Etymology
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ensure (v.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French enseurer, from en- "make" (see en- (1)) + Old French seur "sure" (see sure); probably influenced by Old French asseurer "assure." Compare insure. Related: Ensured; ensures; ensuring.
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en- (1)
word-forming element meaning "in; into," from French and Old French en-, from Latin in- "in, into" (from PIE root *en "in"). Typically assimilated before -p-, -b-, -m-, -l-, and -r-. Latin in- became en- in French, Spanish, Portuguese, but remained in- in Italian.

Also used with native and imported elements to form verbs from nouns and adjectives, with a sense "put in or on" (encircle), also "cause to be, make into" (endear), and used as an intensive (enclose). Spelling variants in French that were brought over into Middle English account for parallels such as ensure/insure, and most en- words in English had at one time or another a variant in in-, and vice versa.
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whip (n.)
"instrument for flagellating," early 14c., from whip (v.) and perhaps in part from Middle Low German wippe "quick movement." In parliamentary use from 1850 (the verb in this sense is recorded from 1742), from the sense in fox-hunting. The parliamentary whip's duty originally was to ensure the attendance of party members on important occasions.
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secure (v.)

c. 1600, "to make safe, guard from danger," from secure (adj.). Meaning "ensure, make certain, guarantee" is from 1650s; that of "seize and hold" (in reference to persons) is from 1640s; that of "make fast or firm" (of things) is from 1650s. The sense of "get possession of, make oneself master of" is from 1743. Related: Secured; securing.

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forget-me-not (n.)
the flowering plant (Myosotis palustris), 1530s, translating Old French ne m'oubliez mye; in 15c. the flower was supposed to ensure that those wearing it should never be forgotten by their lovers. Similar loan-translations took the name into other languages: German Vergißmeinnicht, Swedish förgätmigej, Hungarian nefelejcs, Czech nezabudka.
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sustainability (n.)

1907, in reference to a legal objection, from sustainable + -ity. General sense (in economics, agriculture, ecology) by 1972.

Sustainability is defined as a requirement of our generation to manage the resource base such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations. ... Development is sustainable if it involves a non-decreasing average quality of life. [Geir B. Asheim, "Sustainability," The World Bank, 1994]
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insure (v.)
mid-15c., insuren, spelling variant of ensuren "to assure, give formal assurance" (late 14c.), also "make secure, make safe" (c. 1400), from Anglo-French enseurer, Old French ensurer, from en- "make" (see en- (1)) + seur, sur "safe, secure, undoubted" (see sure (adj.)).

The particular commercial senses of "make safe against loss by payment of premiums; undertake to ensure against loss, etc." are from mid-17c. (replacing assure in that meaning). Related: Insured; insuring.
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hush (v.)

1540s (trans.), 1560s (intrans.), variant of Middle English huisht (late 14c.), probably of imitative origin, with terminal -t lost probably by being mistaken for a past tense suffix. The sounds chosen presumably for "being sibilations requiring the least muscular effort and admitting of the faintest utterance" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Hushed; hushing.

Figurative use from 1630s. As an interjection meaning "be quiet," attested by c. 1600. To hush (one's) mouth "be quiet" is attested from 1878. Hush up "suppress talk for secrecy's sake" is from 1630s. Hush-money "bribe paid to ensure silence" is attested from 1709. Hush-puppy "deep-fried ball of cornmeal batter" first attested 1899; as a type of lightweight soft shoe, it is a proprietary name, registered 1961.

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avant-garde (n.)

also avant garde, avantgarde; French, literally "advance guard" (see avant + guard (n.)). Used in English 15c.-18c. in a literal, military sense; borrowed again 1910 as an artistic term for "pioneers or innovators of a particular period." Also used around the same time in a political sense in communist and anarchist publications. As an adjective, by 1925.

The avant-garde générale, avant-garde stratégique, or avant-garde d'armée is a strong force (one, two, or three army corps) pushed out a day's march to the front, immediately behind the cavalry screen. Its mission is, vigorously to engage the enemy wherever he is found, and, by binding him, to ensure liberty of action in time and space for the main army. ["Sadowa," Gen. Henri Bonnal, transl. C.F. Atkinson, 1907]
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seed (v.)

late 14c., sēden, "to flower, flourish; produce seed;" mid-15c., "to sow (the ground) with seed," from seed (n.).

The meaning "remove the seeds from" is by 1904. Sporting (originally tennis) sense is by 1898, from the notion of "spreading" certain players' names so as to ensure they will not meet early in a tournament. The noun in this sense is attested by 1924.

There is another question of tennis custom, if not tennis law, that has been agitated a good deal of late, and which still remains unsatisfactory, and this is the methods used in drawing the competitors in tournaments. The National Lawn Tennis Association prescribes no particular style for drawing. but the Bagnall-Wilde system is that used almost universally in open events. Several years ago, it was decided to "seed" the best players through the championship draw, and this was done for two or three years under protest from Dr. Dwight. ["Tennis Rules That Need Amendment," American Lawn Tennis, Jan. 13, 1898]

Related: Seeded; seeding. Late Old English had sædian, sedian.

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