1650s, "pertaining to a feast," from Latin festivus "festive, joyous, gay," from festum "festival, holiday," noun use of neuter of adjective festus "joyful, merry" (see feast (n.)). The word is unattested in English from 1651 to 1735 (it reappears in a poem by William Somervile, with the sense "fond of feasting, jovial"), and the modern use may be a back-formation from festivity. Meaning "mirthful, joyous" in English is attested by 1774. Related: Festively; festiveness.
When the Day crown'd with rural, chaste Delight
Resigns obsequious to the festive Night;
The festive Night awakes th' harmonious Lay,
And in sweet Verse recounts the Triumphs of the Day.
[Somervile, "The Chace"]
Earlier adjectives in English based on the Latin word were festival "pertaining to a church feast" (late 14c.); festful "joyous" (early 15c.), festial "pertaining to a church feast" (early 15c.), festli "fond of festivity" (late 14c.).
*dhēs-, Proto-Indo-European root forming words for religious concepts. Possibly an extension of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put."
It forms all or part of: apotheosis; atheism; atheous; Dorothy; enthusiasm; fair (n.) "a stated market in a town or city;" fanatic; ferial; feast; fedora; -fest; festal; festival; festive; festoon; Festus; fete; fiesta; henotheism; monotheism; pantheism; pantheon; polytheism; profane; profanity; Thea; -theism; theist; theo-; theocracy; theodicy; Theodore; Theodosia; theogony; theology; theophany; Theophilus; theosophy; theurgy; tiffany; Timothy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek theos "god;" Latin feriae "holidays," festus "festive," fanum "temple."
"festive celebration, feast," late 14c., from Old French festiveté "celebration, festiveness, festival," from Latin festivitatem (nominative festivitas) "good fellowship, generosity," from festivus "festive," from festum "festival or holiday," neuter of festus "of a feast" (see feast (n.)). Related: Festivities.
late classical god of joy and festive mirth, 1630s, from Latin, from Greek komos "a revel, merrymaking, a band of revelers" (see comedy).
c. 1600, "festivity;" 1831, "cheerfulness," from Late Latin genialitas "festivity, pleasantness," from Latin genialis "pleasant, festive" (see genial).
1620s, "festive dress or attire" (obsolete), from French en gala, perhaps from Old French gale "merriment," from galer "rejoice, make merry" (see gallant). Klein suggests the French word is from Italian gala (as in phrase vestito di gala "robe of state"), perhaps from Arabic khil'a "fine garment given as a presentation." Sense of "festive occasion" (characterized by display of finery) first recorded 1777. Quasi-adjectival use in gala day "day of festivities," etc.
"string or chain of flowers, ribbon, or other material suspended between two points," 1620s, from French feston (16c.), from Italian festone, literally "a festive ornament," apparently from festa "celebration, feast," from Vulgar Latin *festa (see feast (n.)). The verb is attested from 1789. Related: Festooned.
word-forming element meaning "god, gods, God," from Greek theos "god," from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts, such as Latin feriae "holidays," festus "festive," fanum "temple."
"decorated container (originally a pot) filled with sweets and small gifts, suspended from a ceiling and broken by a blindfolded person on festive occasions," 1887, from Mexican Spanish piñata, in Spanish "jug, pot," ultimately from Latin pinea "pine cone," from pinus (see pine (n.)).