"to make tense," 1670s, from tense (adj.); intransitive sense of "to become tense" (often tense up) is recorded from 1946. Related: Tensed; tensing.
c. 1600, "characterized by advancement, going forward, moving onward" (in action, character, etc.), from progress (n.) + -ive, or else from French progressif, from past participle stem of Latin progredi. Specifically of taxation, from 1889. From the notion of "using one's efforts toward advancement or improvement" comes the meaning "characterized by striving for change and innovation, avant-garde, liberal" (in arts, etc.), from 1908; of jazz, from 1947.
In the socio-political sense "favoring reform; radically liberal" it emerged in various British contexts from the 1880s; in the U.S. it was given to a movement active in the 1890s and a generation thereafter, the name being taken again from time to time, most recently by some more liberal Democrats and other social activists, by c. 2000.
The noun in the sense "one who favors, promotes, or commends social and political change in the name of progress" is attested by 1865 (originally in Christianity). Earlier in a like sense were progressionist (1849, adjective; 1884, noun), progressist (1848). Related: Progressively; progressiveness.
"stretched tight," 1660s, from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch, extend" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Figurative sense of "in a state of nervous tension" is first recorded 1821. Related: Tensely; tenseness.
c. 1300, "being in the same place as someone or something;" early 14c., "existing at the time," from Old French present "evident, at hand, within reach;" as a noun, "the present time" (11c., Modern French présent) and directly from Latin praesentem (nominative praesens) "present, at hand, in sight; immediate; prompt, instant; contemporary," from present participle of præesse "be before (someone or something), be at hand," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be").
Meaning "abiding in a specified place" is from mid-14c. in English. As a grammatical tense expressing action or being in the present time, recorded from late 14c.
"form of a verb showing time of an action or state," early 14c., tens "time," also "tense of a verb" (late 14c.), from Old French tens "time, period of time, era; occasion, opportunity; weather" (11c., Modern French temps), from Latin tempus "a portion of time" (also source of Spanish tiempo, Italian tempo; see temporal).
c. 1300, "the present time, time now passing, this point in time" (opposed to past and future), also "act or fact of being present; portion of space around someone," from Old French present (n.) "the present time" (11c.), from Latin praesens "being there" (see present (adj.)).
In Middle English also "the portion of space around someone" (mid-14c.). In old legalese, these presents means "these documents, the documents in hand" (late 14c.).
c. 1200, "thing offered, what is offered or given as a gift," from Old French present and directly from Medieval Latin presentia, from phrases such as French en present "(to offer) in the presence of," mettre en present "place before, give," from Latin in re praesenti "in the situation in question," from praesens "being there" (see present (adj.), and compare present (v.)). The notion is of "something brought into someone's presence."
The difference between present and gift is felt in the fact that one may be willing to accept as a present that which he would not be willing to accept as a gift : a gift is to help the one receiving it; a present does him honor, or expresses friendly feeling toward him. A present is therefore ordinarily to an individual; but in law gift is used, to the exclusion of present, as including all transfers of property without consideration and for the benefit of the donee. [Century Dictionary]
c. 1300, presenten, "bring into the presence of, introduce (someone or something) formally or ceremonially;" also "make a formal presentation of; give as a gift or award; bestow; approach with a gift, bring or lay before one for acceptance," from Old French presenter (11c., Modern French présenter) and directly from Latin praesentare "to place before, show, exhibit," from stem of praesens (see present (adj.)).
From late 14c. as "exhibit (something), demonstrate, reveal, offer for inspection, display;" also, in law, "accuse to the authorities, make a formal complaint or charge of wrongdoing." From c. 1400 as "represent, portray." Related: Presented; presenting. To present arms "bring the firearm to a perpendicular position in front of the body" is by 1759.