prefix usually meaning "away, opposite, completely," from Old English for-, indicating loss or destruction, but in other cases completion, and used as well with intensive or pejorative force, from Proto-Germanic *fur "before, in" (source also of Old Norse for-, Swedish för-, Dutch ver-, Old High German fir-, German ver-); from PIE *pr-, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, toward, near, against."
In verbs the prefix denotes (a) intensive or completive action or process, or (b) action that miscarries, turns out for the worse, results in failure, or produces adverse or opposite results. In many verbs the prefix exhibits both meanings, and the verbs frequently have secondary and figurative meanings or are synonymous with the simplex. [Middle English Compendium]
Probably originally in Germanic with a sense of "forward, forth," but it spun out complex sense developments in the historical languages. Disused as a word-forming element in Modern English. Ultimately from the same root as fore (adv.). From its use in participles it came to be an intensive prefix of adjectives in Middle English (for example Chaucer's forblak "exceedingly black"), but all these now seem to be obsolete.
1520s, "make a spring from the ground" (intransitive), a word with no apparent source in Old or Middle English, perhaps imitative (compare bump (v.)); another theory derives it from words in Gallo-Roman dialects of southwestern France (such as jumba "to rock, to balance, swing," yumpa "to rock") and says it might have been picked up during the Hundred Years War. Similarities have been noted to Swedish dialectal gumpa "spring, jump," German dialectal gampen "jump, hop," but OED finds no basis for a relationship.
It has superseded native leap, bound, and spring in most senses. Meaning "pass abruptly from one state to another" is from 1570s. Meaning "move suddenly with a leap" is from 1724. The transitive meaning "to attack, pounce upon" is from 1789; that of "to do the sex act with" is from 1630s. Related: Jumped; jumping.
Sense in checkers is from 1862. To jump to "obey readily" is from 1886. To jump to a conclusion is from 1704. To jump rope is from 1853; Jumping-rope (n.) is from 1805. Basketball jump-shot "shot made while the player is in the air" is from 1934; also used of billiard shots. Jump in a lake as a dismissive invitation is attested from 1912.
c. 1200, "feeling of pleasure and delight;" c. 1300, "source of pleasure or happiness," from Old French joie "pleasure, delight, erotic pleasure, bliss, joyfulness" (11c.), from Latin gaudia "expressions of pleasure; sensual delight," plural of gaudium "joy, inward joy, gladness, delight; source of pleasure or delight," from gaudere "rejoice," from PIE root *gau- "to rejoice" (cognates: Greek gaio "I rejoice," Middle Irish guaire "noble").
As a term of endearment from 1580s. Joy-riding is American English, 1908; joy-ride (n.) is from 1909.
From late Old English as "in favor of." For and fore differentiated gradually in Middle English. For alone as a conjunction, "because, since, for the reason that; in order that" is from late Old English, probably a shortening of common Old English phrases such as for þon þy "therefore," literally "for the (reason) that."
also jumpstart, "to start a car engine using battery booster cables," by 1970; see jump (n.) + start (v.). The sense of jump is that in the jump-spark ignition system, attested from 1883 in gas-lighting, from c. 1902 as a common way to start an automobile; hence also jumper "wire used to cut out ('jump over') part of a circuit or to close a gap," a sense attested from 1901 in telegraphy. Related: Jumpstarted; jumpstarting. Figurative use by 1975. Jump-leads "jumper-cables" is from 1969; jumper-cables from 1961.