late 14c., in logic, "a previous proposition from which another follows, a judgment causing another judgment," from Old French premisse (14c.), from Medieval Latin praemissa (propositio or sententia) "(the proposition) set before," noun use of fem. past participle of Latin praemittere "send forward, put before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + mittere "to send" (see mission).
In legal documents it meant "matter previously stated" (early 15c.), which in deeds or wills often was a description of a house or building, hence the extended meaning "house or building, with grounds" (1730).
"to state before something else, set forth or make known as introductory to the main subject," mid-15c., from premise (n.). Related: Premised; premising.
c. 1300, majour, "greater, more important or effective, leading, principal," from Latin maior (earlier *magios), irregular comparative of magnus "large, great" (from PIE root *meg- "great"). From 1590s as "greater in quantity, number, or extent." Used in music (of modes, scales, or chords) since 1690s, on notion of an interval a half-tone "greater" than the minor; of modern modes, "characterized by the use of major tonality throughout," by 1811. Major league, in baseball, is attested by 1892.
military rank above captain and below lieutenant colonel, 1640s, from French major, short for sergent-major, originally a higher rank than at present, from Medieval Latin major "chief officer, magnate, superior person," from Latin maior "an elder, adult," noun use of the adjective (see major (adj.)).
His chief duties consist in superintending the exercises of his regiment or battalion, and in putting in execution the commands of his superior officer. His ordinary position in the line is behind the left wing. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
The musical sense is attested by 1797.
of a college or university student, "focus (one's) studies," 1910, American English, from major (n.) in sense of "subject of specialization" (by 1890). Related: Majored; majoring. Earlier as a verb, in Scottish, "to prance about, or walk backwards and forwards with a military air and step" [Jamieson, 1825] a sense derived from the military major.
also majordomo, "man employed to superintend a household, especially that of a sovereign or other dignitary," 1580s, via Italian maggiordomo or Spanish mayordomo, from Medieval Latin major domus "chief of the household," also "mayor of the palace" under the Merovingians, from Latin maior "greater" (see major (adj.)) + genitive of domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").
early 14c., Menour, "a Franciscan," from Latin Fratres Minores "lesser brethren," name chosen by the order's founder, St. Francis, for the sake of humility; see minor (adj.). From c. 1400 as "minor premise of a syllogism." From 1610s as "person of either sex who is under legal age for the performance of certain acts" (Latin used minores (plural) for "the young"). Musical sense is from 1797 (see the adjective). Academic meaning "secondary subject of study, subject of study with fewer credits than a major" is from 1890; as a verb in this sense by 1905.
1530s, in logic, "an inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premise," a Latin phrase, "it does not follow," from non "not" + third person singular present indicative of sequi "to follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").