mid-15c., "covered walk or passageway, narrow and partly open passageway along a wall," from Old French galerie "a long portico" (14c.), from Medieval Latin galeria, of unknown origin. Perhaps an alteration of galilea "church porch," which is probably from Latin Galilaea "Galilee," the northernmost region of Palestine (see Galilee); church porches sometimes were so called, perhaps from being at the far end of the church:
Super altare Beatæ Mariæ in occidentali porte ejusdem ecclesiæ quæ Galilæ a vocatur. [c.1186 charter in "Durham Cathedral"]
Sense of "building to house art" first recorded 1590s. In reference to theaters, of the section with the highest, cheapest seats; hence "people who occupy a (theater) gallery" (contrasted with "gentlemen of the pit") first by Lovelace, 1640s, hence to play to the gallery (1867).
1590s, "continuous path around a fortification," from French corridor (16c.), from Italian corridore "a gallery or long passage in a building or between two buildings," etymologically "a runner," from correre "to run," from Latin currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run").
Original military sense in English now is obsolete. Meaning "outside gallery around the court of a building" is from 1640s; sense of "long hallway with rooms opening off it" is by 1814. Meaning "strip of territory of one state through another to give access," typically to the sea, is from 1919.
"bridge," in anatomy and in various Latin expressions, from Latin pons "bridge, connecting gallery, walkway," earlier probably "way, passage," from PIE root *pent- "to go, tread" (see find (v.)). Especially pons asinorum "bridge of asses," nickname since early 16c. for the fifth proposition of the first book of Euclid, which students and slow wits find difficulty in "getting over": if two sides of a triangle are equal, the angles opposite these sides also are equal. "The original allusion seems to have been to the difficulty of getting asses to cross a bridge" [Century Dictionary]. The Latin word is the source of Italian ponte, French pont, Spanish puente.
1510s, "gallery, portico, balcony," later "flat, raised place for walking" (1570s), from French terrace (Modern French terasse), from Old French terrasse (12c.) "platform (built on or supported by a mound of earth)," from Vulgar Latin *terracea, fem. of *terraceus "earthen, earthy," from Latin terra "earth, land" (from PIE root *ters- "to dry").
As a natural formation in geology, attested from 1670s. In street names, originally in reference to a row of houses along the top of a slope, but lately applied arbitrarily as a fancy name for an ordinary road. As a verb from 1610s, "to form into a terrace." Related: Terraced.
"main seating for spectators at an outdoor event," 1761 (two words), from grand (adj.) + stand (n.). The verb meaning "to show off" is student slang from 1895, from grandstand player, attested in baseball slang from 1888.
It's little things of this sort which makes the 'grand stand player.' They make impossible catches, and when they get the ball they roll all over the field. [M.J. Kelly, "Play Ball," 1888]
Compare British gallery hit (1882) "showy play by a batsman in cricket, 'intended to gain applause from uncritical spectators'" [OED]. Related: grandstanding.
1726, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + describable. Related: Indescribably; indescribability (1797). In same sense, Old English had unasecgendlic. Indescribables for "trousers" (1819) was colloquial in England for a generation or so.
We cannot omit here to state, that, some years since, we recollect a rumour in the gallery [of the House of Commons], that Madame de Staël was sitting, en habit d'homme, in a surtout and military indescribables, listening to the debate, under the protection of Sir J. Macintosh. ["Privileges of Women," in Retrospective Review, London, 1824]
Old English scotung, "action of one who shoots" (an arrow from a bow), verbal noun from the source of shoot (v.). By 1640s as "the sport of killing game with a gun;" the modern athletic contest sense is by 1885. By 1873 as "an incident in which someone is shot with a firearm." The film-camera sense is by 1920.
Shooting iron "firearm" is by 1775 (Sam Adams) in American English colloquial; shooting gallery is from 1836, originally a long room having a target at one end and arranged for firearms practice; shooting match as "marksmanship contest" is from 1750. Shooting star "meteor" is recorded by 1590s (the verb shoot with reference to meteors is from late 13c.; shot star for "shooting star" is attested from 1630s).