1807; see pea + nut. Earlier, and still commonly in England, ground nut, ground pea (1769). The plant is native to South America; Portuguese traders took peanuts from Brazil and Peru to Africa by 1502 and it is known to have been cultivated in Chekiang Province in China by 1573, probably arriving with Portuguese sailors who made stops in Brazil en route to the Orient.
Peanut butter is attested by 1892; peanut brittle "hard toffee with peanuts roasted in it" is from 1894. Peanut gallery "topmost (and cheapest) rows of a theater" is from 1874, American English, from the peanuts sold as inexpensive snacks; peanuts "trivial sum" is from 1934; peanut for "small or unimportant person" is by 1942. The Peanuts newspaper comic strip by U.S. cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) debuted under that name on Oct. 2, 1950.
also crackerjack, "something excellent," 1893, U.S. colloquialism, apparently a fanciful construction, earliest use in reference to racing horses. The caramel-coated popcorn-and-peanuts confection was said to have been introduced at the World's Columbian Exposition (1893). Supposedly a salesman gave it the name when he tasted some and said, "That's a cracker-jack," using the then-popular expression. The name was trademarked 1896. The "Prize in Every Box" was introduced 1912.
"Your brother Bob is traveling, isn't he?"
"Yep. He's with one of the big racing teams. I tell you, he's a cracker-jack! Wins a bushel of diamonds and gold cups every week."
[Life magazine, Aug. 1, 1895]
early 15c., securite, "state or condition of being safe from danger or harm;" mid-15c., "freedom from care or anxiety" (a sense now archaic), from Old French securite and directly from Latin securitas "freedom from care," from securus "free from care" (see secure (adj.)).
This form replaced the earlier sikerte (early 15c.), which represents an earlier borrowing of the Latin word; earlier in English in the sense of "security" was sikerhede (early 13c.); sikernesse (c. 1200). Sir Thomas Browne uses securement; Francis Bacon and Mrs. Browning have secureness. Surety is a doublet, via French.
The meaning "something which secures, that which makes safe" is from 1580s. The specific legal sense of "something pledged as a guarantee of fulfillment of an obligation" is from mid-15c. (originally a guarantee of good behavior).
The meaning "safety of a state, person, etc." is by 1941. By 1965 Security, with the capital, was generic or shorthand for "security officials; a state's security department or ministry."
The legal sense of "property in bonds" is from mid-15c.; that of "document held by a creditor as evidence of debt or property and proof of right to payment" is from 1680s. Security-check (n.) is by 1945. Phrase security blanket in figurative sense is attested by 1966, in reference to the crib blanket carried by the character Linus in the popular "Peanuts" newspaper comic strip (the blanket, and the strip, from 1956).