c. 1600, "quality of being very close or compact," from French densité (16c.), from Old French dempsité (13c.), from Latin densitas "thickness," from densus "thick, dense" (see dense). In physics, "the mass of matter per unit of bulk," 1660s.
1560s, "relating to or connected with the science of optics; pertaining to vision," from optic + -al (1). Of abstract art, from 1964. In astronomy, in reference to double stars that appear so only because they lie in the same line of sight from earth, by 1868. Optical illusion is attested by 1757. Related: Optically.
"density, thickness, compactness," mid-15c., from Latin spissitudo "thickness, density," from spissus "thick, dense, compact, close" (source of Italian spesso, Spanish espeso, Old French espes, French épais). Related: Spissated.
a ghost word printed in the 1934 "Webster's New International Dictionary" and defined as a noun used by physicists and chemists, meaning "density." In sorting out and separating abbreviations from words in preparing the dictionary's second edition, a card marked "D or d" meaning "density" somehow migrated from the "abbreviations" stack to the "words" stack. The "D or d" entry ended up being typeset as a word, dord, and defined as a synonym for density. The mistake was discovered in 1939.
"unit of magnetic flux density," 1960, from Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), Croatian-born U.S. engineer. Tesla coil is attested from 1896.