself, retiring demeanor, disinclination to presumption, unobtrusiveness" is from 1550s; that of "womanly propriety, purity or delicacy of thought or manner" is from 1560s.
In euery of these thinges and their semblable is Modestie; whiche worde nat beinge knowen in the englisshe tonge, ne of al them which under stode latin, except they had radde good autours, they improprely named this vertue discretion. [Sir Thomas Elyot, "The Boke Named The Gouernour," 1531]
La pudeur donne des plaisirs bien flatteurs à l'amant: elle lui fait sentir quelles lois l'on transgresse pour lui;(Modesty both pleases and flatters a lover, for it lays stress on the laws which are being transgressed for his sake.) [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
The pride which masks as modesty is the most perverse of all. [Marcus Aurelius]
In 16c.-17c. commonly used in place of a genitive inflection after nouns whose nominative ends in -s (for example, "When this Book became a particular book, that is, when Moses his book was divided into five parts, I cannot trace." [Donne, "Essayes in Divinity," "Exodus," 1651]). Here it is perhaps an expanded vocalized form of 's, originally -es. This tendency began in late Old English and was obsolete from c. 1750.